I’ll Review Anything: Wrestlemania 34

Hiya!

There’s an old saying that goes “there is such a thing as too much of a good thing” and the WWE has been really testing this statement with their past Wrestlemania programs. If you include the Kickoff show, this year’s Grandest Stage of Them All clocks in at just over 7 hours! That’s a heavy time sink and, this year, I wasn’t able to cram in the ultra-lengthy Wrestlemania show in 1 day. I had to spread out the experience to 3 days because of my suddenly busy life. I wasn’t sure I was going to put out a review for this on the regular I’ll Review Anything day.

Thankfully, one of my co-writers here had a review ready and that took some of the pressure off me. But I am wasting a lot of time writing about that since there’s a whole lot to go through as I’ll have to go through a total of 11 matches and around 5 hours of wrestling! So let’s stop dilly-dallying and let’s go through each and every match that happened in this year’s Wrestlemania!


Match #1: Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor vs The Miz for WWE Intercontinental Championship!

This was a match that should be good and it didn’t disappoint!

Triple Threat matches in the WWE usually follow a pattern. It’ll start out with three participants then one of them gets tossed to the outside and the two remaining guys duke it out for a while until the guy from the outside gets back in. That guy then tosses someone else and they face off for a moment. Rinse and repeat until they get to the climax where everyone does their best stuff and someone emerges victorious. This didn’t happen as the trio of Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and The Miz were pretty much involved throughout the match! It was different and I loved it! There was an incredible amount of energy that pulsed through throughout the entire match and every moment was exciting to watch.

The finish was also excellent. The Miz reversed a move by Rollins and slammed his face into the mat from the top rope. The A-Lister went for the pin but Balor broke it up by delivering a Coup De Grace. Balor then revved up and then delivered another Coup De Grace on The Miz. Balor tried to roll Miz up to get the pin but The Kingslayer swooped in at the last second and delivered a Curb Stomp/Blackout on Balor. Rollins then delivered the exclamation point by performing another Curb Stomp/Blackout on The Miz to get the pinfall victory and become the NEW Intercontinental Champion!

This was a great match from start to finish. Everyone gave their best and it was just pure wrestling excitement from bell to bell. Everyone came out looking strong. The Miz came off the best as he took several finishers before getting pinned. Well played, WWE. This was a great start to Wrestlemania.

Rating: 9.0 of 10.0 finishers on the Miz


Match #2: Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

The Undefeated Streak vs The Championship.

I never really liked Asuka. I don’t hate her but her lack of promo skills, more specifically, her lack of English speaking skills, have hobbled her overall character. She managed to get away with being the kooky Japanese but that only gets you so far. Thankfully, she has some mad wrestling skills and matching her up with Charlotte, the current Smackdown Women’s Champion and someone who elevates her game when necessary, was a good decision by the WWE. This match certainly didn’t disappoint for the most part. There were definitely some never before seen action here and things moved at a really brisk pace for most of the match. Lots of neat near falls and fantastic reversals were the theme of the match and they all looked really good and natural.

The only thing I found disappointing was the kind of unexpected finish that seemed to come from nowhere. After The Empress of Tomorrow blocked a Figure Four attempt by The Queen, Asuka tried to lock in the Asuka Lock but Charlotte rolled her up for the near pin. Asuka then ran the ropes but Charlotte delivered a hard hitting spear. Charlotte went for the cover but Asuka kicked out. Charlotte then locked in the Figure Four then transitioned into the Figure Eight and Asuka taps out. Charlotte retained her Smackdown Women’s Championship and The Empress of Tomorrow congratulated her by saying she was ready for Asuka.

While I like the showing of good sportsmanship, Asuka’s English did make things sound weird. It also felt weird Charlotte would go for the Figure Eight immediately after the near fall as it felt so sudden. Having Asuka tap out just didn’t sit well with me as this was her first loss in the WWE and on the Grandest Stage of Them All no less. Still, there was a lot of good action here and it was enjoyable except for the finish.

