There's no night in live entertainment bigger or more exciting than WrestleMania. It's the opportunity to which all WWE Superstars aspire, the Showcase of the Immortals where legends are born and history is made. A look at some of the top matches on the WrestleMania 34 card confirms that this Sunday, April 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, should be the biggest WrestleMania yet.
A.J. Styles, the current WWE Champion and a megastar whose presence has anchored SmackDown Live since its move to Tuesday nights, is one of the most exciting Superstars on WWE's roster. One of the best performers and athletes of his generation, Styles' demeanor is backed up by a wide-ranging, high-flying and extremely physical in-ring style. Every Superstar has their own strengths, but Styles seems to do things no one else can. He is, as he says, phenomenal.
At WrestleMania 34 he faces the winner of the 2018 Royal Rumble, the enigmatic and dangerous Shinsuke Nakamura, a uniquely charismatic Superstar who came to WWE from a legendary career in Japan. Nakamura's idiosyncratic, slippery kinetic approach often dazzles and bewilders opponents, but it's his bruising, strike-heavy in-ring repertoire that leaves them staring up at the lights. When these two fan favorites face off for the WWE title, the clear winner will be the fans.
Nakamura, who approaches competition as an art form, looks forward to this hottest of spotlights. "I hope it will be not only a good match," he says, "but my greatest match yet." Given Nakamura's already extraordinary body of work, that's a lofty goal indeed.
If Styles vs. Nakamura will be history making, the long-anticipated collision of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will also mark a WrestleMania highlight. Roman Reigns' showdown with Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31 was muddied by then-rival Seth Rollins shocking the world by cashing in the Money in the Bank contract to make it a triple threat match. An even more hectic fatal four-way at SummerSlam 2017 gave neither Reigns nor Lesnar much opportunity to settle the score.
At WrestleMania 34, the referee will be the only other person in the ring. Although Reigns never has seemed concerned with what his critics say, even his detractors must admit the Big Dog has grown tremendously as a competitor, delivering compelling, high-caliber matches against a wide array of opponents. Lesnar is one of the all-time greats and for years has been a dominant champion. With his "advocate," Paul Heyman, by his side, Lesnar shows no signs of slowing down. Reigns emerged from the 2018 Elimination Chamber with immense momentum and his sights set on Brock Lesnar's Universal Championship; the clash of these two future WWE Hall of Famers, the Big Dog and the Beast Incarnate, is sure to be a top WrestleMania moment.
- Shinsuke Nakamura™
The women's division has continued to pick up steam in WWE and WrestleMania 34 will be the highest profile showcase yet for how far the division has come. WrestleMania not only will test the mettle of the Raw and SmackDown Live Women's Champions, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, but will answer some big questions about two more recent additions to the roster, Asuka and Ronda Rousey.
We all know Rousey can get it done in the octagon, but WrestleMania 34 will be her in-ring WWE debut. True to form, Rousey hadn't even signed her WWE contract before she kicked the biggest hornet's nest on the WWE tree, the merciless power couple of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, known as "The Authority." These two corporate executives are still nursing a grudge over Rousey's impromptu interference from ringside at WrestleMania 31. She's the baddest woman on the planet, but The Authority is determined to make Rousey pay for humiliating them; and they won't stop until they do.
With her historic unbroken WWE winning streak on the line each time she steps inside the ropes, every Asuka match is high stakes, but her first run at a main-roster championship on the grandest stage of them all is a level of pressure and intensity she's never encountered. If there are any flaws at all in the Empress of Tomorrow's game or the slightest crack in her confidence, the preternaturally skilled SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, will easily find and exploit them.
Holding the title hasn't improved the bitter attitude of Alexa Bliss; nothing seems to. Despite a record-breaking reign as Raw Women's Champion, she feels overlooked and disrespected. This vicious and uninhibited competitor has an Andre the Giant-sized chip on her shoulder, which combined with her diminutive stature has earned her the nickname "Five Feet of Fury."
For Bliss, perceived disrespect just fuels the fire. "It's obvious some people don't see me as a threat, but I kind of like being underestimated and underappreciated, especially by a man with authority like Raw General Manager Kurt Angle. You don't think I can do something? Watch me!"
At WrestleMania 34, she'll face off against her former friend Nia Jax and the physical disparity between the two couldn't be more remarkable. If Bliss can find a path to victory against Jax, it'll prove she is, as she claims, the Goddess of WWE.
Having learned from her loss to Naomi at WrestleMania 33, Bliss confidently predicts victory in New Orleans. "I do whatever it takes to win. People may not like my tactics, but winning at all costs is why I'm a two-time SmackDown Women's Champion, a two-time Raw Women's Champion, and the longest-reigning Raw Women's Champion." A successful WrestleMania title defense, Bliss says, "legitimizes what I've been saying all along: there's no-one better than me. There's no better champion in WWE."
With both Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins coming for The Miz's prized Intercontinental Championship, the deck seems stacked against the "must-see" Intercontinental Champion. Still, The Miz has considerable WrestleMania experience; if anyone can finagle a loophole or shortcut to escape with title intact from this triple threat match, it'll be the self-proclaimed A-Lister. While The Miz's two ultra-competitive challengers want gold, they've also got a grudge to settle with each other. The Miz has demonstrated there are no lengths he won't go to (and no depths he won't stoop to) to preserve his Intercontinental reign, so Rollins and Bálor had better keep their wits about them.
The WrestleMania lineup is broad and deep. Many fans point to WWE's tag team division as a dark horse within the roster. There's no denying the high quality of tag-team matches, week after week; at WrestleMania, will the tag-team specialists steal the show? Who will mint their own WrestleMania moments in the finals of the WWE Cruiserweight Title Tournament and the 5th Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal?
When this Sunday arrives, we'll have our answers. Whether you're watching in person or streaming live on WWE Network, only one event promises memories that will last a lifetime: WrestleMania the Show of Shows!