As everyone knows the first step on the "Road to Wrestlemania" is the Royal Rumble and for me this one of my favorite parts of the year and is one of the parts of the year that always brings me back to WWE. The Royal Rumble has not always been good and sometimes can be included in lists that focus on the worst events of a specific year. However, recent years the company has seemed done a good job in refocusing on the importance of making this show the momentum builder for the rest of the season that it should be every year.
One of the top things that fans love about the Royal Rumble is the amount of surprise entries that we are given in the match. In recent years the company has included some talent from NXT to debut in the match even if they don't end up getting called up to the main roster right after it is a good place for a debut.
In the weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble, I will be looking at the likeliest names to show up in the match at the end of the month. Though I do think that this year will see a lot more talent from within the company appear in the match then in past years due to there not being many top free agents available. It is also possible with the amount names on the injured reserved list that we could be seeing injured talent making there returns during the match. Though there might not be a lot of time to look at many possible return candidates but we will look at as many as we can before the big event in Arizona.
It is that time of year again when the we have reached the point for me to close the Wrestlemania section of the website until next year. After finding a report from Slice Wrestling I think I have found the best way to close this section for the year. There seems to be at least some discussion among management in WWE to switch Wrestlemania from a one day event to a two day event. Though some might think this is crazy the reasoning behind it would be to try and prevent the Audience in attendance at the event from fatiguing through the long show. Don't get me wrong I know I don't usually write about "rumors" but I am not looking at this from that way as the way I am is the concept of it.
Just think about how different it would be if Wrestlemania was split up over the course of two days instead of having a ridiculously long event on one day. Now not much is known about how this could work, but I do think that this would be one of the best ways to fix the issues they have with the event. The only other way I could figure is by moving it back to being a three hour event instead of having it be a four hour event. However, I think knowing WWE they would never do that and would be more likely to add a second day for the event instead to fix the time problem.
Realistically there is more of a chance that at Wrestlemania 35 it will be just like any other event and that nothing will chance over the course of the next year. Imagine though going into Wrestlemania next year with two main event matches set for the two different days with one being for the Women's championship. Overall the possibilities are endless and either way this in my opinion is an interesting concept that I would love to see come to fruition in the future.
Now even with WrestleMania in the rear view mirror it is never to early to look ahead and predict what we could see next year at the biggest event of the year. At this point the worst part of WrestleMania this year in my opinion was a tie between the lackluster World Title matches & Tag title matches. Though it would be tough to predict match by match I will instead attempt to predict the card. I will also try and not include many names from NXT even though some will likely get the call ahead of 2019 I will shine away from overdoing it.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Won by Big Cass
Women's Battle Royal: Won by Nikki Cross
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Tozawa vs Jack Gallagher
Bray Wyatt and Sanity vs Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, & Good Brothers
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
(c) Elias vs Dean Ambrose vs Lashley
WWE Untied States Championship:
(c) Big E vs Kofi Kingston vs Xavier Woods
Raw Tag Team Titles
(c) Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs Authors of Pain
Smackdown Live Women's Championship:
(c) Peyton Royce vs Billy Kay vs Bayley vs Asuka
Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte
Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Ruby Riot vs Liv Morgan vs Sasha Banks vs Ember Moon
Braun Strowman vs Tomasso Ciampa
Daniel Bryan vs Seth Rollins
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Johnny Gargano
WWE Universal Championship:
(c) Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor
Though this might be an outdated reference it is an attempt to make you want to look further into it and see where it originates. Either way though I think it would be fair to say that most fans are aware of the reason that Jeff Jarrett hasn't been a member of the WWE in recent years and that is centered around his involvement in building possible competitors to the WWE. For those fans who don't know the story as to why Jeff didn't come back to the WWE after the collapse of WCW we have to go back to October 1999 when Jeff left WWE for the last time. At the time Jeff was in a feud with Chyna over the Intercontinental Championship and his contract was set to expire ahead of the No Mercy PPV. Jeff would look for more money from Vince after he was asked to work extra following his contract expiring.
