Well wrestling fans, the time is finally here. WrestleMania week is always the most exciting week of the year for wrestling fans. WWE’s mega event takes place Sunday night, but promotions from around the world will also take advantage of the influx of fans. If you’re in New Orleans this week, chances are you’ll stumble across some type of wrestling event. Thousands of fans will descend upon the Big Easy for what should be one hell of a week.
On paper, WrestleMania 34 is one of the best cards of the modern era.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker
WrestleMania Pre-Show Matches
WWE Cruiserweight Title Tournament Finals
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Women’s Battle Royal
WWE Universal Title Match
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Title Match
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz
WWE United States Title Match
Rusev vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton
RAW Women’s Title Match
Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
RAW Tag Team Title Match
Cesaro and Sheamus (C) vs. Braun Strowman and ??
SmackDown Tag Team Title Match
The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos
Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
That is one hell of a card. The best part is that there’s something for everyone. On the pre-show there’s going to be insane, high flying action with the cruiserweights. Battle royals are always a lot of fun, and will be a good showcase for men and women who wouldn’t have otherwise been on the card. The main card features the return of Daniel Bryan, the debut of Ronda Rousey, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for a major WWE title; John Cena vs. The Undertaker could happen, plus Braun Strowman has to find a partner if he wants a chance at tag team gold. Even the match I’m not super excited about (US title fatal 4 way) has a chance to be good, especially if the crowd is behind Rusev.
To sum it up, WrestleMania will be two things: very long and very good. Here are five matches that have the most potential to steal the show, as well predictions for each match.
5. Cruiserweight Title Tournament Finals: Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
After WWE put on the fantastic Cruiserweight Classic, hopes were high for 205 Live. The product didn’t translate well, and it looked especially doomed when Enzo Amore became champion. Instead of focusing on the rare athleticism that the cruiserweights offered, 205 Live tried to make it storyline driven. It didn’t work, so Vince McMahon put HHH in charge to try and freshen things up. The results have been wonderful, and the Cruiserweight Title Tournament brought the product back to the greatness of the Cruiserweight Classic. While it would be great to have the finals on the main card, Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander is going to be bonkers no matter where it’s placed.
Alexander and Ali both thrive when they’re able to focus on their athletic talent, and that’s exactly what the title tournament has allowed them to do. Each of their three matches in the tournament have been exciting, and with the final match culminating at WrestleMania, these two should be going all out. From an athletic standpoint, there’s no reason this match shouldn’t be the match of the night. The one benefit of being on the two pre-show is that these two should get plenty of time. Fingers crossed for a returning Neville to show up post match and tear both of them apart.
Prediction: Mustafa Ali
Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. HHH & Stephanie McMahon
People love to hate, but they don’t love to love. That’s the easiest way to sum up Ronda Rousey’s first 2+ months in the WWE. She has the potential to be a huge signing for WWE, and brings a legitimacy that few other performers have. I’m hopeful that the majority of the WWE Universe will give Rousey a shot, and a lot of that will have to do with her performance Sunday night. She’s been put in a great position: teaming with a fan favorite Olympic gold medalist against two long time, hated authority figures. If WWE keeps the storytelling simple and lets Kurt Angle do most of the leg work, this match could be epic.
Regardless of how the match plays out, there is only one clear outcome: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle victorious.
IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
There are multiple matches on the Mania card that have a chance to be excellent in ring bouts. Near the top of that list is the triple threat for the IC title. Rollins and Balor are two of, if not the two best in ring performers on Raw. They had a hell of a match on Monday, and I can only see it getting better when you add in Miz. The Miz is enjoying easily the best run of his career, and while his in ring work can’t match up with Rollins/Balor, his character work is fantastic.
While guys on Miz’s level don’t always need a championship, Miz having the belt makes all his talking points click. His character would seem hollow with the strap not on his shoulder, which is what makes this match so hard to predict. WWE loves moments, especially at WrestleMania, and if there’s one guy in need of a big moment, it’s Finn Balor. Miz and Rollins have had their moments, but Balor has been stuck in a rut since relinquishing the Universal title one night after winning it.
