Demarus Dye|BKD TV Insiders
WrestleMania, 34th Edition in New Orleans as its being billed as the, Kickoff Show @ 5 p.m. ET on WWE Network plus other Internet Platforms, TV preshow – 6 p.m. ET: USA Network or WWE Network & WrestleMania 33 -7 p.m. ET on WWE Network or pay-per-view.
For my preview(Dee on the show & sitting in the Middle) & the panel click for the Flex Zone Preview see Below
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Setup to WrestleMania 33– The fifth annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will take place at the venue where the original match occurred, the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana—as part of WrestleMania 34 on April 8, 2018.
Prediction-Andre the Giant is getting a HBO/WWE Network movie on April 10th, hopefully this go around with the Andre The Giant Battle Royal, that the winner of these Battle Royal will get a mini push at least as I see either Bray Wyatt(as a new Character), Woken Matt Hardy(with Wyatt’s help) or a returning Big Cass to win the Battle Royal of HUMUNGOUS Wonder Number Eight’s Trophy.
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Setup to WrestleMania 33– On January 23, 2018, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore was released from WWE, vacating the title. A separate general manager was then appointed for 205 Live, which was previously controlled by the Raw General Manager. On the January 30 episode of 205 Live, new general manager Drake Maverick (formerly Rockstar Spud in Impact Wrestling) scheduled a 16-man single elimination tournament to crown a new WWE Cruiserweight Champion, culminating with the finals at WrestleMania 34. Over the next couple of weeks, Cedric Alexander, TJP, Kalisto, Roderick Strong, Mark Andrews, Drew Gulak, Buddy Murphy, and Mustafa Ali advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Gran Metalik, Tyler Bate, Lince Dorado, Hideo Itami, Akira Tozawa, Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari, and Gentleman Jack Gallagher, respectively. Over the next two episodes, Alexander, Strong, Gulak, and Ali advanced to the semifinals by defeating TJP, Kalisto, Andrews, and Murphy, respectively. On the following two episodes, both Alexander and Ali secured their spot in the tournament final by defeating Strong and Gulak, respectively, to compete for the vacant Cruiserweight Championship on the WrestleMania pre-show.
Prediction– Two good athletics as Cedric Alexander has been on the rise for a while in the Cruiserweight Division while Mustafa Ali moves are out of this world. Comparing this match to last year Neville/Austin Aries Match would be tough & hard to touch. I see some high spots in this match with Alexander finally being crown Cruiserweight Champion.
Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal
Setup to WrestleMania 33– On the March 12 episode of Raw, a Battle Royal open to any female performer of any brand was scheduled for WrestleMania 34. The match, originally named in honor of WWE Hall of Famer The Fabulous Moolah, was introduced to serve as a female counterpart to its male version, the annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. However, a few days later, the match was renamed “WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal” due to the backlash from fans and critics regarding Moolah’s past and treatment of other women. Like the men’s match, the reward is the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal Trophy. The main storyline going into the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal was the friendship between Bayley and Sasha Banks. For weeks prior to the announcement of the match, the friendship between both women became more and more strained. At Elimination Chamber, Banks turned on Bayley in the namesake match. Banks then became the first to announce her participation in the battle royal on the March 19 episode of Raw. The following week, Bayley confirmed her participation and was confronted by Banks, who wanted to talk about their recent issues, but a backstage brawl broke out between them. On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Banks saved Bayley from a post-match ambush by Absolution’s Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Banks expected Bayley to be grateful, but the two instead fought. It was later confirmed that both the men’s and women’s battle royals would occur on the pre-show.
Prediction– Clearly the Build is to Sasha Banks & Bayley turn on each other. I see the Final 4 being Banks, Bayley, Naomi & Becky Lynch. With Banks & Bayley working together to Eliminate Naomi & Becky, but then Banks sneaks out Bayley for the win & then Bayley goes off on Banks.
Main Show Matches
John Cena vs. The Undertaker
Setup to WrestleMania 33– John Cena for weeks now have called out The Undertaker for weeks on Raw since Cena lost in the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber & Fastlane Title Matches, even having a No DQ Match vs. Kane on Raw with no response from the Undertaker.
