WrestleMania 34 Review

I made my WM predictions here. I was wrong about a lot of the matches. And I had a lot of fun being wrong.

“Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal”: I wasn’t too excited about this match. It had lost a lot of its luster in the past 2 years, in my opinion. It turned out to be pretty entertaining, including the moment between Goldust and R-Truth, Mojo Rawley wrecking Zack Ryder out of the Battle Royal, and the appearance of… Bray Wyatt? To help Matt Hardy?!? It worked: Matt Hardy eliminated Rawley and Baron Corbin to win the Battle Royal.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler over Matt Hardy
Result: Matt Hardy over Baron Corbin

“The Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal”: this one was weird. A lot of the women kept rolling in and out of the ring, so it was tough to figure out who was still in the match. I did enjoy that a few different factors got some time to shine, mainly Absolution. In the end, Bayley and Sasha Banks were left in the ring. Bayley eliminated Banks and celebrated a win… until Naomi rolled in – still in the match, since she went under the ropes – and threw Bayley out. The Glow wins.
Prediction: Ruby Riott
Results: Naomi (Riott was one of the Final 4)
This keeps the Bayley-Sasha Banks feud simmering for a few more weeks… a good thing. They face off next week on Raw.

Raw Matches
Tag Team Titles: this was shorter than I thought and a LOT more fun than I thought. Strowman didn’t bring a partner out to the ring. Instead, he went out into the crowd and picked… 10 year old Nicholas.
And won the match.
This was a fun, crowd-involved match!
Prediction: Strowman and TBD
Results: Strowman and NICHOLAS!! win the Raw Tag Team Titles
On Raw, Strowman and Nicholas vacated the Titles; Nicholas “had a scheduling conflict due to him finishing the 4th grade”. A really cool few-weeks story.

IC Title Match: one of the Matches of the Night. All 3 put on a heck of a performance. In the end, Seth Rollins becomes the new IC Champion and the latest Grand Slam winner.
Prediction: Finn Balor pins Seth Rollins; Rollins jumps to Smackdown
Result: Seth Rollins pins The Miz
The Miz gets a rematch at Backlash. Balor? He now waits to see who the champion is, after Backlash.

Raw Women’s Title Match: I had mixed feelings. The beginning of the match was awesome: Nia Jaxx absolutely destroyed Mickie James outside of the ring. The ending – including a Samoan Drop for the 2nd rope – and the celebration were great moments. The match itself wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t anything remarkable. Nevertheless, Nia Jaxx is the new Champion.
Prediction: Nia Jaxx wins by DQ
Result: Nia Jaxx wins by Pinfall

Universal Title Match: I owe an apology to the Beast and the Advocate. I thought that this was a lock win for Roman Reigns. It was anything but. It was a hard-hitting match, not quite as good as their last match but better than a couple of their other matches. After Reigns had taken about 37 F-5’s, Lesnar took off his gloves and elbowed Reigns in the top of the head 3 times, hard. Insta-blood for Reigns (12 staples, 10 stitches). This sent Reigns into a blood rage… which earned him another F-5. Winner and still….
Prediction: Reigns via Pinfall
Result: Lesnar via Pinfall

Authority vs. Wrestlers: I, and all of us watching (shout out to the podcast, Back Row Hecklers), were pleasantly surprised by this match. I thought it would be a lot of protection of Angle and Rousey. What we got was a really solid match from Rousey and a great match from the other 3. This match introduced the main stream to wrestler Ronda Rousey… and it was a great introduction.
Prediction: Angle and Rousey win
Results: Angle and Rousey win; Rousey submits Stephanie

Smackdown Matches
Cruiserweight Title Match: an excellent match! There was plenty of aerial offense, including 2 “Spanish Fly”s, but there were some pretty good ground maneuvers. The story of Mustafa Ali’s “heart” versus Cedric Alexander’s “soul” played out wonderfully.
Prediction: Cedric Alexander becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion
Result: Cedric Alexander becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion

