WrestleMania 34: IMPACT-ful Awakening was the thirty-fourth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw, SmackDown, and 205 Live brands. it was co-promoted with AAA Lucha Libre, Tokyo Joshi Pro and New Japan Pro Wrestling. It took place on April 8, 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The card comprised 32 matches, including five on the pre-show. In the main event, "the Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against the winner of the 2017 G1 Climax, Tetsuya Naito, (in a rematch from WrestleMania 30: Great Heroic Battle in 2014) WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Texano Jr, Hijo del Fantasma, AAA Triple Crown Champion (Tri Campeon) Johnny Impact and GFW Global Champion Eli Drake in a winner-take-all TLC Match with 5 championships on the line.
Semi main event match was the culmination of a year-long storyline that started at WrestleMania 33: Ultimate Thrill Ride as both Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner Jr. put their mask on the line in a Lucha de Apuestas, or bet match.
Other matches saw Ronda Rousey make her WWE debut and Daniel Bryan return to the ring after nearly three years of absence. Ronda Rousey teamed with Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match, while Daniel Bryan teamed with Shane McMahon to defeat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a "Do or Die" tag team match. Also, The Undertaker defeated John Cena in an impromptu match. The second match of the show's "Quadruple main event" saw Kenny Omega defend the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Chris Jericho in a no disqualification match, the latter of whom returned to the NJPW ring after nearly 20 years away from the promotion. Charlotte Flair retained the SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka, ending Asuka's undefeated streak. A 10-year-old Nicholas Cone (son of referee John Cone) became the youngest WWE champion in history when he teamed with Braun Strowman to defeat Cesaro and Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team Championship. It was also the first time that the SmackDown Tag Team Championship was defended at WrestleMania. Six other NJPW title matches also took place on the show with Hiroshi Tanahashi defending the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Switchblade Jay White, Marty Scurll defending the IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Championship in a four-way match against Hiromu Takahashi, Kushida and Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki defending the NEVER World Openweight Championship against Hirooki Goto in a hair vs. hair match, Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) defending the IWGP World Tag Team Championship against the 2017 World Tag League winners Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and the Great Seiya Sanada), Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) defending the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship in a five-team gauntlet match and Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) defending the IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson). The event featured a four-man heavyweight tournament, the first ever UFC Middleweight Championship bout, a Heavyweight Championship bout, a Superfight and an alternate bout. The undercard produced the inaugural UFC Lightweight Champion (under 185 pounds) from a four man tournament.
WrestleMania is considered WWE's flagship event, having first been held in 1985. It is the longest-running professional wrestling event in history and is held annually between mid-March to mid-April. It was the first of WWE's original four pay-per-views, which includes Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, dubbed the "Big Four". It has been described as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment. The event featured wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brands.
The event was the second WrestleMania to be held in the state of Louisiana and the second held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which previously hosted WrestleMania XXX in 2014. On October 30, 2017, traveling packages for the event were sold; tickets went on sale on November 17, 2017, with individual tickets costing from $35 to $2,000.
The three official theme songs for the event were "Celebrate", "New Orleans" (both by Kid Rock), and "Let the Good Times Roll" (by Freddie King). On April 8, prior to the start of WrestleMania, WWE and Snickers held the WrestleMania Block Party at the Champions Square plaza. The tailgate event included appearances from Alundra Blayze and Ric Flair as well from active competitors Tamina and R-Truth. American duo Chloe x Halle performed "America the Beautiful" to kick off the main card of WrestleMania.
Since 2014, WWE attempted to establish Roman Reigns as their top babyface and the next "face of the company", but a significant portion of fans rejected Reigns in this role, taking issue with his perceived special treatment, real-life demeanor, wrestling moveset, speaking skills, and character presentation. This resulted in Reigns being booed while he wrestled in the main events of WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 32, and WrestleMania 33. The perception that Reigns was the "company's chosen one" led to widespread expectations that Reigns would triumph in the main event of WrestleMania 34 to become WWE Universal Champion; and it was also anticipated that while doing so, he would be again received negatively by the WrestleMania crowd
The card comprised fourteen matches, including three on the Kickoff pre-show, that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands. Storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, and the cruiserweight-exclusive 205 Live and indy Wrestling shows like Impact Wrestling
