This is it folks. One day to go. It is main event time. Looking back, the hype for WrestleMania compared to past years might seem a bit lackluster. However, keep something in mind. Not every WrestleMania will be great. Sometimes WrestleMania will feel like more of an overhyped supercard. Sometimes WrestleMania will appear like the greatest one ever. The hype, promotion, and the anticipating for WrestleMania XX was pretty epic. That began at the Royal Rumble and went into March.
This year, the foundation was set at the Royal Rumble, but nearly every match was made within the past month, some as late as last week. Not what we expect for a WrestleMania. RAW this week attempted to “wow” the fans with Shane and Undertaker opening the show will an all-out brawl culminating with Shane dropping the high-flying elbow through the announce table. The live crowd was whipped into a frenzy, but the show seemed to waver following the segment. They tried hard to push Roman Reigns and Triple H with these “personal vendettas” but those fell flat. Truly, the undercard will likely stand out this year as the main attractions did not appear to be well planned and well accepted.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell Match
If Shane wins, he gets control of RAW and the Deadman retires
Well. This one is a head-scratcher. On the one hand, this seems like an epic match. On the other hand, this also screams desperation. Undertaker vs. Shane? Really? The Streak is over. If Taker loses, then he is done. That’s it. Shane McMahon left the wrestling business to pursue his own aspirations. Bringing him in makes for good television, and by crowd reactions, they love it. To be honest, I am quite surprised so many current fans even remember his involvement during the Attitude Era. Probably more legend than fact. Undertaker defeating Shane does nothing, and Shane beating Taker just sends him off to retirement, something we all thought should have happened two years ago. Shane will then be a permanent fixture on television? Will this lead to another Vince vs. Shane match at SummerSlam? They aren’t as young as they used to be.
For the Undertaker, it is a bit of an odd situations. He is currently portrayed as “Vince’s creation” and “his tool of destruction.” Yet during promos, the Deadman seems to acknowledge his collusion with the WWE chairman, yet issues warnings about the consequences of his actions. I have this bizarre vision of Undertaker, having the match in hand, and then suddenly turning on Vince, and doing something, heaven forbid, laying down for Shane and (scripted of course), taking the loss just to dethrone Vince McMahon. Every time Undertaker claims ownership of something, his speech of “This is my yard, Hell-in-the-Cell is my home” we cut to Vince McMahon stating “I own this… I made that…” It sounds like an over-the-top power trip.
Or, on the flipside, this turns out to be some evil sinister plot to force the Undertaker into retirement.
The last week drew a lot of attention. On RAW, Shane-O-Mac went and did his classic spot of a top-rope elbowdrop through the announce table. Then you factor in Hell-in-the-Cell. Anything can happen, and anything can go sideways. Interference, some sort of shenanigans. This match promises to be an epic contest. While the build felt rushed and thrown at us, you have to admit, the premise of Undertaker and Shane colliding in a Hell in the Cell is damn exciting.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Roman Reigns challenges Triple H
I really wished I could substitute Seth Rollins for Roman Reigns. Or Cesaro. Or Tyson Kidd. Or Santino Marella. Whatever, I’m good with anyone else in the main event. The past few RAW programs have seen Triple H embraced by the live audience. I couldn’t say the same for SmackDown because the crowd reactions and cheers are dubbed. Oh! Did I just give away a company secret? Oh… You all knew that already. Nevermind. Roman Reigns is cheered by the same who cheer for Randy Cena or John Orton. Same difference. It did seem for a while Reigns earned some respect from the fans, however as of late it vanished. How can an angle like this work when the fans are not even behind the guy who is chasing the championship? Triple H is playing the role of uber-evil corporate boss, who not only runs the company like a tyrant, but has to make himself champion. Remember the early 2000s? Seems like Triple H had his own championship since he was always the champ and rarely lost. When he did, he reclaimed just months later. Point being, now this gimmick is being taken to the corporate level, much like Vince McMahon did during the Attitude Era. Anyone notice how Reigns has not cut a promo recently? Talking is not his strong suit, even though Reigns always has to look strong. Rrrrrr. Strong. Grrrr. Flex muscles and roar like a bear. Grrrr. Reigns does not look like the “little guy” who is trying to overthrow the corporation. He looks like the guy who should be the enforcer of said corporation.
To his credit, Roman Reigns does have the ability to amp up the crowd, and is able to take a beating in the ring. Something is missing, and this absent piece is what fails to connect him with the larger audience. Is it because fans feel forced to like him again? Or is it something else? One would have thought a feud between Reigns and the McMahon family would have made him an instant face, which it did for a short while, but when Triple H is still beloved by many fans, mostly the long-time fans, Reigns ability to be a people’s hero wanes. When Roman Reigns got dumped over the top rope at the Royal Rumble, the crowd cheered. That does not bode well if he wins at WrestleMania.
On the flip side, what would a victory do for Triple H? Cement him as super-uber-heel? Make the McMahon family even stronger? It is a problem when fans likely want Triple H to win. Maybe it will pave the way for someone else to stand up and face off with the McMahon family.
I just thought of something. What if… Shane McMahon, regardless win or lose, challenges Triple H for the WWE Championship after WrestleMania. There is your SummerSlam main event.
Triple H and Roman Reigns will have to work very hard to keep the audience, both live and televised entertained. I remember WrestleMania 29, with John Cena vs. The Rock, and fans were leaving during the match. No one cared. Most figured Cena was going to win anyway, and even if he didn’t no one cared if The Rock won.
For main events, this is not one of their best, but WWE must have a plan. I doubt WWE is blind to the fans distaste of seeing Reigns in the main event again. Maybe some surprise returns are in order?