Review for WWE: WrestleMania 34
Wrestlemania 34 was a long show to get through and in some ways because of that I feel like it should be a mix of other things to make it easier to get through. I watched the event live and found this a chore to get through (not just because it was on until 4am), but this run through felt worse and I itched to skip every few minutes. This is not what we should be saying about what is generally the best show WWE put out.
To be honest, there are highlights, this is not a show that is awful to watch, but at times it just felt like it was just another show and didn't have the spectacle of previous events.
Here are my thoughts on the event. They do include all three Kick-Off matches and I would have been disappointed if they hadn't.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Wow how the mighty have fallen. It was surprising the number of main roster stars just thrown into this match. Kane. Ziggler. Matt Hardy. Corbin?
Highlight of the match is a top up between Goldust dabbing and Matt Hardy asking Tye Dillinger 'Who are you?' Also them showing John Cena in the crowd. That was just crazy. Wyatt and Hardy at the end is what was needed despite it being insane.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Final
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
A fantastic match in general. HOWEVER it just felt like the crowd simply did not care about this match. Shame, as there were some amazing moments.
Women's Battle Royal
Wow Paige seemed p***ed that Lilian Garcia forgot her. Though her film looks pretty good. However, this match was a mess. As tightly booked as the Royal Rumble felt, this match felt like no one knew what they were doing. The ending was great... or it would have been if WWE had let me have the moment where she finally grew a pair and turned on Sasha Banks. Not to be.
Triple Threat for Intercontinental Championship
The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
I was thoroughly entertained by this match manly because I had no expectations. I thought it would be a good match, but not this good. All three worked well and The Miz proved why he should move back up to the main event, much like Seth and Balor too. This was the first time in a long while where the Intercontinental title has felt like it means something.
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship
Charlotte vs. Asuka
Could have been one of the best women's matches of all time and in some way it was... until it ended. The win did nothing for Charlotte as she had already established herself as the BEST and so taking away something special away from Asuka like this means nothing... and it was just a setup for John Cena anyway??
Fatal Four-Way for WWE US Championship
Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal
I will say what I always say, make it an elimination match and it will be great, but I hate these multi-man matches. Unlike the Intercontinental match, this match felt like such a mess and was not given enough time to mean anything for anyone in the ring. And looks like WWE haven't learnt a new way to get Mahal to win a match?
Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
Surprised this match is so low on the card seeing as how much it was promoted. My biggest issue with this match is that I know that Rousey could legitimately break Stephanie in half, probably Triple H too.
OH MY GOD!!!
This match started off so bad. It was like it was booked by someone flicking through Tag Heel Moves 101. It was so boring. Kurt against Triple was awkward and what was worse is that they are the ones I was expecting to put on most of the wrestling clinic. Once Rousey was tagged in it was brutal, but awkward and amateurish and seriously I don't believe for one second that someone who used to tap people out in less than a minute would have any issue taking down
By the end the match got better, but again it just felt like no one really knew what to do with this match. We all know that we wanted Rousey and Angle to win and the more they dragged it out the less satisfying the ending was.
Triple Threat Match for Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
I was surprised that a stipulation such as Ladder wasn't added or Table and maybe have Hall of Fame inductees The Dudley Boyz involved in some way. Because of this the match, which is a No DQ match, makes no sense as why don't both just go in the ring as they can't be Disqualified if they do? This match was awful. It was not given any time and because of that it meant nothing. It could and should have been great... and wasn't.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker
So John Cena is here?
But why? I have said if they were to put on a Cena/Undertaker match at WRESTLEMANIA with no promotion (other than teases) beforehand it would be the stupidest move since WCW booked Hogan against Goldberg on Nitro instead of a PPV. Seeing Elias was funny, and the whole theatrics of the Undertaker was still great.
Instead of maybe just an announcement for next year or something like that... they wasted what could have been a match of the year, could have been a main event calibre match in less than five minutes. Unbelievable WWE! I cannot believe they just did that. This is why they fail.
My biggest issue at this point was knowing there was maybe 90 minutes left and 5 matches still to go. Knowing that probably 30 minutes will be given to Brock and Roman that meant that four matches will all either be very short or one will be given a good length and the rest will be squashes. This is what happens when you waste time on stroking Cena's ego.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
(If Owens/Zayn win they get rehired)
I loved the storyline that has been going on for nearly a year, but my beg was that Bryan doesn't waste one of the (maybe) few times he can wrestle on this match. Because of this, I really didn't enjoy this match. The whole section with Shane McMahon was painful to watch and though it was great to see Daniel Bryan wrestle again, every time he did anything I winced at it. Hopefully, this is the first of many matches for him.