WrestleMania 34: Impact-ful Awakening was main evented by Kazuchika Okada defending the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito, Roman Reigns, WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, Texano Jr, Hijo del Fantasma and AAA Tri-Campeon Johnny Impact and GFW Global Champion Eli Drake. The storyline behind the match dates back to 2013, when Naito won the G1 Climax tournament to earn a shot at Okada and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 The Great Heroic Battle on January 4, 2014. However, at that time, Naito, despite being a clean cut babyface, was disliked by NJPW fans, which led to the company changing their course of action, announcing a fan vote to determine whether the match between Okada and Naito or an IWGP Intercontinental Championship match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi would main event WrestleMania 30. Nakamura and Tanahashi won the vote, resulting in Okada and Naito losing their main event spot. Okada went on to defeat Naito in the match to retain the title. In the summer of 2015, Naito traveled to Mexico to work for the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion, where he joined the villainous Los Ingobernables stable. Upon his return to NJPW, Naito, using the NJPW fans' rejection of him as a catalyst, completely reinvented his character, eventually leading to him forming the Los Ingobernables de Japon stable. Despite now being a villain, fans eventually started getting behind Naito with Los Ingobernables de Japon merchandise becoming NJPW's top seller. When Naito defeated Okada at Invasion Attack 2016 on April 10 to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship for the first time, he had the crowd solidly behind him. Naito eventually went on to lose the title back to Okada on June 19, 2016, at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall. on the other side of the Main Event racket At Rey de Reyes, AAA Latin American Champion Johnny Impact defeated AAA World Cruiserweight Champion Hijo del Fantasma and AAA Mega Champion Texano Jr. in a three-way match to win all three titles following interference from Kevin Kross, also during the match Texano was taken out of action with an injured neck after Fantasma hit him with a Thrill of the Kill onto a steel chair. On August 13, 2017, Naito defeated Kenny Omega in the finals to win the 2017 G1 Climax. With Naito now being fully embraced by NJPW fans, this was seen as the conclusion of a four-year arc that started at the 2013 G1 Climax, where he was rejected by the same fans. Following the win, Naito gained possession of the Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge rights certificate, which granted him a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 34. On August 17, a video package was shown at Destination X revealing that Johnny Impact will be debuting for the company next week. On the August 24 episode of Impact!, he made his televised in-ring debut in a Gauntlet for the Gold match for the vacant Impact Global Championship, ending in the final three before being eliminated by eventual winner Eli Drake. The following week, Impact and Eddie Edwards interrupted Eli Drake's championship celebration, which led to a tag-team match on the main-event, which Drake and Chris Adonis won. On the September 14 episode of Impact!, Johnny Impact defeated Low Ki to become the number one contender to the Impact Global Championship at Victory Road. After the match, Drake and Adonis brutally attacked Impact. The following week, Impact defended his number one contender status in two matches, defeating both KM and Texano in the same night. At Victory Road, Impact was defeated by Drake and failed to win the Impact Global Championship. After the match, he was attacked by Drake and Adonis but was saved by Garza Jr.. However, the two of them were assaulted by The Latin American Xchange. On the October 12 episode of Impact!, Impact defeated Garza in a number one contendership match to challenge Eli Drake for the Impact Global Championship at Bound for Glory On October 9 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Naito successfully defended the certificate against Tomohiro Ishii, while Kazuchika Okada successfully defended the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Evil, setting up the main event of WrestleMania 34 between champion Okada and challenger Naito. The match was officially announced in a press conference the following day. As part of the build-up to the title match, Okada introduced a new submission hold, a cobra clutch, as a counter to Naito's finishing maneuver, Destino. However, on December 18, in their final confrontation before WrestleMania 34, Naito managed to counter himself out of the hold and hit Okada with the Destino, leaving him laid out. Okada has held the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship ever since defeating Naito at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall, having successfully defended the title eight times, and enters the match as the longest-reigning champion in the title's history. This match would mark Okada's fourth consecutive and overall fifth Wrestle Kingdom main event, while Naito had never main evented the show before. Following Brock Lesnar's defeat of Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 to win the Universal Heavyweight Championship, he seldom defended the title, which was often criticized, especially by Roman Reigns. As the Royal Rumble winner chose SmackDown's world championship, Lesnar's WrestleMania 34 challenger was determined through the Elimination Chamber match, which was won by Reigns. Lesnar's advocate Paul Heyman had previously teased this match since they were the only two to have defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania. As the Royal Rumble winner chose SmackDown's world championship, Lesnar's WrestleMania 34 challenger was determined through the Elimination Chamber match, which was won by Reigns. Lesnar's advocate Paul Heyman had previously teased this match since they were the only two to have defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The two had also previously fought at WrestleMania 31 over Lesnar's WWE World Heavyweight Championship (now WWE Championship), but without a decisive winner as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Reigns. Despite being advertised, Lesnar did not appear for several episodes of Raw. Reigns repeatedly criticized Lesnar and also questioned WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, for which he was temporarily suspended. At Verano de Escándalo a three-way steel cage match between Texano, Fantasma, and Kross ended without a winner when Fantasma and Texano escaped and touched the floor at the same time. Reigns nevertheless appeared on Raw to confront Lesnar, he was arrested by U.S. Marshals. The handcuffed Reigns assaulted the Marshals, but was then brutally attacked by Lesnar. After the match, Vampiro declared that, Reigns, Lesnar, Impact, Texano, Eli Drake and Fantasma would be inserted into the Okada-Naito mix and receive a shot at the titles at WrestleMania 34. Heyman then declared that should Lesnar lose, they would not re-sign with WWE. it was announced at a press conference that the main event match would be a 7-Pack Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for 5 championships.
