WrestleMania 34 Post Show with John Pollock & Wai Ting

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/04/09/wrestlemania-34-post-show-with-john-pollock-wai-ting/


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Moments after attending the show live, John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE WrestleMania 34 directly from the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

John and Wai give you a complete rundown of the show and share their experience watching it live. Featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. HHH & Stephanie, Charlotte vs. Asuka and more.

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THANK YOU VERY MUCH

TLDR:
The overall show was a complete win for the womans division and disappointment upon disappointment for nearly all of the mens matches. Overall this show failed to live up to the hype of a card that was arguably the strongest in the history of WWE. WM34 wasn’t a bad show but you can’t help but leave it feeling like it was a bad show given all the lackluster wrestling matches showcased. Putting on a ‘good’ or slightly ‘above average’ match barely cuts it on a regular PPV…we expect more at WM.

Regarding Cedric vs Ali:
Boring match from the perspective of someone who doesn’t watch 205 Live.
This didn’t have a cruiserweight feel to it at all and as a result left me with absolutely no interest in checking out 205 Live. I get that it was telling an emotional story…but they failed to get that story over with casual. Perhaps this match is a 5* masterpiece for followers of 205 Live. I doubt it but context adds a lot.

Regarding Asuka vs Charlotte:
Baffling booking. WWE had the biggest money match in the history of womans wrestling and possible all of wrestling in Streak vs Streak Asuka vs Ronda main eventing WM35. I can’t think of anything that tops that idea and they just abandon it on a mediocre build for Asuka vs Charlotte. Why throw money down the drain like that? Makes no sense at all to me.
This was the best match on the show IMO which was unexpected but amazing for the woman of WWE. It honestly feels pretty great to say that WM34’s best matches and moments all came from the woman’s division.

Regarding Ronda:
Fantastic match! This match far exceeded expectations and could be seen as the best match on the show in terms of crowd reaction and getting into a match that wasn’t technically brilliant. You could nitpick a couple of things but its important to remember this is a debut for someone who was under brutal levels of criticism. I’ve never seen anyone judge ANY wrestler like I’ve seen the internet judge every tiny aspect of Ronda…judging her pointing…judging every aspect of her delivery…judging every individual move…judging her makeup in a division where woman look like clowns due to their caked on makeup. Ronda killed it here given the impossible expectations she was under. Great job for her and great job for WWE in making this a fantastic match and great build.

Regarding Taker vs Cena:
When you look back this was the biggest waste of TV time and build for an event in recent history.
A squash could have worked if you built up a legit match. It would disappoint but it would reinforce the ‘anything can happen’ feel of a big PPV. I can’t deny that the build for this turned out to be brilliant and super effective at getting people to talk. There is a lot of praise to give out here but its all about the lost potential. Why couldn’t such a great story have been used to build up Cena vs (insert wrestler who needs a push) and result in a match that elevates talent. This hurt Cena. This badly hurt Undertaker (even though he looked better in the ring than last year). This just failed in execution.

Regarding Nia vs Bliss:
We learned that a wealthy and successful model should not have damaging self image issues.
I wish I could relate but I’m neither wealthy or a model.
Match met expectations as we know Nia is pretty limited in the ring. It’s a feel good match that told the right conclusion to a simple but effective story.

Regarding AJ vs Nakamura:
Massive disappointment. No one was expecting New Japan levels of performance but this was simply a ‘good’ PPV match. I’ve seen plenty of WWE (non-NXT) matches that were better than this over the last year. We see better on Raw or Smackdown periodically. As someone who didn’t follow Nakamura’s career prior to Smackdown…I’ve given this man more chances than he deserves and time and time again he disappoints.
Fact: Nakamura is not a great wrestler in 2018.
Whether you choose to blame WWE creative/booking for this or not is irrelevant. Either Nakamura is never going to be allowed to wrestle in WWE or he’s long passed his prime like Cena has been this year. The bottom line is this guy is just a another solid WWE performer and not a star. I’m glad AJ retained.

Regarding Reigns:
I was in the minority who felt that Roman has a GREAT year and truly earned his title win at this WM. Seeing Brock win is a disappointment unless it creates a genuine change in Roman’s direction. Even as a fan of Roman I don’t want to see another 12 months of perceived Roman being crowned champion over _____ at WM35 ruining all ppv outcomes. With Lesnar set to leave I’m curious what shock finish we’ll get on Raw. A returning Samoa Joe winning the title? A debut Bobby Lashly winning the title? Brock vacating the title as champion? Or worst of all…Brock not leaving and just continuing to work as Champion in an ultra limited capacity.

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My favorite match of the night was Asuka and Charlotte. It was very emotional after the match. I think my biggest disappointment was Lesnar/Reigns because we have seen it before and I think Lesnar doesn’t give a damn. Reigns deserves a better opponent. Reigns is a great wrestler and I think it would have been a better match if it was a different opponent.

