Powell’s WrestleMania 34 live review: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship, Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship, Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE WrestleMania 34
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
New Orleans, Louisiana at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Ring announcer JoJo Offerman introduced the sister duo of Chloe x Halle, who performed “America the Beautiful” on the stage. There was a “USA” chant afterward… A WrestleMania video aired and focussed on New Orleans as the host city before switching to WWE footage…

Powell’s POV: Welcome to my live review of WrestleMania 34. You can also find Will Pruett’s Live WrestleMania 34 blog on the main page with his running commentary on the show. Non-members, you could be enjoying ad-free access right now and hear the WrestleMania 34 audio review afterward by signing up for just $2 for one month. Check the ad on the main page for more details. With the plugs out of the way (for now!), Chloe x Halle did a fine job and the WrestleMania set looks terrific. One more thing, members, there is a thread open in the forum if you would like to chat with other members during the show tonight. Here we go!

The Raw broadcast team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman called the opening match (they also introduced the Spanish and German broadcast teams during the entrances)…

1. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship. Rollins wore blue contacts during his entrance. Miz came out with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. His video wall listed his attributes, which included “Hot Wife.” Miz sent Axel and Dallas to the back before heading to the ring. Balor came out last and had a bunch of people onstage cheering him. The broadcast team said Balor and his supporters were sending the message of inclusion. No Demon persona for Balor, who performed an early flip dive onto both opponents. John Cena was shown watching the match from the crowd with a beer in his hand.

Powell’s POV: Apparently, Cena was too cheap to buy Nikki a ticket.

Miz performed a Reality Check on Rollins, which wasn’t called by that name and never is for some odd reason. Cole simply says, “Vintage Miz.” At 8:15, Miz applied the figure four on Balor, but Rollins broke it up with a frogsplash. At 11:00, Balor set up for his finisher on Rollins, but Miz cut it off. Rollins recovered and performed a Buckle Bomb on Miz. Rollins performed a superplex and set up for the falcon arrow, but Balor caught him in a small package for a two count. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Rollins for a two count.

At 14:45, Balor had Miz alone in the ring and hit him with a pair of sling blade clotheslines. Balor performed a Coup de Grace. Before he could cover Miz, Rollins returned to the ring and hit Balor with a Stomp that drove his head into Miz’s back. Rollins followed up with a stomp of his own on Miz and pinned him. Cole noted that Rollins is now a WWE Grand Slam champion…

Seth Rollins defeated The Miz and Finn Balor in 15:30 to win the Intercontinental Champion.

Powell’s POV: A very good opening match with all three wrestlers having moments to shine. I was surprised to see Rollins go over if only because I thought all of Miz’s nice guy schtick last week was leading to him doing something even more heelish than usual. I figured Balor wasn’t going to win when he didn’t come out in Demon garb. Does this free up Miz to move to Smackdown minus the Intercontinental Championship? It would be comical if Daniel Bryan acquired him to get him on the same brand and could also taunt him with the idea that he won’t have a chance to break the record for most days as Intercontinental Champion for at least another year.

An trailer aired for the Andre the Giant documentary that will air Tuesday night at 9CT/10ET on HBO… Cena was shown in the crowd posing for a selfie with a fan…

A video package set up the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship match… Charlotte had an elaborate entrance and was escorted down the ramp by three gladiators. Asuka had a graphic effect with her masks…

2. Charlotte vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on the call. They cut to the obligatory Cena in the crowd shot 90 seconds into the match. At 5:10, Charlotte went for a moonsault, but Asuka caught her in a triangle choke on the way down, but she never locked it in and Charlotte quickly escaped.

At 7:45, Asuka performed an apron superplex. Charlotte returned to the ring on the nine count. Phillips was quick to say that the match meant enough to Charlotte that she didn’t want to retain by count-out. At 10:00, Charlotte performed a top rope Spanish Fly, the third of the show thus far with two previous versions happening in the cruiserweight title match. Asuka caught Charlotte in a submission hold that Charlotte escaped. Charlotte went for a figure four, but Asuka avoided it.

