Posts tagged Wrestlemania
Ruthless Aggression - Leaving Sacramento

It's the go-home shows before Wrestlemania XIX, featuring (maybe) the very first Rock concert! Plus, Charlotte Flair brings her own title into the Wrestlemania main event, Kofi-Mania WILL happen, and much more!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 513
Smackdown 189

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Ruthless Aggression - Dana Brooke Is The San Diego Padres Of Pro Wrestling

Kofi gets his title opportunity taken away from him (again), the internet cries for Dana Brooke, more updates on the Road to Wrestlemania and the week in 2003, including Vince McMahon stabbing the hell out of Hulk Hogan!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 512
Smackdown 188

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Ruthless Aggression - 3:16

Happy Steve Austin Day! Fastlane thoughts, Kofi running the gauntlet, RKO & AJ delivering an epic segment, Stokely Hathaway and the new NXT signings, plus this week in 2003.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 511
Smackdown 187

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
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First Black Champ - Check The Archives

Roman Reigns is back! Does that effect the send off for Dean Ambrose? We the 66% Shield reunion and if Dean Ambrose should have Wrestlemania plans. We also dig into Ronda Rousey and why she's just not a great sports entertainer. Bautista beat Ric Flair ass on his birthday, but Cam is not feeling Evolution explodes at Wrestlemania.

Then we revisit Triple H's "People Like You" promo on Booker T. Bang reads the transcript of what happened on 3-3-03 and we tie that and Daniel Bryan's "Yes Movement" and "Occupy RAW" moment in with Kofi Kingston getting his Wrestlemania Title Match on this #FirstBlackChamp podcast episode!

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This Week in WWE: The Baddest and The Man go face-to-face
Raw.png

Chris Novak: We are OFFICIALLY on the road to WrestleMania! Kicking things off is Seth Rollins, the 2019 Men’s Royal Rumble winner. As you might imagine, the crowd is all over Setth at this point in time. Rollins talks about how he won the Rumble and then does the sign point. He says it’s the beginning of the journey and he has a choice to make between Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar. He says he’ll have to take time to think about it… and then Triple H arrives to the scene!

Robert O’Neill: Business is about to pick up, as they say. Triple H is happy for Seth and glad he got to point at the sign. He ALSO says that Seth needs to make a decision by the end of the night on if he’s gonna challenge Brock Lesnar or Daniel Bryan. And now Dean Ambrose is here, likely to ruin everything.

Chris Novak: Dean Ambrose challenges Seth and Triple H’s sentiments. He points out that Triple H was ready to kick him to the curb, but, H Man points out that Ambrose did him dirty on the same night Roman Reigns announced he was battling leukemia. Ambrose and Hunter battle a bit on the mic and Ambrose says he wants to face Rollins right now. Ambrose makes a snarky remark about HHH needing his father-in-law’s approval, but Trips gets a ref, and away we go.

Robert O’Neill: Is Dean Ambrose good again? We had that great promo to start the night and now a match that was far better than the one we saw at TLC or any other time in their feud. Maybe Rollins is inspired from the Rumble victory and that helped but this match was awesome. Ambrose sold The Stomp like it was the most pain he’s ever been in and it made for a really cool visual. Fun stuff.  

Chris Novak: We came back and Dean Ambrose was still in the ring. He was about to speak when Nia Jax and Tamina came out, likely to compete in a Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber qualifier. Nia hits Dean from behind after there was a staredown. Afterwards, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James made their way out. So, we’re going to have this match.

Robert O’Neill: Am I right to be a little worried about Alexa working with Nia and Tamina in her first match back?

Chris Novak: I think you’re justified. This match was fun but a little rough around the edges. Which, well… you know what, I’m not gonna go too heavily here. I appreciate Alexa doing everything she can into getting something out of Tamina. But, it was what it was. Tamina and Nia are officially headed to EC.

Kurt Angle faced Baron Corbin. Corbin won with Deep Six. The match was what you figured it would be when that match was announced.

Finn Balor’s here now!

Robert O’Neill: He’s sad that he lost to Brock Lesnar but he’s proud of his effort and says he made Lesnar believe, which is true! Now Bob Lashley and LIo Rush are here. Lio calls Finn a “twerp” (ironic) and then Finn makes fun of Lashley for only lasting 12 seconds in the Rumble and gets beat down.

Chris Novak: That was really effective. Finn’s likely going to be bound for the IC Title if this interaction is any indication. Which, hey, that’s fine.

Robert O’Neill: The Revival faced Ryder and Hawkins and didn’t lose. Woo.

And now Elias is here! He’s telling the crowd they’re not worthy of him but JEFF JARRETT comes out and calls him Slapnuts and then ROAD DOGG COMES OUT!

Chris Novak: Ahahahahahaha, this was such a tremendous segment. Road Dogg, repping “The Man” Becky Lynch, goes on a bit of a spiel with Elias. Then they start to sing “With My Baby Tonight” because OF COURSE THEY DID! Elias hit Roadie with a guitar, got into a brawl with Jarrett and prevailed after hitting Jeff with the guitar.

Dana and Nattie vs. The Riott Squad is next.

Robert O’Neill: But first, Mojo Rawley cut… a very good promo backstage in a mirror. Maybe he has something cooking?

Chris Novak: Perhaps, we’ll have to see. Liv Morgan pinned Nattie in a quick match. So, The Riott Squad are in the Elimination Chamber Match. Expected result was expected.

Ronda’s here now for an open challenge. And… she’s getting boooooooooed… she’s getting Becky chants in her direction… she’s getting booooooooooooed some more. And afterwards, here comes BAYLEY! And Bayley’s here to answer the open challenge.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley’s gear is awesome. That’s not a surprise, but I really like the color scheme here.

Chris Novak: Her and Finn are wearing matching colors. Cute. This match RULED. Bayley brought out a ton of neat, new shit in this one, including a jumping kneebar, a B2B into the barricade AND used the Bank Statement. Ronda eventually put her away.

Bayley and Ronda had an interaction… but HERE. COMES. BECKY. LYNCH!!!!!

Robert O’Neill: WELP. To no surprise, Becky is challenging Ronda. We have our first Wrestlemania 35 match.

Chris Novak: What a segment and what a moment. That was legitimately awesome. Ronda did a CONSIDERABLY better job cutting her second promo compared to her first. If that’s the Ronda Rousey we’re gonna see going forward, then it’s gonna be even better. I loved all of that. Inject this entire feud and this hype into my veins.

Robert O’Neill: Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre are in your main event slot. The crowd… isn’t particularly into it but that’s to be expected after a red hot segment. Strowman got the win by disqualification when Baron Corbin attacked him from behind on the outside and McIntyre and Corbin beat Strowman down. Alright then.

Chris Novak: I don’t want to be too overreaching here, but you can definitely tell where Strowman’s place on the card is.

Seth’s decision is NEXT.

And… well, they pretty much had to go on the fly with this one based on time. Seth picked Brock, if we’re basing this off ANYTHING that happened. Seth ate like five F-5’s and then asked Brock if it was all we got. We went off the air with Seth eating yet another, and THAT… is a wrap on it.

Robert O’Neill: That was very effective! And kind of short, because they don’t have overrun anymore.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Look at that, Raw was excellent again. This show absolutely flew by, and everything worked for me. I would have preferred Alexa Bliss getting a victory in her return match, but whatever. The Becky and Ronda stuff was excellent and will be remembered for a long time. A

Chris Novak: Loved Raw again, and I think we’ll talk more about Alexa on the podcast if you want, Rob. Anyways, loved Bayley’s interaction again. Loved the Seth stuff. I ADORED the Becky-Ronda segment. What a show. A for me.

Smackdown.png

Robert O’Neill: Becky Lynch is here to open the show! Let’s see what she has to say.

Chris Novak: She talks about her journey from nothing to the main event of WrestleMania (which they are again touting up). She makes it clear that she’s going to break Ronda’s arm in front of the whole world and that if she doesn’t know what’s coming to her, she’ll be carried out knowing it. This all leads to Charlotte making her way to the ring, which I’m sure will go over well with anybody.

