This Sunday is Wrestlemania 34. The big one. The showcase of the immortals. The grandest stage of them all. The night where storylines and feuds that have been building for months, and in some cases years, come to their epic conclusion. We have a few wrestling fans here at No Coast Bias so we decided to have a little survey gauging what we’re excited about and what we’re expecting.
Our illustrious list of contributors to this post includes our fearless leader Derek Hernandez, Daniel “My Opinions Are Bad” Soden, Jeremy Klein and yours truly. Let’s talk some ‘rasslin.
Let’s stretch our legs a little here. What’s your general feelings and vibe about this year’s card and the Road to Wrestlemania™?
Robby Cowles: We’ve known the majority of this card since the Royal Rumble, which has lead to some stale weekly TV and pay-per-views with the only real surprise being the return of Daniel Bryan.
BUT, the payoff to that patience is one of the most stacked Wrestlemania cards in history. I mean, AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE championship? Asuka vs Charlotte Flair? John Cena vs The Undertaker? The debut of Ronda Rousey? The return of Daniel Bryan?
*Hand smashing button that says “nut” meme*
Derek Hernandez: The buildup to the Mania has been lackluster, but the card on paper looks phenomenal. You got your mainstream attraction (Rousey), a smark dream match on the biggest stage (AJ/Shinsuke), perhaps the biggest women’s match you could put together (Asuka/Flair), and a match fans have wanted for years (Taker/Cena). Hell, we may not be jonesing for Brock/Roman, but at least the WWE is paying off a long-term angle for a change.
Oh, and Daniel Freakin’ Bryan is back.
Daniel Soden: Normally this is around the time when wrestling will have the majority of my attention. The build-up to WrestleMania is some of the better TV, expect it feels like the opposite can be said this year. The crazy thing is we’ve got maybe one of the most stacked Manias to date, but the build to a majority of it starts and ends with a sign point.
I’m excited to see how the show plays out, but when Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss is the only real blood feud on the show it’s hard to set through 5 hours of TV every week leading up to it.
Jeremy Klein: I’m in agreement with everyone else in thinking the build to this year’s GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL has felt a little… off? For example, we’ve known Nakamura would be challenging for the WWE Championship since Royal Rumble, yet they only just put him back on TV what feels like a few weeks ago. By that same token, Asuka vs. Charlotte has a chance to be an incredible match, yet the two of them have barely interacted. Despite all that, however, the card looks to be positively stacked, with many matches poised to steal the show, and I am very excited. I just hope I don’t get burned out by the time the main event rolls around in hour 31 of the broadcast.
Gimme your match of the night:
RC: If it’s placed on the card correctly, there’s no reason that Styles-Nakamura won’t be balls-to-the-wall awesome with a crowd that’s 70,000-strong and molten lava levels of hot. AJ and Nak are both uberly popular babyfaces and have proven they can put on all-time great matches (even against each other, which they did in Japan). They’re going to blow the damn roof off the Superdome.
DH: AJ’s injury/”non-injury” worries me and I think Carmella is going to ruin the Flair/Asuka match, so I’m rolling with the IC title match. WWE has triple-threat matches down to a science, and Rollins isn’t capable of a bad Mania match.
DS: If the triple threat Smackdown Tag Title match goes forward as a TLC match I’ll mark that down as my potential match of the night. New Day and the Usos always deliver and with Harper & Rowan in the “Dudley Boys Spot” I think this match has some real potential to be the match of the night.
JK: I want so badly to say the Cruiserweight Championship match because Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are legit stars, and the 205 Live tournament matches have been mostly great. But, that match will sadly probably be A) relegated to the pre-show, or B) not given that much time, so I’ll take the safe bet and say Styles vs. Nakamura. People couldn’t be clamoring much more for this match, and with the level of talent between AJ and Shinsuke, I can’t see it not completely delivering. My body is ready.
The match you’re most likely to use the bathroom:
RC: Originally, I was going to say the U.S. Championship triple threat match, but now that Rusev (happy Rusev Day, by the way) has been added, I can’t miss it. So now I’ll say Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship. I don’t think it’ll be bad, it’s just on a stacked card and someone has to be at the bottom. (Side note: I’m actually just going to use the bathroom during the inevitable Kid Rock musical performance)
DH: I’m hitting the porcelain as soon as “GLORIOUS” ends.
