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Watry: What I Didn’t Like About WrestleMania 34

April 17, 2018 | Posted by Justin Watry
Bludegon Brothers WrestleMania 34

Backstory

Last week, I wrote my full WWE WrestleMania 34. Entertaining show. I liked the broadcast for the most part. It was a good/very good pay-per-view event and will probably rank in the middle of all-time Manias. As was customary, I was positive and took a pro-WWE approach when discussing the matches. This week – let’s actually give a little bit of criticism even days removed from the spectacle.

Please note I am writing this BEFORE the Superstar Shakeup.

What I Didn’t Like About WrestleMania 34

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal – No complaints about nobody getting their full entrances. Let’s be honest – none of us want to sit through 30 guys coming down the ramp to silence or a small golf clap. There is a reason these folks are on the Kickoff Show and shoved into a huge cluster…and not featured prominently. My criticism is just that the bout wasn’t entertaining. The Royal Rumble has the benefit of spacing and timing out a full hour. This is just a big ball of mass, until the final four. Then it actually becomes fun. Like most battle royals, I don’t think there is much of a solution. Any ideas?

Cruiserweight Championship – Similar to the battle royal, I just wish this thing stole the show and deliver a high quality match. Don’t tell me it can’t be done on the Kickoff Show. I was in Orlando last year for Neville vs. Austin Aries. It CAN be done. With this reboot of 205 Live and a new champ to be crowned, I thought for sure WWE would give them SOME kind of boost. Nope, just your standard “solid” cruiserweight bout. I think fans wanted/needed more than just solid here.

Womens Battle Royal – Naomi. Sorry, the fault here is Naomi winning. I concede she had a rough break last year. She won the title and was injured. Having to vacate the belt had to be crushing. I still remember he passion and energy when handing the newly won championship over the Daniel Bryan. I felt the glow baby! It was a touching moment. That is why I accepted Naomi getting her moment in the sun at WrestleMania 33. In Orlando to put a cherry on the top of her return? Very cool. This year though? The big winner of the women’s battle royal that was hyped up? Eh, no thanks. I love that Triple H sent out a tweet giving his endorsement, but it will take a little bit more than that to win me over. Perhaps there is something coming after the Superstar Shakeup?

IC Championship – First of all, where was The Demon? I know he only appears when Finn Balor is angered and blah, blah, blah. Still, this is his WrestleMania debut! I would have bet a million dollars on his alter-ego showing up. With all the fans, with all the lighting, with all the build – we got nothing. Disappointing to say the least. My other SMALL nitpick is that The Miz was treated as an after thought for the second straight year at the biggest event of the year. Fading into the background to John Cena is one thing. To Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Miz deserved better. No disrespect to either guy, of course. Both super talented. Don’t forget about The Awesome One though. After his past two years, there has to be a payoff coming…

Asuka VS Charlotte – Look, The Streak had to end at some point. I would have stretched it out a little bit more. Get more juice out of a title run and THEN have a shocking loss. At the same time, I said in 2017 and still do think that Ember Moon should have defeated Asuka for the NXT Women’s Title. If not WrestleMania 33 weekend, certainly Summerslam 2017 weekend. My complaint is actually not that the streak ended. If anybody was going to do it, Charlotte is the biggest/best opponent. Plus, I am glad it took place on the grand stage and not in some throwaway setting. WWE definitely surprised us. No, the criticism is that this match was on second. The counter point is that the company wanted a hot crowd and putting them on early guaranteed that. While true, it also set up the rest of the card for a couple of lulls. Having the great triple threat bout followed up by THIS was a very fast start.

Fatal Four Way US Championship – Jinder Mahal won.

Alright, that is not it. I think the live crowd in New Orleans wanted to give these four a chance. After two highly entertaining matches, it felt like WWE threw the United States Title to the wolves. Worst of all, the company did them all no favors BEFORE WrestleMania. There was no ‘real’ feud here. Just a bunch of guys going after each other in dull Smackdown LIVE segments every week. Once the bell rang, it was all about chanting Rusev Day…and nothing else.

Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle VS Stephanie McMahon/Triple H – Nothing. I wrote last week that this is currently my 2017 Match of the Year, and I stand by that. After multiple viewings, this match gets better every time. If all of you doubters haven’t sent an apology to Rousey by now, the next best thing is sending me an apology. All the naysayers got their pot shots in during January, February, and March. Once April 8th rolled around though, she shut them all down one by one and became THE star of WrestleMania 34. Well done.

