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Wrestlemania 34 Review

So as per tradition here is my official Wrestlemania 34 Review.

Match by match I will give my opinions (for whatever they're worth), remember though, this is strictly my opinion and nothing more.

With that, let us begin..


We descend upon the Superdome and are greeted with the 5th annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
As per usual, the poor unfortunate ones who haven't found themselves in a featured match on the card, begin slowly filling up the ring.
The Battle Royal has always felt somewhat like an anticlimactic event, the winner gets a trophy but doesn't gain much else from the win. Being honest I wasn't bothered too much by who would win. Sad really.
HOWEVER.. What actually transpired was something 'wonderful'.
A highlight of sorts came from 'Woken' Matt Hardy bumping into Tye Dillinger and comically exclaiming 'Who are you?' before Tye showed him '10' and the crowd chanted, which in turn led to Matt 'Deleting' leading to a comical '10, Delete' chant.
The end came with the final 3 of the aforementioned Hardy, Mojo Rawley and Baron Corbin.
Mojo and Corbin began to double team Hardy, and at the exact moment it appeared as if Hardy were to be eliminated, Bray Wyatt's graphic flashed up and the 'Eater of Worlds' appeared across the ring from Corbin and Mojo.
After sending Mojo to Hardy for an elimination, Wyatt took an 'End of Days' from Corbin, which led to Hardy eliminating Corbin for the win.
Afterwards Hardy led a 'Thank you Wyatt' chant before he and Wyatt embraced and posed in ring.
A fantastic ending, keeping the Woken character strong and giving me the Wyatt face turn I've been begging for, for 2 years.

Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali for the vacant WWE Cruiserweight title.
Again I was a little pissed off that the Cruiserweight title was on the pre-show, its my honest feeling that ALL the titles in WWE should carry prestige and it still feels like the Cruiserweight title is secondary.. (see last year
Nevertheless, Alexander vs Ali had an immense amount of promise and was my early pick for show stealing match of the night..
Unfortunately it fell just a little flat.
Both competitors battled on 205 Live a few weeks ago in an outstanding match, this sequel however just kind of lacked some of the fire the first had.
It was by no means a bad match, Alexander and Mustafa entered looking a bit like Black Panther and Sub-Zero which was odd but within no time both guys were dipping into their arsenals, scoring near falls and flying all over the place.
My only problems were, *aside from WWE airing adverts during the match... yes that happened* A) The pace: it wasn't as high octane as the previous encounter had been and B) The finish: which seemed a little silly.. Mustafa hits his patented reverse 450 (Yes, the 054 *groans*) but the ring placement of Alexander means he gets his foot on the ropes.. Mustafa visibly frustrated by this attempts the move again.. without moving or repositioning Alexander.. do we all see a problem with that? Because I certainly did.
The ending came after Mustafa missed the move and Alexander hit a 'Lumbar Check' to win..
Now, this final thing annoyed me.. After the ref counts 3, Alexander immediately grabs and hugs/cradles Mustafa in a very similar way to that of Shawn Michaels to Ric Flair in Flair's retirement.. Firstly its a poor imitation, and being done at Wrestlemania after the Flair one was just stupid, secondly we have never been led to believe the Mustafa and Cedric are best friends, hell even really just friends.. So just seemed a little pathetic to do it really.
Overall good match, save for the theatrics

Next the Women's Wrestlemania Battle Royal..
I guarantee I get some shit for this but.. just because the men do it, doesn't mean the women have to.
This was a fucking mess, half of the competitors were from NXT/Mae Young Classic, which is fine but some have rarely even been on tv.
The participants kept constantly rolling out of the ring after being dropped with a move, making it nearly impossible to tell who was in or eliminated, the same issue found during the Women's rumble back in January.
The eliminations were sloppy and looked forced, women actively pushing themselves over and to the floor.
Becky Lynch attacked Kevita Devi because, and I quote, 'You're wearing my colour' in reference to the orange gear Devi had on.. awful, just awful.
Now I'd like to shine some praise too. The Bayley/Sasha storyline got pushed forward further here (as we knew it would) with Bayley quickly eliminating Sasha when she assumed they were the final 2 left.. only to beaten by Naomi, who to be fair, I never realised was even in the match. The winner was a rubbish choice and left our viewing group bored.
It's also worth noting that the WWE really skimped on the trophy. It was bad, I mean plastic looking, absolute garbage kind of bad...
I would however like to extend praise to NXT's Dakota Kai, as she worked very well, kept in character, looked good and was definitely the only person I wanted to win, Dakota Kai is a future star and IF Women's Tag Titles become introduced, her and Nixon Newell must hold them! You heard that here first. #FlyKicks
Overall though a poor Battle Royal, lazy in all regards, which is a shame as it could have been much more.