Once Jeff was out the door it was soon clear that they never would let Double J back in the company due to the falling out. Then after him founding Impact Wrestling in 2002 even more people thought that Jeff would be permanently backlisted from the company. However, the wrestling world would be turned on it's side when it was announced that Jeff Jarrett would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. This is absolutely something I never thought I would write or even think that was possible. Now after doing some research I have found that not only did cameras follow Jeff ahead of his induction which means you can likely expect a WWE 24 in the future; but also a rumor is going around that Jeff could be sticking around in WWE.
Overall the idea that Jeff Jarrett could remain in the WWE long term is crazy based on his history with the company. It does prove that not only anything can happen, but it is also clear that the WWE loves to be perceived as the bigger person. Honestly, at this point I do think that it might be best for Jeff & his health to not try and continue running a company. I am not saying that Jeff isn't capable of running a company, but I think that maybe he should just take a break from being an owner. It will be interesting to see what happens next with Jeff Jarrett and if he will continue with the WWE or not.
For the last few months we have followed the interesting story of John Cena desperately trying to punch his ticket to Wrestlemania. From attempting to win the Royal Rumble to the Six Pack Challenge at Fast Lane to coming up short in the Elimination Chamber we have seen a lot of twists and turns. Then a few weeks ago we got the unthinkable we got the challenge we never thought would come; as John Cena put out the challenge for The Undertaker to fight him at Wrestlemania. But week after week when Cena would call out the Deadman he would get no answer and even after beating Kane still he got no answer from Undertaker.
There have been rumors for months about Undertaker's status for the big event and everyone has been talking since last year if his match against Roman was his last. We waited for a clear message on Raw 25 that never came about Taker's future and then when Cena started dropping hints we thought we got the answer. But no answer did come and now with Wrestlemania upon us the question still looms will Cena and Undertaker finally lock horns at the "Showcase of Immortals" or will we finally get that clear message about his future.
Here's what I think, Undertaker was disappointed with his match last year and may not want to go out with that being his last Wrestlemania moment and that might make him want to return. Also though you have to think based on last year does Taker think he can compete again and work at the level he did even 3 years ago. I know that after losing out on seeing Undertaker vs Sting it is clear that some fans want this dream match to happen, but has the time passed. Part of me thinks that Undertaker might be announcing his retirement later tonight and finally going off in the sunset. For once I can say that I'm not sure what will happen, but I will be very happy with either result that is selected.
With less than a week now remaining before the "Show of Shows" this weekend it leaves us one more chance to look back at the past. Much like the last choice this choice will be a little bit of a tougher choice but still very easy. The reason why it's easy is that Undertaker & Shawn Michaels are in a level of all their own and only a handful of other matches are in that same class. The one thing that I will admit is that it has been a while that we have seen one of these types of matches at WrestleMania. Maybe this year changes things and we finally see a legitimate classic at Mania like we have in the past.
Any fans that grew during the "Attitude Era" also was able to grow up watching certain start their career and in some cases wrap them up. It is incredible to think about the chemistry these teams had with each other and the fact that they always hit their strides in matches. This match not only contains one of my favorite spots during the match when Edge speared Jeff Hardy while hanging from the titles. I will also say that this is one of the better matches in WrestleMania history.
Anyone who has watched Nakamura's WWE run thus far know that things haven't gone too well for him so far. His time in NXT definitely went well especially with his feud against Samoa Joe and there is no doubt that his match with Sami Zayn started things on a high note. However, it seems like the bar has slowly fallen down bit by bit since he made his way to main roster from matches with Ziggler to Jinder it was hard for Shinsuke. But the question we should ask is was the bar set to high from the start that it had to come down as the only way for it to possibly go back up. Think about it from his match with Sami to Joe to Roode to the move the main roster Nakamura's match quality has gone down.
But now with AJ Styles in his crosshairs we found out how we can finally see Shinsuke get back his mojo and put on display the skills he showed against Sami. Though some fans may want Nakamura to main event against AJ and I'd be right there with them it is clear that we need to let that go in favor of Lesnar vs Roman, even if AJ and Shinsuke is the match everyone wants to see. AJ Styles has done amazing since he debuted in the WWE two years ago and if anyone can get the best out of Nakamura it's Styles.
