Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE WrestleMania 34 PPV Coverage!!!
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5th Annual "Andre The Giant" Memorial Battle Royal
RESULT: "Woken" Matt Hardy wins the Battle Royal; Hardy last eliminated Baron Corbin to claim victory.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Can't say I'm not disappointed that two of my three picks for this match didn't even show up, and if I'm Dolph, I'd take the notion of not having renewed my contract with WWE and stick with it, because he's done absolutely zip, zero and nada since relinquishing the US Title at the top of 2018. Other than that, it was a rather sub-par effort, with Mayor "Chubbikins" Kane and Baron Corbin played the role of big hosses, tossing bodies left and right.
"Woken" Matt winning was Dan's call (good on you, Mr. Kaufman), with Wyatt making his expected return, though with little indication of any sort of "supernatural" change thanks to Matt's "Lake of Reincarnation", so we'll probably get some sort of explanation tomorrow night on RAW.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: So what are my thoughts on Wrestlemania 34?
Overall positive with some low points.
My night started off well with Woken Matt Hardy procuring the men's battle royal placing me well ahead in the prediction poll where I never looked back.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 0 pts Greg - 0 pts Nick - 0 pts Julie - 0 pts Dan - 3 pts (1st pick) Mikhail - 0 pts Alison - 0 pts
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Cedric Alexander wins via pinfall; Alexander won after a trio of back elbows and a Lumbar Check.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: It's unfortunate this got the cool-down spot between the battle royals, because the finals were probably near the low tier on the tournament card in terms of pure quality. Cedric and Mustafa did bring their best work in terms of pure emotion and put together a nice little sprint with the time given, but I can't help but feel like these two great athletes, and the 205 Live division as a whole, kind of got shafted with their spot on the card here.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Cruiserweight had a fun show where I again called it right with Cedric Alexander victorious. Got a lot of laughter out of the wrestling banter. "SHOW ME YOUR HEART" "SHOW ME YOUR SOUL".
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 1 pts Greg - 1 pt Nick - 1 pt Julie - 0 pts Dan - 4 pts Mikhail - 1 pt Alison - 0 pts
"1st Ever" WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal
RESULT: Naomi wins the Women's Battle Royal; Naomi last eliminated Bayley for the victory.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Given the controversy behind the naming of the battle royal, the trophy made seemingly in response to Vince and company being forced to change the name or lose sponsorship from Snickers, and the lack of real storyline build outside of the dissension between Sasha and Bayley, there wasn't a whole lot of high expectations for this "1ST EVAH" battle royal. I like how the 5 NXT women in the match stood tall and called for a NXT chant, only for Becky Lynch to take offense to that, not because she was one of the originals who came up from NXT, but that one of the new crop wore "her color."
Don't quite get the Naomi win here, as she had absolutely nothing going on from a storyline standpoint, other than probably establishing herself for whomever comes out of WM 34 as the Blue Brand's Women's Champion. The one bright spot here is Bayley finally getting the one-up on Sasha, which many of us expected to go down (though I felt it was better served as a middle-of-the-match shocker than near the end). Hopefully, that shifts their simmering feud into a higher gear for Backlash.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Women's battle royal for their odd little trophy was mostly uneventful and the winner was a surprising Naomi who popped up behind Bayley for the win.
WK KING OF PPV (No one's picks won, score remains the same) Ken - 1 pts Greg - 1 pt Nick - 1 pt Julie - 0 pts Dan - 4 pts Mikhail - 1 pt Alison - 0 pts
WWE Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match The Miz (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. "The Kingslayer" Seth Rollins
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Seth Rollins wins via pinfall; Rollins won after pinning the Miz following a Curb Stomp.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: An "AWWWSOME" opener to kick off Mania's main show, a no-doubter when you consider the pure athleticism of Rollins and Balor, and the cagey veteran heel psychology of The Miz.
Miz sending the Miztourage to the back was an interesting move, explained as Miz growing up after having become a father and wanting to show his newborn daughter that he could be a fighting champion. If that's WWE's way of slowly transitioning Miz into a bigger role in the upcoming year, I certainly like it.
The match itself was excellent, no typical "two man in, one man out" format for any big part of the match, great pacing, seamless transitions between the three men, and several close near-falls, with a hot New Orleans paying rapt attention to every one.
