All week, we here at Sports Al Dente will be previewing all 14 matches on the WrestleMania 34 super card. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest WrestleMania’s in recent history, as every title will be defended on the card for the first time since 2001. Back then, though, there were only six active titles in WWE. This year, the ‘Mania card features nine title matches.
One of those title matches is Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev in a fatal four-way match for the United States Championship. Considered one of the lesser anticipated matches on the card, these four men will face an uphill battle on an already loaded ‘Mania card. Let’s take a quick look at how we got to this U.S. title match.
Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev for the United States Championship.
How We Got Here
Orton won the U.S. title last month at Fastlane, defeating Roode in a decent match. This was the first time Orton had won the U.S. title, completing the career grand slam for the Apex Predator.
Roode has been on the main roster since August but quickly found success. After winning his feud against Dolph Ziggler, Roode went on to capture the United States Championship in a tournament. Roode defeated Mahal in the finals to give Roode his first championship on the main roster. He held the title for three months before losing it to Orton.
After losing his WWE title rematch to AJ Styles, Mahal seemed to have no direction to go. He lost in the finals of the U.S. title tournament to Roode, giving him no clear path to WrestleMania. With the release of the inaugural Smackdown Top 10 list, though, Mahal found a way to stir the pot between Roode and Orton. Mahal has consistently attacked Roode and Orton in the past month, putting Mahal in the U.S. title match at ‘Mania.
Rusev earned his way into the match after pinning Orton in a tag team match on Smackdown on March 27. Because of the win, Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan put Rusev in the title match. Rusev Day on the same day as WrestleMania? What a treat!
While these four have never all faced each other at the same time, the paths of these men have crossed paths multiple times. Roode and Orton have recently feuded over the U.S. title. Mahal defeated Orton for the WWE Championship last May and then defended it against The Viper two times afterward. Orton then feuded with Rusev, which is where “Rusev Day” was born. Rusev and Mahal were actually tag team partners to start 2017 but quickly dissolved as Mahal went on to win the WWE Championship short afterward.
There really hasn’t been much feuding between the four, as the fatal four-way was announced just 12 days before WrestleMania. Mahal, Orton, and Roode have been tangled in a feud for the U.S. title for more than a month now, with all three men gaining advantages over the other two competitors. There is a lot of unknown as to who will walk out of New Orleans United States Champion.
Expectations: There were minimal expectations for the U.S. title match before the late announcement of Rusev being involved in the contest. Adding Rusev has given a shot of adrenaline to this stale feud. Nobody really wants to see Mahal anymore, Roode is a better heel than a face, and Orton seems bored as U.S. champion. Rusev makes the match interesting, but I could see this one being moved to the pre-show.
WrestleMania 34 takes place from The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on April 8 with a special start time of 7 pm eastern/6 pm central. The show is streaming live on the WWE Network.