I’m going with Balor to win and carry on the workhorse legacy the IC title deserves.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka
While Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax has the emotional weight behind it, Charlotte vs. Asuka is the biggest dream match in the women’s division. Asuka has never been defeated in NXT/WWE, dating back to October 2015. Charlotte has been the standard bearer for the Women’s Revolution. Sasha/Bayley might have had better matches and more personal stories, but Charlotte has always been portrayed as the alpha. She won the old Divas championship. She won the Raw women’s title four times and will be the reigning, defending Smackdown women’s champion heading into this year’s Mania.
Asuka will easily be Charlotte’s toughest challenge, and you also have the added intrigue of Asuka’s incredible winning streak. I’m a fan of keeping Asuka undefeated forever, but how do you have her win the Smackdown title while still on Raw? Both women’s divisions are paper thin, and I don’t think having Asuka switch to Smackdown is the right call. If there’s any current main roster star that should defeat Asuka, it’s Charlotte. I have very little confidence in this prediction, but I’m going with Charlotte to retain.
WWE Title Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura were the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10 in ’06. While they probably won’t be the main event of WrestleMania 34, they’re my pick to have the match of the night. Styles has been the best wrestler in WWE for awhile now, and Nakamura is a guy who rises to the skill level of his opponent. I’m so glad WWE kept this match one on one, as Styles and Nakamura deserve this spotlight. There has been speculation that Styles is injured, but it doesn’t seem serious enough to limit the match. With the WWE Network replacing the old pay per view format, match times are no longer an issue. That’s great news for these two, as they should have enough time to tell a great story and put on the match of the night.
Similar to Finn Balor, Nakamura hasn’t had his big moment on the main roster yet. Winning the Royal Rumble was huge, but a WrestleMania moment is on a totally different level. Styles has carried the torch valiantly, but I think this is Nakamura’s time. I’m picking Shinsuke to become the new WWE champion.
Predictions for the rest of the card
Becky Lynch wins the
Fabolous Moolah oh please god no Women’s Battle Royal
Samoa Joe returns and wins the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and kicks ass for the rest of 2018
Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. Some people might get mad, but this is the logical ending for this story. Hopefully Lesnar goes to UFC and we can get the champ on Raw full time.
Rusev wins the US title fatal four way. This one is a no brainer for me. Rusev is one of the most popular guys on the roster, even though he’s used idiotically. RUSEV DAY is one of those simple, classic catchphrases that the crowd loves, and Rusev is a skilled and charismatic performer. You can’t have Rusev lose on RUSEV DAY.
Nia Jax defeats Alexa Bliss for the Raw women’s title. Bliss has been great in her role, but she needs to get rag dolled here. Nia should win in dominant fashion.
Braun Strowman and his mystery partner defeat The Bar for the Raw tag titles. I have no clue who Strowman’s partner is, but I’m excited to find out. If I had to guess, I would pick Elias or a reincarnated Bray Wyatt. A mystery team won the tag titles last year (Hardy’s) and I think it happens again this year. The Raw tag division is not in good shape, and at the very least Braun Strowman and his mysterious friend can make it more exciting.
The Usos retain over Bludgeon Brothers and New Day. I love The Usos and never want them to lose, hence my pick.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeat Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Firstly, how great is it that Daniel Bryan is back wrestling in a wrestling ring? I’m so happy for him. Secondly, never trust a McMahon. I hope the story they tell is that Shane, Kevin and Sami have been in cahoots this whole time. They went through all this trouble to get Daniel Bryan back into the ring so they could take him out 3 on 1. I can’t think of a better way to get crowds to turn on Zayn and Owens than to have them ruin Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania comeback.
John Cena has been on Raw for the past month calling out The Undertaker. Taker has been killing Cena with silence and has yet to accept Cena’s WrestleMania challenge. Will The Deadman show up in New Orleans? Will the two titans of WWE have an actual match? Your guess is as good as mine. What I do know is that this segment will get a ton of time, most of which will be a John Cena promo. WrestleMania has become a spectacle on it’s own, so it wasn’t necessary for The Undertaker to show up on Raw and officially accept Cena’s challenge. Fans are going to tune in regardless, but this has still be an odd storyline.
