WWE WrestleMania 34: Reactions & Review

Here’s my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s WWE WrestleMania 34!

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Reactions: While there weren’t any surprise returns of previously injured Superstars, the close of this bout marked the return of someone I didn’t expect. As for the match itself, it had its bright spots here and there. Goldust turned into the bout’s MVP since he was a part of all those fun moments – reuniting with R-Truth, going on a powerslam craze, and landing a swift kick right into Tye’s “Golden Globes.”

The rest of the field got embroiled in your basic battle royal action, which was fine for what it was. Watching “Woken” Matt align himself with a newly rejuvenated Bray Wyatt was a shocking, feel-good moment! This battle royal expectedly played its part as a fun, harmless opener for the Kickoff Show crowd.

Rating: 1 & a Half out of 5 Stars

The First-Ever WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

Reactions: Props goes out to the all the women involved in this first-ever matchup. This was just a bit more fun and full of extra excitement tied to it in comparison to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Throwing a few NXT ladies into the fray made this bout more interesting as it featured some lesser-known competitors worth watching.

There’s a ton of standout moments here to speak of – Carmella’s early grandstanding and elimination, Blair and Sane’s top rope antics, The Riott Squad’s teamwork, Bayley vs. Banks, and Naomi’s shocking victory. This battle royal was obviously the better of the two and did an admirable job of showcasing the ladies of the WWE.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals)

Reactions: Cedric and Ali wanted to represent their division with a fine performance and give the crowd a new Cruiserweight Champion worth praising. This Tournament Final was a decent contest, but it wasn’t the amazing performance I hoped both men would put out. 205 Live has become better ever since the exit of Enzo Amore, so I figured this bout would turn into a barnburner that would get fans excited for the new dawn of the Cruiserweight Era.

While it wasn’t outright bad, this bout didn’t deviate too far from the type of match both men have already had with each other. It just felt like more of the same, plus the whole heart vs. soul theme of it all felt corny and forced. The match still had its good parts, nonetheless. Congrats to Cedric for finally claiming the Cruiserweight Championship.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (If Owens and Zayn win, they will be reinstated as WWE Superstars; If Owens and Zayn lose, they will remain fired from all of WWE)

Reactions: The Yes! Movement is reborn! This return match for Daniel Bryan was a tear jerker for me. To witness Daniel make his comeback in the same arena where he first became WWE World Heavyweight Champion is a bonafide ‘Mania moment. The early moments of this tag team encounter were easy to see from a mile away. Daniel ate an apron Powerbomb and got taken out of the contest early. This resulted in a handicap match that saw Shane get assaulted by Owens and Zayn. This portion of the bout wasn’t all that entertaining, to be honest.

I was practically asleep for a bit until Shane landed a Coast to Coast Dropkick on Zayn. Then when Daniel finally ran back in to save the day, I truly came back to life. This match was a chore to sit through during Daniel’s absence, then it blossomed into a bout worth paying attention to once Daniel returned. Once everything came to a close, I was happy to see Daniel end up being the one to vanquish Zayn and cause the the crowd to come unglued every time he was active.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

Reactions: The giant finally squashed the annoying champ! It wasn’t the best match both women are capable of providing, but it was still satisfying to witness Bliss get her comeuppance. What should have been an easy squash match got stretched out to an subpar meeting that was longer than expected. Bliss’ Twisted Bliss to Nia on the outside was a cool moment, plus watching Nia manhandle Mickie for a few seconds brought a smile to my face. The match itself was nothing to write home about, but at least it ended in a big way. One top rope Samoan Slam later and Nia finally got the right to be called WWE Raw Women’s Champion.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev (Fatal Four Way Match for the WWE United States Championship)

Reactions: While not as great as Raw’s Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat, this SmackDown US Championship Fatal Four Way was still good. It never slowed down to a disappointing crawl, which is a genuine surprise considering the men involved. There wasn’t one moment of awkward silence or down action since all four men remained energetic throughout.

