We have arrived. It’s FINALLY time for the biggest night of the wrestling year and that means we’re in New Orleans for “Wrestlemania XXXIV”. There’s a huge card with some top level title matches, Daniel Bryan’s long awaited in-ring return and a few questions about what we may or may not be seeing. The card is actually stacked, but it’s hard to say what we might be seeing with all of the wild cards that might be thrown our way. It’s time to break the whole thing down so let’s get to it.

Raw Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss(c) vs. Nia Jax

I figured I’d start with what should be the shortest match on the card. This story is built around the idea of Bliss bullying the much bigger Jax for both her looks and her size, which has gotten to Jax after having heard this all her life. It’s turned Jax into a monster who wants to destroy Bliss once and for all. Jax has never won a title and Bliss has taken out almost everyone else, but now it’s time for the showdown.

Asuka & Dana Brooke vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James: Raw, April 2, 2018

Based on the story that has been told, this should be Jax squashing Bliss in under two minutes. Bliss can get in a few shots, but Jax should just snap up, throw Bliss into the corner, and wreck her in short order. There’s no reason to believe that Bliss can hang with her in a straight fight. Jax needs to destroy her once and for all, which is exactly what this has been setting up for.

Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal

After all the controversy over Fabulous Moolah, it’s time to get down to the actual point…and it’s really hard to care. We just saw a much bigger and more important women’s battle royal about two months ago and now we’re supposed to get fired up for this. I haven’t been able to care about it for the most part as it’s just a match that we’ve seen recently without much else to it.

Bayley and Sasha Banks brawl backstage: Raw, March 26, 2018

I’ll take…Bayley to win the thing I guess, as she and Sasha Banks are pretty clearly ready for a big time feud. Other than that though, who else is supposed to win the thing? A lot of the names in the thing (of fourteen announced) are just cannon fodder and that leaves a handful of options to win the match. Other than that the only real options (barring a big surprise entrant) are Banks and Becky Lynch, unless you have someone out of left field win it and then go nowhere as a result.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Usos(c) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers

There were rumors that this would be a TLC match and of course that’s always an option as WWE has added stipulations at the last minute before. The Bludgeon Brothers have looked like the most dominant teams in a good while despite almost never winning a major match yet. The Usos and New Day have been awesome against each other, but it’s hard to say what we might see with the monsters included.

Big E & Jimmy Uso vs. The Bludgeon Brothers: SmackDown LIVE, March 13, 2018

I was going to go with the Bludgeon Brothers here but really, I could see the Usos retaining and then the Bludgeon Brothers taking the titles in a regular match. It wouldn’t make any sense and would be straight up dumb, but that’s the kind of thing WWE excels at. The Bludgeon Brothers are going to wind up with the titles at some point in the near future, but I just don’t think it’s here.

Intercontinental Title: The Miz(c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

This was almost a guaranteed layup title change (not sure who would have been winning) but then Miz became a father. Earlier this week on “Monday Night Raw”, Miz gave one of the most heartfelt speeches you’ll ever hear when he talked about looking at his daughter for the first time and wanting her to be proud of him. It almost turned Miz face on the spot and that made me wonder if things were as simple as they seemed. Throw in Miz being less than a month away from the most days as champion and it’s just not such an easy win.

Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor: Raw, April 2, 2018

I’ll take Rollins to win the title here though, as WWE seems like the kind of place that would forget what they did on Monday and go with their regular plans. Rollins getting the big win would be a nice boost for him, even though Balor needs the win more. I’d rather have Miz retain and set the record, but it would be a stretch to ignore that speech from Miz on Monday as it was that good.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Charlotte(c) vs. Asuka

While the Raw Women’s Title match is built up as a definitive end for the Bliss vs. Jax feud, this one is more about the long term storytelling. Asuka’s undefeated streak is one of the best streaks of all time and now she’s likely going to win a main card title. However, the question then is who stops Asuka down the road. Is it Ronda Rousey down the line or Charlotte here?

Asuka thinks Charlotte is the underdog in their match: WrestleMania Diary

But yeah, I’m not going with any kind of a surprise here as I’m taking Asuka winning the title here as Charlotte can get a rematch in a month or so. Asuka can defend a few times before setting up the real showdown with Rousey either at “Summerslam 2018” or “Wrestlemania XXXV” but she wins here. Charlotte will be fine and a heel turn with her chasing the title could be interesting as well.

