There are a lot of factors that make WrestleMania stand out more than any other event in professional wrestling each year, with everything from the annual show being held at massive football stadiums to featuring appearances from icons of the industry like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (who returned to the ring at WrestleMania 38). But, another longstanding tradition at the “Showcase of the Immortals” is the involvement of celebrity guests in various segments throughout the show.
Most of these appearances are typically non-consequential to any given match, but it was a completely different story for WrestleMania, which saw YouTube star Logan Paul, the Jackass crew, and Pat McAfee take part in several high-profile bouts. As crazy as it sounds, these guests actually helped make the “Granddaddy of Them All” one for the ages, and here’s why…
Logan Paul Is Apparently A Skilled Professional Wrestler
Just like his brother, Logan Paul is a natural-born heel who has nuclear heat with the crowd whenever and wherever he appears on WWE TV. While having heat and charisma doesn’t always translate to success in the ring, that’s far from the case with the YouTube star. During the tag match where he teamed up with The Miz to take on the Mysterios at Night One of WrestleMania 38, Paul showed time and time again that he’s actually a fairly skilled professional wrestler.
With a dominating power-slam, an impressive Blockbuster from the top rope, and other surprising bursts of offense, Paul looked to be in his element throughout the match and proved he was more than someone who needed to be carried. It all came to fruition in the final moments of the match, when he not only channelled Eddie Guerrero’s famous frog splash (after doing a little shimmy on the turnbuckle), but also with the late wrestler’s iconic “Three Amigos” suplex tandem. All I can say is, this kid can go.
The YouTube Star Set Himself Up For A Really Exciting Feud After The Match
Almost immediately after The Miz and Logan Paul secured the victory over the Mysterios at WrestleMania 38, the former turned on the latter by putting him in a “Skull-Crushing Finale” that was admittedly fairly shocking. Even though Paul is a natural heel who you just can’t help but boo, the shocking double-cross by his partner could be the first step to establishing him as a babyface. According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio (via WrestlingInc), this face turn for the avid Pokemon collector was reportedly part of his deal all along.
This doesn’t mean we should expect to see Paul show up and continue his feud with The Miz ahead of WrestleMania Backlash, but don’t be surprised if he shows up in time for SummerSlam in July, another show that has made good use of celebrity guests in recent years. This could be the start of an interesting and exciting feud between the two Cleveland natives.
The Johnny Knoxville And Sami Zayn Match Was So Much Better Than Expected
Going in, I had a feeling the “Anything Goes Match” between Johnny Knoxville and Sami Zayn was going to be a fun match full of crazy stunts and comedic spots, but these two great performers instead gave us one of the highlights of the second night of in-ring action. The match started out in spectacularly brutal fashion when Zayn hit Knoxville with a Helluva Kick just after the bell rang, and the stuntman took it like a champ. And, it only got better from there.
With multiple weapons including a fire extinguisher, a table covered in mouse traps, and a giant mousetrap, the match played out like an unused scene from Jackass Forever, and was honestly one of the best WWE hardcore matches since the Attitude Era. It was gimmicky and it was silly, but it was a reminder of how much fun a match like this can be if handled properly.
Actually, The Entire Jackass Crew Showed How Silly Gimmick Matches Can Be Fun
Who would have thought that Wee Man body-slamming Sami Zayn would become one of the most talked about moments of WrestleMania 38? As great as Johnny Knoxville and Zayn were throughout the match, the whole ordeal reached new levels when other members of the Jackass crew inserted themselves into the action. From the aforementioned slam heard around the world, to Chris Pontius bringing out the “Party Boy” character, the veteran stuntmen made it all the more memorable.
It’s sort of ironic that six years ago, Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose met for a similar match at WrestleMania 32 (which was also at AT&T Stadium) that fell flat and left no one better off. The Jackass contest, however, was the opposite, and reminded us all just how much fun a match like this can be despite being incredibly silly and far-fetched. If this is the end of the Jackass crew’s story with WWE, then it went out on quite a high note.
The Whole Pat McAfee/Vince McMahon Angle Was Outrageous And I Loved Every Minute Of It
After Pat McAfee defeated Austin Theory in a decent enough match at WrestleMania 38, fans got what they wanted all along when Vince McMahon challenged the former NFL punter and current SmackDown commentator and successful radio show host to a match. Although it was sloppy and ended with McMahon kicking a football into McAfee’s stomach for a 1-2-3, it was absolutely stupendous and led to some of the best moments of Night Two.
Not only did we get to see the WWE Chairman wrestle his first official match since taking on CM Punk on a 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw, the entire saga led to the arrival of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who wrestled his first match in 19 years the previous night. This is where it turned into pure entertainment, with McMahon taking his first “Stone Cold Stunner” in forever and an endless series of beers being thrown into the ring. Then came the icing on the cake, when McAfee lived every ‘90s wrestling fan’s dream by drinking a beer with “Stone Cold” before taking a stunner of his own.
All in all, WrestleMania 38 featured celebrity guests in a way that is lightyears beyond what WWE has done in the past, and hopefully this is a trend that continues. You can watch all those matches and the rest of the show on replay with a Peacock Premium Subscription.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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