The crowd was hot for Rusev, which gave this match the energy it needed to keep everyone interested. And when Orton actually gives a damn, he brings up the quality of any match he’s in a few notches. Thankfully, an energetic Orton is what we got here. Roode and Jinder also looked good as well – they definitely got their time to shine. While I’m hurt over seeing “Rusev Day” fall victim to Jinder, I’m not too hurt over the result of this one. Can’t believe I’m even saying this but here goes – congrats to Jinder! This Fatal Four Way was mildly engrossing and I honestly didn’t expect it to be.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Reactions: First off, I have to show love to all three men for giving us the usual ‘Mania pomp and circumstance through their entrances. Once the match got underway, triple threat excellence graced my screen. Miz, Rollins, and Finn delivered an intense performance for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz didn’t rely on his usual heel antics this time around – he fought hard, picked his spots, and did it all without the help of Axel and Dallas.

His top-rope Skull Crushing Finale got a big pop out of me, but so did Rollins and Finn’s big time maneuvers. Rollins using a Frog Splash to break up Miz’s Figure Four on Finn and Finn using his Coup de Grâce to crush both challengers were both jaw dropping moments. Rollins going for another Powerbomb on Finn to the crowd barrier was a cool nod to their SummerSlam 2016 matchup, too. I loved every bit of this match! Rollins claimed the Intercontinental Championship after competing in one of the better bouts of the evening.

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Reactions: In the first shocking moment of the evening, Asuka’s unbeaten streak was finally broken! And it didn’t come after a disappointing matchup (*coughLesnarvs.Undertakercough*), either. Charlotte and Asuka rose to the occasion and fought hard in a satisfying conclusion to their championship feud. Early on, it seemed as if Charlotte’s injured shoulder would be her undoing. Asuka worked it over for the majority of the bout with stiff kicks and submission holds.

But Charlotte’s never-say-die attitude forced her to fight back, which caused her to break out a Spanish Fly onto Asuka off the top rope. After this big moment concluded, the match entered a second stage of high quality. Charlotte’s Moonsault getting countered into an Asuka submission hold looked amazing, plus that suplex off the ring apron was shocking to see. But the most incredible moment of all came when Charlotte speared Asuka and then forced her to tap out to her Figure Eight Leglock. “The Queen” became the first woman to defeat Asuka! Thankfully, we got such this crazy result after witnessing in-ring excellence from both women.

Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars

Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Braun Strowman and Nicholas (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: I’m at a loss for words (which is quite rare, I know). Instead of sending out a returning Superstar, WWE threw everyone a curveball by having Braun pick a random 10-year-old kid to be his partner! Who is Nicholas and why was he granted this championship blessing? We’ll get answers to these burning questions soon enough. Anyways, this was a glorified Handicap Match that saw Braun do his best unstoppable monster impression. He eventually claimed the titles for him and his much younger teammate. This was more of a cute segment, honestly. As a match, it stunk. But it wasn’t destined to be great – it was simply meant to wake the crowd up and treat them to a heartwarming ‘Mania moment.

Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) (c) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) (Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

Reactions: This one ended up being a pretty short but still eventful sprint. It’s clear that this match was meant to crown the Bludgeon Brothers as the new dominating champs. After watching this go down, I have to say – Mission Accomplished. The bell rang and all three teams went balls to the wall for their showdown. The Usos and The New Day did their best to fend off their larger foes, but it just wasn’t enough to keep them out of the match.

This wasn’t an extended squash by any means – Harper and Rowan almost looked to be down and out at several intervals of this contest. The Usos impressive teamwork even gave the crowd a little bit of hope at one point. Eventually, the Bludgeon Brothers got back to torturing their hapless prey and made quick work of Kofi. This was decent at best. It was short and sweet too, which helped push it along faster and give the crowd something easy to digest.

Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars

John Cena vs. The Undertaker

Reactions: On the leadup to this unannounced match, everyone was left puzzled and wondering if The Undertaker would actually show. At the start of the show, WWE tried to keep everyone in suspense by turning Cena into a fan watching in the crowd. As the night wore on, it became clear that Cena would finally get his ‘Taker callout answered. All the crowd teasing continued with Elias coming out to bless us all with a short concert, which was honestly pretty amusing. After Cena got rid of the wandering musician, the lights went down and that famous gong welcomed the arrival of “The Deadman!”

