Powell’s WrestleMania 34 live review: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship, Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship, Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE WrestleMania 34
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
New Orleans, Louisiana at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Ring announcer JoJo Offerman introduced the sister duo of Chloe x Halle, who performed “America the Beautiful” on the stage. There was a “USA” chant afterward… A WrestleMania video aired and focussed on New Orleans as the host city before switching to WWE footage…

Powell’s POV: Welcome to my live review of WrestleMania 34. You can also find Will Pruett’s Live WrestleMania 34 blog on the main page with his running commentary on the show. Non-members, you could be enjoying ad-free access right now and hear the WrestleMania 34 audio review afterward by signing up for just $2 for one month. Check the ad on the main page for more details. With the plugs out of the way (for now!), Chloe x Halle did a fine job and the WrestleMania set looks terrific. One more thing, members, there is a thread open in the forum if you would like to chat with other members during the show tonight. Here we go!

The Raw broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman called the opening match (they also introduced the Spanish and German broadcast teams during the entrances)…

1. The Miz vs. Seth Rolilns vs. Finn Blaor for the Intercontinental Championship. Rollins wore blue contacts during his entrance. Miz came out with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. His video wall listed his attributes, which included “Hot Wife.” Miz sent Axel and Dallas to the back before heading to the ring. Balor came out last and had a bunch of people onstage cheering him. The broadcast team said Balor and his supporters were sending the message of inclusion. No Demon persona for Balor, who performed an early flip dive onto both opponents. John Cena was shown watching the match from the crowd with a beer in his hand.

Powell’s POV: Apparently, Cena was too cheap to buy Nikki a ticket.

Miz performed a Reality Check on Rollins, which wasn’t called by that name and never is for some odd reason. Cole simply says, “Vintage Miz.” At 8:15, Miz applied the figure four on Balor, but Rollins broke it up with a frogsplash. At 11:00, Balor set up for his finisher on Rollins, but Miz cut it off. Rollins recovered and performed a Buckle Bomb on Miz. Rollins performed a superplex and set up for the falcon arrow, but Balor caught him in a small package for a two count. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Rollins for a two count.

At 14:45, Balor had Miz alone in the ring and hit him with a pair of sling blade clotheslines. Balor performed a Coup de Grace. Before he could cover Miz, Rollins returned to the ring and hit Balor with a Stomp that drove his head into Miz’s back. Rollins followed up with a stomp of his own on Miz and pinned him. Cole noted that Rollins is now a WWE Grand Slam champion…

Seth Rollins defeated The Miz and Finn Balor in 15:30 to win the Intercontinental Champion.

Powell’s POV: A very good opening match with all three wrestlers having moments to shine. I was surprised to see Rollins go over if only because I thought all of Miz’s nice guy schtick last week was leading to him doing something even more heelish than usual. I figured Balor wasn’t going to win when he didn’t come out in Demon garb. Does this free up Miz to move to Smackdown minus the Intercontinental Championship? It would be comical if Daniel Bryan acquired him to get him on the same brand and could also taunt him with the idea that he won’t have a chance to break the record for most days as Intercontinental Champion for at least another year.

An trailer aired for the Andre the Giant documentary that will air Tuesday night at 9CT/10ET on HBO… Cena was shown in the crowd posing for a selfie with a fan…

A video package set up the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship match… Charlotte had an elaborate entrance and was escorted down the ramp by three gladiators. Asuka had a graphic effect with her masks…

2. Charlotte vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on the call. They cut to the obligatory Cena in the crowd shot 90 seconds into the match. At 5:10, Charlotte went for a moonsault, but Asuka caught her in a triangle choke on the way down, but she never locked it in and Charlotte quickly escaped.

At 7:45, Asuka performed an apron superplex. Charlotte returned to the ring on the nine count. Phillips was quick to say that the match meant enough to Charlotte that she didn’t want to retain by count-out. At 10:00, Charlotte performed a top rope Spanish Fly, the third of the show thus far with two previous versions happening in the cruiserweight title match. Asuka caught Charlotte in a submission hold that Charlotte escaped. Charlotte went for a figure four, but Asuka avoided it.

Charlotte speared Asuka for a two count at 12:10. A short time later, Asuka applied a Figure 8 and bridged using only one arm to sell her shoulder. Asuka shockingly tapped out…

Charlotte defeated Asuka in 13:05 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Asuka took the mic and said, “Charlotte was ready for Asuka” and then congratulated her. Charlotte and Asuka hugged…

Powell’s POV: Well, that beat Carmella cashing in during the match and being pinned. However, I am not a fan of outcome, nor do I feel like the match had enough time to feel as epic as it could have. It was very good while it lasted. It just felt like they could have used more time and perhaps then it would have felt like a stronger conclusion to Asuka’s unbeaten streak.