Prediction– My opinion the build to this match has been average at best as Cena at times have looked goofy & silly unlike his builds to the Rock & even the Miz/Maryse with the Mixed Tag match last year WrestleMania. I would say Cena would call out the Undertaker this time to respond, he will & beat Cena at the place the he lost the Streak in(1st WrestleMania Loss).
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn(If Owens/Zayn win they return to SmackDown, if they lose they remain fired.)
Setup to WrestleMania 33– Throughout the summer of 2017, Kevin Owens feuded with SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon; at Hell in a Cell, Kevin Owens defeated Shane in a Hell in a Cell match thanks to the help of his friend-turned-rival, Sami Zayn. Zayn explained that he acted out of disappointment about not getting the expected opportunities at SmackDown and realized that Owens was right all along in his questionable actions. Owens and Zayn continued their feud with Shane, including attacking him at Survivor Series and Shane threatened to fire them if they lost their match at Clash of Champions, while SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan seemingly favored the two by giving them WWE Championship opportunities: first at the Royal Rumble where AJ Styles retained his title against both in a handicap match, despite a controversial finish that Shane ignored and again at Fastlane where Owens and Zayn were among the five challengers. During the latter, the feud escalated as Shane broke up pinfalls by Owens and Zayn. Shane then took an indefinite leave of absence, but as one last decision, he scheduled Owens and Zayn to fight each other at WrestleMania 34. Owens and Zayn reacted by brutally attacking Shane. The following week, Bryan, whose last match was in April 2015, revealed that he was medically cleared to compete again. Later, he fired Owens and Zayn for their attack on Shane and received a beat down. In response, Bryan said he regretted favoring them and scheduled a tag team match pitting himself and Shane against Owens and Zayn with the latter being rehired if they won. On the final SmackDown before WrestleMania, Shane was also cleared to compete, and Bryan said that Shane was right all along when Shane had told him not to trust Owens and Zayn. Bryan and Shane said that after WrestleMania, Owens and Zayn would never be on SmackDown again.
Prediction– Sometimes the best things in wrestling happen by accident & the Clearing of Daniel Bryan has happened at the perfect time with 2 guys that have took a similar path to the WWE. Not to mention Bryan’s greatest night in Wrestling at WrestleMania in New Orleans. Its just perfect timing indeed. Now the build to this match at Mania have been on the burner cooking slowly & it has payed off. Owens & Zayn teaming up has helped both, plus when Owens beats up somebody it looks legit. I either see Bryan winning & a beatdown afterward or Owens/Zayn winning by making Shane & Daniel doubt each other. I see the ladder & setting up Shane vs. Bryan down the road for control of SD Live.
WWE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax
Setup to WrestleMania 33– After Alexa Bliss won her second Raw Women’s Championship in August 2017, she formed a friendship with Nia Jax, who also had championship aspirations. Jax failed to earn a title shot at the Royal Rumble and also lost to Asuka at Elimination Chamber in a match that would have added her to Asuka’s championship match at WrestleMania 34. After Asuka defeated her in a rematch on Raw, Bliss consoled Jax and said she deserved a championship match. When Asuka explained her reasons to challenge Charlotte Flair, Bliss and Mickie James confronted Asuka and called out Jax to wrestle Asuka; when Jax did not appear, James stepped in and lost the match. Later, during Jax’s match, a conversation between Bliss and James, who were unaware, could be heard and seen on the TitanTron. Bliss said that she was just using Jax and made fun of her, which greatly upset Jax. The following week, Bliss issued a fake apology and continued to insult Jax, who eventually came out and chased Bliss to the backstage area. When Bliss complained to Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, he scheduled her to defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Jax at WrestleMania.
Prediction– A contrast in wrestling styles here with Bliss & Jax. With Bliss making fun of Nia Jax which play off of emotion of people being bully/being used. Its perfect to play off of. With that being said, either Nia emotions gets the best of her or Nia gets it done. Props to Alexa Bliss playing the Chicken Heel on both shows over the last year. I like Jax to become the Raw Women’s Champion.