Rollins picking up the definite win on Miz seems to indicate that Miz will indeed be signing off for a time to help Maryse and their newborn daughter settle in at home, and good for him on that, big respect and kudos to the happy couple. Balor being on the outside of the finish can and most likely will mean he gets set up as Rollins' first opponent, and I've certainly got no complaints about that
DAN'S THOUGHTS: First main match was the intercontinental triple threat which was a he'll of a match that didn't slow down from the get go. Tons of innovative moments including the end with finishers on people ON TOP OF PEOPLE. Another correct prediction on Seth becoming a grand slam winner.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 2 pts Greg - 2 pts Nick - 1 pt Julie - 1 pt Dan - 5 pts Mikhail - 1 pt Alison - 0 pts
Smackdown Women's Championship "The Queen" Charlotte Flair vs. "The Empress of Tomorrow" Asuka
RESULT: Charlotte wins via submission; Charlotte hit a Spear and locked in a one-handed Figure Eight Leg Lock for the tap out.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Well, color me among the surprised. I thought it was nearly a given that Asuka would be going over Charlotte and fending off a cash-in attempt from Carmella, only for Charlotte to go over clean with no post-match shenanigans from Ms. MITB to be had.
Great intensity from both women (including a surprising TOP-ROPE Spanish Fly from Ms. Flair), Asuka being smart to target Charlotte's arm to keep her from properly bridging into a full-on FIgure Eight, and Charlotte proving ever the resilient champion in fighting off the pain to lock in a one-handed bridge to secure the submission and finally snap Asuka's vaunted undefeated streak. Asuka played the good sport, and I wouldn't be surprised to see these two mix it up again later in the year.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Well here is where I take my first L in the predictions (which sucks since I put a lock on it for double points). Even so it didn't matter much to me. Where the match prior may have been the best match for the men, this match between Charlotte and Asuka was the best match period. A great showing from both and amazing spots including an AVALANCHE SPANISH FLY. The biggest shocker was Asuka losing and her streak ending. Way to go Julie "Long live the queen".
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 1 pt (-1 - No MITB Cash-In) Greg - 1 pt; (-1 - No MITB Cash-In) Nick - 0 pts (-1 - No MITB Cash-In) Julie - 1 pt (+1 - Charlotte, -1 - No MITB Cash-In) Dan - 6 pts (+1 - No MITB Cash-In) Mikhail - 3 pts (+1 - Charlotte, +1 - No MITB Cash-In) Alison - 1 pt (+1 - No MITB Cash-In)
WWE United States Championship Fatal 4-Way Match "The Viper" Randy Orton (c) vs. Rusev w/Aiden English vs. "The Glorious" Bobby Roode vs. "The Modern-Day Maharaja" Jinder Mahal w/Sunil Singh
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Jinder Mahal wins via pinfall; Mahal hit the Khallas on Rusev following a Sunil Singh distraction for the win.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: No surprise that Rusev and Roode got the only real excitement from the crowd here. The match seemed a little disjointed, with no real sense of in-ring chemistry among the four. It honestly felt more like two one-on-one matches going on at the same time. Mahal won, as I expected, given that Orton and Roode have seemingly transitioned over into more of a personal feud rather than one concerning the US Title. Even though Rusev took the fall here, he still has a pinfall over Mahal from the previous Smackdown, which he could very well segue into a title opportunity.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: A quick side note the entrances were a real treat. Seth the white wolf, Miz and Mustafa giving off a real Mortal Kombat feeling, Charlotte and her golden Spartans, asuka and her masks that hover around her
Back on track as the US fatal four way comes out next and this one was a bore for me. I got more fun out of cracking jokes with the guys and girls I was with then watching this match. Bobby Roode is just an entrance and even that was no different than his normal one. Randy got no entrance and was as dull as ever until RKO eventually. Rusev got Aiden rapping for him but it pails in comparison to the tank he got at wrestlemania 31, the only over man in the match. While Jinder may have won (which I called), I was bored and happy to move on.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 2 pts Greg - 1 pt Nick - 0 pts Julie - 1 pt Dan - 7 pts Mikhail - 3 pts Alison - 1 pt
Mixed Tag Team Match Kurt Angle & "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
RESULT: Kurt & Ronda win via submission; Ronda locked Stephanie in an arm bar for the tap out.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: First thought coming out of this was that this match was worlds better than it had any right to be; with a non-competitor in Stephanie, two aging veterans, and a first-timer in Ronda making the transition to a pro wrestling mindset, the bar seemed to be set somewhat low. That said, these four told an excellent story. Triple H and Steph were deadset on not allowing Ronda into the match and made every attempt and broke every rule to keep Kurt isolated and away from his partner.
