Breaking Down WrestleMania 34

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The biggest show of the year in all of professional wrestling, WrestleMania, is almost upon us. The biggest stars in the WWE will all come together to create one magical night, sealing and delivering a year’s worth of storylines, feuds, brawls, drama, and buildup. The eyes of the professional wrestling world will be set on this extravaganza in New Orleans, Louisiana, and this year’s show will feature no shortage of amazing action packed into one night.

Past WrestleMania moments have set the tone of professional wrestling for years to come, and you can expect to see some similar magic from this years show, which will feature everything from the emotional return of Daniel Bryan to in ring competition, to the in ring debut of Ronda Rousey, and a match being dubbed by many as a “dream match” (despite the fact it’s been seen before, but why let facts get in the way of a good story, right?). When the dust settles at the end of Sunday night, or early Monday morning if the show goes like last year, what can we all expect to see? Well, lets try and take a crack at that here.

Breaking Down WrestleMania 34

Let’s start this off by talking about a match which isn’t officially on the card, but many fans still expect to see happen:

John Cena vs. The Undertaker.

This is a match that WWE fans have been clamoring for for years, and although both wrestlers are now past their prime days, especially Taker, fans alike are still anxious to see these two industry legends collide in New Orleans. The only problem is, as of right now, Undertaker has not been confirmed for the show, or for that matter, heard of at all since he cut a very vague promo back at the 25th Anniversary Episode of Monday Night Raw in January, his one and only appearance in the WWE since being defeated by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 last year.

Cena has done his part, calling out Taker on RAW week after week with promos that have been very edgy, almost heel like, but as of now, Taker has not issued any form of response or indication that he will be in New Orleans on Sunday. If these two collide on Sunday, they could have a decent match, but it won’t be anything special, because although Cena can still go, Taker clearly cannot. My gut says that we don’t see this match happening, but if we do, expect a decent match in which Cena should come out on top.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander

These two cruiserweights can simply bring it. Flat out just bring it. The only problem is, the cruiserweight division as a whole has been sorely lacking ever since Neville took his ball and went home back in late September. Making matters worse was when Enzo Amore was released from the company while holding the title back in January, and the division has not had a champion ever since. Instead, new general manager Drake Maverick (yeah, I can’t get used to that name either) created a cruiserweight tournament in which the divisions wrestlers have been competing for a shot at the title, with the new champion being crowned this Sunday at WrestleMania.

And while it’s good to see the division getting a title match at Mania, the build to this match has been hampered by the fact that most people simply do not watch 205 Live or care that much about the cruiserweight division. But as for the match itself, both Ali and Alexander can both put on a show, but the only question is, will the crowd be into it? I think Alexander will wind up picking up the win, because he has been very close to having the title in his hands in the past and this feels like the tie in which he will finally go over and be crowned champion.

Winner And NEW Cruiserweight Champion: Cedric Alexander

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal is always a good way to get most of the roster onto the show to be able to say they competed at WrestleMania. This is the match where you usually see a couple of surprise competitors too. But as of this point, the match has been used as a way to give one superstar a WrestleMania moment and not much more.

Cesaro won the inaugural version but didn’t really find a strong foothold until teaming up with Sheamus and becoming a fantastic tag team (more on those two later). Big Show won the following year, which was a nice nod to him because he has always drawn obvious comparisons to Andre The Giant because of his size. Two years ago, Baron Corbin came up from NXT and won, and while he has found moderate success, he now finds himself without a match at WrestleMania this year and is back in the battle royal once again. And last year, Mojo Rawley won the battle royal, and aside from a very brief feud with his former tag team partner Zack Ryder, Rawley has been relegated to backstage catering week after week rather than a prominent role on SmackDown Live. As of right now, 14 men have currently been confirmed for this years battle royal, and more will follow the night of Mania.

But one guy who I think will get the nod this year is Dolph Ziggler. He had a brief flirtation with the United States Championship after it was rumored that he was considering leaving the WWE when his contract expires, and having him win the battle royal on Sunday feels like another way for the WWE to give Ziggler a moment that was worth him signing a contract extension a couple of months ago. This isn’t a confident pick at all, mainly because you never know how these battle royals will go, but my gut says that Ziggler goes over.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

The Inaugural WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

The last two years have been history making for the WWE women’s division. It started a couple of years ago at WrestleMania when the divas tag was removed from the division, and has continued with matches like the first women’s Hell In A Cell match, and most recently the first women’s Royal Rumble match in January. This year, the women will make history again when they compete in the first WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal match.