Raw Women's Championship
Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
This match is what I hate about having someone the size of Nia Jax wrestling. I will never take it seriously that someone as small as Bliss could take someone the size of Jax down. No chance. Having to rely on the whole-big person is clumsy and they take advantage- is getting old. After every power move I was screaming JUST PIN HER!!!!!! Thankfully they did and I didn't have to scream anymore at Nia not getting the belt she's deserved for a long time.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I had money on this being match of the night and in a way it was a little lacklustre. I have seen better from both of them and I just don't think there was anything memorable about this match. Turning Shinsuke Heel won't make him any less popular as his entrance was one of the best I have seen.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) vs. Braun Strowman and Mystery Opponent So who did Strowman find to team with? So it's a random (possibly) person from the crowd. What would happen if he wins? Would he have to bring the kid with him? This was bizarre and the match suffers because of it.
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
I actually enjoyed the build to the match despite not caring for either of them. This was one of the few moments when I actually thought 'I wouldn't mind if Roman Reigns won'. Yes it will be an awful champion, but at least we will see him. The match itself was almost paint by numbers, superman punches, spears, suplexs, F-5s, kickout after kickout to the point when I stopped caring. I'm not sure who this match was supposed to appease and by the end I'm not sure who was enjoying the match. I was shocked that once again WWE would ruin another main event. To the point when I'm struggling to think of the last time I was happy with a finish to the PPV (maybe Daniel Bryan winning at 30?)
The set also includes The Raw after Mania which they made such a song and dance about with a whole set about it. This one was fine, but is not really just a case of a show of callups from NXT (most too soon) such as Ember Moon and Authors of Pain and surprise debut or redebuts such as Bobby Lashley. It has its moments, but for most this is just a random episode of Raw and it is surprising they don't include the Smackdown After Mania too, though if you got the Blu-ray they do include Paige being named the name Smackdown GM and Carmella cashing in her Money in the Bank, proving yet again how stupid WWE are, but I think I have grown tired of saying that.
Unlike most of the previous sets, they don't include the Hall of Fame and this is a shame and I think even just a brief highlights would have been enough to show who was inducted and few bits of their speech. It would have made more sense to have included this and just had highlights of Raw and Smackdown as the extras, but that is not to be.
If you pre-ordered you also got the NXT Takeover: New Orleons PPV which in comparison to Wrestlemania was almost a masterpiece. The Ladder Match for the new NXT North American belt between EC3, Killian Dain, Adam Cole, Lars Sullivan, Richochet and Velveteen Dream was simply amazing gaining a Five Star rating from Dave Meltzer.
Ember Moon against Shayna Baszler was a great match for the women's match and hopefully Moon can bring some of this to the main roster as it is great to watch. The Triple Threat Tag for the Tag Belts and Dusty Rhodes Classic Trophy between Authors of Pain, The Undisputed Era and Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong was great and all three teams got some great moments in.
Surprisingly, the NXT Championship between Andrade Cien Almas and Aleister Black was not match of the night, but still a great match from both of them. For me, match of the night was the Unsanctioned Match between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano which was just off the wall and one of the best matches I have seen in a long time. This was also given Five Stars from Meltzer and one of the first times a US PPV has received more than one Five Star match.
It is sad, that I would recommend pre-ordering this just so that you can get to watch this amazing event. In some ways, it is a shame that you have to suffer much of what Wrestlemania had to offer to watch some of the best wrestling I have ever witnessed, but it is well worth it.
Wrestlemania 34 was a mess of a PPV and sadly I feel like I say that more and more when I talk about WWE. At times I wonder when the new competitors will come and when the next promotion will come along and defeat them like WCW did in the 1990s. As it is, I feel like WWE will just continue on this road trying to throw things at the wall and hoping they stick. For every great moment there were double the amount that just were not worth watching. If you a wrestling fan you may want to pick this up just for the NXT disk, but I will guarantee you will probably watch that more than you do the main event.
Wrestlemania was once the showcase of the immortals, it is now a slideshow of the subpar.