Robert O’Neill: People still don’t like Charlotte and I don’t really get it. She’s obviously very good and is a natural rivalry for Becky, with whom she has a ton of chemistry. She congratulates Becky for getting off the kickoff show and says she’s proud, which doesn’t seem sincere! This is very good though. This is what they should be doing!

Becky doesn’t give a shit though and punches her in the middle of the ring and leaves. But Charlotte attacks her up the ramp!

Chris Novak: Awesome brawl to start off the show.

Shinsuke Nakamura defends his newly won US Championship against R-Truth next.

Robert O’Neill: Alright SO! A lot happened here. First, Truth got the upset victory after a backslide that looked like Mike Chioda screwed up (he didn’t), then Rusev came out and said that he wanted a shot at Truth since he lost to Shinsuke the other night, and then Truth beat HIM as well!

But then Shinsuke and Rusev beat Truth down. But, still. New champion!

Rey Mysterio is out here for a match with Samoa Joe… but wait! Andrade attacks him from behind and beats him down.

Chris Novak: I do love that they’re keeping this angle going.

The Club confronted Rusev in the back. Nakamura then stepped in, and now we have a tag match for later!

Time for The Miz and Shane McMahon’s celebration. I have a… bad feeling about this one. Sorry. The Festival of Friendship still gives me nightmares.

Robert O’Neill: Hey it… went well! Shane brought Miz’s dad out and he told Miz he was proud of him, which was nice. And now there’s a fatal four-way tag match to determine the new #1 contenders.

But before that, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are talking to Kayla Braxton. They’re declaring for the Elimination Chamber, and Mandy offers insight as to why she’s trying to steal Naomi’s husband, dating back to Tough Enough. I like the continuity.

Chris Novak: Heavy Machinery, The New Day, The Bar and The Usos are in the mix here. Heavy Machinery pinned New Day, which was pretty fantastic and a great way to help get them over. They looked GREAT in this match. Sheamus wound up pinning Tucker to put them away, and then The Usos jumped on in and scored the victory. So, The Usos will face Shane and Miz.

Robert O’Neill: The Usos and Rikishi vs. Miz and Shane and Dad Miz. Let’s roll!

The New Daniel Bryan is out here saying he’s the planet’s champion and introduces his new friend ROWAN (styled R-recycling symbol-W-A-N) who comes out with a satchel. Bryan mentions that Rowan is an intellectual and deserves our respect. Bryan says he’s a hypocrite for carrying around the title and throws it in the trash! Bryan opens Rowan’s satchel and pulls out a title made from wood and hemp. This is amazing.

Chris Novak: Interrupting the matters is... AJ Styles… Randy Orton… Jeff Hardy… Mustafa Ali… and Samoa Joe… an interesting amount of people out here, isn’t it?

Robert O’Neill: WELP! Triple H appeared on the titantron and confirmed that they would all be in the Elimination Chamber for Bryan’s title as the show went off the air.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I really enjoyed this episode of SmackDown, per usual. The Elimination Chamber announcement/segment was brilliantly done. The opening segment ruled. And there was some solid in-ring action, per usual. Although, I will say that the one thing I will say is that the absence of Asuka was confusing and befuddling. Although I suppose there’s… just no place for her right now? Which is a weird thing to say, but with the Women’s Tag Titles EC match, it makes sense, I guess. But still, it does stink. I’ll give this an A-.

Robert O’Neill: What a weekend of wrestling. I don’t think there was anything I disliked. The R-Truth stuff seemed weird on the surface but as the night went on it made more sense. I don’t love the fact that Mandy and Sonya were able to just declare for the Chamber after Raw featured actual qualifying matches but the Smackdown women’s tag division isn’t as deep. Regardless of that, this show was good. A

First Black Champ - Triple H wants to Takeover the world

Lars Sullivan's anxiety attack delays his main roster debut. Is he wasting John Cena's time and business? We talk on that as well as Becky Lynch's Wrestlemania plans. Plus, an NXT and AEW conversation leads Cam into his three WWE Superstars that messed it up for main roster hopefuls who are only great wrestlers. Bang believes AEW is years away from being 1984 WWF and we encourage you to lie to execute your dreams on this week's #FirstBlackChamp podcast!


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Ruthless Aggression - Who run the world? Girls

After a long hiatus, there's so much to catch up on. Nia Jax's punch on Becky Lynch not only changed the Survivor Series main event; it may have changed the Wrestlemania main event as well, and it turned Becky into a supernova. Pierce Chris and Rob talk about the aftermath of that punch and the ripple effects its had on the Federation. Plus, the "new" Daniel Bryan, Johnny Loser, the rumored All Elite Wrestling league, and as always we take a trip back to this week in the Ruthless Aggression era!

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
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Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak

Ruthless Aggression ep. 13 - Wrestlemania recap
Brock retains, the Deadman returns, & Rousey delivers in an epic Wrestlemania

Robert O’Neill: WELP. It’s 4 PM. That means it’s time for Wrestlemania 34!

Chris Novak: [Extremely Scott Hanson voice] Seven hours of sports entertainment starts… RIGHT NOW!

Robert O’Neill: John Cena is in the crowd, because he’s attending Wrestlemania as a fan. I love it.

Chris Novak: Okay! So. The Andre started things off here. And Matt Hardy won thanks to Bray Wyatt. Looks like they’re going to go with these two as a pairing, which is fine with me. Either it means that Bray will be with BOTH Matt and Jeff Hardy. OR it means that Jeff is gonna get a singles run. EITHER WAY, this works well for me. Bray needs a refresh, and working as a babyface may very well help his cause out.

Robert O’Neill: Happy for the Laughing Man!

Chris Novak: Oh, cool. Here come the cruiserweights. They get to work in front of a damn-near full crowd, because they did the smart thing and let the crowd in super early. This is fantastic, to be honest. Ali looks like Sub-Zero, which is a heck of a look. Cedric gets the dub! I thought Mustafa was gonna win, but Ceddy is far from undeserving. Crazy to think what’s happened in the last two years for him ever since that match against Ibushi at the CWC. Good for him.

Robert O’Neill: Awesome stuff. If you don’t watch 205 Live, do you.

Chris Novak: WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal Time!

Robert O’Neill: Well, that was fun. I have various nitpitcks about it, but all in all it was a cool way to get everyone involved. The Bayley/Sasha stuff continued and Naomi had a surprise victory, which was cool.

Chris Novak: Made… not a lot

Robert O’Neill: BURN IT DOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNNNN. IC TITLE TIME. Here we go.

Chris Novak: Seth is a freaking White Walker. All hail.

Robert O’Neill: Why would Miz send the Miztourage to the back in a triple threat match? It’s a No-DQ match! Don’t be noble, be smart!

Chris Novak: Dad Miz is gonna do it all by himself. Okay, Finn, your entrance was awesome. Super-duper awesome.

Robert O’Neill: Really cool and important stuff by Balor. I like it. This match has also been predictably awesome so far. I don’t think any other match could have better opened the show. Rollins won after a pretty insane stretch with callbacks to a lot of other moves they’ve done in the past few weeks, and all three Shield members are grand slam champions now, so that’s neat.

Chris Novak: That was a fantastic opener. I’ll have to hum over the others, but that’s easily a Top 10 opener of all time at Mania.

Robert O’Neill: Time for ASUKA and Charlotte!

Chris Novak: Charlotte comes out on a throne to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (her father’s theme!) and then her music plays. That entrance was so damn good. Here comes Asuka, who has 3D graphics in her entrance! They’ve got the presentation down pat so far.

Robert O’Neill: Every entrance has kicked ass so far tonight. Charlotte and Asuka are going pretty nuts. I liked Asuka countering the moonsault into a triangle choke and Charlotte doing a SPANISH FLY. Holy crap, Asuka tapped out. I’m stunned.

Chris Novak: That one will be controversial… An unbelievably good match, though. The streak’s payoff would’ve been hairy either way. They broke it the best way they could’ve here.

