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The Ultimate WrestleMania 34 Cheat Sheet

ESPN

As far as the WWE is concerned, it doesn't get any bigger than WrestleMania. As far as this year's show goes, that logic applies to both the quality and the stakes of the matches at hand, as well as the sheer size of the show itself.

Between the two-hour kickoff show and what could be another five-plus-hour main card, we'll see 13 (and possibly 14) matches play out at WrestleMania 34 as the WWE packs the SuperDome in New Orleans to capacity.

There's a lot to keep track of with that many matches in play, and it's easy to forget everything that happened to deliver this stacked WrestleMania 34 card. Whether you're looking for a refresher or need to get caught up on everything before Sunday night, we're breaking down every match to its most basic components. Tim Fiorvanti has things covered from the Monday Night Raw side, while Matt Wilansky runs things down for all of the SmackDown-centric matches.

If you want a more light-hearted look at Sunday's action, head here.

(c) -- indicates defending champion

Universal championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

How we got here: The war between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar dates back more than three years to the lead-up to WrestleMania 31. Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble, Lesnar was the WWE champion, and despite the buildup featuring an embarrassing tug-of-war with the title belt, both men showed up in a big way in the WrestleMania 31 main event. There was no payoff for them, however, as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase midmatch and pulled off "the heist of the century." Lesnar and Reigns faced off a few times over the ensuing years, but they never got their one-on-one rematch.

That was remedied at Elimination Chamber, when Reigns won the right to face now-Universal champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34. Since defeating Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 to become champion, Lesnar has defended the Universal title a handful of times. Some were great, such as the Fatal 4-Way at SummerSlam and against Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire; others, such as his match against Braun Strowman, weren't so hot. Reigns called Lesnar out for being a part-time champion, and over the past few weeks leading up to their long-awaited rematch, Lesnar has gotten the upper hand every time.

Why it matters: Since Goldberg won the Universal championship in March 2017, the Universal championship has been on Raw only part-time. While the title being around the waist of future Hall of Famers such as Goldberg and Lesnar has added a certain level of prestige, there were large gaps when Lesnar didn't appear that the title was virtually forgotten about. Sunday's WrestleMania 34 main event is WWE's latest attempt at a "passing the torch" moment for Reigns, and though there has been some hope with positive crowd reactions of late, no one can say how things will play out come Monday morning.

Prediction: After dancing around the world title picture for a long time, it's time for Reigns to step up and claim the Universal championship. If Paul Heyman's promise from Monday night comes true, and Lesnar and Heyman disappear from WWE TV entirely should Lesnar lose at WrestleMania, it will be a chance to turn the page. Fresh rivalries and having the top champion on Raw every week should do a world of good, even if there will be a lot of vocally unhappy fans.


WWE championship
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

How we got here: Officially, Shinsuke Nakamura's win at the Royal Rumble gave him an automatic ride in WrestleMania's main event. But let's be real: This match was going to happen, in large part, because of fan interest and shared history. AJ Styles and Nakamura have long roots that trace back to their rivalry from New Japan Pro Wrestling. They remain international icons, and whether this was for a championship or not, people would want to see this once-in-a-lifetime (now twice) showdown on a WWE platform -- and WrestleMania only raises the stakes.

Why it matters: Realistically, Styles has no one who else who can challenge him for the biggest title on SmackDown and make it feel like as big a deal as this Nakamura match does. Nakamura made his main roster debut one year ago, and since then, it has been a smart, meticulous build. The rivalry between the two will hopefully carry on past WrestleMania and evolve from there, but even if it's just a one-off, the match puts SmackDown on even footing with Monday Night Raw in terms of star power on the WrestleMania card.

Prediction: The timing is right for Nakamura. He's only a year into his SmackDown reign, but he's a longtime veteran of his trade. It's going to be as close to a five-star match as you'll get at WrestleMania, and with the crowd going wild for both performers, Nakamura walks out with title in hand.

