WrestleMania is bigger than ever this year. The 38th edition of WWE’s premier annual event takes place in the Dallas area, and it will be the first time the event stretches over two nights with a full capacity for each.
Sunday’s main event will see WWE champion Brock Lesnar face universal champion Roman Reigns for the third time at WrestleMania. Other big matches include Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown women’s title and Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw women’s championship, not to mention matches including Johnny Knoxville (yes, that Johnny Knoxville) and Logan Paul and a scheduled appearance by wrestling (and Texas) legend Stone Cold Steve Austin.
HOW TO WATCH
- NXT’s Stand and Deliver, noon ET, Peacock (U.S.), WWE Network (international)
- WrestleMania 38: Night 1 pre-show, 6 p.m. ET, USA Network
- WrestleMania 38: Night 1, 8 p.m. ET, Peacock (U.S.), WWE Network (international)
- WrestleMania 38: Night 2, 8 p.m. ET, Peacock (U.S.), WWE Network (international)
A Triple H appearance, and tributes from an NXT standout
In addition to Triple H recently announcing his retirement from in-ring competition, there are questions about NXT Superstar Tommaso Ciampa’s future. Two weeks ago, he addressed the NXT crowd with a heartfelt message where he threw out the possibility of “NXT Stand & Deliver” being his final pay-per-view, saying it feels “like a perfect Fairytale Ending.”
WWE WrestleMania 38:
We don’t know Ciampa’s plans, but in his match against Tony D’Angelo — which he lost — rather than keeping the focus solely on himself, he gave the American Airlines Center crowd a couple of Triple H tributes. First, as he entered the ring, took a big swig of water on the apron and spit it out, a la Triple H. Then later in the match, he gave the crowd a gentleman’s bow like Triple H did when he was the blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the 1990s.
Ciampa received “Thank you, Ciampa!” chants from the crowd after his loss. He then kissed the mat. Shortly after leaving the ring, Triple H showed his face to the AAC fans, hugged Ciampa, then gave the audience a chance to show its love with a major ovation. It’s no secret that Triple H has been extremely influential to NXT’s growth, and he and Ciampa have a great relationship.
Again, what’s next for Ciampa is to be determined.
A win and a Worm
Seeing Scotty 2 Hotty do The Worm to beat Rich Swann at WrestleCon is my personal early highlight of the weekend. Crowd was going wild for him and chanting for The Worm all match. It was the main event of Zicky Dice’s Trouble in Paradise 2.
It’s always fun to see what T-shirts fans decide to pull out at major events (or maybe I’m the only person in the world who puts a ton of thought into that sort of thing).
Ironically, I’m wearing a plain pink T-shirt. But I’m seeing a fair amount of general WrestleMania shirts from years past at the NXT Stand & Deliver event. In and around the arena, Austin (or Dallas) 3:16 apparel looked to be the most popular. Expect more of that tonight.
Stand & Deliver
The lineup for Saturday afternoon’s NXT Stand & Deliver event, which takes place at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
- NXT championship: Dolph Ziggler (champion) vs. Bron Breakker
- Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tony D’Angelo
- Gunther vs. LA Knight
- NXT women’s championship, fatal 4-way: Mandy Rose (champion) vs. Io Shirai vs. Kay Lee Ray vs. Cora Jade
- NXT tag team championship, triple threat match: Imperium (champions) vs. The Creed Brothers vs. MSK
- NXT North American championship, ladder match: Carmelo Hayes (champion) vs. Santos Escobar vs. Grayson Waller vs. Solo Sikoa vs. Cameron Grimes
- NXT women’s ta team championship: Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne (champions) vs. Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai
‘I want my face on the posters’
Sasha Banks takes on all comers.
That could be a freestyle rap battle. That could be a shootout with the Galactic Empire’s stormtroopers. That could be fighting for a WWE championship inside Hell in a Cell. That could mean doing two of those in the same week. There’s no backing down. Simply put, Sasha Banks is everywhere. And if it seems like she’s doing everything at once, it’s because she is.
“I want my face on the posters,” she told The Athletic. “I want people buying tickets to see Sasha Banks.”