WWE fans, it's time to commend yourselves. Despite a full year of Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion, a summer of Jinder Mahal, a forgettable Shield Reunion, and the horrific reveal of Sister Abigail, you still made it to WrestleMania 34. Congrats!
But as much as the last year felt like it dragged, it was equally awesome. The rise of Braun Strowman, New Day and The Usos rivalry, Ultimate Deletions, and the arrival of Asuka and Ronda Rousey should have WWE and its fans juiced for the future—even if it's already been monopolized by Roman Reigns.
But we're here to talk about the present, or at least the near future of the April 8th mega show.
So let's get into it, here's is your official WrestleMania 34 Preview and Predictions:
Ryan Droste: This is one of the longest cards, top to bottom, in the history of WrestleMania. And nearly all of the matches are of great quality. They had to push some good content to the pre-show, and we're confirmed to get the first-ever women's WrestleMania battle royal, the Andre The Giant battle royal, and the cruiserweight title match between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali. The cruiserweight match will be worth it alone.
Connor Casey: Ever since Enzo Amore got the boot and Triple H took more creative control over the show, 205 Live has been on a months-long journey to get the cruiserweight division back to where it was during the Cruiserweight Classic. The match between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali will determine whether or not they stick the landing.
Jack Snodgrass: I am excited about the Cruiserweight Championship match, but I'll be tuning in to watch Becky Lynch win the Women's Battle Royal. Becky has some star power about her, and I'd like to see her get an opportunity to shine.
Ryan Droste: Shane McMahon turns on Daniel Bryan as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn get the victory. If it doesn't happen here, it's happening soon. Did you see that look Shane had on his face while he and Bryan hugged on SmackDown?
Connor Casey: I have to go with The Rock here. His last appearance at WrestleMania with the flamethrower was especially cringe worthy, but a segment between him and Elias that leads to a few guitars getting smashed could be a lot of fun.
Jack Snodgrass: Rusev wins the US Championship. #RusevDay is popping like Tamagotchi's in the 90's and this will do just fine as the requisite WrestleMania feel-good story.
Ryan Droste: Having a hard time with this one. WWE has big things planned for Samoa Joe upon his return and they don't involve the tag team division. That doesn't mean that it can't happen short term, though. Joe would be a great partner for Strowman, but I can also see them going with Elias. Especially if that segment they had planned for Elias with The Rock has been scrapped.
Connor Casey: Samoa Joe. Watching those two big baddies beat the living tar out of tag teams for a few months followed by a breakup and feud will give Strowman plenty to do between now and SummerSlam, if not longer.
Jack Snodgrass: Big Show. You can lock this one in, brother.
Ryan Droste: If history is any indication, it will be Styles vs. Nakamura. This is the best WrestleMania card of all time, from
Connor Casey: John Cena vs. The Undertaker. Styles and Nakamura may tear the house down with the best match of the night, but people will be debating how this match was built up (we still don't know if it will happen) years after the fact.
Jack Snodgrass: I love that I'm seeing Styles and Nakamura in WWE, but on sheer volume alone like 40% of the planet will be yapping about Cena and Undertaker Monday morning. Especially after we get our third "Is John Cena Retiring" moment after his loss.
Ryan Droste: The Usos. A lot of championships are going to be changing hands on Sunday night, but The Usos should hang on to their belts. They have carried the SmackDown tag team division for months, becoming arguably the highlight of the show week in and week out. Now that they have finally made the main show card for a WrestleMania, let's send them home with the belts still in their possession.
Connor Casey: Daniel Bryan. The man worked his rear end off to get back into a WWE ring, and against all odds it's happening on Sunday. I can't see a scenario where WWE doesn't let him beat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Sunday and lead the entire Superdome in a Yes! chant.
Oh, and Shane McMahon will be there too.
Jack Snodgrass: The Usos! Their incredible renaissance is proof that creative risks pay off. So in their first ever main show WrestleMania match, they should get their first ever WrestleMania moment.
Ryan Droste: There is no match on this show that sticks out as an obvious stinker. That said, if I had to pick the weakest link, it's the women's battle royal. The Andre Battle Royal is a close second, mostly because the match hasn't done much for any of the winner's over the last couple years. In fact, it's almost been a curse.
