When did watching Wrestlemania become such a slog? Holy hell, I watched this on a Monday afternoon (as opposed to staying up until the early hours of the morning) and it still almost broke me. It’s just way too long. NXT has five matches and that feels right. They are each given the right amount of time and nothing feels rushed.
Why WWE insist on having two battle royals when they 12 other matches to fit in I do not know. Get rid of them and move some of the lesser matches onto the pre-show instead. Not only would it make the pre-show less about random people talking nonsense and watching promo packages, but it would also shorten the main show as well as given those matches some time to show off. I’d have put 4 matches on the pre-show; the US Title, the Raw Women’s Title, the Smackdown Tag Team Titles and the Cruiserweights can stay there as well. After you cut the two utterly meaningless battle royals that leaves the main show with eight matches still! Eight! I’m a big fan of quality of quantity though, something WWE are quite clearly not interested in.
Complaints about the length of the show aside. Wrestlemania 34 was a night of surprise finishes and disappointing bouts. While WWE succeeded in swerving the majority of fans with results in the Smackdown’s Women’s Title match, WWE Title match, Universal Title match and not forgetting to mention John Cena getting squashed by The Undertaker. It would be hard to argue that any of them lived up to their potential hype.
Don’t get me wrong the matches, other than a few that I will mention later, were all okay but nothing stood out as brilliant. When you have AJ Styles verses Shinsuke Nakamura on the card most fans were hoping for something similar to their famous Wrestle Kingdom 10 match but instead we received a very familiar and formulaic WWE styled television bout. Granted the end was shocking and a heel turn for Nakamura is desperately needed to freshen up his character but I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
The Intercontinental Championship triple threat between The Miz, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins was a fun, fast paced match that I really enjoyed and was one of the better matches. Yet in a months time, will I really remember anything from it? Will I want to watch it again?
The most shocking result of the night was perhaps Charlotte Flair defeating Asuka in the Smackdown’s Women’s Title match, ending Asuka’s undefeated streak. The match was solid, good even but again nothing special and had Asuka won I think fans wouldn’t have mentioned it again. Obviously Asuka didn’t win and this has divided opinions. Where does Asuka go now? She doesn’t have the luxury of a heel turn to work focus her and she might struggle if she continues to be on the receiving end of more of the same directionless booking that she’s had since moving up from NXT. More annoying, did we really need John Cena overshadowing this moment by running up the ramp, past Charlotte, to go backstage and ‘find’ The Undertaker?
The Smackdown tag team title match was a squash match victory for the Bludgeon Brothers, which I don’t have a problem with (I actually like the idea) but it didn’t feel special either. And other than mentioning the potential evil foreigner title run Jinder Mahal can have with the US Championship, which is a much better level for him to be at than the WWE Title, or that WWE did the classic screw you to the fans by having the fan favourite Rusev take the fall. Is there any reason to mention the fatal four way at all? It felt very squashed between other ‘more important’ matches.
Meanwhile I wasn’t a fan of any of the story used in the Raw Women’s Championship match. Could they not have feuded over something like, I don’t know, the title? Or that Alexa was getting concerned that Nia was eventually going to come for her spot? Rather than yet more, all women are bullies, bitches and hate each other?
Even the in ring return of the ultimate babyface, Daniel Bryan felt like it was lacking something. It may have been the story, it may have been that the match was the perfect one to return too but it didn’t feel as good as it should have. However, it is still fantastic to have Bryan back and I very much look forward to seeing him in the ring again soon. I just wish his return could have been against someone like The Miz who he has been verbally feuding with since his retirement.
The Ronda Rousey match was a mixed bag, on the surface it was a fun match. A classic good guys verses bad guys scenario with Stephanie McMahon playing a perfect heel, repeatedly attacking and distracting Rousey so that when she eventually got the hot tag the crowd went nuts. Perfect booking! However the match lost me completely when Stephanie started reversing legitimate MMA moves and holding her own against Ronda. The longer the match went on the more annoyed I got with it. All we really learnt from the match was that Stephanie’s ego is massive. Which isn’t news.
One enjoyable moment amongst the monotony of Wrestlemania was John Cena verses The Undertaker, but not before Cena was interrupted by everyone’s favourite musician Elias. It was a great tease for the crowd who went crazy when the lights initially went out. After seeing off Elias, the WWE played the crowd again by having John Cena start to leave disappointed only for The Undertaker to finally turn up after a month of demands.
It’s at this point that Cena went from super confident Big Match John, to scared little man and proceeded to get squashed in about 3 (THREE) minutes. That’s right, a squash match! Madness! In honesty everything about this was perfect. ‘Taker performed his greatest hits, delighted the crowd, won and left. Everyone was happy with this. The only negative was the ‘spooky shit’ happening before The Undertaker showed. I’m not impressed by you paying a stage hand to put your hat and coat out of the ring old man! I joke, it was fine.
My favourite moment from all of Wrestlemania 34 was probably a lot of peoples favourite part and a lot of peoples least favourite part too!
Personally Braun Strowman winning the Raw Tag Team Titles with a 10-year-old boy was the perfect amount of ridiculous. It was fun and quit frankly much-needed entertainment after a very long show. Yes I get it, a lot of people were hoping for a big return or something more ‘awesome’ but this was really nice and I guarantee this will be the moment I remember from this Wrestlemania before anything else.
Let’s talk about that main event.
Four years in a row Roman has headlined Wrestlemania. Four years! Four freaking years! ENOUGH! Surely WWE have to eventually realise that getting Roman Reigns over as a face isn’t working? I suppose it has been four years though, so maybe not. Meanwhile Lesnar has resigned, although we don’t know for how long, but if it is a long-term deal they need to figure out a better way to utilise him. His matches have become boring, lazy and repetitive and although I’m still a huge fan and maintain that he is one of the few genuine megastars the company has, much improvement is needed.
In the end, both competitors received mixed reactions and the crowd turned on the match doing the wave, playing with beach balls and chanting. Who can blame them, they didn’t want to see Reigns again and they also didn’t want to see Lesnar because of the way WWE have booked them both.
I suppose the match itself was intended to be a repeat of the story from their first Wrestlemania match. In which Roman Reigns gets beaten up but keeps kicking out and shows real heart and detirmination, thus getting him over with the crowd. Instead nobody cared and everyone got bored with Reigns being suplexed and kicking out of 5 (FIVE) F5s. Including one through a table!
Quite frankly it was boring. Even Reigns being bloodied up the hard way (which is so stupid by the way) couldn’t get me interested and by the time Lesnar did win. I was just happy it was over and didn’t even think about the fact that Lesnar had retained. Which was incredibly shocking as we were all convinced that Reigns was going over and the storyline from Wrestlemania 31 would be complete.
Instead we got a crap match with a weird, but not necessarily unwelcome, ending.
Overall, Wrestlemania 34 is evidence that surprise finishes do not equal an amazing show. Granted, had those surprises not existed I think I would have had a much worse opinion of the overall show. I just can’t help but be disappointed, this show had a lot of potential and I feel like it squandered most of it.