Once Ronda got in, the crowd went ballistic for her, and even more so for finally getting her hands on Stephanie, and even on Triple H for a time, beating him down with quickfire strikes and even getting him onto her shoulders, demonstrating why the husband-wife team were right to fear her getting into the match.
While there were a few nicely done false finishes, Ronda would at last sink in the arm bar on Steph, forcing an immediate tap out and firmly establishing herself in her WWE and WrestleMania debut. Good on you, Ronda, you did the Rowdy One proud.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Ronda and Kurt vs HHH and Steph next and predictably the authority got a crazy over the top entrance that involved motorized tricycles. Ronda came out in Roddy Piper inspired gear. The match didn't really kick into gear until Ronda got in the ring, but when she did the match was great. A little overbooked I felt but a ton of fun and the fact that Ronda looked like she could make either Stephanie or the game tap was big. Good on you and of course I was right again.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 3 pts Greg - 3 pts (LOCK) Nick - 1 pt Julie - 2 pts Dan - 8 pts Mikhail - 3 pts Alison - 2 pts
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match The Usos (c) vs. The New Day w/Xavier Woods vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
RESULT: NEWWW Champions The Bludgeon Brothers win via pinfall; Harper pinned Kofi following a Super Bludgeon Bomb.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Who'd have thought that I, or anyone for that matter, would ever say that a match involving New Day and the Usos would be considered a rather subdued effort, but that's just what we got here. It was less a match and more a platform for Harper and Rowan, mowing through both teams with relatively little effort. I understand that was kind of the point, given how the former Wyatt members had been built as a monster threat, but on a big stage like Mania, you need to have the substance to back up the story told in the ring, and we didn't really get that, sad to say.
All that in mind, the Brothers pinned the New Day, as I predicted, and it looks like the former champs will be the first to step up to Harper and Rowan.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: The next match I thought was gonna be the match of the night possibly. I was wrong. New day got an insane entrance with pancake rainbow holograms and little people in pancake costumes doing the worm. Sincerely I felt bad for anyone high at the time seeing it. There is no saving you. I thought we were gonna get a good stretch of time to show what everyone can do. Instead we got a demonstration of dominance with the bludgeon brothers cleaning house with relative ease. I called for the former Wyatts to win so go me, but couldn't help but feel disappointed.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 4 pts Greg - 3 pts Nick - 2 pt Julie - 3 pts Dan - 9 pts Mikhail - 3 pts Alison - 3 pts
Singles Match John Cena vs. The Undertaker
RESULT: The Undertaker wins via pinfall; Taker pinned Cena following a Tombstone Piledriver.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: While Taker returning as "The Deadman" surprised me initially, it made sense because Taker came back to avenge his greatest loss from 4 years ago at the Superdome.
With that in mind, this was little more than a rout of John Cena, which should further build him up as the veteran who can't hack it anymore, and perhaps lead to the heel turn down the road that many, including myself, have been speculating about.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: they kept cutting back to Cena in the crowd during the beginning of the Wrestlemania pre-show up to this point and it was very distracting. It even undermined the Charlotte Asuka match which really got under my skin. However I will admit the payoff was worth it a bit. Elias trolled and I give him props for drawing "some" of the biggest heat of the night. After that though came the dead man's return. Not biker Taker, dead man Taker which I called as well as Taker winning. Taker didn't just win but he squashed Cena, taking only one hit and sitting up scaring Cena. It was clear how safe they wanted to make this match for Taker so let me say this. If this is what you are doing from now on to protect the undertaker, than don't let him compete. While here fine whatever, if you keep doing it all you are doing is tarnishing his legacy.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 5 pts (+2 - Match occurs & Taker wins; -1 - No "American Badass") Greg - 4 pts (+2 - Match occurs & Taker wins; -1 - No "American Badass") Nick - 3 pts (+2 - Match occurs & Taker wins; -1 - No "American Badass") Julie - 6 pts (+3 - Match occurs & Taker wins & "Deadman") Dan - 12 pts (+3 - Match occurs & Taker wins & "Deadman") Mikhail - 3 pts (+1 - Match occurs; -1 - No "American Badass") Alison - 6 pts (+3 - Match occurs & Taker wins & "Deadman")
Tag Team Grudge Match Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (If Owens & Zayn win, they are rehired)
RESULT: Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon win via submission; Bryan submitted Zayn after hitting a Knee Plus and locking in the Yes! Lock.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Great return for Bryan; he hit every note of his in-ring return we hoped as fans that he would: The shotgun dropkicks, the Yes! Kicks, the "house-of-fire" rally that we've come to love him for, and last but not least, the Knee Plus and the Yes! Lock, tapping out Zayn for the win.
