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Predicting the match order at WrestleMania 34

It’s one thing to predict the winners and losers at WrestleMania 34, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?

WWE has announced 10 different matches for the main card of WrestleMania 34, not counting the kickoff show’s two battle royal matches and the cruiserweight championship tournament finale.

I’m also adding John Cena versus the Undertaker to the mix as the 11th match on the main card, because I find it really hard to believe that WWE would spend so much time on Raw hyping this up without paying it off with an actual match.

Here is my subjective view of how important each of these 11 segments rank on the WrestleMania 34 card, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Rousey & Angle vs. Triple H & Stephanie
  2. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
  3. John Cena vs. Undertaker
  4. Bryan & Shane vs. Owens & Zayn
  5. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
  6. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
  7. Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor
  8. The Usos vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Bros
  9. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
  10. Orton vs. Roode vs. Mahal vs. Rusev
  11. The Bar vs. Strowman & Mystery Partner

It is important to come up with a list like this to get an idea of which matches are going to be placed in the key spots on the card or take up the most time, and which matches might end up in the cool-down spots or be given the least amount of time.

Rousey and Lesnar are pretty much interchangeable in the top two spots. I think it’s most important for WWE that Ronda’s match is a success, but Roman’s match is also a big deal and will probably be the main event. After that, the star power of Cena and Undertaker place them next; their match would not seem out of place in the main event.

The part-timers are always treated as more important than the full-timers, so Shane and Bryan round out the top four matches. Styles and Nakamura come next due to the WWE Championship.

I’m slotting Charlotte’s match over the rest of the mid-card because the stakes of the undefeated streak versus the champion make it feel pretty darn important, whereas we’ve already seen various permutations of the IC Title and SmackDown Tag Title matches. Those matches should still get plenty of time and could both go long, so they come next.

The bottom three matches could be placed in any order. Alexa’s match will probably be the shortest in length but I’m ranking it above the others because the story is way more developed. I’m only slotting Orton’s match ahead of Strowman because I think it will last longer. Strowman’s mystery partner reveal is a decent hook, so perhaps I am underrating its ranking here.

Main event

The main event match will almost certainly come from the top three matches in my rankings. Lesnar’s match with Reigns gets the nod from me because it has been labeled often on TV as the main event, and it is a much safer bet than Rousey’s fight to deliver a competently worked match. But Ronda Rousey is the biggest star on this show, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see her main event this card. Then there is Cena and Undertaker, who always have a shot to main event (in fact Undertaker headlined the card one year ago).

Looking beyond the top three matches, I think it’s highly unlikely that Nakamura or Bryan main event this card. Nakamura has yet to main event any WWE PPV in a one-on-one match and it would be an unconventional move for WWE to do that for the first time with him at WrestleMania 34. Bryan probably has a better chance than Nakamura, but if a tag team match is going to main event this card, Rousey’s match is the superior choice.

I can squint and see a scenario where Charlotte and Asuka main events WrestleMania 34, and I would actually give them a better chance than Nakamura and Styles, but their feud has not been given a huge spotlight on TV and it seems like a severe long shot.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that Brock versus Roman is the favorite to main event, but WWE does have five other matches that could believably slide into that spot. It’s a stacked card.

Opening match

The opening match of the night is usually one of the mid-level attractions with good work rate that doesn’t require a dedicated video package ahead of time to hype it up. Things might be very different on this night though, because the show could begin with a talking segment in the ring with Elias or past legends.

Last year’s card actually started things off with AJ Styles versus Shane McMahon, so I do have to give strong consideration to the possibility that WWE might actually open the card with one of the six major matches I just detailed in the “Main Event” section.

Of those six matches, the only one that seems a potential fit for the opening match is Bryan and Shane. That’s because I don’t think the WWE Championship has ever been defended this early on a WrestleMania card (WrestleMania 8 is the only card I can think of that didn’t feature the WWE Champion among the final three matches), and Asuka’s match feels like it should come later in the night than Bliss versus Jax.

Bryan’s first match in three years is a huge deal that fans are super hyped for, and I think it would be extremely risky to open the card with it. It would be really hard for the undercard title matches to keep the crowd up after directly following the euphoria of Bryan’s return.

Therefore I am going to rule out the top six matches and focus on either the IC, US, or SmackDown tag titles for the opening match. I don’t think the Strowman or Bliss match meet the faster-paced work rate standard that is usually a good fit for the opener.

The US Title match is only under consideration because of the Rusev Day fan involvement. What better way to kick off WrestleMania than with 70+ thousand people chanting for Rusev Day?

The IC and SmackDown tag title matches will bring the work rate and exciting action.

It’s a really tough call. I’m going with the New Day. They bring the best of both worlds - an exciting promo during their entrance as well as top-notch action in the ring.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Usos vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers
Segment 2:
Segment 3:
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6:
Segment 7:
Segment 8:
Segment 9:
Segment 10:
Segment 11: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

General Structure

Trying to figure out the exact order of the 11 matches is a daunting task and seems impossible, especially because we have no idea which segment, angle, or match they will use to transition into Undertaker’s match against John Cena.

In an attempt to bring some kind of structure to the process, I will refuse to stack three consecutive matches from any single brand. The 11 matches include 5 from SmackDown, and at least 5 from Raw. Cena versus Undertaker could be counted as a 6th Raw match, because that’s where all of Cena’s segments have taken place, or perhaps one might consider it to be brand-neutral. My guess is the Raw commentators will call it so therefore it’s a Raw match.

With a fairly even number of matches from each brand, it seems like there is no need for more than two consecutive matches from a single brand. This will allow the commentary teams to be somewhat evenly distributed throughout the night.