Robert O’Neill: A ref came down and said something to John Cena, and Cena went in a dead ass sprint to the back.

Chris Novak: I guess ‘Taker is coming!

Robert O’Neill: Jinder won the fatal four-way to become the US Champion. That was out of nowhere. Quick match. It is what it is.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: Alright, that’s the biggest dud so far on the card. Expectedly so. Don’t get not putting Rusev over. Anyways, Steph/HHH vs. Ronda/Angle is next.

Robert O’Neill: Triple H and Stephanie had a cool entrance. Angle’s entrance was Angle’s entrance, and Ronda looked like she was gonna kick someone’s ass.

Chris Novak: Holy shit, that pop when Ronda came into the match! What a professional wrestling match!! That was everything that pro wrestling should aspire to be. Ronda looked AWESOME in this match. The spot with her punching Triple H repeatedly was great. And then the armbar on him too! Eventually, Steph and HHH go for double Pedigrees, but Kurt sends HHH flying, and Ronda puts her in the armbar! She tapped! WHAT. A. MATCH.

Hahahaahahaha and now we get New Day-Usos-Bludgeon Brothers. What a hoot this show is.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I can’t believe how good that Ronda match was. That was Wrestlemania in a nutshell right there. It was a spectacle and it damn well delivered. I’m interested in seeing where Ronda goes from here.

Can we talk about the New Day’s entrance?

Chris Novak: Died laughing watching the little people in pancake suits. Okay, so… that match was abbreviated. The right call was made to have The Bludgeon Brothers win, though.

Robert O’Neill: Absolutely. Really don’t gain anything from having the New Day and Usos feud again, no matter how good it was.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: And… here comes The Undertaker… NOPE THAT’S ELIAS

Robert O’Neill: I WANT TO WALK WITH ELIAS

Chris Novak: Oh… welp. Uh… here comes that man.

Robert O’Neill: The pop when the gong hit is why Undertaker still comes back. Also holy shit this is happening.

Robert O’Neill: They did exactly what they needed to do. John Cena talked shit all month and Mean Mark showed up with receipts.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: Oh man. That Bryan entrance was special. Oh and here comes Owens and Zayn from behind! That was some fun. And surprisingly, a Bryan win! Thought that Shane would cost him the match. But! They didn’t overthink it, I guess. Alright, we’re doing Nia-Alexa next.

Robert O’Neill: Bryan got the victory but that match didn’t seem as good as it could have been. It’s not his fault though. The moments made were amazing.

Chris Novak: Hopefully this ends well...

Robert O’Neill: I liked Nia/Alexa. People complained about it but it was fine. Nia won and Alexa took a bunch of crazy bumps.

Chris Novak: Okay, sure. I guess that worked in the end. Intrigued to see Nia’s title reign from here on out. Think she can very easily be built up into a babyface monster.

WWE

WWE

ANYWAYS NOW IT’S TIME FOR NAKAMURA-STYLES!

Robert O’Neill: THEY HAVE A FULL BAND FOR HIM!

Chris Novak: Awesome entrance, with Nita Strauss of Alice Cooper performing “The Rising Sun.” Let’s sit back and watch this.

Robert O’Neill: That was fine. It was never going to live up to the expectation people had. I liked AJ winning with one Styles Clash, because he rarely does it, so it SHOULD be important and lethal. AND SHINSUKE TURNED HEEL AFTER THE MATCH

Chris Novak: THAT… that was surprising. Apparently heel Nakamura is superior. So, this should be fun to watch going forward! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. The Bar’s entrance is tremendous.

Robert O’Neill: So Braun Strowman teamed with… a child! And won the tag titles. All hail Nicholas!

Robert O’Neill: Well, here we go. Roman vs. Brock.

Chris Novak: Yeesh...

Robert O’Neill: Boy, oh boy. I have some thoughts on that main event. First of all, the crowd with their stupid ass chants got incredibly annoying in a hurry. Like, get over yourselves. Lesnar winning was a genuine shock and taking six F5’s to do it makes Reigns look strong. But you know what else makes him look strong? Winning. And capping off the story you started three years ago instead of chickening out. Is Lesnar not going to UFC now? I guess we’ll see.

Chris Novak: Got a lot of thoughts to air out here. I don’t know if all of them are safe to right now. I’ll let this simmer, and come back to it later.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: All month long it seemed like this would be an all-time great Wrestlemania. Was it? I mean, it depends on your definition. It wasn’t in the top 3, but I think you can make an argument for it being in the top 5, despite a couple bumps in the road. The first two hours were excellent, and Ronda Rousey had the match of the night despite everyone saying she wasn’t gonna be good at this. The two title matches were confusing, but I’m very excited for Styles vs. heel Nakamura. I have no clue what happens with Lesnar and Reigns now, but I’m glad that some new mid-card feuds were ignited as well. Overall, I think I would give Wrestlemania 34 a solid B.

Chris Novak: It’s a Top 10 WrestleMania for me, although the last hour really aided it in not being a Top 5 WrestleMania for me. Everything else pretty much knocked it out of the park, with only *some* questionable decisions along the way. B+ show for me.

Wrestlemania Predictions

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

T.C.: With the Andre documentary being promoted, I’m surprised that this one is on the pre-show this year. While there haven’t been many competitors announced so far, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the most likely of the announced participants to win would be Dolph Ziggler. It’s a safe pick, and he isn’t doing much else (the story of the last three years of his career).

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

Robert: These things are always super hard to predict. Maybe Bray Wyatt comes back as… not Bray Wyatt and wins it? Maybe Dolph Ziggler wins, squanders the opportunity, and complains about it for the millionth time? Maybe Big Show wins again? I truly don’t have a read on this. I guess I’ll take Bray.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Chris: Honestly, like always, I have no idea where this is going to go. It’s the match with the least amount of build so far, and I guess that makes sense, in a way. It would be cool if Mark Henry showed up and won it. But, I doubt it. Now that I know he’s in the match, I predict Elias will win, and then give the performance of a lifetime later on in the show.

Prediction: Elias

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

T.C.: With the Sasha Banks vs. Bayley feud coming to a head, I can see a situation where they both brawl to the back, effectively eliminating each other. Initially I was going to say that Ruby Riott would walk away the victor here. However, I think we get a main roster debut of Ember Moon, who should be dropping the NXT Women’s title about 24 hours earlier.

Prediction: Ember Moon

I’m almost more excited for this than the women’s Royal Rumble, if only because it probably won’t be littered with legends. It’ll be a lot of NXT and WWE women, as it should be. I think Bayley and Sasha Banks will prevent each other from winning, and it’ll be someone from Smackdown as a result. Becky Lynch? Sure! Let’s go with Becky Lynch.

Prediction: Becky Lynch

Chris: FKA the Moolah Battle Royal, but Moolah is trash. So, they changed the name. The only substantial hype this match has going into it revolves around Bayley and Sasha Banks. Which might tell you that they probably SHOULDN’T be in the match, and instead have a standalone match on their own. Oh well, I guess. Those two are the only ones who I could see winning this whole thing. If they want to tell this story the right way, then Bayley has to win it to drive Sasha over the edge.

Prediction: Bayley

WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament final: Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander

T.C.: Cedric Alexander has been getting a push towards the Cruiserweight title since about December, but several issues out of his control have prevented him from climbing that mountain top. I predict that he’ll finally have his moment, a WrestleMania one, this Sunday.

Prediction: Cedric Alexander

Robert: Do you watch 205 Live? No? Why? You need to. It’s incredible and these two are two of the best. This match should really get the crowd going, and I hope they don’t give it the first slot when people are still getting in the building and getting situated. Give it the middle or last preshow slot and let ‘em rip for 15 minutes.

Prediction: Mustafa Ali

Chris: If you haven’t watched any of 205 Live in the post-Enzo Amore era, do yourself a favor and do that. It’s absolutely sensational, and they’re putting on a stellar in-ring product on a weekly basis. Mustafa and Ceddy are two CWC originals, and they definitely deserve the spotlight they’ll be given. Part of me has wondered what’s taken so long with Cedric, but I think he’ll have to wait a little longer. Mustafa Ali is my pick to win the CW Title.

