As a service to fans who have a general interest in WWE but might not have watched a match since the Royal Rumble, or Survivor Series or even SummerSlam, we're happy to provide this FAQ as a guide to WrestleMania 38, two nights (April 2 and 3, 8 p.m. on Peacock) at the House that Jerry Jones Built.
So what's the most highly anticipated thing at WrestleM --
[LOUD CRASH OF BREAKING GLASS]
Bah Gawd, is that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's music?
Is he finally returning to the ring and wrestling another match at WrestleMania 38?
So ... um ... well, he is returning to the ring. That, we can confirm.
Kevin Owens had been running down the state of Texas for weeks, and he also didn't have a match scheduled for 'Mania. So he decided to issue a challenge to Austin to appear on the most "stupendous" edition of his talk show, "The KO Show."
Quick aside here, this WrestleMania's tagline is indeed "stupendous." Let that sink in.
In the process, he proposed that Austin was likely a shell of his former self in retirement. That was enough to compel Austin to issue a response -- in camouflage, standing next to his truck -- saying, "If you want to call this a 'KO Show,' a match, a fight, a brawl, whatever" he was going to "open one last can of whoop-ass" on Owens.
So if this ends up a match or a fight or a "whatever," Owens has earned his comeuppance. On a recent RAW, Owens popped the crowd by coming to the ring with Austin's music and dressed like "Stone Cold," and then fooled them a second time by playing Austin's glass-crashing theme during what felt like the time for a run-in. Just classic heel stuff. You love to see it.
OH HELL YEAH!@SteveAustinBSR has accepted @FightOwensFight's #WrestleMania 38 invitation! pic.twitter.com/7x5t41nDBg— WWE (@WWE) March 8, 2022
So Owens is 100% eating a Stunner, right?
Oh hell yeah.
Speaking of classic heel stuff, what's The Miz up to?
That's where you take it with "classic heel stuff"? Ok then...
Everyone's favorite "Dancing With The Stars" loser had heat with Rey and Dominik Mysterio, when the son helped the father win a match against The Miz at WWE Elimination Chamber. Needing a tag-team partner to take them on at WrestleMania, The Miz turned to an obvious choice ... Logan Paul, the YouTuber-turned-boxer who appeared at WrestleMania 37 and got mixed up with Owens and Sami Zayn.
Miz used to have heat with Paul, too, but they're both from Cleveland, so ... friends? Anyway, if you thought tagging with Logan Paul made The Miz loathsome, please consider he also recently stole Rey's mask and misquoted Shakespeare.
Are there other non-wrestlers on the card?
While he can clearly take a bump, Johnny Knoxville is most certainly a non-wrestler competing at WrestleMania against Sami Zayn.
Jackass Johnny Knoxville?
The one and the same.
This rivalry stretches back to the Royal Rumble, which Knoxville participated in despite Zayn's protests that he didn't belong there. Zayn ended up eliminating Knoxville and rubbed salt in his wound by crashing the "Jackass Forever" premiere. Knoxville returned the favor by helping Ricochet win Zayn's Intercontinental title.
Zayn wanted a WrestleMania match, and Knoxville obliged. What followed next was a prank war, that included Knoxville flying a plane over Los Angeles with Zayn's phone number on a banner behind it, which is pretty hilarious. And Zayn has been answering phone calls in very strange places. Zayn made their bout an "Anything Goes Match," greatly increasing the chances of Wee Man having a WrestleMania moment.
Ok, anyone else?
Of course there is. SmackDown announcer and sports talk phenomenon Pat McAfee returns to the ring -- please recall his memorable matches in NXT -- to compete at WrestleMania, having been invited by Vince McMahon himself on "The Pat McAfee Show." There were rumors that McAfee would face Mr. McMahon himself in a match, but instead, it's McMahon's selfie-taking protégé Austin Theory getting the call here. We're crossing our fingers for an Aaron Rodgers run-in, where he hits Theory with a briefcase of contract extension money.
Any other singles matches of note?
Edge stated he doesn't need the fans and has started cutting promos under intense blue lightning, making him look like a scuzzy version of Doctor Manhattan. He decided he wanted to face AJ Styles -- incredibly, the two have never met in the ring before -- and thanked him for accepting a match with a couple of "Con-Chair-Tos." Which was rude.
Also, Drew McIntyre wrestles Happy Corbin for like the 100th time. Madcap Moss will be there. Hashtag #FreeDrew.
Wait wait wait ... Happy Corbin?
Yeah. Baron Corbin became King Corbin who went on a comical weekly downward spiral and ultimately ended up in Vegas where he lost all of his money to the point he could no longer afford his fancy steak dinners. Then luck turned his way, and he became Happy Corbin.
Makes sense. So, any title matches on this show?
#WWERaw Tag Team Champions @RandyOrton & @SuperKingofBros got the last laugh against @MontezFordWWE & @AngeloDawkins before #WrestleMania! pic.twitter.com/wMpMCJgZY3— WWE (@WWE) March 29, 2022
It wouldn't be "The Showcase of Immortals" if there weren't!
