WrestleMania 34 match card, predictions from Brunner and Raven

The WresteMania 34 kickoff show starts on the WWE Network at 5 p.m. What two better outsiders than Austin Brunner of The Geekiverse and myself of the Court of Nerds to give you our predictions? I mean, we did just watch, write and talk about every WrestleMania show in the past month. 

 

Below you will find our predtctions to go along with the complete match card. Hopefully the main card isn’t 5 hours, 10-minutes this year:  

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

  • Raven: Elias
  • Brunner: Matt Hardy

Women's Battle Royal

  • Raven: Sasha Banks
  • Brunner: Bayley

Cruiserweight Championship

  • Raven: Cedric Alexander
  • Brunner: Cedric Alexander

Raw Tag Team Championship

  • Raven: Braun w/ Partner
  • Brunner: Braun w/ Partner

Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship

  • Raven: Bludgeon Brothers
  • Brunner: Bludgeon Brothers

Raw Women's Championship

  • Raven: Nia
  • Brunner: Nia

Smackdown Live Women's Championship

  • Raven: Asuka
  • Brunner: Carmella (cashes in Money in the Bank)

U.S. Championship

  • Raven: Jinder Mahal
  • Brunner: Rusev

Intercontinental Championship

  • Raven: Finn Balor
  • Brunner: Seth Rollins

Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens

  • Raven: Zayn/Owens
  • Brunner: Bryan/McMahon

Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H/Stephanie McMahon

  • Raven: Angle/Rousey
  • Brunner: Angle/Rousey

Undertaker vs. John Cena

  • Raven: Hopefully doesn't happen
  • Brunner: Undertaker

WWE Championship

  • Raven: Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Brunner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Universal Championship

  • Raven: Brock Lesnar
  • Brunner: Roman Reigns

What do you think? Give your predictions in the comment below, as well as any surprises you think may happen!

Our complete 34 Days of Wrestlemania is broken down below:

34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania 25 with HBK-Undertaker I hold up?

WrestleMania 25 from April 5, 2009, at the Reliant Stadium in Houston with 72,744 people in attendance

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It's too bad that the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania was so poorly timed out and executed because there was some serious potential for more here. Yes, WrestleMania 25 has the first Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match which was fantastic. But, guess what, that doesn't make this a great show.

See WrestleMania 13.

Triple H and Randy Orton main evented the show for the WWE Championship in a really, well-done intense feud that was billed as a five-years in the making type of thing. Orton and Legacy (Cody Rhodes/Ted DiBiase) beat the hell out of the entire McMahon family, Randy attacked Stephanie twice and kissed her while HHH was handcuffed just feet away. It was intense, the match was solid and then it was over out of nowhere.

We'll get into the obvious timing issues below, but other than that it was the Money in the Bank Ladder match, Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy in an extreme rules match, Edge defending the World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena and the Big Show, Jericho vs the team of Piper, Snuka and Steamboat with Ric Flair, and JBL vs Rey for the Intercontinental Championship. No, I won't talk about the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal that was won by a man. 

This is a monumental show that feels and looks special, but is ultimately dragged down by the bullshit Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal, Mickey Rourke taking way too long for one crap punch and Kid Rock playing a 10-minute concert. By the end of the night, Lillian Garcia is announcing people before/and as their entrance music hits. So, you know how the crowd pops like crazy whenever "I hear voices in my head" hits the speakers? Yeah, at WrestleMania 25 for the main event Lillian is talking about the rules to the match as Randy's music hits and then just moves right into introducing him. A bad look for the 25th anniversary of your biggest event.

Favorite moments and matches

Before getting into the obvious Undertaker and Shawn Michaels praise that we all know is coming, I just want to point out that the stage, theme, set, ring and arena all looked amazing for WrestleMania 25. There was a special feel that night, and it's almost like the cameras applied one of those WWE 2K camera filters. A very aesthetically pleasing show.

Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put on an absolute clinic this night in their native Texas. For 30 minutes, these two legends beat the hell out of each other, hit high spot and told a beautiful story in and outside of the ring. This one is pretty pedal to the metal right from the get-go with Shawn hitting a weird moonsault bump to the outside, Taker taking his iconic dive over the ropes only to land on his head when the cameraman fails to get under him which left a sweaty forehead mark on the mat outside. Scary moment, but Undertaker was not only able to get up but he managed to sell the count out loss in the process.  They tease the count out so hard and that just drives home the point of how badly Shawn Michaels wants to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania, kill the streak and cement himself as Mr. WrestleMania by any means necessary.

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When Undertaker chokeslams HBK to hell, the match turns into a beautiful counter, finisher and near fall heart-wrenching classic. Shawn skins the cat into a Tombstone and kicks out of a clean one, which gives us the iconic shot of Undertaker's shocked and exhausted facial expression.

This is amazing work across the table for WWE. The end of the match is gold as both kick out of clean finishers before Taker catches an HBK moonsault off the top rope into another Tombstone to get to 17-0. Considering the run that these two legends had from WrestleMania 19 through now is truly just unbelievable. What they were able to achieve this night and the next year at WrestleMania 27 is impressive beyond comprehension at any age. It went a little more than 30 minutes, and doesn't even begin to feel like that long of a match.

While the Jericho vs Mickey Rourke inspired legends team of Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat was tough to watch at time, Steamboat could absolutely still go in his late 50s. He enters the match off the top rope, hits his famous deep arm drags that gives JR "chills" on commentary and even takes a dive to the outside. So very impressive, and he went out and did it again in a singles match with Jericho at the next month's PPV.

Parts of the Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship match with Edge-Big Show-John Cena were great little fun parts, but it never really exceeds that level. Cena hits some impressive spots, Big Show is at a good working point here and Edge is Edge. Solid work all around and I thought that these three meshed together fantastically, but were dragged down by the convoluted Vickie Guerrero love triangle and the hot potato WHC. Edge had just lost the WWE Championship and won the World Heavyweight Championship in one night at the previous PPV in the Elimination Chamber. Edge would go on to lose it to Cena who qualified for the match by blackmailing Vickie. At the next PPV, Edge would beat Cena to regain the championship in a last man standing match. Do you see how crap/inconsistent stories weigh a solid in-ring product down?

Listen, of course, the match was crap, but JBL beating the piss out of Rey and begging for the bell to be rung in his native Texas only to get 619'd and splashed in 21 seconds was brilliant. What a way for a heel to retire. For real.

I thought that the Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy match was solid enough to fall on this section of this retrospective but it was between the good vs bad section due to its hype and great vignette. They perform some cool spots with Jeff on Matt who is sandwiched between two tables with a chair on his chest (to protect from the other table) was good stuff. The ending might have been the best part, and I don't mean that in jest, as Matt dodged a high-risk move, put his brothers head entwined into a steel chair and hit his Twist of Fate finish for the win. Worth a watch, even though it only got a second or two more than Kid Rock and Mickey Rourke.

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Least favorite moments and matches

The Kid Rock concert went on for three songs too long, and the Mickey Rourke appearance might have been the worst executed in the history of WrestleMania. He wastes time for 10 minutes then delivers a terrible punch that Jericho TRIES SO HARD to make look cool. Sucked, sucked, sucked and both of these crapily executed segments affected the rest of the show.

The ending to the main event haunts me to this day. I loved this feud, knew the match wasn't going to be a 5-star but I expected so much more. I remember watching live and looking at my friend Mike and saying, "uh oh" when Randy's music started playing over Lillian's instructions. Bad sign, especially for a WrestleMania main event when the entrance is just as much a spectacle as the match. When Triple H suddenly ended the match with a Pedigree we both looked at each other in amazement. He swore he heard the ref call for HHH to quickly finish the match, and by god, he did. Very disappointing especially considering Randy would win the WWE Championship in a six-man tag match the following month.

That's how this period of wrestling was. Hot potato championship swaps that rivaled the Attitude Era in both longevity and logic.