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev
Setup to WrestleMania 33– At Fastlane, Randy Orton won the United States Championship from Bobby Roode. Following the match, Jinder Mahal, who felt that he should have been in the match, attacked both men, but he and Orton received a Glorious DDT from Roode. On the following episode of SmackDown, Roode confronted Orton and invoked his rematch clause for WrestleMania 34. Mahal interrupted and defeated Roode in a match, but suffered an RKO from Orton. The following week, Orton was scheduled to defend the United States Championship in a triple threat match against Roode and Mahal at WrestleMania. On the March 27 episode, Mahal teamed with Rusev to defeat Orton and Roode, who turned on each other after Orton hit Roode with an RKO. Backstage, Mahal said he would get Rusev a front row seat at WrestleMania to watch him win, but Rusev wanted to be in the title match since he pinned Orton, which was made official, making the U.S. Championship match a fatal four-way. The following week, Rusev defeated Mahal, but received an RKO from Orton, who had a staredown with Roode.
Prediction– 4 different roads to get here to Mania, but the Hottest guy in this match is Rusev, which the Rusev Day shirts & chants are over like rover. Hopefully for Bobby Roode, he needs a heel turn, Orton is Orton & Jinder is struck in the Middle. I like the Hot Guy to win in Rusev & maybe we get a turn for Roode which could beat up Adrian English up afterward.
WWE RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD
Setup to WrestleMania 33– After defeating The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson), Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus (also known as The Bar) said they had defeated every tag team on Raw and issued an open challenge to any tag team to face them for the titles at WrestleMania 34. On the March 12 episode, a brawl broke out between all of the tag teams and Raw General Manager Kurt Angle scheduled a tag team battle royal with the winning team receiving a championship match at WrestleMania. Braun Strowman interjected himself into the match and won by last eliminating Karl Anderson. The following week, Angle decided that Strowman would receive a Raw Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania as long as he found a partner. Strowman said that he did not need a partner, but would have one. He then defeated Cesaro, and then Sheamus the following week; had Sheamus won, Strowman would have revealed his partner. Strowman again teased revealing his partner the following week if Cesaro or Sheamus agreed to face his partner. They agreed; Strowman went backstage and returned as “Brains Strowman” and The Bar retreated.
Prediction– Sadly the Raw Tag Team division is weak, which opens the spot to put Bruan Strowman in a spot outside of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal which he been booked. The Bar has jelled well as a Tag Team which is a good spot for Sheamus & Cesaro at this stage in their WWE careers. I do think either Samoa Joe or Big Show will be Bruan partner, they win the title & then lose them in the Summer to the partner betraying Strowman which sets up a program. I think it will be Samoa Joe as Bruan partner.
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Charlotte (c) vs. Asuka
Setup to WrestleMania 33– Also at the Royal Rumble, Raw’s Asuka won the women’s Royal Rumble match, last eliminating Nikki Bella. As a result, Asuka earned the right to challenge for a women’s championship of her choosing at WrestleMania 34. On the advice of Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, Asuka postponed her decision until both women’s champions had defended their titles at Elimination Chamber and Fastlane, respectively. Following Charlotte Flair’s successful defense at Fastlane, Asuka appeared and indicated that she would challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. On the March 12 episode of Raw, Asuka explained that she had chosen Flair as she wanted to challenge the best women’s champion in WWE. On SmackDown the next night, Asuka confronted Flair, who vowed to end Asuka’s undefeated streak. On the final SmackDown before WrestleMania, Asuka appeared following Flair’s victory over Natalya. Flair said she was ready for Asuka, but asked Asuka if she was ready for her.
Prediction– Asuka has been undefeated for 2 years plus between NXT & WWE. Their is a way that Asuka could keep her streak but not win the title as Carmella can come & hit Asuka with the MITB Briefcase. With Charlotte being weak, Carmella hit her finisher on Charlotte & then pin her to win the Title. Or will the streak end at Mania where another streak ended 4 years ago??? Biggest WrestleMania Women’s one on one match I would say since Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James at WrestleMania 22 & I think Asuka & Charlotte will live up to the hype in New Orleans.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Miz (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
Setup to WrestleMania 33– After failing to win the Elimination Chamber match, Intercontinental Champion The Miz said he should main event WrestleMania 34 anyways as he felt that his title was more important than the Universal Championship. He demanded a challenger for WrestleMania, to which Seth Rollins came out and defeated him. After that, Finn Bálor also came out and defeated Miz. The following week, both Rollins and Bálor confronted Miz, leading to a 2-on-3 handicap match between Rollins and Bálor and The Miz and his Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel), in which Rollins pinned Miz. Afterwards, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle scheduled The Miz to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Bálor and Rollins in a triple threat match at WrestleMania. On the March 12 episode, The Miz interviewed his WrestleMania opponents on Miz TV, which ended in Rollins and Bálor jointly taking out Miz and Rollins attacked Bálor, who later defeated Rollins. On Miz TV the following week, Miz and The Miztourage faked a breakup and attacked Bálor and Rollins, who overcame the attack, after which, Bálor attacked Rollins. On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Bálor and Rollins had a rematch that Rollins won.
