WWE WrestleMania 34: What to Expect in New Orleans

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2018

Brock Lesnar will defend the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34.
Brock Lesnar will defend the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34.Credit: WWE.com

WWE Fastlane is officially in the books, and that means there are only a few weeks left before the biggest pay-per-view of the year, WrestleMania 34.

This year's event will take place on April 8 in New Orleans at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, not the Silverdome, as Hulk Hogan mistakenly called it at WrestleMania 30.

Even with weeks until the show, management has already put much of the card in place for the top champions. Here is a quick rundown of the matches confirmed on WWE.com:

  • Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.
  • AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship.
  • Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the SmackDown Women's Championship.
  • The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship.
  • The finals of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament.
  • Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

          

Card Subject to Change

Seven matches have been booked, but the length of WrestleMania can accommodate at least twice that many, so WWE still has plenty of work to do when filling up the rest of the card. 

Asuka officially claimed the title shot granted to her by winning The Royal Rumble at Fastlane when she showed up at the end of Charlotte's match with Ruby Riott, which means The Empress of Tomorrow will likely move to SmackDown on a permanent basis moving forward.

Alexa Bliss should be relieved, but she still needs to watch her back as every woman in the division will be trying to challenge her for the Raw women's title at Mania.

The Bludgeon Brothers interfered in The Usos' title match against The New Day at Fastlane, which means these three teams will probably clash over the SD tag belts at Mania.

As far as the Raw tag titles are concerned, Cesaro and Sheamus have made it clear they feel like they have gone through every team worth challenging them on Raw. However, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder may have something to say about that.

                

"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey

The signing of Ronda Rousey to a WWE contract is one of the biggest stories in the wrestling world to come along in quite some time. 

Her status as a living legend in the world of MMA and the movies she has made in Hollywood makes her a celebrity on a different level than the rest of the roster.

She has been training hard for her transition to the ring, but there is no word on how active she will be after WrestleMania is over.

Will she be a part-timer like Lesnar? Will she work a full-time schedule like Angle did when he first joined the company in the '90s? Will she try to find a happy medium between the two?

Whatever she ends up doing, Rowdy Ronda will bring a lot of attention to WWE, and that is good for everyone backstage because it means they will get more exposure, too.

ESPN, Fox Sports and every other outlet covering athletics will have their eyes on Rousey during WrestleMania weekend, giving everyone who competes at the event a chance to impress people who might not normally watch WWE programming.

        

Axxess

WWE doesn't just make WrestleMania Sunday into a special event. The company will practically take over the city of New Orleans for the week leading up to Mania.

Axxess is almost like WWE's own private comic-con. Fans come from around the world to mix with their favorite Superstars, play games, buy merchandise and watch the PPV together.

Rob Schamberger is usually there painting portraits of wrestlers and meeting with fans, and the NXT roster routinely puts on matches during the Axxess events.

We have even seen Superstars from the developmental system earn a spot in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal during Axxess week.

Whether you're an autograph hound or just a fan who likes the experience, Axxess is almost as much fun as WrestleMania itself.

        

The Rest of the Weekend

WrestleMania and the week of activities leading up to it would be enough for any hardcore WWE fans, but the company has more going on every year that weekend to enjoy.

Friday, April 6, will feature the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year's class is made up of stars from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s.

Goldberg will be the headliner, and he will be joined by Ivory, Hillbilly Jim, Jeff Jarrett and The Dudley Boyz, with the possibility of more inductees to be announced before the show. The Warrior Award will go to WWE superfan Jarrius "JJ" Robertson.

The HOF ceremony is always fun because we get to see the men and women of WWE put their characters away and honor those who paved the way for today's generation.

The speeches given by the inductees are a major highlight of the whole weekend. Some are funny, some are emotional, but all are entertaining.

The next night on April 7, NXT will host another TakeOver special on the WWE Network, and if past years are anything to go by, it will be just as good or better than WrestleMania.

Most of the card has already been decided since WWE filmed the next several weeks worth of episodes on March 7, so you can easily find out who will be challenging for NXT's different championships through spoiler reports.

               

The Big Night

WrestleMania is an entire week of events, but the actual PPV on Sunday is one of the longest live shows anyone can ever hope to attend. It can make the Super Bowl look like an afternoon picnic.

The last few Manias have been roughly five hours long, and that doesn't even include the two-hour pre-show that also has matches to enjoy.

If you are attending Mania for the first time, you need to prepare to spend an entire day sitting in a hard arena chair surrounded by screaming fans of all ages.

You will have to plan bathroom breaks and meals accordingly so you don't miss any of the best action, and if the weather isn't ideal, you have to make sure you're prepared to be a little cold or wet.

Some fans bring their own cushions and light blankets to make the night as comfortable as possible, but many will rely on excitement and adrenaline to get them through the show.

WrestleMania is a special night for the company and its fans. Even if you are fed up with the current product, you will likely find something to enjoy that night.

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