WrestleMania 38 was the 38th annual WrestleMania professional wrestling event produced by WWE. It was held for wrestlers from the promotion's Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. The event aired on pay-per-view (PPV) worldwide and was available to stream through Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network elsewhere. It was held as a two-night event, taking place on April 2 and 3, 2022, at the AT&T Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas.
The event was the fourth WrestleMania to be held in the state of Texas (after X-Seven, 25, and 32) and the second in AT&T Stadium after WrestleMania 32 in 2016. It was also the third WrestleMania to feature Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns in the main event (after 31 and 34), with WWE billing the match as "The Biggest WrestleMania Match of All-Time", which will see the unification of the promotion's two world championships, Raw's WWE Championship and SmackDown's Universal Championship, held by Lesnar and Reigns, respectively.
WrestleMania is considered WWE's flagship pay-per-view (PPV) and Peacock/WWE Network event, having first been held in 1985. It is the longest-running professional wrestling event in history and is held annually between mid-March to mid-April. It was the first of WWE's original four pay-per-views, which includes Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, originally dubbed the "Big Four", and as of October 2021, it is one of the company's five biggest events of the year, along with Money in the Bank, referred to as the "Big Five". WrestleMania is ranked the sixth most valuable sports brand in the world by Forbes, and has been described as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment. WrestleMania 38 will feature wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brand divisions.
On January 16, 2021, in addition to announcing the date and location change of WrestleMania 37, which had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion revealed the dates and locations of the next two WrestleMania events. WrestleMania 38 was announced to be held at AT&T Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas. It was originally scheduled to be held solely on April 3, 2022; however, on October 25, 2021, it was revealed that, like the previous two WrestleMania events, WrestleMania 38 was expanded to take place over two nights: Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, 2022. It will be the fourth WrestleMania to be held in the state of Texas (after X-Seven, 25, and 32) and the second to be held in this venue, after WrestleMania 32 in 2016, which set the attendance record for a WrestleMania event at 101,763, which was, however, disputed. Travel packages became available on November 8, 2021, while general tickets went on sale on November 12.
WrestleMania 38 was available on traditional pay-per-view. It was also available through the online streaming services Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network in international markets. Additionally, WWE partnered with Fathom Events to air both nights of WrestleMania 38 in movie theaters across the United States.
As is tradition at WrestleMania, celebrities from the entertainment field took part in the event in various capacities. Social media personality Logan Paul, who appeared at WrestleMania 37, participated in a tag team match at WrestleMania 38 teaming with The Miz against Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio. Jackass actor and stuntman Johnny Knoxville competed in an Anything Goes match against Sami Zayn. Sports personality Pat McAfee, who works for WWE as a color commentator on SmackDown, competed in a regular singles match against Austin Theory. Additionally, DJ Valentino Khan had a musical performance on both nights of the event.
Other WrestleMania Week events
As part of the WrestleMania festivities during the week of the event, WWE held a number of events throughout the week. On the Monday before WrestleMania 38, WWE aired a special "WrestleMania Edition" of Raw. The night before WrestleMania 38 on April 1, WWE aired a special "WrestleMania Edition" of SmackDown, which hosted the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Immediately after SmackDown, the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony commenced. Both SmackDown and the Hall of Fame ceremony aired live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The day of WrestleMania 38 Night 1, WWE's NXT brand held its annual WrestleMania week event, Stand & Deliver, with a special start time of 1pm Eastern Time, also at the American Airlines Center.
The event included matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands, while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.