Prediction: Mustafa Ali

WWE Universal Championship - Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

T.C.: I honestly believe the whole “Brock Lesnar is returning to UFC” thing is a red herring, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’d like for them to go the route of having Brock win here, as it would add some unpredictability. But we all know that Roman will come out victorious here. Hopefully, we can get Heyman teaming up with Reigns at the end, which could freshen up his character going into his title reign.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Robert: If you have a problem with Reigns or this feud’s build, I don’t think we’ll agree on much. I’ve loved it. And I’m going to love Reigns winning and the title being back in the fold on a weekly basis.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Chris: Roman Reigns wins here to get the Universal Title, thus ending this three-year feud and sending Brock back to UFC in a few months. Easy call.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

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

T.C.: This one has match of the night written all over it, and they should be able to deliver a clinic in about 12-15 minutes. Nakamura is the favorite here, and he should be getting the W when it’s all said and done.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Robert: It’s still wild that this is happening at Wrestlemania, isn’t it? Styles and Nakamura have been all over the world and now they’re finally meeting on the big stage. I think Styles has been a great champion, but it’s Shinsuke’s time.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Chris: As good as both these guys are, I hope that everyone’s heightened expectations of this match doesn’t hurt them if they “fall short.” That being said, they will probably put on an A-grade match. Nakamura gets his crowning moment, and wins the WWE Championship.

Prediction: Nakamura

Intercontinental Championship - The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor

T.C.: Rumors have been going around over the last week regarding Samoa Joe getting added to this match, making it a Fatal Four Way. For sake of this post, I’ll act like that won’t happen. Instead, I have Finn Bálor pulling away with the Intercontinental championship in his first reign.

Prediction: Finn Balor

Robert: This is a sneaky contender for match of the night, if only because how well these three work together. Pick any two and we’ve seen at least one great match, so there’s no reason that shouldn’t carry over into a triple threat. I think Miz needs to retain and become the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, because he’s made that belt mean more than anyone in decades.

Prediction: The Miz

Chris: I’m lowkey telling you what my match order prediction is here as well, so pay attention here if you must. Miz, Rollins and Balor have all stepped their games up in the past couple months. Rollins in particular has looked awesome, and Finn has, too. We know how good Miz is by now, so that’s no surprise. I suspect these three will help put on a damn good opener to start us off. I don’t think there’s gonna be a title change, though. By hook or crook, Miz will retain his IC Title.

Prediction: The Miz

United States Championship - Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev

T.C.: The logical thing to do here would be to place the United States championship on the most popular guy in the match. I’ve been watching the product since 1998, and full time since 2002...so I’m used to the WWE not going the logical route. Look for Randy Orton to win and retain his title.

Prediction: Randy Orton

Robert: It’s pretty wild that Wrestlemania falls on Rusev Day, huh? Anyways, adding Rusev to this match really saved it for me. Orton and Mahal don’t do anything for me, especially after watching it all last summer. Roode is fine, but his slow style makes him hard to watch. With all that said, with how much crowd support Rusev has, they HAVE to give him the title.

Prediction: Rusev

Chris: This match looked like a bit of a dud. Then Rusev showed up! I’ll keep this short and sweet here: Rusev is the guy to win this match. You don’t put him in it if you don’t give him the title. At this point, it’s a must.

Prediction: Rusev

Raw Women's Championship - Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax

T.C.: I don’t expect this one to be long at all. I could see a scenario where Nia Jax blacking out on Bliss, getting hit with a disqualification by the referee. Moments later, Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella takes advantage and cashes in on the unconscious champion and goes home with the Raw Women’s title.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss by DQ, Carmella cashes in MITB

Robert: As someone who has been with Alexa since day one, I’ve enjoyed her title run(s) far more than most people. WWE is getting to the point, though, where they need to do something with Nia instead of having her lose to everyone. There’s always one head-scratching decision per Wrestlemania though, and I’ll use mine right here.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Chris: Gonna keep this short and sweet, too. Nia Jax HAS TO WIN. She has to win and must win in a squash-type deal. If they have this match be lengthy, it will be a disservice to both of these ladies and the program. I know people want long women’s matches, but Nia-Alexa is not the type of feud to do that. And it’s not the kind of match, either. If Alexa somehow retains, it would be a monumentally poor decision. That’s no knock on her. Just the story that they’re telling here. Although she could definitely use time away from the belt, in my opinion.

Prediction: Nia Jax

Smackdown Women's Championship - Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka

T.C.: This one is sure to give Styles vs. Nakamura a run for their money, as both women definitely know how to put on a show. It would be foolish for the winner of the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble to lose her title match at WrestleMania. With that being said, look for Asuka’s streak to make it out of New Orleans alive and well.

Prediction: Asuka

Robert: This is probably the most realistic shot we’ve seen where Asuka could lose her streak. I don’t think she will, but Charlotte at Wrestlemania would certainly be a good time and place to drop it. However, I think Asuka prevails.

Prediction: Asuka

Chris: Yep… I think this is the penultimate match on this Mania card. It’s been a while since Charlotte has had the spotlight on her, considering her run on SDL has made her lose all her luster. I think that changes come Sunday in NOLA. Her and Asuka put on a fantastic match, but it will be Asuka who wins the SDL Women’s Championship.

Prediction: Asuka

Raw Tag Team Championships - The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD

T.C.: I don’t care what other fans have said about this feud, I’m enjoying it, and I’m enjoying seeing Braun Strowman add more range to his character. You can risk placing the tag titles on Braun temporarily, and then vacating the titles the next night on Raw. Pull the trigger, WWE.

Prediction: Braun wins by himself

Chris: So, first prediction: Samoa Joe is Braun’s partner. Second prediction, Strowman and Joe win the Tag Team Titles.

Smackdown Tag Team Championships - The Usos (c) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers

T.C.: The biggest story in this one even before Fastlane, was how the Usos have never competed at a WrestleMania. It’s time for them to get their moment, and I see one of the twins getting the pinfall over a member of the New Day. This way, you keep the Bludgeon Brothers safe, and they have the case for another title shot going into Backlash.

Prediction: The Usos

Robert: Can’t wait for this one. The build has been awesome and we already know what the New Day/Usos feud was capable of. I think it’s time to get some fresh blood in though and give the titles to the Bludgeon Brothers.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers

Chris: Finally, at long last, The Usos are on the main card. This should be an outstanding showcase, and a deserved one for the SDLive tag division. I can’t decide if they’re going to throw The Usos a bone or crown new champs. But then again, what’s the point of hyping up Harper and Rowan all these months then? Bludgeon Brothers, for the win, and our second title change of the night.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers

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

WWE

WWE

T.C.: There is no way Stephanie McMahon isn’t tapping out to Ronda Rousey at the end of this match. Would also be kind of neat to get Shayna Baszler and Sonya Deville in to celebrate with Ronda after the match.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle

Robert: They’re not going to have their biggest female attraction of all time lose her first match.

Prediction: Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

Chris: This is an easy one. I don’t think this will last very long at all. Angle and HHH duke it out for the most part, HHH eats some offense from Ronda, and Ronda rips Stephanie’s arm off to give her and Angle the win.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

WWE

WWE

T.C.: If Owens and Zayn lose here, they won’t be reinstated back to the WWE roster. As of now, there’s no room for them over on Raw, and I’m honestly tired of them playing Frogger between rosters. Look for them to come away with not only their jobs, but their first WrestleMania wins.

Prediction: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Robert: This is going to be special, obviously. Daniel Bryan returns to the ring in the same place as he had his biggest career win. The goodwill probably won’t last long, though, as I expect Owens and Zayn to win via some sort of shenanigans from Shane McMahon. I don’t trust him.

Prediction: Owens and Zayn

Chris: Daniel Bryan makes his in-ring return, and what a moment that will be. In the same building where he won the WWE Title four years ago, no less. Bryan and Shane’s tenuous relationship has me thinking that shenanigans are going to happen here. So, I think Owens and Zayn get their jobs back after Shane turns on Bryan and costs them the match.

