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WrestleMania 38 recap & reactions (Saturday): Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch are the bar

A legend gets one last ride, the prodigal son returns, and two women show why they are WWE’s cream of the crop.

Welcome to WrestleMania! I’m your host this weekend as we venture through the biggest weekend in wrestling. Those of you new to this place should know Claire handles play-by-play with her thorough blog, while I handle the color commentary and analysis.

We compliment each other. It’s a dope situation.

Let’s talk WrestleMania!


EST is the new C-H-A-M-P

It was said in our office Slack and it bears repeating here: Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch are the two biggest stars in WWE. They present themselves as such every time they’re on television, and they know how to go big for huge moments.

What moment is bigger than WrestleMania?

Starting with their entrances, where Becky pulled up in a luxury truck and and Texas State University, a storied HBCU, played Bianca to the ring, this felt like the main event. To say nothing of the fact both women dressed to impress, with Becky getting my geek heart all aflutter with a combination of David Bowie and Blade Runner.

Shocking no one reading this, these two delivered like it was the main event.

The match started with a recreation of their moment from SummerSlam. Bianca extended her hand for a handshake. Becky sucker punched her, went for the Manhandle Slam, Bianca countered, Bianca went for a Dis-Arm-Her, Becky countered, and the two did everything in their power to end this thing early. We got big moves followed by two counts, counters into pin attempts resulting in only two counts, and action that no doubt made Vin Diesel smile. Why?

Because it was fast and furious. Thank you, I’ll be here all weekend.

Eventually the match settled into the story, which was Becky constantly ahead of Bianca and neutralizing the challenger’s strength. Becky was in front of Bianca’s every move, and kept her off balance. And almost any chance she got to get a count out victory, she took it. Becky’s entire title reign since coming back is all about finding a way to win. She holds the ropes, which she tried here, she puts her feet on the ropes, which she also tried, and skates by telling everyone she’s just smarter than they are for not taking advantage of the situation.

But Bianca—and the referee—withstood all of that. And Bianca handled all of Becky’s aggression, eventually getting herself together and finding her strength. The highlight for me was Bianca hitting a 450 Splash from the SECOND ROPE. Read that sentence again and then watch it however you can. Becky didn’t go down for the count, but the fact that it happened is insane.

Two moments signified the end of this one. The first happened when the action spilled outside and Becky gained the advantage, thanks to yanking Bianca’s braid and sending the challenger into the ring post. That was followed by a Manhandle Slam onto the steel steps. Bianca, and the match itself, found its tension in the ref’s 10 count. Bianca looked dazed and confused, but found energy to get in at a 9-count! Maybe 9.5.

After this, it was Becky, clearly at her wits end, preparing to put Bianca away but got a little sloppy in the process. Becky hoisted Bianca on her shoulders but got too close to the turnbuckle. Bianca flipped over the champ, countered into the KOD, and walked home your new Raw Women’s champion.

Great match, great finish, and a dope moment for Bianca. The story that started way back at SummerSlam 2021 ended perfectly at WrestleMania. That’s it, that’s all, say no more.


Austin 3:16

What I said about Bianca and Becky being the biggest stars in the company is true. But I’ll be damned if Steve Austin still isn’t the man in this company. Yes, they’re in Texas, but the pop Austin received when that glass broke was visceral. It gives goosebumps. Whether it’s 1998 or 2022, Austin rules any areas he walks into.

Kevin Owens’ mannerisms and facial expressions as Austin walked to the ring were priceless. Once the two sat down, Kevin revealed his plan was never to talk; he wanted a fight.

Duh.

KO challenged Austin to a no holds barred match. Now, Austin still looks good. Older? Sure. But the man is in shape. Austin looked to the crowd, asked their opinion, called down a ref, and just like that, we got Stone Cold Steve Austin’s final (?) match.

Austin played the hits: Stomped mud holes, walked ‘em dry, threw vicious right hands, and drank beer in between the beatdown. But this was more of a match than I assumed going into the proceedings. The no holds barred stipulation allowed them to brawl, which was always Austin’s forte, and the Rattlesnake took some pretty serious bumps. The fact a man that age with that much time off can still issue seamless suplexes is worth a trip to church.

Owens surprised Austin with a Stunner but that wasn’t enough to keep him down. Owens got greedy, went for a chair, swung it at Austin, Austin ducked, and the chair bounced off the ropes and pummeled KO. Don’t you hate it when you’re hoisted on your own petard?

That provided Austin the opening he needed for a Stone Cold Stunner, and that was all she wrote.

This was pure nostalgia and a great way to send everyone home happy.


Undeniable

The secret is finally revealed: Cody Rhodes is the the newest WWE Superstar. WWE let him keep his entire AEW packaging, complete with ring entrance, moniker, and wrestling attire. It was surreal seeing something I’m used to seeing on AEW transposed to WWE’s larger canvas.