Main event matches
For many years, Paul Heyman had been the advocate for Brock Lesnar. After Lesnar took a hiatus following WrestleMania 36 in April 2020, Heyman became the special counsel for Roman Reigns that August, guiding him to win SmackDown's Universal Championship. After Reigns retained the title at the 2021 SummerSlam, Lesnar returned to WWE and confronted Reigns, also implying that Heyman was still his advocate. Two months later at Crown Jewel, Reigns defeated Lesnar to retain the Universal Championship with help from The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso). A rematch was scheduled for the New Year's event Day 1, and Reigns fired Heyman as he believed Heyman was working with Lesnar behind his back. The Day 1 match, however, was canceled as Reigns tested positive for COVID-19. Due to his status as a free agent, Lesnar was instead added to Raw's multi-person WWE Championship match at Day 1 and won the title. On the following SmackDown, Lesnar, who reunited with Heyman, challenged Reigns to a champion vs. champion match, but Reigns declined. At the Royal Rumble, Lesnar lost his WWE Championship after interference from Reigns and a double cross from Heyman, who realigned with Reigns. Later that night, Lesnar entered into the Royal Rumble match and won to earn himself a world championship match of his choice at WrestleMania 38. On the following episode of Raw, Lesnar announced that he would challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship. Still wanting it to be a champion vs. champion match, and also wanting a rematch for losing his title, Lesnar was also added to the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber, which he won. It was then confirmed that their WrestleMania match would be a Winner Takes All match for the WWE Championship and Universal Championship, which was further stipulated as a Championship unification match.
At the Royal Rumble, Ronda Rousey, in her first appearance since WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, made a surprise return and won the women's Royal Rumble match to earn a women's championship match of her choice at WrestleMania 38. After pondering her choices due to having heated history with both reigning champions, on the following episode of SmackDown, Rousey announced that she would challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship.
At SummerSlam in August 2021, Becky Lynch, who had been on maternity leave since May 2020, made a surprise return and defeated Bianca Belair in an impromptu match to win the SmackDown Women's Championship in 26 seconds. Over the course of the next month, Lynch would continue to retain the championship against Belair using underhanded tactics before both were drafted to Raw in the 2021 WWE Draft; Lynch and Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, who was drafted to SmackDown, traded their championships to keep the titles on their respective brands, thus Lynch became the Raw Women's Champion. After Belair failed to earn a title shot at the 2022 Royal Rumble and also failing to win the women's Royal Rumble match, Belair won the women's Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber to finally earn a one-on-one match against Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 38. This in turn scheduled the only two women to win in the main event of WrestleMania against each other at WrestleMania (Lynch at WrestleMania 35 and Belair at WrestleMania 37 Night 1, respectively).
On the January 31 episode of Raw, The Miz defeated Dominik Mysterio. The following week, Dominik and his father Rey Mysterio were guests on "Miz TV". Rey claimed that Miz cheated to defeat Dominik while Miz took issue that Rey had an opportunity to qualify for the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match while he did not and also that Rey was the cover star of the WWE 2K22 video game. Miz also questioned if Rey was truly Dominik's dad, referencing the child custody battle that Rey had with Eddie Guerrero back at SummerSlam in 2005. Dominik then defeated Miz in a rematch. Rey then defeated Miz during the Elimination Chamber Kickoff pre-show. Later backstage, Miz accused Rey of cheating due to Dominik and said he would find a tag team partner who was a "global superstar". On the following episode of Raw, as Miz teased the identity of his partner to face Rey and Dominik at WrestleMania 38, the Mysterios interrupted, stating it did not matter who Miz had chosen. Miz then revealed his partner as social media personality Logan Paul, after which, Miz and Paul attacked the Mysterios.
On the February 21 episode of Raw, Edge made his first post-Royal Rumble appearance where he issued an open challenge for WrestleMania 38. The following week, Edge came out to see who would answer his challenge, which was accepted by AJ Styles. Edge then stated he was glad Styles accepted as it was a match he had been wanting; however, he wanted the "pitbull" AJ Styles who reigned as WWE Champion, not the AJ Styles who had been Omos' tag team partner for the majority of the past year. Edge then turned heel and attacked Styles, after which, a conflicted Edge performed two con-chair-tos on Styles.
