Sunday, April 8, 2018

WWE WrestleMania 34

Cena being in the crowd ensures that the pre-show matches will get a reaction. JBL, Booker, and Otunga are on the panel. Bryan and Shane vs. Sami and KO's video starts things off. They go into a hard sell of WM being free. AJ vs. Nakamura is hyped up with TNA pics, which is a bit surreal. Then we get tons of UFC footage for Ronda's hype. The reigns of Asuka and Charlotte are recapped. Boy has Charlotte done next to nothing on SD. Wow. They're actually using the giant plastic trophies they had on Raw for WM. Jesus. Andre battle royal is up.
You COULD skyrocket your career. Or you could be Mojo Rawley. Aiden is out. I want Kane to make an I've Got Constituents! shirt akin to Heath's I've Got Kids shirt. Goldust takes out Truth, who now works in a shirt and Goldust has polka dots on. Revival in weird neon gear just doesn't fit them. Mojo tosses out Ryder. Gable takes out Anderson with a koppou kick. Fanango thrusts at Kane, who uppercuts him out. Matt and Tye have a 10/Delete-off. Twist and a toss take Tye out. Dolph gets tossed by Kane and Baron tosses him out. Mojo and Baron beat up Matt, but Bray reappears. Bray helps Matt out and Mojo is gone. Matt gets rid of Baron and Bray was never in apparently - so Matt wins. Well that was bizarre. A thank you Wyatt chant.

Renee is reciting the same copy to start off hour 2 that she did for hour 2. Peter Rosenberg is on hour 2. Rockstar Spud is at ringside with a Rockstar Spud shirt and Cedric is out. Alia is out with an homage to DJZ and a slick neon helmet. Ali and Cedric start off with matwork before going into strikes. Cedric sends him down with a big dropkick for 2.
 
Cedric hits a flip dive for 2. Ali takes a bump for a backdrop just like Ali - just soars for it. Cedric hits a slick spanish fly for 2. ALI HITS ONE OFF THE TOP FOR 2. Ali gets tossed to the floor dramatically...for an ad break with that annoying PIP stuff overwhelming it. Ali counters the lumbar check with a rewind rana! 054 HITS, BUT CEDRIC'S FOOT IS ON THE ROPE! 054 misses and Cedric hits the back elbow. A SPINNING BACK ELBOW TWIRLS HIM! LUMBAR CHECK ENDS IT and Cedric finally wins the big one. Cedric gets the belt from Spud and then they just TO THE BACK it.

Cena talks about being in the crowd with folks dressed like wrestlers and leaders. Beth Phoenix gets an intro as a commentator while NO ONE GOT AN INTRO FOR THE ANDRE BATTLE ROYAL. Paige is also out and says she'll hopefully be back ini the ring for next year's battle royal. And then geeks come out. Bayley gets an intro and is dressed in...something. Ad for Paige's movie for some reason. This movie has go-away heat with me. Like '98 X-Pac has nothing on it.
Sasha is all intro and gets no intro. Yikes. Everyone gangs up on Carmella and toss her out. Ditto Dana Brooke. NXT's women sans Shayna chant NXT and get a big chant. Devi is going to get five billion views for this match. Becky tells her to not wear orange and it's her color. Paige sounds hoarse and angry. Bianca hits a 450 to Kai. Kairi is taken out during the break. Beth likes the "NXT Stuperstars". I want someone to make a Castlevania ROM hack with Bianca Belair using her hair as a whip instead of Simon and the Vampire Killer. Ruby takes out Mickie. Ruby and Liv save Logan and take out Peyton. So you've got Liv in Joker getup and Ruby dressed as old school Harley. They're gone. Bayley saves Sasha and they're the last two. Bayley tosses Sasha out and Sasha takes a giant bump for it. Then Naomi, who was just on the floor forever, isn't eliminated and wins it doing nothing. What the fuck.
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Brock vs. Roman hype is up. Instead of using a photo of Brock shaking hands with Vince, they should've used the shot of Blind Vince trying to feel for Brock which was right before it. Good God this video is nine billion years long. One more plug for WM being free. Chorus of boos for the WM singers. Well, sucks to be them. The actual WM hype video isn't all that epic - just everyone posing in front of purple lights.
Seth is out with a weird snow-themed tron. Corey got his suit alongside Jeff Jarrett, clearly. Seth's bright blue contacts are weird. Miz gets a giant set of graphics and a fantastic set of entrance gear. Miz sends the goons packing and they talk about Miz being a new man since his daughter was born. Well, that's a nice organic face turn.



