Did Raw last night make you want to go home early from Sunday dinner and watch WrestleMania? Did one more spear from Goldberg make you more likely to watch the main event? Did the last-second-ish highlight of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal -- with Special Late Braun Strowman addition -- get you all verklempt with excitement? Did a couple chair shots make Y2J-Owens must-see? And did the sight of Seth Freakin Rollins barely able to stand make you want to tune in to see just how he gets his retribution?
All snark aside, that was a fairly tame go-home show for WrestleMania. I wasn't expecting major shocks or twists -- that's for next week -- but usually there are a few more explosions (or at least bigger explosions) to get you excited. They were kinda tame this year, I thought. About the only major twist we got was the announcement that the Raw womens title match was going to be an elimination match -- which, when you think back more than a week, flies in the face of Stephanie's taunts to Bayley about how the (then) three-way match would make it so much harder for her to retain since she wouldn't have the champion's advantage of having to be pinned to lose the title. Now, SOMEone would have had to pin Bayley if she's not the champ post-WM.
Highlights, though, included Paul Heyman's promo, with requisite trolling of the crowd, and another entertaining match between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens -- which puts Zayn into the Andre Battle Royal. I thought they were building to a Zayn-Samoa Joe match at WM, but maybe they'll have a run-in in the battle royal and that'll be on the next PPV, maybe.
The crowd reactions for Reigns - Undertaker is going to be great. The fact that Roman hasn't flinched once at the Undertaker makes the build for this match so much better. I'm hoping Roman demolishes Taker. He should demolish Taker. They've actually done a good job with him in this feud.
It's been a well built Mania this year, that's left a lot of possibilities on the table.
1. Go Home Show? More like a Stay Home Show! Go Home Show? More like a Go "Hrm" Show.
2. Seth Rollins (sitting in a chair glumly while HHH goes on and on): You know, I used to love pro wrestling but then you, HHH, got involved and now I honestly kinda don't like wrestling anymore. Me (sitting in a chair glumly while HHH goes on and on): THIS.
3. We can talk a lot about what a weird, half-assed build to WrestleMania this has been with things like Nakamura still down in NXT, Styles (the best wrestler all year) not being booked until he got thrown into a Shane McMahon match, New Day setting a new tag title record by holding the belts all year and then not having a WrestleMania match, Joe getting called up and not having a match at the same time Sami Zayn is all "I, too, don't have a match so I guess I'll go lose the Andre Battle Royal", Balor being back and possibly even healthier than Rollins and not having a match, Cena doing a weird mixed-tag proposal thing on a show absolutely desperate for one Big Match John Big Match with multiple dance partners out there (Styles, Joe, Balor, Reigns, Taker) and on and on.
But if you really want to think about how half-assed this booking is, consider Braun Strowman. With the exception of Cena, most of those guys up in that paragraph are people for us. Down here, these are our guys, they're our guys down here. But Braun Strowman is the most Vince McMahon-ass Guy in the history of Vince McMahon Guys. A Big Huge Guy they really wanted over and pushed hard to get over. But unlike most Vince McMahon Guys...it worked. Braun got over. It happened here, it happened practically everywhere online, but the 2017 push of Braun Strowman worked. We all basically said "Yeah, you know what? This guy is actually fine. Good, push Braun." That NEVER happens. It happened. We were all basically on board with Braun against all odds because he was doing solid work and holding up his end of the deal.
And then they forgot to book him, too. No plans for Braun. This guy they gave The Push to - destroying everyone, not backing down - started backing down and getting stomped by Roman and Goldberg, and Undertaker ignored him and Braun was all "Welp, fair enough, sir, you seem busy" and went to the Andre Battle Royal where he has to back down from Big Show, a guy he's already crushed and who is only there because Shaq is old and forgot to work out.
I'm used to the Cesaros of the world, the Wades Barrett of the world, getting their legs cut out from under them and getting thrown on the card at the last minute. But if they don't even have their eye on the ball for a guy like Braun...man, what were they doing all year? Did they have a giant blackboard with nothing written on it but "ROMAN AGAIN" and "-->**!!!HHH!!!**<-- for 11 months?
4. I'm probably the #2 Sick of Roman Guy on this here board and Roman/Taker does nothing for me and three (THREE!) years in a row wasted on Roman before bothering to turn him is mind-boggling and all that. But it seems pretty clear that even these idiots know he's going to be booed mercilessly at Mania and will have to use this match to finally turn him.
But Reigns seemed to casually retcon out the Brock/Taker match last night by saying he was going to do what everyone else failed to do and it really hammered home what a terrible job they've done with the Follow The Streak angle and Operation Get Roman Over.
