From start to finish, and by start I mean the pre-show, WrestleMania 34 did not disappoint. Every match lived up to the hype, and almost every match saw the right person win. It’s hard to be disappointed in an event when in every match you don’t care who wins because everyone in the match deserves to win, and hold the title.
With that being said though, there were a few surprise winners, and that’s not always a good thing.
*There are too many matches to review them all, so I’m just going to hit the high points. If you want reviews of all the matches you can find them here on the website, I’ll link to the ones I cover in this article.*
The highlight of the pre-show was easily the Cruiserweight Championship match. The two battle royals had their place and were good matches, but the Alexander winning the purple strap was easily the best part.
He and Ali had a great back and forth match, and saw a Spanish fly off the top rope, as well as Ali’s beautiful 054, an inverted 450 splash. All of this was not enough, however, as Alexander hit his lumbar check, and pinned Ali for the three count. It really was a feel-good moment.
It will definitely be interesting to see where things go from here between Ali and Alexander.
The night opened with Finn Balor, and Seth Rollins taking on the former Intercontinental Champion The Miz. This match opening the show was a great idea on the part of WWE. The match was awesome and entertaining, which of course meant the crowd was on fire from the start of the show. Plus, this match opening the show meant that Miz could get home to his family at a reasonable time, and that is the most important thing.
Rollins walking away with the win was a surprise. Many saw Balor picking up the win, especially with the recent launch of his new “Balor Club For Everyone” gear, and slogan. It just seemed like a bandwagon WWE would want to jump on. Plus, many fans saw Rollins making the jump to SmackDown Live in the upcoming draft, but Balor is a good substitute to take the blue brand to the next level.
The ensuing feud will be good no matter who’s the champion, hopefully, although we have seen the pair face off, a few times in recent months, so here’s hoping this doesn’t grow too stale too quickly.
Who knows, tomorrow night on Raw, the title could change hands and Seth could be off to SmackDown all the same.
In the first shock of the night, Asuka tapped out to Charlottes Figure Eight, following one of the best matches on the card.
Asuka dominated the early part of the match and worked over Charlottes left shoulder seemingly setting up for the Asuka lock, to force Charlotte to tap out. At least that’s what everyone expected.
Throughout the match Asuka fought off the attempts to lock in the Figure Eight, showing that she was afraid of the move, and the damage it could do. Eventually, after a Spanish fly off the top rope, yes you read that right, and no that wasn’t a typo. Charlotte was able to lock in the Figure Eight and was able to force Asuka to tap out. Which left the WWE Universe in awe.
What does this mean for Asuka going forward? WIthout having the SmackDown Women’s Championship there really is no reason for her to return to the show, Tuesday night, and now that the streak is dead, we will get to see how deep Asuka and the creative team can take this character. Her next appearance will definitely be one to watch. Where do you think she will show up next? More importantly who will be the next contender to Charlotte’s Championship?
The next match delivered another shock in the form of Jinder Mahal winning the United States Championship in a lackluster fatal four way for the title.
Everyone hoped that Rusev would win the title and turn WrestleMania into RusevMania, unfortunately, though that didn’t happen. Now, the rumors will only pick about Rusev asking for his release from the company, especially since he was the one that took the pin. Time will only tell what happens with Rusev and the WWE, but here’s hoping things work out, and the most over man in the company can stick around and turn things into a lengthy title run of some sort. Unfortunately, he could turn into the next Dolph Ziggler, and I think that’s what Rusev is afraid of.
The Jinder Mahal test part two seems to be in full effect, and it was something everyone was afraid of with WWE heading to Saudi Arabia in a few weeks. Granted it isn’t India, where WWE says Mahal is from, but I could see Vince thinking it’s close enough to warrant Jinder holding the championship to try and draw in more buys from that area, because that worked so well the first time.
This match far exceeded the expectations, and Ronda was a huge reason for it. Many were afraid going into it that Ronda would look lost in the ring, because of how bad she was on the mic. However, she outshone everyone in the match.
Steph, Triple H, and Kurt had their moments, but everyone is talking about Ronda at the end of the night. This match, of course, gave us everything we wanted. Kurt got his spots in and stayed out of the match when he wasn’t needed, and the same could be said for Hunter. They were smart to let Ronda and Stephanie control most of the match.
The highlight, of course, coming when Ronda “broke” Stephanie’s arm, at least it looked like she did. This way, WWE can write Stephanie off of TV and can keep Kurt around as Raw GM for a little longer, because Steph won’t be around to fire him.
It is exciting to see where things go with Ronda from here. It seemed the long term plan was for Asuka to take on Ronda, and have one of their streaks end when they finally faced off. But now with Asuka’s streak already dead, there is no clear long term path for Ronda, aside from taking a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship. Or, potentially moving to SmackDown, and take on Charlotte at SummerSlam.
Going into WrestleMania fans were complaining that the WWE Championship feud between Styles and Nakamura didn’t get enough build. Now it’s clear why it didn’t. This Mania match wasn’t the only time we would see these two face off in a WWE ring.
The match itself was kind of a slow burner and drug on in some parts, but the end of the match, and what happened afterward more than made up for it.
After a reversed Kinshasa by Styles into a Styles Clash led to A.J. picking up the win, it looked like Nakamura was graciously accepting defeat, that was until he would low blow Styles, and proceeded to attack Styles after. Eventually leading to a Kinshasa on the outside, and Nakamura walking up the ramp, leaving Styles laying by the ring wondering what had just happened like everyone else.
Once again WrestleMania looking forward to what’s going to happen in the coming weeks.
In what was no doubt the biggest shocker at WrestleMania 34 Brock Lesnar retained the Universal Championship. Everyone saw Reigns taking the belt from Lesnar for a litany of reasons. The biggest being that it seemed Brock was heading to UFC following the event. Dana White being at the event did nothing to quell these rumors either.
WWE really tricked us all. When the referee’s hand hit for the third time after the sixth F-5 everyone thought Reigns was going to kick out. When he didn’t, everyone saw the light at the end of the tunnel grow a little dimmer.
During the match, fans in the arena were actually cheering “This is boring!” among other things all at the top of their lungs. And to be fair, they weren’t wrong. Honestly, I wrote most of this article during the match, mostly because I thought I knew who was going to win, and partly because it was totally missable.
I think it would be fair to say that nobody wanted Lesnar to retain. Everyone was ready for a champion on Raw every week, even if it was Roman Reigns.
Rumors leading into the event that the following feud after Mania was going to be Reigns vs. Samoa Joe led fans to believe even more that Reigns would be winning, and Brock would be walking off into the sunset. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The future at the top of the card for Monday Night Raw still looks bleak, and it shows no sign of getting better before SummerSlam, if then.