Turnbuckle Post: WrestleMania 31 Breakdown
By: Peter Bahi
As a professional wrestling fan, WrestleMania season is the most exciting time of the year. From who gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, to who headlines the biggest show; WrestleMania is definitely geekville for the die-hard. Here are the matches so far, and a breakdown of the card according to yours truly.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match:
Daniel Bryan vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. (c ) Wade Barrett
This match needed to be brought back to WrestleMania. I don’t care whether or not you have a Money in the Bank pay per view on its own; the ladder match has always been, in my opinion, the most exciting match on the card. Although, this match will not have a briefcase involved, the Intercontinental title is finally brought back to relevancy on the biggest platform. Did we need to see Daniel Bryan be brought down to this level after almost being inserted into the main event picture? Probably not; but from what I know about Daniel Bryan, he isn’t someone to complain and will do whatever match they ask him to do. This could be a big deal if Daniel Bryan ends up winning. Smackdown is not relevant. If it was a relevant show you would hear more about it when watching Raw. Although, at first I was not a fan of the brand split, making the Intercontinental title the main title of Smackdown, to be defended on the show every week, could be a huge ratings boost that the show needs, especially if Daniel Bryan were the champion. Unfortunately for Wade Barrett, even though he is the current champion, not once was he able to carry the title with him when he came to the ring. This shows that the title will not be around him for long. He is someone who ends up winning and losing the title quite frequently and it is definitely time to build up a new champion. Will WWE hardcore fans settle for Daniel Bryan as the IC champion? Maybe, maybe not, but definitely a step in the right direction.
Special Attraction Match:
Sting vs. Triple H
Sting is in a WWE match at a WrestleMania, yet I am less intrigued by it. Why? Wasn’t I one of those internet wrestling junkies who would wake up first thing in the morning to check and see whether or not Sting had finally left Impact Wrestling to have one final farewell match for the WWE at their biggest show of the year? What exactly is it about this Triple H and Sting match that doesn’t have me glued to my television screen (or IPAD screen)?
Something seems off and I’m going to try and convince myself why.
According to former WWE writer Dave Lagana, Sting was originally supposed to face Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 18, but the deal fell through. WWE’s product wasn’t in the PG-Era at the time which would have gone against his Christian lifestyle. Realistically speaking, Sting at WrestleMania 18 would have been around 43 years of age, which for the average wrestler, is the prime of their career.
Triple H is someone who is still athletic enough to carry a match but he is no longer suited as was one of the top stars in the company, considering his status as COO of the WWE.
Sting being 43 in 2002, when he originally was going to sign with the company, would have piqued everyone’s interest because he would have still been in the highlight of his career. He could have had classic matchups against The Rock, Stone Cold, and even a WWE match against Hulk Hogan. There were plenty of opportunities for Sting that he missed in 2002 and is not able to receive today due to his limitations.
Let’s face the facts: Sting today is what Michael Jordan was when he joined the Washington Wizards at the end of his career. Sting is definitely at the end of his career, with plenty of matches that passed him up for the sake of a decent run with Impact Wrestling.
The headline for this matchup between Hunter and Sting is Missed Opportunity. This match should have happened 13 years ago, where both stars were headlining or coming off headlining pay per views. Even with WCW being bought out by WWE, Sting still had enough credibility at the time to headline against stars in the WWE, selling out arenas.
All that being said, I do understand both Triple H and Sting being shoe-ins for the WWE Hall of Fame someday, but those who witnessed Ric Flair’s last WWE match at WrestleMania 24, all saw him being a shell of himself, which if not for Shawn Michaels, would have been a disaster of a match, which is what Triple H is going to have to do in order to not give those who never watched WCW, a reason to not believe Sting is anything but the icon he portrayed himself to be.
There have been plenty of hits & misses when WCW guys have made their debut for the WWE. For every Booker T, there was a Kronik. With WCW’s final hero making his highly anticipated debut with the WWE, everything will fall into the hands of Triple H, which I do believe knew what he was getting himself into when the match was first set up.
Sting will be 57 years old when he enters the ring against Triple H. Perhaps I can erase this entire post once the bell rings and the two go head to head. I would like for my disbelief to be suspended. I would like for this match to steal the show. Will it? Perhaps, but it’ll be up to the fans in Santa Clara to decide whether Sting deserves to be embraced, considering his earlier missed opportunity back in 2002.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:
So far I have seen the list of entrants into the Battle Royal and I believe there will only be 20 men entering this year. When Cesaro won it last year, he was destined for the main event. That was until he was randomly paired with Paul Heyman which ultimately destroyed his big push. All that being said, Cesaro is doing really well as a tag team with Tyson Kidd as the WWE Tag Team Champions, which I will get to that match later on. This years’ winner has to go to Ryback. Eventually he is going to break out and become a headliner. I am not sure when that is going to be or if it ever will; I do believe he has to win to at least get the momentum back he had during his earlier feuds with John Cena and CM Punk. I don’t have a clear cut choice, but in my opinion, Ryback will win this match.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
I am going to have to go with my gut instinct on this and predict Randy Orton to win this match. Randy Orton is the closest thing the WWE has to John Cena. Normally, if a guy is going to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase, then it should be against someone who had just lost a match and has no reason to not want to cash it in. It could be that this match is for the briefcase and Randy Orton could win and cash it in before the night is over, but it could also happen on the following night on Raw where we could see Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar or Randy Orton vs. Reigns or Lesnar. I am very interested to see this match because it is going to be a show stealer. The winner of this match will headline the next pay per view or be close to headlining another pay per view.