I picked Samoa Joe to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but I don’t think his night ends there. I think Joe either comes out instead of Taker, or comes out after Taker appears and takes both guys out. Samoa Joe is the real deal, and although he’s been hurt, giving him a big WrestleMania moment with John Cena and The Undertaker would be awesome.
Make Movie Great Again Podcast
for March 27, 2018.
You can chat with us on Twitter @MakeMovieGreat, toss us a like on Facebook @MakeMoviesGreat and heart all our pictures on instagram, @MakeMoviesgreat. Don’t forget, this podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.
I’m a firm believer that cover songs should have an original spin to them. It’s tough to get better than the original, but if you can create your own version it’s almost always better than a straight up remake. In the spirit of that thought, I present to you the uber talented Anderson East. I dare you not to fall in love with his cover of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby. I dare you!
Anderson East – Always Be My Baby
At first I thought the jazz infused opening was going to my favorite part, but then Anderson East starts singing. His raspy voice is the exact opposite of Carey’s angelic pipes, but he makes it work. This is a live, raw cover that I will listen to at least 45 times today. Have a great day on purpose everybody.
Welcome to the Average Nobodies podcast number 67 for March 22, 2018
On today’s show we’re chatting about What We’ve Been Up To, Barstool and WWE joining forces, Rough N Rowdy 3, the latest from Donald Trump, the Twitter Question of the Week and What We’re Watching. You can chat with us on Twitter @AverageNobodies, toss us a like on Facebook @AverageNobodies and heart all our pictures on instagram, @AverageNobodies. Don’t forget, this podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.
Arcade Fire were the musical guests for Saturday’s SNL. Bill Hader was the host and it was easily one of the best episodes of the season. This was their fifth appearance as musical guests, and they played two tracks from their newest album, Everything Now.
Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort
My favorite of the two was their futuristic performance of Creature Comfort. Arcade Fire always brings the funk with them to SNL, and this performance was no different. They even got in on the sketch comedy with a cameo in CBC Report.
Welcome back, wrestling fans. Now that Fastlane has come and gone, WWE is officially on the fast track to WrestleMania. Counting last night’s show, there are only four Raw’s left until WrestleMania. The biggest show of the year will be here before we know it, and the good news is the early card looks great. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar is a rematch of one of the more intense and stiff Mania main event’s in recent memory.
Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. HHH/Stephanie is a great idea for Rousey’s first match. The match will have a main event feel thanks to the other three who are involved but it keeps Rousey away from the Women’s title until she’s earned it. MIz/Rollins/Balor should be fantastic with the IC title on the line. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax is becoming a very emotional storyline with Bliss playing her heel role perfectly, which is going to lead to a groundswell of support for Nia. Braun Strowman might be challenging for the tag titles solo which is just preposterous enough to work.
All in all, WrestleMania is looking good on paper. Now, let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!
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5. Roman Reigns
I’ve really enjoyed the build to Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar II. Instead of going the traditional route with Reigns and Lesnar going face to face or brawling for weeks in a row, they’ve kept it one sided. If they tried to build this like a normal title match, the crowd would continue to shit on Reigns. By keeping Lesnar away and allowing Reigns to finally sound like a normal guy, they’ve started to bring some fans to Roman’s side. Roman cut a fantastic promo on Lesnar two weeks ago and followed it up with another strong speech last night. When WWE allows Reigns to talk tough and keep it short he’s a much more believable character. While Reigns has held up his end of the build so far, WWE used their trump card last night.
While it’s easy to think of Vince as this super popular legend, the facts are that he’s one of best heels in pro wrestling history. He makes it so easy to hate him, and if you’re looking to build sympathy or support for a character, you pit them against Vince. Remember Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus from three years ago? The crowd rooted for Reigns almost by default because Vince was on the other side.
