WrestleMania 34 Analysis: Rousey Impresses, Nakamura Turns, and The Deadman Is ResurrectedRead Now
ZWrestleTalk's Triple Z discusses WrestleMania 34 and all of its shocking, underwhelming, and exciting moments.
The elegant, expensive set was the centerpiece in the crowded Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It was the beginning of what would become a lengthy night in New Orleans. The first match which kicked off the entire night was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It set the tone.
Woken Matt Hardy would continue his legendary saga with a win on the grandest stage of them all. With the help of Bray Wyatt he would become the victor of the battle royal. The next contest was for WWE's purple brand. General Manager Drake Maverick was sitting ringside. It is still weird to see Drake Maverick formerly known as Rockstar Spud in the WWE. It has been strange to witness this TNA takeover between the main roster and NXT.
The Cruiserweight Championship was a battle between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali. Alexander, a fan favorite since WWE's Cruiserweight Classic, won the terrific battle. Although the match delivered the future of 205 Live is still in jeopardy. It will be quite engaging to see how they turn it around.
The third and final match that took place on the Kickoff show was another battle royal but this time for the Women's division. NXT was well represented in the battle royal. Featuring Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane, Peyton Royce, Bianca Belair, Taynara Conti, Dakota Kai, and Kavita Devi. The match featured Bayley and Sasha Banks among others but that was the main story. In classic fashion, Naomi wins the battle royal making Bayley once again look terrible. Her and Sasha Banks constantly lose. Not everything has to always go to SmackDown. Yet once again this battle royal finished in favor of SmackDown. The actual contest itself was poorly executed but it served its purpose. It was a "Kickoff" match.
The first match of the main card was the triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz would defend his title against Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. It was a thrilling contest to start the night. Resulting in Seth Rollins becoming a WWE Grand Slam Champion. A prestigious honor only a few superstars can reach during their career.
Asuka and Charlotte Flair were next. Having a solid match which ended with a unpredictable result. The unthinkable happened. Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka. Ending the long streak of Asuka ever since her start down in NXT. Did WWE always plan to end the streak in New Orleans? The place where streaks go to die. Where does Asuka go from here? There is a few routes they can take. Asuka is still one of the most striking talents on the roster. It is clear that WWE wants Charlotte Flair taking on Ronda Rousey next year. Some speculate that it may be the main event. Depending on the value of the rivalry it may be. Asuka could of easily been in that spot to face Rousey but obviously WWE is going in a different direction. Still it looks like we will see more from Asuka/Charlotte Flair down the line.
The fatal four way match for the United States Championship was highlighted by the phenomenon known as "Rusev Day." Yet WWE's most pushed star of the last year Jinder Mahal picked up the win. Which honestly I'm fine with. Mahal worked hard and he became a force within SmackDown. Rusev's time may never come which is a shame but we so often see that in the world of WWE.
The match of the night was Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle taking on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rousey sure impressed the crowd. Coming out in gear inspired by her hero "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Rousey proved she will be WWE's Woman for years to come. The supporting cast also deserves quite a bit of credit. Kurt Angle still can go. It can be debated if him and Triple H could of had a singles match with the pace they were going at. Stephanie McMahon always finds a way to impress. On Twitter I said that I couldn't wait until Stephanie McMahon and Triple H faced Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae. Especially now that WWE is fine with intergender wrestling. All in all the match solidifies Rousey and is one of the most memorable parts of the show.
The next match had a lot to live up to. Sadly The New Day, The Uso's and Bludgeon Brothers only got five minutes. Resulting in a "Meh" match. Nothing really memorable but nothing to pick on. The New Day is a charismatic trio but they can only do so much. At least The New Day blessed us with this.
Oh then the moment finally came. The Undertaker finally answered John Cena's challenge. After the little encounter with Elias I thought we were going to get a no-show from Taker. Glad, I was totally wrong about that. The Undertaker came out and delivered his best interaction since WrestleMania 31. Yeah the match was only two minutes but it doesn't really matter. What did you expect out of a 50 year old star? Goldberg/Lesnar had an amazing five minute match at WrestleMania 33. Yes, Taker completely dominated but even if the contest was longer that's how it was going to go. Cena made Taker look marvelous again. This wasn't The Undertaker of the past two years. His hair looked normal and he looked strong. A lot of people were touting that he had a new hip. Yet no one mentioned the possible usage of steroids. Quite strange... especially for WWE fans. Especially that because he is a part-time talent he doesn't get tested for steroids.
Right when The Undertaker hit "Old School" I knew he was a lot different from previous years. Like I said in my BreakDownZ piece. Taker has been resurrected and he will live to fight another day. It's time to enjoy Taker for what it is. There is no need for him to lose anymore. If that was indeed his last match then I am good with it. He looked like how we always remembered him.
Anyways this was my favorite segment of that match. Taker sits up, and Cena freaks out.
After that we witnessed the return of Daniel Bryan. The occasion should of been more momentous then it was. Still Daniel Bryan proved that he's still WWE's most over star. The Yes movement is still going strong. Despite being thrown into this last minute. Bryan still put on a fantastic sequence with Sami Zayn. I am very optimistic about the return of Daniel Bryan. I truly hope to see him once again main event WrestleMania.