Charlotte speared Asuka for a two count at 12:10. A short time later, Asuka applied a Figure 8 and bridged using only one arm to sell her shoulder. Asuka shockingly tapped out…

Charlotte defeated Asuka in 13:05 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

After the match, Asuka took the mic and said, “Charlotte was ready for Asuka” and then congratulated her. Charlotte and Asuka hugged…

Powell’s POV: Well, that beat Carmella cashing in during the match and being pinned. However, I am not a fan of outcome, nor do I feel like the match had enough time to feel as epic as it could have. It was very good while it lasted. It just felt like they could have used more time and perhaps then it would have felt like a stronger conclusion to Asuka’s unbeaten streak.

They cut to a shot of referee Dan Engler talking to John Cena, who was smiling at whatever Engler told him. “I’m not kidding,” Engler said. Cena jumped out of his seat and ran up the ramp and headed backstage…

Powell’s POV: And then the security guard who tried to block Rob Gronkowski last year tackled Cena and had him ejected from the building since he was there as a mere fan. No? Anyway, the U.S. Title match is up next.

3. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (w/Aiden English) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) in a four-way for the U.S. Championship. English sang and then Rusev made a tank-free entrance (sigh). Singh introduced Mahal. The international broadcast teams checked in during Mahal’s entrance. Orton made a sperm-free entrance this year (whew).

Orton performed a nice powerslam on Roode for a two count early on. Mahal tried to make nice with Rusev, who didn’t bite and roughed him up. At 6:15, Rusev performed a hanging DDT on Rusev. Orton hit RKO’s on English, Rusev, and Mahal. Orton had Mahal pinned, but Roode broke it up. Roode performed a Glorious DDT and covered Orton, but Roode broke it up.

Rusev put Mahal down and set up for the Accolade while playing to the receptive crowd. Singh got on the apron and distracted Rusev, who kicked him. Mahal took advantage and hit the Khallas on Rusev and pinned him…

Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Randy Orton in 8:15 to win the U.S. Championship.

Powell’s POV: The foreign menace wins the U.S. Championship. It won’t be a popular decision, but I’m still surprised he didn’t win the tournament to set him up in this spot when they ended up going with Roode instead. The match was wisely kept brief. The wrestlers made solid use of the time and had they gone longer there was a legitimate risk of the fans losing interest given that this seemed like one of the least anticipated matches of the main card.

A candy bar commercial aired with Mick Foley, Fandango, and Tyler Breeze… A video package set up the mixed tag match…

Hunter and Stephanie were led to the ring by four women on motorcycles while they brought up on the rear on their own motorized tricycles. Hunter wore a skull mask while driving to the ring. Cole gushed over the entrance, which also included green laser style lights once they were in the ring. Angle received his own entrance and wore red, white, and blue and led the crowd in the usual “you suck” chants. He also received pyro on the stage. Rousey was out last and came wearing a Roddy Piper style jacket and a short plaid kilt with a cut-off version of her white shirt…

4. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. There was a loud Ronda Rousey chant. Stephanie pulled Rousey down by the hair before the bell, then ran across the ring and let Hunter start the match. Cole said the duo told the referee to remember who signs his paycheck. At 5:00, Angle ducked a Hunter punch and he nearly hit Stephanie but stopped short. Hunter worked over Angle, who eventually inched toward making a hot tag, but Stephanie ran over and pulled Rousey off the apron before running back to her corner.

Angle made the hot tag at 6:30. Rousey entered the ring to a huge pop and raced over and flung Stephanie into the ring. Rousey performed a side suplex on Stephanie and threw punches at her in the corner. Rousey threw Stephanie by her hair. Stephanie begged off and Rousey tossed her across the ring again. Stephanie begged off in the corner. Rousey catapulted Stephanie over and went for a cross arm breaker, but Stephanie blocked it. Stephanie gouged the eye of Rousey. She tried to tag out, but Hunter was down at ringside selling. At 9:00, Stephanie DDT’d Rousey and got a two count.

Rousey came back a minute later and performed TKO and covered Stephanie, but Hunter pulled the referee out of the ring. The ref and Hunter bickered. Rousey looked down and then looked back to Stephanie. Hunter pulled Rousey from the ring. Angle went after Triple H and stood him up on the middle broadcast table used by Cole and company, but Hunter threw Angle onto the Spanish broadcast able and he tumbled off of it.