The biggest twist of this is that women from NXT will also be competing alongside the women from RAW and SmackDown Live, which makes a lot of sense, basically because the RAW and SmackDown Live women’s rosters aren’t big enough to hold a compelling over the top rope battle royal. As with the men’s battle royal, it’s hard to say who will win this because of the unpredictable nature of a battle royal, but a lot of good storylines are certainly at play, mainly the splintering friendship between Bayley and Sasha Banks, which will certainly boil over during this match.

But when the dust settles, I think Natalya will come out on top. She’s been a staple in the division for a long time now and hasn’t had a whole lot of glory moments, and having her win the inaugural WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal seems like a good way to give a nod to a wrestler who has given her all to the company for over 10 years.

Winner: Natalya

RAW Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax

Simmering tensions between two former best friends will finally boil over on Sunday when Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax collide for the RAW women’s title. Bliss has held the title since August 8th, 2017 when she defeated Banks, and has not defended the title many times since then. Jax, meanwhile, has been booked as a dominant force in the WWE since her arrival to the main roster after being drafted by RAW in July of 2016, but has yet to hold the women’s championship, and spent a lot of her time as a bodyguard for Bliss.

But a few weeks ago, Bliss and Mickie James were caught in a backstage segment body shaming Jax, turning her face for the first time in her career and setting up a match between the two of them for the title at WrestleMania. Jax has been pushed towards a title coronation for quite a while, and the cousin of The Rock seems destined to win the title at Mania on Sunday. Even though Bliss will get in a couple of cheap shots, presumably with help from James, eventually Nia Jax will pick up the pinfall and take her place as the soon to be dominant women’s champion of RAW.

Winner and NEW RAW Women’s Champion: Nia Jax

United States Championship Fatal Four Way Match: Randy Orton (C) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev

This is one of the more intriguing matches on the card. Orton won the championship from Roode at FastLane, giving him the Grand Slam Champion tag, or a superstar who has won every active title on the main roster at least once in their careers. Since then, Orton has been RKO’ing everyone out of nowhere who dares to get in his way. Roode was owed his rematch, and then Mahal, who already had a rivalry with Roode brewing due to the SmackDown Live Top 10 list, would get involved. And THEN, in stepped Rusev, who took advantage of getting Rusev Day over with the crowd, and voila, you have an intriguing Fatal Four Way match for the US Title.

It feels like Orton was given the US Title to allow him to complete the Grand Slam, while keeping the title warm long enough to allow someone to get a rub off of him at WrestleMania. And while Rusev is no doubt the crowd favorite in this match, something tells me that Vince McMahon isn’t thrilled that Rusev took the Rusev Day chant, got it over, and practically flipped himself from a heel to a face, so don’t look for Rusev to take the title home. At the end of the day, this feels like a way to put the United States Championship back on Roode while giving him his long overdue WrestleMania moment after spending so many years with TNA and NXT.

Winner And NEW United States Champion: Bobby Roode

RAW Tag Team Title Match: Sheamus And Cesaro (C) vs. Braun Strowman And ????

Sheamus and Cesaro have had quite a year. They have solidified themselves as the best tag team on RAW by taking down any and all challenges, but will face a unique challenge at WrestleMania. Braun Strowman has been the hottest superstar on the roster over the last year and has been destroying anything and everything in his path, so much to the point that he won a tag team battle royal on his own a couple of weeks ago to earn a shot at the tag team titles, and has since been mandated by GM Kurt Angle to find a tag partner for WrestleMania. So, two things are at play here…who will Strowman choose, and who will win the match?

Lots of names have been thrown around here, Elias, Big Show, even perhaps a repackaged Bray Wyatt to name a few. But in the end, I think it would be perfect if we get the return of an injured, but cleared to return, Samoa Joe. Joe and Strowman as a team would be a powerful, destructive force that could cause a lot of havoc for a while. And then, down the line, they could turn on each other, drop the titles, and have a great feud that could last a month or two and set up a potential number one contenders showdown for the Universal Championship, but more on that later. But regardless of who Strowman’s partner is, he’ll be the one having his hand raised at the end of this match and culminate a year of destruction with championship gold.

