January 8, 2006 by Adam Veltri
As the WWE begins its march to WrestleMania at the start of 2006, we as fans can be assured of one outcome, there will either be one or more new main-eventers cemented with World title wins or new eras will be established or as I like to call this the "Mania Rule". This has been the norm for the past 10 years with maybe one or two exceptions:
1996 - HBK's first title run with victory over Hart
1997 - Though Undertaker's second title, this is where he was really given his first decent run. Also, Austin was "made" so to speak in great match with Hart
1998 - Austin's first title run
1999 - A sure exception year with Austin repeat
2000 - Possibly seen as exception year with Triple H retaining but could be seen as official cementing of era as 2 of 3 short title wins up and till Mania where not even at a ppv. Also one of the only heels to ever win at Mania.
2001 - Austin's first heel run with title cementing a definite new era and storyline which eventually progressed into the invasion angle
2002 - Triple H's first and only face run with title
2003 - For Smackdown! at least - Lesnar over Angle for first face title run. Triple H retaining against Booker on the RAW side was a definite exception though.
2004 - Benoit and Guerrero main event wins
2005 - Cena and Batista main event wins
Who is it going be this year" Will it happen on both brands like the last two years" The first question may be harder to answer but as for the second one, I'm not sure that SmackDown! has really groomed anybody for the spot. Current main-eventers or semi-main-eventers on SmackDown! consist of Batista, Taker, Orton, JBL, Benoit, Mysterio and maybe Booker T. Mania main event wins by Batista, Taker, JBL, and Benoit should probably be seen as exceptions to cementing to new main-eventers or eras. Though Orton has already been a champion, it was short-lived. He was a heel when he won the title but his badly rushed face turn and quick loss certainly didn't establish him. If he doesn't win the title before Mania, which he probably should, he is the odds on favorite. He would be in a better position being the champion going in to Mania though as I think an Orton win at the big show would be somewhat anticlimactic since he already is the premier heel on SmackDown! right now. Another option is Rey Mysterio, but I'm not sure if he has enough momentum though there is still some time to help with that. He would be better off to contend for the US title in 2006 and continue his same semi-mainevent status before evolving into a World Champion at Mania in 2007. With SmackDown! not being too deep, the only other option would be a RAW wrestler winning the Rumble and jumping to SmackDown! to win their first title or launch a new era. This would really open up the possibilities for a relaunch of an era on SmackDown! as well as give the brand a much needed main-eventer. Who would be the perfect guy for this scenario"
This last question as well as the question of who on the RAW side could be cemented at Mania kind of go hand in hand in reviewing the RAW candidates to possibly be launched. Mania main event wins Cena, Triple H, Angle, Big Show, and HBK should probably be seen as exceptions to the "Mania Rule". This leaves the current main-eventers or semi-main-eventers in Kane, Edge, Carlito, Chris Masters, and Rob Van Dam. Of those list 5 candidates, there are two guys that really stick out in my mind - Edge and Rob Van Dam. While I listed Orton as the odds on favorite for SmackDown!, I believe Edge should be the odds on favorite combining all possible candidates on both brands. Since he has never won a world title yet, he is not quite firmly established yet as a main-eventer though he has been at that semi level much longer than the new and undeserving Masters and Carlito. With the way Kane has been booked lately, I'm not sure most fans know if he is a face or heel so he has no strong heat either way. RVD has been at that semi level for as long as Edge but it would be too soon from coming back from injury and jumping into the main event scene Unless he shockingly wins the Rumble and jumps to SmackDown!, his chances this year are slim. Like Mysterio, he may be better off in 2007 though RAW could definitely use new premier face sooner than later.
In close, history says that there should be at least one new main-eventer or era cemented at WrestleMania. Will it happen on both brands like the last two years or only one" Either way if I had to bet on one guy, it would be Edge. He still has tremendous heel heat from the Hardy-Lita situation. The WWE may be still a little taken aback by Christian's defection to TNA and a Mania win by his long time partner may kind of prove to themselves, TNA, and Christian that they are not dropping the ball by at least elevating the other half of that tag team. But that's insignificant, again he has been a semi-main-eventer for several years now working programs with Angle, Benoit, HBK, Kane, and now Ric Flair. There have also been promos lately of him being made fun of when being asked how many world titles he has won. Let's also not forget the most important fact; he has the money in the bank title shot won from last year's Mania. Doesn't he have 1 year to use it" He is one of the few who can give good promos and wrestle. I believe the stars are aligned for him to be at lease one of the wrestlers to follow the "Mania Rule".
by Adam Veltri ..
Wrestlemania 22 looks like its going to suck so far. A Cena vs. HHH match will be a match that no one wants to see, Ricky Steamboat facing somebody at WM22 seems like a horrible idea, Hogan vs.Austin might happen if Hogan stops acting like a b!&^h and Austin stops going home and cries only because something doesn't go his way, Bret Hart WILL NOT appear at Wrestlemania because he has not gotten over the fact that Vince, HBK, HHH outsmarted him. Or screwed some canadians can say. This seems like another horrible year for WWE. I beg you people watch TNA, stars from Chris Sabin, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and the list goes on.
Matt Kopp wrote:
Adam, I would like to say right off the bat that I did enjoy your article. I epically liked the history research you performed on all the Wrestlemania History. Having just purchased the entire Wrestlemania anthology, I am having fun looking at some of the greatest articles of old. As for your predictions for the 2006 and 2007 Wrestlemanias, I have to agree and disagree. For the RAW side, Edge is guaranteed a Wrestlemania main event match unless he loses his newly won title at the Royal Rumble. For your comments on Mysterio becoming a World Heavyweight Champion, I have to say that I don't think Mysterio will ever be a World Champion. The problems to me are this.
1. To be a World Heavyweight Champion, you have to be, well, a heavyweight.
2. Its going to be hard to get all the bigger guys to sell Mysterio's moves.
3. Lack of mic skills. The guy doesn't talk, he just wrestles. I don't have much of a problem with this, but it seems to be a miscarry lately.
You've also said that the Smackdown! roster is lacking in depth . This is completely untrue. You have Randy Orton, JBL, Booker T, Undertaker, Chris Benoit, and the man whom I think that is going to win the Royal Rumble and the World Title at Wrestlemania. I am speaking of Bobby Lashely. The WWE Management has put Lashley on a ridiculous hot streak, and seems to be building him around the Brock Lesnar storyline. He's been in the business about 5 months, and is built like a tank, powerful finisher, amateur wrestling background, and some good matches under his belt. A lot of internet fans don't like Lashley, but to say that the man has no wrestling skill and saying that he's just another big guy is rubbish. The people who say this seem to be in some weird state of denial, and are constantly trying to find something of Lashley to attack. Anyway, I believe that Lashley will win the Royal Rumble in a dominating fashion (i.e. Lesnar in KOTR 2002), and go on to win the title from Batista at Wrestlemania 22. As for Wrestlemania 23, all I want to see is Rob Van Dam vs. Shawn Micheals in a Ladder Match for the WWE Title, and Undertaker vs. Randy Orton in a 60 minute Iron Man Match for the World Heavyweight Title OR if they were on the same roster, Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit in a 2/3 Falls Submission Match for whichever brand's world title they were on.
Joe Poulton wrote:
Well Done Adam you got it spot on with the Mania rule, will Edge still be there at WrestleMania only time will tell.
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