Last night Reigns called out Vince in the ring then confronted him backstage. That led to Vince temporarily suspending Reigns while also mentioning Brock Lesnar does enjoy special privileges, but he’s earned them. Brock Lesnar was always cheered because of his freakish skills and unmatched intensity, but it’s much harder to cheer for him when he’s aligned with or supported by Vince. This will almost certainly lead to a Vince/Reigns confrontation, which should enhance an already great build.
4. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor could have zero build and i’d still be psyched for their match at Mania. They’re three of the best workers on Raw, and they’re fighting for what should be the workhorse championship. Since Raw is a 3 hour show every week, they’re obviously going to feature some type of segment with those three, and I’d prefer it to be more wrestling than promos. Miz TV is always enjoyable, but Miz is so far and above both Rollins and Balor on the microphone and this match doesn’t need a lot of talking up to get people excited.
Rollins vs. Balor was a fun match, and I particularly enjoyed the ending. Rollins and Balor are evenly matched, so if you’re going to have someone go over clean, it shouldn’t be a dominant victory. They also know each other well and have a shared history. I don’t think either should win with their finisher either, which is why I liked this so much. Rollins loves to hit the top rope suplex/falcon arrow combo to soften guys up for his finisher. While he executed the suplex perfectly, Balor knew he was going to roll over into the falcon arrow. He was able to use that knowledge to his advantage and reverse the falcon arrow into a roll up for the win.
It wasn’t a dominant victory, but it showed you how quickly someone can pickup a win, which if it happens at Mania, means there will be a new IC champ.
3. Asuka vs. Mickie James
Asuka finally made her WrestleMania decision Sunday at Fastlane. Asuka vs. Charlotte is a dream match any way you look at it, and it’s a much better title match than Asuka vs. Bliss would have been. As great of a character as Alexa is, there is no realistic way for her to beat Asuka without a metric ton of shenanigans. That shouldn’t be the route they take for Asuka at Mania, so I’m glad she’s challenging Charlotte. Asuka even threw some shade at Bliss by saying she wants to face the best women’s champion at Mania. To add insult to injury Alexa’s backup plan Nia Jax was a no show. forcing MIckie James to be the poor sacrificial lamb.
James/Asuka was a lot of fun, mainly because Mickie understands the value of fighting different styles of matches against different opponents. She was super aggressive against Asuka, and even got a few near falls. Asuka has been undefeated for 55 years for a reason though, and eventually adjusted to pick up the tap out win.
2. Alexa & Nia
While Asuka/Charlotte has a leg up from an in ring standpoint, Alexa vs. Nia Jax has all the emotional weight behind it. Alexa and Nia have been “friends” for awhile now, with Alexa using Nia for her size and strength while Nia has been getting the extreme short end of the stick. Nia continues to persevere, but it’s starting to take a toll. Last week’s interaction between Bliss and Nia was heartbreaking, and it’s a credit to how strong both of these characters are. Bliss is the absolute worst, while Nia has been manipulated for so long that it’s starting to break her down. She keeps going though, because at the root of it all is her friendship with Bliss.
Yeah…about that friendship. After Nia murders a poor local competitor, a hot boom mic picks up Alexa talking some major hurtful shit about Nia. Nia is in the ring listening the entire time and eventually storms to the back and destroys the women’s locker room that Bliss and Mickie James were in. Alexa tip toed the line with NIa for so long, but she finally went too far when Nia was within earshot. If you have even a tiny piece of a heart you’re going to be rooting for Nia to rip Alexa to shreds as soon as possible.
1. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman winning the tag team battle royal by himself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but stay with me here. 1. Watching Braun Strowman destroy ten other guys is always fun. 2. The Raw tag division is useless, and there’s no point in trying to turn one of the current teams into believable contenders. I’m not saying one or multiple teams can’t be revamped, but four weeks prior to WrestleMania is not the time to do that. 3. If this win stands, I think Kurt Angle should force Braun to find a partner. How fun would it be watching this unstoppable monster try to find someone who he hasn’t already tried to murder to be his tag team partner?
Strowman isn’t the most trustworthy guy, but having an automatic tag team title shot at WrestleMania could convince someone to join forces with Braun. I’m interested to see who that could be.