U.S Title Match:
Rusev (C ) vs. John Cena
At first I was not too thrilled about this match. However, once I watched their match at Fast Lane, which in my opinion was the best match of the night, it is only fitting to have the best match of the previous pay per view, to be on the next pay per view which so happens to be its biggest event of the year. So, who will win this match? Rusev has to eventually lose, but even if he loses, he does not have to look bad losing. If John Cena ends up being United States Champion (Could you imagine in 2015 we could see John Cena as United States Champion and Daniel Bryan Intercontinental Champion??) then Rusev will have to continue an attack on John Cena after the match is over. This feud is really entertaining and amazing at the moment, so why end it at WrestleMania? This match should end at an Extreme Rules pay per view, which is the pay per view after WrestleMania, with John Cena as Champion and Rusev the challenger. Very interested to see what idea the WWE Creative Team has for this.
Divas Tag Team Match:
Frienemies (A.J & Paige) vs. The Bellas
Despite A.J being my favorite WWE Diva, I don’t think this match should have been on the card. I am not against the Divas title being on the card, but why a Tag Team Match? Brie Bella has not been relevant since her Summer Slam match with Stephanie. This should have been a Fatal 4 Way Divas Championship Match with A.J vs. Paige vs. (c ) Nikki vs. Eve Torres. Is Eve Torres someone who would be ready for a Mania match? Absolutely not! However, if you were to put her into a match against the other three that can, she wouldn’t look as bad. Let’s face it; Eve Torres is one of the most popular WWE Divas outside of the WWE. She is on covers of fitness magazines and is highly sought after in other avenues as well. She is going to be on every Total Divas season she is allowed to because of her popularity and good looks. They should have taken advantage of that. With all that being said; I love A.J, but this sounds like, but not too certain, that this could be her last match, and for sure her last WrestleMania. I hope it goes longer than 5 minutes, but it’s a Divas match so you never know.
Rumored Tag Team Turmoil Match:
From what I have been reading, this match will be a pre-show match, but I assumed it was worthy of mention. Kidd & Cesaro have to retain their titles. They are young, fresh and exciting to watch on television; but from what I am gathering and considering WrestleMania is going to be at the home of the Uso’s, look for the Uso’s to regain their Championship at WrestleMania, especially considering their Daddy Rikishi being honored into the WWE Hall of Fame. Winners will be the Uso’s, but I would much rather see Kidd & Cesaro retain.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Who gains the most from winning and does anyone lose anything from losing? If Undertaker loses, which I do not see happening, he would be 21-2, and would be a complete waste of time for this match to have even been booked. The point of Undertaker hitting the one loss plateau is to ensure Brock’s greatness, so if Bray were to win and Undertaker has two losses, it somewhat diminishes his one loss at last year’s WrestleMania. Bray Wyatt losing should not hurt his status in fact, the argument would be, just for the simple fact that he was in this match means that the WWE is serious about Bray Wyatt being a player with the company for a long time to come. I stated earlier that Rusev needs to beat down John Cena even if John Cena wins so that it would not hurt Rusev’s credibility, the same should happen with Bray Wyatt taking out The Undertaker so that we would not see him until next year’s WrestleMania, which is rumored to be The Undertaker’s last match. Let Taker win this year’s Mania, and losing next year would not diminish Brock Lesnar because the goal of this year’s Mania would be for The Undertaker to get back on the win column. Next year, The Undertaker should face John Cena and whether he wins or loses next year wouldn’t hurt anyone’s career. Next year’s WrestleMania takes place in Texas, hometown of The Undertaker, send him off on a light note as a winner either way, but prepare him for next year by winning this year. Prediction goes to Taker winning against Bray Wyatt, but Wyatt still looking amazing enough to compete for titles as the year progresses and for Bray Wyatt to coast through 2015 and end up winning next year’s Royal Rumble to headline WrestleMania.
Main Event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
Roman Reigns vs. (C ) Brock Lesnar
There are some unpredictable matches on the card, but this has to go down as one of the most unpredictable. So many scenarios to choose from as to how this match will finish: Will Brock Lesnar re-sign with the WWE? If he does not, then this will definitely be his final match and will end up giving the title to Roman Reigns. Will Paul Heyman get involved in the finish causing Brock to lose? Question is what on earth can Paul Heyman do to cost Brock the title in the first place? Is he going to hit him over the head with his Paul E. Dangerously cell phone? This match could also end up one way and then have the Money in the Bank winner cash it in to decide who the real Champion will be. At WrestleMania 9, Hulk Hogan ended up inserting himself into the main event of WrestleMania against Yokozuna after Bret Hart ended up losing. No Money in the Bank was cashed, but it still could play out the same way. You may end up seeing a different champion than you had expected. Not everyone is in favor of Roman Reigns being in this match, but it no longer matters. He will be in this match and it should be entertaining considering the two have never faced enough against each other. My prediction will be Brock Lesnar still being champion because he’s just too good to lose.
This Mania will be a decent show. I do hope it will be better than most predict it to be, however, the biggest WrestleMania will be next year so this year’s version may seem like a fill in. A lot of things can happen based on the outcomes. If Daniel Bryan wins the Intercontinental Title, that Title will end up being relevant again, more so than John Cena being United States Champion, because there are times that I forget Rusev is even United States Champion despite holding the Title for quite some time. Either way, it’s WrestleMania and I am very interested to see what ends up happening in each match. The match I am most interested in is definitely Sting vs. Triple H. I last saw Sting feuding with EC3 from TNA Impact Wrestling, to now wrestling a huge match on the WrestleMania card; it makes me happy for him considering this could be his only match for the company.