WrestleMania 34: What matches made the grade at The Show of Shows

If you’re being propped up by coffee and energy drinks after staying up to see ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’ then this one’s for you!

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So, Wrestlemania is done and we’re a year away from the biggest spectacle on the wrestling calendar.

Don’t be sad though – we thought it was a fairly bloody good show and that sets the stage for some intriguing back-and-forths over the next few months.

Without trying to sound like Dave Meltzer, let’s dish out some grades for last night’s bouts. The main matches, of course – nobody cares less about battle royals or five-minute Uso squashes.

Let’s face it, we all just want an excuse to look at the highlights again!

Intercontinental Title Triple Threat – Seth Rollins v Finn Balor v The Miz

As far as show openers go, there hasn’t been one better in years.

Two brilliant technicians and a top storyteller brought the best out of a bout that had little or no build to it.

The pace was frenetic and the decision to take the title off Miz might seem annoying, but Rollins is such a good worker, that the improving legacy of the IC belt will flourish under his stewardship.

Grade: A

 

Smackdown Women’s Title – Charlotte Flair v Asuka

We all whispered it, and it came to pass. This match was the best on the entire card.

The gorgeously-intricate storyline clash of being undefeated and having to try and fulfill the legacy your father left is quite a collision.

As of right now, only Johnny Gargano and AJ Styles are better workers than she is – and if anyone had to break the streak, it had to be here. Very rarely has one wrestler carried an entire division.

She did for the bones of three years. Now, she’s got a worthy adversary in Asuka. What a match!

Grade: A+

 

The Undertaker v John Cena

Two things happened here. The first thing is that The Undertaker’s incredible walk-off into retirement – the most poignant Wrestlemania moment of all time – was taken away from him to auction off a tad more intrigue.

The second thing that happened is that greatest superstar (not wrestler, I didn’t say wrestler) of all time got squashed in under three minutes. No respect for either performer here – an appalling display of carelessness from Creative.

Even if the entrance itself was special, even if the build was unique – the execution was appalling and the whole angle was unnecessary.

Grade: D-

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle v Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

Well, that exceeded expectations, didn’t it?

A very well-paced, gripping story was told in the middle of the ring and it went twenty minutes without lagging. Yes, Kurt Angle looks like he’s permanently just woken up from a six-day nap and Stephanie is only in the ring because she can scream loudest – but this was a showcase for Rousey and she delivered.

To pull off a Wrestlemania moment like that in her first attempt was seriously impressive.

Grade: A-

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon v Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

This match’s context didn’t matter. This match’s in-ring action didn’t matter.

It’s just as well, because of those criteria would have fell flat if it wasn’t for the overall emotion felt by nearly 80,000 people at seeing Daniel Bryan return to action at the grandest stage of them all.

He’s somewhat of a medical miracle and that’s all anyone cared about. The match itself was weak and it didn’t flow well; with McMahon doing his usual one spot to satisfy the nostalgia-ridden oddballs.

Bryan’s offence was limited and Zayn and Owens look weak. It’s odd booking, but it was always intended to be a throwaway.

Grade: C-

WWE Title – AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura

This could have been the glory moment for these two well-travelled veterans to put on the show of a lifetime in front of millions. However, there were clearly timing issues here and perhaps a sense of reservation from the bookers, given what was to come.

Styles won, which is the right decision, but Nakamura’s heel turn is the real talking point.

They’ll have intense feuds going forward and one would suspect the five-star bouts are being spared for clashes with genuine animosity. We hope…

Grade: C+

WWE Universal Title – Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns

One thing this Wrestlemania definitely wasn’t – was predictable. Nobody in the world saw this coming – for many reasons.

The main one was that Lesnar’s expected to announce a new deal with the UFC.

However, Lesnar bloodied the Big Dog and hit him with six F5s before finally pinning him. It’s getting a lot of negative press for the dynamic of the match, but result aside, I think it was done in a brawl sense that matched its build.

Blood is always fun in a PG-focused product these days and they beat the hell out of each other. It can’t be all that bad, lads?

Grade: B

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