It’s been a good, long while since we have posted anything pro-wrestling related here at The Outerhaven, but we couldn’t just ignore the event of events… the Showcase of the Immortals… Wrestlemania!
This is the 34th edition of the grand spectacle and with a start time of 5 pm EST and an estimated end time of Midnight EST, we’re going to be in for the long haul for this one. We’ve already had to endure a 4 1/2 hour Hall of Fame event on Friday, a 3 hour, 10-minute NXT Takeover event last night and now seven full hours of Wrestlemania tonight! Add in the three hour Monday Night Raw tomorrow, the two-hour Smackdown LIVE and 1 hour 205 Live Tuesday night and another hour of NXT on Wednesday and you suddenly come to the realization that we’ve got a LOT more to go before we can take a wrestling breather. Of course, you could count Impact Wrestling on Thursday night, but nobody watches that anyway!
So what is on tap for Wrestlemania tonight, which comes to us live from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome down in New Orleans, Louisiana?
Kickoff Show Matches
The Kickoff Show runs from 5 pm EST to 7 pm EST and will feature three matches!
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Mustafi Ali vs Cedric Alexander
Both of these men competed in the highly popular Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network about a year and a half ago. Since then, the Cruiserweights were featured on Monday Night Raw and on their own one-hour show every Tuesday, 205 Live. The actual Cruiserweight division sank like a rock thanks to it being treated like any other match on the WWE’s main roster. Everything that made the Cruiserweights unique was toned down beyond belief. Add in the fact that none of these new roster members had any chance to develop characters and you had a recipe for disaster. However, all of that changed when former champion Enzo Amore was unceremoniously released from his WWE contract thanks to sexual abuse allegations against him. Triple H cradled 205 Live in his arms, much like he does with the NXT brand and began to breathe new life into the division. A tournament was held to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion and the finals will be held at Wrestlemania! This will truly be the test to see if the Cruiserweight division can make a rebound to regain people’s interests.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Participants: Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley, “Perfect Ten” Tye Dillinger, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, “Woken” Matt Hardy, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Dolph Ziggler, Goldust, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Zack Ryder, Primo, Elias, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, R-Truth, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Apollo, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and the returning Mike Kanellis.
The match that was supposed to honor the late, great Andre the Giant has really turned into the “how many mid and undercard wrestlers can we give a paycheck to” match. At least we get to see the return of Mike Kanellis who hasn’t been seen on WWE television for nearly a year. For those who don’t know, Mike and Maria Kanellis returned to the WWE, but Maria became pregnant and Mike utilized the WWE’s services to enter rehab to get himself cleaned up. Now that things are in order, it looks like the former Mike Bennett is ready to make his return to the company and is, quite frankly, the highlight of this match for me.
Fabulous Moolah Women’s Battle Royal
Participants: Sasha Banks, Natalya, Lana, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Bayley, Mickie James, Mandy Rose, Sony Deville, and Carmella.
That’s a pretty short list. I wouldn’t be shocked to see NXT lend some talents to this battle royal such as Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, maybe even new NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. In fact, I’m actually betting that Ember Moon not only appears in this battle royal but wins it as a way to say that she’s been called up to the main roster much like they did with Baron Corbin at last year’s Wrestlemania. Honestly, though, would you actually want to be the first-ever winner of this match knowing that you have to hoist a golden uterus over your head? If you don’t know what I mean, then you haven’t seen the trophy yet! Just wait!
Wrestlemania 34 Card
RAW Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss(c) vs Nia Jax
After Asuka won the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, they teased who she would face at Wrestlemania for several weeks. After she chose Charolette, this match was put together in a rush. WWE went with the typical fat shaming storyline to try and build up some sympathy from a freshly turned face in Nia Jax. Unfortunately, I’m not really buying it as Nia Jax is still one person who could have benefitted with a lot more time down in NXT. I felt that they called her up too soon and while she has gotten better, I still feel that she’s a bit on the sloppy side. Needless to say, it’s going to take Alexa carrying this match to make it watchable. I’m hoping that Alexa retains here tonight. She’s just way too good of a heel to let that title go just yet.
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair(c) vs Asuka
As of this writing, 909 days undefeated in WWE, 523 days as NXT women’s champion, and I don’t even know what her win record is at, but if you think this will be Asuka’s first loss, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Uso’s(c) vs The New Day vs The Bludgeon Brothers
I understand why Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were added to this match, but I would have been perfectly happy with just Uso’s vs New Day. Those two teams tear the house down every single time they stand across the ring from one another and another chapter in this storied rivalry would have sold me on this match alone. Adding Harper and Rowan isn’t a bad thing, though as the entertainment value remains high, it’s now quite obvious that they will be the ones taking the titles by pinning a member of The New Day, which protects The Uso’s and sets up a return match that’s fresh and new.
Raw Tag Team Championships
The Bar(c) vs Braun Strowman and a partner of his choosing
He changed his mind about retirement and signed a new multi-year deal with the WWE. If that’s not painfully obvious, then let me spell it out. The Big Show will return tonight as Braun Strowman’s partner and you’ll be looking at your NEW Raw tag team champions. Big Show is great at playing a comedic giant… just imagine him and Braun Strowman together. Could be the best big man tandem in WWE history!
