Wrestlemania 34 Betting Lines – Final

4. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

What’s at stake

A thought exercise for a moment: Who are the biggest heels in WWE today?  The Miz is a great heel but, as mentioned earlier, fairly popular with the fans.  Brock Lesnar is trying to be a heel, but people like him as well.  People boo Roman and Cena, but they are not heels.  Alexa Bliss? Kevin Owens? Dolph Ziggler?  The best heel in WWE is Stephanie McMahon. 

It is hard to be a heel in today’s wrestling world.  Stephanie has been able to illicit legitimate heat over the past five years to a level that may be unmatched by anyone else during this time.  People hate when she talks (she is very good at this), people hate when she walks, people hate her regular entrance, people hate her WrestleMania entrances, people hate when she wrestles.  Stephanie has continued the legacy of her father as an authority figure very well.  Unlike every other heel in the WWE, she doesn’t get cheers and she doesn’t get love.  All of the other heels in the WWE are very good at their craft, but that usually gets them respect from fans.  Stephanie is really good at her craft and does so without character adulation.  This is why she is the perfect first opponent for Ronda Rousey.

I have never seen Rousey fight in UFC.  I have a vague memory of her in the Olympics, but I could be confusing it with a Michael Phelps 200M IM.  I feel like among the biggest celebrity athletes in the country (Rousey was, for a time, among the biggest) she is the one I have heard speak, seen interviewed, seen compete and experienced in general the least.  Don’t be mistaken, she is a big celebrity/athlete and, unlike other similar examples of WrestleMania’s past (LT, Floyd, Shaq, Gronk, Refridgerator), Rousey is a signed Superstar who will compete on semi regular basis.  Rousey is arguably the biggest outside the business signing in WWE history.  It will be interesting to see how she fits in to WWE.  On one hand, she is a major celebrity.  On the other, her personality seems largely characterless.  Of course, wrestling is the place of character development and character building.  Putting her against an undeniable heel that can’t possibly be cheered over her is the right first move. The only thing for certain is WWE will put all they can into Rousey (BTW, there are two other people in this match and one is Triple H and one is Kurt Angle.  If one year ago you told me that was the match, I would have had it in the top four alone. Now they seem like secondary characters.  This truly is a women’s revolution).   

 

Betting Line

Angle and Rousey -390

What I am looking forward to…

Triple H Mania entrance.  Steph’s ring gear.

What am I not looking forward to…

I don’t like Ronda’s theme song.    

What I want to happen…

I assume H and Angle will battle a little and there will be a cat and mouse game.  If Rousey doesn’t beat Stephanie I owe everyone a coke.

What I think will happen…

Tap her out. 

3. Charlotte Flair (c) vs Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship)

What’s at stake

The last time WrestleMania was held in New Orleans, Charlotte Flair made her WrestleMania debut.  Don’t remember her?  Watch the Triple H entrance again.  She is one of the ladies with  masks on accompanying Triple H in the entrance theme that no one will ever be able to explain to me (don’t try).  The only women’s match on the outstanding WM 30 card was “The Vickie Gurrerro Annual Invitational Twelve Pack Gotta Get Women On The Card Challenge” for the WWE Divas We Call Them This To Create A Show On E! Championship.  To this point in history at WM 30, WWE had only dabbled in legitimately caring about women’s wrestling (Lita and Trish in the 2000s and that Moolah person who was champion for 58 years is the best you get).  With the rise of Ronda Rousey and the simultaneous rise of NXT, women started to be featured in a more competitive spotlight.  This WrestleMania is the most loaded women’s card in history with a major mixed tag match, a battle royal, a reasonably intriguing Raw Women’s Title Match and this match featuring Charlotte Flair (mask excluded) versus the undefeated Asuka. 

