Wrestlemania

WrestleMania 33 Preview

I can’t think of a more perfect representation of what WrestleMania has become than this years card. A bunch of cluttered matches, title matches with terrible builds, and part-time old guys galore! It’s going to be great.

I’ve come around on Mania. There’s a thing that goes around every year that WrestleMania isn’t for the “hardcore” fans. That may be true, but  a 6 hour show filled with c-list celebrities and stars from the 90’s is not for casual fans either. Then who is it for? Well, the WWE tells us who it’s for in every promo. It’s for the “moments.” A decade ago, a WrestleMania moment was a storyline prop for Mick Foley vs Edge. Now, it’s a brand. The quality of the show doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except the WrestleMania Moments that can be put in a video package to make people think something important happened.

With that in mind, this preview will be about what moments the WWE is going to be telling us are important after the show. Winners and losers won’t be predicted unless part of the “moment,” because wins and losses don’t matter. This is proven over and over again. So here are my predictions for your upcoming WrestleMania moments.

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WrestleMania Preview (or not)

 

I tried to do a WresleMania preview. I really did. I even wrote half of it. But holy crap nearly everything about Mania this year just bores me to tears. If this card was at any other time of the year, no one would care. I tried, I really did, but man, I just stared at my screen, trying to think of something to say about AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho that hasn’t been said a million times, dreading having to talk about HHH’s mediocre WrestleMania main events… I tried gimmicking it up, but I was bored writing it, so there wasn’t much point in publishing it.

Instead, here’s something I did enjoy writing. On a wrestling message board, someone asked people to make their WrestleMania card, assuming you had access to all the injured wrestlers. This isn’t a fantasy booking blog, but dear God, WrestleMania is so boring this year. I tried to keep my fantasy card a bit realistic, but do include Cesaro, Neville, and most importantly, John Cena. That thread didn’t get a lot of attention, so I’m republishing it here with some extra bits.
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WrestleMania?

WWE has a great show coming up, that has a well-built title match and a solid undercard that I’m very much looking forward to seeing. Unfortunately, that show is called NXT Takeover: Dallas, not WrestleMania. WrestleMania itself is a mess of a card, with feuds that have hardly any build up, and matches that people actively do not want to see. My interest is low, and it may just be that the main event WWE product is just not meant for me anymore.

Let’s look at the WrestleMania card that’s announced so far and try to figure out what’s going on. The title match is HHH vs Roman Reigns. I feel like I talk about Roman Reigns at least once a month on this blog, and I don’t really have the motivation to repeat myself. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to this match, and the build for it since the Royal Rumble has been a colossal failure. WWE is aware of this, why else would Roman be completely absent from Raw for two weeks? Can anyone ever remember a time when the supposed Number 1 guy has been non-existent in the shows leading up to WrestleMania? He came back for a middling at best reception on Raw, and I’m going to laugh if he gets suspended until WrestleMania for his beatdown of HHH.

We have Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker, which is just bizarre. Expect an overbooked car crash like HHH vs Sting from last year. And the build up has just been… bizarre. There’s no other word for it. Between Shane getting lost in his promos to the motivations of everyone involved not making any sense, it’s just weird. The Diva’s Triple Threat is cool, and well deserved for all involved (except Daddy Flair), but is anyone actually excited about it, or think that it will lead the way into an actual Diva’s Revolution? WWE has burned that bridge too many times. We’ll probably get AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho, and that’s a cool match that should be good. Except we’ve seen it three times in the past month, so what are they going to do at Mania that’s new? And while their matches have been good, they haven’t been great, so expectations aren’t super high.

Kalisto vs Ryback? Really? I really like Kalisto, and don’t hate Ryback, but I’m going to be extremely disappointed if this recent Kalisto push was just to be squashed by the Big Guy. Kevin Owens deserves a singles match at Mania, certainly more then Ryback, but it looks like the Intercontinental Title will be a clusterfuck multi-man match. The WWE injury bug will be really felt there, as this match would really benefit from Cesaro and Neville. League of Nations vs The New Day is fine, and a smart way to make the New Day faces, and probably my second most anticipated match after Ambrose vs Lesnar.

Compare it to Takeover. Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe. Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura. The Revival vs American Alphas. Bailey vs Asuka. Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries. Those are all AWESOME matches. Those are all new matches, or nearly enough. Balor vs. Joe will be a rematch, but their first match took place months ago. Two debuts, including the goddamn King of Strong Style himself. Each of the three champions have been made to look impressive, and their challengers as well. Joe, Asuka, Gable, and Jordon have all earned title matches through their many impressive matches. These matches don’t have a long build, but that’s not needed when everyone’s character is consistent.

Look at Baron Corbin for instance. He feels screwed out of the NXT Title shot, and has a history for fighting the “Indy” guys who have been coming into NXT. It makes perfect sense that he would attack William Regal’s newest indy darling signing. Asuka has been a buzzsaw through the Women’s division, defeating everyone in her path while Bailey has been defending her belt against all comers. It makes sense they’re colliding.

And that’s the real difference. Everything at Takeover makes sense. Almost nothing on the WrestleMania card make sense. Random matches with random people in the undercard, and a main event no one wants. They have two weeks to try and fix it.

Ambrose vs Lesnar

 

Before I get into this, I want to apologize for not posting more the past few weeks. There’s been a general malaise, and my laptop burned out, but really, this is WrestleMania season! It’s the most exciting part of the year! Usually anyways. Needless to say, the build to Mania has been underwhelming. And while there’s plenty of negative to talk about, and I will definitely talk about it, I want this post to be positive.