At the Royal Rumble, SmackDown's Shinsuke Nakamura won the men's Royal Rumble match, earning a world championship match of his choosing at WrestleMania 34. Nakamura chose SmackDown's WWE Champion AJ Styles. At Fastlane, Styles retained the WWE Championship in a six-pack challenge, thus solidifying the Styles-Nakamura match at WrestleMania. The two expressed respect for each other, but Styles warned Nakamura to not take him lightly this time, bringing up their previous encounter in New Japan Pro-Wrestling where Nakamura had defeated Styles
On November 5, 2017, at Power Struggle, Chris Jericho made a surprise return to NJPW, appearing in a video, where he challenged Kenny Omega to a match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome. The challenge was quickly accepted by Omega, who had been engaged in a "Twitter feud" with his fellow Winnipegger over the past weeks. The match, contested for Omega's IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, was officially announced the following day. Due to the high-profile status of the match, Omega began petitioning for Wrestle Kingdom 12 to have a "double main event" much like the Wrestle Kingdom shows had had in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Omega stated that he agreed that Okada and Naito should have the final match of the show, but felt that he and Jericho should have the second to last match, claiming that just four months after the creation of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, he had already made it the number two title in NJPW over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Jericho made his in person return at the December 11 show, attacking and bloodying Omega following his match, while also laying out a referee, a young lion and Don Callis. At a press conference the following day, Omega stated that with the attack Jericho had turned their upcoming "gentleman's contest" into a fight, before attacking his Wrestle Kingdom 12 opponent. During the same conference, NJPW officially announced that Wrestle Kingdom 12 would feature a double main event with the IWGP Heavyweight and United States Heavyweight Championship matches. Naito stated that he was disappointed with the decision, adding that NJPW would never become the number one promotion in the world as long as they were humoring WWE. On December 18, NJPW announced that, as a result of both Omega and Jericho demanding it, the match had been turned into a no disqualification match.
After failing to win the Elimination Chamber match, Intercontinental Champion The Miz demanded a WrestleMania challenger. Seth Rollins then came out and defeated Miz, followed by Finn Bálor, who also defeated him. The following week, both Rollins and Bálor confronted Miz, leading to a 2-on-3 handicap match between Rollins and Bálor and The Miz and his Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel), in which Rollins pinned Miz. Afterwards, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle scheduled The Miz to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Bálor and Rollins in a triple threat match at WrestleMania.
In the IWGP Intercontinental Championship match, Hiroshi Tanahashi defended the title against Jay White. White joined NJPW in January 2015 and worked for the promotion as a young lion until June 2016, when he left for an indefinite learning excursion to the United States, where he worked for Ring of Honor (ROH). During the 2017 G1 Climax, NJPW started airing vignettes for an individual dubbed "Switchblade", who was announced as making his debut on November 5 at Power Struggle. Following the main event of the show, where Tanahashi successfully defended the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Kota Ibushi, Switchblade was revealed as the returning Jay White, who confronted Tanahashi and challenged him to a title match at Wrestle Kingdom 12, before laying him out with the Shellshock. The following day, NJPW officially announced the match between Tanahashi and White for Wrestle Kingdom 12. In December, Tanahashi was sidelined with a knee injury when an MRI discovered arthritis and water in his knee. However, as he had a long history of working hurt and not missing major shows, it was noted that the injury would have to be "unbearably bad" for him to miss Wrestle Kingdom 12. Tanahashi appeared at NJPW's December 18 show, assuring that he would be defending his title at Wrestle Kingdom 12, before being attacked by White, who targeted his injured knee.
Wrestle Kingdom 12 also featured the first-ever four-way match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, where Marty Scurll defended the title against Hiromu Takahashi, Kushida and Will Ospreay. The match was set up through a series of title challenges in the second half of 2017. After Kushida had successfully defended the title against El Desperado on September 16 at Destruction in Hiroshima, he was confronted by Takahashi, who was ready to challenge him to a title match. However, before Takahashi could complete his challenge, he was knocked out by Ospreay, who took the title match for himself and went on to defeat Kushida to become the new champion on October 9 at King of Pro-Wrestling. Following the match, Takahashi again came out to issue a title challenge, but was again interrupted, this time by Scurll, who snapped his fingers and made his own challenge to Ospreay. This led to a match on November 5 at Power Struggle, where Scurll defeated Ospreay to become the new champion. Following the match, Scurll and Ospreay continued arguing, while Kushida came out to challenge Scurll to a title match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Finally, Takahashi also came out, this time wearing a helmet and gloves to prevent the other challengers from knocking him out or breaking his fingers, and made his own title challenge. Scurll then declared that he would take on all three challengers. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship has previously been defended in a three-way match, with Prince Devitt defending the title against Kota Ibushi and Low Ki at WrestleMania 29: Evolution, but this marked the first four-way for the title.
