Well that was… meh. WrestleMania 34 has passed us by, and with its passing we have had many long standing questions answered with just as many new ones asked. Let’s be realistic here for a second… it wasn’t very good at all. It wasn’t helped by the fact that NXT TakeOver New Orleans was earth shatteringly incredible, but regardless of Saturday nights superior show, ‘Mania once again flattered to deceive. We were presented with the most stacked card in history, but almost every match felt like nothing more than filler for the main event. With that said, post ‘Mania RAW was a blistering success. This was originally due to be a ‘Mania Hits & Misses rundown, but I had to include RAW purely for the fact I could only find 1 or 2 ‘mania Hits which were vastly outweighed by Misses.
Lets crack on shall we?
Hit: Ronda’s Rousing Rendition.
Hands up who expected this? Anybody? No? You at the back there, put your hand down you liar! Far and beyond the best match of the night, Ronda Rousey shocked and impressed the entire world with her performance on the Grandest Stage of Them All. She was far more involved than I ever expected and it was clear to see how much she cared about proving herself. Credit is due for both HHH and Stephanie, who both did everything in their power to put Ronda over in the biggest way possible. What next for Rousey? Well if her appearance on RAW is anything to go by, this feud is far from over and that’s something I’m more than happy to see. She needs at least a couple more months of being built up, plus some more mic work conditioning, before entering the title picture.
Miss: That Fucking Main Event.
Literally the most baffling thing I have ever seen while watching WWE… and I’ve seen ark Henry have a baby hand with Mae Young. Nailed on for an entire year, Roman Reigns was set to finally topple the beast and reward us with a full time champion. What did we get? One of, if not the, worst WrestleMania main events in history. To make matters worse, within 24 hours of Roman’s devastating loss, the instant rematch was announced for the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. That’s right. The challenger lost and got handed a rematch. Without earning it. Who said WWE favour Roman Reigns and force him down our throats? You? Don’t be absurd! He’s great! He’s earnt it!
The only saving grace here was the return of my life long bae Samoa Joe. His appearance and subsequent berating of Reigns was a thing of beauty, and even led to a challenge for Backlash. This rivalry was fantastic the first time around… here’s hoping it leads to big things for Joe.
Hit: Opening The Show In A Big Way.
While it wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see, the Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor was the perfect way to open proceedings. It’s always nice seeing the best guys the company has to offer starting the show off the right way. Unfortunately the match itself wasn’t even close to being the monumental 5 star extravaganza we expected. Rollins is a worthy winner however, and should go on to have a fantastic reign as champion especially considering the calibre of talent on RAW. Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Elias, Dean Ambrose on his return, Finn Balor and Jeff Hardy could all result in some outstanding matches.
Miss: Rusev Day is On It’s Last Legs.
Who has Rusev upset? His short time in the company has gone from one extreme to another. Since losing his fantastic 1 year unbeaten streak to Super Cena, we have seen Rusev involved in a romantic storyline with Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler, being fed to Randy Orton, becoming the most over guy in the business all by himself with the Rusev Day movement… to being pinned by Jinder Mahal at WrestleMania. I’s genuinely shocked he hasn’t walked away from the company yet. He is phenomenally talented, has the merch sales to give Vince a raging semi (he’s old, its difficult) and has reached almost Daniel Bryan levels of over. What’s next for him? More mid card mediocrity? With the Superstar Shake Up only one week away, Ru Ru desperately needs a change of scenery. Oh I almost forgot to mention. Jinder Mahal is our new United States Champion. Kill me now.
Hit: No Celebrities Or OTT Segments.
Thank. God. The. Rock. Wasn’t. There.
Despite the matches on show not being particularly exciting, barring 1 or 2, at least the focus of this Wrestlemania was on the actual wrestling. It was a nice change of pace to not be slapped in the face with celebrity involvement, unless you count Ronda Rousey of course, and it’s always nice when the talent doesn’t get buried by stars of yesteryear. I’m a sucker for nostalgia as much as the next cynical old fool, but seeing The League of Nations embarrassed by Stone Cold, Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 32 was completely unnecessary.
Miss: SDLive Tag Team Championship Match Placing.
The Uso’s. Tag team of the year 2017. Helped in large by The New Day and their insane rivalry. Surely this match, including the Blugeon Brothers, can only have been 24 carat gold right? Wrong! The match itself was uninspiring and frankly quite dull, but WWE did themselves no favours by placing this one right after Ronda Rousey’s triumphant debut. The crowd didn’t care in the slightest and barely made a sound. Going forward I’m concerned for the division. It was on fire for the longest time, but with Blugeon Brothers being in control for the foreseeable future I can’t see any more 5 star matches like the division was churning out weekly towards the end of 2017.
Hit: Braun Finally Winning Gold.
Strowman was my superstar of the year for 2017, and he won that much coveted award by a country mile. An amazing rivalry with Roman Reigns, months of making Big Show look good, a focal point of the title scene leading into SummerSlam, character development beyond anything we could have expected… he was more than ready to step up and show his potential at the top of a division. The tag team division was a strange place for Strowman to ply his trade, but at the end of the day it was entertaining and it was all we could talk about for weeks leading up to WrestleMania.
