There is not event on the pro wrestling calendar to generate more interest, buzz, or speculation than WrestleMania. While most shows are, to some degree, forgettable from year to year, WrestleMania is the show with the largest audience watching live in a stadium and the largest audience watching at home. It’s an event that lures in former and more casual fans right alongside hardcore ones, and inevitably the live event that will still sell the most DVDs so that even fans who don’t subscribe to the WWE Network will re-watch it after it goes down. Beyond even the sphere of WWE, WrestleMania week has become the biggest seven day span for American wrestling on the whole with a plethora of smaller companies traveling to WrestleMania’s host city to put on their own shows in front of an audience of rabid wrestling fans.
So what do we know about the show so far? What rumors are swirling, and which do we have some confirmation of? What are fans afraid might be shaping up for the show of shows? Some top matches appear to be set already, particularly at the top of the card, while others are murkier. There’s still plenty up in the air, and injuries, fan reactions, and creative whims can always shuffle the deck, this article takes a look at what’s on the table. Here are eight rumors with some substantiation for WrestleMania 34, and seven that appear to be in the works that hardcore fans don’t want to see.
15. Rumor Confirmed: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Since WrestleMania XXX, there have been rumors of a Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar main event at WrestleMania. The prophesized trajectory would see Lesnar, after ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, relieve Daniel Bryan of the WWE Championship and dominate until it was time for Reigns to take the title off him and be crowned the face of WWE.
Bryan’s injuries meant that John Cena would win the title and then be the one to drop it Lesnar in the brutal beatdown we can only assume was originally drafted for Bryan. The rest of the story played out as expected leading into WrestleMania 31, where Royal Rumble winner Reigns pursued The Beast Incarnate. WWE called an audible, though, seeing the fans weren’t ready Reigns to be the guy. In a bold move, Seth Rollins cashed in mid-match, stole Reigns’s moment and put a raincheck on The Big Dog’s first world title win until that fall.
Now, WWE is looking for a do-over.
Lesnar isn’t as electrically over as he was in 2014, but by WrestleMania 34 he’s expected to have held the Universal Championship for a rock solid year, and to have fended off a wide variety challengers, whom already include Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman. Reigns has been kept apart from Lesnar, while Lesnar has defeated every other potential WrestleMania-caliber challenger. Barring debilitating injury or illness, the plan is clear for Reigns to make good on his destiny from years back in 2018.
14. Hope Isn’t True: Jinder Mahal Will Walk In As WWE Champion
When Jinder Mahal was crowned WWE Champion, the rougher critics dismissed it as an abomination, while more open minded folks said they’d wait and see on the Mahal experiment. About half a year has passed, and I don’t think he won over a single new believer.
Still, as ‘Mania draws ever closer, fans are increasingly justified in their suspicions Mahal will carry the most storied title in wrestling history into the biggest show of the year.
While AJ Styles won the championship from Mahal in early November, rumors are persisting that Mahal will win the title back shortly before, or possibly during WWE’s India tour in December.
It’s baffling why WWE would entertain the thought of Mahal being champ again. Maybe they figure the only way to get a full stadium behind John Cena is to cast Mahal as the man he’s challenging. Again this is only a rumor, but let’s hope it isn’t true.
13. Rumor Confirmed: Triple H Is Working Face Against Kevin Owens
While there’s no official confirmation of this rumor, the wheels started turning for this one as early as WrestleMania 33. Triple H lost decisively to Seth Rollins and subsequently disappeared from WWE television. The question arose if he’d done as much as he meaningful would as a heel, and particularly a heel authority figure, and if it were time to give in to the crowd’s general approval and recast The Game as a face legend. If he were to do so, Kevin Owens would be on the short list of logical opponents to give him a good match and collect a suitable rub by working with the game on the grandest stage of them all, win or lose.