Rating: 8.5 of 10.0 Figure Eights after a near fall


Match #3: Randy Orton vs Rusev DAY (with Aiden English) vs Jinder Mahal (with Sunil Singh) vs “Glorious” Bobby Roode for the WWE United States Championship

Did they really need to place so many guys in this one match? I think not!

Remember when I talked about the pattern for Triple Thread matches? Well, this Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship followed that plan to a tee. The sequences felt incredibly planned out and nothing felt organic as it was a purely by-the-numbers multiple man match. But that’s not what hurt the match. What made it look rather bland was the lack of intensity in the action. Everyone did get to do their signature stuff but it felt like they were ticking them off a checklist. No one seemed to give 100%, which is bad for something that’s supposed to be on Wrestlemania. It certainly didn’t help that it felt like they threw in Rusev DAY in at the last minute because the WWE Universe didn’t care about Randy Orton, “Glorious” Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal’s feud against each other.

The finish was rather cookie cutter but who came out with the belt was a surprise… because no one wants Jinder Mahal get another title run. He won through the predictable chaos that happens in any multiperson match. Roode blocked an RKO and reversed it into a Glorious DDT. Rusev DAY took out Roode with a Matcka Kick. The Bulgarian Brute then tried to kick The Modern Day Maharaja but Mahal ducked and tried to roll up Rusev DAY but only got a 2 count. Rusev DAY then connected with a kick to Mahal. Rusev DAY attempted to lock in the Accolade but Sunil Singh distracted The Super Athlete long enough for Mahal to recover and connect with the Khalass for the pinfall victory and become the NEW United States Champion.

Despite my complaints, I can’t really say this was a terrible match. Everyone did their roles perfectly and the action was just okay. But that’s exactly the problem with it: it’s just okay. Nothing exceptional and no one did anything to make it stand out except for the WWE giving another baffling title run to Jinder Mahal… because that worked out so well in the past, right?

Rating: 5.0 of 10.0 baffling Jinder Mahal wins


Match #4: Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

This is Ronda Rousey’s “sink or swim” match in the WWE. This will be the gauge if she can actually transition from the world of cage fighting to the WWE Universe of sports entertainment. In my opinion, she did a decent job.

The match itself was kind of a little too chaotic but the point of it all was to demonstrate that Ronda Rousey can actually “fake” fight. They didn’t take it easy on her as the WWE put her debut match on The Grandest Stage of Them All but she performed alright. She jawed at the referee like a WWE Superstar. She looked frustrated from not being able to get the tag from Kurt Angle like a WWE Superstar. She sold moves like a WWE Superstar. She did suplexes and arm bars like… well, an MMA fighter who’s playing it safe. It did seem she was holding back but I totally understand why as she was tossing around the CFO and the daughter of the guy who owns the company she’s now working for! Kudos to Stephanie McMahon for obliging herself to get hit by Ronda Rousey, by the way!

The finish came when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon got both Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey knocked down and they attempted to do Pedigrees on their foes. Angle managed to toss The Game over the top rope and Rousey used the distraction to lock in the arm bar and Stephanie McMahon immediately taps out. The match was fun for what it was and Ronda Rousey looked impressive or, at the very least, competent in the squared circle. The overall flow was good and the spots were fun to watch. It did seem that it went a little too long and there were times when things got a little too crazy but, hey, this is the world of sports entertainment. Thing are bound to get crazy!

Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 Ronda Rousey debuts


Match #5: The New Day vs The Usos vs The Bludgeon Brothers for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships

This should’ve been a good match. The Usos and The New Day have already had some classic battles in the past. The Bludgeon Brothers also have the potential of adding something new and brutal to the feud. So why was this a rather limp match?

Even though Triple Threat Tag matches are confusing as all heck but there still should be people tagging in and out at times. Here, there hardly were any proper tags and everyone just kept on beating each other. Sure, they took turns on walloping each other, especially Harper and Rowan, but I never got a full understanding who was actually legal or not. It was also a very spot heavy match but, since they kept on moving to each moment immediately, nothing left an impact. It felt rushed and like they were trying to cram everything in it in a short span of time.

