WWE WrestleMania 34: 9 Things You Didn’t See on TV

Debbie Emery

WrestleMania 34 took over New Orleans this weekend and, as expected, the result was epic mayhem in the Big Easy as thousands of WWE fans flooded Bourbon Street.
While the celebrations lasted all weekend, the main event was Sunday night, as the Super Bowl of professional wrestling returned to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which is normally home to the New Orleans Saints.
With an A-list lineup of veteran stars for the live pay-per-view, fans were most excited to watch former UFC fighter Ronda Rousey in her first major event since signing with the WWE, and the return of Daniel Bryan after being medically cleared following a series of concussions two years ago.
The packed roster included a mass of superstars in high profile match-ups, such as Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, and Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka.
While millions of viewers forked out cash for pay-per-view, TheWrap had a seat inside the Superdome in New Orleans. For those of you who didn’t buy the flagship WWE, here’s what you didn’t see on TV.

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Andre the Giant remembered 
Two days before the “Andre the Giant” documentary premieres on HBO, Mojo Rawley was in the ring defending his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal title to kick off the WrestleMania pre-show. Former Hype Bros. turned heel Rawley got the first huge cheer of the night as he flung his ex-tag team partner Zack Ryder out of the ring. But after Gronk took over the show last year with a surprise entrance, fans have learned to expect the unexpected at the battle royal, and this year’s shake up was the arrival of Bray Wyatt to join forces with former foe Matt Hardy. The pair then shook up last men standing by ejecting Mojo and Baron Corbin to allow Matt Hardy to win. Was this setting up a storyline for a Mojo vs. Bray Wyatt rivalry? We’ll have to wait and find out.

I may have lost my trophy. I may have gotten cheated. I may have gotten eliminated. But at least this happened. #ByeByeRyder #BooHooHoo @WWE @WrestleMania pic.twitter.com/brPbBhBCW8
– Mojo Rawley (@MojoRawleyWWE) April 8, 2018
John Cena is a regular fan — no, really 
WWE Superstar and “Blockers” actor John Cena promised that he’d sit in the audience as a fan if The Undertaker didn’t accept his WrestleMania challenge. Cena was true to his word, mixing with the regular folks and cheering like a crazy person during the Andre the Giant Memorial (he had great seats, of course). Whether he’d stay in the audience all night and not become a part of the show itself remained to be seen … but he proved to be a pretty good crowd warmer as chants of “Let’s go, Cena” and “Cena sucks” vibrated around the stadium.

EXCLUSIVE: @JohnCena stays true to his word as he takes his seat AS A FAN at #WrestleMania 34! pic.twitter.com/oYd3euEoU6
– WWE (@WWE) April 8, 2018
Debbie Emery
Countdown clock
WWE fans had been waiting a whole year for WrestleMania to return after last year’s sellout show in Orlando, Florida. A handy clock hanging high in the stadium rafters counted down to tell them exactly how long they had to wait.
And after it hit zero, things went off with a bang — literally! Have you ever heard fireworks explode in a covered stadium? It’s terrifying, take our word for it.
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The year of The Miz?
There’s no one more arrogant than The Miz, and stadium commentators further amped up the former “Real World” star by claiming it was “his year.” The WWE Intercontinental Triple Threat match saw him battle Finn Balor and Seth Rollins, as he desperately tried to hold on to his title. Spoiler alert: He failed. It turns out that not even the favor of the commentators can help you win a match, and Rollins sprang off the ropes to put an end to his parade.
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Queen Charlotte
Charlotte Flair is as close to WWE royalty as it gets — and the reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion made the entrance of the night as she took center stage to face off against Asuka. Ric Flair’s daughter glittered with gold walking into the ring dressed like a queen (Cersei or Cleopatra?) to take on her Japanese nemesis — sparking a hush from the enamored crowd. They really lost it, however, when Empress Asuka wedged Charlotte in a headlock that got her fuming … and ruined her hair. “I am the queen!” Charlotte could be heard screaming. But action speaks louder than words, and Flair had a brutal battle on her hands that left both women battered and bruised.
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The passion and fire erupting from the crowd proved that the women’s revolution really is here, with even one professional-looking reporter screaming “YES!” when Flair regained her title in a nail-biting finish that left fans aghast.

Everything leading to today has prepared me for this moment. Today is the greatest challenge of my career. @wwe_asuka might be the EMPRESS of tomorrow but I’m here to IMPRESS on the grandest stage. #wrestlemania
A post shared by Charlotte Flair (@charlottewwe) on Apr 8, 2018 at 10:54am PDT

Mad dash backstage
Everyone knew that Cena wasn’t going to sit on his ass all night, but did anyone guess he could run so fast? Cena got whispered a secret message from an official an hour into the show and sprinted backstage to get ready for his match … to the surprise of no one.

After being told something by a @WWE official, @JohnCena just ran out of here! #WrestleMania pic.twitter.com/okwOvSbmPb
– WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 9, 2018
He was soon back decked in a neon green shirt that was not long for this world, and after a bit of a teasing and a very dark, dramatic introduction, Cena vs. The Undertaker was officially on. It turns out that Cena can’t actually do everything, as he was forced scurrying out of the ring by the walking Deadman.
Good vs. Evil
The buildup for the Stephanie McMahon and Triple H vs. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle showdown was more drawn out than many matches, but it lived up to the anticipation. From the moment McMahon and Triple H made a Mad Max-style entrance on motorbikes proclaiming “Tyrannus et Imperium” to a death metal soundtrack, you knew this was gonna get serious.

