It was long.
WrestleMania 34 had a shocking finish in the main event. The best match on the card had two retired wrestlers in their late 40s, a non-wrestler, and a woman making her pro wrestling debut. It had a 10-year-old pulled out of the crowd to win the tag team titles. It had a match with two of the best wrestlers in the world in which the post-match angle was more interesting. It had several squash matches, the shortest of which featured John Cena as the jobber. It had two pre-show battle royals; at one point WWE cut away from the women’s match to show action figures of male wrestlers fighting. It had a shocking end to a long winning streak. It had Daniel Bryan’s first match in almost three years. The main event turned into a bloodbath, and the guy WWE has been setting up for a big title reign for four WrestleManias now… lost.
But mostly, it was just long.
For all the things that happened during WrestleMania, none are quite as memorable as its length. Counting the pre-show, which started at 5 p.m. eastern, the event lasted just over seven hours. Even if you didn’t watch the pre-show, it was still five hours. The party where I watched WrestleMania dwindled from 12 guests to just three by the time it ended.
Was it good? Of course it was good. It was WrestleMania! Even the worst WrestleManias at least have a bit of spectacle to them, and this was not nearly the worst WrestleMania. All of the matches at this WrestleMania had significant builds, there was a decent amount of star power, and the wrestling was all decent enough. But it was, perhaps inevitably, a slog to get through. It’s great that WWE tries to get all the wrestlers onto WrestleMania. But WrestleMania 34 was too busy. It was, as I believe I mentioned earlier, too long. I love to watch wrestling—I went to seven wrestling shows in five days in January—and I was burnt out by it.
The best part of the show, amazingly enough, was the Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. Triple H/Stephanie McMahon mixed tag-team match. Stephanie got too much offense on Rousey—a non-wrestler shouldn’t be beating up “the baddest woman on the planet”—but otherwise it was great. Rousey looked every bit a pro wrestler in her first match; she even did a so-so hurricanrana. But what made this match work, mostly, was it was scripted better than any other match on the show. It told a simple story—Stephanie trying to avoid Rousey—and told it pretty well.
The most ridiculous moment of the night was also one of the best. Braun Strowman, needing a partner to wrestle Cesaro and Sheamus for the Raw tag team titles, picked a 10-year-old boy named Nicholas out…
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