Logan Paul's WrestleMania 38 debut makes him perfect villain, but WWE has a problem - Dexerto
Opinion

Logan Paul’s WrestleMania 38 debut makes him perfect villain, but WWE has a problem

Published: 4/Apr/2022 19:00

by David Purcell

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Logan Paul shocked the world at WrestleMania 38 with a stunning in-ring debut alongside The Miz, as they defeated Rey Mysterio and Dominik, setting him up for a monster heel run in the wrestling business. Though, it might not be that easy.

As the lights dimmed at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, footage started to roll. A storyline built around Rey wanting to battle alongside his son came on-screen, with the late Eddie Guerrero being not just Rey’s best friend, but an inspiring character in Dominik’s journey.

The father and son duo climbed up the tag-team division, clinching the titles, but a jealous Miz wanted to end their fairytale journey. In choosing YouTuber and boxer Logan Paul as his partner at WrestleMania after weeks of RAW appearances for the content creator, nobody knew what to expect when he stepped into the squared circle.

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On the grandest stage of them all, fans found out quite quickly that Logan is the real deal.

Logan Paul WrestleMania 38 debut review

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Twitter: WWE
Logan Paul made his WWE debut alongside The Miz at WrestleMania 38.

Entrance & promo

With experience in the boxing ring, clear charisma that’s driven the success of his IMPAULSIVE podcast, and a big passion for the business, the 27-year-old came into the bout as an unknown quantity. His mic work was good to build up the match, though that is made easier because his teammate could sell water to a fish.

In a previous RAW show, The Miz said: “Logan Paul went the distance with the greatest fighter in the world (Floyd Mayweather), he is a social pioneer, and entrepreneur, the next best thing to ever grace his presence in WWE…”

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That’s a lot to live up to, but he looked like a star as soon as the entrance theme rolled. Walking down alongside a multi-time champion, Logan brandished a Pikachu Pokemon card worth over $5 million around his neck, with an electric yellow and deep black outfit to boot. As far as the entrance goes, he ticked the boxes for being a larger-than-life character.

Logan Paul WrestleMania 38 highlights and result

Now, onto the in-ring work. It doesn’t matter how many hours of training a WWE superstar puts into the preparation for a match, this isn’t an ordinary debut.

According to WWE, 156,352 fans from every U.S. state and from 53 different countries attended the event – piling on the pressure, which can lead to mistakes.

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Though, Logan – to his credit – did not miss a beat. Starting out the brawl with some quick tags, The Miz and his partner started out dominantly, rotating cheap shots and referee distractions. A back-and-forth ended with a superb Batista-like powerslam from Logan.

 

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Steering into the narrative of disrespecting Eddie Guerrero, a former WWE champ who died in 2005 and a late best friend of Rey Mysterio, Logan Paul generated easy heat courtesy of several elegantly executed moves right out of the Eddie playbook.

This included the Three Amigos and a picture-perfect Frogsplash, creating a chorus of boos.

Being a good wrestler doesn’t necessarily make you a big star in this industry, though, and that’s where the skills of the entertainer came shining through for him to sell the story of the match. The facials with a zooming camera fed into the traditional heel, or villain, character he’s trying to build.

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In one moment, for example, the cameras caught an evil grin with a furious backdrop of fans after he nearly booted Mysterio’s head off. After watching NXT, Performance Center footage, and WWE Tough Enough (a scouting show to find the next big wrestler), you’ll see how hard it is to find even a diehard fan with these qualities. It can take years to perfect.

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WWE Network
Logan Paul looked like a star at WrestleMania 38.

The Miz and Logan Paul picked up the victory after the latter took a double 619 finisher from the Mysterios and resulting frog splashes. However, in a classic heel move, The Miz tagged himself in when his opponents weren’t looking.

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Moments later, Mike Mizanin slammed Dominik onto Paul, hit Mysterio with a Skull Crushing Finale, and wrapped up the win. An impressive performance from the YouTuber and boxer, but he didn’t pick up the pinfall – about the only thing missing from his winning debut.

Where does WWE go next with Logan Paul?

Everything about Logan Paul’s WrestleMania 38 performance screamed a monster heel run in the making, especially since he called out The Miz after the match.

“This is surreal. I cannot believe I got to share a ring with the Mysterios and won the match. This is my first win. I can no longer say I’m the world’s highest-paid loser,” he said. Speaking about what happened at the end of the faceoff, he added: “I’m still processing why Miz betrayed me. To be honest, if I had to guess, he’s probably jealous… He’s obviously not capable of doing that.”

“F**k you Miz. F**k you so hard,” Logan said to the camera before storming off.

From the surprising in-ring work to captivating an audience like he had been doing this for a decade already, The Maverick could be a mainstay on WWE programming – and that would be an ideal pathway for the social media star’s development. However, it’s not going to be an easy deal to complete, for several reasons.

Wrestlers are always on the road and for box office stars to juggle that schedule with their own commitments will be a struggle. From Bad Bunny to Brock Lesnar, there are numerous examples whereby Vince McMahon gets short-term wins and increased attention on Pay-Per-View events by having them involved.

While the “I show up and get paid” concept will feed into Logan Paul’s cocky persona in the ring – making it appear that he’s above other mid-card talents – seeing this chickenshit heel evolve on a full-time basis would be better for the audience.

On top of that, it’s not going to be easy to secure Logan Paul’s services in the long term. As a multi-millionaire, he doesn’t need to jump through every hoop the company executives throw his way and will command large fees for appearances if he’s to put other projects on pause. On their side, though, building up new stars is a massive priority with the likes of Triple H, Undertaker, Batista, and even John Cena not around anymore.

After his performance went viral for all the right reasons, he holds all the cards for his next step in pro wrestling.

With an expensive proposition on the table for WWE, with limited opportunities for this to be a full-time gig, the only downside to Logan Paul’s standout WrestleMania debut is the uncertainty of his future. And WWE may not be able to solve that problem, because he’s a big star outside of the ring.