At the Royal Rumble, Raw's Asuka won the women's Royal Rumble match. As a result, Asuka earned the right to challenge for a women's championship of her choosing at WrestleMania. On the advice of Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, Asuka postponed her decision until both women's champions had defended their titles at Elimination Chamber and Fastlane, respectively. Following Charlotte Flair's successful defense at Fastlane, Asuka appeared and challenged her for the SmackDown Women's Championship at WrestleMania. Asuka explained that she chose Charlotte as she wanted to challenge the best women's champion in WWE, while Charlotte vowed to end Asuka's undefeated streak. After Alexa Bliss won her second Raw Women's Championship in August 2017, she formed a friendship with Nia Jax, who also had championship aspirations. Nia failed to earn a title shot at the Royal Rumble and also lost to Asuka at Elimination Chamber in a match that would have added her to Asuka's WrestleMania championship match. After Asuka defeated her in a rematch on Raw, Alexa consoled Nia and said she deserved a title match. When Asuka explained her reasons for challenging Charlotte, Alexa and Mickie James confronted her and called out Nia to wrestle Asuka, but Nia did not appear. Later during Nia's match, Alexa and Mickie, who were unaware of the live microphone, were heard disparaging Nia, who was upset by this. The following week, Alexa issued a fake apology and continued to insult Nia, who chased off the champion. When Alexa complained to Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, he scheduled her to defend the Raw Women's Championship against Nia at WrestleMania. It was announced that Impact Knockouts Champion Sienna would defend her title against Allie, Gail Kim, and Taryn Terrell. However, Terrell was pulled from the match due to leaving Impact. On November 4, 2017, it was announced that the scheduled match between Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie had been cancelled, due to unforeseen personal circumstances regarding Taya.
On December 11, Los Ingobernables de Japon members Evil and Sanada defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) to win the 2017 World Tag League. Traditionally, the winners of the tournament have earned a shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship at the January 4 Tokyo Dome Show and following the win, Evil and Sanada called out reigning champions, Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr.and Lance Archer), and challenged them to a title match, which they accepted. The match was officially announced the following day.Evil and Sanada entered the World Tag League as two thirds of the reigning NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions with stablemate Bushi, but decided to put that title on hold in order to challenge for the tag team title at the biggest event of the year. The three were looking to defend the title the day after Wrestle Kingdom 12, but NJPW instead announced that they would defend it against the Guerrillas of Destiny and Bad Luck Fale on December 17. Bushi insinuated that NJPW wanted to have a six-man tag team title match in the Tokyo Dome and were looking to get the title off him, Evil and Sanada. On December 17, Guerrillas of Destiny and Fale defeated the Los Ingobernables de Japon trio to become the new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions. Two days later, it was announced that the new champions would defend the title in a five-team gauntlet match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. After defeating The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson), Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus said they had defeated every tag team on Raw and issued an open challenge to any tag team to face them at WrestleMania. On the March 12 episode, General Manager Kurt Angle scheduled a tag team battle royal with the winning team receiving a championship match at WrestleMania. Braun Strowman interjected himself into the match and won. The following week, Angle decided that Strowman would receive a Raw Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania as long as he found a partner. Strowman said that he did not need a partner, but would have one. He defeated both Cesaroand Sheamus in singles matches, but did not reveal his partner prior to the event
On October 9 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu made their return to NJPW from their overseas learning excursion, when they were revealed as Rocky Romero's new mystery team Roppongi 3K. Working under the names "Sho" and "Yoh", the two defeated Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions in their first match back. The following month at Power Struggle, Roppongi 3K also won the 2017 Super Jr. Tag Tournament by defeating Taguchi and ACH in the finals, becoming the first team to win the annual tournament as the reigning champions. Following the win, the two were challenged by The Young Bucks, which was accepted by Romero, who had significant history with the two involving the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and his previous team Roppongi Vice. Ever since their NJPW debut in October 2013, The Young Bucks had become synonymous with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with would mark the first match between the teams since Sho and Yoh's "rebirth" as Roppongi 3K.
At WrestleMania 31, then-UFC star Ronda Rousey appeared alongside The Rock and embarrassed The Authority (Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon). She made some appearances over the next couple of years and was rumored to compete at 2018's Royal Rumble match; the now-former UFC star denied she would be at the event. However, she appeared at the end of the event, confirming that she had signed full-time with WWE. During the official contract signing at Elimination Chamber, her debut match was confirmed for WrestleMania 34. Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, whom Stephanie (now Raw Commissioner) previously had threatened to fire and whom Triple H had turned on at Survivor Series, then brought up the incident from WrestleMania 31 and warned Rousey that Triple H and Stephanie wanted revenge. Ronda threw Triple H through a table and was slapped by Stephanie before eventually signing her contract. The following night on Raw, Stephanie was forced to apologize. As she was leaving the ring, Triple H attacked Angle. The following week, Stephanie said Ronda could choose any Raw wrestler as her opponent at WrestleMania except the champion; she chose Stephanie. When Triple H objected, Angle pointed out that both Triple H and Stephanie had contracts as wrestlers and scheduled a mixed tag team match pitting Stephanie and Triple H against Ronda and himself. A Q&A session on the final Raw before WrestleMania ended with Stephanie putting Ronda through a table.
