To counteract the rundown of the superstars missing from the WrestleMania 34 lineup coming later this week, let’s talk about the lucky few who will be booked to not only perform, but likely steal the show in some fashion.
This could be in a scripted or non-kayfabe sense when factoring in everything from pure wins and losses to how much emphasis someone is given, to their momentum carrying over after the event, match performance quality and pretty much everything that could get people to talk about these particular men and women more than anybody else.
When looking at the card currently scheduled for the pay-per-view, there could easily be a dozen or so names to put out there, but it isn’t truly standing out if you’re just one winner in a sea of winners, is it? As such, I’m limiting myself to who I think are the absolute top five superstars who will get the absolute most spotlight overall in comparison to their peers.
As this is a shortlist, plenty of noteworthy people are going to be excluded, and that isn’t to say that they won’t make a splash, but that I just don’t think they’re going to be as highly prioritized as the people who were able to make the cut.
With that being said, here’s my 5-Count for who I think will make the biggest impact at WrestleMania 34, in no particular order.
Just for the sake of argument, this sixth category is merely a quick rundown of predictions for who will win or make an impression, but not as big:
Nia Jax should steamroll through Alexa Bliss and win her first title, which is very impressive. On a regular event, this would be a top spot for sure.
It seems blasphemous to say Shinsuke Nakamura didn’t make the cut, but I just have a bad feeling that WWE is going to put that match on a bad spot on the card where people kind of forget about it by the end of the night a little bit. I don’t think the average casual viewer is going to be as invested in it as people like us reading/writing about it because we’re more dedicated followers and wrestling fans.
I can’t quite decide between Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins, so I think they’re sharing equal credit, and it’s just a matter of whoever wins that has a slight advantage over the other, but this will be a midcard match and not the biggest thing WWE is focusing on come Monday Night Raw.
The same applies to the United States Championship match, which I think will have an even lesser impact on the card. My guess is Randy Orton retains.
While the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match should be amazing if given proper time, I feel it will be cannibalized with either being rushed or in a bad spot. The Bludgeon Brothers should take the titles, but I doubt many people will leave Mania thinking of them above others.
Give me Bayley or Sasha Banks for the women’s battle royal and flip a coin for who will win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. History has shown that these two matches don’t matter all that much in the end.
I’m of the total minority when I say that I watch every episode of 205 Live and that I care about the cruiserweight division enough that Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali are two of the best performers in WWE right now, as far as I’m concerned. No one else will really care, though, and even if these two have another amazing match like what they’ve done in the past, it’ll be on the kickoff and people will likely skip it, sadly.
This was tough, but I had to make a judgment call of who took the final spot in my top five and I had to just narrowly edge out Braun Strowman, who I think will win the tag titles and look dominant, but it’s just the tag titles, after all. He deserves better.
Now that those are out of the way, let’s talk about the true members of this list.
How obvious can you get? Well, if you haven’t gotten the hint from being bombarded with Ronda Rousey footage ever since she stole the thunder away from freakin’ Asuka’s historic first-ever Royal Rumble victory and every single episode of Raw has involved between two to four segments dedicated to just reminding you that Ronda Rousey is in WWE now, I don’t know what else to tell you.
Kurt Angle, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon mean absolutely nothing in this match in comparison to Rousey, who will not only be the biggest star in that segment, but the person who is the most heavily advertised in all press material for this event and probably the performer who gets patted on the back the most by WWE brass no matter what goes on.
The odd thing is that she’s in this “most impact” category no matter what goes on. If she stinks up the joint and really tanks her performance, people will be buzzing about how horrible she was. If she does a fantastic job, there will be trumpets heralding her as the greatest thing to ever happen to WWE and people will be clamoring for her to win the title damn near the very next night on Raw.
In every sense of the word, Ronda Rousey will be the star of this year’s WrestleMania as far as the company is concerned, and there’s a good chance that only increases come next year, as I wouldn’t put it past them to have Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair or Ronda Rousey vs. Asuka as the main event of WrestleMania 35.
One of the reasons why Rousey is going to be the most heavily promoted is because WWE HAS to know that if they gave that spot to Roman Reigns, it would be a mistake. However, that doesn’t mean that’s going to stop them from giving him close to the same amount of attention.
After all, he’s going to be defeating Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship and doing what should have been done several years ago. That’s the theme of all of this: redo what didn’t work the last time, but pretty much don’t change much of anything at all and just hope that it’ll sort itself out.
WWE flat out had Jonathan Coachman recently say on commentary that Reigns is “beloved by the sports entertainment community” as the most laughably ignorant comment said so far in 2018. They just flat out do not want to admit that their plans of having him as the top babyface just aren’t working in the same capacity as they’d like it to, even with this whole storyline of making Reigns the guy who fights for the fans while Brock Lesnar doesn’t show up and gets special treatment.
Sure, it’s alleviated some of the boos, but the fact that the crowd chanted “you deserve it” when he was stretchered out proves that this isn’t going to be some boo/yay scenario in favor of Reigns. It’ll be either pro-Brock Lesnar or a mixed reaction at best. WWE will ignore all of that, though, clean up the audio for rerun footage, say that the crowd was in support of Roman Reigns and then close their ears when he’s booed incessantly the following night on Raw when he’s cast out there as the savior of the world of professional wrestling instead of what he really is: a very talented guy who unfortunately is under the direction of a creative team that isn’t willing to admit their own flaws and forces him to eat the shit that comes with their mistakes rather than do what is necessary to make him succeed as well as he potentially could.