The finish was pretty messy as well. Harper set up Kofi in the corner for a powerbomb off the second rope but Big E and the Usos managed to stun Harper for a moment. The Usos and Big E tried to do the superplex-powerbomb move on Harper but Rowan knocked everyone off his partner. Kofi then jumped to the corner and attempted a hurracarana of his own but Harper blocked it. Rowan grabbed Kofi and powerbombed him into the mat. The Bludgeon Brothers delivered a super sitout powerbomb on Kofi for the pinfall victory to become the NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions.

The match was just too chaotic and there was no time to really savor anything that happened. It moved too quickly and it’s like the rules were tossed out like Carmela during the Women’s Battle Royal. I guess the point of the match was to show what monsters the Bludgeon Brothers and they did dominate but they sacrificed what should’ve been a fantastic match in the process of doing this.

Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 ruleless Triple Threat Tag Matches


Match #5.5: John Cena vs Elias and John Cena vs The Undertaker

This was this year’s “intermission” moment and, well, it was a mixed bag.

During the lead up to Wrestlemania, John Cena challenged The Undertaker each and every week but The Deadman didn’t respond. The Undertaker didn’t respond so Cena attended the show as a fan, even sitting at ringside (which is odd considering he sad away fromĀ  Shane McMahon’s family, Brie Bella and The Rock’s family who got to sit behind the commetators booth). A referee gave him a message and Cena hopped the barricade and went backstage. He thought The Undertaker was there but, apparently, the referee made a mistake. But the lights went out and out came… Elias!

Elias then told Cena to go be a good little boy and get back to his seat while he sings a song. He of course riffs on John Cena and how he’s a loser… much like the people of New Orleans. This gets John Cena riled up and he once again jumps the barricade and beats down on Elias. Just as John Cena is about to leave, the lights go out and then the Undertaker’s duster and hat appears in the ring then disappears with some bad CGI lightning effect. The lights go out once again and that’s when we hear the iconic gong, signalling the return of The Deadman to Wrestlemania.

The Undertaker basically squashes John Cena in a satisfying fashion, performing all of his signature moves, like Old School and Snake Eyes. John Cena tries to get the upper hand with a back suplex. But, as Cena bounces off the ropes to deliver a Five Knuckle Shuffle, The Undertaker sits up, stunning Cena. One chokeslam and Tombstone piledriver later, The Undertaker raises his hand in victory.

I already made my feeling very clear about why I didn’t want The Undertaker to return in Wrestlemania, and this did little to dissuade me that it was a good idea. It was nice to see The Undertaker back in a way as the squash was entertaining. He also didn’t seem to miss a step all that much as he did all of his moves without a hitch. But you just know he can’t do the same stuff like jump over the top rope anymore. Yes, this quick beatdown on Cena made it look like he was okay but we all know he wasn’t. Entertaining but definitely not as memorable as any of The Undertaker’s other Wrestlemania moments.

Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 Undertaker returns


Match #6: Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

There is a stipulation for this match: if Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn win, they get their jobs back. But this gets lost in the shuffle as the more important bit of information is that this match is Daniel Bryan’s return to in-ring action for over 3 years! It wasn’t the gangbusters return I wanted but it was still a great show.

The thing that kind of messed it up for me was Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn blasting Bryan before the match and making it look like the Smackdown General Manager wouldn’t be able to compete. The WWE probably thought it was a good idea to add more drama so Bryan can make the heroic return. I do think they miscalculated and it would’ve been more fun to see the team of KO and Zayn isolate Shane and cutting off Bryan from making the tag like in a traditional match. This would allow the fans to see Daniel Bryan in the corner and perform instead of him writhing in pain, unseen by the camera.

When Bryan did return and eventually get in the match, he did so as if nothing happened. He moved around like the Daniel Bryan of old. I did notice that he didn’t do any of his more risky signature moves. He didn’t do the diving headbutt nor did he do a suicide dive to the outside, which makes sense as those are movies that could break someone’s neck. But he was totally fine with doing his other moves like the dropkicks in the corner, his jumping knee strike, missile dropkicks and even his backflip from the turnbuckles.

