Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will headline WrestleMania 38 on April 2, but Friday night on Fox, The Tribal Chief faced the fallout of The Beast’s vehicular assault from a week earlier.
The latest in that rivalry headlined a broadcast that also featured a Fatal 4-Way match featuring the women’s division and a contest between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jimmy Uso.
What went down on the latest stop on the Road to WrestleMania, who did it affect, and which competitors built momentum for themselves ahead of the biggest event of the year?
Find out now with this recap of the March 25 episode.
Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar fallout
Fatal 4-Way Match: Sasha Banks vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina vs. Shayna Baszler
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jimmy Uso
Brock Lesnar Arrives; Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jimmy Uso
In a preview of the upcoming SmackDown Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania, Jimmy Uso squared off with Shinsuke Nakamura in singles competition, the combatants accompanied by Jey Uso and Rick Boogs, respectively.
A better-than-expected match saw Nakamura score the victory off a ringside distraction as Boogs and Jey tussled over the former’s Gibson guitar.
Nakamura looked great here, fighting from underneath to win the match, while Uso was his typically crisp self. The distraction finish probably was not needed, but it was not as blatantly unnecessary as it is in other WWE matches at times.
A solid way to kick off the show and put some emphasis on the tag title match at April 2.
WWE champion Brock Lesnar arrived to kick off the show, making himself at home in Roman Reigns’ locker room in a fun bit from the mischievous badass.
Michael Cole questioned whether a loss by The Usos at WrestleMania Saturday would affect Roman Reigns’ mindset entering his main event the following night in a nice bit of storytelling by the underrated commentator.
Kofi Kingston vs. Ridge Holland
Sheamus and Butch accompanied Ridge Holland to the squared circle for his rematch with Kofi Kingston. Except, it was not Kingston who the former rugby player competed against Friday but, rather, the returning Xavier Woods.
The match was a sprint, hardly the welcome back Woods probably deserved. He still won, scoring a quick victory over Holland and stunting the young star’s momentum ahead of WrestleMania. Who knows if any of these men will actually have a match on the biggest card of the year, but segments like this, complete afterthoughts in execution, do not help create buzz or intrigue for one.
But, hey, Woods is back, so that is cool.
The Drew McIntyre-Happy Corbin video package that aired not only hyped the match but did a solid job of highlighting the journey the heel has been on over the last year, even if he has zero chance of actually winning come WrestleMania.
Between Samantha Irvin announcing Woods would accompany Kingston, to Michael Cole being confused about the fact that Woods was wrestling the match, this felt like a thrown-together segment.
After the match, a remote video from Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman saw The Tribal Chief detail their trip around New York, including Madison Square Garden, where he busted The Beast open.
Ronda Rousey Addresses Charlotte Flair; Ricochet vs. Los Lotharios
Ronda Rousey hit the ring and cut a promo on Charlotte Flair, who interrupted remotely—seemingly afraid to face Rousey after last week’s show. It was more of the same from champion and challenger, who have not been supported by the strongest material.
Intercontinental champion Ricochet returned to the show, battling Los Lotharios’ Angel. A brief match concluded with the heel scoring an upset win thanks to interference from partner Humberto, which prompted Ricochet to challenge him to a match.
Humberto scored the win via countout over Ricochet, making the heel tandem 2-0 tonight. Imagine how much more that would have meant had Los Lotharios had any signature singles victories or momentum to speak of.
Rousey stumbling with the SmackDown Women’s Championship name before shaking it off and moving on was proof of her mounting confidence.
After the match, Austin Theory caught Pat McAfee with a cheap shot and ran back into Mr. McMahon’s office. The slimy heel escaped punishment—at least for the time being.
Sami Zayn cut a fantastic promo on Johnny Knoxville, promising, “You are going to experience punishment in a way that has never, ever, EVER been seen in a WWE ring before.”
Rhea Ripley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Queen Zelina
Ahead of the massive Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania, all four teams were represented Friday night in a Fatal 4-Way match that saw Sasha Banks, Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler and Queen Zelina square off.
An action-packed match with some clever spots concluded with The Boss scoring the win and giving both her and Naomi momentum ahead of their title opportunity.
It could be argued that Zelina or Baszler needed the win more given the fact that the babyfaces feel more likely to leave Dallas with the titles. With that said, do you really want to give Banks unnecessary losses when she could easily be in line for a singles title opportunity at any given time?
If there was any indication the tag titles would be treated differently after WrestleMania, the answer would be “yes.” There is not, so it is a resounding, “no.”
The more Banks and Ripley compete against each other, the more appealing a one-on-one series of matches between them becomes.
Banks retaining control of the Bank Statement on Zelina while Baszler manipulated the queen’s joints was a great spot.
The Boss applying a double Bank Statement to Zelina and Baszler was even better.
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman finally arrived to the arena. “We’ll be fine…but Brock won’t be,” The Tribal Chief warned.
Brock Lesnar’s Warning to Roman Reigns
After an entire episode teasing a confrontation between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, it appeared as though it would deliver.
It did not, but it came close.
Reigns cut a typical “acknowledge me” promo before Lesnar appeared on the screen and attacked The Tribal Chief’s SUV. He attempted an attack of Reigns in the arena, but security guards intercepted The Beast, only to feel his wrath.
Reigns wrapped up the hot angle by promising Lesnar will acknowledge him at WrestleMania.
The manner in which Lesnar manhandles security guards is awe-inspiring
Lesnar answering Reigns’ reminder about no weapons at WrestleMania by stalking to the ring, a human weapon, was a great moment.