On March 3, 2022, WWE Chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon made a rare media appearance for a live interview on The Pat McAfee Show. During the interview, McMahon offered Pat McAfee a match at WrestleMania 38. McAfee, who primarily serves as the color commentator on SmackDown, accepted and McMahon stated that he would find him an opponent. On the following night's episode of SmackDown, Raw's Austin Theory, who had been under the tutelage of McMahon for the past several weeks, revealed himself as McAfee's opponent at WrestleMania 38. This will be McAfee's first match since NXT TakeOver: WarGames in December 2020.
After weeks of disrespecting the state of Texas, on the March 7 episode of Raw, Kevin Owens invited the "Texas Rattlesnake" "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, as a special guest on the "KO Show" at WrestleMania 38. A day later, Austin accepted and it was announced that the segment would occur on WrestleMania Saturday.
At Day 1, Jackass actor and stuntman Johnny Knoxville announced that he would be participating in the men's Royal Rumble match. Sami Zayn took issue of this, claiming that Knoxville was not qualified to compete, nor did he earn the opportunity. After Zayn lost his match on the following SmackDown, Knoxville ran down to the ring and threw Zayn over the top rope, and ring announcer Mike Rome then announced that Knoxville had officially qualified for the Royal Rumble match, much to Zayn's displeasure. The two faced off in the Royal Rumble match where Zayn eliminated Knoxville. After Zayn had invited himself to the red carpet premiere of Jackass Forever, for which he was kicked out, Knoxville then invited himself to Zayn's celebration for winning the Intercontinental Championship. Knoxville challenged Zayn for the title at WrestleMania 38, but Zayn declined. During Zayn's championship defense on the March 4 episode, Knoxville distracted Zayn, costing him the title. An enraged Zayn then challenged Knoxville to a match at WrestleMania 38, which Knoxville accepted. After Knoxville shared Zayn's phone number, causing a multitude of people attempting to contact Zayn, Zayn changed the stipulation to an Anything Goes match at WrestleMania and Knoxville accepted.
For weeks, Seth "Freakin" Rollins attempted to get a spot at WrestleMania. After failing to defeat Kevin Owens and AJ Styles to take their respective spots, Vince McMahon summoned Rollins into his office on the morning of March 28. McMahon stated that he would choose an opponent for Rollins to face at WrestleMania 38 and the opponent would be revealed at the event itself while Rollins was waiting in the ring on WrestleMania Saturday.
Night 1: WrestleMania Saturday
In the opening bout, The Usos defended the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship took on Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs. Midway through the match, Boogs injured his knee after attempting to lift both of the Usos, leaving Nakamura to finish the match on his own. In the end, The Usos hit the 1-D on Nakamura to retain the titles.
The next match had Drew McIntyre take on Happy Corbin, who was accompanied by Madcap Moss. Near the end, McIntyre became the first person to ever kick out of The End of Days. Following this, McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Corbin to win the match. Following the match, after Madcap Moss attempted to sneak attack McIntyre, McIntyre slashed his sword at him to destroy two ring ropes.
In the third match, Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio took on The Miz and Logan Paul. Throughout the match, Paul would disrespect Eddie Guerrero by successfully doing the Three Amigos and Frog Splash on Rey. In the end, as Rey and Dominik were about to pin Paul, The Miz tagged himself in and hit Rey with the Skull Crushing Finale to win the match. After the match, The Miz hit Paul with the Skull Crushing Finale.
The fourth match was the Raw Women’s Championship match which saw defending champion Becky Lynch take on Bianca Belair. At the beginning of the match, Becky hit a Man-Handle Slam for a near-fall. Becky locked in the Dis-Arm-Her before Belair reached the ropes. Outside of the ring, Becky hit a Man-Handle Slam on the stairs to get Belair counted out, but Belair got in at last second. In the end, after trading counters, Belair hit the KOD to win the match and the Raw Women’s Championship.