Hunter checked on Stephanie, who rolled to the floor when she saw Rousey standing behind them. Rousey wanted to fight Hunter, who moved the referee away. Hunter anad Rousey squared off. Rousey threw a series of body shots at Hunter. She ran the ropes and Hunter tried to kick her, but she blocked it. She ended up hoisting him up on her shoulders. Stephanie returned and slapped Rousey, who dropped Hunter and chased Stephanie around the ring. Rousey caught up with Steph and threw her roughly into the barricade. Rousey picked up Stephanie, who shoved her face first into the ring post.

In the ring, Angle hit Hunter with a couple suplexes. Hunter caught Angle with a knee, but Angle came right back with three German suplexes at 14:45. Angle went for his finisher, but Hunter blocked it. Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Angle avoided it and went for the ankle lock, but Hunter kicked him off. Angle hit the Angle Slam at 15:20 for a good near fall.

Stephanie returned and barked at Angle. She tried to kick him, but he caught her leg. The crowd chanted “Yes” as Angle looked to them. Angle put Stephanie in the ankle lock. Hunter quickly broke it up and hit a Pedigree on Angle. Rousey returned to break up the pin. The crowd roared and a “this is awesome” chant broke out. Hunter set up for a Pedigree, but instead picked her up and went for a powerbomb, but she countered into a huracanrana and then applied an armbar. Stephanie broke it up and put Rousey in the sleeper.

Rousey flipped Stephanie off of her and then applied an armbar. Meanwhile, Angle caught Hunter returning to break it up and put him in the ankle lock. Hunter grabbed Stephanie’s hand and eventually broke the ankle lock by flinging Angle into Rousey, which broke up the armbar. Hunter shoved Angle through the ropes and shoulder first into the post. Rousey ended up meeting the same fate on the other side of the ring. At 19:50, Hunter and Stephanie went for stereo Pedigrees. Angle flipped Hunter over the top rope. Rousey escaped and grabbed Stephanie’s arm while on top of her. Stephanie screamed no, then Rousey wrenched on the arm and Stephanie tapped out immediately. They immediately cut to a shot of UFC President Dana White smiling and applauding…

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle defeated Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in 20:40.

Powell’s POV: That was a blast. The crowd loved Rousey from the moment she made her entrance. The fans were hot throughout the entire match and this could not have gone better. ESPN will have plenty of footage to choose from. I don’t know if Rousey is ready for a lengthy singles match yet, but she did a very good job with what I assume was a meticulously choreographed match, which isn’t an insult, it’s simply the logical approach to take given her experience level and with Stephanie having very little in-ring experience. Speaking of which, Stephanie also did a really good job. This was the highlight of the night thus far.

New Day made their entrance. There were two floating plates of pancakes with unicorns above them, then a bunch of little people wearing pancake costumes joined them onstage. Some of the little people, who were dubbed Pancake People, did the worm at ringside. The Usos were out next with a standard entrance, then the Bludgeon Brothers made their standard entrance…

5. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. “Bludgeon Brothers” Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise on one of the Usos to start. The Bludgeon Brothers quickly took over. They roughed up Big E at ringside and powerbombed Woods into the ring post.

After nearly five minutes of Bludgeon Brothers domination, the Uso Brothers caught him on the ropes. It looked like they were setting up a tower of doom spot with Big E, but Rowan returned and broke it up. A short time later, Rowan set up Kingston and Harper powerbombed him from the middle rope and pinned him clean…

The Bludgeon Brothers defeated The Usos and New Day in 5:50 to win the Smackdown Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: Disappointing. I like the way Bludgeon Brothers have dominated the division leading into this match and the way it has revitalized the careers of Harper and Rowan. But it’s WrestleMania and I had high hopes for this being a competitive, potential show stealing match. It turned out to be more Bludgeon Brothers domination instead.

John Cena made his entrance in his typical gear after wearing other clothes while in the crowd. Cole noted that Cena said “he’s here” and assumed he was talking about Undertaker. Once Cena was in the ring, a referee spoke to him. Cena acted dejected and started to leave the ring when the lights went out. The crowd went crazy.