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Rousey gets confrontational with Triple H, McMahon

Tensions rise between Ronda Rousey, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WWE Elimination Chamber, which leads to Rousey slamming Triple H through a table and McMahon retaliating by slapping Rousey in the face.

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs.
Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

How we got here: Just like Lesnar and Reigns, the history as far as Ronda Rousey and the WWE goes dates back to WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara. The Rock pulled Rousey, then the UFC women's bantamweight champion, out of the crowd to even the odds against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon; Rousey hip-tossed Triple H and threatened to break McMahon's arm. Rousey started popping up in WWE again in 2017, when she supported her friend Shayna Baszler during the Mae Young Classic, and at the 2017 Royal Rumble, Rousey officially stepped into the world of WWE as a contracted performer.

The history between McMahon, Triple H and Kurt Angle goes back almost two decades, but for the purposes of this match, all we need to know is that Triple H blindsided Angle at Survivor Series while the two were teammates. Tensions flared in the lead-up to WrestleMania, with Rousey putting Triple H through a table and McMahon eventually returning the favor.

Why it matters: The WWE has gone all-in on Rousey, and, struggles on the microphone aside, has a tremendous asset on its hands if things play out for the best. Her name recognition and MMA background should bring a lot of eyes to WrestleMania, and her ability to perform in the ring will go a long way toward determining how Rousey, the WWE and their relationship together moves forward after the show is over.

Prediction: It would be truly mind-boggling if Rousey and Angle don't win, simply because Rousey is being groomed for huge opportunities in the future. If she takes a fall in a spectacle match such as this, something has gone seriously awry.


The Undertaker vs. John Cena (?)

How we got here: Well, that's kind of the problem -- we haven't gotten anywhere yet, and for all we know, we might not get there at all. Cena alternated between begging the Undertaker for a match and berating him for not responding in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 34, but Undertaker never gave any indication either way. If this match, which Cena has alluded to wanting for a long time, doesn't happen with a crazy turn of events in New Orleans on Sunday, Cena will basically be a deluded old man yelling at no one in particular, for no real reason.

Why it matters: Despite the lack of a satisfying payoff up to this point, Undertaker vs. John Cena -- even at this point in their careers -- is a huge match at WrestleMania. Their paths have rarely crossed, despite Cena having been on the main roster since 2002, and this would be only their second pay-per-view one-on-one match; the first was at Vengeance in 2003.

Prediction: The outcome seems pretty irrelevant here. These two facing off at WrestleMania is worth the price of admission no matter who wins.


SmackDown women's championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka

How we got here: Like Nakamura, Asuka earned her title shot by winning a Royal Rumble match that gave her the option to choose which champion she wanted to take on at WrestleMania. There hasn't been a ton of direct heat between her and Charlotte Flair, but this story is simply a war between two women proving who is the best women's wrestler in WWE. Outside of the Mixed Match Challenge finale Tuesday, there has been only verbal sparring between the two women.

Why it matters: These are the two top women's performers in WWE right now, hands down. It's the first step in what will hopefully be a long, entertaining rivalry. There have been plenty of high-profile women's matches in WrestleMania lore, but it's easy to see why this feels like one of the most important women's matches in WWE history.

Prediction: Neither wins. Carmella has been teasing her Money in the Bank cash-in for a few weeks. She'll do so on Sunday, sparing both Charlotte and Asuka from taking a loss against one another. Carmella gets nuclear heat for ending Asuka's undefeated streak, and SmackDown's women's division catches fire post-WrestleMania.

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Bryan thanks his wife for pushing him to return

Daniel Bryan tells the story of his wife, Brie, encouraging him to start to see specialists, which led to him being cleared to return to wrestle for the WWE.

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

How we got here: First and foremost, Daniel Bryan's role in this match happened with the stunning news of him getting cleared to compete in the ring. For the source of tension between all four men, you have to go back to the end of last year when, in a stunning heel turn, Sami Zayn helped save the day for his former-friend-turned-bitter-rival-turned-friend-again Kevin Owens by pulling him out of the way just before McMahon could land a massive elbow from the top of the cage at Hell in a Cell.

