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WrestleMania 34 Kickoff – Recap & Review

WWE Wrestlemania 34 Kickoff
#WrestleMania

Original Air Date: April 8, 2018
Event Date: April 8, 2018
aired live on the WWE Network

City: New Orleans, LA
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Panel: Renee Young, Booker T, David Otunga, JBL (first half), Peter Rosenberg (second half)
Commentary (Andre Battle Royal): Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton, Jim Ross
Commentary (Cruiserweight Title): Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness
Commentary (Women’s Battle Royal): Beth Phoenix, Paige, Michael Cole, Corey Graves

Ring Announcer (Andre Battle Royal, Cruiserweight Title): Greg Hamilton
Ring Announcer (Women’s Battle Royal): Lilian Garcia

Brand: RAW, SmackDown

 

Panel
Renee Young welcomes everyone to New Orleans and introduces the Kickoff Panel. The panel then runs down tonight’s matches.

Video
Tonight, Daniel Bryan returns to a WWE ring in his first match in over two years when he looks for revenge against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

Panel
The panel talks about Daniel Bryan’s return to action. JBL and Otunga are excited, but Booker T is worried that this match might be a disaster for Bryan.

Outside the Venue
Sam Roberts is out with the crowd. He gets them to chant “free” for the WWE Network.

Ring Area
John Cena is sitting in the crowd, talking with fans.

Video
Tonight is a dream match, AJ Styles versus Shinsuke Nakamura.

Panel
Booker T and JBL pick AJ Styles to win, Otunga picks Nakamura.

Video
Ronda Rousey will debut in WWE teaming with Kurt Angle fighting against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.

Panel
Booker T doesn’t think Stephanie has much to lose tonight, but Ronda will go to the back of the line if she loses. JBL and Booker T pick Triple H and Stephanie, Otunga and Young pick Rousey and Angle.

Video
It’s title versus streak when Charlotte battles Asuka tonight.

Panel
Carmella crashes the panel and wants to talk about herself rather than Charlotte and Asuka. The panel talks about her failed attempts to cash in her MitB contract, but Carmella says it is all part of her plan.

 

Match 1
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
(outside referees: Darrick Moore, Danilo Anfibio, John Cone, Ryan Tran)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Matt Hardy wins (with some help from Bray Wyatt)
Time: 16:25

Elimination OrderSuperstarEliminationsTime EliminatedEliminated By
1Aiden English00:39Zack Ryder
2Konnor01:12Karl Anderson
3Curt Hawkins01:37Fandango
4R-Truth02:07Goldust
5Primo02:30Mike Kanellis
6Mike Kanellis12:57Sin Cara
7Tyler Breeze04:21Shelton Benjmin
8Viktor05:00Rhyno
9Zack Ryder16:44Mojo Rawley
10Karl Anderson17:12Chad Gable
11Luke Gallows07:34Titus O'Neil
12Apollo Crews09:07Scott Dawson
13Shelton Benjamin19:39Scott Dawson
14Rhyno19:45Dash Wilder
15Dash WIlder19:51Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel
16Scott Dawson29:52Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel
17Bo Dallas210:05Kane
18Curtis Axel210:05Kane
19Sin Cara110:23Baron Corbin
20Fandango110:39Kane
21Heath Slater010:56Baron Corbin
22Chad Gable111:04Kane
23Titus O'Neil112:19Dolph Ziggler
24Goldust113:16Dolph Ziggler
25Tye Dillinger013:52Matt Hardy
26Dolph Ziggler214:20Kane
27Kane514:23Baron Corbin
28Mojo Rawley115:57Matt Hardy
29Baron Corbin316:25Matt Hardy
30Matt Hardy3Winner!

Match Thoughts
This was fun. It’s difficult to really grade something like this. the beginning is always just a chaotic mess with people flying out every once in a while. It’s not until late in the match that things start to get some structure. I did like the finish. Kind of like this year’s Royal Rumble, I was very nervous about one of the final two winning, so I was very much pulling for the other guy. In that way it did get me a little invested in the match. Also, I liked the story aspect of the finish.

