Welcome fans to the first night of the Showcase of the Immortals, The Granddaddy of them All.  Coming to you from the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX, there are a lot of big matches, chief among them being Kevin Owens versus “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Bianca Belair taking on “Big Time” Becky Lynch.  Who will have a big WrestleMania Moment?

Personally, I am setting my expectations low… like, Bad Bunny low.

I find that whatever inane storyline or angle or character the WWE wrestlers are put in, I will end up severely disappointed.  Therefore, I must do the only healthy thing in order to keep myself grounded, objective, and still functioning:  I will keep my comments short, and to the point, highlighting only the big moves that happen in the match.

Also, I am getting through this with a drinking game.  This is compiled by crack experts whose expertise I’ve come to respect over the years, like Slam’s own Jamie Hemmings, and my friend “King” John Gutz.

The rules are as follows:

  • Take one drink if there is a surprise rollup
  • Take three drinks if Bad Bunny is involved
  • Take a drink when Logan Paul is in the ring (pace yourself)
  • Take a drink anytime Texas is mentioned
  • Take a drink anytime “Stupendous” is used
  • Take a drink anytime “What?” is used (again, pace yourself)
  • Drain the bottle when the crowd “Woos!” for Charlotte Flair, and then call an Ambulance (you’ll thank me later)

So with that, let’s get to the important stuff, like the fact that there was no preshow match.  But why in the blue hell was there two hours of recap nonsense, and Jerry Lawler doing Dad Jokes.

(Yes, I am pre-gaming.  Why do you ask?)

To start the show performing “America the Beautiful” is GA native Brantley Gilbert, and it was… words sung (yeah, let’s go with that, since the pre-gaming is making this more tolerable).

Mark Wahlberg gives the introduction because what says Texas more than an East Coast dude.

Oh, hey. How’s your motha, Marky Mark?

The show starts rightfully with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Personally, I’m totally fine by them gyrating to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”, because… ’Merica.

Rick Boogs shills and shreds at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

Now Rick Boogs shreds his guitar, and it’s time for your First Match for the…

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs

We get boxing-style intros, and it’s Nakamura getting his move set on Jimmy, but soon it’s all Usos.  A hot tag to and Boogs and he is a Shredder en Fuego.  At one point, Boogs displays a nice delayed suplex with a kneel. McAfee says he has “The strength of a thousand suns.” And as he gets Jey on a fireman’s carry, Jimmy piles on, and Boogs’ bad knee buckles, and the tone changes as he bows out and The Usos get their 1-D finisher in, and it’s one and done.

Your Winners and Still WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions:  The Usos

After the match, Boogs is examined by medical personnel, and later on, it’s determined in the show that Boogs has a torn patella, and that is truly a damn shame.

A video package shows Corbin going from a loser to getting Happy, along with Madcap Moss in his corner to stealing Drew McIntyre’s sword “Angela” because…I don’t care.

Time to go to…

Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin (with Madcap Moss)

Moss comes with White shorts (Oh gods they are blinding!), and Happy Corbin’s ring gear prompted this on the SlamWrestling chat:  “Wyatt or we Riot!”

Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo   MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

Simply put, McIntyre gets the Future Shock DDT, followed by a Claymore that lands with the win

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Drew McIntyre

Moss gets on the ring apron as he sees McIntyre with the sword.  The Scotsman swings and cuts the ring ropes, as Moss barely escapes. No doubt those white shorts are a different color.

Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton have the call as we go to Celebrity Nonsense…

Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz and Logan Paul

The Mysterios arrive in Mexican/American-style ring gear, and somewhere, Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero are smiling at these Gringos.  As Miz and Paul get to the ring in yellow/black ring gear (with Paul wearing a rare Pokémon card), I am wondering if Stryper is missing their tour gear?

Long story short, Paul and Miz are dominant in this match and Paul hits the Three Amigos suplexes (*gasp!* cultural appropriation), and he goes up top for a frog splash and Dominik breaks the pin count.  Dominik chases Paul outside and back to the ring, then he and papa Rey hit a huracanrana to a double 619, but then a Skull-Crushing finale by Miz to Rey is enough for the pin.