Cruiserweight Title: Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

Actually, this might be the match that has grabbed my interest more than anything else. They’ve turned this match into something that I actually want to see and I never would have guessed that would be possible. Either guy could pull this off and it’s going to be fun to see which way they wind up going to crown a new champion.

Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak & TJP: Raw, March 26, 2018

Really though, I think they have to go with Alexander. He’s come up short too many times before to have him lose yet again. Let Alexander FINALLY get the title and move on from there. I don’t want Ali to turn heel, even if both guys have been teasing turning in recent weeks. There’s no need to turn either here though as you can wait for that for later. For now though, Alexander needs to win and we can move on from there.

Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens

This is one of the most dangerous things WWE is doing. Not with putting Bryan back in the ring, but possibly with having everything going off the rails in short order. There’s a real chance that McMahon turns on Bryan here, but I’m really not writing off the idea of Bryan turning. It would be the dumbest idea in the world, but that’s why I think WWE might actually pull the trigger.

Bryan & McMahon have a WrestleMania warning for Owens & Zayn: SmackDown LIVE, Apr. 3, 2018

I’ll go with some hope though and say Bryan and McMahon win clean to send Owens and Zayn to “Raw”. I’m not sure who would be the next boss on “Smackdown Live” as there’s no reason to have Bryan around, especially if McMahon is taking a leave of absence (which likely means he’s done) but Bryan and McMahon winning to end the story makes the most sense. A turn isn’t out of the question, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt this time.

Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Now if the Bryan/McMahon match had the potential to be great or a mess, this one is even stronger. They’ve built this up as a dream match for several months now and really, I’m not sure how well it’s going to go. If they have the time to put in and tear the house down, everything is going to be fine and they’ll rock the place. If they don’t get the time though, it’s nowhere near what they’re capable of doing. The match could be great, but it’s all about the execution and which Nakamura shows up.

AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin: SmackDown LIVE, April 3, 2018

I’ll take Styles to retain though. This has been coming off as nearly a layup with Nakamura coming in, kicking Styles really hard and kneeing him in the face to win the title. The problem is that it seems too simple. It’s like they’re setting it up so perfectly that it doesn’t make sense to have Styles lose here. I have no idea who takes the title from Styles down the road, but I don’t think it’s Nakamura here. Just an instinct, so get ready for Nakamura’s dancing celebration.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This is very similar to the Women’s Battle Royal as almost no one jumps out as a likely winner. However, this time around I’m expecting more surprise names to show up and potentially win the thing. That makes for some hard guessing though as you never know who might actually be in the match. You might get someone big but at the same time you might get someone like Mojo Rawley last year, which came out of the neighborhood across the road behind left field.

FULL MATCH - Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: WrestleMania 32 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Based on the names we have at the moment though, Matt Hardy seems like the best option, but I could easily see him getting eliminated so Michael Cole can make a joke about how Hardy’s nonsense didn’t get him anywhere and he lost in the end anyway. That’s such a WWE thing to do and it wouldn’t shock me in the least. If it’s a surprise entrant, I’ll go with…..Samoa Joe, even if him returning on “Raw” would make more sense.

Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs. HHH/Stephanie McMahon

Please don’t do it, please don’t do it, please don’t do it. PLEASE don’t let McMahon be competitive with Rousey here. You don’t have a chance like this ever day (or every few years even) and the last thing that WWE or Rousey needs is to have to sell for McMahon, no matter how great her trainer says she is or how AWESOME it is that she works out at night and has three kids and is a media queen who got where she is entirely by herself or whatever her latest campaign is between receiving all those totally awesome awards.

Stephanie McMahon trains for Ronda Rousey and WrestleMania 34

Again, I’m going to give WWE the benefit of the doubt and assume that they won’t manage to screw up what should be unscrewupable. Rousey can be beaten down for a bit (preferably by HHH) but this match needs to end with Rousey grabbing McMahon’s arm and snapping it like a twig. That’s what this story has been calling for and that’s where it needs to go. Angle vs. HHH is irrelevant. Just give us the Rousey that can be a big deal and go from there.