Prediction– A good showcase of the Intercontinental Championship as we are back to some of the best workers in the WWE fighting for the IC Title. The Miz has been a unsung hero on WWE TV for a long time now & I do believe this match could still Mania as already Balor & Rollins stole Raw from Monday. I like to say who needs this match win more & right now its Balor which I think he will win. WIll we see the Finn Balor costume on Sunday?
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
Setup to WrestleMania 33– Throughout 2017, The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) and The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) fought at various events over the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The original feud ended at Hell in a Cell in the namesake match with The Usos victorious. The New Day earned another shot at the titles at Fastlane, but the match ended after both teams were attacked by The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan), injuring Jey, Kingston, and Woods. On the following episode of SmackDown, Big E and Jimmy teamed up to take revenge, but were defeated. On the March 27 episode, New Day’s Big E and Woods faced The Bludgeon Brothers, who won by disqualification after The Usos attacked them. A triple threat tag team match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship was scheduled for WrestleMania 34.
Prediction– Amazing the Usos have never been on the Main WrestleMania Card until this year, which is unbelievable as it seems, but props to the New Day & Uso’s for putting Tag Team Wrestling back on the map in the WWE. Harper & Rowan 1st real WrestleMania without the Wyatt Family in the backdrop, must feel they will win as the Bludgeon Brothers haven’t lost seen their reboot. I don’t think they will win but will not take the pin as the New Day will win & get a WrestleMania Moment.
Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
Setup to WrestleMania 33– At WrestleMania 31, then-UFC star Ronda Rousey appeared alongside The Rock and embarrassed The Authority (WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon). She made some appearances over the next couple of years and was rumored to compete at 2018’s Royal Rumble match, but denied she would be at the event. Following Asuka’s victory in that match, however, the now-former UFC star appeared, confirming that she had signed full-time with WWE. During the official contract signing at Elimination Chamber, it was confirmed that Rousey would not receive special treatment, but would have her debut match at WrestleMania 34. Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, whom Stephanie (now Raw Commissioner) previously had threatened to fire and whom Triple H had turned on at Survivor Series, then brought up the incident from WrestleMania 31 and warned Rousey that Triple H and Stephanie wanted revenge. Rousey threw Triple H through a table and was slapped by Stephanie before eventually signing her contract. The following night on Raw, Rousey demanded an apology from Stephanie, who complied. As Stephanie was leaving the ring, Triple H attacked Angle. The following week, Stephanie said Rousey could choose any Raw wrestler as her opponent at WrestleMania except the champion; she chose Stephanie. When Triple H objected, Angle pointed out that both Triple H and Stephanie had contracts as wrestlers and scheduled a mixed tag team match pitting Stephanie and Triple H against Rousey and himself. On the final Raw before WrestleMania, both teams met in the ring for a Q&A session, which ended with Stephanie putting Rousey through a table.