Brock beating Taker, only to lose to Taker (sort of) and Goldberg (definitively) as the payoff to the dual Brock Is Unstoppable and Power of the Streak angles, all building to Brock/Goldberg III: The Match That Sucked 12 Years Ago has been a colossal failure from both storytelling and maximizing assets approaches. Coinciding with that, year three (YEAR THREE!) of Operation Get Roman Over failing has outright killed Raw as a watchable TV show and taken about 75% (I'm being generous) of all enjoyability out of the company as a whole.
But what if they had any interest or skill in planning? What if Undertaker was still unbeaten, and instead of the "Cena finally turns heel by cheating to break The Streak" (which won't happen, since they won't ever turn him) they paid it off by having three years (THREE! YEARS!) of a failed Roman push actually go somewhere with Roman finally turning heel by cheating to break The Streak? That might have actually made this all worth it. Like, that might have caused a genuine riot and would have primed Roman for six months of being the most hated man in the world, during which time he might actually get to show off his charisma and immediately be turned face again by Summerslam, getting them what they wanted all along but never had a clue about achieving.
Cheating to be the second person to beat Undertaker ain't gonna cut it.
Beating Undertaker clean and just kind of being a sullen, smirking dork about it will cut it even less.
Originally posted by Dr UnlikelyDid they have a giant blackboard with nothing written on it but "ROMAN AGAIN" and "-->**!!!HHH!!!**<-- for 11 months?
It was probably a whiteboard.
Originally posted by Dr UnlikelyBrock beating Taker, only to lose to Taker (sort of) and Goldberg (definitively) as the payoff to the dual Brock Is Unstoppable and Power of the Streak angles, all building to Brock/Goldberg III: The Match That Sucked 12 Years Ago has been a colossal failure from both storytelling and maximizing assets approaches. Coinciding with that, year three (YEAR THREE!) of Operation Get Roman Over failing has outright killed Raw as a watchable TV show and taken about 75% (I'm being generous) of all enjoyability out of the company as a whole.
Man, hasn't every year since really hammered home what a bad, dumb idea ending the streak was? The Ghost of The Streak wound up being the stakes in both the Bray and Shane matches, and here it is again with Roman. It's just kind of sad how they ended it, and then everyone promptly tried to pretend they didn't just do that. They never should have ended the streak; failing that, they should have at least had the guts to make it stick as a storytelling point. Have Taker lose to Bray, have him lose to Shane (because, after all, we wound up with exactly the circumstances that were supposed to happen had Shane won), and then you're going into a match against Roman where you could really pile on the "is this Taker's last match? Can he get it done anymore?" stuff and have it matter. This? This doesn't matter.
Originally posted by Tenken347 Man, hasn't every year since really hammered home what a bad, dumb idea ending the streak was? The Ghost of The Streak wound up being the stakes in both the Bray and Shane matches, and here it is again with Roman. It's just kind of sad how they ended it, and then everyone promptly tried to pretend they didn't just do that. They never should have ended the streak; failing that, they should have at least had the guts to make it stick as a storytelling point. Have Taker lose to Bray, have him lose to Shane (because, after all, we wound up with exactly the circumstances that were supposed to happen had Shane won), and then you're going into a match against Roman where you could really pile on the "is this Taker's last match? Can he get it done anymore?" stuff and have it matter. This? This doesn't matter.
Yeah, I'd be perfectly fine with Brock having broken The Streak if the intent was to transfer that to someone other than "guy the crowd is outright rejecting."
As you say, a broken Undertaker losing to Bray and then someone else (let's say Sting instead of Shane, maybe? Or a rapidly debuting Nakamura or Styles?) and limping into this year against still-hated Roman as The Undertaker's Last Stand gives you a pretty great set-up for Undertaker either redeeming himself by knocking Roman down a peg and going out on top as a genuine, feel-good, show-closing moment or Roman talks it up as a mercy killing and decimates the Undertaker like he's killing Old Yeller only he enjoys it and makes that leap to Quantum Nuclear Heel that he needed to do at least a year and a half ago.
And on the other side, Brock gets The Power of the Streak and instead of squandering it, he gets beaten by, let's say, Dean Ambrose, who kills him with a chainsaw or something last year and gets made for life as The Guy Who Killed The Guy Who Killed The Undertaker.
They, of course, did neither of these things. Also, they haven't used my REIGNS IN HELL catchphrase even once, which is way better than THE ULTIMATE THRILL RIDE.
There are a lot of things that don't make sense, both now and looking back over the last few years. Because of this there is probably a very good chance that this will happen at Mania as well.