Charlotte Flair stole the show at WM 32 where she won the re-introduction of the Women’s Championship (don’t worry, Total Divas is still on E!).  The night before, Bayley defended her NXT Women’s title against an undefeated challenger named Asuka.  Asuka won and, two years later, still hasn’t lost.  It is important to remember in the same week as Goldberg entering The WWE Hall of Fame that undefeated streaks do not always work.  Goldberg became a huge star after having a long streak, but Tatanka never got above mid card status (Tatanka’s streak lasted longer than Goldberg’s).  WWE has pushed Asuka as a star and an unstoppable force and Asuka has not disappointed.  Is she ready to compete with the most polished WWE Women’s Superstar of all time?  This match is the most anticipated Women’s match in WrestleMania history.  That is until next year’s WrestleMania, which is for fans of WWE, the best news of all.   

Betting Line

Asuka -280

What I am looking forward to…

The “woo” is the most simple and best thing in wrestling. Askua has a great deal of charisma.

What am I not looking forward to…

I am not sure what the line on Asuka’s face is.    

What I want to happen

I want this to be the best match it can be.  I am good with Asuka winning. 

What I think will happen

I would be shocked, repeat, shocked if Asuka didn’t win.  The same way as four years ago at the Superdome I said I would be shocked if another streak ends…….uh oh.

2. John Cena vs The Undertaker

What’s at stake

Based on the original version of the 2006 book “If I did it” by OJ Simpson, here is my hypothetical preview of a WrestleMania match.  If I was to write a preview of this match and this match was to happen, here is how it would go:

The Undertaker at WM 33 faced Roman Reigns and looked really bad doing it.  Often times in sports the elite athlete is the last one to know that they can’t do it anymore.  The match went on last and at the conclusion of the match; The Undertaker took off his hat and stuff and left it in the ring, signifying to people that this was the end.  Of course in wrestling, there are many different types of retirement.  There is the “Ric Flair” retirement (a storyline retirement that Flair used no fewer than 34 times only to end when he really can’t do it anymore).  There is the “Bob Backland” retirement (yeah I’m retired…..unless you want me back!).  There is the “Edge” retirement (medically can’t wrestle ever again).  There is the “Shawn Michaels” retirement (can still, but choose not too).   Everybody thinks they want the last version of retirement.  Every year around this time people ask Shawn Michaels if he has one more match left?  Shawn was never really teased another match, which is rare.  Steve Austin has been in a similar situation (although Steve did have some injury issues).  For most everyone, leaving fans wanting more is not the option most often picked. 

There is one more type of retirement in wrestling that is as rare as the “Shawn Michaels” going out on top retirement.  That is the “Dwayne Johnson” semi-retirement (the ability to find major success outside of wrestling that limits WWE commitment, but doesn’t completely end it).  No one has done this version of stepping away to a higher level than The Rock.  Others who have had some version of this are Hulk Hogan (Mr. Nanny), Batista (he’d still be here if not for that movie he was in), Chris Jericho (his band isn’t massive, but they are successful) and, now, John Cena.  Cena is quickly approaching second place in the “outside” of wrestling part-time category.  Cena is unlikely to come near The Rock in terms of outside success, but Cena is starting to become who he railed against in the build up to WM 28. 

At WrestleMania 34, we have a match between an almost semi-retired John Cena vs a teetering between “Ric Flair” and “Shawn Michaels” retired Undertaker.  So why do we care about this match that has had a one sided build and will mean almost nothing to the future of WWE programming?  Because silly, this is WRESTLEMANIA!  Indecently, in sixteen years of programming since John Cena debuted, Cena has faced Randy Orton no fewer than 632 times on TV and PPV (approximate).  John Cena and The Undertaker haven’t touched since 2003 when one was a rapper and one was a biker.  In the overexposure of every matchup, this matchup is fresh.  This is a fresh match between two wrestling icons that some thought would never happen.

You know, that’s what I would have written if this match was to happened, hypothetically.   

Betting Line

The Undertaker -1000

BikerTaker -10000

What I am looking forward to…

Great job John Cena creating a buzz for a match without having a match announced. 

