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.
As a few weeks have passed and something new things have happened on television I thought it would be a good time to update the card we are likely to see on April the 8.
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
(c) The Miz vs Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman*
Andre The Giant Battle Royal
Rhonda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title:
(c) The Uso's vs New Day vs Bludgeon Brothers
Sasha Banks vs Bayley*
WWE Raw Women's Title:
(c) Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax
WWE Raw Tag Team Title Match:
(c) The Bar vs ???
WWE United States Title Match:
(c) Randy Orton vs Bobby Roode vs Jinder Mahal
Women's Battle Royal*
Undertaker vs John Cena*
WWE Championship Match:
(c) AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Smackdown Live Women's Title:
(c) Charlotte vs Asuka
WWE Universal Title Match:
(c) Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns
Matches with the asterisk mean that the match isn't confirmed or could be partially confirmed in some way or form.
The rumors continue for the battle royal that never really gains that much traction even during the match as most fans lost interest in the match as it goes on. The reason that most fans forget the match is due to the fact that nothing normally ever happens for the winners of the match. However, I have been talking about this match a lot recently and something that I have seen is that they might be eliminating the battle royal this year. Now I don't think that this is a big deal as fan I don't think fans will really miss the battle royal and even though I do enjoy the battle royal concept.
The reason for them shelving the match could be to replace it with a female battle royal instead to allow the women to have a bigger role on the show. Yes! The show will be six hours this year like always with a two hour pre-show & a four hour main show and they could fit both battle royals on the show it then brings up the question of how many matches is to many. By that I mean how many of the same matches is too many and how many people can you squeeze on one show. I know that WrestleMania is always the biggest payday of the year, but sometimes too many matches hurts the show look at WrestleMania 2000 as an example.
If I am being honest that I do like the idea of seeing the women in a battle royal this year as not only is it something different, but it could add more to the show. Let me explain, instead of having a battle royal where we know the winner will be no better with the victory then he was without it trying something new is the next best thing. This would just be another way for us to see just how far the women's division has come in the WWE and how different the company books them now as opposed to a few years ago.
A few weeks ago I looked into just how good the Battle Royal could be if the WWE actually planned ahead as far as booking is concerned. In recent years the company has not really gone far with the chosen winners with most of the winner being sort of short sided. The possible winners I thought could win the battle royal after current rumors it seems that some of my picks maybe doing something else at Mania which is expected. However, it also means that some might not even be at Mania while others could end up being in said Battle Royal. At this point I do still believe that Elias needs to have some sort of a match at the big event with his current momentum; though I do question his status and will not factor him into this battle royal.
Since his injury we have been hearing rumors that Big Cass will be back before WrestleMania and could likely be factored in the Battle Royal due to his recovery time. With this being said I don't know for sure that Cass could be included in the event and may return right after the big event as oppose to coming back for a WrestleMania payday. The rumors are still puzzling especially considering the fact that the WWE could be planning a full draft for both shows following WrestleMania.
If you remember the last post about this match I do select three different wrestlers with only one being left over. It is coincidental that April 8 will not only be WrestleMania but it will also be Rusev Day and it would be incredible if Rusev is able to win the battle royal on Rusev Day. Though I do think that Rusev winning this match would be good it would only be good if the company had a long term plan for the winner as oppose to the way they normally do. Honestly this makes it very tough to want to pick anyone worthwhile to win the Battle Royal, but due to my opinion how this match should be looked at it makes me want someone like Rusev to win and have that be is ticket up the card. However, there have been rumors that things could be changing drastically this year with something new happening.
The reason that I decided to do a separate write up on this match is due to the fact that I don't normally go to far in depth into the Battle Royals when I do the PPV predictions. For that reason I will be giving my thoughts on the big match right now instead of going fat in depth and also this way I can express how I think this match should be booked. At first it really seemed like this match would be used as a replacement for the Money in the Bank Ladder match which was given it's own PPV. In my opinion this should have meant that they used the battle royal to accomplish the same thing that the ladder match would always accomplish.
When Cesaro won the first battle royal that really made fans wonder what the future would hold for him after the win especially with the finish of the match. However, nothing came of it and he would continue to be lost in the shuffle. Then with Big Show winning the match it was more so about giving him a thank you for years of work and finally letting him win a major battle royal. The last two winners of the match have been both surprising and disappointing with Mojo Rawley and Baron Corbin both accomplishing very little since there wins.
In my opinion the point of the battle royal should be to allow new faces to either bring themselves up and get themselves in a better position. See this gives them a way to stick out as for months after the match the winner is almost always introduced as the "Andre the Giant Memorial" Battle Royal winner. This is almost like a gimmick for the winner in an age where very talent have gimmicks. Now even though it would be incredibly difficult to predict who will be in the battle royal this year as they don't usually pick the talent until fairly close to the show. Overall though if I had to pick some names that I would like to see win the battle royal this year are Big Cass, Elias, or Rusev. My choices are also dependent on how the talent are booked following the battle royal and if they finally stick out from the rest of the talent and improve their position on the roster. Ahead of the event I will breakdown each choice that I have picked to win the battle royal.