The squeaky clean win surprised me, as the stipulation seemed tailor-made for either Shane or Bryan to back-stab the other, but as it was, the match was good, with Owens and Zayn smart to jump Bryan and take him out early, focusing on the more injured Shane, who held his own JUST long enough to get Bryan into the match and pop the crowd big time. What this all means for Owens and Zayn remains to be seen; either GM or Commish will turn on the other and rehire the duo anyway, or we'll see them tomorrow night or some night down the road on RAW.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Then came a match that I am sure sold half of the tickets at the event, D Bry and Shane O Mac vs KO and Sami. 3 years and now Daniel Bryan is back. His entrance was awesome though it was very reminiscent of the terminator entrance from mania 31. This match I got way off and blemishes my score a bit. No heel turn or anything. Instead it was like mania 30. Daniel was taken out at the beginning of the match and Shane had to endure until Daniel came back. He won with the yes lock and it felt good to see him standing tall. This match ended up transcending the stipulation and became a monument to his journey back to the ring.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 4 pts (-1 - No heel turn) Greg - 4 pts (+1 - Bryan & Shane win; -1 - No heel turn) Nick - 3 pts (+1 - Bryan & Shane win; -1 - No heel turn) Julie - 6 pts (+1 - Bryan & Shane; -1 - No heel turn) Dan - 11 pts (-1 - No heel turn) Mikhail - 4 pts (+1 - No heel turn) Alison - 8 pts (+2 - Bryan & Shane win, No heel turn)
WWE RAW Women's Championship "The Goddess" Alexa Bliss (c) vs. "The Irresistible Force" Nia Jax
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Nia Jax wins via pinfall; Jax pinned Bliss following a second-rope Samoan Drop.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: We got the result many were expecting, but it felt a little too drawn out. Given how much of a big deal the commentary team made about the size difference, you'd have expected a more thorough defeat of Bliss by Nia in a shorter length of time. It told the story it needed to, though, with Nia rallying to overcome Alexa and her bullying tactics. Middle of the road match, but did the job it needed to in putting Nia over. Congrats, Nia.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: After this was the Raw women title match. Alexa came down on a pedestal dressed for success. Everyone figured Nia to win and she did but it wasn't a squash and the storytelling was wonderful. The destruction of Mickie before the match began and the terror on Alexa's face when she learned she was on her own. Nia staring into the eyes of Alexa saying I loved you before finishing her with a sick AVALANCHE Samoan drop, which I fully admit I started quoting return of the Sith (you were my sister Alexa...i love you). The tears of sorrow despite holding the belt. Well done on excellent storytelling
Another side note. THANK YOU FOR THE COMMERCIALS WE GOT. The snickers commercials with the Miz or with Mick Foley and the fashion police were amazing. The trailer for Fighting with my Family where the Rock was old school Rock was immensely entertaining.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 5 pts Greg - 5 pts Nick - 4 pts Julie - 7 pts Dan - 12 pts Mikhail - 4 pts Alison - 9 pts
WWE World Championship "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (c) vs. "The Artist" Shinsuke Nakamura
RESULT: AJ Styles wins via pinfall; Styles pinned Nakamura after countering the Kinshasa Knee Strike into the Styles Clash.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Amazing match, which we knew we'd get with Styles and Nakamura on a big stage, nothing unfamiliar for either man. Fantastic in-ring chemistry with their aforementioned familiarity with one another in NJPW, great back-and-forth exchanges, and smooth counter-wrestling, including the Kinshasa countered into the Styles Clash, all sum up what you can expect from two top-caliber, world-class performers in Styles and Nakamura.
The heel turn by Nakamura was unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. His frustration was clear with not getting the "knee to face" he was hoping for, and his post-match assault, signed off with that "knee to face". makes it apparent that the rubber match between these two may come well before SummerSlam, which I'm not complaining about in the least.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: Sigh...i don't want to talk about anything other than the end and the entrance for Shinsuke. Congrats Ken Hill on being the only one to guess AJ winning. They got the lead guitarist from Alice Cooper to play in Shin and it was amazing. The ending where the Kinshasa was reversed into a styles clash was really cool. The heel turn was unexpected and they can do so much with it...but...but but but...I hated this match. I wish I didn't but I won't lie. This is worse than the fatal four way for me because of how disappointed I am. This should have been so much more than what it was. We were about to fall asleep. A match between these two should not be so SLOW! I felt no energy or passion which I know they both possess. I was bored with a match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura and it hurts.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 6 pts Greg - 5 pts Nick - 4 pts Julie - 7 pts Dan - 12 pts Mikhail - 4 pts Alison - 9 pts
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship The Bar (c) vs. "The Monster Among Men" Braun Strowman & ...Nicholas
RESULT: NEWWW Champions Braun Strowman & Nicholas win via pinfall; Strowman pinned Cesaro after catching him in mid-air and hitting the Running Powerslam.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: No shock as to the outcome here, but the partner certainly took me, and just about everyone, by surprise. While I'm sure there were many expecting a debut or return here, it was a nice little feel-good moment reminiscent of Andre's days as a "gentle giant" among his legions of fans. Whether this kid's a plant or not, I assume Braun will basically just find a new "partner" as RAW goes from city to city.