Prediction: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

John Cena vs. The Undertaker

WWE

WWE

Robert: Assuming this happens, it’s probably going to be pretty dumb. Once you get past the spectacle of two of the WWE’s best of all time fighting on a huge stage, it kinda becomes a dud. Maybe it’s because Undertaker is about five years removed from his last good match or because Cena’s been annoying during this whole build, but it really doesn’t do anything for me. I guess I’ll pick Cena to win? I don’t know. Neither party gains anything with a win or loses anything with a loss.

Prediction: John Cena

My Favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania X8
WWE

WWE

While WrestleMania X8 had the difficult task of following up what is widely regarded as the greatest ‘Mania event in history, in many ways the 18th installment doesn’t fall too short. The big storyline heading into this event was Hollywood Hulk Hogan - in his first WrestleMania match in nine years - facing The Rock in a bout dubbed ‘Icon vs. Icon’.

I don’t necessarily think that the 2002 edition of the Showcase of the Immortals is the greatest, but it is definitely my favorite. 9-year old me had just become a full time viewer of the product at the end of the Invasion angle (specifically the episode of Smackdown where Booker T got his ass kicked inside of a supermarket), and I was as hyped up for the Road to WrestleMania as anyone could get. So you can imagine the first WrestleMania I ever watched having a close spot in my heart.

Even with every championship on the line aside from the Cruiserweight title, the event was somewhat of a dud. However, there were some fun moments throughout.

The first three matches were kind of filler, with the opener seeing Rob Van Dam make his WrestleMania debut against William Regal in a match for Regal’s Intercontinental Championship. Although short, the match was good for what it was. RVD won the title following a Five-Star Frog Splash in what could’ve been a really great match if given a few more minutes.

Next up, Diamond Dallas Page successfully defended his European Championship against Christian in another short bout that could’ve possibly been done on Sunday Night Heat prior to the PPV going live.

Following this up was another title defense, this time the Hardcore Championship. This championship was what it was at the time (a joke), but it had some fun moments on this show. In what was the first of five different title changes, champion Maven faced off against Goldust in a short match, that ended with Spike Dudley bringing in a personal referee to defeat the champion. The title would bounce from Dudley to The Hurricane, Mighty Molly, Christian and back to Maven before the night ends.

About an hour into the event, we finally get a match that lasted for over ten minutes (10:45 to be exact). At the time, Kurt Angle was arguably the best in the world but was in a lost spot following his feud with Royal Rumble winner Triple H. In addition, Kane has been a loyal company man for the entirety of his career. These two things considered, it made sense to partner them up here at WrestleMania, as there clearly wasn’t anything else for them to do. The match itself was decent, with a lot of back and forth action. Angle gets the win at the end after pinning Kane, using the ring ropes as leverage.

Ric Flair vs. Undertaker in a No DQ match was up next. Undertaker challenged Flair to a match at WrestleMania after he cost him his match against The Rock at No Way Out. Using his position as WWF co-owner, Flair repeatedly turned down the challenge week after week. Following bloody beatings of Flair’s best friend Arn Anderson and his oldest son David, Flair finally accepted Undertaker’s challenge, with his position as co-owner being temporarily removed by the board of directors. This was a fun brawl, one that was made personal over the last several weeks. A lot of offense from Taker early on, with Flair getting busted open after only about 3 minutes. Flair was able to turn some defense into offense later on, even bloodying Taker in the process. Undertaker eventually hits Flair with a Tombstone to move his WrestleMania record to 10-0.

In what was yet another filler match, Booker T made his WrestleMania debut against Edge. The story leading up to this match was Booker T being jealous over Edge getting a spot in a Japanese shampoo commercial over him. Not much going on here in this match which only lasted about 6 minutes. Edge comes away victorious here with an Edgecution, and a nice WrestleMania moment in his hometown.

For the first of the “triple main event”, we get Stone Cold vs. Scott Hall. The nWo ended up costing Austin his shot at the Undisputed Championship a month earlier, and as you could understand, Austin wasn’t a happy camper about it. The match itself was decent, and got a lot better towards the end as Kevin Nash got involved and the crowd gets into the match. Austin gets the final WrestleMania victory of his career here.

WWE

WWE

Next up, Billy and Chuck successfully defended the Tag Team titles in a four corners elimination match that also included the APA, Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz. Although not terrible, this match was way too long, and was obviously placed as filler to give the crowd a rest before the match everyone wanted to see.

In what was thought to be a once in a lifetime matchup (they would meet again in 11 months at No Way Out), The Rock went one on one with Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Prior to the match, Hogan advises his fellow nWo members that he’s good on his own. Spoiler alert...they don’t listen. Hogan comes out to the loudest ovation of the night, while the crowd booed and showered Dwayne with “Rocky Sucks!” chants throughout the match. Although not the most technically sound match, the energy these two brought more than made up for it as Rocky comes away with the W. The crowd was effective in forcing Hogan to turn face, and to this day I wonder if they called an audible with Nash and Hall turning on Hogan post-match rather than the next night.

The women’s division in 2002 was definitely not comparable to how it is currently, but the three best women in the Fed at this time were given the task to follow up Rock vs. Hogan. Women’s champion Jazz put her title on the line in a triple threat against Lita and Trish Stratus. A common theme with this PPV, what we get here is another subpar filler match. Kudos to the three ladies for making the most of it. Would have loved for Trish get her WrestleMania moment in Toronto, but Jazz retaining wasn’t a bad decision.

WWE

WWE

Realistically the show kinda falls off after Rock/Hogan, and I’m sure they regretted not placing that match last. The finale saw Royal Rumble winner Triple H cashing in on his guaranteed Undisputed title shot against Chris Jericho (who was accompanied by H’s ex-wife Stephanie McMahon). Jericho works on Hunter’s surgically repaired quad early on, but the crowd doesn’t seem to come alive until Trips finally gets his revenge and hits Stephanie with a Pedigree, something that was teased several times leading up to the match.

While not the worst WrestleMania event ever, it’s nowhere close to being the best. However, the childhood nostalgia it provides me gives it the unique distinction of being my favorite ever.

My Favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania XXX

The second it was announced that WrestleMania was returning to the Superdome in New Orleans, I knew I would be going.

It wasn't a surefire decision; there were many factors that needed to play itself out in order for me to be in NOLA right now, but at the time, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be down here breaking my WrestleMania virginity.

The Superdome is the site of my favorite WrestleMania: WrestleMania XXX. It's not the greatest - to me X-Seven is the standard for what a Mania should be - but XXX had all of the intangibles: a ferocious crowd, intriguing feuds, an influx of past, present and future, and a captivating babyface the crowd could embrace. Oh, and the unthinkable happened. Top to bottom, XXX is the most entertaining WrestleMania in recent years.


Three Kings

XXX was billed as the true return of Hulk Hogan to the company after years with TNA. He was tabbed to "host" WrestleMania, which is hard to do when you don't even know where you're hosting the show. It's the SUPERDOME, Terry... not the Silverdome.

And then... the glass broke, and the stadium went into a frenzy. Stone Cold Steve Austin standing face to face with Hogan in the center of a WWE ring. It's something we as fans have wanted for decades: the two biggest stars in their respective companies in the late 90s finally meeting.

When you didn't think it could get any better, The Rock's familiar voice hit the loudspeakers and out came the Brahma Bull, who's wrestled both Austin and Hogan in legendary WrestleMania matches. Three of the four stars on WWE's Mount Rushmore together for the very first time gave me goosebumps. It was a WrestleMania moment that will endure for ages.


From B-plus player to World Champion

The story of Daniel Bryan in WWE is so genuine. We all know about Vince McMahon's obsession for big guys and how size may have derailed a few guys from reaching the top of the company. One look at Daniel and you could see an extremely talented worker - perhaps an Intercontinental Champion - but a world champion was out of the question.

The thing about Daniel Bryan is he has what so many other superstars lack - heart.

