Just one week away! It’s WrestleMania 32! Per annual tradition, this Week of Wrestling will feature today’s wraparound column, followed by RAW coverage tomorrow night, and the rest of the week will have detailed hype for all the matches announced for the big one, WrestleMania, on Sunday, April 3rd.
Some news coming out of the weekend, in non-WrestleMania news, WWE has signed Australian Tag Team members Michael Nicholls and Shane Veryzer to a contract, presumably an NXT one. Under the name The Mighty Don’t Kneel, they have performed in Japan for a number of years and have become a popular duo. Let’s just hope WWE doesn’t make them the new Fabulous Kangaroos. That would be awkward. Then we have Brock Lesnar making another SmackDown appearance, destroying Dean Ambrose and the Wyatt Family.
Let’s talk some Lesnar. First, this sends a clear message SmackDown needs to be watched just as often as RAW. The RAW go-home show for Payback was pretty terrible, and many thought SmackDown was the better send-off for the WWE Network special, Roadblock. Lesnar has made a couple of appearances on a show usually reserved for the non-storyline pushing crowd, yet here he is. Mauling both Ambrose and Bray Wyatt is a questionable move. Weeks prior, Bray Wyatt has cut his creepy hypno-cult promos while Ambrose acquires hand-me-downs from ECW Legends Mick Foley and Terry Funk. Maybe at WrestleMania, all the former ECW original Hardcore icons will carry Ambrose to the ring on a throne made out of barbed wire and thumbtacks. I get Ambrose is being pushed as the Mick Foley of our era, but do not expect any Hell in the Cell falls from him I the near future. This is supposed to be a PG show after all. Bring all the weapons you want, if Lesnar no-sells and suplexes him to Kingdom Come, then it looks more like a squash. Then you have Bray Wyatt. Will he be thrown into this and we get a Triple Threat Match? Would not be a surprise to me at all, considering how quickly WWE can change plans.
Take a look at the build for WrestleMania 32 in general. Most of the matches, probably the entire undercard was formally announced within the past two weeks. Last year, I feel as though matches were made gradually over the course of four-to-six weeks, without the feel of being rushed together. Granted, we all saw half these matches coming, even before WWE “made it official.” We have The New Day vs. The League of Nations. Kalisto vs. Ryback and Usos vs. Dudleys were fairly obvious. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks was a lock, and seeing Becky Lynch added was not much of a surprise. The Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles match was seen coming from day one, and while this looks to be a great WrestleMania moment in the making, the build for this was insanely rushed. They had three matches, tagged for all of a week, then broke up. Sure, WWE creating and selling Y2AJ merchandise was a genius move and idiot fans scooped them up in time for the duo to split.
On the more unpredictable side, Kevin Owens defending the Intercontinental Championship in a multi-man match was expected, but a seven-man ladder match including Zack Ryder and Sin Cara? Chances are Sin Cara was not supposed to be anywhere near this match, but due to Adrian Neville getting injured, WWE needed another lightweight who can fly, and bump. Sadly, they chose the guy who flies, bumps, and botches. Couldn’t have put Tyler Breeze or a surprise NXT entry?
On the main event side, we have The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon and Triple H vs. Roman Reigns, the latter no one caring about. The Undertaker/Shane match is more intriguing, because of the very quickly announced possible retirement of the Deadman. Vince blurted it out so fast and without fanfare on WWE Monday Night RAW, you may have missed the part where Vince openly says the Deadman is “his bitch” – and this is something I have STRONG contention with as an angle, and should he lose, Undertaker will retire. This is something many thought would have happened already since giving up the Streak, but now in a situation where it gives the appearance WWE is desperate for ratings and attention. It’s Undertaker vs. Shane, plus Hell in the Cell, plus “control of the company, plus “retirement stipulation.” Geez, stack on any other stipulations? Any room left for bad ideas on a pole? Maybe Shawn Michaels will be the guest ref, Stone Cold Steve Austin as guest ring announcer, The Rock as guest timekeeper, and random DX and nWo members as camera crew and crowd security.
The Hall of Fame class this year is pretty nice. Sting, Stan Hansen, Jacqueline, The Freebirds, Big Boss Man, the Godfather, all worthy entrants.
Here is something to think about. No CM Punk. No Daniel Bryan. No T.L. Hopper. No Cesaro.
NO… John Cena. NO… Randy Orton. NO… Seth Rollins.
Think about this for a minute. Neither uber-tier stars are scheduled for WrestleMania. No matches. No storylines. This is likely what sent WWE staff into a panic, due to the plethora of injuries, most notably affecting their uber-top-star-main-eventers. It does seem most of us have moved on and forgot Cena and Orton exist. Mostly Orton. No one likes him anyway. John Cena, the face of WWE everything, has been absent from television, and not even a mere mention of him showing up for WrestleMania. Maybe there was a slight mention, but nothing notable enough to warrant hype. If neither Orton or Cena show their faces at The Grandest Stage of them All, I would say Kudos to WWE for not feeling as desperate as they look. However, if Cena or Orton even consider an appearance, then WWE would be smart to advertise it to get their remaining fans hooked. If Seth Rollins shows up and Curb Stomps the Undertaker, I will lose my mind.
In the interest of keeping readers entertained for what will hopefully be an eventful week, I leave you pondering what matches will WWE make at the very last minute?