DS: With how long the video packages are in between the matches I’ll be alright not skipping anything.
JK: I truthfully do not care about the Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H/”The Premier Athlete” Stephanie McMahon match. I’m sure it will end up being fine, and I look forward to the finish where Triple H and Stephanie simultaneously tap out to respective ankle locks and armbars, but let’s just say I’m not looking to pee my pants over it.
Who steals the show?
RC: The Cruiserweight Championship between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali is going to be dope as hell but I’ll go with a match that’s getting kind of overlooked: the Smackdown Tag Team Championship triple threat match between The New Day, the Usos and the Bludgeon Brothers.
The New Day-Usos rivalry has been the best rivalry in WWE over the past 12 months and I’m excited to see what they put on for their big finale. Plus, dumb little hammers aside, the Bludgie Boys do bring a menacing, physical presence and style to their matches that is fun to watch.
DH: Strowman/his mystery partner was my answer up until Bryan announces his comeback. DANIEL FREAKIN’ BRYAN.
DS: Daniel Bryan is stealing the show no matter what he does. The wrestling community as a whole has been wanting this moment for far too long for it not to steal the show.
JK: The Usos and The New Day have stolen every PPV they’ve been on together, so I don’t see why this triple threat between them and the Bludgeon Brothers is going to be any different. Especially so if the rumors are true and this somehow ends up becoming a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match sometime between today and Sunday. Either way, these teams are going to work their asses off, and we are going to see some shit.
Who’s walking out with the belts?
RC: I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of title changes. Reigns winning is a big old “duh”. Hard to imagine Nakamura not going over Styles. Braun Strowman is finally going to get THESE HANDS on some gold regardless of his partner. The only one that would upset me changing hands is The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship. That title should never leave his waist. At least not until his daughter can inherit it from him at Wrestlemania 54.
DH: Brock, AJ, Charlotte (via shenanigans), Jax, Rollins, Orton, Braun, Cedric
DS: Roman Reigns, Asuka, Nia Jax, Finn Balor, Cedric Alexander, Harper & Rowan, Braun & ??, Rusev & AJ Styles.
JK: Your champions walking out of the Superdome are: Roman Reigns (duh), AJ Styles, Asuka (we all know Rousey is going to be the one to break that streak), Carmella (see below), Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor (dude needs something to make him more interesting), The Bludgeon Brothers, Rusev (no way he loses on Rusev Day), and Cedric Alexander.
Who will be Braun Strowman’s tag partner in the Raw Tag Team championship match? (Bonus: What will Strowman destroy/flip as a feat of strength?)
RC: I’ll just say who I hope it is, the Big Show. We haven’t seen Show since Strowman threw him through a steel cage in September, but he’s still in the best shape of his life (dude has a six-pack!) and I can see them forming a mutual bond of respect.
Bonus: Braun flips an entire Bourbon Street bar in celebration afterward.
DH: My gut tells me he’s not going to partner with anyone but THOSE HANDS, but if I have to guess an actual human being, I’ll say Dean Ambrose. All that “arm in a sling” stuff is a smoke screen.
Bonus – He’s totally taking out half of Jackson Square, isn’t he?
DS: James Ellsworth. It will be the 2nd-3rd biggest pop of the night and after they win he’ll throw him over his shoulder like the title belt. I’m going with some feat of strength that involves him picking up both Sheamus & Cesaro delivering something disastrous.
JK: The only tag team partner Braun Strowman should have is THESE HANDS. They need to put a title on this guy six months ago, and the image of Strowman walking down the ramp with a tag team title on each shoulder is one that’s too good to not come to fruition. (But if he’s going to need an actual partner… Curt Hawkins?)
Bonus: After the conclusion of the match, Braun is going flip a giant Mardi Gras float over onto Sheamus, and smash Cesaro off the stage by swinging creepy-ass King Cake Baby at him.
Will we get any surprises like the Hardy Boyz last year?
RC: We’re almost definitely going to get a segment of The Rock interrupting a concert from Elias, who unfortunately doesn’t have a scheduled match. That’s not really surprising so instead I’ll say Conor McGregor makes an appearance. It would probably be at ringside during the Ronda Rousey match (like Ronda did at Wrestlemania 31) and maybe gives HHH or someone else a slap for good measure.