Connor Casey: The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It really has become the filler match used to get everybody a spot on the card ever since it was introduced, and none of them have been particularly memorable. I do have a little more hope for the Women's Battle Royal since that one will require they use a few legends and NXT stars to fill the 30 spots. Plus it will probably end with Bayley and Sasha to help keep that story going, so that will be fun. But the Andre will just be forgettable.
Jack Snodgrass: There are a few matches that will have varying degrees of bad. I think Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss will last 5-minutes. The sheer excitement around Rousey's spot may mask a few warts, the same goes for Undertaker. A lot of people will really hate watching Roman Reigns get the show's last image, too. But I think a US Championship match where Rusev *DOES NOT* win would feel like a pretty pointless exhibition.
Ryan Droste: WWE loves records and I could see them keeping the belt on the Miz for that very reason. That said, he's got to want to go home for a while to be with his newborn daughter. I don't see Rollins carrying the Intercontinental title, a feud with Roman Reigns seems to be on his horizon. Balor could absolutely use the belt and probably thrive with it. I will say a Balor title run is the most important.
Connor Casey: The Miz can kill two birds with one stone and win the title back at a later date, tying Chris Jericho's record for most reigns while also breaking Pedro Martinez's record for most days with it. As for now, giving the title to either Finn Balor or Seth Rollins will be a nice boost for either man as they try to find their place in the upper midcard when the pay-per-views go back to dual-branded starting next month.
Jack Snodgrass: I think the only wrong play here is to give it to Balor. Seth and Miz elevate the title whereas Balor stands on a weaker foundation with WWE's audience. I'm sure he'd be fine, but The Miz and Rollins are made men in WWE.
Who WWE chooses depends on how Rollins and Miz project for 2018. Is Seth destined to feud with a heel Dean Ambrose? Could Miz finally re-enter the main event picture? I think WWE has more to gain with Rollins becoming champ, even though The Miz looks damn good with that belt in his hands.
Ryan Droste: Pretty low, all things considered. That's not a negative on her, but this is her first match in front of a live audience and she will need to be protected. Triple H and Angle will carry the majority of the match, Stephanie will do some chicken-s—t heel stuff to get Rousey to chase her, and we'll probably get Ronda pinning McMahon to win the bout.
Connor Casey: I imagine Kurt Angle will be doing most of the heavy lifting in the match. Expect Rousey to hit a few of the moves we've seen her do on the past few episodes of Raw along with a few more judo throws. She'll end the match by making Stephanie tap out, but it won't be anything special.
Jack Snodgrass: I'm more interested in how the crow reacts to her more than how many arms she snaps. I think the actual match will be fine—Rousey has already shown she's a highly capable "beginner." But from what I can see, WWE's crowds are into her, and if she can melt them at 'Mania then Vince McMahon will happily wet his pants.
Ryan Droste: This is a really interesting question. I think that the WWE has done a tremendous job in swaying fans to Reigns' side over the last several weeks by portraying Brock as a sell-out who doesn't care about pro wrestling. That being said, the WrestleMania crowd will still be the ultimate hardcore audience which has been soured on Reigns for quite some time. Some of them have certainly been convinced to shift their allegiance to his side for this match alone, and many of them have abandoned Brock in recent years, but they'll also still voice their displeasure of Reigns' positioning on the show. I'm going to say a solid 50% boo him, and that might be under-estimating.
Connor Casey: Enough for the production team to have to turn down the audio on the crowd just like at WrestleMania 32.
Jack Snodgrass: WrestleMania 32 saw 90% of the largest audience in WWE history boo Reigns. However, I, like Ryan, think WWE has made a concerted effort to refurbish Reigns' relationship with the crowd. That said, I think the Superdome will be 60/40 in favor of The Big Dog.
Ryan Droste: I am a traditionalist and nearly always believe that a world championship match needs to headline the show. WrestleMania 34 has five matches that could legitimately be placed in the main event, more than any WrestleMania in history. Styles vs. Nakamura, Reigns vs. Lesnar, Angle and Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie, Cena vs. Undertaker, and Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. All of that said, they have been building to Lesnar/Reigns for three years now and there is no way it doesn't
Connor Casey: I was going to say John Cena vs. Undertaker since that one has enough
So instead I'll go with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Yes, I know it won't, but unlike Reigns vs.
Jack Snodgrass. There is zero, and I wish I could give a smaller number, percent chance Styles and Nakamura will close WrestleMania 34. It will be Reigns and Lesnar, and if we're talking macroeconomics, that's exactly who should do it.