Balor is out with Balor Club for Everyone gear and LGBTQ folks in New Orleans. Miz eats a basement dropkick off a sunset flip. Love Miz's red and bright gold gear here.  Could do without a chinlock. Balor gets a double footstomp and man is the ring miced loud. Finn goes for a slingblade, but Seth shoves him around AND SLINGBLADES HIM. BACK TO BACK DIVES BY SETH!

Miz dragon screws Balor off the top and gets a figure 4. Seth hits a high fly flow on Miz mid-move and gets 2. Balor avoids a barricade bomb and hits a slingblade. Both guys are sent into the barricade by a shotgun dropkick. Seth avoids the inverted 1916, and Finn avoids the recoil knee.BUCKLE BOMB AND A SUPERPLEX/Falcon Arrow, but Balor cradles him for 2. Finale hits and Seth kicks out! Miz's ribs got sliced up somehow. MIZ HITS A SUPER FINALE of sorts AND BALOR BREAKS A COVER UP WITH A DOUBLE STOMP! BALOR STOMPS MIZ AND SETH STOMP'S HIM INTO MIZ'S BACK! So the match for gay rights ends with a curb stomp? Um...Well yeah not great there.

Andre doc gets an ad, with Hogan and Arnold all over it. Cena does selfies witih a guy in a Hogan shirt. Charlotte vs. Asuka is hyped up nicely. Creepy mystical video for Asuka - I dig it. CHARLOTTE ACTUALLY GETTING RIC'S THEME! God this feels so epic. And then we just get her regular theme. BOO-URNS! ASUKA GETS GIANT MASKS!

Lots of armwork and flips to start. Charlotte chops away in the corner. Asuka kicks her in the ropes. HIP ATTACK SENDS CHARLOTTE TO THE FLOOR. Charlotte lands a backpack stunner. TRIANGLE OFF A MOONSAULT! Charlotte gets a Boston crab! They are trying to have a workrate classic - but that's not Charlotte's style unless it's WWE-style workrate. Asuka grabs her hand and kicks away at a kneeling Charlotte. Hip attack on the apron misses, so Charlotte mafia kicks her! SUPLEX OFF THE APRON. Thank God - it's better-looking and way safer than that crazy 205 Live suplex ON THE APRON.

MINORU SUZUKI SLAPFEST BY ASUKA! Missile dropkick! Curb stomps to the back of Charlotte! Charlotte hits a spanish fly off the top for 2. The SATs finisher lives on long past their careers and is a highlight reel moment at WM for two matches. Kinda weird. Natural selection is turned into a grounded octopus! That gets countered into a figure four, but Asuka goes for the Empress lock - but Charlotte avoids it. Spear gets 2! Figure 8 is on, but it's one-armed! ASUKA TAPS! Well, if anyone should end it, it should be her. Asuka, like Suzuki at WM, may not have WANTED to lose, but accepts it. She says that Charlotte was ready for her and they hug.

A ref runs to Cena and Cena storms up the ramp. Sub-Takeover intro for Roode at Mania. Aiden interrupts him and a giant RUSEV DAY chant breaks out. Sunil gives Jinder an intro. Randy comes down looking sloshed. Randy's probably happy to not have to work Bray at Mania, or have sperm on his ramp tron this year at WM. RUSEV FLIES! Roode hits a blockbuster for 2. Orton supersuplexes Roode. Randy gets booed for teasing an RKO on Rusev Day! RKOs to Rusev, Aiden, and Jinder - but Roode saves. Gloriosu DDT hits, but Jinder makes a save. MACHKA KICK! Jinder gets 2 off a schoolboy! MACHKA KICK! GIANT RUSEV DAY CHANT! And of course, Jinder hits his finish and beats Rusev. Fucking hell.


Mick does a skit with Breezango. Rousey's match is the mid-card main event!? Steph really did lay that slap in - and good for her, made for a way better video package. YES! HHH IS STILL WATCHING SONS OF ANARCHY ON NETFLIX! We get another Power Wheel intro for them. AND THEY GET AN IMPACT ZONE LIGHT SHOW.! Kurt has a new singlet and not his old man Captain America gear!



Steph pie-faces her and Ronda chases her for a bit before they go to the apron. Kurt slugs away on HHH to start. Steph low-bridges Kurt and he sails over the top. Steph bounces Kurt off the steps. HHH slugs away and he gets 2 off a spinebuster. Kurt ducks a punch and HHH ALMOST punches Steph. Steph pulls Ronda off the apron! How the fuck can HHH still take that over the top bump!? RONDA TAGS IN! Clothesline with a roll and a back suplex uranage! Punches in the corner and a biel! GIANT TOSSING EXPLODER! MONKEY FLIP INTO AN ARMBAR! But first, she has to talk shit! STEPH BLOCKS THE ARMBAR! Steph rakes the eyes!

