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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

WrestleMania 34 talking points: Ronda Rousey’s big moment and last chance for Roman Reigns

Ahead of Sunday’s event in New Orleans a look at just why now is not the time for Shane McMahon to turn on Daniel Bryan.

Ronda Rousey, right, faces Stephanie McMahon, left, as part of the mixed tag match on Sunday at WrestleMania 34. Image courtesy of WWE.
Ronda Rousey, right, faces Stephanie McMahon, left, as part of the mixed tag match on Sunday at WrestleMania 34. Image courtesy of WWE.

WrestleMania 34 takes place on Sunday in New Orleans. Ahead of the action here are some final talking points.

Ronda's moment of truth

So, here we are. Today is the day when Ronda Rousey officially graduates from UFC fighter to WWE Superstar.

Rousey has had a bit of a rollercaster so far in parts of her work on the microphone and in the ring has been good, and on other occasions less stellar.

The predictable element is she will make a winning debut; there is no way her and Kurt Angle will not have their arms raised in victory following their mixed tag match with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

But, how she fares on the overall presentation will be how she is judged. Her ring mannerisms, body language and ability to engage with the crowd and tell a story - those are all facets that are not necessarily part of UFC, so it is a test for her.

She will have plenty of support from the crowd and she is in the ring with three experienced hands so everything is in her favour on Sunday.

It is just up to her now to deliver.

WWE’s last chance with Roman Reigns as a face at WrestleMania

If you are feeling a sense of deja vu about a Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns main event at a WrestleMania then you shouldn’t.

This was the main event three years ago and it was the same situation then - the aim was to make Reigns the new top dog in WWE.

Audiences rebelled heavily against that then as Reigns was clearly not ready and it felt forced. The WWE had Seth Rollins memorably cash in his Money in the Bank (MITB) briefcase to get the WWE out of a bind.

There is no MITB this time hanging over Lesnar v Reigns II on Sunday. We will have a winner from the match.

Reigns is winning. The WWE have invested too much in him to see him not succeed. He will most likely received another mixed reaction from the crowd, but WWE will give Reigns the ball and see where he goes with it in a likely very long title reign.

But, if the crowds do continue to reject him as the babyface champion then they may have to finally go through with a heel turn.

The turn won’t happen now, but more boos then cheers in New Orleans will force WWE to re-think things and another WrestleMania, after four in a row, with Reigns in a prominent role as a face, is unlikely.

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Read more from Graham Caygill:

Seth Rollins Q&A: On WWE's WrestleMania 34, competing in Saudi Arabia and the Shield reunion

Speaking with Stephanie McMahon: Facing Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34, and ambitions for WWE

WWE WrestleMania 34 predictions: Ronda Rousey taps out Triple H and Roman Reigns wins the title

WrestleMania 34 talking points: Carmella to cash in on Alexa Bliss, and Undertaker must beat Cena

Daniel Bryan interview: On returning to the ring at WrestleMania 34

WATCH: WWE Superstars Alexa Bliss and Kane visit The National

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Shane McMahon must not turn heel at WrestleMania

One major element of gossip in New Orleans has been rumours Shane McMahon will turn heel and cost his partner Daniel Bryan their tag match with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on Sunday.

Now, I’m all for a good heel turn, but this one needs a clearer build before the SmackDown commissioner turns on his general manager.

It defies logic that McMahon, given his history of hate towards Owens and Zayn over the past seven months, would deliberately lose the match where the stipulation is his adversaries would stay fired from SmackDown if they lost.

Sure, the turn at WrestleMania, in front of a huge crowd, would draw attention, but it should not be at the cost of credibility and continuity to the narrative.

Bryan v McMahon is a good match to build-up over the summer, but there is absolutely no reason why the build to it has to start on Sunday.

WrestleMania 34 is on the WWE Network, which can be watched via OSN Sports. The action starts from 2am UAE time.