We see John Cena sitting in the crowd after his challenge to The Undertaker apparently fell on deaf ears.. we'll see him occasionally during matches sitting there.. far too many times

Main Show:

The Miz vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title.
Again, I am not sure why the IC title either gets pre-show or first match of the night, but it always seems to and that's a shame. I've always had an affinity for the title and feel its misused.. Ah well.
This match was very good, 3 quality performers who have all seemingly picked up victories over each other in the past few weeks, leading to a very open match.
Rollins entered dressed as a White Walker (for non-GoT fans, Ice Zombie thing?!). Miz entered in his usual style although stopped on the ramp to send his Miztorage away, which was interesting.
Balor now has a few question marks.. We got no Demon, no make up at all but we DID get rainbow attired Balor.. Yes, Rainbow, no one has even the slightest idea in creative it seems, New Orleans has voodoo and darker leanings, but all we got was Technicolour Finn.
The match was even throughout, making use of the triple threat rules and causing some big moves to be broken up at pinfall by the other free man.
Part of me was longing for Miz to retain and actually become the longest reigning IC champion of all time, however it was not to be as Rollins ultimately took the title became another member of the grand slam winners.
All in all, the match was good, all 3 men came out of it looking strong and was a great way to open the show of shows.

We see John Cena.. again..

Charlotte Flair vs Asuka for the Smackdown Live Women's Title.
This match really did well, the Queen vs the Empress, the champion vs the undefeated.
Asuka was the firm favourite to win this, she had been on a 2 year undefeated run, including winning the first ever WWE Women's Royal Rumble.
Charlotte on the other hand stood firm as the face of the Women's revolution, dependable as always and ready to lock horns with perhaps her hardest challenge thus far.
Both women worked well, solid striking and submission from Asuka, displays of power from Charlotte culminating in a solid focus on Asuka's knee.
Though a few spots got blown here and there it was a great display of what women's wrestling can be in 2018.
The finish was somewhat shocking, not that Charlotte won, more the fashion of how.. Charlotte made Asuka tap out to the Figure 8.
Submission victory over Asuka is a strong yet risky finish but the bold choice did work well.
Asuka took the mic and told everyone that Charlotte was ready for Asuka, a good show of respect.
The ending was marred a little by John Cena being informed the Undertaker had arrived and therefore leaping the barricade and running up the aisle past both competitors, like an excitable small child would.
Damn it John *facepalms* 

Randy Orton vs Rusev vs Jinder Mahal vs Bobby Roode for the WWE United States Title.
Okay, this match was fine. I am aware that's not exactly sparkling praise but well that is all it was.
You had a former 13 time World champ in Orton, a great talent in Roode, former champ in Mahal and currently one of the MOST over guys in the business Rusev.. So why was it just fine?
Well, the match lacked any real conviction. No fans really cared, and I feel that is down to the booking of the US Title. In much the same vein as the IC title is historic and underrated, the same can be said about the US title. However whilst over on Raw, The Miz has repeatedly tried to elevate the title and its status week in and week out, nobody has done that on Smackdown Live! to the US title. I mean we had it randomly vacated, a nothing tournamen, a stupidly short Roode reign and Orton doing nothing with said title.
The match was fine.. nothing more, Orton slowly worked the same match he has now had for the past 4 years. Mahal didn't do much of note. Roode the best he could with what he had, and Rusev Day was chanted persistently.
The only 2 things worth discussing if honest were that Aiden English *obviously in midst of Rusev Day* got a haircut between him appearing briefly in the Andre Battle Royal and this match, to my knowledge the only time that's happened at Mania.
The 2nd thing is that Mahal won. I am not sure who in creative is backing Mahal but after an unexpected WWE title run, now this? Really? I mean Mahal is alright but when you have a guy as white hot as Rusev, you may want to think again about the best way to draw focus back to the title.. Fine is all this gets.

 Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs Triple H & Stephanie Mcmahon.

Let me point out that people I know really dug this match, I however did not.
Firstly, this went on WAY too long. The match exceeded 20 mins, which is baffling when you consider this: Angle can't really wrestle thesedays, Stephanie could never really wrestle, Triple H is a part timer and Ronda Rousey was having her first match.
The match needed to only be 10 mins really, as it was just a vehicle to introduce and push Rousey.
She only really showed her skills on Triple H, he took and sold well obviously, she looked solid but still lacks any charisma at all.
In my view Stephanie has no place in a ring.. she is not a wrestler, her bumping was questionable and it took 4, yes 4 attempts by Rousey to make her tap out.. Fuck sake.
Kurt Angle did nothing, got blown up incredibly fast and turned a strange reddish purple colour by the matches end. He, thesedays, again doesn't belong in the ring, best to know when to walk away than tarnish a legacy I feel.. and if his worlds slowest hot tag is anything to go by its certainly time.
Triple H is doing wonders creatively but I still question why a part timer, non-wrestler and should be retired wrestler were used for Rousey's debut when in fact, any of the Women's roster would have worked just as well.
Fuck it, who knows, it happened, its done, she is here, someone teach her how to cut a promo, finished.