Logan Paul and The Miz vs Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

Your Winners:  The Miz and Logan Paul

Paul and Miz have their hands raised, and Miz turns to his partner…and another Skull Crushing Finale to massive cheers.  Say what you will, but Miz is a wrestler through and through.

(Short Thought:  This is seriously Smackdown-level matches at the first hour mark, and why they happened is beyond me.  But only The Mysterios brought the best in Paul/Miz)

Now for Chief Branding Officer Stephanie McMahon, as she says thanks to the crowd, and introduces the newest member of WWE:  Olympic medalist Gable Stevenson.

So, yeah…that was good

Some clips from Young Rock, but seriously read those recaps here.

For now, this is the first of your Main Events, and it’s for the…

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair

This is a Big Match feel for “Big Time” Becky, as an SUV pulls out and she comes in what I can describe as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe and a new ‘do, and has RMF (Resting Man Face).  By contrast, Belair has the Texas Southern College band come out and goes full brass with the Belair theme for the “EST of WWE.”

Belair holds out the hand of sportsmanship, and Lynch slaps away.  The first part of the match has Lynch on full blitz mode trying to pin Belair, but cannot get it done.  At one point, Belair goes for a Dis-arm-her, and Lynch counters the move, and reversals abound by both combatants, as Lynch drags Belair out by her hair braid, and shoves her to the steel steps.

The match in the latter half is about Big Time aggression by Lynch, as she gets a triangle submission to Belair, but she lifts Lynch and dumps her to the outside.  From there, it’s back and forth pins between the women, and a springboard splash by Lynch gets a two count.  Belair goes up top and Lynch cuts her off at the pass, but Belair drops “Big Time” on the ropes, and a 450 splash is enough to pin for a two count.  Belair goes for a springboard splash, and Lynch gets the knees up to her midsection.  She proceeds to grab Belair’s braid, and slam her to the steel steps.  Back in the ring, Lynch attempts the Manhandle Slam, but Belair blocks and hits a surprise KOD finisher for the pin.

Your Winner, and New WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair vs Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

That was a good main event if we ended it there.

But, wait!  There’s another match just as good.

So, short story shorter; Seth Rollins wants his WrestleMania Moment, and he is getting it as tonight it’s…

Seth “Freakin’” Rollins vs. “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

At this point, my man “King Gutz” joined on a video chat, and we both agreed this was the hugest pop for the “American Nightmare” in a WWE ring (along with wondering how we can get a flowing feathery blue robe like Seth “Freakin’” Rollins).

Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo

The match showed dominance by Rhodes and a flash to his “StarDust” days, but at one point Rollins and Rhodes tumble hard out of the ring, and Cody is still in the driver’s seat with an arm trap but Rollins breaks the submission.  Rhodes gets Rollins’ neck on the top rope, and he channels brother Dustin and kicks to the midsection. Rhodes goes up top, and Rollins dropkicks him on his way down to the mat

Rollins is on offense with a gutbuster for a two-count, then a snap powerslam by Rhodes evens the odds, and he gets dumped outside the ring.  A guardrail bomb to Rhodes, then a short superkick and a delayed Falcon Arrow gets Rollins a two count.  Rollins sets up a stomp, but Rhodes moves away, and a CrossRhodes lands for a two count.  Rhodes goes up top, but Rollins trips up and Rollins goes up and Rhodes elbows him n off. He goes back up and nails a front suplex twice to Rollins for a two count.  Rollins isn’t done, and now he goes up top for a high-risk maneuver, but Rhodes delivers a cutter for a two-count.  Rollins goes with the Pedigree and covers for the pin, but Rhodes kicks out at the two count.  The match goes back and forth between the men, and Rollins hit Kawada-style kicks to Rhodes’ head, but The American Nightmare goes for two Cross-Rhodes and his dad’s patented bionic elbow, and a third Cross-Rhodes seals the deal.