DAN'S THOUGHTS: To make up for it though is the bar vs Braun and a mystery partner. The Bar came out on a float filled with parade people which Braun scared off and than wrecked the float. I said that if they want to get a big pop they will have Braun team with someone small...i was right...but I DIDN'T MEAN A CHILD! Congratulations to little boy who I thought was a girl named Nicholas for being the youngest champion ever in WWE. I called Braun winning.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 8 pts Greg - 5 pts Nick - 5 pts Julie - 7 pts Dan - 13 pts Mikhail - 4 pts Alison - 10 pts
WWE Universal Championship "The Beast Incarnate" Brock Lesnar (c) w/Paul Heyman vs. "The Guy" Roman Reigns
RESULT: Brock Lesnar wins via pinfall; Lesnar beat Reigns after countering a Spear attempt into a SIXTH (!) F-5 for the victory.
KEN'S THOUGHTS: Wow. Well, there's my heaping helping of crow for the evening, as me and Julie, among others, were dead-set on Reigns finally standing atop the pedestal as a top champion in WWE, only for Lesnar to snuff that notion out with a bevy of suplexes, bloodying up Reigns' forehead (Christ, that was a NASTY cut), and a half-dozen F-5s.
The finisher spamming got rather repetitive to the point the crowd started tuning out the match, only for Brock to bring them back by figuratively and literally taking off the gloves to bloody up Reigns. The blood-soaked Samoan dynamo would attempt a rally with a second pair of Spears, only to be caught for that sixth F-5, almost ironic considering what the "Number of the Beast" is.
I'm honestly not sure where they go from here. What exactly does Vince do with Roman after 4 years of pushing him when the final image of WrestleMania 34 is him, Vince's "golden boy", slinking off into the abyss without the title on his shoulder and shown complete indifference by the live audience for his efforts?
All things considered, WM 34 was a fine PPV. For 7 total hours, it certainly did grow tedious at times, but kept things moving along for the most part without bogging the live audience down via an abundance of pointless time-filler segments. The action was good, the New Orleans crowd came ready for a big show, and we got our share of title changes and surprises, including that of Nicholas' "debut" and Nakamura's shocking heel turn. See y'all this Friday...AND STAY KENNECTED!
DAN'S THOUGHTS: The main event...we all knew it was going to suck. The entrances were terrible and foreshadowed the events. If this match was supposed to give Roman any kind of credibility than it need to be like the Goldberg match last mania. Short on time but hard hitting back and forth with neither man giving an inch. Instead we got a repeat of Mania 31 but without Rollins to save it. That is terrible and here is why. When that match started the first time we were just seeing this version of Brock Lesnar with fresh eyes. It was still relatively new to us and that made it fun until Roman made his comeback which we were against than Rollins saved the day. THIS IS THREE YEARS LATER YET THE SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN. We aren't excited to see dominant Lesnar because that is all he ever is now. We didn't pop when Roman kicked out of the F5 because we knew it would happen. Then more and more Roman kept kicking out to the point of nausea. Through our head we said "so now he is considered better than everyone who couldn't kick out of that many". The crowd turned hard against the match and most of us watching stopped really paying attention. Only the ending was note worthy. Part of me feels that Brock decided to cut open Roman because of the fans. Also Brock won which most people myself included did not expect. Roman looked terrible in this and if they try to keep pushing him at the top as they have than the backlash will be massive. By far the worst thing in the card
Now for the best bit. In dominant fashion i am once again the King of Pay Per View, the wrestling Kennection champion. So tune in Friday for the next episode of the wrestling Kennection for my coronation and spoken review of Wrestlemania 34.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 8 pts Greg - 5 pts Nick - 5 pts Julie - 6 pts (-1 - Failed Big 4 cash-in) Dan - 13 pts (WINNER) Mikhail - 5 pts Alison - 11 pts (WINNER - Big 4)