That beating heart was felt all throughout the Superdome that night as Daniel got through not just Triple H to open the show, but then defeating the other two members of Evolution, Batista and Randy Orton, to win the WWE Championship in the main event. The purity of Daniel Bryan is so easy to get behind. He's the most relatable everyman the WWE has had since Austin, only moreso. Everybody has been told in one way or another that they're not good enough, that they don't measure up to the competition, that they'll never achieve their dreams. They said the same thing about Daniel. He proved everyone wrong.


The end of the streak

There isn't one superstar more synonymous with WrestleMania than the Undertaker. Sure the event was built off the back of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels is nicknamed "Mr. Wrestlemania", and Stone Cold, John Cena and Roman Reigns have all headlined the show at least three times. But the Deadman has what they don't.

The Streak.

For 21 consecutive appearances, the Undertaker walked down that long aisle to the ring, got the 1-2-3, and walked back victorious. The Streak became a sideplot to the big event; you didn't just watch WrestleMania for the spectacle, you watched to see who will finally put an end to The Streak.

And then, Brock Lesnar became the one in 21-1, dropping Taker with three F5's before earning the shocking pinfall win. Go back and watch the ref's 3 count and listen to the split second of stunned silence in the air while the crowd digested what they just saw. They couldn't believe that this unstoppable force was reduced to a mere mortal, and very dominantly I might add. We knew Taker didn't stand a chance against Brock in a normal match, but this is WrestleMania. The Deadman doesn't get defeated at his show, in his yard.

But all great things must come to an emphatic end. Fans complain about the streak ending, mainly the fact that it ended to a part-timer in Brock instead of a wrestler that could have benefitted from the rub, like CM Punk. But this couldn't have ended any other way. Brock ending The Streak will live on in WWE history.

As far as Taker goes, they call WrestleMania "the showcase of the immortals." There's no greater immortal to grace the WrestleMania stage than the Undertaker.

Random Acts of Podcast Ep.170:Wrestlemania 34 & NXT Takeover Predictions

On this episode of @RAOPodcast we invite on @_AlwaysMissD & @LightSkinNasty and take live calls from the listeners and fantasy book/go over our predictions for this years Wrestlemania 34 and NXT Takeover New Orleans cards.

Re-booking the Wrestlemania card

WrestleMania is the WWE’s equivalent of the Super Bowl. What is seen as the technical “season finale” of the WWE, the spectacle has been known to reel back in the most casual of fans, who sometimes only truly bother with the product that one Sunday night every spring.

Let’s be honest here... the WWE could do so much better with booking their product. Things that SHOULD happen logically rarely ever do, and we end up with something completely different. Here, I’ll take a look at how WWE should book the upcoming WrestleMania show in contrast to what will most likely happen.

Due to a limited amount of announced participants in the two battle royals, I won’t be covering them in this piece.

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship

With any avenue of entertainment such as movies and television, it’s unlikely that every viewer will be on the same page as far as a storyline goes. The art of professional wrestling is no different in this sense, as evident of fans’ disdain for the push that “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns has received the last four years. Ever since The Shield’s initial breakup in 2014, Reigns has practically been in the main event scene of Monday Night Raw, In a rematch from WrestleMania 31 that was thwarted when Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase mid-match, Reigns looks to get back to the top of the mountain and win his first ever Universal Championship.

What Should Happen: The build for this match has been decent, but does anyone really care about the match. In a perfect world, to add a bit of surprise factor it would be in the WWE’s best interest to let Lesnar go over in this match. The next night on Raw, Reigns could challenge Lesnar to one last match, to prove that he can beat The Beast. If Brock was willing, you can have him drop the title a week later in what would be Lesnar’s first match on Raw since 2002.

What Will Likely Happen: Since winning the Universal Championship at last year’s WrestleMania event, Brock Lesnar has defended the championship an outstanding four times, including a pinfall victory over the challenger at last year’s Summerslam event in a Fatal 4 Way. At this point, the writing was pretty much on the wall with a Reigns vs. Lesnar rematch at the big event. It is expected that Reigns will finally defeat Lesnar, and Lesnar will take some time off presumably to train for a return to UFC.

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship

I think we all expected this one to happen once Nakamura was called up from NXT last year. The right call was made to have Nakamura win the 2018 Royal Rumble, and to keep the strap on AJ Styles leading up to the big event. While I think the internet’s criticism of Nak’s in-ring skill has been unfair, this should be match of the night in what will be the first battle between this two in a WWE ring.

What Should Happen: Although I wouldn’t be mad with whoever wins, it only makes sense to have the Royal Rumble winner go over at WrestleMania. With a Smackdown Live event coming up in Japan this summer, this makes the outcome even more likely, as they’ll want to market Nakamura returning to his home country with the WWE Championship.

What Will Likely Happen: Not only does this have match of the night written all over it, it is also a definite match of the year candidate. I fully expect WWE to go the route of Nakamura overcoming Styles in a bout that I’m hoping gets at least 20 minutes. However, I can also see them holding off on giving him the championship until it gets a big closer to that big show in Japan.

The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor for the Intercontinental Championship

WWE

WWE

It’s no secret how big of a Miz stan that I am, and I fully believe he has potential to be a top 3 heel all-time in the business once it’s all said and done. He has been at odds with authority figures from both Raw and Smackdown Live since 2016, and that did not change after Kurt Angle placed him in a Triple Threat match for his championship at the Showcase of the Immortals.

What Should Happen: For the last few weeks, The Miz has been hyping up how he’ll hold the record for most combined days as Intercontinental Champion. And the higher ups honestly should allow him to reach that milestone during this current reign. If he loses at WrestleMania he’ll fall about 20 or so days short of that, so give him a few more weeks to hold that belt, and he can drop it to one of his two challengers in a rematch at Backlash.

What Will Likely Happen: If anyone remembers correctly, Finn Bálor still hasn’t received his rematch after he had to vacate the Universal Championship 24 hours after winning it at Summerslam 2016. A reign with the Intercontinental Championship would be a great way to jumpstart that push again, as Finn hasn’t seemed to have much direction as a character since returning from injury last spring.

Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev for the United States Championship

At Fastlane, Randy Orton was finally crowned a Grand Slam champion after winning his first United States championship over Bobby Roode. Jinder Mahal was involved in this feud leading up to that match, and in turn was added to the rematch at WrestleMania.

What Should Happen: Prior to this match being made a Fatal 4-Way, I’m sure there wasn’t a soul out there who really cared about this this match. Now with the addition of Rusev, it’s time to take advantage of the hottest gimmick in the company. Better late than never, I guess.

What Will Likely Happen: Orton winning the United States title at Fastlane definitely seemed like it was meant for him to drop it quickly. On the 3/26 episode of Smackdown Live, seeds were planted for a Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal feud going forward, and it should be for the title over the next couple of months. This would allow Randy Orton and Bobby Roode to also continue their program separately.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

I’ve been looking forward to this showdown ever since Bliss formed a “friendship” with Nia Jax last year. Kudos to the Raw creative team for giving this feud a slow burn, which climaxed in early March when Alexa Bliss was .

What Should Happen: It’s about time for Alexa Bliss to drop the title, and Nia Jax is the perfect one to reign over the women’s division on Raw for the time being. However, her doing so as a babyface doesn’t make much sense. Seems we’re at a crossroads here as SOMEONE has to walk out of the Superdome with the belt. If I were WWE I’d have Bliss cheat to win against Nia Jax, which sends Jax into a raging post-match attack on the champion. Cue the Women’s Money in the Bank owner Carmella, who runs down to successfully cash in her briefcase (it’s imperative that the first women’s briefcase holder to win their first cash-in), and make the switch over to Monday Night Raw.

What Will Likely Happen: Even if Carmella doesn’t get involved, I still can’t see Alexa Bliss walking out of WrestleMania with the championship. The whole Mickie James and Alexa Bliss friendship just seems too random for there to not be something up Mickie James’ sleeve. And it’s possible that Mickie will turn on Alexa, costing her the championship.