Since then, it has been a whirlwind with a lot of jagged storytelling, including dissent between both sets of partners, but as WrestleMania drew closer, both pairings set aside any differences and presented unified fronts. The heat has picked up in a big way, with Owens and Zayn brutally attacking McMahon and Bryan in recent weeks.

Why it matters: After a three-year health hiatus, this is the return of Daniel Bryan, the performer. Who doesn't want to see that?

Prediction: While the world wants to cry "Yes!" through the roof of the Superdome with Bryan, the idea of the lovable underdog coming out on top too soon seems like a mistake. Perhaps a Shane O'Mac heel turn is in the offing? It seems likeliest that Owens and Zayn win by whatever nefarious tactics available, but if they lose, perhaps Sami and Kevin simply head to Raw.


Intercontinental championship
The Miz (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins

How we got here: We got our first taste of what a Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins match could be in May 2017, when the three men faced off on Monday Night Raw to determine the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental championship. That match went 20-plus minutes and showed off three guys who had a ton of potential on the Raw roster. Fast-forward almost a year, and though there have been some great matches and a few memorable rivalries, neither Balor nor Rollins has had a moment when he truly stepped forward. Miz, on the other hand, is in the midst of his eighth reign as Intercontinental champion and on the verge of holding that title for the most total days of any superstar in WWE history.

On the same night in late February, Rollins and Balor each beat The Miz one-on-one, putting the wheels in motion for what would become this WrestleMania match.

Why it matters: In August 2016, Balor and Rollins were at the pinnacle of WWE, competing in the first Universal championship match. Injury concerns have dogged both promising talents, but after a long stretch of solid health, it's time for these cornerstones of the future to get themselves back on the path to the very top. They are two of the most talented in-ring performers in the world, and Miz has proven to be versatile whenever pushed to his limits. It has been a long time since Miz was in a match of this magnitude -- possibly not since his WrestleMania XXVII main event against John Cena -- and he has more than earned the chance to shine brightly on WWE's greatest stage.

Prediction: The Miz does not walk away as Intercontinental champion. In reality, any of these three guys could be Roman Reigns' first challenger for the Universal championship should he win (and pending any roster shuffles that might follow WrestleMania), and any of them can carry the Intercontinental championship and elevate it. I'm going to lean toward Balor walking away with the title, but this feels like one of the hardest matches to call. Miz will win his record-tying ninth IC title somewhere down the line and then break Pedro Morales' all-time combined days record in kind.


Raw women's championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax

How we got here: With the exception of Brock Lesnar and United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, Alexa Bliss has had the Raw women's championship for longer than any other active title-holder in the WWE. She has had only a handful of title defenses, most recently inside of the Elimination Chamber, but with Asuka heading to SmackDown to challenge Charlotte Flair, there were no clear-cut contenders for her title heading into WrestleMania. Cue a month's worth of "Mean Girls" tactics and body shaming, and suddenly, Bliss' former "best friend" is her most bitter enemy.

Why it matters: Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss have all been Raw women's champion, but outside of that trio and Asuka, it has been hard to establish new top-level stars in the Raw women's division. Jax had a real coming-out party in a series of matches against Asuka in the past month, and Bliss' truly hurtful and hateful words have gotten the WWE crowds behind Jax, the former villainous monster.

Prediction: Bliss is a master manipulator, and Mickie James seems likely to get involved, but if ever there were a time when fans might get behind a Sheamus-over-Daniel Bryan-esque blink-and-you'll-miss-it match, this might be it. If Bliss doesn't get a comeuppance for lines such as "blubbering into her blubber," there's something seriously wrong going on.


United States championship
Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal vs.
Bobby Roode vs. Rusev

How we got here: At Fastlane, Randy Orton beat Bobby Roode for the United States championship. Jinder Mahal made his presence felt as Orton was celebrating, and in time, this set up a three-way title match for WrestleMania. After weeks of this trio beating each other up and turning on one other, Rusev pinned Orton in a tag-team match last week and was added to the mix, making it a Fatal 4-Way.

