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The Top 5 Matches from Wrestlemania 34

Wrestlemania 34

Max Wagner, Columnist

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After nearly a week of reflection, I’ve come to a conclusion, NXT Takeover was better than WrestleMania 34. But that’s not what I’m talking about in this list, because it’s WrestleMania!

After the memorable intro that every wrestling fan can recite from memory, with ‘The Rock’ screaming Wrestlemania in your face, “the superbowl of wrestling” began and nearly 7 hours of beautiful television consumed my Sunday. The hype for this WrestleMania was through the roof, with one of the best main-show cards in recent history.

Dream matches between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, as well as Charlotte Flair and Asuka gave fans the hope of witnessing a legendary match live. The long awaited debut of Ronda Rousey and the anticipation of her in-ring debut, was one of the most interesting things leading up to the big show.

And the reveal of who Braun Strowman’s partner for his Raw Tag Team Championship match against The Bar, made fans giddy with excitement for a possible returning star like Rey Mysterio. These are just three of the many things fans were excited for in anticipation of WrestleMania 34. So let’s get right into it, these are the top 5 matches of WrestleMania 34.

1. I think the reason this match was undoubtedly the best of the night was the pure anticipation every fan of the WWE felt leading up to it. For weeks, the feud between Rousey and Stephanie McMahon heated up on Monday Night Raw, with Triple H in his wife Stephanie’s corner and Raw GM Kurt Angle in Rousey’s. After some shakey promos leading up to the match, no one really knew what to expect out of Rousey, but what we got was everything and more.

This match was an outstanding debut for Rousey, keeping her moveset simple enough to easily put her over with the crowd, but showing the power she displayed while she fought in the UFC. But not only did she shine, both legendary male wrestlers showed that they deserve the legendary status and Stephanie McMahon did everything she was supposed to do as a heel and non-traditional wrestler. The match wasn’t perfect, there was some botched spots, but the overall performances by all four superstars made this the match of the night.

2. While this next match is second on my list, it was by far the best wrestling match of the night and yet another example of the revolution of Women in

professional wrestling. Smackdown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair was up against the undefeated Empress of Tomorrow Asuka.

This is a match that probably should have main evented the night and I think after the result of this match, one of these two Women will be main eventing WrestleMania next year. This match was a spectacular feat of athleticism and skill, with both wrestlers performing complicated moves that went off nearly flawless and made the match feel very real.

There were some unexpected spots, one in which flair performed a high flying spanish fly that she doesn’t normally use while wrestling. Both wrestlers sold perfectly and the ending, where Flair had Asuka in the figure 8, holding herself up with only one arm, while blood ran down her other, will go down in history as one of the best finishes to a match ever.

This match also ended the nearly two year undefeated streak of Asuka, which was very unexpected and provided excitement for every viewer in the stadium and at home.

3. This next ‘thing’, I call it a thing because it wasn’t really a match, was the culmination of weeks of Monday Night Raw, where John Cena continuously called out the Undertaker. Cena didn’t have a match at WrestleMania so he decided to challenge the Undertaker, but no answer was received by the time WrestleMania began.

So, Mr. Jean-shorts himself, vowed to sit in the crowd with the fans and that’s exactly what he did. It wasn’t until after the Flair, Asuka match, that a referee ran down the ramp to Cena and whispered that Taker was in the building. An instant meme was birthed as Cena sprinted up the ramp in anticipation to face the Deadman. Nearly 15 minutes later, which was pretty weird, Cena’s music hit and the crowd went crazy.

Cena waited in the ring to no avail and began to walk back to the locker room when the lights went out and every WWE fan knew what that meant. Taker’s famous hat and coat laid in the ring announcing that the Deadman was back. After one last switcheroo, the gong hit and Undertaker’s entrance began, filling every fan with the nostalgia of their childhoods, waiting for the him to appear.

The actual match was a squash, Taker went through his famous moveset and pinned Cena after a tombstone piledriver in just about three minutes. But while the whole charade was odd, there’s never a time when you don’t want to see the Undertaker at WrestleMania and him just being there gave me chills.