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE

WWE

After making history and winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, Asuka challenged Charlotte Flair for her championship at the Fastlane event in February. Another possible match of the night candidate, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these two will have the best women’s match in WWE history at WrestleMania 34.

What Should Happen: Stop me if you haven’t heard this before, but Asuka hasn’t been defeated since arriving in WWE. And if they’re smart, they’ll keep it that way until at least later this summer. Especially with that Tokyo show coming up that I mentioned earlier.

What Will Likely Happen: Just how you can’t have the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank winner lose her cash-in match, the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble winner can NOT lose her championship match. I’m expecting Asuka to still go over, but Charlotte ending the streak at WrestleMania wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

New Day and The Usos engaged in one of the most exciting feuds in 2017, and I was thoroughly interested in seeing it start back up again (this time with the mutual respect angle) until the Bludgeon Brothers were implemented. Honestly, Harper and Rowan haven’t really mattered to audiences since the end of their run with Bray Wyatt, but they fit well into this feud at the moment.

What Should Happen: For the last several weeks, the story here has been how Jimmy and Jey Uso have never competed on the main WrestleMania card, which would mean that they’ve never had the chance to experience a WrestleMania moment since debuting in 2010. Not one competitor on the card this year deserves the honor more than these two, especially with how they’ve reinvented themselves the last couple of years. Time to let them have it here, they can drop the belts at a later date.

What Will Likely Happen: Every once in a while, WWE will slap the titles on a team that garners minimal reaction from audiences (hello Cade and Murdoch, Deuce and Domino, Primo & Epico). Surprisingly, Harper and Rowan have not held tag team gold on the main roster level. Also, they’ve been made to look like unstoppable forces since being repackaged, and there’s no need to kill that momentum at this time.

The Bar vs. Braun Strowman and TBD for the Raw Tag Team Championships

On the March 12 episode of Raw, Braun Strowman interjected himself into a #1 contenders tag team battle royal to determine who would face The Bar at WrestleMania. The story throughout the last 3 weeks has been about Braun finding a partner...who will that be?

What Should Happen: Daniel Bryan aside, Braun Strowman is by far the most over superstar on the roster, so naturally fans feel that he deserves better than this. But to be honest, it’s been a fun program so far. Logic hasn’t always been present when it comes to professional wrestling, so why start here? By letting Braun go over by himself, he can then be given an ultimatum by Kurt Angle to either find a partner by the next evening or risk being stripped of the championships.

What Will Likely Happen: Some rumored partners for Braun Strowman over the last few weeks have been Big Cass and Samoa Joe. However, if Braun is forced to decide on a partner prior to the start of the match, Elias is the only one who makes sense. Either way, Braun Strowman will be walking out of New Orleans with his first championship.

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for the Cruiserweight Championship

The Cruiserweight Championship has been vacant ever since former champion Enzo Amore was fired back in January. Shortly afterwards, a tournament was announced for the vacant championship that will end on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I honestly was expecting Drew Gulak to defeat Mustafa Ali in their match, as Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak already had the seeds planted during the whole “Zo Train” angle. However, it’s understandable that the company would want to distance themselves from that whole debacle.

What Should Happen: I expect this one to be on the kickoff show, but hopefully these two competitors get more than enough time to show off their stuff. I was expecting Alexander to defeat Enzo Amore back at the Royal Rumble, but unfortunately he didn’t get his opportunity then. He should get it at WrestleMania.

What Will Likely Happen: I don’t see Mustafa Ali defeating Cedric Alexander in the finals, as Alexander’s push has been in motion since December. It’ll be smart to stay the course and allow that push to pay off.

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

WWE

WWE

Dissension between Kurt Angle and The Authority has been brewing ever since Angle was brought back as Raw general manager after WrestleMania 33, which had seemed to hit its peak when Triple H asserted himself into the 5-on-5 at Survivor Series, turning on Angle in the process. Insert Ronda Rousey - who had her own not so friendly encounter with The Authority at WrestleMania 31 - and you have an obvious showdown.

What Should Happen: With what is being touted as the biggest free agent signing in WWE history (and it’s hard to argue with that), the only logical thing to do is have the team of Rousey and Angle go over here. This is Kurt Angle’s first match at WrestleMania since he originally left in 2006, as well as Rousey’s first match ever. The sight of both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon tapping out simultaneously would be a joy to see, but realistically we’ll have to settle with Stephanie doing the honors.

What Will Likely Happen: There is literally no way that they’ll go any other route here with this match. If so, I’ll go on Instagram Live and eat one of my socks.

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Salute to long-term booking with this one. This one has been in the making ever since Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were drafted to Smackdown after WrestleMania 33. Over the past few months, the inclusion of Daniel Bryan has been ambiguous, as he’d not been officially cleared to compete yet (although I believe they’ve known for a while, but kept it under wraps until recently). Now with Bryan back in the fold, we can finally get the payoff necessary, and one we’ve always dreamed of.

What Should Happen: While it would be a shocker to have Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens take the L here, I’d love the see the possibilities with these two trying to regain their jobs on Smackdown (as well as Raw), to no avail. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon haven’t been on the best of terms recently, and a feud between the two could be in the works. Would love to see how Owens and Zayn get involved with that down the line.

What Will Likely Happen: With the stipulation of Owens and Zayn being rehired if they win, you’d have to end this one with Shane McMahon eating the pinfall and the unruly duo getting their jobs back. Going forward, there’s still so much to touch base on as far as the rocky relationship between Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon goes, and the two being on the losing end at WrestleMania is a good start.

Undertaker vs. John Cena

WWE

WWE

As of now, the match hasn’t been announced yet. The build has been VERY subpar, but for a match between two icons that hasn’t happened one on one in 12 years, you can rely on that more than anything. Will Undertaker be the Phenom or return as the American Bad Ass?

What Should Happen: Although John Cena has been on the losing end a LOT since returning from hiatus on Christmas, he can afford another one here, and it gives him a natural story for his next feud following WrestleMania. This SHOULD be the last match Undertaker has in his career, and what better way to ride off into the sunset with a victory....which brings me to my next point.

What Will Likely Happen: For one of the most old-school minded competitors on the roster, I can see Undertaker willing to do the honors here as it’s his last match. Undertaker’s record at WrestleMania doesn’t mean that much anymore after the streak, so it wouldn’t hurt at all, and it will still give John Cena a good rub going into his next program.

Excitement levels for Wrestlemania matches

It’s Wrestlemania Week, and things are shaping up. In terms of match quality, this maybe the strongest card to date. While there might be some matches that are placed on the card for its storyline, each match brings something different to the plate. Let’s see how each match sizes up and which match can bring us the most excitement at Wrestlemania 34.

WWE

WWE

Universal Championship -- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Roman is the most polarizing figure on the WWE roster and while he gets his boos, his work level is amazing and he has given us great matches in 2017. His first match with Brock was a good bout no matter the negative reaction he was receiving. This match may be short but Roman & Brock can give us a great hard-hitting affair.

Excitement level: 4

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

It’s AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, even without a proper build, this is one of the most anticipated matches in the WWE Universe. Let’s get to it.

Excitement level: 5

WWE

WWE

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

This match is a reminder to the WrestleMania 31 incident between Rousey and The Rock along with McMahon and Triple H but with Angle in The Rock's place. Angle fits as he has had problems with Triple H since Survivor Series. The big factor is Rousey as this is her first in-ring wrestling match.

Excitement level: 3

SmackDown Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka

Streak vs. Title, this is something that we have been waiting for since Asuka’s main roster debut. This can eclipse Wrestlemania 32’s triple threat match as the best women’s match in Wrestlemania history.

Excitement level: 5

Raw Women's Championship -- Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax

Look, I’m not going to lie, I wanted Sasha & Bayley to be in this spot because of their history, feud and in ring wrestling ability. Bliss/Jax’s feud is built upon weight shaming and it looks one-sided. Hopefully this match goes quickly and Jax wins the belt.

Excitement level: 2

Intercontinental Championship -- The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

The Triple Threat between these men last year was a preview on how great this match can be. Seth & Finn’s technical prowess w/ the character work of The Miz will give us a great match on a stacked card.