Prediction– I would call this the outside the WWE Bubble match which have happened more in the last couple of years at Mania(John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse, The Rock defeated Erick Rowan (with Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt) in 6 seconds, etc). Rousey, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon have been hitting the Media Rounds. Rousey has gotten better on the mic every week she has been on & will get better in time. Angle & Triple H will carry this match with Rousey & Stephanie getting the Hot Tags, with Rousey & Angle making their opponents tap out.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Setup to WrestleMania 33– At the Royal Rumble, SmackDown’s Shinsuke Nakamura won the men’s Royal Rumble match by last eliminating Roman Reigns, earning himself a world championship match of his choosing at WrestleMania 34. After the match, when questioned on which champion he would challenge, Nakamura chose WWE Champion AJ Styles; a matchup previously teased at Money in the Bank during the titular ladder match. At Fastlane, Styles successfully defended the WWE Championship in a six-pack challenge, confirming the Styles-Nakamura match at WrestleMania. On the post-Fastlane episode of SmackDown, Styles and Nakamura expressed respect for each other, but Nakamura promised to deliver a Kinshasa to Styles at WrestleMania and become WWE Champion. On the March 27 episode, Styles was in Nakamura’s corner for Nakamura’s match against Shelton Benjamin. After defeating Benjamin, Nakamura said he only wanted Styles at ringside to show him how he would beat him at WrestleMania. Benjamin and Chad Gable then attacked Styles, who was saved by Nakamura, who teased performing a Kinshasa on Styles. On the final SmackDown before WrestleMania, Styles warned Nakamura to not take him lightly and referenced their previous encounter in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, stating that WrestleMania was bigger than the Tokyo Dome. Nakamura responded and said he was not taking Styles lightly, but he knew Styles well and Styles’ emotions would cause him to make a mistake. The two later teamed up and defeated Gable and Benjamin. After the match, Styles teased performing a Phenomenal Forearm on Nakamura.
Prediction– Styles & Nakamura should tear down the SuperDome in New Orleans on Sunday. The Nakamura Wrestling Style needs a good dance partner to really bring out the best of Nakamura, which AJ Styles being the best in the WWE even in Pro Wrestling today, he will do that no doubt. Both wrestled each other in Japan at the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10 which Nakamura got the best of Styles which I do believe put Nakamura on the map. Now both can say that they have wrestled at Wrestle Kindom & WrestleMania vs. each other, not any wrestlers on the planet can say that indeed. With that being said I do think AJ Styles will retain the WWE Championship & setup another match with these 2 down the road.
WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Setup to WrestleMania 33– At WrestleMania 33, Brock Lesnar won the Universal Championship and Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker; Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman then teased a match between Lesnar and Reigns for the title since they were the only two to have defeated Undertaker at WrestleMania. Over the following year, Lesnar retained the championship in various title defenses, including a fatal four-way at SummerSlam where Lesnar pinned Reigns. Since the 2018 Royal Rumble winner chose to challenge for SmackDown’s world championship at WrestleMania 34, Lesnar’s challenger was determined at Elimination Chamber where Reigns won the Elimination Chamber match, which in turn set up a rematch from WrestleMania 31, which did not have a decisive winner between the two. Lesnar was advertised for the February 26 episode of Raw, but did not appear. Reigns criticized Lesnar for hiding behind his contract and said that Lesnar did not respect WWE and that he had no respect for Lesnar. The following week, Heyman said that Lesnar would retain, and come SummerSlam, he would be both Universal Champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion, insinuating that Lesnar would make another return to the UFC. He said that Lesnar would be there next week; Reigns warned Lesnar to be ready for a fight. Lesnar, however, was again absent. Reigns expressed his frustrations and demanded answers from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who temporarily suspended Reigns for disrespecting him and guaranteed that Lesnar would appear the following week. That episode, Reigns appeared, despite his suspension, to confront Lesnar, so Raw General Manager Kurt Angle had him handcuffed by U.S. Marshals. Reigns assaulted the Marshals, after which, Lesnar brutally attacked the handcuffed Reigns, who was taken out on a stretcher. A similar vicious attack would ensue the following week, concluding with Reigns suffering an F-5 on the steel steps. On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Heyman said that if Reigns were to beat Lesnar, Lesnar and Heyman would not be seen on Raw again. Reigns then came out to seek revenge and attacked Lesnar with five superman punches, but Lesnar recovered and performed an F-5 on Reigns.
Prediction– How WWE has tried to get the crowd to turn of Brock Lensar has been good in theory, but it depends if the news has come out if Lensar is going back to UFC or staying in the WWE. Roman Reigns has become the John Cena of this era being boo’d by half of the audience & cheered by the other half. Reigns has been build to be the star that Reigns & Lensar fought in the Main Event of WrestleMania 31 which Seth Rollins cashed in the MITB to pin Reigns & win the WWE World Heavyweight Title at that time. But now we should get a clear finish with Reigns & Lensar, which I do believe Reigns will win the Universal Title & maybe even have a certain advocate on his side after this match also?
I’ll be back with the WrestleMania 34 Review on Monday
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