Elias’s guitar could be heard in a hilarious swerve. Elias introduced himself on the stage and then started to play his guitar as he walked to the ring. Elias continued to insult Cena with his song once he was in the ring. Cena ended up roughing up Elias and give him a quick Attitude Adjustment. The crowd chanted for Undertaker, but Cena’s music played instead. Cena looked at the stage and showed disappointment. He went through the motions as he posed on the ropes for the crowd, then looked dejected as he walked up the ramp.

Cena’s music stopped playing and the lights went out again. In the ring, a spotlight shone on the Undertaker’s hat and gloves. The spotlight went out again along a thunder sound effect and the hat and gloves disappeared. The gong sounded. Undertaker made his entrance as The Deadman. Coachman questioned which version of Undertaker did Cena conjure up in terms of the guy who lost last year or the man who had The Streak. Referee Dan Engler was in the ring and he called for the bell to start the match…

6. The Undertaker vs. John Cena. Undertaker hit an early leaping clothesline as the broadcast team put over both men as icons. Undertaker went Old School at 1:00. Taker grabbed Cena by the throat and went for a chokeslam, but Cena avoided it and performed a side suplex to boos. Cena set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but then stopped in his tracks when Taker sat up. Taker chokeslammed Cena at 2:20. Taker performed a Tombstone piledriver and pinned Cena…

The Undertaker pinned John Cena in 2:45.

Powell’s POV: All that buildup for two minutes and 45 seconds? Honestly, no complaints if that’s the best Taker is capable at this point in his life. It’s odd that Cena was the person he destroyed rather than a pest heel. Maybe it’s just a chapter in a story between the two. Or perhaps Taker wanted his final opponent to be Cena and they stuck with that plan despite the fact that a classic match was not a possibility. It’s also worth noting that Cena has been bringing up all of his recent big match losses on television lately so perhaps this can also play into a redemption storyline or even a retirement storyline for him. There are plenty of questions, but I think it’s cool that Taker returned and I doubt you’d find too many fans in New Orleans who would disagree.

A video package aired on the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. The 2018 Hall of Fame Class were introduced by JoJo as they stood on the stage. Hillbilly Jim was still talking (not really)…

A video package set up Daniel Bryan’s in-ring return tag match…

Shane made his entrance and then Bryan received a huge reaction for his entrance with a stadium full of fans chanting “Yes!” Once they were both in the ring, Owens and Zayn appeared out of nowhere and hit Shane and Bryan from behind. Owens ended up powerbombing Bryan on the apron. Zayn taunted Shane’s sons, who were sitting with Linda McMahon. Bryan was tended to by trainers at ringside and a stretcher was brought out. Super Shane told the referee to call for the bell because he would fly solo…

7. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Owens and Zayn will be reinstated if they win). Bryan was being tended to while the heels worked over Shane. They targeted Shane’s stomach while the broadcast team made him out to be the toughest man alive for working the match despite his medical issues. Super Shane battled back and hung up Zayn in a tree of woe, dumped Owens to ringside, and then performed his Coast to Coast dropkick. The heels came back and Shane was about to be pinned when Bryan ran back in and broke up the pin.

Bryan took a hot tag about ten minutes into the match and worked over Owens and Zayn. Bryan hit Zayn with a missile dropkick and then grabbed his head to sell the attack. He kipped up and went back to working over both heels by performing running dropkicks on both men in opposite corners. Zayn begged off while Bryan shot him an intense look. Bryan performed another running dropkick and then performed a huracanrana from the ropes.

Zayn caught with a Helluva Kick and got a two count. Shane got back to the apron only to be kicked back to the floor by Owens. Bryan took a Popup Powerbomb and kicked out at two. Later, Bryan came back and hit a running knee and then applied the Yes! Lock on Zayn, who tapped out. After the match, Shane held his stomach and slowly reentered the ring where he hugged Bryan. Daniel went to ringside and hugged Brie, who was in the crowd next to The Rock’s mom. Bryan and Shane walked over and celebrated with Shane’s kids…

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon defeated Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in 15:25.

Powell’s POV: The moment we thought we’d never see with Bryan wrestling a match in a WWE ring. There was no drama with Shane as I thought there could be. This was a straight forward win for Bryan. The next chapter should be fun as we learn how Owens and Zayn stick around. Will we get El Generico and El Steeno? Will they simply move to Raw?