‪Here’s a sneak peak at my look for #WrestleMania! Words can’t describe how excited I am for tomorrow. #TeamMcMahon ‬#NOLA #WrestleMania34
A post shared by Stephanie McMahon (@stephaniemcmahon) on Apr 7, 2018 at 11:57am PDT

In a sharp contrast, Rousey looked like an innocent school girl in her new “Rowdy!” shirt next to her tag team partner. As always, the crowd was on the side of the underdog as it chanted for the former UFC champ, who proved she has plenty of fight left in her, while everyone rose to their feet for a better view of the mayhem.
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Rousey then went on to beat Triple H like he was a little girl … I swear you could hear his yelps from the press box. But never get in between an angry woman and her guy, as McMahon crawled back into the melee. The audience blew the roof off the Superdome when McMahon tapped out to give Rousey and Angle the victory. See, sometimes the good guys do finish on top.

This look though.#WrestleMania @RondaRousey pic.twitter.com/1FpdAbg8Zl
– WWE (@WWE) April 9, 2018
Operation YesAre diehard WWE fans happy that Daniel Bryan is back in action? YES. His name rang out through the 76,000-capacity stadium, as he partnered with the other McMahon kid, Shane, to take on Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. McMahon called foul when Bryan appeared to be unfairly hurt early on, but he soon bounced back with the determination of someone who’s been sidelined too long. It ended up being McMahon that everyone was worried about as he struggled his way through the match, but it was clear they were both hurting. It’ll be ice baths all around on Monday morning but at least it was worth it.

– WWE (@WWE) April 9, 2018
Short Stacks
New Day set a very low bar, as the colorful tag team came out flanked by little people dressed in pancake costumes. We know that New Orleans is the home of Fat Tuesday, which traditionally marks the time to eat pancakes before Lent, but the move seemed morally questionable and had many people on Twitter scratching their heads.

I’ve just seen a midget dressed as a pancake do the worm. I can die happy now. Thanks New Day…#Wrestlemania pic.twitter.com/KDf93fX2tY
– BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) April 9, 2018

Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Sharks have nothing on New Day’s Shortstacks. #WrestleMania pic.twitter.com/lxVr5Ic3qX
– Ricci Vaughn (@RicciVaughn) April 9, 2018

John Cena has risen through the professional wrestling ranks to become not just one of WWE’s most popular Superstars, but one of the most recognizable faces in entertainment today. With “Blockers” set to open soon, let’s take a look back at the rise of Cenation.

Cena first appeared as The Prototype, a semi-robotic character, in the Ohio Valley Wrestling organization (essentially, WWE’s minor league system). 
Ohio Valley Wrestling

Shortly after being called up to WWE’s main roster, Cena adopted a new persona: Doctor of Thuganomics, a white rapper who often spat rhymes before his matches and had a penchant for backwards baseball caps and jersey combos. This also served as the beginning of a secondary career for Cena, who recorded a rap album in 2005 (which debuted at 15 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200) and was featured on the WWE soundtrack album “WWE Originals.”

After winning the WWE United States Championship the previous year, Cena defeated John “Bradshaw” Mayfield at WrestleMania 21 to win his first World Championship, solidifying his status as a wrestling star.

Cena made his feature acting debut in WWE Studios’ “The Marine” opposite Robert Patrick. Along with his new wrestling persona as a marine private who sports flags and denim shorts, the movie helped make Cena the new American hero of the WWE.
20th Century Fox

After a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” Cena was allowed to display his comedy chops on an episode of USA Network’s “Psych,” serving as a sign of things to come. Cena would return in 2017 for “Psych: The Movie.”
USA Network

After several years of losing and regaining the WWE Championship title, Cena entered into one of the biggest feuds in wrestling history against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After Johnson “screwed” Cena out of a match, Cena issued a challenge against Johnson for WrestleMania 28, exactly one year later. The highest-grossing event in WWE history ended with Johnson defeating Cena with his patented “Rock Bottom” move.

Cena challenged Johnson to a rematch at WrestleMania 29, a challenge that Johnson accepted. This time, Cena emerged victorious. After the match, the two stars publicly shook hands and embraced, ending their feud.
Getty Images

2015 turned out to be a breakthrough year for Cena, who appeared in the comedy films “Sisters,” “Daddy’s Home” and “Trainwreck.” He also made a memorable guest appearance as himself in the final season of “Parks and Recreation.”
Universal Pictures/NBC

2015 (cont’d)
In addition to his wrestling fans, Cena is known and beloved for his philanthropy, particularly his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cena began his relationship with the organization in 2004 and has since granted over 500 wishes.
Getty Images

In 2016, Cena began hosting the Fox reality series “American Grit,” which pitted civilians against each other in grueling physical challenges under the guidance of seasoned military vets.
Michael Becker/Fox

Leaning into his image, Cena opened the year by playing a soldier in Doug Liman’s war thriller “The Wall” opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He then appeared in “Daddy’s Home 2” before voicing a gentle bull with a big heart in “Ferdinand.”
Amazon Studios/Twentieth Century Fox

2017 (cont’d)
After hosting the Australian Kids’ Choice Awards in 2008, Cena was invited to host the Kids’ Choice Awards in 2017. After he charmed and slimed his way into the audience’s hearts, he was invited to host again this year.
Getty Images

Cena will soon appear in his first comedic lead role opposite Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz in “Blockers.” He will also co-star in the “Transformers” spinoff “Bumblebee” with Hailee Steinfeld, as well as voice recurring villain Baron Draxum in Nickelodeon’s new animated series “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Universal Pictures

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John Cena has risen through the professional wrestling ranks to become not just one of WWE’s most popular Superstars, but one of the most recognizable faces in entertainment today. With “Blockers” set to open soon, let’s take a look back at the rise of Cenation.

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