Miss: The Way Braun Won Gold.
The fears I had going into Wrestlemania were somewhat vanquished on last night’s RAW. The Bar in no way deserved to lose their titles after holding the weak division together over the last year, so thankfully Strowman and his unlikely partner 10 year old Nicholas (don’t even…) vacated the titles and handed them over to Kurt Angle. This doesn’t change the fact that winning the titles in the first place was the wrong decision. That’s twice in the last few months that champions have relinquished their titles for no good reason at all and it just reeks of creative not planning for the long term. Braun should have been given an opportunity at a singles title rather than diminishing the value of the tag belts. Sheamus and Cesaro were in danger of looking weak and potentially splitting up, but the announcement of a tag team elimination tournament to determine their opponents in Saudi Arabia has gone a small way to keeping them relevant.
Ember Moon. No Way Jose. Bobby Lashley. Jeff Hardy. Samoa Joe. Authors of Pain. Owens & Zayn… now that’s how you book a post ‘Mania RAW! Moon adds legitimacy to a women’s division which was becoming staler and staler by the month and should be a good challenger to Nia Jax’s newly claimed throne. Jose was a fun appearance as he swept aside and unnamed jobber, but hopefully it will turn out to be a one off appearance. Lashley received a great reaction and his interaction with Elias was absolute fire, with him looking more dominating than ever. Jeff’s return was a personal highlight for me, albeit a fairly pointless and confusing one, Unless he is going to be entered into the Intercontinental Championship scene, his appearance achieved nothing.
Samoa Joe has been desperately missed. The best natural heel that RAW has, and his interaction with Reigns was phenomenal. If Reigns wins the title in Saudi Arabia, Joe will be a fantastic first challenger. AOP was a predictable but nonetheless awesome debut. The RAW tag division has desperately needed new blood for a long, long time. Akam and Rezar will certainly bring plenty of blood to the table… other people’s blood. It’ll also be interesting to see the fall out from their dismissal of Paul Ellering… will he take charge of another team? Owens and Zayn was a fun little segment with a great match to boot, and with neither man coming away with a RAW contract it should lead to a few weeks of them invading the show until Kurt Angle eventually gives in and grants them their wish.
An absolutely fantastic episode of RAW.
Miss: The Dream Match Turned Into A Nightmare.
AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura is, on paper, potentially the greatest match ever. So it’s a shame that the end product was completely and utterly average. Horrendous build up for months and months, the lac of interaction between the two and no real intensity really did the match a disservice. The crowd weren’t that into it, it was placed in an unusual slot on the card and was yet another case of WWE flattering to deceive. The saving grace here was Nakamura’s unexpected heel turn, which certainly ignited a little interest for me in an another very standard feud. Face v face never works particularly well in the first place. The Superstar Shake Up is going to have to conjur up something pretty special to make this WWE Championship scene worth watching. Finn Balor anybody?
Hit: Charlotte Ending The Streak.
THANKYOU CHARLOTTE. WWE’s best decision of the night by far. Asuka is the most overrated wrestler, male or female, of all time in my eyes. I’ve not seen anything to back up everyone’s claims that she is the best thing since sliced sex, regardless of how much you like to jizz over her time wrestling in Japan, and it would’ve been a crying shame to see her defeat the best female superstar of the last decade. This result went a loooong way to back up my long standing opinion that WWE don’t know how to plan for the long term. An Asuka win would’ve done absolutely nothing for SDLive. Charlotte has struggled to impress on the blue brand at times because of the lack of serious competition… so what the hell would Asuka have done?
We also didn’t see a Carmella cash in, which was strange considering she tries to cash it in every 17 seconds on SDLive. What does it mean for her? She isn’t ready to be a champion, shes barely ready to be a superstar at all.
Miss: The Far From Phenomenal Return Of The Phenom.
What the hell was this? I wasn’t expecting a 30 minute epic, nor did I want one to be honest, but this was essentially a squash match. With some of the worst build I’ve ever seen for an Undertaker match, the first hour of WrestleMania was all about seeing John Cena sat in the crowd like a ‘fan’. He even interrupted Charlotte’s absolutely massive moment en route to the back of the arena. Disrespectful on WWE’s part. The worst part of all this mess is that we will likely see a rematch at next year’s event so Cena can try and achieve some sort of vindication akin to HHH and Shawn Michaels in their encounters with The Deadman. The only positive to this match was that Elias got to be a part of something huge and appear at ‘Mania at the same time.
The match didn’t need to happen, and it may aswell not have done. Was the idea to allow Taker to win and make up for losses to Reigns and Lesnar? If so, it didn’t work. 10 more wins wouldn’t work, because at the end of the day his wins could be 50 but the losses will always be 2. WWE have destroyed the legitimacy of arguably the greatest of all time and his legacy means much less than it used to.