WWE United States Championship
Randy Orton(c) vs Bobby Roode vs Jinder Mahal vs Rusev
Any match that involves Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal is going to be a snoozefest. Bobby Roode works the WWE style well but really needs a more emphatic opponent to look good in the ring. I see this as Rusev’s night and not because Wrestlemania happens to fall on Rusev Day, but because Rusev has busted his ass and has earned this opportunity. BOLD PREDICTION: Regardless of who wins, before Bobby Roode can leave the ring, James Storm comes out and cracks him over the
head back with a beer bottle and proclaims “Sorry about your damn luck!” I mean, he was kind of spotted down in New Orleans this weekend so…
The Miz(c) vs Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
I still don’t understand the appeal of Finn Balor. The man is a charisma vacuum and aside from some body paint from time to time, there’s nothing special about him character-wise. Even as the demon, his attitude, his moveset, everything about him remains the same. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor will get in each other’s way and it will allow The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship. After all, The Miz is one of the best things going in the WWE today and I just can’t see either Balor or Rollins taking the title away from him.
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens & Samy Zayn
Am I the only one saddened that we didn’t get Owens vs Zayn like originally announced at Wrestlemania? As a fan of these two from their Kevin Steen and El Generico days in Ring of Honor (and elsewhere), I wanted to see the two who were destined to do this forever mix it up once more on the biggest stage of them all. Now, it’s great that Daniel Bryan is coming back to the ring, but he’s one concussion away from the WWE pulling the plug on him completely and Shane McMahon is fresh off of a bout of diverticulitis and an umbilical hernia. As someone who has actually suffered diverticulitis, I can assure you that he may not be a full 100% by the time his match hits tonight. Kudos to him for fighting through the pain for Wrestlemania. Should be a fun tag even though I hoped it would be one on one. Still calling it with Daniel Bryan turning heel and siding with Owens and Zayn, though. This whole face pop over his return is the perfect diversion to set up the heel turn.
Mixed Tag Match
Triple H & Stephanie McMahon vs “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is such a mess these days. From flubbing almost every single one of his lines to looking like a really old man in the ring (well, he is getting old, though), it’s going to be up to Triple H to carry this entire match himself because I just don’t see Ronda Rousey being ready enough. In fact, I’m kind of scared that she’s going to get MAJORLY exposed tonight and Wrestlemania isn’t exactly the place you want to be when you’re exposed. This is going to be a major make or break moment for her so we’re going to have to hope and pray that Mr. Haitch can make the former MMA star look like gold because God knows Kurty Kurt Cocktails can’t do it anymore.
AJ Styles(c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura
The Dream Match! Okay, so die-hard WWE fans may not know why this is a dream match. It was three years ago at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom IX event (Japan’s version of Wrestlemania) where, then, IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura defended his title against the now former leader of the Bullet Club, AJ Styles. For non-Japanese fans, yes it is the IWGP IC title and not the NJPW IC title. Japan likes naming their titles after something unique rather than after the company like we do here in the U.S. New Japan Pro Wrestling’s titles are the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) titles, Pro Wrestling NOAH’s titles are known as the Global Honored Crown (GHC), and even companies like Dragon Gate go above and beyond by uniquely naming their belts (Their main title is the Open the Dream Gate championship, their tag titles the Open the Twin Gates championship, etc). The match between Styles and Nakamura set the wrestling community ablaze. It was a (pardon the pun) phenomenal match and when both of them signed with WWE, wrestling fans begged for a rematch, preferably at Wrestlemania. Well, their prayers have been answered and we are getting their second only singles match in their history on the grandest stage of them all! If you never saw the original, you should be in for a major treat here tonight! Don’t be surprised if history repeats itself and Nakamura beats Styles, goes 2-0 against him and becomes WWE Champion!
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar(c) vs Roman Reigns
I don’t know many people who care about this match. I’m not one of them. I would rather Brock Lesnar face someone who is more deserving of the rub than Roman Reigns because I don’t think Roman needs it. Brock is all but gone from WWE after Mania so we know Reigns is walking out as champion. This match was also announced to close the show so to all those people (aka 1 guy) who is threatening to walk out if AJ/Nakamura doesn’t close the show, then I guess get prepared to pack your bag and head home. The other 74,999 fans will stick around to see Brock say his farewell to the WWE Universe.
And that’s it for…
Oh wait… there’s also this match.
Dream Match That’s Not Happening, but Totally Happening Thanks to a Leaked Photo from the Official Wrestlemania 34 Program Booklet
John Cena vs The Undertaker
Honestly? I love the build-up to this match. Teasing it over and over and having nothing happen then having John Cena go to Wrestlemania as a fan. You know he’s going to use all 75,000 people on hand to “summon” the Undertaker and he will show up and the dream match will happen. Who cares who wins or loses this one? It’s going to be a spectacle to see and I can’t wait to see it happen!
So there you have it. That is the lineup for tonight’s Wrestlemania event. Outside of Mike Kanellis and Big Show and a possible (VERY SLIGHT TO MAYBE ZERO PERCENT) chance of a James Storm debut, I don’t see anything huge or major happening tonight. That is a shame because Wrestlemania used to be about surprises. It used to be about shocking moments that you wouldn’t see coming… the ripe time for new stars to make their debuts or unexpected returns to the company. Now, it’s just some prolonged entertainment event with all of the big shocks saved for the next night on Monday Night Raw or Smackdown LIVE. I really miss the mystique behind the event. Maybe… just MAYBE we’ll get something tonight, but I wouldn’t count on it.