By Will PruettProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (itswilltime)
What news to you! Instead of my standard pause format (an article that has a lot of bullet points after it), I wanted to bring you something fast, fun, and extravagant on the Internet: a list! Here is the MVP of WrestleMania 38:
“Stone Cold Steve Austin: Excluding the commentators, this is the only person who was present on both nights and he was the absolute star of each. On the first night, Austin’s mere presence justified the main event slot for a talk with Kevin Owens. This talking segment will be the main event of the show and a highlight of my wrestling phantom.
Austin had looked better physically for many years, and although he was a little slower, he seemed to have the same aura as he did in 1998. It took Austin a few moments to get back to physical form on Saturday, but once he did, the altercation with Owens was an explosion.
On Sunday, seeing Steve Austin react to the abuse of power from Vince McMahon was like reuniting with an old friend. The joy in Austin’s eyes and the new way McMahon Stone invented a new way to destroy the Cold Stunner was incomparable. It was a weekend gem from Stone Cold and I am a very lucky wrestling fan to see it.
Bianca Bellaier: All he does is provide epic matches at WrestleMania Last year, Bianca Bellayer and Sasha Banks gave us the top five WrestleMania major events of all time. This year, Bellaire teamed up with Becky Lynch to present the weekend match. Rather than just praising his performance, I would like to commend Bellaire’s growth year after year. Last year he looked like he had turned into a WrestleMania moment as happened to him. Bellayer’s eyes were wide, but in the end he focused on his goal. This year, Bellaire knew he had that moment and performed like a big star.
Its entrance, featuring a marching band from Texas Southern University, was one of the greatest WrestleMania entrances of all time. His match with Lynch was inspiring and never seemed too long. Bianca Bellayer has not only proved that she belongs to the WrestleMania stage, she is a wrestler who promotes the WrestleMania stage.
Kevin Owens: As great as Steve Austin is, his opponents have to be just as good. Kevin Owens went to WrestleMania and was able to lift heavy, and even the show went on while Austin was talking to a match. Owens was a great enemy to Austin, eating everything Austin had done to him and making Austin shine in front of Dallas. Owens is such a talented actor and has been around for over a decade. Seeing him in the small room, seeing him on the absolute biggest stage with the biggest star made me feel a bit.
Kevin Owens did the main WrestleMania event with Steve Austin. No one will be able to take it away from him.
Sami Zain: As Owens was great on the first night, Sami Zayn had to do something similar, but more complicated on the second night. Zayn was given the task of feeding the wide set piece after the wide set piece in the middle of the live Jackfruit Exhibition. Zayn did it like a complete professional, taking care of his opponents and giving the spectators a great time. I didn’t think my favorite match would be Jane vs. Knoxville, but coming out of the show I was celebrating it with enthusiasm.
Cody Rhodes: When we look back at WrestleMania 38, it’s possible that Cody Rhodes’ return to the WWE will be the most important moment of the night. Not only did Rhodes return to the WWE, he was allowed to bring with him the full American Nightmare experience. From Cody-Vatter to Homelander jackets to theme songs, it was the highest Cody. If WWE gets this right next month and year, we’ll see WrestleMania 38 as the start of a great race of WrestleMania moments for Rhodes.
This performance also serves as proof of WWE’s concept. They can (and should) bring fully developed stars from AEW when they can and let them be their own. It will be extremely popular with fans and will inject Star Power into the WWE when they need it.
Becky Lynch: Much like Sasha Banks last year, Becky Lynch went to WrestleMania to make a star and she achieved her goal. Becky’s match with Bianca was a big match feeling from the moment the bell rang and it never left. Bianca’s performance as the baby’s face in danger was great, as was Becky’s performance as her quick-opening opponent. It was the two ladies at the very top of their game who gave us a classic gift.
I suspected Becky when she came back and turned the heel. I was skeptical of the decision to wait so long for the real Becky Lynch and Bianca Bellayer rematch after SummerSlam. I’ve had a lot of doubts about Becky over the last few months, but she’s proved me wrong. He kills it here and delivers an all-time great WrestleMania performance.
Paul Heyman: Watching a major WrestleMania event based on who Paul Heyman loves the most makes me feel a bit like I’m watching a Tommy Dreamer match. Nonetheless, Heyman was great for his role as the main part of the main event. I was disappointed in Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns and wondered if one or both of them were injured during the match. Heyman, however, focused entirely on delivering a great performance on the main stage. Good for Paul.
Seth Rollins: On his way to WrestleMania, Rollins was given an impossible task: make a match against someone without losing the series and fill up plenty of TV time to do so. Rollins was probably the best performer in those difficult situations and, when it was most important, finally gave the gift of a great professional wrestling match.
Cody Rhodes Rollins and others at NXT may be annoyed to call themselves “Dusty’s Kids” but Rollins should be grateful for the performance he has given to launch him into a new level of star power in the WWE.
WWE Production: This show looked amazing. It was the greatest WrestleMania set of all time. Each entrance looked majestic (the emphasis was on WWE in addition to the awesome AR graphics), and even the slightest touch was not overlooked. I loved the stars hanging around the stadium. I really like what WWE has done to make this show look and feel like WrestleMania.
What I didn’t like was that the show’s speed was completely ruined by the peacock ad insertion. When I paid for the premium peacock, I still had to sit on meaningless replays that ruined the flow of matches from match to match. WrestleMania has moved on as a snowstorm because we need ten minutes of video packages, ads and more video packages in each item.
The people in WWE’s production are very smart. They created a beautiful WrestleMania. Maybe they should work to fix the rhythm of WWE’s premium live event.
Michael Cole: For two nights at WrestleMania, WWE’s Voice has provided a professional and delightful product. Cole is commenting with a passion and it is impossible to notice and after almost 30 years of service, it is amazing to hear that he is delivering these great calls. Michael Cole was a total highlight of WrestleMania for me.
Pat McAfee: I know McAfee is polarizing, but the guy who occasionally dives into WWE for TV shows and every premium live event, I really like what he does. McAfee brings emotion and intensity to every match he calls. He is always busy and never calls. He shouts louder than me, but he engages in wrestling on a pleasantly pure level.
McAfee does more than deliver in the ring against Austin Theory and makes himself a bigger star in the process. The WWE should be happy that they can take McAfee away from the commentary desk several times a year and put him in a big match. He will deliver more than his last.
Finally, after McAfee hit the ground running, Beer Fountain (thank you Shane McMahon) replicated the biggest stunner sales of all time. He can sell better by mainline a broken skull leg after being on the floor.
Vince McMahon: This guy shouldn’t move in front of the crowd. Boundary lines unable to form the face and expression of this man. It’s not someone who should have a match, yet Vince McMahon is the memory of taking the worst Stone Cold Stunner in history in front of a huge crowd that I will never forget.
Johnny Knoxville and Jacques friends: I didn’t know what the Johnny Knoxville WrestleMania match would be like, but I knew it would be silly. Knoxville is a great performer and, with Wei Man and others, really shines in front of the Texas crowd. It was a very dumb and very good match.
And there it is! The most extraordinary two nights of WrestleMania in all MVP history. Of course, I could write more about how bad the Edge vs. AJ Styles was, the absolutely weird finishing of both Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousseau and Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Rains and how Dominic Mysterio and Omos were equally charismatic, but why? You watched the show and you know what was bad.
Will Pruet writes about wrestling and popular culture at prowrestling.net. His interest is in wrestling and the diversity of wrestling as a theatrical art form. Subscribe to her YouTube channel to see her video content. To connect, see him on Twitter itswilltimeLeave a comment, or email him [email protected]