The finish came after Shane took out Owens, which left Zayn and Bryan in the ring. Sami Zayn berated Byran but this only got Bryan fired up. Bryan struck Zayn with a flurry of slaps and a barrage of Yes kicks. Bryan followed all this up with a running knee strike and he then cinched in the Yes lock for the submission victory. I could’ve gone without the false Daniel Bryan injury as they could’ve gotten the desired reaction without doing that. The beatdown on Shane McMahon also took a little too long as we all wanted to see was Bryan return to action as soon as possible. Things did get a whole lot better when he did but the start was kind of a bummer.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0 Yes kicks


Match #7: Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship

I was really hoping for Alexa Bliss to retain but… oh, well.

The match started out strong with Jax taking out Mickie James early so she wouldn’t get the chance to interfere. I really liked it and it was smart for The Irresistible Force to do this, which does make me wonder why other wrestlers don’t do the same. Nia Jax dominated the majority of the match with her power but The Goddess did get some licks in with some underhanded tactics like eye pokes and targeting the legs. But this was mostly Nia Jax’s time to show her power and she was impressive. The start was strong and those screams when they faced each other actually made me laugh.

Strangely enough, things really slowed down when Little Miss Bliss took control. I may be a huge Alexa Bliss fan (maybe because we look so alike?) but she just wasn’t capable of performing enough technical attacks to make it seem as if she can realistically take out Nia Jax. The finish came after Bliss went for her DDT but Jax powered out and performed an Alamaba Slam on The Goddess. Jax wasn’t done, though. The Irresistible Force picked up Bliss and scooped her up for a Samoan Drop from the second turnbuckle to become the NEW Raw Women’s Champion.

The match started out really strong but petered out towards the end. Jax looked really good but, as much as I love Bliss, she just slowed things down a little too much. Maybe if Little Miss Bliss worked on the leg a little more instead of relying on eye rakes the entire time, it would’ve been more entertaining when she took control. Or they could’ve went the opposite direction and just made Jax dominate from bell to bell. As it is, it’s just okay.

Rating: 5.5 of 10.0 screaming Alexa Blisses


Match #8: AJ Styles vs Shinusuke Nakamura for the Smackdown WWE World Heavyweight Championship

You know when you have high hopes for something to be good and then you’re disappointed because it didn’t meet those lofty standards you set for it? Well, the Wrestlemania match between AJ Styles and Shinusuke Nakamura for the Smackdown WWE World Heavyweight Championship is a case study on that very phenomenon. These two are really good wrestlers. Not WWE Superstars. No, AJ Styles and Shinusuke Nakamura are very good wrestlers. As in they’ve performed all over the world and they even competed against each other in some really breathtaking and impressive matches before.

So everyone’s expectations were sky high for their Wrestlemania match. Unfortunately, they didn’t meet the enormous hype people built for it. The match’s biggest issue is that, well, they played it safe. I felt Styles and Nakamura kind of dumbed the action down and made it much more tame. It’s like they got stuck on second gear and they never took things up a notch for some strange reason. The King of Strong Style didn’t hit hard enough and the Phenomenal 1 just seemed above average. Then again, this did seem like an adequate match. But that’s the thing: it was just adequate and didn’t have the ball busting action we expected or needed to see from them.

The finish came unceremoniously after Shinusuke Nakamura slammed Styles with a reverse Xploder suplex. The Artist then signaled for the Kinsasha but The Phenomenal 1 rolled Nakamura up into the Styles Clash for the pinfall victory to retain. After the win, it seemed like Nakamura was going to be a gracious loser but no. The Artist decides to get creative with Styles crotch and delivers a stunning low blow, signalling a massive heel turn for the character.

I’m really pained to give this match an average rating. It’s a functional match but it failed to come close to the slobberknocker it promised. It was a good match but the extreme hype of it being a “dream match” between the two made it seem like a lackluster outing. The heel turn was a surprise and it did make me curious on how this will affect Smackdown moving forward. But the match as a whole was just disappointing.

Rating: 5.5 of 10.0 low blows


Match #9: Braun Strowman and a mystery partner vs The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) for the Raw Tag Team Championship

This will be a tough match to review as I’m of two minds regarding what happened.