Seth Rollins didn’t think it was cool, that’s for damn sure. I love the touch commentary added, noting this match featured one of Dusty’s prize pupils facing off against Dusty’s flesh and blood. That was a nice wrinkle that makes me wish this wasn’t a surprise and we actually got some build. But hey, maybe we can do that again in the future because there’s some compelling stuff there.

Anyway, this felt like more like an AEW-style match than a WWE match. There’s nothing wrong with either style, so sheath your fingers, but it’s important to note that maybe, just maybe, Cody gets to play his own music. He did for at least one night, as he and Seth battled. It wasn’t match of the night, but it was a good wrestling match between two cats who are good at wrestling.

Seth pulled out all of the stops to embarrass Cody, including calling him a b*tch and welcoming him back to “the big time.” I wonder if that’s what Becky says to him whenever they’re home. But Seth slapped Cody, attempted several Pedigrees, hit one, and just wanted to get under the man’s skin. But Cody maintained and never let the moment or the emotion get too big for him.

He weathered the Freakin’ storm and refused to stay down, even with hurt ribs. Eventually, Cody swindled Seth into a pair of Cross Rhodes. And just when it looked like he wanted to go for thirds, he paid homage to his dad. After a Bionic Elbow, Cody landed the third Cross Rhodes, getting the pin and ruining Seth’s Mania moment.

Good for Cody. The crowd loved him and he got a chance to soak up all the adulation. Remains to be seen which brand Cody resides. And, if it is Raw, does Seth go for revenge? He’s a psychopath so anything is possible.


Extracurriculars

Amigos

Guess what? Logan Paul is pretty damn good. Son is a natural in the ring. Not just at pulling off moves but in terms of getting heat. The man did the Three Amigos on Rey Mysterio and, to quote a friend, the heat he received was enough to fuel a massive fire pit. THEN, he went for the Frog Splash and mocked Eddie Guerrero in the process. Whew, Texas wanted his blood.

This was a fun match that needed the WrestleMania stage. Any time someone comes out rocking a Pokemon card around their neck, you know you’re in for something awesome.

But but but, The Mysterios didn’t win. Miz outsmarted everyone, tagging himself in right before Logan caught a double 619, then nailed Rey with a Skull Crushing Finale. The crowd was even more incensed. THEN, Miz turned on Logan, making the crowd erupt in joy.

Clearly, Logan and Miz will see each other again, but I pray on everything that is Holy they don’t make Logan the face here. But then again, Miz can’t be the face either. Decisions, decisions.

That’s for later though. For now, let’s celebrate a damn fine tag match.

Best Tag Team in the World

There was a moment in this tag match between The Uso’s and Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura where Boogs was on a roll. Boogs hoisted one Uso brother on his shoulders and another jumped on. Then Rick collapsed in the middle of the ring. The commentators said his knee gave out and it looked like a work for a bit. But the longer it went on, the more real it felt.

As a result, this match seemed like it went a little shorter than planned. Nakamura fought Jimmy and Jey the best he could, but c’mon. They’re not the best tag team in the world for no reason. After an Uso splash and a 1D, Jimmy and Jey walked out of WrestleMania with titles in hand.

Shoutout to Boogs. Early word is, it’s a torn quad. All the prayers in the world for the man. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

Claymore Connection

Happy Corbin and Drew McIntyre did the damn thing. WrestleMania worthy? Not really. But still a good match. Drew avenged the theft of his sword and his mother’s honor with a victory that displayed his freakish athleticism. There was a moment where this 6 ft. 5 in. man leaped over the top rope for a Swanton Dive onto Madcap Moss and Corbin.

McIntyre became the first man to kick out of the End of Days, and it was over for Corbin at that point. Corbin managed to escape the first Claymore attempt with the help of his friend, but he wasn’t so lucky the second time around.

1-2-3, ding.

And we finally saw Angela put to good use. Drew swiped at Moss, and cut the ropes. While it’s not a decapitation, I’ll allow it.

Like I said, the problem is this exact match would feel right at home on a normal Friday night.

Charlotte Survives...Whatever that Was

Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair have no chemistry, resulting in a match with no flow. The match never got out of first gear. What’s worse, it didn’t even feel special.

Ronda had two moments where the match was hers. The first time came from after Piper’s Pit knocked Charlotte out for the count. And the three-count happened, but the ref noticed Flair’s foot on the ropes. Then, Ronda managed to get Charlotte to tap out, but the Charles Robinson took a bump and was indisposed.

Ronda woke him up only to take a boot to the face from Flair. Mercifully, this ended the match and Flair retains her championship.


WrestleMania Saturday is in the books and it was a fantastic one. Even with one obvious stinker of the bunch and the unfortunate injury, WWE delivered a good night of wrestling, entertainment, and nostalgia. Which is exactly what WrestleMania is supposed to bring every year.

Grade: A-

Thats my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.