Also, because I declined to start the show with one of the six major matches of the night, I am going to end up stacking most of them together at the back end of the card, with just one cool-down match added to the mix. That’s similar to what happened last year at WrestleMania 33, where the final six matches of the night included 5 major matches and one cool-down match (SmackDown women’s championship).

Considering there are no good matches to urinate during on this night, I think we will once again get exactly one match from the bottom half of my rankings used as a cool-down towards the back end of the card, rather than multiple instances of this occurring.

Lower Card

After opening the night with the SmackDown tag titles, I still don’t see a good immediate fit for any of the six major matches of the night in Segment 2. Therefore I am going to focus on the remaining four matches for Segment 2: IC, US, Raw tag, and Raw women’s title. In fact, right now I am going to determine which one of these matches to use as a cool-down later in the night, while placing the remaining three fights in the earlier portion of the WrestleMania 34 card.

Balor’s match is certainly not an appropriate cool-down match so I’m crossing it right off the list. Alexa’s match might normally seem like a decent cool-down option for later in the night, but I think it’s really not a good idea to put Charlotte’s match on earlier than Alexa’s. Charlotte versus Asuka is pretty clearly the most important female-exclusive match of the night and should be treated as such. Therefore I think Alexa will be placed in the first half of the card and Charlotte will be placed in the second half.

The US Title match has multiple wrestlers who feature slower-paced styles and it will likely get 15 minutes or so. That match really should go in the first half of the night to give it the best chance for a lively crowd. Strowman’s match will be much shorter and is more appropriate for a quick cool-down. The match itself doesn’t really matter, the interest factor is all about the mystery partner. I think there is a decent chance that Strowman’s partner ends up being a disappointing choice, like Big Show. With all of that in mind, I am saving Strowman as a cool-down match for the back half of the card.

After opening the night with a SmackDown match, I think a Raw match will come next, which means either Alexa or Rollins. My best guess is that WWE will want to start off the show with two hot matches before slowing things down a little, so that means the IC Title match lands in Segment 2.

That leaves Alexa and Orton to slow things down a bit in Segment 3 and Segment 4 before WWE hammers us with the six major matches. I’m not sure the best way to separate these two, so I’ll put Alexa in Segment 3 to get some representation from the women’s division within the first three matches of the night.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Usos vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers
Segment 2: Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor
Segment 3: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
Segment 4: Orton vs. Roode vs. Rusev vs. Mahal
Segment 5:
Segment 6:
Segment 7:
Segment 8:
Segment 9:
Segment 10:
Segment 11: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Mid Card

I am now left with 5 major matches to fit across 6 remaining segments, as well as finding a cool-down spot for Strowman.

Three of these major matches are from the SmackDown brand so I should probably get one out of the way now. I want to put a little more distance between Alexa and Charlotte, so that means either Styles or Bryan will go in Segment 5. After getting two of the least interesting matches of the night out of the way in Segment 3 and Segment 4, I think Segment 5 is an appropriate time to unleash Daniel Bryan and really get the crowd amped up.

It still feels too early for the cool-down, and I have placed two consecutive SmackDown matches, so now I have to either go with Undertaker or Rousey in Segment 6. Alternatively, I could swap Segments 3 and 4, which would allow me to consider a SmackDown match for Segment 6. I think I’ll stick with what I have and go right into Undertaker and Cena. Maybe WWE follows Bryan’s match with an Elias performance or Kid Rock concert to serve as a reasonable transition between Bryan and Undertaker.

Segment 7 should really go to Styles or Charlotte at this point. These matches are similar in that they feature no heels and are about dream matches rather than celebrities, flashy spectacle, or part-timers. I’ll give this spot to the women, assuming that it’s pretty likely WWE wants to save the WWE Champion for one of the final three matches of the night (like they almost always do at WrestleMania events).

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Usos vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers
Segment 2: Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor
Segment 3: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
Segment 4: Orton vs. Roode vs. Rusev vs. Mahal
Segment 5: Bryan & Shane vs. Owens & Zayn
Segment 6: Undertaker vs. John Cena
Segment 7: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
Segment 8:
Segment 9:
Segment 10:
Segment 11: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Upper Card

I have two major matches (Rousey, Styles) and Strowman’s cool-down remaining. It seems like the Strowman cool-down is better used following one of those two matches rather than coming next in Segment 8, and I want to have some representation from SmackDown in the last three segments. Therefore Ronda Rousey gets Segment 8.

At this point it’s hard for me to determine the best placement for Strowman because the match time for Rousey is hard to predict. Angle and Triple H being there means they could stretch it out to the 15 to 20 minute range if they want. My guess is the match goes longer than most expect, and so a cool-down afterwards is appropriate. Therefore I’m putting Strowman in Segment 9, with the top two title matches coming in Segment 10 and Segment 11.

Finalized card

So here is my final prediction for the match order at WrestleMania 34, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times.

Segment 1: Usos vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Bros (14 minutes)
Segment 2: Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor (13)
Segment 3: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (5)
Segment 4: Orton vs. Roode vs. Rusev vs. Mahal (12)
Segment 5: Bryan & Shane vs. Owens & Zayn (18)
Segment 6: Undertaker vs. John Cena (17)
Segment 7: Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (14)
Segment 8: Rousey & Angle vs. Stephanie & Triple H (16)
Segment 9: The Bar vs. Strowman & Mystery Partner (7)
Segment 10: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (19)
Segment 11: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (15)

Some of these match time predictions might seem a little short, but it is probably reasonable to expect between 140 to 150 minutes of match time on this show, with possibly more time available if Elias and The Rock aren’t getting time for a non-wrestling segment in the ring. The numbers above add up to 150 minutes so it’s pushing things to the upper limit. You can let me know in the comments how you see this time being divided between these 11 matches.

That’s my prediction for the match order at WrestleMania 34. What’s yours?

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