Over the course of the year the best (regular) wrestlers are in matches that aren't really that interesting. Styles has been excellent. Shane has not for a long time. He seems like a genuinely nice person, but he can't compete in a 1 on 1 with the person many think is the best in the world. He is certainly very high on that list, if one exists of course!
Taker doesn't really interest me anymore. Turning up to turn the lights on and off and talking in a strange voice doesn't disguise the fact that he is now old and is going to struggle. The reactions he gets are fantastic, and he deserves them, but Roman will win this and get booed out of the building even more than normal. If he turns heel then this would turn out for the best. I would love for him to win the match and then spear Taker after the handshake, that will get shat on, just like when Rock raised his hand. That might make the last year worthwhile.
Goldberg Lesnar is another nothing match for me. Short and pointless in a lot of ways. Do you think they are going to let Goldberg win and lose it on Raw the next night to get even more hatred on Reigns? Seems unlikely, but they need to do something to get people talking.
Strowman has been probably the best development for a very long time and is being enjoyed so he is in the battle royal. Don't see him winning it, but equally nobody else really makes sense to win. I know that doesn't make sense!
Joe doesn't have a match, Finn is back and not here but hopefully back on Monday. Tuesday might be even better! Cena has a pointless match for a proposal after the match which will be great if one of them says no. So the best wrestlers over the year have nothing much to do.
The Cruiserweight match should be fantastic, so it is stuck on the preshow. This match could, and if they are allowed to, be brilliant. Most people won't see it.
Both womens matches don't interest me, even though they should. If Bayley was going to win the title it would have been a great moment. Not sure who will win, but whoever does it will end up being the same for the next few months. They have pictures of Nia looking like a great babyface on all the posters. The Smackdown match looks like it will be the WMXXX match where Alexa retains and loses to a debuting NXT wrestler the next night.
I'm sorry for typing so much - there is a lot more I could say but realise I have said too much a long time ago. Usual wine and whisky excuse.
Spot on with Braun. He's one of the guys they wanted us to like that none of us were really into... then they built him correctly and got him over (and randomly brought James Ellsworth into our lives as well). Now... we like him. A lot. And he's half-assed thrown into a pre-show battle royal. Dude should be in a marquee match. Honestly I think the fans would buy into a Braun world/universal title match right now.
Meanwhile, let's have Big Show squash guys! Look at all these losers!
But, also as said, New Day was the biggest merch sellers of last WM and they have done nothing with them besides this New Day Pops thing for months. Yes, they are hosting, but why do they no longer care about the tag belts?
Nothing for Joe at WM... why bother? Why not just wait and bring him up on WM Monday?
This is the least interested I've been in a WM buildup in a while. Of course I'll still watch, but meh.
Taker is great and I have tons of respect for him, but really this has been enough. He struggled to beat Shane last year. Roman needs to stomp him, heel out, and finally embrace the dark side. Not the Taker dark side though (Roman shooting lightning bolts and such would be more interesting though.)
No interest in Goldberg/Brock at all. I had minimum interest at Survivor Series just to see what they would do, but this build just hasn't done it. Why does it need a belt? Why any of these? I get it, "casual fans" and such, but bleh.
Vince just needs to go ahead and induct Flo Rida into the Hall of Fame, because he clearly loves the guy. Also, this would be a great time for the return of Bo Rida.
I'm more in the minority on this one than I thought. I'm not going to change any hearts or minds around here on Roman, but I'm really excited to see what happens with him here and I'm genuinely curious where they go with Brock and Goldberg and the fact that they made a ladder match for a big Hardys return gets me pumped up. That's three things that I'm looking forward to, last year's WrestleMania didn't have one thing like that. Plus Kevin Owens vs Jericho should be a great blood feud match.
WrestleMania is an event now. It's not the end of a year of storylines like it used to be, it's not a workrate extravaganza and never was. It's just one giant over the top event for WWE to say look at me. Next month PPV will probably be a redo of most of these matches and they will be better, but that's not the point. I get Dr Unlikely's big picture argument and there I agree.
WrestleMania will be long, and at times tedious but we should all be able to take away something cool from it when it's all over.
If you really want to talk about a lackluster event can I point you to Takeover? I'll watch at some point out of curiosity, but there's about ten other events I'd like to see instead of it.
(I also think Braun is sort of in the Taker-Reigns orbit in case Taker breaks early and they need to save the match. Which hurts him now but I get the reasoning)
Jericho/Owens is the only match Raw has on its side they haven't fucked up. This should be Bayley's moment. Roman should turn heel on Taker. The heavyweight title should be on a good who will be there all the time. Instead we get this. They have all the talent in the world and refuse to actually use it. I have zero interest in Seth/HHH when I have a sad feeling HHH will win, but Seth will put up a good fight like Sting. Remember how they fucked up Sting?! Fuck.