Things intensified when Kevin Owens started feuding with Triple H’s brother in law Shane McMahon, and then really started to take off when Owens assaulted Vince while Stephanie looked on. As soon as the matter became a McMahon family affair it looked like only a matter of time before Owens and Triple H would lock horns.
As if to really drive the matter home, Triple H reported for duty to work on Owens’s behalf abroad when Owens had to leave for personal reasons. Triple H wound up working a match against Rusev as a face before interacting with The New Day, then replacing Roman Reigns and teaming with The Shield. The act worked nicely for the live audience and looks to be a harbinger of The Game’s face run to come.
12. Hope Isn’t True: The Rock Won’t Be Wrestling
Rumors abound that The Rock’s representation and business partners were very unhappy about the outcome of the man’s WrestleMania XXIX match with John Cena. No, they weren’t upset that he lost a pro wrestling match. They were upset that Rock was badly hurt in the match, including reportedly tearing abdominal and abductor muscles which forced a delay in filming for his next movie project, Hercules.
Year in and year out, fans speculate about whether The Rock might back for WrestleMania or another big show. While he technically wrestled at WrestleMania 32, his outing against Erick Rowan was more of an impromptu farce, running under ten seconds and ending without The Great One absorbing any punishment. While we don’t know for sure, it seems unlikely that we’ll get to see The Rock work a full impact match again anytime soon.
11. Rumor Confirmed: Kurt Angle Will Be Ready For A Singles Match
Since Kurt Angle returned to the WWE fold for a Hall of Fame induction, rumors ran rampant about Angle returning to the squared circle at WrestleMania. The main question mark was whether he could pass a WWE physical to be cleared to get back into the ring. While he had worked independent matches in the months leading up to his WWE return, WWE’s standards for ring readiness are, understandably, higher than most any other promotion.
Angle made his shocking return to the ring at TLC in a physically demanding TLC match, He’s now set to captain Team RAW at Survivor Series. The successful physical and successful first match back were enough to confirm Angle can still go in the ring. Barring any injuries sustained at Survivor Series, it’s all but a certainty we can expect to see the Olympic gold medalist get his rightful one-on-one match come WrestleMania.
10. Hope Isn’t True: John Cena Will Win A Record 17th World Championship
John Cena has successfully turned many of his haters into supporters in recent years via a combination of largely selflessly putting over others like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, and actually putting on his fair share of very good matches. Ever since Cena won a sixteenth world title at Royal Rumble 2016, however, the question has surrounded him, whether WWE pull the trigger on him beating Ric Flair’s record of sixteen world title reigns.
If WWE were to do it, WrestleMania 34 is a logical enough time and place to put him over huge with one more world title win, theoretically dethroning Jinder Mahal, one of the few top tier stars fans would unabashedly support Cena beating. This may cash in on Cena’s last stretch of being able to physically perform at the main event level, in addition to what may be one of his final stretches working a full time enough schedule to justify carrying the strap.
The downside, of course, is that many fans would rather see AJ Styles or Nakamura get his moment as world champion at WrestleMania, or for there to be more twists and turns and for someone like Sami Zayn to end up with the belt. Cena? Again? While Mahal has proven WWE can do much worse, there remain fresher and more exciting options.
9. Rumor Confirmed: Braun Strowman Is Out Of The Main Event Picture
Braun Strowman went on a bit of a tear leading up to WrestleMania 33, only to drop out of the picture a bit, receding to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal cluster. Strowman would gain a ton more momentum coming out of ‘Mania season, largely dominating anyone in his path. He was part of a Fatal Four Way for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam, and then booked to challenge Brock Lesnar at No Mercy. There was plenty of buzz come that event that Strowman might actually pull off the win, given how dominantly he’d been booked, and how over he’d gotten with the fans.
Strowman lost cleanly to Lesnar, though, in an underwhelming match. The bout not only damaged Strowman’s monster credibility, but blew what looked to be his most likely route to a WrestleMania main event, challenging Lesnar. Now that Strowman lost, and lost decisively to Lesnar, he has no real claim to get another shot and all signs point to him staying out of the main event until at least after ‘Mania.