They cut to a shot of referee Dan Engler talking to John Cena, who was smiling at whatever Engler told him. “I’m not kidding,” Engler said. Cena jumped out of his seat and ran up the ramp and headed backstage…

Powell’s POV: And then the security guard who tried to block Rob Gronkowski last year tackled Cena and had him ejected from the building since he was there as a mere fan. No? Anyway, the U.S. Title match is up next.

3. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) in a four-way for the U.S. Championship. English sang and then Rusev made a tank-free entrance (sigh). Singh introduced Mahal. The international broadcast teams checked in during Mahal’s entrance. Orton made a sperm-free entrance this year (whew).

Orton performed a nice powerslam on Roode for a two count early on. Mahal tried to make nice with Rusev, who didn’t bite and roughed him up. At 6:15, Rusev performed a hanging DDT on Rusev. Orton hit RKO’s on English, Rusev, and Mahal. Orton had Mahal pinned, but Roode broke it up. Roode performed a Glorious DDT and covered Orton, but Roode broke it up.

Rusev put Mahal down and set up for the Accolade while playing to the receptive crowd. Singh got on the apron and distracted Rusev, who kicked him. Mahal took advantage and hit the Khallas on Rusev and pinned him…

Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Randy Orton in 8:15 to win the U.S. Championship.

Powell’s POV: The foreign menace wins the U.S. Championship. It won’t be a popular decision, but I’m still surprised he didn’t win the tournament to set him up in this spot when they ended up going with Roode instead. The match was wisely kept brief. The wrestlers made solid use of the time and had they gone longer there was a legitimate risk of the fans losing interest given that this seemed like one of the least anticipated matches of the main card.

A candy bar commercial aired with Mick Foley, Fandango, and Tyler Breeze… A video package set up the mixed tag match…

Hunter and Stephanie were led to the ring by four women on motorcycles while they brought up on the rear on their own motorized tricycles. Hunter wore a skull mask while driving to the ring. Cole gushed over the entrance, which also included green laser style lights once they were in the ring. Angle received his own entrance and wore red, white, and blue and led the crowd in the usual “you suck” chants. He also received pyro on the stage. Rousey was out last and came wearing a Roddy Piper style jacket and a short plaid kilt with a cut-off version of her white shirt…

4. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. There was a loud Ronda Rousey chant. Stephanie pulled Rousey down by the hair before the bell, then ran across the ring and let Hunter start the match. Cole said the duo told the referee to remember who signs his paycheck. At 5:00, Angle ducked a Hunter punch and he nearly hit Stephanie but stopped short. Hunter worked over Angle, who eventually inched toward making a hot tag, but Stephanie ran over and pulled Rousey off the apron before running back to her corner.

Angle made the hot tag at 6:30. Rousey entered the ring to a huge pop and raced over and flung Stephanie into the ring. Rousey performed a side suplex on Stephanie and threw punches at her in the corner. Rousey threw Stephanie by her hair. Stephanie begged off and Rousey tossed her across the ring again. Stephanie begged off in the corner. Rousey catapulted Stephanie over and went for a cross arm breaker, but Stephanie blocked it. Stephanie gouged the eye of Rousey. She tried to tag out, but Hunter was down at ringside selling. At 9:00, Stephanie DDT’d Rousey and got a two count.

Rousey came back a minute later and performed TKO and covered Stephanie, but Hunter pulled the referee out of the ring. The ref and Hunter bickered. Rousey looked down and then looked back to Stephanie. Hunter pulled Rousey from the ring. Angle went after Triple H and stood him up on the middle broadcast table used by Cole and company, but Hunter threw Angle onto the Spanish broadcast able and he tumbled off of it.

Hunter checked on Stephanie, who rolled to the floor when she saw Rousey standing behind them. Rousey wanted to fight Hunter, who moved the referee away. Hunter anad Rousey squared off. Rousey threw a series of body shots at Hunter. She ran the ropes and Hunter tried to kick her, but she blocked it. She ended up hoisting him up on her shoulders. Stephanie returned and slapped Rousey, who dropped Hunter and chased Stephanie around the ring. Rousey caught up with Steph and threw her roughly into the barricade. Rousey picked up Stephanie, who shoved her face first into the ring post.

