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April 11, 2022 Observer Newsletter: WrestleMania 38 weekend, Cody Rhodes returns to WWE

Dave Meltzer covers WrestleMania 38 weekend, the return of Cody Rhodes to WWE, and more.
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WrestleMania regained its former status lost in recent years due to the pandemic, with two shows that have pushed WWE interest level into the highest level it has been in many years.

The shows on 4/2 and 4/3 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas were filled with highlights, and some lowlights, and a lot in between.

As far as the big stories went:

*In the match promoted as the biggest main event in WrestleMania history, Roman Reigns became the Undisputed Universal champion by beating WWE champion Brock Lesnar. The win was clean, no distraction, no interference, using a spear. The match was similar to most Lesnar matches, basically a collection of finishing and near finishing moves done over-and-over until one gets the pin or submission. Reigns has also been doing more of this style, which is very much the Paul Heyman trademark to appeal to those with short attention spans. 

The guys do those moves well, so at no point was the match bad. But the finish was sudden and while a good match, came nowhere close to the hype. It was surprising Lesnar would lose so clean if he is sticking around. He was billed for future PPVs, but this clearly was the blow-off of Lesnar vs. Reigns, and this feud ended with Reigns getting two wins and Lesnar zero. Plus Heyman turned on Lesnar in the build-up, rather than at Mania, which would have at least kept the door open to continue things. 

Reigns is supposed to announce his next direction on the 4/8 Smackdown show from Milwaukee. In theory, this means, until they inevitably create a new major title, that Reigns will appear on both Raw and Smackdown for the time being. With Lesnar and Reigns wrecking almost everyone in the build-up, there are few viable challengers out there. Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes and Bobby Lashley got the big wins, but Lashley is programmed now with Omos after MVP turned on Lashley to go with Omos.

While Reigns vs. Rhodes would be the biggest title match they could do today, and Rhodes heavily pushed it on television, it’s probably best to wait. Actually, for pure one night business, the faster they go with it the better because the lure of AEW superstar vs. WWE champion means more out of the blocks. Once Rhodes is established as a “WWE guy,” that aspect of the draw, which would be the biggest, is gone or dissipated greatly. As far as for the long-term storytelling, that match would be better served at SummerSlam. But timing is everything on a match like that. If you look at history and these scenarios of the “interpromotional dream match,” it is almost always gigantic if done right away and usually doesn’t mean as much if done later. Even last year when Reigns went through everyone, there was the clear WrestleMania destination with Lesnar or The Rock. 

Now, the only destination is Rock, but if that happens, it’s a year away. And there is no guarantee that will happen.

Current subscribers can read the rest of this week's issue here.