Throughout the summer of 2017, Kevin Owens feuded with SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon; at Hell in a Cell, Kevin Owens defeated Shane in a Hell in a Cell match thanks to the help of his friend-turned-rival, Sami Zayn. Zayn explained that he acted out of disappointment about not getting the expected opportunities at SmackDown and realized that Owens was right all along in his questionable actions. Owens and Zayncontinued their feud with Shane, including attacking him at Survivor Series and Shane threatened to fire them if they lost their match at Clash of Champions, while SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan seemingly favored the two by giving them WWE Championship opportunities: first at the Royal Rumble, when AJ Styles retained his title in a handicap match and again at Fastlane, when Owens and Zayn were among the five challengers. During the latter match, the feud escalated as Shane broke up pinfall attempts by Owens and Zayn. Shane then took an indefinite leave of absence, but, as one last decision, he scheduled Owens and Zayn to fight each other at WrestleMania 34. Owens and Zayn reacted by brutally attacking Shane. The following week, Daniel Bryan revealed that he was medically cleared to compete again; his last match was in April 2015. Later, he fired Owens and Zayn for their attack on Shane and received a beat down. In response, Bryan said he regretted favoring them and scheduled a tag team match pitting himself and Shane against Owens and Zayn, with the latter duo being rehired if they won. On the final SmackDown before WrestleMania, Shane was also cleared to compete.
Also at Power Struggle, Cody confronted Kota Ibushi after he had been defeated by Tanahashi in the main event, offering to defend the ROH World Championship against him at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Initially announced the following day as a potential title match, the match instead became a non-title "special singles match", when Cody lost the ROH World Championship to Dalton Castle at ROH's Final Battle on December 15. Prior to the Chris Jericho announcement, Ibushi had been seen as a possible opponent for Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12, with the two former tag team partners having teased a match against each other since Ibushi's June 2017 return to NJPW. In the build-up to the match, Cody, Omega's Bullet Club stablemate, compared Ibushi to Brutus Beefcake and Omega to Hulk Hogan, claiming that Ibushi was nothing more than a sidekick in their team
At Fastlane, Randy Orton won the United States Championship from Bobby Roode. Following the match, Jinder Mahal, who felt that he should have been in the match, attacked both men. On the following episode of SmackDown, Roode invoked his rematch clause for WrestleMania 34. The following week, Orton was scheduled to defend the United States Championship in a triple threat match against Roode and Mahal at WrestleMania. On the March 27 episode, after losing to Mahal and Rusev, Rusev demanded to be added to the title match since he pinned Orton. The match was subsequently made a fatal four-way.
Throughout 2017, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) and The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) fought at various events over the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The original feud ended at Hell in a Cell in October with The Usos victorious. The New Day earned another title shot at Fastlane in March, but both teams were attacked by The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan), injuring Jey, Kingston, and Woods. On the following episode of SmackDown, Big E and Jimmy teamed up to take revenge, but were defeated. On the March 27 episode, New Day lost to The Bludgeon Brothers by disqualification after The Usos attacked the latter. A triple threat tag team match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship was then scheduled for WrestleMania 34
Determined to compete at WrestleMania 34, free agent John Cena entered himself into the Royal Rumble match to earn himself a world championship match at WrestleMania, but failed. He then qualified for Raw's Elimination Chamber match, hoping to earn a shot at the Universal Championship at WrestleMania,and, using his free agent status, was among the five challengers in the WWE Championship match at SmackDown's Fastlane, but came up short in both attempts. Back on Raw, Cena pondered attending WrestleMania as a fan, but then decided to challenge The Undertaker, whom he had tried to challenge a few weeks prior; Cena stated that it was not WWE executives who were preventing the match, but Undertaker himself. Over the remaining weeks leading up to WrestleMania, Cena received no answer, despite repeatedly antagonizing Undertaker. On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Cena said he would not take a spot from any full-time wrestler in one of the other matches. He said he was not mad about not having a match, but was mad at Undertaker for not answering. but Nathan Wallace answered
At Power Struggle, after Minoru Suzuki had defeated Toru Yano to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship, he was challenged by Hirooki Goto. Suzuki, however, turned down the challenge, stating that he was done with Goto, having first defeated him to win the title in April and again to retain the title in June. On November 18, Goto pinned Suzuki in their opening match in the 2017 World Tag League and afterwards made another challenge for the NEVER Openweight Championship. On December 11, when Suzuki again turned down Goto's challenge, stating he had nothing to offer in return for another title match, Goto offered to put his hair on the line in the match. On December 17, Suzuki tried to cut Goto's hair with clippers, but was thwarted, which led to him shaving young lion Tetsuhiro Yagi instead. After being pinned by Goto again the following day, Suzuki accepted his challenge for a title match, stating that the match would be one-on-one with no seconds at ringside and with the loser getting his head shaved. The match was officially announced the following day.
On January 23, 2018, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore was released from WWE, vacating the title. A separate general manager was then appointed for 205 Live, which was previously controlled by the Raw General Manager, to address the situation. On the January 30 episode of 205 Live, new general manager Drake Maverick (formerly Rockstar Spud in Impact Wrestling) scheduled a 16-man single elimination tournament to crown a new WWE Cruiserweight Champion, culminating with the finals at WrestleMania 34. The tournament took place over the next several weeks, with Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali advancing to the finals at WrestleMania's pre show for the vacant title.
