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The Taz Show: WrestleMania 34 Recap + Commentary

With guests Brian Campbell, Michael Johnson and Brian Monzo

Taz
April 09, 2018 - 2:57 am
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By Joe Cingrana

As WrestleMania 34 came to a close, a somewhat distracted Taz took to CBS Sports Radio to recap the night's events as some of the final matches were still underway! Taz was joined mid-show by CBS Sports correspondent Brian Campbell, PW Insider's Michael Johnson, and WFAN's Brian Monzo.

Check out a recap of the event below and listen to the full podcast of this special WrestleMania edition of 'The Taz Show' HERE.

From the masterful debut of UFC fighter Ronda Rousey who received the biggest applause of the night as she entered the ring, to the highly anticipated return of Lesnar vs Reigns, and the rise once again of The Undertaker -- WWE's thirty-fourth annual WrestleMania LIVE from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana left little room for disappointment (although maybe a little too much room for beach balls). 

The main event -- WWE's Universal Championship -- saw Roman Reigns enter the dome to boos and leave in tears as Brock Lesnar walked away once again the title holder after a contentious bout that seemed to sway by the second. Rumors of Lesnar going back to the UFC apparently had the crowd slightly disinterested, but after breaking finisher after finisher from Lesnar, Reigns surprisingly went down in the end, piquing the crowds interest again in a heartbeat.

 

UFC champ Ronda Rousey's debut in the WWE ring alongside Kurt Angle to defeat Stephanie McMahon and Triple H was quite possibly the crowd's favorite of this year's event and Taz says he is interested to see just where the WWE takes her story as she progresses. "It's not me being negative because I loved the match and I'm happy for the girl, she did great," said Taz. "Congrats to Ronda Rousey.

"I feel like a lot of it was, in essence, choreographed and I don't normally say that word. I know why they did it -- it's just because she's not able to get in the ring and do something we call, 'call it in the ring.' That doesn't mean you're talking loud to each other, sometimes you might whisper something to someone or you just instinctually feel what someone is going to do when you become a veteran at this thing here. It's not what people might think. They think, 'ah, they worked out every move!' No, if you think that I can promise you you're flat, dead wrong."

CBS Sports correspondent Brian Campbell went into Rousey's match thinking the crowd wouldn't truly buy her story as the all-American sweetheart and expected less of a reaction than what she actually got. Campbell says Rousey's debut received, without a doubt, the best reaction in the building and agrees her performance was clearly set up to see her shine. "Look, they could not have set her up to succeed any better in this match, and it's not just the three people around her," says Campbell. "It's how expertly I thought this was booked. They had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, and you know Taz, they did it with classic tag team booking. Every time you thought that finish was coming -- they escalated it to another level. And I thought Rousey, as green as she is, her timing I thought is what won her over with the fans.

"On a night that I really do believe stands out and is arguably a top 5 WrestleMania, I think she was the enduring moment -- she's that face you're going to think of when you think of 34 for years to come."

Taz is reluctant, choosing to see how Rousey will do when she doesn't have big stars to lean on and will need to rely on ad-libbing while in the ring. Campbell agrees she will need to show what she's got moving forward but thinks she delivered, even over-delivered at WrestleMania 34.

PW Insider's Michael Johnson says the one match that let him down this WrestleMania was the AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura bout and Taz agrees it was not what he had been hoping for going in.

"It was good but it felt like it never got out of first gear and into second gear," says Johnson. "I guess maybe the thought procees was, this is just the first match you don't have to throw everything and the kitchen sink at each other and it's going to become a more heated situation and we'll come back to it at Backlash or whatever the next show is." 

"I think people went in there expecting them to repeat some of the classics they've had in Japan and in other places," Johnson continues, "and it just wasn't there."

 

One match that did have it all for Taz was Charlotte Flair vs Asuka for the Smackdown Women's title -- "It was just a wow-wow! From Charlotte's entrance where she kind of lived vicariously through her dad, the great Rick Flair; with the entrance to the old school song from 2001: A Space Odessey... it was awesome! Then once Asuka got out there and these two girls hooked it up and got physical, it was just a great, great match."

Speaking of physicality Taz commented how, for the entire event, he has noticed how demanding this WrestleMania was and how the wrestling industry as a whole has changed. Taz sees the growing major media coverage of the sport as a major driving force behind athletes and fighters going above and beyond, giving their all for a performance that truly displays the intensity and drive behind their quest to be best. 

For more WWE WrestleMania 34 coverage, visit CBSSports.com.