The New Day vs The Usos vs The Bludgeon Brothers for the Smackdown Live! Tag Team Titles.
This pissed me off, massively.
The Usos are doing great at the moment. The New Day have been doing great for the last 3 years. The Bludgeon Brothers even when they were part of the Wyatt Family are great.
All 3 teams have torn it down with each other in the last and what did we get here.. 5 mins.
5 goddamn minutes!? After the ballaching ego trip of the previous match, 7 guys with good talent barely got the chance to do anything.
Was a quick and simple spot fest, ultimately ending in The Bludgeon Bros. winning the titles for the first time.
Now I'm happy about the result, The Bludgeon Bros. will benefit from a title run to legitimise them as a monster tag team, and New Day and The Usos will receive better booking for trying to find a way to prise those titles away from Harper and Rowan.
But seriously 5 mins?? WWE needs to make better decisions when it comes to booking, this COULD have been a tag team classic for Wrestlemania but was sabotaged by the previously mentioned and far too long Rousey match.
Hopefully we get a good tornado tag rematch at Smackdown's next PPV.
The Bludgeon Brothers needed the victory to help legitimise them as a team and they got it.
It opens many possibilities for Harper and Rowan to showcase how good they can be, especially with a monster dominant tag run.
As for New Day and The Usos it creates that classic struggle of the smaller guys trying to find a way to prise the titles from the larger unstoppable team. I hope for good things but also hope WWE sorts the booking to give the correct competitors a chance to showcase and tell stories in the ring in future.

John Cena vs The Undertaker
So out from the back comes John Cena, in gear now, ready to fight.
He waits.. nothing.
Then suddenly the lights go down and.. out comes Elias. Now I thought this was kind of genius, Elias comes out to insult Cena and well pretty much everyone. Now I enjoyed seeing Elias. A good talent, working a gimmick that basically failed in NXT only to blow up on the main roster, the problem was he deserved to be on the card rather than merely a segment in which he got a few minutes before getting beat down by Cena.
So Cena takes out Elias, he begins to walk up the ramp all despondent, when suddenly the lights go out and a familiar gong echoes through the venue.
The gong foreshadows the appearance of The Undertaker, who is soon making his way to the ring.
Taker enters, and in my opinion, looked good.. certainly better than the previous 2 years.
Undertaker immediately begins to pummel Cena from the bell, working strikes and treating us to 'Old School', Cena rallies with punches only to be cut off, leading to a chokeslam and Tombstone for an Undertaker win in around 3 minutes.
I thought this was genius, Taker looked well, Cena respected and gave to the legend and it did everything it was supposed to quickly and efficiently.
This once again shows people who say Undertaker is past it, he does have more to give. It also shows that whatever people think of Cena, he respects the business and legacy way more than his own ego, hence becoming the quickest Undertaker victim at any Wrestlemania. Kudos.

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.
The story was worked perfectly after months of build. Zayn and Owens played their heel parts to perfection, the return of Daniel Bryan and the stipulation that if Owens and Zayn lost, they were fired from Smackdown Live.
Just from those footnotes you knew it was going to be a great match and it didn't disappoint.
Owens and Zayn each, with respect, could wrestle a broom and would make it entertaining. They are both bigger assets than casual fans or creative in WWE realise.
They gave up their Wrestlemania entrance to attack Bryan/Shane from behind to start the match by attempting to injure both Shane and Bryan.
Shane held his own in the match and was given a limited amount to do, Owens and Zayn kept a firm rhythm within the match and often dictated the pace. Well played guys.
The real story here is what we, as wrestling fans, have been wishing for, hoping for, for the last 3 years.. Daniel Bryan.
In his official first match back, Bryan was marvellous, kept up with everyone, showed no fear in the ring and importantly got the victory.
Having Bryan back opens the door for so many amazing things to happen, but so does the consequences of his victory.
Now Zayn and Owens find themselves 'unemployed' will they go after Bryan? Will they go to Raw? Will they find a loophole? Will they stick together? Will we see Kevin Steen and El Generico? Time will tell, but an all round solid match and a very, very welcome return.

Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax for the WWE Raw Women's Title.
Well this was disappointing, more so in relation to the previous Women's title match than for content.
I hated the 'Nia is fat, lets mock her for it' story going in to this..
We are not 7, thus isn't school, body shaming shouldn't be a plot device and I didn't believe Alexa in the bully role at all. Which in one
way is a credit to her, in another way ruined the concept.
Look lets get this out there from the start.. I do not rate Nia Jax. It has nothing to do with her size, I personally love the work of people like Awesome Kong/Kharma, Jessicka Havok and even Aja Kong. I feel Nia gets the heritage thing pushed too much.. 'but she's related to The Rock' WWE say, and in response I say 'Who gives a shit?' Plenty of guys have been related to The Rock: Samu, Rosey and Manu/Afa jr all of whom never hit great heights just because of who they were connected to.
Nia is average in the ring, she needs more work and to consider adding more unique moves into her arsenal. That's my critique, simply that she needed to spend more time in NXT.
Alexa is great but they often do not know how to use her. I'd much prefer to see her go it alone than always having a sidekick but creative is as creative does.
The match fell apart because of this, Nia killed Mickie James straight away, Alexa never helped her 'friend' or even attemped to blindside Nia which made no sense.
Secondly the match bounced along never really doing much, until Nia hit Alexa with a nasty looking Alabama Slam, I mean it had some proper impact and through good selling, looked like it killed Alexa, but Nia didn't attempt a pinfall.. not even considered, instead she picked up a limp Alexa and carried her to the top rope for an avalanche Samoan Drop.
Now, someone explain to me why the babyface, is dishing out super amounts of unnecessary punishment to an already down opponent?
No one? Exactly my thoughts, a-typical heel behaviour.. completely baffled by why it was needed.
Anyways we got a new Women's champ, hopefully Nia can use it to elevate herself and improve.

AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship
Some dubbed this a dream match. Having watched their previous encounter I was not going to argue, the match however was good, just not a 5 star classic.
Let me break it down, a close fought contest that neither man dominated, some good exchanges, both men trying to utilise his own offensive style as defence against the other mans offence.
Something for everyone really, except that it lacked the emotional connection that they had in the Tokyo Dome on the previous meeting. Everything here was technically sound, the match just felt a little disconnected, maybe it was the babyface on babyface situation here, no man gaining cheap heat for one to battle valiantly against.
I'm still not sure why I didn't enjoy this more,
but I'm hoping that the result will possibly fix that issue.
After Styles rolled Nakamura up into a 'Styles Clash' and took the victory, we got Nakamura graciously handing the WWE Championship to Styles and then nailing him with a nasty low blow. Nakamura turned heel and proceeded to dismantle Styles after the match, which is a bold booking choice but one that lights a fire under the feud, that will possibly lead to better things. Good match, better promise going forward.

Braun Strowman & ??? vs The Bar for the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
This was a point of much speculation.. who would Strowman's partner be? I personally heard everyone from NXT's Lars Sullivan to Elias to 'The Cowboy' James Storm mentioned.. the truth though was much, much stranger.
Strowman came out alone, took a microphone and stated 'One of you will be my partner tonight' pointing firmly at the crowd. Strowman then walks through the crowd looks around for a bit before settling on a 10 year old boy called Nicholas.
Yes you read right, a 10 year old boy.
I have no words for this, the child stood outside as Strowman did battle with both Cesaro and Sheamus until Strowman hot tagged the kid.. he looked petrified and Cesaro hammed it up in pure pantomime villain style.. So the kid tagged back out and Strowman decimated them and took the victory.
Braun Strowman and a 10 year old child called Nicholas are Tag Team Champions.. What the hell is going on? I mean this is Strowmans first gold in WWE, he is a monster, he destroys people, he is over with the crowd and he is now enforcer for a pre-teen. 
Whoever in creative thought Braun Strowman should randomly abduct a child from the audience and be Tag Team Champions with him is certifiably insane.
I have no more words, complete and utter lunacy.

And finally the match no one was waiting for:

Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship.
This match was awful, in fact one of the worst headline matches in Wrestlemania history.
It was terrible, if it wasn't an F-5, Suplex, Spear or Superman Punch they probably didn't do it.
It was one of the most by numbers matches I have ever witnessed.
It had no drama, the crowd audibly didn't care, Reigns bled, no one cared, Lesnar retained.. again, and no one cared.
Honestly its gotten to the point where the fans no longer look at Lesnar as a credible champion, he is a part time beast who barely sells, is never there and keeps the title off TV week in and week out.
People are getting fed up with it now, especially with the talent WWE currently has.
As for Reigns same thing i said last year, isn't great really and the fans aren't going to accept him unless a major heel turn occurs. He has headlined the last 4 Wrestlemania's back to back and everyone is sick and tired of it.. he hasn't progressed really and after 4 years of trying you wonder if he will. I doubt it, but am worried that they'll flog that horse until he takes the title.

Overall it was a good Wrestlemania, some things really let it down but I have hope next year those things won't be present.
A thumbs up from me and I await eagerly to see what comes post-mania for many.


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