WWE WrestleMania 34 is in the bag, so it’s time for another reaction review and the usual Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast (which you can find at the end of this page.)
Let’s dive into the reaction side of things first, though, and my initial response to the closing of WrestleMania was mostly confusion more than anything else.
There were plenty of positives and negatives in the midst of that confusion, and it’s hard to even pinpoint exactly what I just watched, but I did want to call attention to a few things in particular.
I don’t know how to feel about some of the surprise outcomes of these matches quite yet, and I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t be able to fully judge this year’s WrestleMania until at least Backlash, if not further down the line, which is rather strange.
Was it an amazing move to do something like end Asuka’s undefeated streak here and not have that albatross continue to dictate her future, or will we look back and think it was wasted on Charlotte Flair, who arguably didn’t need it?
My gut reaction is to not be upset about it, but maybe, based off how they balance the women’s divisions, I might be annoyed about it in the coming weeks or months.
Likewise, I’m actually pretty damn happy with the decision to keep the WWE Championship on AJ Styles AND to turn Shinsuke Nakamura heel, as I didn’t think Nakamura was quite ready for that task and I definitely hold more value to Styles as champion—but part of me can’t help but feel like maybe this would have been better suited for Asuka to turn instead of Nakamura.
Also, I can’t deny that there’s at least part of me wishing that both Royal Rumble winners wouldn’t have lost their title matches, yet I’d argue that if both had won, SmackDown would have felt strange and the outcomes would have been predictable.
I feel like a broken record saying that I perpetually don’t support the idea of endorsing surprises for the sake of surprises in a blind sense, and I only like shocks when they’re for the better, but some of the things that happened tonight came off to me like WWE might have changed the outcomes specifically just to keep people on their toes and not to fulfill the right objectives.
With Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, I’ve yakked on and on about how I thought it was a bad idea to build this up for a year, and now I feel like we’ve had a full year build to absolutely nothing, for no reason, and it was a lose/lose situation.
If Reigns had won, it would have been predictable, so they went with Lesnar retaining for the surprise, but what does that accomplish? Does it make Lesnar look better? Who cares? Does it get Reigns over with the crowd? No. Does it convince the audience chanting “boring” and “this is awful” to go more with the WWE narrative? Absolutely not. Does it set up someone to swoop in and take the title and be a hero? I don’t know, but I can’t see anybody being in that position tomorrow night on Raw in a way that would make me feel like it was worth building a year up to WrestleMania and then throwing it away at the last minute.
I don’t feel happy about the Universal Championship scene, but I do feel like some of the right steps were taken in the direction of things like the Cruiserweight Championship picture and the future of Ronda Rousey, who surprised the hell out of me and proved me wrong in every way to the point where I’m now pulling a 180 degree turnaround and going from dreading her appearances to looking forward to what’s coming next.
For that matter, even though I was somewhat backing the Finn Balor horse in the Intercontinental Championship race (as I figured The Miz was a guaranteed loss, even though I like him better than both), the prospect of Seth Rollins holding that title has me excited for the midcard of Raw, which is much more than I can say about the midcard of SmackDown now that Jinder Mahal is a champion again. Pass on that one, majorly.
I don’t even know what to think about this Nicholas situation with the Raw Tag Team Championship, but I’ve able to snuff out the voice in my head that says “this is ridiculous” and instead, have more of a viewpoint of “okay, I’m confused, take me for a ride and we’ll see what happens.”
Honestly, there were tons of highs and lows throughout this night for better or worse, and I don’t know what the hell I just witnessed, but I do know it was a spectacle, and maybe that’s all it really needed to be.
Then again, we’ll see what tonight’s episode of Raw has in store for us, as that might really reshape my perspective of all of this…
That is my immediate reaction in a general scope, but for more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews WrestleMania 34 with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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