WWE is swinging for the fences this weekend with its match between John Cena and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
This is the first time fans haven’t heard any kind of promotion from the Dead Man’s camp, which is promotion in itself. Allowing Cena to do all the talking, and begging, has been good for this confrontation. While it may not hold up as one of the more memorable confrontations, it has been good to see the 16-time world champion show this kind of passion – something we have seen from Cena in some time.
The company is counting on the fact two of the greatest performers of the last 20 years meeting head to head to be enough to wet their appetites, when we all know Cena will have to carry the 50-something man from the underworld.
This isn’t the only match where WWE is taking a major chance. The Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H mixed tag match has a chance to fall flat, if because for no other reason Rousey is as green as an unripe banana. There is no doubt the fans support for the former UFC champion will be great and Angle, McMahon and Trips will do a great job to make her look like a million bucks. But her lack of comfort in promo work and in front of a camera makes me believe her success may take a while to catch fire.
Rousey never had to “talk” her way through events in an octagon like she must in the McMahon hotel. Let’s hope after this match, WWE officials get ahold of her to work on her camera skills to make her as dynamic a superstar as we all think she can be.
Once fans get past the two biggest question marks of the night, the men’s and women’s titles from SmackDown Live have more than enough intrigue. WWE decided to hitch its wagon up to Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka – two Asian sensations who are ready to ascend to the top of the company’s apex. How will these performers – who are two of the best in the business – continue to promote themselves if they came out of New Orleans carrying gold?
I think the biggest question is if one or both wrestlers win on Sunday night, how long do they hold their titles before they relinquish the championship belt? Is the streak broken for Asuka and will Nakamura be able to hold onto the belt with AJ Styles on his heels and someone like Rusev waiting in the shadows?
Asuka has a slight advantage here, should she win on Sunday. The competition in the women’s division isn’t as deep as her male counterpart. Also, feuding with Charlotte is a program WWE can continually go to until someone like Sasha Banks moves over to Tuesday nights.
Nakamura’s dance card figures to be full of other performers like Randy Orton, Bobby Rude and Jinder Mahal. And let’s not leave out Cena and potentially Raw superstars who make the shift to Tuesday nights with the Superstar Shakeup.
There is so much to like about Sunday night’s card, it’s hard to think there will be a hiccup or two during the program. The problem is WWE cannot afford two of its marquee matches to disappoint. It’s a possibility I am sure the McMahon family has thought about. Hopefully, the card is strong enough to weather the storm should this occur.
If not, WrestleMania 34, believed to be one of the best of all time, will be remembered for bad booking – something WWE doesn’t need moving into the long hot summer.