On the March 12 episode of Raw, a battle royal open to any female performer of any brand was scheduled for WrestleMania 34. The match, originally named in honor of WWE Hall of Famer The Fabulous Moolah, was introduced to serve as a female counterpart to the annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. However, a few days later, the match was renamed "WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal" due to the backlash from fans and critics regarding Moolah's past treatment of other women. Like the men's match, the winner received a trophy, and both the men's and women's battle royals were scheduled for the pre-show. The main storyline going into the women's match was the increasingly strained friendship between Bayley and Sasha Banks. At Elimination Chamber, Banks turned on Bayley in the namesake match. Banks then was the first to note her participation in the battle royal on the March 19 episode of Raw. A week later, Bayley confirmed her participation and was confronted by Banks, resulting in a backstage brawl.On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Banks saved Bayley from a post-match ambush by Absolution's Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. Banks expected Bayley to be grateful, but the two instead fought
Pre-show matches Edit
Three matches were contested on the two-hour long pre-show, with the second hour shown live on USA Network.During the pre-show, it was shown that John Cena had indeed attended the event as a fan, and cameras followed him as he took his seat in the audience, a few rows back from the ring.
In the fifth annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, "Woken" Matt Hardy, Mojo Rawley, and Baron Corbin outlasted their competitors, when Bray Wyatt, who had previously feuded with Hardy, appeared. Surprisingly, Wyatt assisted Hardy in eliminating Rawley and distracted Corbin, so that Hardy could eliminate him to win the match.
Next, Cedric Alexander faced Mustafa Ali in the tournament final for the vacant WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Ali performed a "054" on Alexander, who broke the pinfall attempt by placing his foot on the bottom rope. In the end, Alexander executed a "Lumbar Check" on Ali to win the title.
The WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal culminated in Sasha Banks and Bayley teaming up to eliminate Natalya and The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan). Banks and Bayley then shook hands only for Bayley to quickly eliminate Banks. Thinking she had won the match, Bayley began celebrating, not realizing that Naomi had not actually been eliminated. Naomi then performed a "Rear View" on Bayley and eliminated her to win the match.
Preliminary matches Edit
The actual pay-per-view opened with The Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor in a triple threat match. In the end, Bálor performed a "Coup de Gráce" on Miz, only for Rollins to perform a "Curb Stomp" on Bálor on top of Miz. Rollins then performed another "Curb Stomp" on Miz to win the title for the win, becoming the 19th Grand Slam Champion in the process.
Next, Charlotte Flair defended the SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka. After an evenly contested match, Charlotte forced Asuka to submit to the "Figure-Eight Leglock" to retain the title and to end Asuka's undefeated streak.[Note] After the match, the two embraced.
After this, Randy Orton defended the United States Championship against Bobby Roode, Jinder Mahal, and Rusev in a fatal four-way match. In the climax, Sunil Singh distracted Rusev which allowed Mahal to perform the "Khallas" on Rusev to win the title.
Next, Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey faced Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match, which was Rousey's in-ring debut and Stephanie's first match at WrestleMania and Angle's first since Wrestlemania 22. Angle and Triple H started the match, while Stephanie distracted the referee to attack Rousey. Rousey eventually tagged in and faced off with Stephanie. She also faced off against Triple H. Angle performed an "Angle Slam" on Triple H for a nearfall, Triple H then executed a "Pedigree" on Angle, but Rousey broke up the pin. In the end, Rousey forced Stephanie to submit to an armbar for the win.
In the next match, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) defended the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston, accompanied by Xavier Woods) and The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) in a triple threat tag team match. In the end, Harper pinned Kingston after an aided superbomb to win the title.
John Cena had attended the first two matches in the audience until a referee had informed him that a special someone had arrived at the arena. Following the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match, Cena made his entrance for an expected match with this "Unknown champion". The lights went out, but instead of The surprise challenger , Elias appeared. After a brief confrontation, Cena attacked Elias. As Cena was leaving, the lights went out again and Undertaker's coat and hat (which had been left behind at WrestleMania 33) appeared in the ring and were struck by lightning. Nathan J. Wallace then made his entrance to the panicked shock of Cena and the match was made official. Nathan dominated most of the match and utilized his "Autistic Strong Style" and flying clothesline maneuvers. Cena countered a Brain Claw clamp attempt into a spin-out powerbomb. As Cena attempted a "Five-Knuckle Shuffle", Nathan nipped up and performed a Piggy Back Suplex and the Sling Blade followed by a "High Fly Flow" to score a big upset and defeat Cena in a match lasting under three minutes.
Next, Daniel Bryan teamed with Shane McMahon to face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in with the stipulation that if Owens and Zayn won, they would be rehired to SmackDown meaning this match is a "Do or Die" match. Before the match began, Owens and Zayn attacked Bryan and Shane. Owens powerbombed Bryan onto the ring apron, temporarily taking Bryan out of the match. Shane decided to face Owens and Zayn alone and the match officially started. Owens and Zayn dominated the match until Bryan recovered. Zayn performed a "Blue Thunder Bomb" on Shane for a nearfall. Zayn performed a "Helluva Kick" on Bryan for a near-fall. Owens tagged in and performed a pop-up powerbomb, but Bryan kicked out again. In the end, Bryan forced Zayn to submit to the "Yes Lock" to win the match. Per the match's stipulation, Owens and Zayn remained fired from SmackDown.
