Skip to main content

Wrestlemania 34: Damn! That's a Dope Set...and Other Good Stories

Courtesy: WWE.com
What a weekend! Everything about Wrestlemania Weekend this year was fantastic. From Wrestlecon and all of the non-WWE companies putting on shows in New Orleans, to NXT, to of course the big show that holds it all together - Wrestlemania. 

Funny thing is, while I've watched countless hours of pro wrestling this weekend, the only thing surfacing to the top constantly was this very thought - Damn! That's a Dope set! Because you know what, it was. It sooooooo was! But that's just the geek in me that loves the creativity and aesthetics part of pro wrestling...or, just about anything event-related. 

With all of that said, here are some quick notes on Wrestlemania 34:


- Wrestlemania is so long. Like, so incredibly long. I get that the roster, and really the company, is larger than it ever has been. And there are plenty of talent to get on the show and display. However, four hours is draining, even for me on the couch. Especially after the weekend of other events, some WWE-related. It's so hard to regroup for matches that deserve the attention and fan-investment that it deserves. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to keep that level of engagement. 

I do believe someday, Wrestlemania will become a two-day event. I get the appeal of a one-day, this-is-it kind of feel, but the opportunity for a second-gate and having a chance to get even more talent displayed just might be too much. 

Again, I'm not for it, but I definitely could see it. 

- I'm a big Miz guy, always have been. But seriously, what was the dude wearing to the ring?! Regardless, the opening match on the card was tremendous. After all, what else was expected, right? I don't know what it is, but ever since Seth returned as a babyface, I haven't been all that interested in him. We'll see where this goes. 

- There was something about the Flair vs. Asuka match that felt so old school to me. In a trend where pro wrestling has less and less submission finishers (they tend to feel more like drama spots until someone breaks, reverses, or gets to a rope), it was truly shocking to see her tap out there. Anyone else also miss the days when you waited for the referee to wave for the bell? Nonetheless, I enjoyed this one a whole lot. Flair is good, like really good. So insanely athletic. 

- All of the matches on this card were all built really well. No complaints from this fan. I was into all of them. However, the Fatal 4-Way for the United States Championship is one that just never got out of second gear for me. I'm not sure if it's because it followed Flair v. Asuka, or simply because of the people involved, but it was just...you know, cool. It was there for me - what it was. 

By the way, is the United States Championship now less of a title than NXT's North American Championship? I'm joking of course, but does a one hour show really need another title?

- Call me crazy. And really, in today's wrestling fandom, there is always some fan that is ready to "take away your fandom" because you like something that doesn't fit the current internet narrative - regardless, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey was my favorite match of the night. 

::::ducks behind laptop screen::::


Really, it was. I had such low expectations for this. The match wasn't exactly Okada vs. Omega, but, I loved EVERYTHING about the story it told. And really, Stephanie McMahon did such an awesome job of driving everything in this program. And the dramatic finish with the stare before apply the arm bar was a nice touch. The quick tap was also refreshing. I really despise long arm bar holds in pro wrestling. Weird, I know. That moment felt legit. 

Also, kudos to Kurt freakin' Angle - one of my all-time favorites - for suiting up in this match. He was an after thought, but had some nice moments here and there. 

As for Rousey, the athleticism is there. The intensity is there. The WWE simply has to continue to mold her. Something they are better at doing than anyone in the wrestling industry (obviously).  

- I'll say this about The Undertaker - I'm a fan (who isn't?) and his entrance is ALWAYS nostalgic. But I'm over watching him in the ring. It hurts the legendary mystique of the character more than anything. Can he still give a good match? I'm pretty sure he can (see: the last match I just discussed). But every time he does, it's a subtle reminder of what he isn't any longer, and that reminder hurts as a fan and overshadows all.  

But I love the touch of Cena hearing the news to run back to gear up. However, when you think of Cena "gearing up" it's simply him putting on a pair of jorts and a heavy usage of wristbands. 

By the way, Cena's reaction to 'Takers sit up was absolutely gold. 


This wouldn't surprise me if this begins a build to next year's Wrestlemania. 


- If Shane McMahon was say, Shane Smith, would Vince be a fan? Well, that's so easy, it's rather rhetorical. Regardless, I've never been a fan of Shane's style, and this aura of this commissioner beating up his wrestlers and being able to hang with them - ehhhhhh, I never got it. 

Good to see Daniel Bryan back. As always, it's fun, but you do worry about the guy's health and if the cautionary approach over the last three years was justified. But again, it's good to see him back. The loss made me think about whether we'll see Zayn and Owens on Raw soon...

- You know how I said earlier about matches not getting the proper engagement it deserved - well that was Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for me. I wanted to - I did. I really did. I just couldn't. 

- Heel Nakamura is intriguing going forward. He's lost so much of his character and mystique since arriving to WWE from New Japan. I'm hoping the new role and an ignited feud (eventual title run) will do him some good. 


