WrestleMania 34 leaves fans wanting more


WWE Superstar Charolette Flair basks in the cheers from the crowd on Sunday, April 1, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Kendall Howard

The biggest event of the year in sports entertainment transpired the other day. No, I’m not talking about UK announcing its newest recruits. I’m talking about WrestleMania 34.

WrestleMania took place this year in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and had one of the most stacked cards in WrestleMania history. The question is, did it deliver?

The WrestleMania pre-show had three matches featuring the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for the Cruiserweight title, and the Women’s Battle Royal. 

Woken Matt Hardy won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with an assist from Woken Bray Wyatt after we last saw him being tossed in the Lake of Reincarnation in the Ultimate Deletion match with Hardy. This signaled an overdue face turn for Wyatt and a pairing with Hardy that could lead to a new tag-team in the tag-team division. 

The Cruiserweight Championship tournament concluded here with the two finalist Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali. The story going into the match was about how the two are friends and respect one another but ultimately have the same goal of becoming the new Cruiserweight champion. The two put on a good match with Alexander being crowned as the new champion going forward in the revamped 205 Live.

In the first ever WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, we had a mixture of NXT and WWE superstars all battling to become the inaugural winner of the annual Battle Royal. Going into the match, the main storyline was the Sasha Banks and Bayley feud (in my opinion, these two deserved their own match on the card) and how the two were going to interact with one another in the match. Bayley ended up eliminating Banks from the ring, thinking she won the match, until she was eliminated by Naomi, who became the first winner of the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal.

The show kicked off with the Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental title featuring The Miz defending his title against Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. The three had a match together where they fought to become the number one contender for the Intercontinental title last year, delivering one of the best matches of 2017 and the three did not disappoint on this night. Rollins came out the victor of this match, delivering his signature curb stomp to both Balor and The Miz, and becoming the last member of The Shield to be a Grand Slam champion.

Next, we had one of the most anticipated matches on the card with Charlotte defending her Smackdown Women’s Championship against the undefeated Asuka. The story wrote itself as they had the Queen of WWE, Charlotte, go up against Asuka, who is on a two-year undefeated streak. The match was solid, as both competitors pulled out all the stops to come out on top, but Charlotte ended the streak, making Asuka tap with the Figure 8. Personally, I think they ended the streak too early, as Asuka hasn’t even been on the main roster for a year yet and they ended what made her special, leading to questions on what is next for the Empress of Tomorrow.

The fatal four-way for the United States Championship followed as Randy Orton defended his title against Bobby Roode, Jinder Mahal and Rusev. Rusev got a massive reaction with Rusev Day chants echoing throughout the Superdome as everyone was expecting him to win the title and go on the well-deserved face run the WWE universe has been crying for. Mahal ruined Rusev Day, delivering the Khallas to Rusev and becoming the new United States Champion. This is good for Mahal, keeping him relevant and he’s now seen as a threat after being WWE Champion for half of 2017.

One of the most promoted matches on the card came next as The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) took on Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. Rousey received mixed reactions from the fans ever since her debut at the Royal Rumble back in January, as we pondered if she really had what it takes to go in a WWE ring. Like her fellow Olympian predecessors who also decided to join WWE (Chad Gable, Brock Lesnar and her tag team partner Kurt Angle), Rousey caught on easily and performed well in her first match in the squared circle. The right team won here as Rousey and Angle came out on top with Rousey delivering her signature arm bar to Stephanie McMahon, making her tap out.

Back to the Smackdown side, we saw The Usos defend their Tag Team titles in a triple threat tag team match against The Bludgeon Brothers and the New Day. This should’ve been a Ladder match or a TLC match as there is usually some type of match involving stipulations like that every year at WrestleMania, but The Bludgeon Brothers caused enough chaos to make you think this was a No Holds Barred match as they became the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Judging off this match, it’s going to be hard to beat The Bludgeon Brothers for those titles going forward.