8. Hope Isn’t True: The Undertaker Isn’t Going Into The Hall Of Fame Yet
When The Undertaker cast off his gear and looked as though he was retiring at the end of WrestleMania 33, the rumor mill started up that he might go into the Hall of Fame the following year. And what better city for him to go in than New Orleans? Geographically, it’s relatively close to his home state of Texas, and the idea of New Orleans style funeral procession in honor of The Deadman’s induction has the makings of a spectacle.
Since that time, however, rumors have persisted that The Undertaker isn’t really done yet. Some rumors had him coming back to get involved in John Cena’s program with Roman Reigns this fall. Later, the idea came up that he might wind up his career at Survivor Series, where it had started back in 1990.
The one consistency about the rumors is the suggestion that The Phenom isn’t really done yet. While some guys have gone in while still active on a part time basis, we can expect The Undertaker to stay out of the Hall until he really is done, besides which his fierce protectiveness over kayfabe would make him an ill fit for an induction speech just yet.
7. Rumor Confirmed: The Four Horsewomen Of MMA Will Have A Presence
While the Mae Young Classic was well received on the whole, there’s little question that the biggest buzz to come out of the event surrounded Ronda Rousey’s presence, and in particular the confrontation WWE filmed between the self-described Four Horsewomen of MMA, and NXT’s Four Horsewomen. Early rumors projected a confrontation between the two sides at Survivor Series, to build to Rousey later working a singles match against someone (Charlotte Flair and Stephanie McMahon were the names floated most often, followed by Asuka).
Vince McMahon reportedly rejected ideas around booking these feuds, because they neither fit with his vision for booking, nor did WWE have most of the women from MMA under contract. As time goes on, though, Shayna Baszler has been signed, and Rousey has been spotted at the WWE Performance Center on multiple occasions. All indications are that at least Rousey, if not her compatriots are ‘Mania bound.
6. Hope Isn’t True: AJ Styles Won’t Be In a World Title Match
It’s rare for a performer to be so universally agreed upon to be the best all around talent in WWE, be this over, and be this clearly hard working (see the hellish international schedule he kept up for TLC week, while working sick), and yet so decisively locked out of any world title picture for WrestleMania season.
For WrestleMania 32 he was, understandably, still finding his footing as WWE figured out what to make of him. For WrestleMania 33, he by all rights should have walked in WWE Champion after having spent nearly a half year as champ before WWE shuffled the title over to Bray Wyatt so he and Randy Orton could wrestle for it in one of the worst matches in WrestleMania history. And, now, looking ahead to WrestleMania 34, Styles looks to be positioned as an interim fall/winter challenger for Jinder Mahal. Given the timing and given Mahal already calling out John Cena for ‘Mania, the writing is on the wall that Styles won’t take the title off Mahal (or if he does, it will only be for a brief reign before dropping it back to him).
There’s still time for WWE to shuffle the deck, and after the early December stopover in India, it’s possible Mahal could drop out of the world title scene and open the spot for Styles. Given how WWE has used The Phenomenal One this year, though, no one’s holding their breath.
5. Rumor Confirmed: WrestleMania Is Part Of a Citywide Celebration In New Orleans
It struck many fans as odd that WWE was bringing WrestleMania back to New Orleans this year. It’s a fine enough city with a suitable venue, of course, but the biggest show of the year happened there just four years earlier. While returning that soon may have been more understandable in a market like New York, Chicago, or L.A., or at WWE’s de facto home base in Orlando, we would have thought New Orleans would be off the table for at least a couple more years.
Word has come out, though, that New Orleans is going all out for its 300th anniversary celebration of the city, and rumor has it that a key part of the city’s WrestleMania bid was to feature WrestleMania prominently amidst the festivities. Given the way the deal came together, New Orleans must have put something special on the table and it will be interesting to see how WrestleMania takes over The Big Easy this spring.