- I know it was for comedic purposes, and some may point to the whole ::eye roll:: "Braun Strowman beat two guys" thing, but come on! How freakin awesome was the whole "Nicholas" thing? The "We Want Nicholas chants" were funny as well. 

- And finally, I'm thoroughly intrigued by where Roman goes from here. For all we know, he could very well win the title tonight on RAW, but that match felt like what Good Ol' JR would call, "an absolute slobberknocker. It was also VERY rare to see a crimson mask like that on Roman in today's WWE. Raw should be interesting. 

I admit it. I'm a sucker for happy endings at Wrestlemanias, but I also get they all can't be like that. Nonetheless, this card was absolute packed with fantastic action, and it'll probably go down when it's all said and done - when the fireworks stop going off, and we finally don't have to listen to Kid Rock's Celebrate, or even see that dopey commercial for Paige's new movie...wait scrath that last one - this will go down as one of the best 'Mania's of all-time. 

Kudos to EVERYONE involved over at WWE. No one does entertainment like them. I truly believe that. 

- Lastly, can we somehow just let "Wrestlemania moments" happen instead of Michael Cole yelling at us every 8 minutes, "NOW THAT'S a Wrestlemania moment". It just kills the whole thing, or is that me? Yeah? No? Am I nitpicking? 

---

Some other quick notes from the weekend: 

- I strongly believe Impact Wrestling and Lucha underground have a nice thing going here if they can partner every year. The event was enjoyable, and it does lend credibility to both of their products. 

But of course, with IMPACT, there is always drama, right? And it came down that Alberto El Patron was let go this weekend sending IMPACT and their upcoming Redemption event into a giant audible. Truly, I never was a fan of El Patron, and I just never got the hype. But eh, whatevs...

- ROH really has stepped up the on-site production values and Supercard of Honor looked tremendous on screen. It still amazes me to this day how ROH avoids legit criticism from the wrestling community and we only seem to praise it's improvements. 

- NXT Takeover was absolutely fantastic. Period. Nothing else to say. I was locked into it all from the opening. As always, I don't watch the weekly shows, but the specials now have this certain cache and credibility of always delivering. 

Again, a tremendous weekend. Yet, after it all...


Damn, that's a dope set! 

Recently Read Posts

CM Punk's Return - Perfect Timing for the Symbol of Anti-WWE

Looooooooook in my eyes, what do you see?! The lyrics to Cult of Personality, especially that first bar,  never felt so fitting for CM Punk as it did last night.  For the most part, everything that is CM Punk's return to wrestling last night at AEW Rampage ties directly into my latest thoughts on pro wrestling - the company is making it must-see destination television, an element desperately needed from pro wrestling.  Last night was incredible as again, it was another moment that made wrestling feel alive - with a wild and energetic pulse. It was one of the coolest moments in pro wrestling that you knew was coming, expected, anticipated, and it was everything and more. Again, MUST-SEE television. That's hard to do.  For me, it wasn't just Punk's return to pro wrestling, but the mere presence and voice of his inclusion in today's space. We know that Punk can deliver on the microphone - probably his best and most signature attribute. We also know that yes, he can

Thanksgiving 2021: 5 Things I'm Thankful For

The season is upon us we all begin to reflect on the year, explore our deepest thoughts and feelings of gratitude, and express appreciation for the truer, more meaningful things in life.  I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am so incredibly excited for this holiday season. The combination of wanting the rest from what has been a demanding and exhausting semester (shout out to everyone in Student Affair realms and in Education around the country - hang in there), seeing these holidays through my son's eyes as he now understands and appreciates them, and my experiences over the last few years (losing my dad and the effects of the pandemic), all of it makes for an anticipated Holiday season - Thanksgiving included. I'm not quite sure what it is, or why the sudden feeling, but the need to express gratitude is even more abundant this year in my heart than it is has been. I have tried to remain more mindful over the last couple of months - being more present, spending energ

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/21/21

3 Up 1. COVID Boosters - Look, I'm not getting into vaccinations and whatnot...I'm over the discussion for 2021. However, I still find it remarkable that we not only have vaccinations for what we experienced not too long ago, but further science to help the cause.  2. MLB Covers Minors Housing - This was a long time coming. Say what you want about the changes to the minor leagues (reduction of franchises - some even closing), but the improvement of the pipeline is soooooooooo crucial if the sport is serious about improving its diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as attracting (and competing for) top talent. Plus, it's just the right thing to do. 

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/28/21

3 Up 1. Thanksgiving - A time for thanks, if nothing else, a restorative time away from work. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and be sure to give thanks and practice expressing gratitude.  Here are some quick thanks and thoughts from yours truly... 2. McMichael Trial Conviction - Is it weird that I feel relieved from this trial? Afterall, so many of these things go the other way. I could go on about how the state of Georgia didn't want to prosecute this case until it became a viral discussion, butttttttt, I'll just take this.  Really, I just hope this brings about some kind of peace for the parents of Ahmaud Arbery.