Next, Alexa Bliss, accompanied by Mickie James, defended the Raw Women's Championship against Nia Jax. Jax attacked James before the match began, eliminating James as a distraction. In the end, Jax executed a Samoan drop on Bliss from the second rope to win her first Raw Women's Championship.
In the following match, AJ Styles defended the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. At the conclusion of the match, Styles performed a "Phenomenal Forearm", and Nakamura performed a "Kinshasa" to the back of Styles' neck, both for nearfalls. In the end, Styles countered Nakamura's attempt at a "Kinshasa" into a "Styles Clash" to win the match and retain the title. After the match, the two showed mutual respect for each other. Nakamura kneeled down to present Styles with the WWE Championship, but then attacked him with a low blow and a "Kinshasa" on the floor, turning heel.
In the penultimate match, Cesaro and Sheamus defended the Raw Tag Team Championship against Braun Strowman and a partner of his choosing. After all three men were in the ring, Strowman said he waited until then to reveal his partner, which would be a random fan from the live audience. Strowman went out into the crowd and chose 10-year-old Nicholas. Strowman and Nicholas won the title after Strowman performed a running powerslam on Cesaro. With this win, Nicholas became the youngest WWE champion in history.
Main Event matches Edit
In the main event, Brock Lesnar defended the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns. Lesnar performed three German suplexes on Reigns, who hit Lesnar with three superman punches and two spears on Lesnar for a near-fall. Lesnar performed two "F-5"s on Reigns, with each scoring a near-fall. Frustrated, Lesnar put Reigns through a broadcast table with an "F-5" and performed another "F-5" in the ring, scoring another near-fall. Lesnar removed his gloves and attacked Reigns with elbow strikes, causing Reigns to bleed profusely, and performed a fifth "F-5" for a near-fall. Reigns recovered and performed two more spears on Lesnar for a near fall. In the end, as Reigns attempted another spear, Lesnar countered into a sixth "F-5" to retain the Universal Championship. The match would perhaps end up being more notable for the crowd signaling their strong disinterest at many points by chanting, among others, "boring", "this is awful" and calling for former WWE wrestler CM Punk. Beach balls were also thrown around the crowd which resulted in cheers and boos.
205 live Edit
AAA Lucha Libre Edit
|Pre-Show 1||Dragon Solar, Pardux, Solaris and Ashley defeated Bronco Gonzalez, Chicano, Fetiche and Hashtary||8-man tag team Llave a la Gloria finals||6:41|
|Pre-Show 2||Angelikal, Hijo del Vikingo and The Tigger defeated Angel Mortal Jr., Tiger Boy and Villano III Jr.||6-man tag team Llave a la Gloria finals||7:28|
|Pre-Show 3||Woken Matt Hardy won by defeating Baron Corbin, Aiden English, Konnor, Curt Hawkins, R-Truth, Primo Colon, Mike Kanellis, Tyler Breeze, Viktor, Zack Ryder, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Apollo, Shelton Benjamin, Rhyno, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Sin Cara, Fandango, Heath Slater, Chad Gable, Titus O'Neil, Goldust, Tye Dillinger, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Mojo Rawley, Bushi, Chase Owens, David Finlay, Delirious, El Desperado, Gino Gambino, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Katsuya Kitamura, Leo Tonga, Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, Taka Michinoku, Tiger Mask, Toa Henare, Yoshi-Hashi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yuji Nagata, Yujiro Takahashi, Masahito Kakihara, Danshoku Dino, Cheeseburger, Abyss, Grado, Tyson Dux, Taiji Ishimori, Trevor Lee (c), Desmond Xavier, Garza Jr, Matt Sydal, Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt (ic)
|52-man André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for the vacant GFW X Division Championship||48:14|
|Pre-Show 4||Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali -TITLE CHANGE!!-||Tournament finale for the vacant WWE World Cruiserweight Championship||12:20|
|Pre-Show 5||Naomi won by defeating Bayley, Carmella, Dana Brooke, "Ravishing" Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Kairi Sane, Lana, Kavita Devi, Taynara Conti, Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Becky Lynch, Mickie James, Peyton Royce, Natalya, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Sasha Banks, Veda Scott, Maho Kurone, Maki Ito, Taya Valkyrie, Laurel Van Ness||23-woman WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal||9:50|
|Pre-Show 6||Heavyweight Alternate Match|
|Pre-Show 7||CSHWA World Junior Middleweight Championship Tournament Semifinal|
|Pre-Show 8||CSHWA World Junior Middleweight Championship Tournament Semifinal|
|Pre-Show 9||Tournament Finale for the CSHWA World Junior Middleweight Championship|
|1||The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated Up Up Girls (Hinano & Miu), Up Up Girls (Hikari & Raku) and Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) (c) (with Rocky Romero) by submission -TITLE CHANGE!!!-||4 way Tag team match for the IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship|
|2||Seth Rollins defeated The Miz (c) and Finn Bálor -TITLE CHANGE!!!-||Triple threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship|
