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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Ronda Rousey needs a short match, Carmella to cash in on Alexa Bliss, and Undertaker must beat John Cena: WrestleMania 34 talking points

Ahead of the WWE's biggest event of the year in New Orleans on April 8 here is an analysis of some of the match-ups that will be on the show.

Ronda Rousey has been made to look strong on the road to WrestleMania but she needs to be kept strong with a short match in New Orleans on April 8. Image courtesy of WWE.
Ronda Rousey has been made to look strong on the road to WrestleMania but she needs to be kept strong with a short match in New Orleans on April 8. Image courtesy of WWE.

Rousey's limitations

A match that needs to be kept short at WrestleMania 34 is the mixed tag between Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Rousey is still adjusting to the WWE style, as highlighted by her awkward encounter in the ring with Absolution this week on Raw.

Her time in the ring needs to be minimal in New Orleans. Have her do a couple of power moves on Triple H after Angle has played the face in peril, and then have her tap out McMahon with the armbar.

That is all this needs to be. Short, sharp and simple. Keep Rousey looking strong and then start lining her up with experienced superstars such as Mickie James, Natalya and Sasha Banks going forward.

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Raw women's title scene to change

Alexa Bliss's days as Raw Women's champion appear numbered. But the question is who will she lose the title to. Nia Jax is her opponent at WrestleMania 34, but there could be a real twist in the tale to give a memorable WrestleMania moment to the women's division.

The WWE have the problem of Carmella and the Money in the Bank briefcase. Carmella only has two more months to cash in the briefcase before the June 18 deadline.

Now, in theory she should cash it in on the SmackDown champion. But there is no way that she is taking the SmackDown title off Charlotte before WrestleMania, and no chance she will beat Asuka, presuming the Japanese women beats Charlotte at WrestleMania to become champion.

The WWE needs the first women's Money in the Bank briefcase to be cashed in successfully to make it mean something.

They have a chance to do that at WrestleMania by having Carmella cash in on Bliss. A good way of doing it will be that Bliss, and her cohort Mickie James, cheats to retain against Jax, either with a distraction pinfall or a disqualification.

A frustrated Jax then decimates Bliss afterwards, leading to Carmella coming out to cash in and win the title. Whether she is entitled to or not, given she is on SmackDown, will add to the storyline and it will mix up the title scene going forward with both Jax and Bliss chasing Carmella.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn going to Raw

There is no way that Daniel Bryan is going to lose his return match on the WWE active roster after almost three years away.

So it is very likely that the WWE will go through with the kayfabe storyline of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn being "fired' over their assaults on SmackDown general manager Bryan and commissioner Shane McMahon.

Now they won't be fired for real and it is likely a way of getting the pair moved back to Raw for 2018-19, primarily to give the new WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns fresh heel opponents to face over the next few months once his reign as champion has gone underway after he defeats Brock Lesnar on April 8.

So Bryan and McMahon stand tall to have a feel-good moment and to end a storyline that has dominated SmackDown for the past seven months.

John Cena's fine work

A motivated John Cena on microphone can be one of the best things in WWE at present.

He has been excellent in building up interest in his anticipated match-up with the Undertaker at WrestleMania.

His next challenge is getting a good match out of Taker, whose last really good Mania appearance was against CM Punk in 2013.

Taker's best days are obviously, due to age, long gone, but he deserves a better finale to his career then the forgettable main event loss to Reigns 12 months ago in Orlando.

This match should not go long. It will feel epic in nature on its own but this cannot be a 30-minute, bells and whistles, kicking out of each others finishers and charging around the stadium kind of match.

Keep it simple, play to Taker's strengths and sell like a champion must be Cena's goals.

Who wins the match is also fascinating. Cena's storyline of needing to prove himself lend itself to him needing it, while why bring Taker back from an apparent 'retirement' just to lose again?

At this stage I'm leaning towards Taker. Very few in New Orleans will want to see the Deadman lose and, if this is his last match, he should walk away with the win.

Another Cena loss can add to his woe and tell a narrative going forward that builds to his record-breaking 17th world title coming at WrestleMania 35 in New Jersey.

WWE card for WrestleMania 34 as it stands

Universal title Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns

World Heavyweight title AJ Styles (champion) v Shinsuke Nakamura

Raw Women's title Alexa Bliss (champion) v Nia Jax

SmackDown Women's title Charlotte Flair (champion) v Asuka

Intercontinental title The Miz (champion) v Seth Rollins v Finn Balor

United States title Randy Orton (champion) v Bobby Roode v Jinder Mahal v Rusev

Raw Tag Team titles Cesaro and Sheamus (champions) v Braun Strowman and a mystery partner

SmackDown Tag Team titles The Usos (champions) v The New Day v The Bludgeon Brothers

Crusierweight title Cedric Alexander v Mustafa Ali

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon v Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon v Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal

Still to be confirmed - John Cena v The Undertaker

WrestleMania 34 is available on the WWE Network, which is available through OSN, with the coverage of the event starting with the pre-show expected to begin at 1am UAE time on April 9.