I have to give credit to WWE for stretching this feud out and keeping everyone guessing. As for the match, it was a by-the-numbers bout that allowed ‘Taker to perform his greatest hits. It’s clear that this was set up to give ‘Taker a chance to redeem himself and right the wrongs of his lackluster ‘Mania 33 bout. This match was short, but far from sweet. But it really wasn’t meant to be a 5-star affair. This match was nothing but a feel good moment for ‘Taker and his fans. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but it gave us a rare ‘Taker appearance. And that’s still worth showing some love to.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)

Reactions: Tons of hype and hooplah surrounded this WWE dream match. But it wasn’t quite up to par when you place it next to its WrestleKingdom 10 matchup. The dead crowd didn’t do it any favors (and that was to be expected since they’d be through a lot up until this bout). AJ and Nakamura did their best, though – they got in some some stiff strike exchanges, reached into their bag of tricks to land some rare moves, targeted each other’s weakened limbs, and locked each other into tight submission holds.

The audience woke up during the later portion of the bout, but they quickly went silent again when the action slowed back down. This was a solid contest that was sadly brought down by an apathetic crowd. The post-match heel turn was wild, but it still didn’t do enough to get the crowd fully invested. Let’s all hope AJ and Nakamura’s rematch delivers in spades.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (Mixed Tag Team Match)

Reactions: Let’s be honest with each other, gang – Ronda’s Monday Night Raw run up until this point was painful to watch. Her mic work and in-ring confrontations with Stephanie didn’t give me a lot of confidence in her upcoming ‘Mania performance. But boy was I wrong! Ronda showed the world that she’s more than equipped to perform as a WWE Superstar. Angle and HHH did their part by building up the action and hyping up the crowd for the eventual meeting between Ronda and Stephanie. After several minutes of action between HHH and Angle (plus continued distractions from Steph), Ronda finally got the hot tag and everyone’s jaws dropped in unison.

Ronda proved to the world that she was worth all the hype and more! She broke out several unique suplexes and looked like a true natural in the ring. Everyone played to their strengths during this hot contest – Steph and HHH got all the crowd heat by being slimy heels, while Angle and Ronda fought for their lives against their evil bosses. The near falls got me out of my seat and I was in awe of Ronda’s first in-ring showcase. I don’t feel like I’m overrating this match one bit. Everything built to a satisfying conclusion, the right team won, and Ronda looked much better than she had any right to be. I can’t wait to watch this one again!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship)

Reactions: Man…what happened? I prepped myself up and was ready to see a worthy follow up to Brock and Roman’s ‘Mania 31 classic. What we ended up getting was a massive letdown that made the already tired crowd more than annoyed at what they were witnessing. This isn’t the Brock that got the crowd excited during his Survivor Series match against AJ and his SummerSlam 2017 Fatal Four Way. What we got here was a tired rendition of Suplex City and countless F5’s. All that bland offense and Roman’s series of Superman Punches and Spear’s did nothing to send the crowd home happy. This match pales in comparison to the much better ‘Mania 31 meeting between both men. Sigh…what a mood killer.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Match of the Night

Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon!

Final Verdict

WrestleMania 34 started out with a bang and ended on a whimper. The Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match. Charlotte vs Asuka, and the US Championship Fatal Four were satisfying starters. Then the biggest high of the night arrived when Ronda Rousey lived up to the hype bestowed upon her. That Mixed Tag Team Match was excellent and was the perfect way to showcase her, Angle, HHH, and Stephanie. But once the crowd’s energy began dying down, ‘Mania 34’s quality stated declining.

This wasn’t evident during the SD Tag Team Championship match, but it soon became noticeable after ‘Taker’s glorified squash match against Cena. Daniel Bryan’s return was a joy to see, but everything after that point became a chore to through. AJ vs. Nakamura under delivered, Nia vs. Bliss was just…there, and the main event was immensely depressing. ‘Mania 34 still managed to be good overall, but it unfortunately turned out to be step down from ‘Mania 30.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

Check out any and all WWE related action figures, books, DVDs, Blu-Rays and other types of merchandise right here.