4. Hope Isn’t True: The Length Of The Event Isn’t Getting Trimmed
Particularly over the last two years, fans have started to balk at WrestleMania’s marathon length, with a main card that stretches well past the four hour mark, a two hour pre-show, and additional live matches often occurring in the stadium the day of the show, not to mention matches happening at Axxess, an NXT TakeOver special one or two nights before, and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. One idea floated by some pundits was to transition ‘Mania itself to a two night event, with a pair of more manageable three-hour-or-so events.
There’s no indication of any dramatic schedule change, though, based on early event announcements. Furthermore, now that WWE depends much more on WWE Network broadcasts of the show than pay per view providers, they’re really at their leisure to run the show as late as they want to. Sadly, this state of affairs leads to audience burnout, both in the stadium and at home. ‘Mania main events, in particular, have suffered, as fans have loudly rejected the last two. To be fair, the matches weren’t great, but their meager quality was only accentuated by the fact that the audience was tired going into the relatively boring matches.
3. Rumor Confirmed: NXT Will, Again, Have a Special Over WrestleMania Weekend
WWE has put out some early word about WrestleMania travel packages and with those announcements, have included word about the packages including tickets to NXT TakeOver. This is good news for fans, as the overwhelming majority of folks who’ve checked out NXT TakeOver specials have evaluated them as objectively better than the main roster PPV that they share a weekend with. The TakeOver specials in Dallas and Orlando, in particular, earned huge praise and more consistently positive reviews from pundits than the WrestleMania shows themselves.
The WrestleMania weekend TakeOver is particularly special for often serving as a farewell for the developmental brand’s best established stars, as it’s not unusual for them to move up to the main roster on the Raw and SmackDown episodes to follow.
2. We Hope Isn’t True: Seth Rollins Vs. Dean Ambrose
This summer, one of the most fun angles WWE put together was the reunion of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. After debuting and thriving together as members of The Shield, they engaged in a long running off and on feud over Rollins’s betrayal, and more than once with the WWE Championship at stake. After three years apart, the two reluctantly buried the hatchet in a feel-good series of moments and captured the Raw Tag Team Championship together. We’ve since seen them reunite with Roman Reigns, too, to put The Shield on the whole back together.
Rollins and Ambrose are a bit too established and popular as stars to stay in the tag team division indefinitely, and one popular rumor has Ambrose turning heel on Rollins this time, either in clear-minded revenge for what Rollins did to him years back, or to sell Ambrose’s crazy and reckless side to the fullest degree. While this isn’t the worst idea in the long term, and the two would surely put on yet another good-to-great match at ‘Mania, this isn’t exactly a fresh match up and most fans would rather see Rollins and Ambrose stick it out as running buddies for a longer time before the next iteration of their feud.
1. Rumor Confirmed: Global Force Wrestling Is Running During WrestleMania Weekend
It’s become routine for smaller promotions from around the U.S. and even abroad to close in on the city hosting WrestleMania during WrestleMania week to promote their own shows to an audience of rabid wrestling fans. When ‘Mania happened in Orlando last spring, one of the stranger stories was that Orland-based TNA chose not to run a show in its own backyard.
For a brief time, TNA and Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling seemed to have merged, and it looked as though both would operate under the GFW banner moving forward. As this news came together, GFW shows for WrestleMania week were announced, meaning that the long time number two promotion in the US would have a presence during ‘Mania week again. Perhaps this was part of an effort to more firmly re-establish itself as number two, over promotions like ROH and Lucha Undergound that also have national TV deals and threatened to surpass the competition.
The waters are murkier now as Jeff Jarrett seems to be on the outs with the company after personal and substance abuse issues, and the GFW name seems to have been withdrawn in favor of Impact Wrestling. What GFW is, and if it will still be able to run WrestleMania week may now be in jeopardy. We know, however, that the intent is for the company to be up and running for the biggest week in US-based wrestling.
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