I don't think anyone really cared about the stakes of the tag team match other then hardcore SmackDown fans. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn lost and they will continue to drift on the mid-card until something changes. Shane McMahon's presence was unnecessary in this match although he started this rivalry. Ironic to say that just after how fresh he was during WrestleMania 32.
Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss almost had the same amount of time as Charlotte Flair and Asuka. It was fine and the result was predictable. It was going to be a uphill battle either way. Even with Mickie James at ringside it didn't do anything to help better the match. Not too much could of gone differently unless Carmella decided to cash in Money in the Bank. Nia Jax is now the champion on RAW. Who's going to stop her? It should be pretty easy because she has been stopped many times before. I wouldn't be surprised if she lost the title the next night.
Our next long match was AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura got to have his fancy, live music entrance at WrestleMania. The match wasn't the best either had to offer. It was still decent. The ending sequence consisted of Nakamura screwing up and getting hit by a Styles Clash. The post-match respect session lead to the most shocking twist of the night. The lovable Shinsuke Nakamura turned HEEL.
HEEL TURN. It was outrageous and random but now at least in the rematch we will have true heel and face fighting. Usually the best matches have a clear babyface and a true heel. The classic hero taking on the villain. So Nakamura-Styles on WrestleMania 34 is a set up for the future showdown that promises to be a much better affair.
Sidenote: Not to mention the crowd was still cheering especially after being there for hours before.
Right when I thought WrestleMania would be done with the plot twists. It continued to surprise me. Braun Strowman needed a tag team partner for his tag team championship match against The Bar. There was big hype surrounding around who Braun would choose. Would he go in alone or would a legend emerge?
Braun decided to pick ten year old Nicholas from the "crowd."
Honestly it was a extremely cool moment. WWE went in a direction no one predicted and it was entertaining. After all this is entertainment. I am excited to see how this continues on RAW tonight of course. This just makes "The Monster Among Men" more over than he already is. I really hope WWE decides to milk the Nicholas thing. Send out a press release saying "WWE wishes him his best in his future endeavors." Especially if they ever decide to wrap it up. Just keep trolling it works.
The swerve didn't stop there.
Lesnar and Reigns got to fight in front of a dead crowd. The crowd was non responsive to anything that was going on in the contest. The beach balls were flying, different chants were started, and fans were leaving. Reigns didn't bring out everything in his arsenal. That's mostly due to Lesnar. The "Finisher Face-off" match wasn't well received. The match got me thinking maybe it is time to depart from the same main event scene that gets booed out of the house every time? Maybe it would happen to anyone because the show is just too rich. There is too much to truly enjoy. The event is going til midnight now. Meaning WrestleMania starts on Sunday and ends on Monday. People in other timezones struggle to stay awake due to the awkward timing. People in the correct timezones struggle to stay awake due to the awkward timing. Yet WWE can't go back now.
Similar to RAW being at three hours. You can't just cut back to two. Once the show became seven hours it will stay seven hours. Now back to the bloody mess of a match. Literally a bloody mess of a match.
I mean look at this. This is at Ric Flair levels of bleeding. Brock Lesnar is known for busting opponents right open a la Randy Orton at SummerSlam last year. Despite the back and forth, spears and F5's were everywhere. Brock Lesnar shocked the world and retained the title. The dead crowd was still confused at what was going on. I think WWE was as well. As they ended WrestleMania without the traditional fireworks or good night. Maybe everyone was a bit tired?
A truly hair scratching moment. The crowd still hates Reigns. I would've been fine with him winning though. Reigns has been booked horrendously ever since WrestleMania 31. They rushed him up. He had the skills to put on big time matches yet they did it to fast. He developed a persona but then WWE hangs him out to dry every time. Now we have Lesnar VS Reigns III at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. A possible title change may happen. The main event of WrestleMania didn't live up to anyone's standards.
Maybe it's time for WWE to focus on a main event scene that doesn't have to constantly feature Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. It doesn't make them any worse than the next guy if they don't "main event." Just look at Cena/Taker. Two legends and if they wanted to could of clearly convinced Vince McMahon to let them go on last. Yet they didn't out of respect. Maybe it is just time. WWE and its counterpart NXT is stacked with talent. Switching up the main event scene doesn't hurt. Especially when you have Daniel Bryan and Ronda Rousey at your disposal. Lesnar will forever be a draw. But, in order to stay a draw you have to stay impressive and dominant. Lesnar could be losing his edge, and that's good for no one.
WrestleMania 34 was a event filled with exciting and shocking moments. It rightfully fits in with WrestleMania lore. Historically, New Orleans has been home of two WrestleMania's both featuring Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker, John Cena, and Triple H. New Orleans is a lucky wrestling town. Also fun fact Kid Rock did the same exact theme song for both events. Good effort WWE! Another tid bit WWE dropping roman numerals is a disappointment.
The next WrestleMania is in New York. Well technically it is New Jersey. If WWE keeps its loaded roster then the sky will be its limit but for now we get the current excitement about a possible Draft or Shake-Up. We have the two key shows after Mania which always deliver.
So the bottom line is that Ronda Rousey impressed the world at WrestleMania, Shinsuke Nakamura decided to turn heel and gets to play with everyone's emotion, and The Deadman is resurrected. The Deadman will retire on his own terms.
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Creator of ZWrestleTalk. This page I give you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE product. I look back at the history of WWE. Sometimes even predict the future. If your lucky you get comedic articles too.