What am I not looking forward to…

Kid Rock’s song “Celebrate” repeating as theme song for a second WrestleMania.

What I want to happen

I don’t know what I want, WWE tells me what I want. 

What I think will happen

John Cena wins clean!  Never bet against Cena! Push Cena!

1. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan

What’s at stake

This match should never be the most anticipated match at WrestleMania.  This match should never be happening at WrestleMania.  This match becoming a featured match at WrestleMania had worse odds than Kyle Lowry being a likeable basketball player.  This isn’t just because Daniel Bryan was “Edge” retired.  Four paths leading to one moment. 

 Sami Zayn is a Syrian-Canadian Luchador called El Generico.  El Generico started in 2002 just after turning 18 years old.  Over the next decade plus, El Generico wrestled in every independent promotion in the books.  The most famous feud in El Generico’s time in the Indie scene was with……

Kevin Owens is a Canadian born wrestler who began wrestling at the age of 16 under his birth name Kevin Steen.  Over the next decade plus, Kevin Steen wrestled in every independent promotion in the books.  His teaming/feuding with El Generico was seen all over the country and all over the world.  In 2010, the Generico/Steen feud was voted feud of the year by one of those Dirt Sheets.  As popular as these two wrestlers were on the Independent scene, it was hard to imagine they would ever make it to the big stage of WWE until…..

Bryan Danielson is an American born wrestler who began wrestling at the age of 19 under the name Bryan Danielson.  Over the next decade, Bryan wrestled in every independent promotion in the books.  The Dirt Sheets routinely gave him the honor as best technical wrestler.  In 2009, Bryan was signed by WWE and rebranded cleverly into Daniel Bryan.  There is no booking that WWE could have claimed to have ever created that would match the journey of Daniel Bryan.  In as few words as possible: Joined Nexus, got fired, got rehired, MITB, joke champ, 18 seconds, Punk feud, AJ Lee, Hell No, beat Cena, can’t beat authority, beats authority, bad neck, return, IC Champ, head problems, retired.  Following the in-ring retirement of Bryan, Bryan was named GM of Smackdown Live as a means to keep him on TV.  Bryan was named to the position by Smackdown Live Commissioner……

Shane McMahon was once the heir to the empire.  Shane’s WM debut was at WM 8 to break up Ric Flair and Randy Savage following the match.  Shane did everything from work in the WWE warehouse to referee to in-ring performer.  Shane McMahon became a passable wrestler, even a good worker on some occasions.  Shane McMahon through all of this was being groomed to follow in the footsteps of his father.  Then something interesting happened:  Shane McMahon went to the Independent scene.  Of course I don’t mean Chikara.  Shane left WWE to try his hand at everything from trying to create PPV in China to representing Rory Mcilroy.  Shane was given every opportunity and still wanted to try and make it on his own.

That leads us to WM 34.  Of course the anticipation for a match announced two weeks ago is due in large part to the sudden return of Daniel Bryan.  But it is important to not overlook how unlikely this match was to happen regardless of Bryan being retired.  Generico and Steen should have never made it to WWE, but people like Bryan and CM Punk succeeding paved the way.  Shane McMahon could simply be an executive in the character vein of his father, but Shane’s independent streak makes his inclusion in this match natural.  WrestleMania 30 was a victory for Daniel Bryan the wrestler.  WrestleMania 34 is a victory for all wrestlers. 

Betting Line

No betting line….just enjoy

What I am looking forward to…

Daniel Bryan gets to wrestle again, at WrestleMania, against Owens and Zayn.

What am I not looking forward to…

I hope Bryan doesn’t die.  I hope Shane doesn’t die. 

What I want to happen

It already has. 

What I think will happen

I think WrestleMania 34 has the ability to achieve great things.  I do worry about the length and the amount of things to be crammed into the show.  But I will do as I always do, Trust The System, Trust The Process. 

 

Happy WrestleMania Everyone!