The “Fighting With My Family” clip with The Rock was shown… JoJo thanked the 78,133 fans in attendance and then fireworks shot off on the stage and on top of the Superdome… A video package set up the Raw Women’s Championship match…

8. Alexa Bliss (w/Mickie James) vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship. Jax took out James to start. Jax was dominant early on with Bliss until she got her leg caught on the ropes and Bliss stomped on it. Bliss worked over the left knee of Jax. At 5:45, Bliss performed Twisted Bliss onto Jax on the floor. Back in the ring, Bliss talked smack and flashed a big grin before DDT’ing Jax and covering her for a near fall.

Bliss barked that she made Jax and slapped her. Jax grabbed Bliss by the neck and bodyslammed her at 7:45. A short time later, Jax hoisted up Bliss for a Samoan Drop, but Bliss raked her eyes. Jax came back with an Alabama Slam moments later. Jax picked up Bliss on her shoulders and then climbed up to the second rope and performed a Samoan Drop for the win. Jax was emotional after the match. She walked over to Ata and Simone Garcia-Johnson, who were in the front row, and hugged them…

Nia Jax pinned Alexa Bliss in 10:15 to win the Raw Women’s Championship.

Powell’s POV: I like the approach to the match. There are times when Bliss comes off more competitive than I prefer because I see her character as a pest heel. In this case, Jax was dominant early, yet Bliss caught her knee with that kick in the ropes and exploited it. It was a logical way to give Bliss a share of the offense without making it seem like they were in-ring equals.

A video package set up the WWE Championship match…

Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance opened with guitarist Nita Strauss from Alice Cooper’s band playing his theme. A group of violinists walked out and played with her and then Nakamura made is entrance. AJ Styles made his entrance…

Powell’s POV: Nakamura takes the lead in the entrance of the night battle. Very cool.

9. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. They locked up and Styles pushed Nakamura into a corner. Nakamura shoved him after the break. Styles caught Nakamura with a knee. As Nakamura sold, Styles asked him how he liked a knee to the face. Styles connected with a great dropkick at 6:00. Styles went for a kick from the apron that Nakamura avoided, then Nakamura swept his legs out from under him.

At 7:40, Nakamura did the “come on” motion and then worked over Styles with some strikes. Styles caught hi with a gutbuster at 10:10 and got a two count. The crowd was very quiet yet attentive. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Nakamura cut him off and performed a Landslide for a two count. At 12:55, Styles caught Nakamura in a Calf Crusher. The broadcast team said Styles was going to retain, so you knew this wasn’t the finish.

Nakamura countered into a triangle. Styles powered up Nakamura and then slammed Nakamura down. At 16:10, Nakamura went for a running knee, but Styles moved and Nakamura slammed his knee in the corner. Styles followed up with a Phenomenal Forearm for a near fall. Styles performed a springboard 450, but Nakamura put his knees up.

At 18:00, they traded headbutts to the side of the face. They followed up with a series of strikes. Styles performed a Pele Kick. Nakamura popped up and delivered a knee to the back of Styles head and got a two count. Nakamura continued to sell knee pain. At 20:00, Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa, but Styles rolled him into the Styles Clash and pinned him…

AJ Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 20:20 to retain the WWE Championship.

After the match, Styles helped Nakamura to his feet and they hugged to applause. Nakamura took the title belt from the referee, got down on one knee, and presented it to Styles, which drew applause. Suddenly, Nakamura low blowed Styles. Nakamura kicked Styles several times and stomped his face while the crowd booed until Styles fell off the apron to the floor. Nakamura went to the floor and hit him with a Kinshasa. The fans booed as Nakamura headed up the ramp…

Powell’s POV: I enjoyed the match and yet I also don’t feel like it lived up to expectations. The crowd was very quiet during the first half of the match and it was likely a combination of fatigue, not picking sides, and simply waiting to be wowed. The match also lacked suspenseful and believable near fall moments for Nakamura. I never believed he was on the verge of winning the match. On the other hand, the post match low blow was unexpected and awesome. This means we’re going to see more from these two and the fans will have a rooting interest, so I expect their next counter is better than this one.

