It’s Wrestlemania time once again, kids. The biggest event in the wrestling calendar has come for 2015. If you’ve been following along on tumblr then you know that I’ve been predicting all the pay per views since last year’s event where Daniel Bryan over came Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. At the time everyone was expecting big things. It was the culmination of a (roughly) year long journey for Daniel Bryan, overcoming the Authority and acquiring his boon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
This year we’re in a similar position. Roman Reigns has taken up Batista’s mantle of being the Royal Rumble winner that the fans have rejected. Rejected in part because he’s not Daniel Bryan, and in part because there are a number of other young wrestlers who are more talented and more popular. The feeling that Reigns is being pushed because he fits a certain mold is frustrating a lot of viewers, which is kind of sad. Yes, Reigns is only half as talented as his Shield brothers at the moment but is being pushed twice as hard, but he is young.
As much as I would criticise the WWE for not capitalising on the popularity of Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt or Dean Ambrose, I can’t rag on them for doing something new. I’ve had my fill of John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus in the main event but does that mean I want to replace them with Dolph Zigger and Daniel Bryan? Well, no. Integrating new, young talent into its main event scene is exactly what the WWE needs. The feuds between John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan have nearly all been exhausted. Adding Rollins, Reigns, Ambrose, Wyatt and Rusev and it creates a number of fresh, interesting pairings. Consider also Cesaro on the undercard and guys like Finn Balor and Kevin Owens in NXT and there’s excellent potential for new talent if given the opportunities.
Does that mean that I want Roman Reigns to walk out of Wrestlemania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion? No. I do think it’s too soon for Reigns to have such a major title run. But a solid, evenly booked match with Brock Lesnar could be the thing to nudge Reigns into legit superstardom. If he comes through in entertaining the fans that will be the things that will win them over. Whether that’s the road the WWE wants to go down is another matter. I always remember a story CM Punk recounted about going over the Shield in a handicap match but being told to make them look good. The same situation could occur here where Brock will dominate most of the match, only for Reigns to rally and pull a victory out of nowhere, Cena-style. If that happens it’ll destroy his reputation with the fans.
One extenuating circumstance is that Brock Lesnar has recently resigned with the WWE. After weeks of teasing a return to UFC and storming out of an episode of RAW, Lesnar announced his new contract on ESPN. It’s possible that retaining the title is part of that new contract. Of course, WWE may want to keep the title on Lesnar if they realise just how bad fan reaction is towards Reigns. There are also rumours about a double turn, where Lesnar would become a face and Reigns would turn heel, possibly by aligning with Paul Heyman. For the record, I’m against that. Reigns may benefit from a heel run and tutelage under Paul Heyman, but Lesnar is a better heel than a face.
There is another option, and one I’d prefer. Have Reigns and Lesnar slug it out, a good, even battle with Brock Lesnar coming out victorious. I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this. Have Seth Rollins cash in on a weakened Lesnar and leave Wrestlemania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Reigns benefits by having caused enough damage to Lesnar to allow Rollins to successfully cash in, which he could taunt Rollins with in coming weeks. Rollins would obviously benefit by becoming champion, and rightfully so. Not only would a young, talented superstar be squarely placed at the top of the WWE, but it would reward all of his great, engaging work, both in and out of the ring, in the past year. Of the three, Rollins deserves the title run most.
That being said, the outcome of the main event will largely depend on how the undercard pans out. If a heel is going to walk out of Wrestlemania with the title, Vince McMahon will want the faces to rule the roost in the other matches. Daniel Bryan will most likely take home the Intercontinental championship in the ladder match, and John Cena will probably ruin another superstar’s momentous rise. Rusev has done nothing but improve since his debut and his reward will be to become another notch on Cena’s ‘overcoming the odds’ belt. Wyatt has arguably never recovered from his loss to Cena at last year’s Wrestlemania (though the cage match at Extreme Rules was the nail in the coffin) and I’d hate to see the same happen to Rusev.
The every idea that, 13 years into his WWE career and 15 world title reigns later, John Cena still needs to overcome the odds is ridiculous. At this point in his career, he’s done it all. So, having that level of expertise and ability, he should be helping to build younger stars up, not beating them on the grandest stage of all. Look, I’m not a Cena hater and I’m not trying to say that he’s past his prime or should lose every match. Cena is one of the hardest workers the WWE has, he’s reliable and when he’s on form there’s few wrestler who can rival just how entertaining he is. But it’s time to start rewarding other hard workers, relying on different wrestlers and cultivating new entertainers.
It’s a double edged sword though. If the Russian sympathetic, heel Rusev beats Cena I have a feeling that WWE (read:Vince McMahon) will want a face to triumph in the main event. Which is fine. I’ll be content with a Roman Reigns title run, I just feel there are more deserving contenders. But, whether you’re pulling for Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins, there’s one way to know first hand who leaves as WWE World Heavyweight Champion and that’s to watch the Pay Per View tonight, March 29th, at 7pm. Lastly, here’s a run down of predictions for the card:
Pre-show 4 way tag match for WWE Tag team titles: Cesaro and Kidd
Pre-show Andre Memorial Battle Royale: Damien Sandow
Seth Rollins Vs. Randy Orton: Seth Rollins
Bray Wyatt Vs. The Undertaker: The Undertaker
WWE IC ladder match: Daniel Bryan
Sting Vs. Triple H: Sting
WWE US title match: Rusev
Bella Twins Vs. AJ Lee & Paige: AJ Lee & Paige
WWE World Heavyweight title match: Brock Lesnar