Winner And NEW RAW Tag Team Champions: Braun Strowman And ??? (Samoa Joe)

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: The Usos (C) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers

The Usos as heels have been one of the more refreshing things in the WWE over the last couple of years, and as a result they have had a couple of extended reigns as the SmackDown tag team champions. Along the way, they have had some fantastic matches with the New Day over the last year and have traded the belts with them on a couple of occasions, but have still managed to find ways to keep the matches fresh and entertaining. Now, they will clash again on the grandest stage of them all, but both teams also face a challenge from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, who have been repackaged as the Bludgeon Brothers and have been destroying everything that gets in their way for the last couple of months.

Yet again, the WWE has found a way to make the Usos/New Day rivalry fresh, while also introducing a credible threat to both teams. If given enough time, this could be a great match, but when it’s all said and done, The Usos will be standing tall and retaining their tag team titles. Can you believe The Usos have been relegated to the pre-show the last five WrestleMania’s? That should change this year.

Winner And STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The Usos

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka

This match should be nothing short of incredible. Charlotte Flair is already a four time WWE Women’s Champion and has been the current SmackDown Women’s Champion since defeating Natalya in November. And then there’s Asuka, The Empress Of Tomorrow, who has not lost a match since signing with the WWE in 2015. She won the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble match in January and earned the right to challenge whichever champion she wanted, and despite being on RAW, chose to challenge Charlotte on SmackDown instead.

So, it’s really legacy vs. undefeated streak in this match, which will culminate at WrestleMania and could potentially be the biggest women’s match in WWE history. The buildup has been a little bit slow, mainly because the two are on different shows and never had a face to face meeting until this weeks go home episode of SmackDown. But that being said, this match should be nothing short of incredible, because Charlotte and Asuka are probably the two best women’s wrestlers in the world today. And while Asuka’s undefeated streak will eventually come to an end, the question is, will Charlotte be the one to do it? And will it be this Sunday?

At the end of the day, I think they’ve built up Asuka for far, far too long to not have her win the championship on Sunday in her first shot at a title, so I think she’ll go over Charlotte and win the championship in a fantastic match. But don’t worry about Charlotte, because after all she’s the daughter of Ric Flair, so I think she’ll be just fine.

Winner And NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Asuka

Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match: The Miz (C) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Mark my words, this match will be the match of the night. Three of the most talented superstars in the WWE go at it for the Intercontinental Championship in a match that could easily steal the show if given the right amount of time to do so. In fact, don’t be surprised if this match opens the main card to get the crowd going and into it. The Miz is one of the most successful Intercontinental Champions in the history of the WWE, and is quite possibly in the midst of the best 2-3 year stretch in his entire career. And then there’s Seth Rollins…..Seth Freakin’ Rollins…..and Finn Balor, who themselves are both talented, well rounded, and skilled like few others in the industry today. Putting the three of them together in the same match?

Sounds like match of the night potential to me. I think Miz drops the title here, because he and Maryse just had their first child and my guess is the company will be willing to give him a little bit of time off after all he has done for them between in ring work and movie making. Rollins and Balor are both due for huge years, and it’s been a hot minute since Rollins had a singles title around his waist after holding the WWE Title until he was injured (2015 heel Seth Rollins is so, so, so good), and I think he wins the IC Title and carries it around for a while, while Balor moves on to bigger things…..like his Universal Title rematch that he never got.

Winner And NEW Intercontinental Champion: Seth Rollins

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

Boy, talk about a match coming together at the last second. After being forced to retire a couple years ago, Bryan was medically cleared to return to in ring competition two short weeks ago, and immediately finds himself thrown into a WrestleMania return against a couple of guys he knows well from his Ring Of Honor days in Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Throw Shane McMahon into the match as well and you have an all out power struggle, as events from the last year involving these four will finally culminate in the ring at WrestleMania.

Owens and Zayn are both fantastic workers that will help get the best out of Bryan in his return to the ring, and will help to carry McMahon along as well. Add into that the fact that Owens and Zayn are gone from SmackDown if they lose, and things get real interesting. So, now the question becomes this…obviously if Owens and Zayn lose, they’ll wind up on RAW, but can the WWE put them on RAW and take two of their biggest draws off of SmackDown? For that reason alone, I think Zayn and Owens pick up the win. Bryan will get some spots obviously, but the WWE can’t lose Zayn and Owens off of SmackDown, because they are two of the hottest guys on the show right now.