The broadcast team recapped the Kickoff Show matches with Matt Hardy winning The Dre, Cedric Alexander beating Mustafa Ali to win the WWE Cruiserweight Title, and Naomi winning the battle royal…

Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance on a Mardi Gras float with various people in costumes. The Bar tossed beads into the crowd…

Powell’s POV: I can neither confirm nor deny that our buddy Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com flashed his breasts to earn those beads the old fashioned way.

Braun Strowman made his entrance and the various Mardi Gras characters scurried. Strowman pushed the float off the stage. JoJo introduced Sheamus and Cesaro. She introduced Strowman and then said “and his tag team partner.” Strowman took the mic and said he knows everyone wants to know who his partner is, especially The Bar, and that’s why he waited until he got to the biggest stage of them all. He said his partner is “one of you” (pointing at the camera) or one of you (pointing to the crowd). Strowman went to ringside and surveyed the crowd before finally pointing at someone. Strowman grabbed a kid from the crowd and led her(?) to the ring. Strowman had the fan introduce himself. It’s a boy! He said Nicholas is his name…

10. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Braun Strowman and Nicholas for the Raw Tag Titles. Strowman dominated early and Nicholas watched from the corner, but he never even grabbed the tag rope! Sheamus and Cesaro took control, but Strowman came back with a cross body block. Strowman dumped Sheamus to ringside and made the hot tag to Nicholas. Yes, really! Nicholas entered the ring, but then quickly tagged out. Strowman ended up powerslamming Cesaro and pinning him…

Braun Strowman and Nicholas defeated Sheamus and Cesaro in 4:00 to win the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: Wait, you didn’t predict that Nicholas would be Strowman’s tag partner? Who didn’t see that coming?!? Idiot! Okay, that was completely unexpected, disappointing, and fun all at the same time. It was disappointing if you were hoping for a big name surprise, yet still fun in that the live crowd got behind it and popped when the kid tagged in for those few seconds. I assume Strowman and Nicholas drop the tag titles, but I think it would be funnier if they waited a week and split them up via the likely Superstar Shakeup and stripped them of the tag titles.

A WrestleMania 35 video aired… A video package set up the WWE Universal Heavyweight Championship…

Roman Reigns made his entrance and was booed (knock me over with a feather). The boos resumed after Roman’s music. Actually, they probably didn’t stop, as you could hear a jump in the volume right before Brock Lesnar’s music hit. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The referee stood between champion and challenger as they stared one another down. Reigns was booed when he was introduced. Heyman stopped JoJo and handled the introduction of Lesnar, who received some boos…

11. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. There was a soft “Let’s go Roman” chant right before the bell. Lesnar performed an early German suplex and followed up with two more. Reigns came back with two Superman Punches and Lesnar rolled to the floor. Reigns got him back in the ring and then clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor again at 1:30.

Reigns went for a Superman Punch off the ring steps, but Lesnar caught him and performed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Lesnar performed the move again and then tossed Reigns face first onto the broadcast table. The crowd was quiet as Lesnar rolled Reigns back inside the ring and performed another German suplex. Rinse and repeat for what Cole said was the fifth German of the match, which was followed by (you guessed it) German number six.

In a shocking twist, German number seven followed at 14:45. Reigns ended up falling to ringside. Lesnar followed and cleared the German broadcast table. Lesnar threw Reigns into the barricade next to the table. Lesnar hoisted up Reigns on his shoulders. Reigns slipped away and shoved Lesnar face first into the ring post at 6:00. Reigns charged Lesnar and drove his shoulder into Lesnar’s gut and dumped him on one of the broadcast tables.

Back inside the ring at 7:00, Lesnar hit Lesnar with a Superman Punch and then speared him. Reigns followed up with a second spear and covered Reigns, but Lesnar kicked out. At 8:15, Reigns went to the corner and charged, but Lesnar lifted his knee and caught him in the face. Lesnar covered Reigns for a two count. The fans started cheering, but it was for beachballs.