Steph surfboards her. Ronda gets the twirling Olympic slam, but HHH pulls Drake out. THEN HE PULLS HER OUT! Kurt gets tossed from table to table! RONDA STANDS OFF WITH HHH! SHE SLUGS AWAY AND RONDA GOES FOR THE ANGLE SLAM but Steph prevents it and slaps her. Ronda tosses her into the timekeeper's area. Kurt belly to belly throws HHH! GERMAN CHAIN BY KURT! Pedigree countered into the ankle lock! Slingshot into an Angle slam! BUT IT'S ONLY 2!
Steph berates Kurt and he grabs her foot. ANKLE LOCK TO STEPH! HHH saves and hits the pedigree, but RONDA RUNS IN FOR A SAVE! RONDA GETS THE ARMBAR ON HHH, BUT STEPH SAVES. STEPH IS IN THE ARMBAR, AND KURT HAS HHH IN THE ANKLE LOCK, but he sends Kurt into Ronda. NO! That would've been a perfect finish!

 
Steph posts Ronda! DOUBLE PEDIGREES, BUT KURT AND RONDA BACKDROP! Steph flies into the armbar, talks shit, AND TAPS STEPH TO THE ARMBAR! She and Kurt hug and this was just a perfect match - it was everything it should have been and both she and Kurt looked far better than expected.CGI pancakes bring New Day to the ring. Bludgeon Brothers can't even get heat with DOOM music.



Bludgeon Brothers destroy Woods with a powerbomb to the post. Jimmy rocks Harper with uppercuts and superkicks. Double sliding kick to the post to Harper. Uso splash gets 2 on Harper. Super powerbomb from the Bludgeon Brothers wins it. Well that sure was a match. WWE Network content hype video. The TNA image in the Hardys doc has been replaced with a cop car.
Cena's theme sounds bizarre with the acoustics. A giant UNDERTAKER chant breaks out and while the buildup was weird, it isn't affect the crowd reaction yet. THE LIGHTS GO OUT AND ELIAS PLAYS HIS GUITAR! Elias playing "House of the Rising Sun" is perfect. Elias has to have had the biggest upgrade from NXT to the main roster. Cena lays out Elias. A kid yells "THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!" So they do this tease maybe one more time and I guess Cena vs. Taker closes the show.
 THE LIGHTS GO OUT! TAKER'S GEAR IS MID-RING! But remember, it's the dead man gear... THE GONG! This is just incredible. Taker gets a flurry of punches in the corner and hits old school. Cena avoids a chokeslam and hits a back suplex. You can't see me is met with a situp and a chokeslam his! TOMBSTONE TO CENA! Wow, that was short and again, perfect. It was all that was needed and really helped sell that Taker's losses were to two of the greatest in history - while also putting Cena beneath them by proxy.

 
 
That was just perfect - they told a weird story before it, but every single thing they did in the ring was what it should have been. Goldberg gets a truncated version of his full intro for the Hall of Famer rundown. Bryan and Shane vs. Steenerico is up next. Shane comes out legit struggling to move. Bryan gets a giant epic intro here focusing on the Yes Movement. Bryan is out in his new "old Daniel Bryan" gear.


A giant Daniel Bryan chant breaks out and he looks to be in fantastic shape. The heels jump them and the apron bomb hits Bryan before the match. SO NOW SHANE HAS TO CARRY THIS!? Shane gets double stomped. After a billion years, Bryan is still on the floor selling next to a gurney. This medical staff absolutely sucks. Shane looks an unsafe amount of red just selling. Shane somehow hits the coast to coast kick!

Owens hits a frog splash, but BRYAN MAKES THE SAVE AND THE CROWD COMES ALIVE AGAIN. Crowd goes unglued when Bryan tags in and goes at it with Sami! Backflip into the Hart Attack! Diving knee off the apron! Saito suplex to Owens! CORNER TO CORNER DROPKICK CHAIN! HELLUVA KICK GETS 2! Bryan eats the pop-up powerbomb for 2.9! Shane falls like a sofa off the apron to KO. KNEELING KICKS TO SAMI! KNEE INTO THE YES LOCK! BRYAN WINS! The commentary focuses on how amazing Shane was.



Another terrifying ad for Paige's movie. The fake crowd announcement gets pyro. Alexa gets a pretty epic video package hyping herself up. And Nia gets put over like a world-beating badass. Alexa gets an epic intro with a pedestal. Mickie is with Bliss and they use this intro to plug Hulu for the nine people who haven't heard of it.