However, the main question is now that if facing AJ will once again set the bar higher then is possible to reach against someone other than AJ much like it was with Sami. Now I know that it does take time for new talent to the WWE style and how to handle themselves in the ring, but the success of Nakamura future does hinge on his success or failure for the remainder of 2018. Fact is, I think Shinsuke coming to the WWE was great and there is no doubt he could be World Champion at least once. But I do think that Shinsuke's long term home isn't with the WWE and it will be returning home to New Japan before his career is over. Either way though one plea to WWE and that is please have a long term plan for Shinsuke Nakamura to make the best use possible of one of Japan's greatest stars.
Though at this point last year hyping the big event was one of the major parts of the site, and this year things have changed. Basically I have found new ways this year to build hype for WrestleMania as oppose to just finding videos from other events to use. However, it always fun to look back at past events and use the past to build to the future. Though it would be tough to find the right video to pick to continue hype for Mania this close to the event. To try and keep the match from being removed I chose a highlight package of one of the best Mania matches ever. In my opinion the first meeting between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker was one of the best matches in wrestling history as it just seemed like everything fit so well together.
Though there is only one match on this years card that could reach the status of Michaels vs Undertaker and that is Nakamura vs Styles. However, it will be tough for the "Dream Match" to hit the heights these two legends hit back at WrestleMania 25. Take a look and remember:
Every year for me it always fun to see who the WWE choses to place in the Hall of Fame in the new year and this year was by far one of the more surprising classes. With a good mixture of names that haven't been in the spotlight for a while and those who have. One of the other surprising cases about this year is that the company doesn't have a deceased wrestler going in so far. Now I could be wrong that the class is finished but with WrestleMania in three weeks I do think it's more than likely that this years class is full. I do think though that everyone included in the class does deserve to be included.
One thing that I do think that everyone would actually be most surprised about is that a certain former TNA founder is being welcomed back by the company. Last year when we saw Jim Cornette make his return to the company which is something we never thought we'd see but he came back and this year we have another. They raised the bar this year with another shocking inductee being Jeff Jarrett which is not just something I never thought I write, but also something I never thought I read. Jeff the call that I'm sure there was a point in time that he never thought he'd receive especially after opening both Global Force Wrestling & TNA Wrestling.
Most fans know the story of Jeff's last night in the WWE as an active performer and I won't get into it, but fact is Jeff was a solid talent for the company and in some regards was a major part of the Attitude Era. It is crazy to me to think that people I watched when I was a kid are now not just retired but are going into the Hall of Fame it makes me feel old. A very deserving class this year and I cant wait to see who goes in on the legacy induction this year.
Back at the Royal Rumble this year we saw a very highly anticipated debut following the Women's Royal Rumble. Former UFC Fighter & World Champion Rhonda Rousey made her WWE debut and in a way shocked the wrestling world. Rhonda may not be in the same position that she was in a few years ago, but she is still very much a major draw for and someone that grabs fans attention. Rousey has yet to step in the ring but it is very clear that at this point she will be teaming with Angle against Triple H & Stephanie. However, some fans seem to think that her competing in a tag match is a waste and that the superstar should be in a singles title match.
At this point though Rousey doesn't need to be in a singles match as Asuka will now be facing Charlotte for the Smackdown Live title and it seems like Nia will face Alexa. Also at this point Rhonda doesn't need to be left alone in a match and would be better off having more time to train as opposed to getting thrown right into the fire. There is no doubt in my mind that Rhonda will put in the work, and get better in the ring. I don't think that Rousey will likely win the Women's title any time soon due to her needing to pay her dues and seemingly I do feel as though she is more than willing to do so.
Overall, though Rousey could have somewhat of a shelf life in the company due to her mystique much to the regard of Brock Lesnar. But we also know that the difference between the two is that Rhonda is the first female to really have mainstream drawing power in the world of wrestling and Brock wasn't the first of his kind. With that being said Rousey's tenure in the WWE could last a lot longer then some might expect with a lot firsts to her name.