WrestleMania 34 Recap & Review

Wrestling

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The next time that you see the word “swerve” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of WrestleMania 34 as the definition. The biggest show in professional wrestling was on Sunday and there were a number of surprising results, showing that maybe the WWE are actually starting to listen to the fans in terms of putting on a show. A ton of shocks and surprises were put forward last night, so let’s go through and look at WrestleMania.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal — Matt Hardy

The men’s battle royal had a solid field, mainly encompassing the tag teams who didn’t have a match on the main card with a few stars to bulk it up. A lot of the predictions around the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) had either Elias or Matt Hardy as their winner, with Hardy coming up trumps.

The return of Bray Wyatt to help Hardy was a bit of a surprise considering the feud they had barely a month earlier, but it opens up the potential of a #BROKEN stable with those two and Brother Nero, AKA Jeff Hardy. The match itself was nothing special, but it was a solid start to the event.

Grade: C

Cruiserweight Championship — Cedric Alexander def. Mustafa Ali

Somewhat disappointing to see the Cruiserweight Championship put on the pre-show, Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali proved that 205 Live is something to be taken a touch more seriously now. This match was one of the better performances of the night, with some spectacular spots by the high-flying duo to pop the crowd time after time.

It’s good to see that Alexander will be getting his run with the title. Hopefully this is the start of the Cruiserweight division rebounding from the issues with Enzo Amore, because the talent that was showcased in this match is a pretty good representation of what the Cruiserweights can do.

Grade: B+

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal — Naomi

The first of the major swerve alerts, as no one saw this coming. A lot of the predictions saw one of Sasha Banks or Becky Lynch getting the win, which would have made sense with the current storylines. However, the WWE took the mickey out of us with Naomi going over.

With Becky Lynch going out in the middle of the match, it was believed that Sasha Banks and Bayley were the last two after eliminating Sarah Logan. Bayley eliminated Banks, however Naomi came back into the ring  after being sent through the ropes earlier to take out Bayley and get the win.

It was surprising for us as fans to see, however it should put Naomi back into the championship picture on SmackDown Live!. It was also good to see a few of the NXT women, although the fact that they were sent out early was a disappointment.

Grade: C

Intercontinental Championship — Seth Rollins def. The Miz (c) and Finn Balor via pinfall (Pinned Miz)

If this was on any other WWE event, this would be considered a match good enough to be the Main Event. The Intercontinental Championship match was one of the best matches of the year, with Rollins now having a claim as a Grand Slam Champion.

The match is hard enough to describe, with the fans totally invested in it and the superstars performing some incredible sequences to receive the first “This is awesome” chant of the night. Finishing maneuvers were aplenty, but they were used effectively to build the match to its conclusion.

The Miz a Skull-Crushing Finale on Rollins from the top rope before Balor broke the pin with a Coup de Grace. Shortly after, Balor appeared to have the match won after a Coup de Grace on Miz until Rollins snuck in to hit The Stomp on Balor. Miz hit one more for Miz to get the pin and the title in a fantastic match.

Grade: A

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Charlotte Flair (c) def. Asuka

What. The. (Enter word of choice here). It seems that New Orleans is where streaks go to die, and the winner of the first Women’s Royal Rumble lost hers in a fantastic match. It was hard to go on after the Intercontinental Championship match, but Charlotte and Asuka managed to not only engage the crowd; but have them on the edge of their seats the whole time.

One of the highlights was a moonsault by Charlotte being turned into a Triangle Choke from Asuka, who reverse into a Boston Crab. Later on, Charlotte hit a ridiculous Spanish Fly from the top rope, before putting Asuka into her Figure Eight. Asuka tapping out was a shock to everyone, who expected the Japanese sensation to go over.

You can’t deny that this match was by far the best women’s match of the night, however the result left a few people with a sour taste in their mouth. It will be interesting to see what is next for Asuka, and whether she is staying on RAW or going to SmackDown Live!

Grade: A- 

United States Championship — Jinder Mahal def. Rusev (via pinfall), Randy Orton (c) and Bobby Roode

Unlike the SmackDown women’s match, the US Championship match couldn’t live up to the build. It was pretty common knowledge that Randy Orton was going to drop the title, but no one expected that Jinder Mahal would be the one to capture it.

What made it more surprising is that Rusev was the man to take the pinfall after being seen as the guy most likely to win it. Mahal’s win was overshadowed by the fact that Sunil Singh was basically the reason for the win, which was a repeat of his time as WWE Champion. The match itself wasn’t bad, but the result was.

Match Grade: C-… Result Grade: F

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle def. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

I had to re-watch this match a few times just to make sure that I was seeing this with my own eyes. Rondy Rousey looked incredible in the ring, despite her lackluster moves in the build up to ‘Mania.

A lot of fans were worried that Angle and Rousey wouldn’t be up to par considering the quick build to this, but it seems that Rousey was able to adopt her MMA style to the ring with beautiful effect. A few of the moves were a little sloppy, but the brute force in which they were delivered had the fans begging for more. The finish had everything, with reversed pedigrees into submission moves. Stephanie McMahon tapped out, and everyone seemed to love that. The question now, is what happens to Rousey and Angle?

Grade: A-

SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Bludgeon Brothers def. The New Day (via pinfall) and The Usos

This was short, sharp and the former Wyatt Family members got a massive push out of it. The surprising part isn’t that The New Day were the ones pinned, but it was that the match was as short as it was considering the calibre of the three teams in it.

Kofi Kingston ended up taking the pin after a second-rope powerbomb, and we were on our way after that. Nothing much else needs to be said.

Grade: D

The Undertaker def. John Cena via pinfall

It happened. It was teased, and it finally happened. Cena got the heads up after the Charlotte v Asuka match and hi-tailed it to the back. He comes out, we expect the Deadman and… Elias comes out. We get a performance from Elias, and Cena takes him to the cleaners. As Cena walks away… HE shows up.

Cena oversold in the ways in Dolph Ziggler does, or similar to how Shawn Michaels did in his match against Hulk Hogan. This was a short match, although The Undertaker looked as good as he had in years. It took a tombstone piledriver to send Cena into the depths of hell, as the Deadman took the win.

It wasn’t what we expected, and the Deadman could seemingly leave on his own terms now after Cena did the honors, but we know better than to question if the Undertaker is done.

Grade: C

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

The YES! movement saw their hero return from retirement to a tremendous ovation, as Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were condemned to the unemployment line by Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. With Bryan taken out by Owens and Zayn early on, it was up to Shane McMahon to take on the Yep! movement. He took it well, building up the match as the crowd anxiously waited for Daniel Bryan to come back.

When he did, New Orleans went absolutely bonkers. Bryan was back with his signature moves that sent the crown into a spiral of YES! chants and emotions. There were a million different ways that this match could have gone, but having Daniel Bryan put the YES! lock on Sami Zayn for the win just felt right. The match was pretty good, the crowd made it amazing.

Grade: B+

Raw Women’s Championship — Nia Jax def. Alexa Bliss (c)

This was not the championship that most thought was going to change, however the logic was the same. One would lose and one would win, and Nia Jax got her reward for the work she has put in with her first Wrestlemania win as well as the title.

The match itself was pretty good, with Jax taking out Mickie James early on to ensure that it would be one on one. The ring psychology and the storytelling within the match made it  rather worthwhile, with Bliss and Jax working really well together.

The Twisted Bliss from the ropes to the outside looked amazing, and the Samoan Drop from the second rope was a great way to finish off the match. There wasn’t much wrong with it, and it is a feud that should probably keep going for the next few months. That, of course, is assuming that Rousey doesn’t get a shot before then.

Grade: B

WWE Championship — AJ Styles def. Shinsuke Nakamura

This match wasn’t going to live up to the expectations that everyone had for it, however it also was quite the match for a few different reasons. Styles and Nakamura incorporated both the style accustomed to the WWE with that of New Japan Pro Wrestling to great effect. The use of injuries to tell a story worked well, with both competitors selling their issues well.

That isn’t the talking point though, with what happened after the match shocking everyone.

Shinsuke Nakamura just swerved the crap out of every wrestling fan in the world. This feud isn’t over, and this could lead to some fantastic matches down the road. It also begs the question as to what the plan is for the future. There was nothing wrong with the match, but the aftermath is incredible intriguing to say the very least.

Match Grade: B… Post-Match: A+

Raw Tag Team Championship — Braun Strowman & Nicholas def. The Bar (c)

A child is the RAW tag team champion with Braun Strowman. A child. Let that sink in for just a moment. It has taken almost 24 hours for that to sink into me and it still seems ridiculous.

The match was corny, cheesy and the fans ate it up. Strowman got the win after tagging in Nicholas, who tagged straight back out and Strowman hit Cesaro with the Powerslam for the win. I just… a child. The crowd is the only reason why this match gets a passing mark. Moving on.

Grade: C-

Universal Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) def. Roman Reigns

SURPRISE! The WWE saved its best swerve of the night for the final match of the night and it paid off big-time. The supposedly UFC bound Brock Lesnar hit half a dozen F5’s to Reigns to keep the Universal Championship, including one through the announce table.

Hard hitting would be a polite way to describe this match, with stiff knees and head-first suplexes being the way of the match. Suplex City was meant with Superman Punches, F5’s and Spears being sent both ways, it was just an all out brawl.

The crowd ate it up when Lesnar got the pin, exploding after the impossible seemingly was made possible. Where does that leave the Universal Championship though? Surely we are sick of seeing THE Champion off television for months at a time? Right?

Grade: B+


Overall, you would have to say that this was one of the best Wrestlemania’s in a very long time. The swerves shocked the crowd, the matches (for the most part) were captivating and the crowd bought into everything that was put in front of them. It’s going to make for a very interesting week after Wrestlemania, so only time can tell what will happen from here.

Event Grade: A-

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