Next, Seth Rollins came out, impatiently waiting for his Wrestlemania opponent. After a short wait, Cody Rhodes made his WWE return and made his way to the ring. Throughout the match, which was evenly contested, Rollins kicked out of the Cross-Roads, while Cody kicked out a Pedigree. In the end, after Cody hit two Cross Roads in a row, Cody hit the Bionic Elbow and a third Cross Roads to win the match.
The next match was the advertised main event was for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship where defending champion Charlotte Flair took on Royal Rumble winner Ronda Rousey. Rousey tired to win with the Armbar and Ankle Lock, but Charlotte escaped. Rousey hit Piper's Pit and got a three count, but the referee called it off due to Charlotte's foot being on the bottom rope. Charlotte locked in the Figure-Eight, but Rousey escaped. Charlotte accidentally hit a Spear on the referee. Rousey locked in the Armbar, making Charlotte tap out. After a new referee was instated, Charlotte hit a Big Boot on Rousey to retain the title.
Kevin Owens came out for the KO Show where he would interview Stone Cold Steve Austin. After Owens challenged Austin to a No Holds Barred match, Austin accepted, marking his first match since 2003. In the middle of the match, Austin kicked out of a Stone Cold Stunner. After Owens accidentally hit himself in the head with a chair (due to it bouncing off the ring ropes when Austin ducked), Austin hit a Stunner on Owens to win the match. After which he celebrated, giving one more Stunner to Owens, who was escorted out by Texas State Police. Austin then proceeded to give a Stunner to commentator Byron Saxton and celebrated with his brother to close out WrestleMania Saturday.
Night 2: WrestleMania Sunday
|Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns||Preview|
|Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey||Preview|
|Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair||Preview|
|Dominik & Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul & The Miz||Preview|
|Edge vs. AJ Styles||Preview|
|Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match||Preview|
|Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin||Preview|
|Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn||Preview|
|Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory||Preview|
|The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs||Preview|
|RK-Bro vs. Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy||Preview|
|The New Day vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland||Preview|
|Seth "Freakin" Rollins vs. Cody Rhodes||Preview|
|Bobby Lashley vs. Omos||Preview|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (c) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (7:00)
- Drew McIntyre defeated Happy Corbin (w/ Madcap Moss) (8:39)
- Logan Paul & The Miz defeated The Mysterios (Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio) (11:16)
- Bianca Belair defeated Becky Lynch (c) to win the WWE Raw Women's Championship (19:20)
- Cody Rhodes defeated Seth "Freakin" Rollins (21:33)
- Mr. McMahon announced Seth's opponent on the night of the event.
- Charlotte Flair (c) defeated Ronda Rousey to retain the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship (18:21)
- Steve Austin defeated Kevin Owens in a No Holds Barred Match (13:55)
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) (c) defeated Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) and Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) in a Triple threat tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (11:32)
- Bobby Lashley defeated Omos (6:34)
- Johnny Knoxville defeated Sami Zayn in an Anything Goes match (14:26)
- Naomi & Sasha Banks defeated Carmella & Queen Zelina (c), Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan and Natalya & Shayna Baszler in a Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match to win the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship (10:51)
- Edge defeated AJ Styles (24:27)
- Sheamus and Ridge Holland (w/ Butch) defeated The New Day (Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston) (1:43)
- Pat McAfee defeated Austin Theory (w/ Mr. McMahon) (9:37)
- Mr. McMahon (w/ Austin Theory) defeated Pat McAfee (3:45)
- Roman Reigns (Universal Champion) (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Brock Lesnar (WWE Champion) in a Winner Takes All match for the WWE Universal Championship and the WWE Championship (12:17)
Other on-screen talent
- WrestleMania XXXIVIII Official Website
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 1 Pre Show on WWE Network
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 1 on WWE Network
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 1 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 2 Pre Show on WWE Network
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 2 on WWE Network
- WrestleMania XXXVIII Night 2 at CAGEMATCH.net
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