Excitement level: 4

United States Championship -- Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal

A match that should be on the kickoff show, I really hope its on the pre-show. This feud started because of a countdown list and it has gone nowhere since. Randy is the clear star of this match because of his name but this isn’t a match everyone will be running to especially on this card. I almost gave this a 1 but with the inclusion of Rusev, it jumped up a notch.

Excitement level: 2

Raw Tag Team Championship -- The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman & TBD

The Braun Strowman angle is pretty interesting even though he buried the tag team division. The mystery partner element is also a nice twist because we all want to know who can compliment Braun against the Bar(PLEASE LET IT BE NEVILLE, then I will upgrade this to a 4).

Excitement level: 3

Cruiserweight Championship-- Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

If the WWE wants us to take the cruiserweight division seriously, they need a spot on the main show. Cedric Alexander has been the most consistent worker for 205 Live and Mustafa Ali has been the heart of 205 Live especially with his recent performance in the Cruiserweight Tournament. This match can be the fire the division needs for WWE’s audience.

Excitement level: 4

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The only wrestlers announced for the match are Matt Hardy, The Revival, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger. I’m sure it will be exciting but there is no real payoff for this match.

Excitement level: 2.5

WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal

Superstars from Raw, Smackdown and NXT will compete in the event. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya & the Riott Squad have entered so far and it’s the first one ever. Sasha & Bayley’s feud is the major component in this match and we know what they can do in the ring.

Excitement level: 3.5

WWE

WWE

The Undertaker vs. John Cena

Thank God for Cena’s promos the last few weeks, the build of this match before his promos was dreadful because we did not want to see John against an seemingly retired man in the ring. Will the undertaker come out in his original undertaker outfit or will he ride down in his American Bad Ass gimmick?

Excitement level: 4

WWE

WWE

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

With Owens and Zayn now "fired" from SmackDown after beating up McMahon -- and then Bryan two weeks ago, this sets up a perfect tag team match between both sides. The return of Daniel Bryan alone equals a 5 for excitement.

Excitement level: 5

SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers

The Usos vs. The New Day can have a high profile match at Wrestlemania and we wouldn’t complain. The addition of the Bludgeon Brothers spices things up, bringing a monstrous factor to the match that we haven’t seen in a tag team match in quite some time.

Excitement level: 4

My Favorite 'Mania: Wrestlemania XIX
WWE

WWE

If you’re posed with answering the question, “What is the greatest WrestleMania of all time?” chances are you have an instant reflex. The choice that many people pick is WrestleMania X-Seven. For good reason, too. X-Seven was the culmination of the greatest boom period that the wrestling business ever saw. While watching the event, whether it was live or even now, you get the sense that you are legitimately watching the end of an era. It was a special night in Houston, to say the very least.

WrestleMania X-8 had the unenviable task of following up this incredible show. Apart from one match (Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock) the consensus thought is that it was a whiff. The same, however, cannot be said about the one that followed X-8.

In my opinion, WrestleMania XIX is every bit as good as WrestleMania X-Seven. I can take a step further and say that it’s a better show from top-to-bottom, too (with one very large exception, of course).

The show starts off with the WrestleMania debut of Rey Mysterio. Mysterio, a staple of the Cruiserweight division in WCW and the previously ECW, too, made his first arrival in WWE in the summer of 2002. He quickly ascended up the ranks and proved why he was so regarded as one of the best high-flyers in the game. He faced Matt Hardy, the Cruiserweight Champion (you read that right, if you’re unfamiliar) in a pretty scintillating opener. Hardy won dirty, and while they could’ve given Mysterio his due here to start the show, he would eventually go on to win the Cruiserweight Championship in Anaheim later that year from Hardy to culminate this feud.

Next was a match that, well… okay, this was probably the worst Undertaker match in a few years. He faced The Big Show and A-Train in a handicap match, partly because they’d taken out his partner, Nathan Jones. Yes, you may remember Nathan Jones, “The Colossus of Boggo Road,” who was too green to be in this match that they had him taken out. To be fair to him though, they booked this well, had him show up and land a few kicks in before Taker hit A-Train with a Tombstone.

Third up was a Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match. Trish Stratus became the Women’s Champion after defeating Jazz and Victoria, the reigning champion going into the event. For the time they were given (7:17) the three women made the best of it. Trish got her WrestleMania moment (A YEAR AFTER SHE SHOULD HAVE IN TORONTO) and would set the tone for the remainder of the year (Writer’s Note: You should check out the No DQ Match that Trish had with Victoria back at Survivor Series. This whole feud was actually pretty good for this era).

After setting the world on fire in the fall of 2002, the SmackDown! Tag Team Division got the spotlight on the main card. Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) faced Los Guerreros and the ragtag team of Chris Benoit and Rhyno. Benoit and Rhyno came together shortly after Edge suffered a debilitating neck injury the month before, and quickly were able to make an impact. It would, however, be the new kids on the block who got the victory, as Benjamin and Haas walked in and walked out as WWE Tag Team Champions.

WWE

WWE

Things really kicked up a notch next. Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho fought in one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time. It was arguably the match of the night on this evening in Seattle, Washington. A year after being on the losing side of the Undisputed Championship Match, and a year after being a complete afterthought in his feud with Triple H, Jericho brought his A+ game and delivered in the biggest spot yet in his career. Michaels won via a rollup, and Jericho delivered a kick below the belt to leave Michaels laying. It’s classic Y2J and classic HBK. This is one of my favorite Mania matches ever, and part of what spurred this event to be an all-timer.

Now… the next match was tough to swallow. Triple H and Booker T fought over the World Heavyweight Championship. Going into the night, Hunter berated Booker, telling him that “People like him don’t get to be World Champion.” There’s a lot of code and racial undertones here, and it makes the decision to have Hunter go over Booker even worse. Even WORSE was the fact that it took one Pedigree to do it, AND the fact that it took Triple H nearly 20 seconds to finally get a pin on Booker. And there wasn’t even any other near fall. It’s the worst part of this match and the worst booking decision in WrestleMania history. Luckily, the rest of this show helps ascend it up high.

WWE

WWE

Mr. McMahon and Hulk Hogan fought in a Street Fight that was “20 Years in the Making” next. This was a beautiful disaster, and booked exactly how it should go. You got blood, you got weapons, and you even got “ROWDY” RODDY FREAKIN’ PIPER showing up for the first time in a WWE ring in nearly TEN years! Hogan got the better of Vince in a very memorable Street Fight that got this event’s momentum back.

Then came Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock for the third time in Mania history. The match’s video package is extremely memorable, spliced with the theme song for Mania -- Crack Addict by Limp Bizkit -- and the story was simple. Rock had felt he’d done it all… except beat Stone Cold at WrestleMania. And so, in his third try, after three Rock Bottoms, Rock got the three count on his contemporary and biggest rival to leave XIX as a winner. This would prove to be Stone Cold’s final match of his career, and he went out as best he could.

WWE

WWE

The finale of this event pit two of the best to ever do it against each other. Brock Lesnar, the 2003 Royal Rumble winner, capped off an incredible first year in WWE against another man known for his impeccable rookie year: Kurt Angle. The reigning WWE Champion squared off with “The Next Big Thing” in a match that had two of the best amateur wrestlers the company had against one another. The match is a thrilling watch, even now. Lesnar’s failed Shooting Star Press is one of the more unfortunate moments in WrestleMania history that luckily didn’t turn into a total disaster for him. He was still able to finish the match, and it took three F5’s to finally put Kurt down for the count.

WrestleMania XIX is in a 1a/1b situation with X-Seven for me. These are the two greatest Manias ever in my book. The card has a big blemish on it from Booker/HHH, but the rest of it more than makes up for it. Austin-Rock III and HBK-Y2J are two all-time great matches, and Lesnar-Angle is a great main event that crowns what is, at worst, the second-best rookie year in the company’s history. WrestleMania XIX is, without a doubt, my favorite WrestleMania ever.