A day removed from the show, I did want to clarify that while I didn’t like this Wrestlemania, it had nothing to do with the talent, and everything to do with booking and creative (namely one Vincent K McMahon). I think the contrast between the fantastic booking on NXT vs Wrestlemania is stark. With the exception of a lazy and at times sloppy and dangerous performance from Brock, I think all these wrestlers really worked hard and I really feel for Roman who in particular took a ton of punishment and got zero love for it. This is one of those shows where I will look back and wonder what we COULD have gotten had better decisions been made behind the scenes.

Thanks for all the incredible reporting this weekend, You guys are legends.

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Godammit I love when Wai gets passionate !

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Great podcast, thanks for putting it together so quickly!

I echo some of your feelings, after the Rousey match I actually said to myself this might be the best WrestleMania ever, then the wheels started falling off. I gave up after the Raw tag title match and didn’t even find out Roman lost until about 9AM this morning and don’t really regret it.

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I completely agree with you guys assessment of Wrestlemania. The beginning matches were pretty good then it seemed like the wheels started coming off. I thought I was the only one who felt the disconnect in that Daniel Bryan match. Glad to see someone else felt it too. Something was missing in that match, I’m still not exactly sure what it was.

That Ronda Rousey match was the match of the night! I popped huge when she got Hunter up on her shoulders. That was an awesome sight.

The AJ-Nakamura match felt really rushed! The first thought that crossed my mind when both Asuka and Nakamura list was maybe this has something to do with Vince not being comfortable putting 2 of their main titles on people who haven’t been able to give good promos and where English isn’t their first language?

And when it comes to that main event, wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen two guys lose a crowd as fast as these two guys did. I don’t know if it was because the fans thought the winner was never in doubt or because the whole Roman Reigns underdog story is terrible and will never work but that could possibly be one of the worst main events in Wrestlemania history!

I’ve come to the conclusion that no Mania will ever really be “GOOD” because at 7 hours (5 of it as the Main Show) there is simply TOO much for everything to be booked well and not enough time for every match to have space and deliver.
That said, when I view it in that context and think about it in those terms: last night’s show was really well put together in terms of pacing (no backstage segments, no musical guest) and the entrances and shine that certain performers received was very nice. I only hated the main event and after hear John&Wai talk about the crowd openly revolting with beach balls, I even think of that match differently. I’m still curious if Brock busted open Roman as an attempt to save interest from the live crowd as the chants and boo’s were as audible as any on the show.

I like to think no in regards to Brock busting Roman open hard way on a shoot. If thats really what happened I don’t want to ever see Brock work in the wrestling ring again. As has been mentioned numerous times when it comes to shoots, its incredibly dangerous to do something like that, especially with a seasoned MMA vet. But I’m nearly positive that it was a work. I think a ill advised and stupid one, but a work.

I really hate the beach ball stuff, I think its incredibly disrespectful to guys who are working hard but in the case of the main event I was actually ok with it. I did feel bad for Roman, but the crowds response had to have been very obvious to Vince. And I thought Brock was working pretty sloppy the whole match, both the outside spots were sloppy and dangerous (the overhead belly to belly that dumped Roman on his head, and throwing him face first into the announce desk).

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John, Wai, you guys did an amazing job this whole week. Loved all the coverage,

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Excellent podcast

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I need to disagree with the Tingster. His diatribe about how the entrances being “wrestling” was garbage. The entrances are the icing on the cake. What’s the point of having a long drawn out entrance and then having a flat match that no one remembers. They could have shot Lesnar and Reigns out a cannon with lit sparklers hanging out of their ass and the fans still would have crapped all over the match. Watching the Undertaker take 20 minutes to hobble down to the ring once a year doesn’t make the match any better. (BTW, what you saw out of the Undertaker last night was what I’ve seen from every “legend” at an Indy show. They come to the ring, do their moves and are done in less than 5 minutes That’s not “wrestling”, it’s ice capades.) Sitting through Nakamura stumbling down to the ring for half an hour looking like he had one too many shots of saki backstage didn’t make that yawner he had with AJ Styles any better. Sure, the low grade fans that clap and slobber when they see shiny things were happy, but they’re easily amused. I’d have rather seen, and expected to see a match that would have been remembered and spoken of with the same reverence as Savage vs Steamboat from WM3.

If that’s the case, I imagine you’d have no issue watching Mania strictly for the bell-to-bell content. That might be what you look for in a show, but for many people, myself included, the pageantry and art of the presentation, especially for a show like WrestleMania, is just as big of a draw.

The Undertaker’s appeal at this stage in his career, is the character and all that comes with it. I don’t go into an appearance like his digging for star ratings. I watch the entire segment for the feelings it evokes, much like I would a promo or angle. For me and many people watching, that entrance was beautifully crafted, both visually and in its anticipation. I had other matches on this show to satiate my bell-to-bell appetite, but in The Undertaker’s case, I was perfectly fine with letting his match be the icing and enjoying the rest.

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