Your Winner Via Pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Congratulations, to Cody.  Here’s hoping he doesn’t get fully future endeavored a week from now.

We get a segment on the WWE Hall of Fame night, so check out what took place that night.

The Chief Branding Officer, Stephanie McMahon, comes back out and announces that for night one, 77,899 are in attendance at the AT&T Stadium.

(Is it me, or should I wonder if this is another super spreader event for COVID?)

Either way, let’s get to the next match for the…

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo    MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

Once “Bad Reputation” hits, we get a huge pop from the Dallas crowd, and as soon as Flair appears, “woos” appear throughout the Stadium (drink responsibly).  As we get boxing-style intros, Rousey is pumped like it’s a UFC Fight.  She fires away with her offense that looks stiff, but Flair is fluid in selling the moves.  Rousey attempts a triangle submission to the ropes but Flair slams her to the ring apron and then onto the floor.

As Flair tries to knock her down, Rousey manages to answer back.  At one point, Rousey manages an ankle lock, but Flair reserves a single leg crab, but Rousey can break the hold.  Both women go for their submissions, but Rousey nails her Pipers Pit finisher, but Flair gets her foot on the ropes to break the hold.  Flair gets her signature Natural Selection move to cover, but Rousey kicks out.  Then, Flair lock on with her Figure Eight submission (Woo! and please, pace yourself), but Flair knocks out the ref, and Rousey goes for the armbar for the pin but… the ref is knocked out.  She tried to get the ref up, but Flair gets a boot and the pin for the win.

Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Smackdown Champion:  Charlotte Flair

Well, what a fun Night One and…

(Whaddya mean that ain’t the end?  Really?!  OK, fine!!)

Looks like we’re going full Smackdown for Night One and now we have the KO Show.  Kevin Owens talks smack to the Texas fans (but, honestly he’s French Canadian, so take it with a grain of maple syrup).  He finally gets to his main guest and…

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin on Kevin Owens’ KO Show at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

The glass breaks and The Bionic Redneck himself, “Stone Cold Steve Austin” appears, posing to fans at the entrance ramp and then he goes back… and reappears on an ATV, and it’s pure Texas Rattlesnake.  Owens says that it’s his show, as the crowd responds with “what?” at every question (please, pace yourself).  He asks Austin, “What’s so good about Texas”, the reason it’s so flat and uninspiring, unlike Canada (again, he’s from Quebec).  Finally, Owens says that he called him here for a match, and expects as such. Austin says he had his first and last match in Dallas, TX, and he’s happy to give his sack of s*** an ass whipping.  Since then crowd responds with, “Hell, Yeah!” out comes a ref and we get your Main Event (?)…

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2022. WWE photo  MORE PHOTOS IN OUR NIGHT 1 GALLERY

The Texas Rattlesnake can stomp Owens, and walk that mud dry, as he sends him outside the ring and gets his Broken Skull IPA beers © in hand.   It becomes a slugging match between both men, and at one point Austin slams Owens’s rights on the commentary table and he doesn’t break a sweat while getting his IPA’s. A few punches later, he loads Owens on the ATV to drive up the ramp to backstage…and Austin hits a suplex from one end of the stage to another and he tosses Owens down the ramp.  Back in the ring and Owens hits his stunner for the ref to count for one, two… Oh, no sale! Austin shows how it’s done with his finisher, and he gets the one, two, and three!

Your Winner via Pinfall:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

As Austin celebrates with the fans as his IPA is tossed in the ring.  Byron Saxton joins in a cold beverage… only for the Texas Rattlesnake to give him a Stunner, as the show closes.



Final Thoughts:

This was a subpar Smackdown episode, at best.  If I didn’t pre-game, I’d be more upset by this night one.  For now, I’m happy The American Nightmare is back in the WWE, and Austin stomped a mudhole into Kevin Owens.

For now, come back for night two, and see you tomorrow.