DH: Biggest shocker to me would be Rousey looking like an actual wrestler.
DS: I have a feeling we get American Badass Undertaker brought out by a live Kid Rock performance…which isn’t really Hardy Boyz return great. Iconic Duo debut in the Women’s Battle Royal match which I’ll be out of my seat for.
JK: It’s all about #moments and #hashtags, so we definitely will. Namely, Carmella will be cashing in on a beaten down Alexa Bliss, after her match with Nia Jax ends in a DQ or some finish that allows her to retain. I’m not entirely sure that Carmella is allowed to jump brands with her briefcase, but hey, that’s why it’s a surprise moment! Why I can feel myself firing up the Twitter already! #WrestleManiaMoment #CarmellaCashIn #FABULOUS
Describe your feelings toward the Lesnar-Reigns match in just one GIF
Will this be the last time we see The Undertaker wrestle?
RC: Yes. Taker is said to be in much better shape than last year when he looked washed as hell against Reigns. John Cena is the only opponent left that can match The Dead Man in terms of star power and is a match fans still want to see. Taker gets his last W and rides off into the sunset (not on a Harley, though, as much as I love Biker Taker).
DH: PLEASE GOD!
JK: I really hope so. Despite how unlike The Undertaker – and more like an actual human in desperate need of hip surgery – he looked in last year’s match, the end felt like a fitting farewell for The Deadman. To have him come back now, for a match against John Cena that’s happening several years too late, just feels cruel, and like a disservice to the character. (And if he shows up as American Badass Undertaker… cool I guess, but I never really needed to see another American Badass Undertaker match in the first place…)
DS: Do we really need to even see him this year? I always loved the character but his run should have ended when the streak did.
Over/under runtime of 300 minutes (not including the pre-show):
RC: Jesus Christ I hope under but I know I’ll be wrong. There’s going to be at least 5 matches that go 20+ minutes in the ring, not even including the expanded and exorbitant entrances everyone gets that take 10 more minutes. Pace yourselves, folks, it’s going to be a long (but still awesome) night.
JK: MFW someone asks me whether WrestleMania will be over 300 minutes or under: https://media.tenor.com/images/b9f6ff516e1b29d9b5999fa98977a578/tenor.png
DS: I’m going with the under here just to be different and honestly, I don’t think the show goes a full 300.
Let’s end by looking to the future, give me your main event for NEXT YEAR’s Wrestlemania.
RC: I think after Reigns finally overtakes Lesnar and finishes this unstoppable story of Reigns avenging his Wrestlemania 31 main event loss, we’re going to move on from Reigns always being the top guy (at least I hope so).
I’m tempted to say any Braun Strowman match, but I have a feeling that WWE is going to check off that last “Women’s Revolution” box and have a women’s match main event Wrestlemania. The only match right now that would feel worthy of such a historic moment is Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair. Sorry, Asuka, I love you but everyone knows the Flair name and WWE loves mainstream appeal. If Charlotte breaks Asuka’s streak at this year’s Mania, it’d be a sign that that’s where we’re headed.
DH: Reigns vs. My Patience
But for real, my guess is Cena vs. Reigns because VINCE.
DS: I don’t think this Rousey experiment is going to go exactly like everyone planned, otherwise she and Charlotte would be my guess. I’d go with Miz vs Daniel Bryan, but feel like we get that rushed and delivered to us at Summerslam or Survivor Series. The safe bet would be Roman Reigns vs John Cena because the passing of the guard storyline will, of course, need to be replayed for Mania, but I think I’ll throw this one out there…Seth Rollins © vs a heel Finn Balor.
JK: If we’re going off of what it should be, my answer is Daniel Bryan challenging The Miz for the WWE Championship. That’s the only way this Daniel Bryan comeback can satisfyingly end, with him toppling his biggest rival, for the biggest prize, at the biggest event of the year. If we’re going off of what the main event next year will be, my answer is Roman Reigns versus Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose. Because if having The Shield team together again was cursed, logic dictates that making them all fight each other again will result in a flawless match, potentially the greatest in WWE history. (Plus, I’m convinced WWE is setting Reigns up for some sort of “More consecutive WrestleManias headlined than anybody!” record.) If we’re giving an answer that’s 95 percent a joke, but one I’m not entirely convinced couldn’t still actually happen, my answer is Roman Reigns versus Roman Reigns.