Nia ragdolls Mickie for a while and reveals Mickie's thong. Alexa slaps her and Nia roars. Sometimes matchups are all about matchups. Thanks Coach. Earn that paycheck. Nia press slams Alexa, who bumps oddly. Alexa chops her down by the legs and hits twisted bliss to the floor on a standing Nia. Alexa says she's sorry, smirks and hits the snap DDT - but it only gets 2! Nia tells her to shut up and slams her. Corner avalanche! A sunset flip is turned into an Alabama slam into the buckle! A celtic cross into the buckle leads to another Alabama slam. She tells her she loves her before super Samoan dropping her and winning the title. This gets a solid pop - so it all worked.

 

AJ vs Nakamura is up. Still surreal to see all the TNA pics. Nita Strauss plays Nakamura to the ring along with a sea of violin players. She is pretty damn great. Nakamura in velour is cool - AJ's gear still seems odd. The Carolina blue stuff works with a stripe, but seems weird in full gear. They mess up his nameplate and say he's Universal Champion.


Nakamura fights from his back and lands a nice upkick. Nakamura does the relaxed breakup and AJ smacks him. Nakamura hits a spinkick and a kneedrop. AJ LEARNED THE PHENEMONAL FOREARM IN JAPAN!? Ugh. Why even bother saying that when they've shown stuff of him doing it far earlier than that in photos? AJ chinlocks him and eats an apron bump and a jump-up kick. AJ eats a landslide for 2.5. AJ attacks the knee and gets the calf crusher. Nakamura gets the triangle! AJ hoists him up and hits a death valley driver!  Nakamura misses a corner knee, BUT THE FOREARM HITS FOR 2.9! Springboard 450 is countered with knees and a cradle for 2. New Japan forearm exchange leads to a Pele and a Kinshasa to the back of the head gets 2! PRIDE knees hit! Kinshasa turns into the clash and ends it!
They hug and Nakamura gives him the belt AND THEN A LOW BLOW! Nakamura stiff kicks him to the floor and it's on! We go from the friendly match to now Nakamura turning it up because being nice didn't get him what he wanted. KINSHASA ON THE FLOOR. Chapter 1 of their WWE story was good, and plays into things better if they'd actually played up the Tokyo Dome match. There, Nakamura won - so he knows he can do it, but now that the stage was bigger and the stakes were higher, he couldn't.



The Bar is out with a bunch of Mardi Gras partygoers. They get a big league intro, and Braun comes out and destroys the float. He goes into the crowd to find his partner. Braun picks a litlte boy to be his partner. Braun dominates and busts up Sheamus. The Bar gets a double suplex and Sheamus hits a flying knee. CESARO HITS A FLIP SENTON OFF SHEAMUS'S SHOULDERS FOR 2. Braun hits a crossbody on both guys. Powerslam to Cesaro and they win it.

WM 35 is hyped up from NYC. Roman vs. Brock is up next. Roman comes out and gets booed. SUPLEX CITY STARTS THINGS OFF. Two Superman punches take Brock to the floor. A third off the steps! Tons of belly to belly suplexes hit for Brock, but Roman tosses Brock through an announce table. So they killed the streak for Brock, had Roman retire Taker, and it's all for...this... Superman punch and a spear, but Brock gets up right away and Roman hits a second for 2.9.

Brock hits a giant running knee and an F5 hits for 2. A second gets 2. Brock goes super saiyan and a third F5 hits for 2.9. ROMAN WITHSTOOD 3 F5s...just like he did in the first match! F5 THROUGH AN ANNOUNCE TABLE! A fifth F5 ges 2.9. Brock takes the gloves off and hits Roman. Elbows him. Crowd chants "this is awful!"
So Roman gets split open in this homage to Brock vs. Cena and hits 2 spears, and Brock kicks out. Brock hits yet another F5 and wins. Well goddamn, that was a legit surprise. This wasnt a great match or even a fun one to redo in a video game. It was just a series of the same moves over and over. Given that Brock hasn't unretired from MMA, him retaining isn't a complete shock and his WWE deal does have some time beyond WM for marketing and such - so he'll drop it at Backlash or something to set off the dual-branded PPVs in a big way.
We get three show-closing music videos before Roman walks to the back dejected. I feel bad for Roman. They had SOMETHING if they turned him in 2015 - but it's probably too late now. However, I would try it and use Mick's "I SACRIFICED EVERYTHING FOR YOU, AND YOU BOOED" logic from '98 for it. They sacrificed so much to get Roman over, but the only way to make it worthwhile is to try something different with him.