Wrestlemania 34 is so close! As we approach the Showcase of the Immortals, we anxiously await to see who is going to hold on to their titles, and who is going to capture a shiny new piece of history for themselves. In this digital age, we are used to seeing one of two hashtags on WWE’s media after every title defense. Either #andstill or #andnew, denoting whether after the match the champ is still the champ, or if the challenger is now the new holder of the prize. Most Pay-Per-Views have parody, some titles changing hands and some not. It’s not unheard of for all the champs to retain or drop the title but it is highly unlikely. That being said it’s hard to look at this card and not see the possibility of seeing #andnew posted after every single one of these title matches. It makes sense and more importantly is likely. And here’s why for each one…
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Ok, admittedly I wanted to get this one out of the way fast. This title literally HAS to change hands. The Cruiserweight Title has been Vacant since the January release of Enzo Amore amidst a Sexual Assault Investigation. Since then the boys of 205 Live and new GM of the show Drake Maverick have been putting on a heck of a show in the form of a tournament to crown a new winner for the vacant title. 205 stalwarts Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander have emerged as the two who will duke it out at Wrestlemania. Most people could have seen this coming but doesn’t mean it won’t be great. Alexander is incredibly athletic and put on such a show at the Cruiser Weight Classic that the crowd chanted that WWE should immediately sign him which was met by Triple H himself immediately coming out and letting the crowd know their request had been granted. His counterpart in the match has been listed by many wrestlers for his ability and has been one of the hardest working members of 205 Live. Hopefully, this isn’t relegated to the preshow but if it is, tune in early.
Raw Tag Team Titles
The Bar (C) vs. Braun Stroman and TBD
Sheamus and Cesaro have taken a lackluster feud and turned it into one of the best Tag Teams working right now in the form of The Bar. They have been amazing on and off the mic on their way to four Tag Teams titles with each other. Regardless they are going up against Braun Stroman. Arguably no one has had a better past 12 months in the WWE as Stroman, and you just can’t move past that. The Bar are great, but more of WWE’s stock is in Stroman right now, so much, so some people think him being in the Tag Title match at ‘Mania is beneath him. It’s a safe bet to assume they would give Stroman his first official title at the big one.
SmackDown Tag Team Titles
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
The Usos and The New Day have been putting in WORK against each other. Their matches have been great and adding in the Bludgeon Brothers at this point is perfect. It gives the rivalry legs for months. Luke Harper and Eric Rowan, who make up the Bludgeon Brothers, are no strangers to tag team battle having worked together for a long time as part of the Wyatt family. By adding a team of bruisers like them, it seems like we can get the feeling we got from past matches with Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boys, and The Dudley Boys years ago. Look for the Bludgeon Brothers to win the titles to give the aura that any team could win these titles from the other at any time in the coming months. And if we’re lucky, it’ll happen a bunch.
United States Title
Randy Orton (C) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev
This one is the most up in the air it seems. There is a good reason for each to win and WWE appears ready to invest in all of them, except maybe Rusev. Though he is so popular with the fans at this point, that just by adding him to the match shows the WWE brass are taking notice. The current champion is Randy Orton, and out of all four men in this match, he will take the smallest blow to momentum and credibility with a loss. He already got a story out of his short run by completing his Grand Slam Champion bid (GC Champion means you’ve won the World, Intercontinental, United States, and Tag Championships each at least once) with this US Title so don’t be surprised to see someone else’s hand raised at the end.
The Intercontinental Championship
The Miz (C) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
A strong case can be made that The Miz is the best on mic talent WWE has right now. By putting so much emphasis on the title and its importance and cutting some of the best promos by any wrestler in years while holding it, he has done his part to return the historic title to a place of reverence. Recently he has been talking about how close he is to becoming the longest reigning IC Champ of all time to make it seem like he won’t be dropping it but here are three reasons why he will. 1. The record for days held he is touting about right now is for overall days, not consecutive which is held by the Honky Tonk Man at 454 days. So it is possible he could always continue his pursuit of a subsequent reign. 2. He just had his first daughter born to wife Maryse. If there were a time he would take a few weeks away, or want the ability to leave if he needs to, it would be now. Can’t do that with the strap over your shoulder. 3. Not only could he continue his record pursuit with another win, but his next win would also tie him for most reigns of all time with Chris Jericho at nine. How great a story would it be to come back from having your baby, tie the all-time record of most reigns, AND break the “most days held” record? Rollins and Balor are both incredible wrestlers who would continue to elevate the title. My money is on Balor. He is due to have a title reign after having to give up the inaugural Universal Championship due to injury after one night.
SmackDown Live’s Women’s Championship
Charlotte (C) vs. Asuka
This should be exciting. These are two dominant women, and realistically either one could win. It’s going to be intense and hard fought. That being said… it’s going to be Asuka. The WWE has invested an insane amount of time into her undefeated streak. She debuted in September 2015 and has not lost since. WWE won’t have her first loss be in her first title shot on the main roster. Charlotte has been the benchmark for women’s wrestling in the WWE for a couple years now so losing a slobber knocker won’t destroy her credibility. It’s going to be a great match, but most likely it will be Asuka.
Raw’s Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax
Former best friends Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax will go after each other for the title at ‘Mania. A backstage camera caught Bliss talking all kinds of trash behind the back of Jax who was watching in the ring while it was broadcast to the jumbotron. Bliss has had a great run, but she is going to get run over by the scorned and angry Jax. She is being billed as an unstoppable force of rage, and it’s hard to see any way the 5 foot nothing Bliss can get out on top. Also wouldn’t it be great to see the body shaming bully character crushed by her betrayed friend? Bliss fights dirty but ends up being no match for Jax. Personal hot take though–keep an eye out for Carmella. Asuka has jumped ship from Raw to SmackDown to challenge for the title there, Carmella still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, it would make sense for her to jump from Raw to SmackDown to capitalize on the shake-up and cash in…
World Heavy Weight Championship
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This one should be fun. The fan’s dream match, Styles vs. Nakamura. The former New Japan Pro Wrestling behemoths battling it out. This feud can have legs until SummerSlam in August. Look for Nakamura to narrowly come out on top so they can milk this duo over the next few months until Styles takes it back at SummerSlam.
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
And all of this brings us to this. McMahon’s boys battling out for Raw’s top prize. Lesnar and Reigns have put together some intense promos the past few weeks on Raw with Lesnar leaving Reigns in a heap on the ground. This usually means that Reigns will come out on top. Add to that the rumblings that Lesnar intends to return to UFC and the fact that he has held the title now for an entire year, winning it back at Wrestlemania 33 from Goldberg. It’s hard to believe that Reigns won’t be walking out as champ. WWE has been intent on making us love Reigns and creating the next face of the company, and they aren’t going to back down. Expect Lesnar to rain down a mess of pain on Reigns only for the Big Dog to make a valiant come back to overcome the odds so we can all enjoy Reigns first Universal Title….reign.
Personally, I think this is one of the strongest Wrestlemania cards in years so regardless of how things turn out, this should be a good one.