 

Ring Area
After the match, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy look at each other for a few seconds before hugging. Then they pose together.

Panel
The panel again goes over the matches for tonight and JBL says goodbye.

Panel
Peter Rosenberg joins the panel.

Ring Area
Sam Roberts is at ringside with the fans.

 

Match 2
Cruiserweight Title Match
Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali
(referee: Rod Zapata; at ringside: Drake Maverick)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Cedric Alexander wins via pinfall after a Lumbar Check
Time: 12:19

Match Thoughts
Great match. Both men seemed amped up for the match, and that came through how hard they fought. This was probably Ali’s most evenly fought match in the title tournament, and this might have been Alexander’s most heart-felt match. The action built to a nicely emotional finish with plenty of huge moves and tough-looking hits and falls. I think this was a fitting finish to the tournament. I only wish it had been on the main show and not the Kickoff.

 

Panel
Rosenberg thinks Miz has been brilliant lately, and the new father is on his way to a fantastic year. Booker T thinks Miz has too many things on his mind and too little sleep with his new baby. Otunga thinks Rollins is performing at an all-time high. Booker thinks Finn Balor might be hungry for another title after getting just a taste of the Universal Championship.

Ring Area
Charly Caruso interviews John Cena at ringside. He’s having a good time watching the show and doesn’t really have much to say.

 

Match 3
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
(outside referees: Jessika Carr, Darryl Sharma, Jason Ayers, Charles Robinson, Shawn Bennett)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Naomi wins
Time: 9:27 (1 break)

Elimination OrderSuperstarEliminationsTime EliminatedEliminated By
1Carmella00:30Sonya Deville
2Dana Brooke01:12Mandy Rose
3Mandy Rose12:34Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair
4Sonya Deville13:23Dakota Kai, Peyton Royce, Taynara Conti
5Kairi Sane03:38 *?
6Lana04:04 *Bianca Belair
7Kavita Devi04:10 *Sarah Logan
8Taynara Conti14:30 *Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott
9Bianca Belair25:17 *Becky Lynch
10Dakota Kai25:42 *Sasha Banks
11Becky Lynch15:53 *Mickie James
12Mickie James16:23 *Ruby Riott
13Peyton Royce16:43 *Ruby Riott, Live Morgan, Sarah Logan
14Natalya07:40 *Sasha Banks, Bayley
15Liv Morgan17:44 *Sasha Banks, Bayley
16Ruby Riott37:54 *Sasha Banks, Bayley
17Sarah Logan38:15 *Bayley
18Sasha Banks48:52 *Bayley
19Bayley59:27 *Naomi
20Naomi1Winner!

( * – Elimination taking place after a commercial break)

Match Thoughts
I liked it. The NXT contingent was a lot of fun and I liked how they dominated part of the match. I also liked how the Riott Squad was able to do well as a unit for a while. I also think the false finished worked pretty well, though if you were paying attention you wouldn’t have been fooled. Overall, this was a very good first WrestleMania Battle Royal for the women.

 

Video
Buildup for Lesnar versus Reigns.

Panel
Peter Rosenberg is ready for Lesnar to be dethroned. Booker T understands that Lesnar might be a part-timer, but he fills arenas. Otunga thinks Reigns is going to be dangerous tonight. Everyone on the panel is excited for WrestleMania.

 

Show Impressions
I liked this Kickoff. As always, more interviews and people crashing the panel would be welcomes, but I liked the matches we got. The Cruiserweight match was great and should have been on the main show, and both Battle Royals were fun and good as warm-up matches.

Match of the Show
Cruiserweight Title Match
This had great action and some real emotion.

>> Read the Recap & Review for WrestleMania 34! >>

 

 

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