Man, the Money in the Bank Ladder match on this show just felt like repetition between those involved, the spots performed and the winner. Even though I loved CM Punk winning as it kept him in the conversation, and would set up a beautiful, long feud with Jeff Hardy, it still felt like a replay from the previous four years. Punk had been in three in a row, Finlay had been in four, Shelton had been in everyone except for WrestleMania 23, Kane had been in a bunch and so on and so forth. It was a pretty standard ladder match and had some very impressive spots including another scary one with Shelton leaping off a ladder on the outside only to not get caught and land on his head. The thing that brought it down was a couple of botches right in a row, the crowd will take a couple slips here and there especially in an 8-man ladder match but when they come back to back to back, it's hard to look past.

Does it hold up?

The show holds up as every match carries a certain level of appeal for the current watcher of the WWE product. Edge and John Cena are brilliant performers at this point, Randy Orton is a disgusting heel and Shawn Michaels and Undertaker are proving that two older men were the company's best workers when given the chance together.

This show will hold up because of that one match and the solid but not spectacular card.

34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania 21 with Cena, Batista taking the throne hold up?

34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania 21 with Cena, Batista taking the throne hold up?

WrestleMania 21 is the reason we're all here, as it's the show that got Benjamin Raven fully back into wrestling and the WWE for good after a two-year hiatus. This show from 2005 is a very underrated show and deserves a ton of praise for marking a new chapter in the company's history. 

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34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania III with the Slam heard 'round the world from the Pontiac Silverdome hold up?

WrestleMania III from March 29, 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan


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WrestleMania III from the Pontiac Silverdome in Metro Detroit is known for its star-studded one-move main event,  the greatest match in company history pre-1990s and the mind-boggling some-90,000 fans in attendance.

The main event between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant is a flaming, smoldering turd so much so that Dave Meltzer of the Observer Newsletter named it the “Worst Worked Match of the Year” and gave it a negative rating, whatever that’s worth to you. Even with this considered, the pop when Hulk picks Andre up and slams him is a moment that stands the test of time and will remain a replay that is played over and over again then, now and forever. 

This show is the pinnacle of the professional wrestling boom of the 1980s with an announced attendance of 93,173 (Meltzer claimed in early 90s it was closer to 78K) and nearly 1 million closed-circuit viewers around the United States. Hogan vs. Andre featured two near household names with the bonafide superstar and face of the industry in Hulk Hogan and the mammoth, polarizing figure that was the Eighth Wonder of the World in Andre The Giant. 

After seemingly bear-hugging each other for 10 minutes, Hogan does the unthinkable and body slams the 500-plus pound 7-foot-4 Andre, then hits the ropes and finishes him off with the big leg drop. The Silverdome went bananas, history was made and two legends of the industry were further etched into the history books. 

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Favorite moments and matches

While Hogan and Andre sold the tickets, it was Savage and Steamboat who stole the show as the hands-down highlight through and through. The match for the Intercontinental Championship feels out of place on a card that didn’t have much in the in-ring wrestling department. Let's get the damn cliches out of the way, it was beautiful poetry in motion with great selling, a simple story being told and two brilliant entertainers going at it in the prime of their careers on a mammoth stage. Two budding stars who excelled at making magic in the ring were at the absolute top of their games in this one. 

The promos leading into the match were so god damn 1980s that I almost cried watching it. Mean Gene talking backstage with a doctor about Steamboat’s recovery from a crushed larynx, and attributing his comeback to his tremendous “heart.” Then, we see Macho Man in an extravagant robe holding the IC belt like a newborn baby as he delivers his famous “history beckons the Macho Man” promo. It's over the top, it's perfect, it's the damn Macho Man being the Macho Man. 

As for the match itself, Macho Man, who would move onto the main event the next year at WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City, did a fantastic job per usual as the heel in this match by continuing the story of Steamboat’s crushed larynx by going back to the ring bell during the match. He picked on George “The Animal” Steele, treated Miss Elizabeth like nothing, bent the rules and looked damn good doing it.