Lesnar performed an F5 and covered Reigns for a two count. Graves asked when the last time someone kicked out of an F5. Lesnar followed up with a second F5 and once again Reigns kicked out at two. Lesnar showed major frustration over Reigns kicking out. “Put him down,” Heyman yelled from the floor. Lesnar hit a third F5 and covered Reigns, who kicked out again. “What the f—?” Lesnar asked (he was censored). Graves said he couldn’t remember the last time anyone kicked out of one F5. There was a “boring” chant. Ouch.

Lesnar tossed Reigns to the floor. Lesnar performed an F5 through the German broadcast table. Lesnar dragged Reigns and rolled him back inside the ring. Lesnar smirked and then performed another German suplex. Cole said he believed it was number six (I believe it was number eight). The fans had beachball fun while Lesnar hit the F5 again and went for a cover, but Reigns kicked out in 13:50.

Lesnar removed his fighter gloves. The fans chanted, “This is awful.” Reigns took a forearm or an elbow from Reigns and came up bleeding heavily. Lesnar hoisted him up for another F5, but Reigns escaped it, speared Lesnar twice, and covered him for a two count. Reigns was a bloody mess. Reigns ran the ropes for a spear, but Lesnar caught him and then gave him another F5 and pinned him clean…

Brock Lesnar pinned Roman Reigns in 15:55.

Lesnar and Heyman left the ring and headed up the ramp. Medics cleaned up Reigns in the ring…

The WrestleMania video aired… A video package recapped the WrestleMania 34 event…

They cut to back to ringside where Reigns was having a moment with his wife. He limped and walked toward the ramp and his music played. No one really reacted. The camera showed Reigns as he slowly walked up the stage with two referees and two trainers behind him. Once at the top of the stage, Reigns turned and looked around the stadium, then turned and walked to the back to end the show…

Powell’s POV: They gave us the big upset finish, but the fans didn’t seem as excited as you would expect. There was a loud cheer when Lesnar won, but it wasn’t a sustained reaction. Does this mean they are going to troll the Raw after WrestleMania crowd by having Reigns capture the title in front of them? If so, how do they get to a rematch when Lesnar beat the hell out Reigns for at least 90 percent of the match? I vote for Heyman granting Reigns the rematch and then turning on Lesnar if Brock is leaving, which would set up Reigns as the heel that so many people want him to be.

Either way, I’m happy this era of predictability is over. We knew all year that it was going to be Lesnar vs. Reigns in this show’s main event. Granted, they surprised us by having Lesnar go over clean, but it was still a year of matches that felt predictable because we knew the direction. I figured that new era would begin tomorrow, but it started a night early.

Cutting back to Reigns was bizarre. Did they really think he was going to get a respectful ovation? I was hoping he was going to get to the top of the stage and flip off the fans as a teaser for a turn tomorrow, but I can’t say I’m surprised that they didn’t end WrestleMania in 2018 with someone flipping off the fans. Overall, WrestleMania was a good show that fell slightly below my high expectations based on the loaded lineup. I will have much more to say in the Dot Net Members’ Exclusive audio review with Will Pruett and Jake Barnett later tonight. Check the main page to find out how you can become a member for just $2 for one month. Thanks for joining us tonight!


Readers Comments (20)

  1. Love Rollins but hate having Miz not get the extended reign to beat Morales.

  2. Will Urbanovitch April 8, 2018 @ 7:11 pm

    did anyone notice Cena is watching from the crowd? Oh that’s right, they’ve mentioned it every 10 seconds!!

  3. Rousey needs some polish, but her timing is excellent and she’s already a world class seller. Way better than I thought she’d be the first time out, and it gives me hope that they’ll somehow get to a battle of the 4 Horsewomen that’s really good.

  4. Sorry, I went to the bathroom when the Angle/Rousey vs Stephania/HHH match started, I just got back.

    Oh cool, Bludgeon Brothers Vs New Day Vs Usos is on now…..

  5. A lot of matches going shorter than expected.

    AJ and Nakamura must be getting a 60 minute epic at this rate.

    People like to complain about WWE scripting everything and thinking of matches called in the ring as better, but I think AJ-Shane at last year’s Mania and the Rousey match this time (or, for that matter, something as overbooked to hell as Austin-Dude Love with Vince as special referee all those years ago) demonstrate why the vast majority of classic movies and TV are scripted, not improv. Hard to beat a WELL scripted match.