 

4. This next match opened the show and was the first occurence of a weird trend, where the reigning champion in the match did not come out last. Maybe that’s a weird thing to be annoyed about but having the champ come out first or second, to me, disrespects both the wrestler and the gravitas of the championship. But that didn’t ruin the fact that this was a great match with great entrances.

Seth Rollins (far right in the picture) came out to one of the loudest ‘Burn It Down’ pops I’ve ever heard, with nearly 80,000 in attendance simultaneously yelling his entrance music. He dressed as the Ice king from Game of Thrones, which was really cool to see as the first entrance of the night. Next came the Intercontinental Champion, The Miz, with his Miztourage, but in a unexpected twist he told them to stay in the back and that he could handle it himself, a huge change for one of the best heels in the business. Last was Finn Balor (middle in the picture) who adorned a gay pride design on his leather jacket.

Balor has been a huge advocate for the LGBTQ community and it was great to see this kind of message in a world where acceptance hasn’t always been at the forefront. The match itself was great because these three are some of the best performers in professional wrestling today. There was some great three-man spots that made the crowd explode and in the end a surprise win by Seth Rollins started off the show in a wonderful way. All three wrestlers performed to the top of their ability and showed why they were picked to open the show.

 

5. The match that no one ever thought they would see on the WrestleMania stage, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Phenomenal AJ Styles for the WWE Championship sits on my list at number five. Both men were legends in New Japan Pro Wrestling and the fact they they were now both in the WWE and facing off on the biggest stage of the year, gave this match the aura of a ‘dream match’ that every WWE fan wanted to see.

The build up was difficult because both men were faces or good guys so there really wasn’t a hardcore back a forth to grasp onto. Legendary matches occur when fans have someone to hate and a face overcomes that obstacle, and gives fans a feeling of euphoria when the good guy wins. And that’s what this match was lacking, with no one to hate, fans as well as myself, didn’t know who to root for.

But the match was still good, both wrestlers are at the top of their game, with unique movesets they performed a dragout, beat-em-up that deserved a round of applause. Nakamura came out to one of the best entrances of the night with Nita Strauss, guitarist in Alice Cooper’s band, shredding his famous entrance music to nearly 80,000 fans.

The ending of the match made it a top five match of the night for me. With AJ Styles retaining his championship, fans thought we were going to get another embrace by the two competitors like in the Flair vs. Asuka match, with both men showing respect for one another. As Nakamura knelt down to hand AJ his title, he threw a hellish low blow, making his first heel turn of his WWE career. Nakamura left Styles beaten on the outside of the ring with one final knee to the face, or as he calls it the kinshasa. Fans were shocked as one of their favorites turned heel, but I think this is a great move for Nakamura’s career and for the good of the WWE.

 

Honorable Mentions

I have two honorable mentions that missed my top 5 list. First is the tag match between Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This match was special because it was the first match that fan favorite Daniel Bryan has wrestled in, in over three years. After suffering concussions, Bryan was barred from wrestling by Doctors and the WWE. He became the GM of Smackdown Live and had some great storylines in those three years. But just a few weeks before WrestleMania, he was cleared to begin wrestling again and would wrestle in the same place where he won both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. The match itself was fine and

the storyline of, if Owens and Zayn don’t win, they are fired is one that has been used many times. ‘Yes’ chants deafened the stadium as Bryan flew all over the ring showing fans exactly what they had been missing for over three years. Fans knew that Daniel Bryan was back and all we wanted to do was throwour hands in the air and scream, ‘YES, YES, YES.’

This next match was one of my most anticipated of the night. Braun Strowman has been killing it in the WWE, almost reinventing the big man storyline. And The Bar, Sheamus and Cesaro, have been consistently putting out great performances. But the big appeal of this match was, who Braun Strowman’s partner was going to be in this Raw Tag Team Championship match. Could it be a returning legend like Rey Mysterio?, or the Big Show? Or even a newer guy like Neville?, or a completely fresh face? It was a child named Nicholas that Strowman picked out of the crowd. That’s it, it was weird and odd, and over a week later I still don’t understand why this decision was made. I’m not even saying I didn’t like the decision, I’m just saying it was confusing.

This whole WrestleMania was confusing at points but overall I think it was pretty good and once again the Women of the WWE shined.

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The Top 5 Matches from Wrestlemania 34