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This is a one-match card, so I’m sorry, this is what you’re getting. If you haven’t seen Savage vs. Steamboat, please go out of your way and watch it. Steamboat gets the win and the Intercontinental Championship with a small package after some shenanigans and a Macho Man 1-2-3 sans referee. One thing to note is the fantastic job done by Gorilla Monsoon and Ventura, these two were on their A-game this entire show specifically in letting this match tell its own story while getting the fact that it was so damn good immediately over with those at home.

Gorilla's voice stands out in this match as you almost feel how impressed he is through his verbiage and tone. On the other side, Ventura deserves credit as being the classic shit-ass heel commentator who plays down Savage's shenanigans and mocks George "The Animal" Steele while labeling him as a creepy stalker. This is a match that hooked so many people on the in-ring aspect of what the WWF/E could accomplish in the future. It wasn't two bodybuilders bursting at the seams shoulder blocking and bear-hugging each other into boredom, it was two finely-tuned athletes pulling out all the stops and mastering the drama of professional wrestling. 

Outside of the match for the Intercontinental Championship, I'm in awe of what my native state and the region I now call home was able to accomplish and support that day. Nearly 100,000 people crammed into that massive building, which sadly (kinda) met its demise late last year in the Pontiac Silverdome.

(Related: Second attempt at Silverdome implosion takes down upper bowl)

While the Detroit Lions didn't do much in the way of hanging banners in the building, Hulk-Andre, Savage-Steamboat and Vince McMahon's historic opening introduction will keep the Silverdome alive through memories, highlights and, of course, the WWE Network. 

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Least favorite moments and matches

This was a hard show to watch from start to finish. Martel and Zenk were there to start a story and not wrestle, Hercules and Billy Jack put their match out of its misery with a double countout, watching Harley Race walk at this point made my hips hurt for him, and so on and so forth.

It was just a slow-moving card that was built around a main event that was overshadowed by the Intercontinental Championship match. None of this means it was a terrible show, it just means that it was held up by the highest of highs and weighed down by the lowest of lows. 

Ugh, like the six-man tag match featuring Hillbilly Jim and two little people wrestlers vs. King Kong Bundy and two little people wrestlers. I don't know why there was such a fascination in this, but at least the company gave these hard-working wrestlers a big spot and hopefully a solid paycheck. Also, Gorilla and Jesse Ventura's commentary over any wrestler of color in the 1980s does not hold up very well, at all. More "shuckin' and jivin'" comments and things of that nature that don't belong. 

Does it hold up?

Good lord almighty, two WrestleManias in and I’m shocked at some of the stuff that is said on commentary. Bobby Heenan “hates midgets,” and for some reason “shuckin’ and jivin’” was the way WWF described how black men walked around the ring. Weird stuff to hear.

The Savage-Steamboat match absolutely holds up and always will, but that’s about it when it comes to match rewatchability. For the main event, just skip ahead to the slam, pop and the end of the show.

The in-ring action is slow, boring and lacking just about any element that helps create an exciting wrestling match. Outside of Savage-Steamboat, Bret Hart’s Mania in-ring debut is the only other thing that kept my eyes glued to the screen.

Final thoughts:

I’m a lifelong Michigander so this show holds a special place in my heart. It’s amazing to see the now demolished Pontiac Silverdome with that many people in it as they watched two of the most talked about matches in company history.

Three shows in and WrestleMania already feels special, even when it bores you half to death. It’s all about the spectacle, and WrestleMania III was all spectacle.

This is the third in a Court of Nerds and Geekiverse collaboration that will present “34 Days of WrestleMania” as we look back on each Showcase of the Immortals as we lead you into WrestleMania 34. Keep an eye out for a couple of podcasts in the near future from Austin Brunner and Benjamin Raven as we break down each decade in podcast form.

See below for a roundup of those already up: 

34 days of WrestleMania: How does the first WrestleMania hold up?

34 Days of WrestleMania: How does WrestleMania 2 (the one with 3 cities) hold up?

 

Also, Savage delivered this promo on the same damn day because GOAT: