By Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
The Deadman rose. Rousey amazed. A kid is a tag champ. Lesnar retained. WrestleMania 34 is behind us, but these moments from New Orleans will stay with wrestling entertainment fans for a very long time. Here is a review of what happened from the 34th “The Show of Shows”.
The night started with a triple threat match that did not disappoint. The Miz would defend his Intercontinental Title against Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, and the three high-octane, mid-card superstars didn’t disappoint. Seth Rollins capped off the match with two curb stomps to his opponents to complete the Grand Slam in his young career by winning the WWE Championship, Intercontinental Title, Universal Championship and the US Title.
Asuka, who was 29-0 entering her match against Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Title, showed out in her first WrestleMania appearance. Charlotte was up to the occasion and even got praise from Asuka after the match as she continued her reign as Smackdown Women’s Title and remained“The Queen” of Smackdown.
As for the United States title match, it was a solid match but not one to remember. Randy Orton walked in as the champion but didn’t walk out since he wasn’t even involved in the decision. Jinder Mahal would win gold again in his return to WWE as he pinned Rusev, on Rusev Day, to hoist the United States title while Bobby Roode wasn’t involved much.
Ronda Rousey. Just the thought of her name and WWE being put into the same sentence still has some flabbergasted. Rousey would team up with Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Famer Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. In Rousey’s debut match, many wondered how her form would look, and, boy, she didn’t disappoint. Rousey’s move to WWE was already enough to get fans excited, but now that Rousey has shown her skills in the ring, which included squaring up with Triple H. Fans should expect a bright future in WWE for Rousey.
As most WWE fans expected, The Undertaker showed up and once again provided a WrestleMania moment for the 75,000 fans in attendance and those watching. WWE teased us for a good while and even at WrestleMania with Elias Samson coming out before Taker. Eventually we got the fight we wanted but the fight itself was lackluster. Undertaker manhandled John Cena, and it is unclear whether this was just a one-time deal or that Cena and Taker will continue their feud with Undertaker looking as good as he did.
Daniel Bryan returned. He got “injured” early on but came back with a vengeance. Bryan looked in his regular in-ring form and was all over the place. Zayn and Owens stood little chance against Bryan as he was in the zone in his first match in nearly three years. The Yes Movement returned and didn’t miss a beat, and hopefully WWE chooses to put Bryan back into the thick of the WWE title picture soon. YES! YES! YES!
Nia Jax finally got her due. Alexa Bliss fended off Jax for as long as she could, but Jax finally hoisted gold for the first time in her WWE career. Jax has been stiffed multiple times throughout her WWE career but she finally was given what she has been due and will most likely have a stellar reign as Women’s Champion. Jax dominated Bliss and to see bliss and Jax feud for months to come would have comparisons of a Charlotte v. Sasha Banks rivalry.
In arguably the best match of the night and possibly of the entire year, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura put on a show as Styles retained his title with the “Styles Clash” on Nakamura and stole the victory as the two showed mad respect after the match but they didn’t The wrestlers both made it to main event WrestleMania both coming from Japanese wrestling backgrounds and have actually been friends for as long as anyone could remember. Nakamura hit Styles with a cheap shot, something no one would have expected from him, so we will see how WWE decides to play that storyline.
In what ended up as a bloody grudge match, Brock Lesnar, amid UFC return rumors, retained his Universal title against Roman Reigns who had a blood red face after he was busted open after numerous elbows from Reigns. Lesnar’s victory once again keeps his reign going, with once again the Universal title being held by a part-time superstar, something that Reigns harped on and most of the WWE Universe seemed to agree with. We’ll see how long Lesnar stays champion.
WrestleMania 34 was one for the record books. New Orleans has always been a special place for WWE and once again it did not disappoint. WrestleMania 35 will be showcased in New York next year on April 7, 2019. As a grade for WrestleMania, I’d give it a B. Solid, but not that great.