US Title: Randy Orton(c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal

If there was ever a nacho break match, this is it. Rusev is the only interesting one of them in the first place and calling him interesting is a stretch as WWE barely allows him to do anything. That being said, I can’t imagine them giving him the title because he’s from Bulgaria and there aren’t nearly enough potential WWE Network subscribers there. It’s not like he’s crazy popular in the United States and could sell you merchandise and draw ratings to make up the difference. That’s just lunacy.

Randy Orton & Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal & Rusev: SmackDown LIVE, March 27, 2018

Alas, I think I’ll take Mahal to win. WWE LOVES pushing this guy for various annoying reasons and while it seems like the perfect time to have Rusev (the smart pick) or Orton (the safe pick) win, I’ll take them to go with the dumbest idea they have and give it to Mahal. After all: the 1.3 billion people weren’t interested in him as WWE Champion, but as UNITED STATES CHAMPION, it’s a totally different situation. As much as I’d love a fast RKO or for Rusev to CRUSH, it’s likely Mahal because WWE doesn’t like the fans that keep watching every week.

Raw Tag Team Titles: The Bar(c) vs. Braun Strowman/???

So who ya got? This is one of the biggest questions marks on the show as there are several ways you could go with the partner. You could have Alexa Bliss to play off their chemistry in “Mixed Match Challenge”, Curt Hawkins to pay off the losing streak, James Ellsworth for the funny cameo or Elias to bring back their recent one sided feud.

The Bar meet "Brains Strowman": Raw, April 2, 2018

Since it’s WWE and they’re not the most subtle organization in the world, I’ll take Elias, who has done nothing in recent weeks (other than be awesome of course) but was involved with Strowman a few weeks back, to team with Strowman and win the titles. It doesn’t make a ton of sense but with Elias promising to be at “Wrestlemania” and not saying what he’s doing, they’re telegraphing it pretty hard. I’m not sure what sense this makes for Strowman, but putting him in this match in the first place didn’t either so why stop there?

Raw World Title: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Roman Reigns

This should be five minutes long. Really that’s what I see when I look at this. With Lesnar leaving for the UFC all but guaranteed, it makes next to no sense to have him be competitive here. If you want Reigns to be THE GUY (THIS TIME FOR SURE!), the answer is to have him do what no one else could (well save for Goldberg in that still annoying run): beat Lesnar, but do it so fast that it’s all anyone remembers.

Roman Reigns is brutally ambushed by Brock Lesnar: Raw, March 19, 2018

So yeah of course Reigns should win here. If nothing else he needs to as I can’t bear the idea of seeing him given this kind of a push for another year. Besides, once he wins the title, WWE can realize that he’s already beaten everyone around and there’s not much of a point in doing this whole thing in the first place. Lesnar isn’t going to care about working a short match so make Reigns look like the giant slayer in the short form rather than the long and do something interesting.

Overall Thoughts

I’m pleasantly surprised by the card so far. There’s a potentially great show in there, but again the run time is just going to kill it. Thankfully the ramp shouldn’t be quite so long this year, which could legitimately shave a good fifteen minutes off of the show. Some of the matches are classics waiting to happen and if that’s what we get in New Orleans, we’re just that lucky.

Then there’s the elephant in the room with John Cena vs. the Undertaker. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t want to see this match. WWE had their chance to do this match several times (“Wrestlemania XXX”, Wrestlemania XXXI”, “Wrestlemania XXXIII” and probably more) but they chose to go other ways, like giving “Total Divas” a storyline instead. I don’t need to see Undertaker doing this again and it would be nice if he stayed retired.

The ONLY thing I could live with here is a brawl which sees neither coming out ahead. There doesn’t need to be a future match and there doesn’t need to be a match here. Just let it be over and done with while Cena does some stupid antics for part of the night, basically being the unofficial host for the show. But yeah, there’s going to be a match and Cena is likely winning. There’s no way around that and I have no idea why I’m supposed to get excited about ONE MORE FIGHT when there’s probably a three disc DVD set of Undertaker’s ONE MORE FIGHT ready to be made.

Overall, I’m excited, and that’s a nice feeling to have.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 26 wrestling books. His latest book is the WWE Grab Bag.

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