    • I think most of us are disenchanted with the scripted writing. Laying out a match is fine. The lousy dialogue and silly skits are the problem.

  6. The Rousey/Steph match was fantastic. I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined it would’ve been that awesome.They put on a clinic when it came to mixing in drama. I think it also added to the match that they were all given a certain amount offense., it also made it more credible.

    This and the Asuka/Charlotte match are the highlights of the night so far imo.

  7. Shane is so god damn awful.

  8. Can Carmella cash in on the Raw Women’s Title?

  9. The Bar with maybe the most New Orleans entrance possible, but still a notch behind that Nakamura entrance.

  10. “Braun Strowman and Nicholas defeated Sheamus and Cesaro in 4:00 to win the Raw Tag Titles.”

    It’s like this show was built so Jim Cornette could have a years worth of material. Nonsense

  11. Will Urbanovitch April 8, 2018 @ 11:15 pm

    this was the first Wrestlemania I’ve watched live (ordered the network for it), christ was that bad. They piss away both Royal Rumble winners and an amazing winning streak that should have gone on until next years Wrestlemania. The Yes chants seemed forced. The Undertaker cameo and Rousey were the best parts. Going to go ahead and cancel the network now.

    • Other than the main event, that was a good show. The Charlotte-Asuka match was the best of the night and Rousey was an absolute revelation.

  12. It’s amazing how bad this was overall.

  13. NO ONE wanted to see Reigns in the main event. WWE knew this since the last encounter between them and yet, they still rammed it down our throats.

    Now, I expect WWE to frame the chants and beach ball play as discontent with Lesnar holding the title.

    All the fanboys can rise in defense of Reigns, WWE or whomever. The fact is just because Reigns lost here doesn’t mean WWE isn’t listening to us. It means they really have no appreciation for the workers, like Reigns that they put in impossible situations and make them look so bad.

    I almost feel bad for Reigns here. This combined with the child winning 1/2 the tag titles and WWE tossing aside a meaningful finish to Charlotte/Asuka for the lame Cena angle just proves WWE has lost their compass.

    None of that was good for business.

  14. Oh look. Another WWE main roster show that got embarrassed by NXT the night before. It seemed like all those matches were great, how many were great tonight? 1 or 2 maybe?

  15. The Undertaker is an ass kicker and after weeks of being disrespected by Cena this was the only logical result in my view….Rousey/Angle v.s. HHH/Stephanie was fantastic. Say what you will about trips and Steph’s characters but they are entertaining and have no problem putting people over. Bonus points for Rousey’s shorts….Styles/Nakumura wasn’t as fast paced as I expected but with the heel turn their match at Backlash should more than make up for it…Charlotte submitting Asuka was surprising and Jax winning was a foregone conclusion. Just hate that Carmella didn’t attempt to cash in either match..I will take Nicholas over Judy Bagwell any day…I expected Brock/Reigns to be a punch/suplex fest so it was fine for me. Part of me suspected Brock would retain but didn’t think Vince would pull the trigger. Actually look forward to Raw tomorrow.

  16. To in anyway justify or defend the Braun/NIcholas travesty would be BEYOND “mark”manship, yet I assure you, it’ll somehow be defended. ANYTHING like this done anywhere else would be (rightly) bashed, yet the WWE Mark-4-Life crew here will somehow support this. As for Reigns, thank God he lost. TERRIBLE match, yet “the fans didn’t seem as excited as you would expect”?? THE MATCH SUCKED. Period.

    • The only way to defend it is to admit that WWE is no longer wrestling, but a fantasy/action comedy series based on professional wrestling.

      The arrogance of this company is off the chart. They think they’re doing what’s best for business, but the truth is they’re throwing away the one thing that keeps generations coming back, the wrestling. For every Styles, there are three Reigns. For every great match, there are three disappointing clusterf*cks.

      I see WWE as Game of Thrones or any other current hot show. Problem is shows come and go. When people get tired of the absurdity, they’ll depart without any core reason to return.

  17. Does Vince have a bias against Japanese wrestlers or those who were over in New Japan? I mean Asuka, Nakamura, Gallows and Anderson, Balor, etc. have all been underwhelming performers on the “big” stage. Heck, even Styles lost his first WM match against Jericho.

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