Earlier in the night, a referee approached John Cena, who to his credit attended WrestleMania as a fan like he said he would, and whispered something in his ear, which prompted Cena to make a B-line towards the backstage area. We found out that Cena was told about having an opponent that night like he wanted and he was hoping for it to be The Undertaker, but Elias walked out and greeted the crowd with his infamous concert. After Cena made quick work of Elias and started to head to the back, The Undertaker appeared and made quick work of Cena, beating him in a short, convincing fashion. Many fans were pleased by this, as we all knew how The Undertaker hasn’t been in good shape these past years. Having this short match with Cena made for a memorable moment and had a sort of redemption feel for the Deadman because the last time he was in the Superdome his WrestleMania streak was broken. 

After three years of sitting on the sideline and being told he would never compete in a wrestling ring again, Daniel Bryan made his epic return to the ring in the same arena where he beat Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista all in one night to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion back at WrestleMania 30. Bryan teamed up with Shane McMahon to face the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn with the stipulation that if Owens and Zayn won, they would be reinstated on the Smackdown roster. Bryan made Zayn tap out with the Yes! Lock, keeping both Owens and Zayn off the Smackdown roster. Daniel Bryan will now be an active member of the WWE roster and will relinquish his role as general manager on Smackdown. 

Alexa Bliss defended her Raw Women’s title against her former BFF Nia Jax. This told a good story as Bliss, being the preppy heel she is, betrayed Jax after being caught on camera making fun of Jax and talking about how she uses her with Mickie James. This made Jax a baby face and had the whole WWE universe on her side as she defeated Bliss with a Samoan drop off the top rope, becoming the new Raw Women’s Champion. Going forward, how will WWE book Jax as she is booked to be this dominating force in the women’s division, representing those who are bullied for being different? 

The long-awaited dream match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura took place next as they battled it out for the WWE Championship. With Nakamura winning the Royal Rumble earlier in the year, he did not hesitate to issue the challenge against the phenomenal one and send the internet wrestling community into a craze. The two had a decent bout with Styles selling his back and Nakamura selling his knee, but it was Styles who reversed a Kinshasa and turned it into a Styles Clash, retaining his title. After the match, the two showed their respect for each other as Nakamura got on his knees to deliver the title to Styles and give him a low blow, turning him heel. A heel Nakamura is something Smackdown needed because they lacked strong heels on the show besides Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. 

The Bar were set to defend their Raw Tag Team titles against Braun Strowman and his mystery partner. Leading up to the show, many have speculated on who Strowman’s partner was going to be; was it going to be Samoa Joe? Jeff Hardy? Bobby Lashley? Braun’s surprise partner turned out to be a 10-year-old kid named Nicholas who Strowman picked out personally from deep in the crowd. Strowman beat The Bar, thus making Nicholas the youngest person ever to hold a WWE title. Obviously, the kid cannot be a champion and travel with the show, so where does Braun Strowman go with the titles from here? 

The main event of this seven-hour spectacle was a rematch from WrestleMania 31 between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the Universal title. Reigns was positioned to be seen as a workhorse in the company, as the story was based off of Lesnar being a part-timer and not caring about anything but money. After weeks of Reigns talking trash about Lesnar and the two having multiple pull apart brawls, Lesnar destroyed Reigns in this match, delivering six F-5s to Reigns, including one through the announcers table, and busting open Reigns’ head, retaining his Universal title. Rumors about Lesnar dropping the title to Reigns and leaving the company were shut down after this match. We will definitely see more of Brock Lesnar in the WWE.

This show gave multiple shocks throughout the night, leaving many fans with questions about the future of some superstars. Some of the matches, like the Charlotte and Asuka match as well as Styles vs. Nakamura, could’ve been better, and some matches didn’t have the predictable winner like the U.S. title fatal four-way or the Lesnar and Reigns championship match. This year’s WrestleMania was one of the best in recent years. The WWE continues to get its fans to tune in to the following show and leave them wanting more.