No one was quite sure what to expect from Logan Paul last night at WrestleMania 38. The social media star wrestled in high school and showed surprisingly good timing on the microphone during some lead-up appearances, but reaction from the crowd wasn’t quite at the level he was probably hoping. During a recent segment in Cleveland, as an example, it was obvious his tag partner, The Miz, was drawing way more heat than he was. Well, ‘Mania happened last night, and it seems any trepidation was misguided.
Logan Paul delivered in a big way, executing several higher difficulty level maneuvers and working the crowd like an old pro. He was really good for someone who hasn’t done this before. I was very impressed, as were so many wrestling fans who tweeted some version of “WTF? Logan Paul is actually good at this, and I want to see more of him.” And we almost certainly will see more of him, but now, WWE has a huge decision to make.
The match, which was a tag team contest between The Miz and Logan Paul and Rey and Dominik Mysterio, ended with The Miz and Paul scoring a victory. During their ensuing celebration, The Miz turned on Paul and delivered a Skull Crushing Finale. The clear implication is Paul will be sticking around and they’re going to feud moving forward. That leaves WWE with an interesting decision: who will be the face and who will be the heel?
For those of you who may be less experienced at wrestling, one person is typically positioned as the face, or the one the crowd is meant to cheer, and someone else is positioned as the heel, or the person the crowd is meant to boo. The Miz has had a few face runs during his long WWE career, but he’s historically been one of its most effective heels. That’s how both he and Paul were positioned in this match, and you could tell throughout as they schemed and taunted the crowd and the faces, who were the Mysterios.
But now if we’re meant to get Logan Paul and The Miz in a feud moving forward, one of them will need to turn face. The crowd clearly popped when The Miz delivered his post-match finisher on Paul, which means he’s the better face choice on paper, but we won’t truly know until one of them delivers their next TV promo. Not many celebrities want to sign up to get screamed at and booed by a crowd during every appearance. That’s why the celebrity is almost always angled as the face, but the Paul Brothers aren’t exactly your typical celebrities. You can check out Paul's post-fight interview which, once again, shows good storytelling and mic work but doesn't give anything away...
And boy did that show during last night’s WrestleMania 38 match. Paul really gave it to the crowd at every turn. He busted out the late great Eddie Guerrero’s Three Amigos as an insult to his opponent Rey Mysterio, who was close with Guerrero. He looked directly into the camera and shimmied before delivering a Montez Ford-like frog splash. He seemed to be savoring every single boo and begging for more.
Reaction to Paul’s appearance was, I think, even more positive than Bad Bunny’s, who was terrific in a ‘Mania match last year. That one felt in many ways like an amazing celebrity match. This had more shades of long-term potential. Paul is a spectacular athlete, and he looks like a wrestler. This all really feels like it could go somewhere, if WWE plays its cards right. But that’s a huge if. Paul has the makings of a terrific heel who could easily be a top level WWE superstar. He just has the personality and energy for it, something The Iron Sheik and others tweeted about yesterday. But there are few things Vince McMahon and company love more than a babyface.
Maybe Logan Paul can get over as a face. The crowd was certainly very into the match, but drawing heat and drawing cheers are two very different skills. I think Paul has a lot of long-term potential, and I want to see him set up to succeed. The surer play here is to make him a heel and let him work with someone as capable as The Miz, who can play the face. But regardless of the decision WWE makes, I’m going to be there watching because there’s a chance Paul could turn into a star in this business and I want to be there for the ride.
WrestleMania 38 will conclude with night 2 in Dallas. The first night lived up to the stupendous billing and was one of the best nights WWE has delivered in a long time, thanks in part to Paul's efforts, as well as terrific matches up and down the card, especially Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair and the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin. You can check out our 'Mania predictions here.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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