AJ Styles vs. Edge is the latest match added to WrestleMania 38 on April 2 and April 3 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Edge blindsided Styles with a kick below the belt at the end of Monday Night Raw and gave him two conchairtos. Six matches are official, with several more rumored.
–Night 1 – Saturday, April 2
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul
–Night 2 – Sunday, April 3
Winner Take All: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
AJ Styles vs. Edge
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Carmella & Queen Zelina Vega (c) vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks
Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Johnny Knoxville
Vince McMahon vs. Pat McAfee
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens
On paper, this year’s WrestleMania is a tale of two cities. This is the hottest ticket in town for a casual fan looking for a fun time with a star-studded event. For enthusiasts of the grappling arts, the show is a stupendous pile of garbage.
The substantial reliance on part-time talent, retired wrestlers, and celebrities point to Vince McMahon setting up WWE for a sale. Putting on the most high-profile event possibly makes the company more valuable. That means glitz, glamour, and stars from all walks of entertainment. It’s what WrestleMania was founded on.
While a plethora of “This is awesome” is my preferred cup of fake fighting, it’s not hard to understand why WWE went heavy on the sizzle and low on the steak. Reigns vs. Lesnar is the “Biggest match in WrestleMania history,” according to the marquee. Not too surprising since they are the only ones that matter. Everyone else is wearing a yellow ribbon with no second place in sight.
Speaking of booking, Kevin Owens insulting Texas to nudge Steve Austin out of retirement feels uninspired. Owens will not draw heat with playground slander. Yes, Austin is a proud Texan, but one outside the Lone Star state cares.
However, there could be a method to WWE’s madness.
There are 20,000 tickets left for each night. WrestleMania attendance is primarily those who travel in to see the show. With four weeks left, anyone who would book a flight and hotel for the weekend has already done so. WWE is counting on Texas to fill the remaining seats in the stadium.
Announcing Austin/Owens on four or even three weeks notice will draw in Texas fans who can afford a quick flight or are willing to make the long drive, depending on where they reside. It could work if it’s executed well. Besides, if Austin returns, no one will care what Owens said once the glass breaks.
WrestleMania looks like an uphill battle, but that doesn’t mean it won’t deliver come fight night. Fingers crossed!