The Raw Tag Team titles are on the line as RK-Bro -- Randy Orton and Riddle, who continue to be the best thing on Raw every week because Orton's having the time of his life -- defend their belts against The Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis) and The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins). The chemistry is there for these teams, and it should be fun.
By the way, if you are really a lapsed fan, Otis is now a straight-laced wrestler who, like many others, lost his last name. Shoutout to Tucky.
The Usos own the Smackdown Tag Team titles, and they defend against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs, whose theme song absolutely shreds in that "giant painting of a dragon on the side of a van" way.
The women's tag team champions Queen Zelina and Carmella will defend their titles in a Fatal 4-Way match, a.k.a. "let's find a way to get a bunch of people on the card." Sasha Banks and Naomi, Natalya and Shayna Baszler, and Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan are the teams trying to take it from them.
Is there a backstory to how any of those teams came together and this match makes sense?
What about the women's singles titles?
Buckle up, because these could be two of the weekend's best matches. Ronda Rousey made her not-all-that-unexpected return to win the Royal Rumble, and used the automatic title shot to challenge SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair at 'Mania. Their feud has steadily escalated, from trying to make each other tap out to submission holds to Flair hitting Rousey with a kendo stick and putting her through the announcers' table. They're trying their best to draw some heat here, but comparing this feud to that of Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair is like comparing an ice sculpture to the surface of Venus.
The Raw women's championship bout is a straight up grudge match. Please recall that Lynch returned from maternity leave and defeated Belair in 26 seconds at SummerSlam to recapture her title. The heat continued to build over the past seven months and the stars aligned for this match as Lynch eventually traded titles with Flair after the two swapped brands.
During a six-person tag match in February, Lynch grabbed Belair's lengthy hair braid to break up a pin. Belair responded by violently whipping Lynch with her braid, leaving welts on her stomach. (Which was awesome, to be honest.) Lynch assaulted Belair a few weeks later, injuring her throat and vowing she was going after her hair next! But it was actually Belair who cut off some of Lynch's hair this past Monday night. Seth Rollins was not thrilled.
Play stupid games...— Bianca Belair (@BiancaBelairWWE) March 29, 2022
Win stupid prizes.#wrESTleMania https://t.co/6Hrz5G2tSE
While we're still not sure if the "Big Time Becks" heel turn thing works for us, Lynch has built a heck of feud up against Belair, and this match should tell an enthralling story. Maybe even a better one than Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will tell.
Wait... Roman vs. Brock... again?
OK, so they met in WrestleMania in 2015 and at SummerSlam in 2017 and at WrestleMania in 2018 and at SummerSlam in 2018 and at Greatest Royal Rumble in 2018 and at Crown Jewel in 2021 and would have faced each other again at Day 1 2022 if Reigns hadn't tested positive for COVID. But this time it's different! This time it's title vs. title in a "Winner Take All Championship Unification" match!
Lesnar dropped the WWE Championship to Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble when Paul Heyman turned on him to align with Reigns. But then he won the Rumble match and decided to challenge Reigns for the Universal title at WrestleMania. In the interim, Lesnar won the WWE title in the Elimination Chamber match after Lashley left the match with an injury, setting up the champion-vs.-champion match.
Of all the matches on the WrestleMania card, this one has our favorite absolutely absurd moment of hype building: Lesnar, dressed as a ranch hand, tried to kill Reigns and the Usos with a forklift. That's a mighty high bar to clear for their 'Mania match. But hey, it's not every WrestleMania there's a title unification match. It should be quite a finish.
Take a look back at the jaw-dropping encounter between the #WWEChampion @BrockLesnar and the #UniversalChampion @WWERomanReigns on last week's #SmackDown.@HeymanHustle #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/22ibDbwRPy— WWE (@WWE) March 24, 2022
But you're missing a few people. What about Rollins? Asuka? Ricochet? Finn Balor? The New Day? The Undertaker? Veer!
Rollins has tried his best to get on the card, and on Monday Night, Raw Vince McMahon told him he would have a match with an opponent of McMahon's choosing. While nothing is certain, he may just face the rumored-to-be-returning Cody Rhodes.
Cody? The AEW guy?
Yeah, after building that organization he's apparently on his way back to WWE -- but nothing has been formally announced.
Is it possible the polar opposite of "go away heat" is "welcome back" chants? Because Cody might experience both in the span of two months.
That's a yes.
As for your other superstars of absence, nobody is apparently ready for Asuka -- or really knows what she is up to. Ricochet and Balor hold WWE gold, but are matchless. The New Day is dealing with all sorts of injuries (Get well soon Big E). Xavier Woods and Kofi will face Sheamus and Ridge Rolland, and The Undertaker will likely have the longest entrance of the night as he's inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Former champion Bobby Lashley also locked up a match with Omos for apparently no other reason than he couldn't knock him over.
Oh, and Veer is still coming to Monday Night Raw.
I don't get it. Didn't they announce him like months ago?
Yes, and the slow roll has been glorious. But we'll believe it when we see it. Frankly, it's a great gimmick: The wrestler who only gets teased that he's going to appear. Can you imagine the pop when his music hits for the first time at WrestleMania 45?