Tom Jenner rocks!
As of this writing, there are currently twelve matches scheduled for this year’s WrestleMania. Considering there are more waiting to be added (presumably Sasha vs. Bayley, the SmackDown tag team title match, KO vs. Zayn or in a tag team match against Shane McMahon, plus maybe something with Bray and/or Matt Hardy), this year’s show is pretty damn busy. Unfortunately, even if WrestleMania goes on until 12am like it did last year, there will undoubtedly be some matches that get bumped to the pre-show (which is rumoured to either be longer than two hours or have a pre-pre-show – what the hell???).
Rather than being all gloomy and trying to predict which bouts don’t end up making the main card (and for the last time, if you’re on the pre-show, you are NOT on WrestleMania), I thought I would do something different by trying to guess which match will close out WrestleMania 34. WWE can bill as many matches as they want as the “main-event”, but the truth of the matter is, the real main-event is the match that goes on last. There is no such thing as a “double” or “triple” main-event; there are headlining matches and then there is the main-event. Maybe that’s an old-school way of looking at it, but sometimes, old-school and tradition is the way to go – just ask NXT.
Therefore, of the twelve matches that have been announced thus far, here is how I would rank each match in terms of being worthy of closing out the biggest Pay-Per-View of the year.
12. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
That’s right. I’m at the point where I would rather see literally anything main-event WrestleMania 34 over Reigns vs. Lesnar. Before anyone brings up my bias against Roman Reigns, allow me to reiterate what I have said time and time again about The Big Dog both in my columns and on social media. I have nothing against Joe Anoa’i; I think the man is a good dude who works his ass off everytime he’s out there. However, he will never be THE Guy, i.e. another John Cena or The Rock. He will forever be a Batista or an Edge, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Until WWE (or Vince McMahon, at least) comes to this realization, I – and many others – will never get behind Reigns. Keep him as main-eventer, fine, keep him as a babyface, whatever, but for the love of God, stop trying to push him as Cena 2.0 because he’s not! Giving him his fourth WrestleMania main-event in a row (which he smugly brags about on Twitter, by the way) will keep the majority of the fanbase strongly against him.
Reigns vs. Lesnar shouldn’t close the show because a) someone other than Reigns deserves that accolade; b) 80% of the crowd will not go home happy with the most predictable outcome in years; c) it will feature two of the least-featured performers on television between now and WrestleMania; d) we’ve already seen the same match-up before (in the main-event spot of ‘Mania, nonetheless) and e) why should Lesnar be awarded with a main-event spot, at least in kayfabe? There is simply no reason for this match to go on last other than Vince’s unrelenting hard-on for The Big Dog and it shouldn’t.
11. The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Obviously, this match has no chance in hell of going on last, not even if John Cena, Goldberg and Sting were all booked as participants. It’s a battle royal, the second of two that night. It won’t close the show, but at least it’s more deserving than Reigns vs. Lesnar.
Fabulous Moolah Memorial Women’s Battle Royal
In a year where we’ve seen the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble main-event said-Pay-Per-View, I guess there’s always a chance that history repeats itself and officials put this on last. Okay, maybe not, but at least it has a better chance of closing the show than their male counterpart does. Mind you, I said earlier that Bayley vs. Sasha could get added to the card but with such a full show I could very well see them being added to this match and Sasha turning heel on the Grandest Stage of Them All instead. In fact, I think that’s more likely to happen than a singles match between the two because who of importance is really left to bring star power to this match – Becky? Mickie James? The Riott Squad? Yeah, the Battle Royal probably needs Sasha and Bayley more than we think.
Oh, and for the record, I will not be referring to this match as The Fabulous Moolah Memorial. That bitch doesn’t deserve any recognition; shame on WWE for ignoring historical facts. Hopefully fan backlash will force them to rename it the coming weeks – hell, unhappy fans were able to successfully move last year’s SmackDown women’s title match off the pre-show, after all.
9. Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali or Drew Gulak
I know, I know. If any WrestleMania match announced so far is in the running to end up on the pre-show, it’s the finals of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament. Personally, I’m a bit gutted that Cedric Alexander went over Roderick Strong last night, as I’m a huge mark for The Messiah of the Backbreaker. Nevertheless, much like Aries and Neville did last year, I’m confident that whoever Alexander ends up facing at WrestleMania 34 will be as motivated as he is to steal the show, regardless of their placement on the card. Putting the Cruiserweights on last would allow for exhausted members of the audience to leave early and beat the traffic, so they have that going for them, at least.
8. Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal
I’m aware that this match is currently being billed as a singles match between Roode and Orton, but let’s be serious. I predicted that Mahal would challenge Roode to a match on SmackDown last night, beat him, and make further claims to being added to the United States Championship match at ‘Mania. That’s…pretty much what happened. If it was up to me, I would have had Roode turn heel on Orton to get us a really good feud going into ‘Mania, resulting in a much better match between the two than we saw at Fast Lane (which was a fine match, but restricted due to the face vs. face dynamic). Instead, Mahal will almost certainly be added to make it a triple threat, and that will actually drag the importance of this match-up down the card. Damn you, Jinder.
7. The Bar vs. Braun Strowman & ??? (hint: it’s gonna be Elias)
For weeks, I’ve been saying that WWE should make the smart decision (other than have Braun replace Reigns in the Universal title match, at least) and have the dominant Raw tag team champions defend their titles at WrestleMania against a make-shift tag team of The Monster Among Men and…Elias. The reasoning was simple: The Bar have defeated every team there is to beat on Raw but NOT a team consisting of two singles stars. Braun and Elias are two of Raw’s hottest stars and as of last Monday afternoon, neither were booked for WM34, and getting booked for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal would have been way beneath them. So I proposed the two of them team up (either by choice or via Kurt Angle’s orders) to challenge The Bar at ‘Mania. Some people were critical of the idea, saying a partnership between Elias and Braun was too random. I guess those people must have forgot about past teams like Team Hell No, Show-Miz and even the reigning tag team champs…
Lo and behold, we’re almost there, with Braun earning a tag team title opportunity at WrestleMania. I’m almost 100% certain Elias will be named his partner, as I can’t see anyone else being named instead. I guess we’ll find out.
6. Alexa Bliss vs. ??? (hint: it’s gonna be Nia Jax)
I know some people out there wanted to see Alexa defend her title against The Empress of Tomorrow at WrestleMania, but even more people wanted to see Asuka switch brands to challenge Charlotte instead. Well, the latter more or less got their wish, as Asuka has officially challenged The Queen for ‘Mania, but there’s still some confusion whether Asuka has jumped brands or not. I mean, she showed up on Raw, had a match, then showed up on SmackDown last night, but will be wrestling Bliss on Raw next week. So yeah, there’s definitely some confusion in regards to Asuka’s status.
One thing that is pretty clear, however, is that we’ll be getting Alexa vs. Nia Jax at WrestleMania, which was heavily hinted at after Alexa ‘comforted’ Nia backstage after her loss to Asuka last week. Nia vs. Alexa is actually a story that has been going on for a while, dating all the way back to last summer. Kudos to the Raw creative team for finding a way to keep them away from each other in the ring (for the most part) since then, which is incredible considering Nia actually gave Alexa an electric chair drop to end Raw a few months ago. Charlotte vs. Asuka may be more hyped in terms of match quality, but Alexa and Nia have a much more storied history.
5. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins
If this was early 2016, with a roster that had been plagued with injuries, I honestly could have seen this match main-eventing WrestleMania 32 for a world title, easily. Hell, even today, it’s Raw’s top full-time heel defending his championship against two of Raw’s most popular babyface acts. All three of them are former world champions. All three of them have been feuding on-and-off since prior to the Elimination Chamber. If there was ever a year for WWE to boldly put on the Intercontinental Championship match after both world title bouts, I would have zero qualms with it being this one.
Could this match steal the show? Absolutely. No matter where it ends up on the card (except the pre-show, obviously), it’s one of the most anticipated match-ups of the night, for me at least.
4. Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H
According to the rumours, this match has actually been in heavy discussion to go on last (yes, even over Lesnar vs. Reigns). Considering the amount of hype – and video packages – revolving Rousey, I wouldn’t be surprised, nor disappointed, frankly. Is it an odd choice to main-event, especially on a very stacked card? Absolutely, but I can see the reasoning behind it – mainstream publicity. You just know WWE would LOVE for ESPN, CNN, etc. to report on Ronda Rousey being the first female to main-event WrestleMania and actually win her match. That shit writes itself. Is it the most appealing option as a fan? Not really, but between this and the Universal title match, it’s by the far the lesser of two evils.
3. John Cena vs. The Undertaker
After the mixed tag, I think this must-see match is the third most likely to close the show. Since Cena vs. ‘Taker is all but guaranteed to be The Phenom’s final match (for real this time) and against John Cena no less, I don’t see why it shouldn’t get top billing. This will probably exhaust most of the crowd’s energy and if they go on around 10pm or so, I don’t see whatever follows it receiving much fanfare. Having Styles vs. Nakamura go on right after Cena vs. ‘Taker would be a huge mistake, and Reigns vs. Lesnar would be similar to receiving a death sentence. If they refuse to have the WWE Championship go on last, then this is the only justifiable replacement. I truly believe we could witness WrestleMania 18 all over again, with the crowd wearing themselves out from Hogan vs. Rock.
This match either goes on last or goes on at 9pm. Anywhere else would be a grave error.
2. Asuka vs. Charlotte
This is easily the biggest one-on-one match WWE can deliver in terms of the current women’s division. Based on that alone, a solid argument could be made for these two going on last. It wouldn’t be a difficult case to put together: Asuka won the first-ever Women’s Rumble which was the main-event on that show – by that logic, Asuka should main-event the subsequent WrestleMania. Other than Bayley vs. Sasha Banks – which we’ve seen before – there probably isn’t a bigger female singles match out there (Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss was in the running, but they did that at Survivor Series).
However, this may not be the right year for them to be given that main-event slot. On a show which will give us Cena vs. ‘Taker and Styles vs. Nakamura, can we really count on the crowd being 100% into Asuka vs. Charlotte? Keep in mind, it was only two days ago that the live audience chanted for CM Punk and “Rusev Day” during an Asuka match. Had Asuka made her choice immediately after the Rumble, they would have been given plenty of time to establish a compelling Road to WrestleMania. Instead, the stupid Pay-Per-Views between the Rumble and WrestleMania got in the way and we have less than four weeks to see the tension build. Maybe next year, ladies…
1. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Feel free to debate me on this, but AJ Styles is the most over full-time superstar on the WWE roster, and he has been for a long time. There is no other person – male or female – who shows up on Raw or SmackDown on a weekly basis and must wait to deliver a promo because the crowd is busy chanting his name. While it’s not a Daniel Bryan-level of overness, it’s pretty damn close. Considering AJ is getting up there in age (he’s 40!), this may be his final shot of main-eventing WrestleMania in his prime, when he’s at the hottest point of his career.
Shinsuke Nakamura won the Royal Rumble and despite being buried at the expense of Jinder Mahal, has somehow managed to remain over. Even when squaring off against the massively-popular Rusev at Fast Lane, Nakamura retained most of his fan support. There is no reason – as both Rumble winner and beloved as he is – that he shouldn’t main-event WrestleMania 34 in a dream match against AJ Styles. After two back-to-back years of terrible wrestling matches closing ‘Mania (both of which featured Roman, by the way), it’s only fair that WWE changes the formula and apologizes by giving us a match that will for sure deliver. Styles/Nakamura going on last will help get rid of the bad taste left in our mouths from the past few years of ‘RoMania’ as well as making up for the debacle otherwise known as the Jinder Mahal era. Styles vs. Nakamura will send the crowd home happy, regardless of the winner (or Roman winning the title earlier in the evening).
YOUR Two Centsss: Which match do you want to see go on last at WrestleMania 34? Why?
– Email: email@example.com
– Facebook: Search for “Super C” and LIKE the page
– Twitter: @ChrisssLOP
– PSN: Good_Guy_Chris
Currently playing: Super Mario Odyssey, Overwatch, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Pokemon Shuffle.