In the ring, Angle hit Hunter with a couple suplexes. Hunter caught Angle with a knee, but Angle came right back with three German suplexes at 14:45. Angle went for his finisher, but Hunter blocked it. Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Angle avoided it and went for the ankle lock, but Hunter kicked him off. Angle hit the Angle Slam at 15:20 for a good near fall.

Stephanie returned and barked at Angle. She tried to kick him, but he caught her leg. The crowd chanted “Yes” as Angle looked to them. Angle put Stephanie in the ankle lock. Hunter quickly broke it up and hit a Pedigree on Angle. Rousey returned to break up the pin. The crowd roared and a “this is awesome” chant broke out. Hunter set up for a Pedigree, but instead picked her up and went for a powerbomb, but she countered into a huracanrana and then applied an armbar. Stephanie broke it up and put Rousey in the sleeper.

Rousey flipped Stephanie off of her and then applied an armbar. Meanwhile, Angle caught Hunter returning to break it up and put him in the ankle lock. Hunter grabbed Stephanie’s hand and eventually broke the ankle lock by flinging Angle into Rousey, which broke up the armbar. Hunter shoved Angle through the ropes and shoulder first into the post. Rousey ended up meeting the same fate on the other side of the ring. At 19:50, Hunter and Stephanie went for stereo Pedigrees. Angle flipped Hunter over the top rope. Rousey escaped and grabbed Stephanie’s arm while on top of her. Stephanie screamed no, then Rousey wrenched on the arm and Stephanie tapped out immediately. They immediately cut to a shot of UFC President Dana White smiling and applauding…

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle defeated Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in 20:40.

Powell’s POV: That was a blast. The crowd loved Rousey from the moment she made her entrance. The fans were hot throughout the entire match and this could not have gone better. ESPN will have plenty of footage to choose from. I don’t know if Rousey is ready for a lengthy singles match yet, but she did a very good job with what I assume was a meticulously choreographed match, which isn’t an insult, it’s simply the logical approach to take given her experience level and with Stephanie having very little in-ring experience. Speaking of which, Stephanie also did a really good job. This was the highlight of the night thus far.

New Day made their entrance. There were two floating plates of pancakes with unicorns above them, then a bunch of little people wearing pancake costumes joined them onstage. Some of the little people, who were dubbed Pancake People, did the worm at ringside. The Usos were out next with a standard entrance, then the Bludgeon Brothers made their standard entrance…

5. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. “Bludgeon Brothers” Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise on one of the Usos to start. The Bludgeon Brothers quickly took over. They roughed up Big E at ringside and powerbombed Woods into the ring post.

After nearly five minutes of Bludgeon Brothers domination, the Uso Brothers caught him on the ropes. It looked like they were setting up a tower of doom spot with Big E, but Rowan returned and broke it up. A short time later, Rowan set up Kingston and Harper powerbombed him from the middle rope and pinned him clean…

The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Usos and New Day in 5:50 to win the Smackdown Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: Disappointing. I like the way Bludgeon Brothers have dominated the division leading into this match and the way it has revitalized the careers of Harper and Rowan. But it’s WrestleMania and I had high hopes for this being a competitive, potential show stealing match. It turned out to be more Bludgeon Brothers domination instead.

John Cena made his entrance in his typical gear after wearing other clothes while in the crowd. Cole noted that Cena said “he’s here” and assumed he was talking about Undertaker. Once Cena was in the ring, a referee spoke to him. Cena acted dejected and started to leave the ring when the lights went out. The crowd went crazy.

Elias’s guitar could be heard in a hilarious swerve. Elias introduced himself on the stage and then started to play his guitar as he walked to the ring. Elias continued to insult Cena with his song once he was in the ring. Cena ended up roughing up Elias and give him a quick Attitude Adjustment. The crowd chanted for Undertaker, but Cena’s music played instead. Cena looked at the stage and showed disappointment. He went through the motions as he posed on the ropes for the crowd, then looked dejected as he walked up the ramp.

Cena’s music stopped playing and the lights went out again. In the ring, a spotlight shone on the Undertaker’s hat and gloves. The spotlight went out again along a thunder sound effect and the hat and gloves disappeared. The gong sounded.

Readers Comments (3)

  1. Love Rollins but hate having Miz not get the extended reign to beat Morales.

  2. Will Urbanovitch April 8, 2018 @ 7:11 pm

    did anyone notice Cena is watching from the crowd? Oh that’s right, they’ve mentioned it every 10 seconds!!

  3. Rousey needs some polish, but her timing is excellent and she’s already a world class seller. Way better than I thought she’d be the first time out, and it gives me hope that they’ll somehow get to a battle of the 4 Horsewomen that’s really good.

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