Winners: Sami Zayn And Kevin Owens

Kurt Angle And Ronda Rousey vs. Stephanie McMahon And Triple H

The moment many people have been waiting for will finally happen when Ronda Rousey makes her in ring debut, teaming with Kurt Angle against the power couple of the WWE in Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. This moment for Rousey has been in the works ever since WrestleMania 32 two years ago when she had a brief run in with McMahon, Triple H and The Rock, and while lots of people were hoping those four would reunite in a wrestling ring someday for an actual match, having Angle as the replacement for The Rock is definitely not a bad trade off.

After a couple of weeks it’s quite clear that Rousey still needs a TON of work on the microphone, but her in ring work will finally be on display on Sunday night. Expect for this match to be carried by Angle and Triple H for a while, which will be fantastic in itself because those two are two of the best wrestlers of our generation. But in the end, Rousey will get the big spot because this match is all about setting her up as a force going forward. So, look for Angle and Triple H to carry things, but for Rousey to get the win over McMahon in the end, because at the end of the day, its what’s Best For Business.

Winners: Kurt Angle And Ronda Rousey

WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

AJ Styles is arguably the best wrestler in the world, and Shinsuke Nakamura has been a fantastic wrestler in multiple promotions around the world for over 10 years. Putting these two together on the biggest stage in all of professional wrestling is such a great move on the part of the WWE. Most people are dubbing this a “dream match”, and while it may be a dream match in terms of the WWE, it’s not a dream match because these two already clashed at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in what was a fantastic match. Nakamura won the Royal Rumble and immediately declared he was facing Styles at WrestleMania, but since the Rumble he hasn’t been building a ton of momentum and has been relatively an outsider in terms of the main picture.

But that won’t matter come Sunday, because if given the correct amount of time and the ability to tell a story and put on a match in their style, these two will show the world what those who missed Wrestle Kingdom 10 should know, which is that they can tear the house down. Now, in terms of who wins, this is an interesting conundrum. Styles doesn’t need to win, because he is plenty good enough to regain the title whenever he wants. But Nakamura, on the other hand, has been sputtering since debuting on the main roster just under a year ago, and has already had a couple of failed shots at the WWE Title over the last seven months.

But the biggest question is this: does the WWE believe Nakamura can carry the company and SmackDown as the WWE Champion? And right now, I don’t believe they think that, so while this match will be fantastic, in the end Styles is the safe bet to retain, because the WWE knows what they can count on in him.

Winner And STILL WWE Champion: AJ Styles

Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns

And here we go, for the fourth straight WrestleMania, Roman Reigns will be in the main event. His push over the last few years has been nothing short of extreme and at times annoying, but there’s no denying who Vince McMahon sees as the top star of the company for years to come. Brock Lesnar, on the other hand, has been the Universal Champion since taking it from Goldberg at last year’s WrestleMania, and may be on his way out of the WWE with his contract expiring soon and a reported interest in returning to the UFC.

But one thing these two have been doing a fantastic job at is promoting this match ever since Reigns officially became the number one contender after winning an Elimination Chamber match back in February. Reigns has cut arguably the best promos of his career, and the WWE has been smart about only having Lesnar appear on certain episodes, while “no showing” at others, allowing Reigns to build more heat by cutting more promos. Combine that with the fact that these two have gotten physical other weeks, including a couple of weeks ago when Lesnar destroyed a handcuffed Reigns, and the build to this match has been exactly what a main event of WrestleMania build should be.

There’s just one glaring problem: no matter how good the build up has been, it doesn’t matter, because Reigns has been penciled in to beat Lesnar and complete his huge, years long push ever since Lesnar took the title from Goldberg last year. So in the end, the build doesn’t matter, because this match is as predictbale as any match of the night: Lesnar hits an F-5, Reigns kicks out, Reigns hits a spear, gets the 1-2-3, and takes the championship and the top spot on Monday Night RAW. *yawn* good luck WWE, good luck.

Winner And NEW Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

So there you have it, wrestling fans! Hope you enjoy WrestleMania this coming Sunday in New Orleans. Do you agree with the picks? Disagree? Have any other thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below or on Twitter @sports_stack or @McFleegle!

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