|3||Hernandez, La Hiedra, Mamba and Mini Psycho Clown defeated Big Mami, Dinastía, Estrella Divina and Máscara de Bronce||Relevos Atómicos de Locura match|
|WM 34 Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal|
|WM 34 Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal|
|5||Charlotte Flair (c) defeated Asuka, Rosemary, Ayoko Hamada, Lady Shani, Sexy Star (c), Sienna (c), Allie, Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim||10-pack Elimination Challenge match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship, AAA Reina de Reinas Championship and the GFW World Women's Championship|
|7||Kota Ibushi defeated Cody (c) (with Brandi Rhodes)||Singles Match for the GFW NEX-GEN Championship|
|8||Jinder Mahal (with Sunil Singh) defeated Randy Orton (c), Bobby Roode, and Rusev (with Aiden English) -TITLE CHANGE!!!-||Fatal four-way match for the WWE United States Championship|
|for the inaugural Xplosion World Super Light Heavyweight Championship|
|9||Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey defeated The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) by submission||Mixed tag team match|
|10||Team Parka (Argenis, Bengala and La Parka)
Team AAA (Texano, Pagano and El Hijo del Fantasma)
Team Relevos Increibles (Australian Suicide, Faby Apache and Pimpinela Escarlata),
Ex-AAA (Heavy Metal, Pirata Morgan and Villano IV),
Los OGT's (Averno, Chessman and Super Fly),
Los Guapos (Decnnis, Scorpio Jr. and Zumbido),
Team GFW (Jeff Jarrett, KM, Mahabali Shera, Su Yung, Kongo Kong, Brian Cage, Sienna, Laurel Van Ness, Eddie Edwards, EC3, James Storm Lashley and Moose),
Los Vipers (Histeria, Maniacoand Psicosis),
Mexican Powers (Crazy Boy, Lanzelot and Ñino Hamburguesa),
Los Perros del Mal (Halloween, Joe Líder and Mr. Águila),
NEO Biishiki-gun (Azusa Christie & Sakisama),
Nonoko, Yuna Manase and Haruka Nishimoto, MiraClians (Shoko Nakajima & Yuka Sakazaki), Mizuki & Riho,
Leyendas (Blue Demon Jr., El Cobarde and El Intocable) Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano),
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa),
Michael Elgin and War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe),
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Zack Sabre Jr.) (with El Desperado, Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru),
Marika Kobashi, Nodoka-Oneesan & Yuu,
Hyper Misao, Rika Tatsumi & Yuki Kamifuku and
Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe) -TITLE CHANGE!!!-
|Torneo Triplemanía 25 with Los Vatos Locos and Los Payasos as Lumberjacks for the the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship|
|WM 34 Heavyweight Superfight|
|13||Hirooki Goto defeated Minoru Suzuki (c) -TITLE CHANGE!!-||Hair vs. hair and no seconds deathmatch for the NEVER World Openweight Championship|
|14||The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) defeated The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (c) and The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (with Xavier Woods) -TITLE CHANGE!!-||Triple threat tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship|
|15||Pagano vs. El Mesías ended in a no contest||Street Fight|
|16||Will Ospreay defeated Marty Scurll (c), Hiromu Takahashi, and Kushida -TITLE CHANGE!!!-||Four-way match for the IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Championship|
|17||Undertaker defeated John Cena||Singles match|
|18||Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon defeated Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn by submission||"Do or Die" Tag team match|
Had Owens and Zayn won, they would have been rehired to SmackDown.
|19||Nia Jax defeated Miyu Yamashita, Reika Saiki (c), Alexa Bliss (c) (with Mickie James) -TITLE CHANGE!! 2xs-||Fatal-4-way match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship and the Tokyo Princess of Princess Championship|
|20||Psycho Clown defeated Dr. Wagner Jr. (c)||Lucha de Apuestas, mask vs. mask match for the Indiana Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship|
|WM 34 Heavyweight Tournament Finale|
|21||Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) defeated Switchblade Jay White||Singles match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship|
|22||AJ Styles (c) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura||Singles match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship|
|23||Kenny Omega (c) defeated Chris Jericho||No Disqualification match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship|
|24||Braun Strowman and Nicholas[Note 3] defeated
Cesaro and Sheamus (WWE Raw TT Ch),
Well Oiled Machines (Braxton Sutter and Psycho Mike Rollins) (AAA World TT Ch),
Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer),
LAX (Ortiz and Santana),
OvE (Jake Crist and Dave Crist)
Lashley and King Mo
Moose and Stephan Bonnar
the Lucha Bros. (Rey Fenix and Pentagon jr.) -TITLE CHANGE!!-
|8-team Tag team Elimination challenge match for the:
|25||Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Hvywt c) (with Gedo) defeated Tetsuya Naito, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar (WWE Uni c) (w/ Paul Heyman), Johnny Impact (AAA 3 belt c), Eli Drake (c), Alberto El Patron, Hijo del Fantasma and Texano Jr. -TITLE CHANGE 4xs!!!-||Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for: