WrestleMania 38 Kickoff Show Report: Powell’s live notes on the first night before the show

By Jason PowellEditor of ProWrestling.net (@prowrestlingnet)

WrestleMania 38 Night One Kickoff Show
Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium
Aired April 2, 2021 on USA Network, Peacock/WWE Network and WWE social media

-Kayla Braxton hosted the show and was joined by Booker T, JBL, Kevin Patrick and Peter Rosenberg on a set outside AT&T Stadium. Booker congratulated his wife Sharmell on her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. They went through the lineup for the first night of WrestleMania.

-A video package broadcast on Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair’s feud over the Raw Women’s Championship. The panel discussed the match.

-A Steve Austin video package was released.

-Images released from Thursday’s WrestleMania set release featuring Dude Perfect.

-The panel discussed the Smackdown Tag Title match with Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso defending against Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs.

-Maria Menounos interviewed Seth Rollins, who said the world was buzzing about who Vince McMahon would pick as his opponent. Rollins wondered if it would be a legend or someone from NXT or even Vince McMahon. Rollins said whoever his opponent was, it would be him. Rollins said it was his time and his WrestleMania.

-The panel talked about the Rollins game.

– Broadcast footage of the unveiling of the Undertaker statue at WrestleMania Axxess. Triple H introduced Taker, who rode to the ring on a motorcycle. Taker was shown speaking briefly saying he was humbled and grateful.

-A video package recapped the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Booker joked that there was a lot of pollen in the air. JBL called him for crying.

-Influencer Josh Richards joined the panel and was booed when introduced. He said he loved it and was just happy to be there. Richards recalled getting his start online performing WWE finishers on Instagram.

-A video package recaps the build of Steve Austin appearing on The KO Show.

-Jackie Redmond came in from the stadium floor where a bunch of fans screamed behind her and a guy had Undertaker painted on the back of her head. She spoke to a young fan who said Ronda Rousey was her favorite female wrestler “because she won the Royal Rumble”. Redmond asked the child to show his Stone Cold Stunner to the adult who was with him.

Powell’s point of view: But don’t try this at home, kids.

-Released footage of Kevin Owens at WrestleMania Axxess on Friday. He knocked over a rack of Steve Austin t-shirts, then punctured an Austin cardboard cutout. Finally, Owens spray painted an Austin mural.

-The panel went through the WrestleMania Sunday lineup.

-At the start of the second hour, Matt Camp checked in from outside the venue with more screaming fans.

-Jerry Lawler replaced JBL on the panel. He said he was thinking of replacing Kevin Patrick because he had flower disease. “He’s a blissful idiot,” Lawler said. Ugh. Patrick correctly called it a Madcap Moss joke.

-A video package aired on Rey and Dominik Mysterio that included old footage and photos of young Dom at his dad’s games. This led to filming their feud with The Miz and Logan Paul.

-Jake Paul took Patrick’s place on the panel and encouraged boos from the fans. Jake said Rey Mysterio was old and continued to taunt the crowd. “It’s time for new people to come in and take out the W of WWE,” Jake said. Rosenberg asked if Jake was nervous for his brother Logan. Jake said he wasn’t nervous at all. He said his brother fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. and made fun of Rey.

Booker referred to the Miz hounding Cleveland while emphasizing that the Pauls are proud of their city. Jake says Logan can’t control what Miz says. He said the Mysterios would be “easy work” for his brother and Miz. Rosenberg asked if Jake would consider entering a WWE. He said he was thinking about getting people out now. He said he should eliminate anyone who boos his brother.

Powell’s point of view: You know the pre-show was uneventful when that lousy Jake Paul segment was the highlight so far. Why is it two hours? Why are there no matches?

-Redmond interviewed a young fan who was dressed as Rhea Ripley and had her do Ripley’s entrance stomp.

Powell’s point of view: The Jake Paul segment has already been passed.

-The panel recapped the New Day feud with Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch. They included footage of Big E being injured and giving a thumbs up while being taken to the back on a stretcher.

-Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were interviewed by Menounos. Kingston talked about how they clown around, but there are times when they have to remind people that they won’t hesitate to put their feet between their opponents’ cheeks.

-The panel talked about the Kingston and Woods match against Sheamus and Holland. They showed footage of Big E’s social media videos from the hospital when he announced his neck was broken but would not need surgery. The panel spoke favorably of Big E. Lawler recalled that Big E said early in his career that he would wrestle until he was 35. Lawler wondered how it affected him that the injury happened a year after he turned 35.

-A video package recaps how Happy Corbin became a thing, as well as his feud with Drew McIntyre.

-Madcap Moss joined the panel and wore his asshole outfit. He told a bad joke. Booker T told him two more and burst out laughing with him. Booker asked for one more, but Moss said the fans didn’t deserve another.

-Titus O’Neil stood on stage at WrestleMania and introduced members of various organizations who worked with WWE’s Community Outreach Program. They all had title belts.

-Lawler told another horrible joke. American Ninja Warrior’s Akbar Gbaja-Biamila joined the panel to discuss the Raw Women’s Championship match. He also talked about how “Stone Cold” Steve Austin “was my whole childhood.” Lawler guaranteed there would be a fight between Austin and Kevin Owens.

-Lawler said this show would be like WrestleMania meets Royal Rumble. He said the Royal Rumble had all the surprises, but WrestleMania usually had none. He plugged in the Rollins match.

-Lawler said to wait and see Becky Lynch. He said he almost didn’t recognize Lynch when he walked past her earlier. The panel mercifully brought the Kickoff Show to a close.

Powell’s point of view: These are two hours of my life that I will never recover. Gee, I can’t wait for tomorrow again. If you were lucky enough to have missed the Kickoff Show, there’s no reason to go back and watch it. On the bright side, the only way things won’t improve from here is if the electricity goes out in the stadium. Hell, even that would be an upgrade from that long and worthless pre-show.

Join me for my live review of the main WrestleMania show on Saturday in a separate story available via the main page.

Listen to “11/18 Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell (Episode 136): Court Bauer on MLW Reboot, Pandemic Precautions, & More” on Spreaker.

Amanda J. Marsh