Why it matters: It matters because Rusev is involved. That's it. He's having the most unexpected career renaissance of any performer in recent memory.

Prediction: Rusev. The 70,000 fans at the Superdome will be singing "Rusev Day" until their voices finally give out.

Raw tag team championships
The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman & TBA

How we got here: There were no real contenders in the Raw tag team division as Sheamus & Cesaro got the better of almost everyone, and so a tag team battle royal was held. Having nothing else to do, Braun Strowman entered by himself and proceeded to win. Pressed to pick a tag team partner, Strowman still hasn't done so and likely won't until match time on Sunday.

Why it matters: Sheamus & Cesaro need competition and a WrestleMania match. Braun Strowman has long needed competition and needed a WrestleMania opportunity. There needs to be a hard reset on the Raw tag team division, so even though Sheamus & Cesaro have done great things, Strowman and whomever he chooses will be in a position to break the Raw tag team division back down to its foundation.

Prediction: Braun Strowman wins. He could pick Big Show or a diminutive afterthought (though not Curt Hawkins, apparently), but Strowman seems well-positioned for his first taste of gold in WWE unless he picks a partner who actively screws things up.


SmackDown tag team championships
The Usos (c) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers

How we got here: The Usos and New Day had arguably the top rivalry of 2017, putting on one five-star performance after another. Why not let them duke it out again on the biggest stage WWE has to offer? Late last year, the Bludgeon Brothers, the reunited reincarnation of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, came along and subsequently destroyed everyone in their way. At Fastlane last month, they decimated both The Usos and the New Day and earned their way into this WrestleMania title match.

Why it matters: After some brief teases that Breezango or Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin could rise to the level of The Usos and New Day on SmackDown, neither team did. As good as The Usos and New Day have been, SmackDown needed new blood. That's where the Bludgeon Brothers come in. It doesn't look like their momentum will stop anytime soon. After almost a decade and five tag team championship reigns, The Usos finally get their chance to perform on the main card of WrestleMania for the first time.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers, decisively. They'll go all Braun Strowman on the four other competitors and walk away as the no-doubt team to beat. The Usos, who have been the best tag team in the business over the past year, will take their show to Monday Night Raw in a Superstar Shakeup in the weeks to come, giving that show some much-needed depth in their tag team division.

Cruiserweight championship
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

How we got here: A 16-man cruiserweight championship tournament over the past two-plus months has completely reinvigorated 205 Live. Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali, who faced off in a match just before the start of the tournament, set the tone for the cruiserweight division's return to a focus on intense physical in-ring action.

Why it matters: Ali had three incredible matches on his way to the finals at WrestleMania and was far-and-away the breakout star. Alexander was the No. 1 contender when the previous cruiserweight champion was released, and he cut through the other side of the bracket with some impressive performances of his own. Together, they can bring the magic the cruiserweight division has been channeling of late to a much broader audience.

Prediction: This feels like another 50/50 situation, but I'll lean Ali, if only because a bitter Alexander turning toward the dark side and sparking a longer rivalry would be an appealing outcome.


WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal

Naming controversy aside, this match has the potential to drive at least one major storyline forward: the war between Bayley and Sasha Banks that finally bubbled over in the past two weeks. It would do a lot of good for women's wrestling in WWE to evolve to a point where heated rivalries that didn't involve titles or romantic relationships could carry a lot of weight -- and Bayley versus Banks is just the pairing to drive that point home. There will be a collection of Raw, SmackDown and NXT superstars in this match, with a high likelihood of a few legends as well -- making the match result nearly impossible to predict.


Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The fifth annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal takes place just two days before the premiere of HBO's documentary on the "Eighth Wonder of the World." That might add enough importance to warrant someone such as Dolph Ziggler getting the nod in this match, or perhaps it will be a vehicle for an NXT upstart. There's also the lingering possibility of using this match as a way to include a celebrity, as was done last year with Rob Gronkowski.