Kurt Angle deemed that Braun Strowman needed a tag team partner for his match against the Raw Tag Team Champs, The Bar, despite The Monster Among Men saying he doesn’t need one. So, who did Strowman pick to be his partner? Nicolas. Who is Nicolas, you may ask? Some random kid in the audience, of course!

Anyway, Braun stayed in the match for the majority of in and dominated The Bar. Sheamus and Cesaro did eventually beat down Braun so… Braun actually tagged in Nicolas! Nicolas immediately tagged The Monster Among Men back in. Smart kid. Cesaro attempts his corkscrew forearm but Strowman catches him in mid-air and does a powerslam on The Swiss Cyborg for the pinfall victory. Braun and Nicolas are now in in the record books as the NEW Raw Tag Team Champions.

Now, the hardcore wrestling fan in me detests this match. It makes Sheamus and Cesaro look like chumps… despite their opponent being Braun Strowman who has shown to be a truly dominant force of nature in Raw. It also felt like a waste of a spot as Nicolas could’ve been some WWE Legend which would’ve gotten a huge pop. And yet, the kid in me, who has loved the world of sports entertainment because it’s so goofy and has the ability to make it seem like anything is possible, can’t help but love the WWE for picking some kid in the audience… even though we know Nicolas is actually the son of the referee who called the match. It’s the gesture that counts as this did seem like a magical moment and I just couldn’t help but imagine myself in that kid’s shoes, being able to stand on the ring apron and actually participate in an official match and win a title, no less. And who the heck is cynical enough to crap on the dreams of a kid? Certainly not the WWE!

The kid in me and the cynical wrestling fan did battle it out and the kid won. So I’m giving it a positive rating. I understand that this is a bad match but it just left a warm feeling in my heart.

Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 kid dreams coming true


Match #10: Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the RAW WWE Universal Championship

This was bad. I don’t care if you like Roman Reigns or you’re a huge fan of Brock Lesnar. This was a bad match. What can I say about this match? Brock dominated the early part of the match with a variety of suplexes. Reigns did attempt a minor comeback run but this was still The Beast dominating throughout practically the entire match.

To make matters worse, the finish, which was probably scripted to make Reigns look like a tough guy, just infuriated fans. Essentially, Brock Lesnar delivered several F5s to Reigns, even one through the announce table, but The Big Dog kicked out of every pinfall attempt after them. Lesnar then literally took the gloves off and punched Reigns in the face, bloodying him. Lesnar took Reigns up for another F5 but The Big Dog fought out of it and delivered a couple of spears. Reigns went for the pin but Lesnar kicked out. Reigns went for another spear but The Beast reversed it and connected with a 6th and final F5 for the pinfall victory and to retain the WWE Universal Championship.

A big problem with this match was the terrible pacing. It was slow and lumbering. Sure, Lesnar sent Reigns to Suplex City but it was him just moseying around the ring most of the time. Reigns didn’t help anything as he was a rag doll for most of the match. But the worst part of it was the finish. What’s the sense of delivering several F5s to Reigns only for him to get pinned by the 6th? It served no one and it just annoyed fans.

Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 kickouts out of the F5


Overall Rating for Wrestlemania 34

The first few matches of this year’s Wrestlemania were pretty good and most of them were enjoyable. The biggest issue I have with it is the main event for the WWE Universal Championship as it was a dud through and through. Wrestlemania is like a dinner party wherein the appetizers, the Intercontinental and Smackdown Women’s matches, were totally divine. You then get served the next few courses, which are the other matches like The Undertaker’s return and World Heavyweight Championship bout, which were good but lacking spice. Then you’re served the dessert course, the Raw Tag Team and Universal Championship matches, and they just leave a weird aftertaste in your mouth that spoils the entire meal for you.

Wrestlemania 34 feels like a dud but, if you really look back at it, it wasn’t so bad.

Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 10-year olds as the Raw Tag Team Champions


What did you think of this year’s Wrestlemania? Let me know in the comments section below!

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