Mark For War: Main Idea
We’re on the edge of the Wrestlemania season, and over the holidays I had a chance to pow-wow with several people about what ‘Mania will ultimately look like this year.
In the WWE’s defense, they really haven’t tipped their hand yet. I think they’re still kind of piecing it together, or at least that’s the vibe I’m getting.
I, for one, am clueless as to the legit card yet. The undercard will easily fall into place. You’ll have a Divas match, a tag match, more than likely a unified United States/Intercontinental championship match, and the Andre Battle Royal. Then there’s the other approximate four matches, by which the show essentially lives and dies.
I am not saying these are the matches that are going to happen, nor am I saying these are matches that I above all want to see, but I do believe (given the current available roster and assuming no surprise returns occur) that these are the four matches which should be the cornerstones of the WrestleMania 31 card, how they should be booked, and why.
Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship) / Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship)
First off, this would be a legit main event for the show. For the last six months, everyone has said Roman Reigns would get the shot at Lesnar after winning the Royal Rumble. I do see Reigns going far in the Rumble, obviously. He’ll probably even make it to the final two. But Bryan winning makes sense. He’s more popular than Reigns and people are stoked on his injury comeback. Frankly, if there’s any question of him rushing back not for the main event, it would have made more sense for WWE to keep him on the shelf ’til after ‘Mania, and use him in a year-long buildup for the strap at the next ‘Mania, or at least Summerslam. There is heavy rumor that Lesnar will drop the belt prior to ‘Mania in some fashion, maybe even to Seth Rollins via a money in the bank cash in, or to Cena at the Rumble. If this happens, that would be a poor booking. This is the year of Brock Lesnar. At last years ‘Mania, he did what many considered to be the impossible. It’s his responsibility to defend in the main event one year later (even if he’s planning on leaving WWE again soon).
Speaking of Seth Rollins, I think the best booking would be Daniel Bryan having a hard faught battle with Lesnar for about 45 minutes, in which Bryan comes up short. Then, as Lesnar’s basking in his victory, Rollins comes out, cashes in MITB, and Lesnar lays down for him. If Lesnar is thinking of going back to UFC or at least leaving WWE, it would be an extremely racy booking to have him truly not put anyone over before he leaves. It would be a final “Until we meet again, fuck you” to the WWE Universe. There is, I guess, still the possibility of The Undertaker coming back to avenge his streak against Lesnar (but that doesn’t seem likely), or Lesnar not even being on the ‘Mania card (total waste). In which case, a Rollins/Bryan match seems likely.
Sting vs. Triple H
This feud, if you want to call it that, has fell off immensely. However, something is telling me that they did this on purpose, in order to get a greater response once it rekindles through another interference by Sting, more than likely at the Rumble. I guess we can all say that Triple H’s goal is to have Rollins capture the title as quickly as possible. If for some reason Sting interferes in this, maybe costing him the Rumble, it would reiginite the feud quickly, and with even more steam than a weekly buildup via Raw would provide. I sort of like the idea of Sting never appearing because he keeps his mystique. It’s a damn shame we weren’t able to see Sting vs. Taker at ‘Mania while the streak was intact, and I think this match will be cool enough in a Mania setting. I keep going back in my head to the idea of Sting teaming with Taker for a ‘Mania match against Triple H and maybe Rollins. But that’s probably just me overthinking things. This seems the most likely involvement of Sting in the card.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
Since the early 2000s (when the three way dance became a staple in sports entertainment), I have had a vision of three dudes coming up together in a faction, eventually having a falling out, clashing on a big stage, and then, years later, after all three have cemented themselves as legit players in the game, clashing on that same stage in the main event. This would essentially fulfill my vision. I’ve wanted the legit clash between these three for awhile now. Unfortunately, it’s a little past the angles’ prime to make it work like it could have. However, it could still work, and it would be nice for these guys to destroy each other one before they all head separate ways in their careers. Getting back to my vision: it would be really awesome is if this match could happen, and then several years later, in a ‘Mania headlining match, it happens again. The buildup would consist of vignettes from the first clash, when they were much younger, maybe with some soft piano music in the background. It would be the equivalent of high school sweethearts marrying each other in the gymnasium they went to prom in after dating several other people over a decade span. It’d be a nice parallel to have these guys forever interlinked in their careers. Reigns would be favorite to get the match, but ultimately Rollins would reign supreme at the end of the night, which would in turn set up an easy transition to a Rollins vs. Reigns feud for the belt.
John Cena vs. Rusev
I think universely everyone sees this as the “How Cena Got His Grove Back” match. I’d be stoked on this match, with the ineveitable outcome of Cena winning clean, more than likely with a US Flag in his hands (given to him by Hulk Hogan), wrapped around the neck of Rusev as he applies the STF for the win. This will propel Cena in to what I feel will be one of the biggest years of his career, ending with a match at next year’s ‘Mania against Daniel Bryan for the strap. Remember Hogan vs. Warrior at WrestleMania 6? A crowd split right down the middle. With a proper year buildup to Cena/Bryan at ‘Mania (possibly with the Bella twins involved), this magic would more than likely be recaptured. Cena vs. Bryan is the match we need at WrestleMania 32, and Cena vs. Rusev gets the ball rolling.
Let me know you’re thoughts on the potential WrestleMania 31 card.
The end of the holidays always signifies the beginning of the wrestling holiday season, starting with Royal Rumble and leading all the way through’ Mania. Let’s make it a good one.
Match of the Week: Hulk Hogan Vs. Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI, APRIL 1, 1990, WWF Championship/ Intercontinental Championship
I’m sure everyone reading this has seen this match, but it’s a staple that should be revisited once a year at least. The electricity in this match is insane. Hogan vs. Rock in the 2000s was cool, but Hogan was way past his prime at that point. It was a nostalgic match that ultimately would be unbeliaveble with a certain outcome. I think Rock and Austin also came close to hitting this level, but I think there were too many people thinking that Austin was nearing the end. These are two dudes going at it in their prime (if you will) with a crowd split down the middle. This is the blueprint for a Cena/Bryan clash next year. One will win, one will lose, and both will be ready to wrestle the next night, one with his head hung in shame.