Smackdown is a little better off due to them really selling the hell out of everything. Still, this maybe one of the weakest Mania cards of all time when it has WM X-7 levels of talent. The sad part is the guys in the WM XX matches won't go away. Unless, its Jericho. Jericho can stay forever.
Originally posted by Dr UnlikelySeth Rollins (sitting in a chair glumly while HHH goes on and on): You know, I used to love pro wrestling but then you, HHH, got involved and now I honestly kinda don't like wrestling anymore. Me (sitting in a chair glumly while HHH goes on and on): THIS.
I think Triple H has been psyching himself up to put over His Guy, His NXT Original Talent, His Kayfabe Protegee, Seth Rollins for over two years now. Of course, things change, because, uh, you know, he's injured and you know how Steve Austin got over by losing? You know how Daniel Bryan got over by losing? Remember how Dean Ambrose won the WWE Title last year after losing to Brock and how much that helped his career? Well, that.
Originally posted by Dr UnlikelyBeating Undertaker clean and just kind of being a sullen, smirking dork about it will cut it even less.
Plan ahead. Do your jobs.
My prediction is that Roman Reigns kayfabe kills Undertaker in the middle of the ring with a Tombstone and that's how his career ends.
In fairness, this thread did arise before the raging climax of Total Bellas Bullshit, the quartet of which (Cena, Miz, Maryse as Nikki, and Maryse as Brie) having all but singlehandedly carried the Mania build since the Festival of Friendship.
The advantage of this year's Wrestlemania compared to the last two is I am at least not dreading its results and philosophically opposed to its very existence. There's not a ton I'm especially looking forward to, but unlike the last two year's dead ends (the first of which was veered out of in the final minutes of the show), it looks like there's at least the far-from-guaranteed potential for interesting and satisfying things. Reigns might turn heel, and the Undertaker might be having his for reals final match, which might lead to a pretty powerful end of the show. The Broken Hardys might join the Raw ladder match. Triple H might put Seth Rollins over in that ephemerally-satisfying-in-a-vacuum way he's done at some Wrestlemanias. The Raw women's match might not end with a downer finish of Sasha costing Bayley the title to more "big heat" for Charlotte (but almost surely will). Nothing wrong with Strowman winning the battle royal, but he might be the big obstacle for a surprise entrant to overcome. Aries and Neville might get copious time on the pre-show and might win the crowd over for a really good match. The Rock might not take up 30 minutes of PPV time to do something pointless. Plus Goldberg/Lesnar and AJ/Shane are actually going to really have these matches now, and so I'm just curious to see how that's actually going to happen and who's going to die (unlike with Orton and Wyatt, where someone might actually be murdered or have their soul erased or something and I couldn't possibly care).
Redo the last 3 years of Reigns, Lesnar, and Undertaker's odyssey of accomplishing nothing? I'd love to.
- Lesnar ending the streak was pretty amazing, so I'd probably keep that, but we do have these three subsequent years of Taker and Cena each wrestling some relative nobodies ...
- clearly Bryan should've won the 2015 Royal Rumble and wrestled Lesnar at 31. clearly Reigns should've ended the Rusev-with-actual-credibility U.S. title reign. clearly Owens should've ended the Cena U.S. open title reign. clearly Del Rio should've never been rehired. clearly ...
- clearly Undertaker and Sting should've wrestled at 31.
- clearly Reigns and Lesnar should've double-turned at 31.
- clearly Reigns should've turned in the title tournament at Survivor Series '15.
- clearly Ambrose should've headlined 32 instead of Reigns.
- clearly Undertaker and Lesnar should've been rematched at 32 under Mania stakes instead of wasting it on non-WM shows and then giving them dumb matches for Wrestlemania.
- clearly Shane should've won control of the company from Vince at 32 (as a second and not a wrestler), banished the Authority (which should've already been gone since Survivor Series '14), declared a brand extension because he's Innovating or whatever, and put two babyface GMs in charge.
- clearly Rollins should've returned as a babyface in April. clearly Reigns should've turned coming out of his suspension.
- clearly Ambrose should've given Lesnar his shocking first loss post-streak conquering by pinning him in 1:26 after smashing him with a chainsaw fifty times or something.
- clearly Styles and Cena's match from the Rumble should be closing this show.
- clearly Bayley should be winning the women's title for the first time at this show. clearly Charlotte and Sasha should've traded the title all of twice, and only after a months-long Banks reign. clearly Sasha probably should've already had beaten her at last Wrestlemania!
- clearly American Alpha should be winning the SD tag titles from Bray and RANDY! =-D at this show.