Bludgeon Brothers VS The Usos VS The New Day – Well, there was yet another lame entrance by The New Day. That was dreadful. Then there was the fact that The Bludgeon Brothers won. That felt like a payoff with a two on two showdown with The Usos next month. Painfully, this was supposed to be all about The Usos getting a WM Moment after so many years. Instead, it was all but ignored and flushed down the toilet in five minutes. Ugh.

The Undertaker/John Cena – Ohhh, this is tough. I actually loved the entire Cena/WM34 scenario. He was kept in the crowd to a minimum (left after two matches). He did some wonderful promo work in the buildup. He even shared the wealth by dueling with Elias. Remember ladies and gentlemen, it was this or nothing for Elias. Be happy he got to share the spotlight with Cena at Wrestle FREAKIN’ Mania and not be treated as invisible in the earlier battle royal. Then once we got The Undertaker, it was quick abnd painless. I predicted him winning in two minutes. I was wrong. It was three minutes. Don’t really have any real complaints, only a bit of hindsight questioning if 2.1 million WWE Network subscribers was the ceiling for an audience…or if more could have been done in 2018 to promote the long awaited Cena/Taker clash.

Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon VS Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens – The story told was fine. The heels took out the beloved face before the bell rang, and they built to his comeback victory. Simple yet effective. My only criticism is that it never felt like Owens or Zayn belonged. Despite the six months of back story, this was about Bryan, Bryan, and Bryan. Zayn and Owens really could have been any other two heels. Interchangeable is the last thing you ever want to be in the wrestling business. That is what they were here.

Nia Jax VS Alexa Bliss – I’m good with the title change. I’m good with the story. I’m good with the outcome (and the followup on RAW). I’m good. The problem is just my personal doubts on if Nia Jax will do well as Womens Champion. I admit I was hesitant about her in NXT. I was hesitant about her Raw call up…and yeah, I am hesitant this will work out. For now, props to everybody involved with this feud. Fans hate Bliss and love Jax. Congrats. Let’s fast forward a few months and re-visit this decision.

WWE Championship – It’s funny. When you go back and watch Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles again, knowing the heel turn is coming, everything actually makes sense. Styles counters everything. Nakamura gets frustrated…and boom, the loss causes him to ditch respect. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The story was there. Sadly, the match was not. Like the Cruiserweight Championship, having a “solid” bout is not good enough at WrestleMania. I had high hopes for these two. Like, ridiculously high hopes. My expectations were so high that there was no way these guys would ever match them. If there is a hidden silver lining, the inevitable rematch now actually has some pizazz.

Braun Strowman/Nicholas VS The Bar – I wrote (on another website) over and over that Braun should just go at it alone and win the tag straps by himself. It puts him over as THE monster among men, delivers a cool WM Moment, plus there is some controversy surrounding the RAW Tag Team Titles. Let’s be honest. There wasn’t a whole heck of a lot going on with Sheamus and Cesaro anyways. What happened at Mania was…eh. I laughed a little and thought it would only last one night and be left alone. I mean, Braun wasn’t going to waste his time in the tag division regardless, nor was a 10 year old going to be getting the ring each week. Less than 24 hours later, I was correct. The moment happened, we got a little buzz going in the tag division, and all was back to normal.

Universal Championship – In my Mania review, I had this ranked as the 7th best match of the night. For talent the caliber of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, on the stage of 70,000 fans in a giant stadium, that says a lot. Whether it was creative differences, a worn out crowd, or the sense of predictability hovering like a dark cloud overhead (which ended up being false), this showdown never clicked like it did in 2015. Their WrestleMania 31 main event is so good. I do not blame WWE one bit for wanting a rematch and taking a full year to get to the destination. Love or hate Reigns, he should have finished that 12 month journey off with a victory. Even if you despised his WM32 bout with HHH, at least the ending was logical in the face overcoming the heel for a title he was screwed out of. This was just…I don’t know. May as well have The Beast dominate for another year. Then I may forgive this outcome a little bit more. However, if Brock Lesnar re-signs to still just drop the Universal Title to Roman in two weeks? Whatever…

article topics :

WrestleMania 34, WWE, Justin Watry

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