SD Tag Titles: Let’s take a ride in the Way Back Machine, to WrestleMania 6. The Bolsheviks are singing the Soviet Union National Anthem, prior to their match against the Hart Foundation. The Harts, increasingly agitated by the Anthem, attack the Soviet duo from behind, hit the Hart Attack, and win the match in a complete squash. That’s the last notable squash match at WrestleMania that I can think of. Until this match.
This match was a 6-to-8 minute destruction of The Usos. The New Day was an absolute non-factor, other than a suplex or 2, plus a punch or 2. The Bludgeon Brothers squashed the 2 best Tag Teams in the last decade on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Predictions: The Bludgeon Brothers pin The New Day to become the new Tag Team Champions
Results: The Bludgeon Brothers pin The New Day to become the new Tag Team Champions
It wasn’t a bad way to break up the Usos-New Day reign on Smackdown. Let’s see how “The Soldiers of the Apocalypse” (I like that name, Corey Graves!) handle a possibly-shaken up Smackdown Tag Team division, going forward.

U.S. Title Match: this match was nothing special. Randy Orton looked like he would rather be on Bourbon Street; the match itself was… OK. A heavily-cheered Rusev had Jinder Mahal prone for The Accolade but interference from Sumil Singh allowed Mahal time enough to recover and hit the Khallas to win the U.S. Title.
Prediction: Rusev wins the U.S. Title
Result: Jindel Mahal pins Rusev to win the U.S. Championship
Jinder Mahal has won the WWE Championship and the United States Championship since his return to the company.

Authority vs. Roster: “Pleasantly Wrong” is how I would describe my prediction for this match. I was surprised that Shane McMahon could make this match (Diverticulitis) but he made it and performed amazingly. Daniel Bryan looked pretty sharp and did not land on his head. The biggest surprises of this match? It ended cleanly… and it was an awesome match.

  • Owens and Zayn win, via Pin on Shane
  • There will not be a clean finish.

Results: Bryan pins Zayn; the match ended clean.
Afterwards, Zayn and Owens showed up on Raw, looking for a job. Angle put them against each other, with the winner winning a spot on Raw; match ended in a No Contest. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan resigned as General Manager of Smackdown. I’m very interested to see what kind of chaos Owens and Zayn cause in the next few weeks.

SD Women’s Title Match: In my opinion, this was Match of the Night. This was also Co-Surprise of the Night. Asuka and Charlotte put on a 15-18 minute Instant Classic: Asuka delivered with her strikes and legendary resilience, while Charlotte used her size and strength advantage to devastating effects. In the end, a one-armed Charlotte locked in the Figure 8… and Asuka tapped out!
Prediction: Asuka wins the SD Women’s Title
Result: Charlotte wins, via Submission
Charlotte had 2 days to enjoy it. She was attacked by the debuting Peyton Royce and Billie Kay… leaving her wide open to an attack and defeat by MITB holder, Carmella. There is now a new Smackdown Women’s Champion!

WWE World Title Match: it missed the 2016 IWGP Intercontinental Title Match’s overall quality but the 2018 WWE Title Match between Shinsuke Nakamura and A.J. Match was still a 21-minute, enjoyable contest! The pace started slow but picked up considerably towards the end. A ton of counters, finishers, and false finishes led to the Styles Clash and a successful title defense!
Prediction: Nakamura pins Styles to become the new WWE Champion
Result #1: Styles pins Nakamura
Then, the post-match happened. Both competitors shook hands. Nakamura took the Title from the ref, kneeled in front of Styles, and presented the belt. When Styles reached for the belt, Shinsuke Nakamura lowblowed A.J. Styles. To add insult to injury, Nakamura proceeded to stomp/kick the crap out of Styles’s head, leaving Styles bleeding from his ear.
Result #2: Nakaruma becomes a heel. Surprise #2.
I love the notion of a Heel Nakamura. It makes him a dangerous man, as Styles and Bryan can attest to, on the recent episode of Smackdown.

WrestleMania 34 was a 5 hour (or 7, if you watched the pre-show) fun show. None of the matches were duds; some of the matches were pleasant surprises. It was a great way to end the 2018 “season”!

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