There’s one Wrestlemania match that I’m very much looking forward to, and that’s Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar. Brock is Brock, obviously, but Dean has stepped forward these past couple months and showed that he is The Guy. It so incredibly obvious that he should be in the Roman Reigns spot that I feel stupid even typing it. From the moment The Shield debuted, Dean was the most well-rounded of the group. And while Roman has the Look, and Seth Rollins has the Skill, no one in the past couple years has been the Total Package like Ambrose. Last year, when people were contemplating who could realistically take the title off Lesnar, I had two very different guys in mind.

The problem with people having matches with Lesnar is he’s just too much. He’s too  big, too strong, too agile. He’s got the legitimate amateur background and a former UFC champion. That’s a lot to overcome, and few people on the roster have the skillset to realistically oppose Lesnar. You can’t overpower him; we’ve seen Lesnar destroy the Big Shows and Mark Henry’s of the world. You would have to be a freak of nature to stand toe to toe with Lesnar, like a certain Swiss currently out with an injury. Yes, in my mind, Cesaro is the only guy on the roster who could have realistically gone face to face with Lesnar. He’s freakishly strong and incredibly skilled. But there’s other ways to beat Lesnar.

Mind games won’t work since Lesnar is basically an animal. This is why a proposed feud with Bray Wyatt did nothing to interest me. Wyatt’s greatest strength is his aura of mysticism and the way he gets into his opponents head. If Bray got into Lesnar’s head, I’m pretty sure Lesnar’s brain would take Bray to Suplex City by itself. There’s no drama there that can be realistically created without Lesnar’s character being altered to be unrecognizable. If mind games won’t work, what about someone without a mind? Ambrose, I thought, has been shown to have no fear. He’ll leap off things, he’ll use weapons, he’ll take a beating and not stop. He’d stand no chance physically against Lesnar, but his unpredictable behavior creates problems for Brock that can’t be overcome by mere physicality.

So yes, one year ago I wanted either Cesaro or Ambrose against Lesnar. We got Reigns, and that was fine, but I’m very happy to be getting Lesnar vs. Ambrose at Mania this year. I would be even happier if it was for the title, and while that’s extremely unlikely, it’s not impossible. Ambrose has cut some killer promos the last few months, and has made me believe there’s a chance that he’s going to win his matches. It’s hard for a cynic like me to believe that plans will change, but Ambrose makes me believe. I thought his promo on Raw this week was just phenomenal, and regardless of if he beats HHH and Lesnar or not, it’s pretty obvious who the real star in the WWE is.

 

Post Wrestlemania: What’s next?

If Wrestlemania is the end of the wrestling year, the culmination of 12 months worth of programming, then the Raw after Mania is the season premiere. It gives us just a hint of what’s to come, keeping in mind that Wrestlemania 32 is a year away, and things are always subject to change. With that in mind, here are my Wrestlemania 32 predictions, and how we get there from here. Some of these matches may happen before we get to Mania, depending on how quickly storylines move and how many matches Mania will have.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Roman Reigns (champion) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins.
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Wrestlemania Review

Wrestlemania 31 has come and gone. Frankly, it was a lot better then I expected. There was nothing Great, but there was a lot of Very Very Good. And I may not agree with every decision, but the big matches went about as well as I could have hoped. Since this is the first review I’ve done on here, a few quick words. I’ll rate matches using the normal 5-star system, with 3 being an average match. I don’t get too hung up on ratings, on if something is 4 stars or 4 1/4 stars. Then the show will get a final rating out of 10. Alright, now let’s get to it.

Wrestlemania Pre-Show Matches

Since the WWE didn’t care about the Tag Team Title match or the Battle Royal, I’m not going to spend too much time on them either. Both were enjoyable and fun. Kidd and Cesaro retained their titles, which was definitely the right call, and The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Apparently it’s the first battle royal that Big Show has ever won, which is a strange statistic. You would think he would have won some just by virtue of being around forever.
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Wrestlemania Preview: The Main Events

A quick note before going moving on to the most important matches at Wrestlemania. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was moved to the pre-show, so we can be pretty positive nothing cool will happen there. Also, Hideo Itami will be the NXT representative in the match, which is neat but rather nonessential. Anyways, on to the Main Events! Either one of these matches might go on last, though with Lesnar re-signing, it’s a safe bet the Title match gets top billing.

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Wrestlemania Preview: The Midcard

We took care of the mostly meaningless matches last time. In this post I’m going to take a look at the all-important midcard, where titles will change hands and storylines will climax.

Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt

Unfortunately, I’m not looking forward to this match. And it’s not Bray Wyatt’s fault. After a long string of excellent Wrestlemania matches, last year was a dud for the Undertaker. How much of that can be attributed to the concussion he sustained during the match, his age and conditioning, or his opponent, I don’t know. But I’m guessing it’s a bit of all the above. Taker is 50 years old going into this match. He hasn’t had a good match in two years. For the last several years he’s been in the ring with the best in the business. You have to back to 2008 to find a Wrestlemania match that wasn’t against a five star wrestler.

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Wrestlemania Preview: The Undercard

With the go-home show of Raw in the books, Wrestlemania is pretty much set. Before I get into my three part Wrestlemania preview though, did you hear the news? Brock Lesnar re-signed! I’m so excited I could suplex John Cena. It opens up so many more possibilities for the title match, and I plan to go into those when talking about the Main Events. But first, there’s the Undercard, a mishmash of matches involving lots of people who have nothing better to do.

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