Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow & Brian Damage
On this blog we like to be ahead of the curve, well we like to think we do. With that in mind, in this latest Sunday Sermon we cast our eyes towards next year’s WrestleMania. It’s become a bit of annual tradition on here as we attempt to work out who and why will make the biggest wrestling card of the year.
Craig: While we’ve not even had Survivor Series yet, rumours are already abound about what will feature on the biggest wrestling show of the year.
A lot of talk online that Taker is set to face off against John Cena while Dave Meltzer has stayed that one plan was to have Triple H win the Rumble and face Seth Rollins.
I suspect the latter is now, mercifully, shelved due to Rollins being on the shelf. But what does that mean for the WWE title. One option is surely Reigns winning the tournament and gradually turning heel and, if played correctly, Rollins returning with the fans on his side and winning the gold back at Mania?
Jamie: Everything I’ve read has suggested Rollins will be out between six and nine months, which surely rules him out of Wrestlemania? That would be a shame though, because having him return from injury to challenge at ‘Mania would have been perfect.
On the back of Raw this week I am now more and more convinced that Reigns will turn heel. WWE were very clearly sewing a seed with Reigns and Triple H. My hope is that it happens at Survivor Series, but if not I am still convinced that he’ll be the heel champion heading into Wrestlemania. On the flip side, WWE have proven themselves to be stubborn over such matters so what are the chances of babyface Roman Reigns defending against Triple H at ‘Mania? That sounds terrible to me, but it’s not outwith the realms of possibility.
Brian: In my opinion…not only will Roman Reigns not turn heel….he will be the “modern day” John Cena. There will be a heel turn during this tournament and that will most likely be Dean Ambrose. Again, just my opinion…but it is all pointed in that direction. As for Wrestlemania 32….this show is gunning to break the indoor attendance record so I expect the WWE to throw everything on the table for this event. I expect the Undertaker having his retirement match there…whether it is John Cena, Sting or someone else.
Expect some old familiar faces to pop back up as they usually do around ‘Mania time.
Craig: Jamie, of course you are right with the maths. That rules that out a Rollins return. I also share your thoughts on Triple H vs Roman Reigns. Doesn’t do much for me. Not convinced, either, that I’d want another Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns match either. It’s a tricky one. I guess, however, we are all pretty sure that it’ll be Reigns going into ‘mania as the champ?
An Ambrose turn sounds interesting though… I guess that’d lead to a programme between him and Reigns. Ambrose could do with a freshening up of the character and the odd win here or there.
The Undertaker match will be interesting too. As I said earlier, the rumours are that it’ll be John Cena but how do we get to that? Taker seems to have ditched that short lived tweener thing and being back to a babyface and with Cena off the telly, it’ll be interesting to see, if they do go there, how it is they get there.
With WrestleMania in Texas I’m sure there’ll be plays made to both Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin to, at least, make guest appearances. Let’s not also rule out The Rock. After all, the WWE is fond of going back time and time again to that particular well.
Whilst it’s one for another discussion, perhaps the Fabulous Freebirds could go into the Hall of Fame – inducted by Kevin Von Erich? – as that’ll play well in Texas.
I have to say, as always, I don’t envy WWE creative all that much. Looking at things currently, it’s difficult to see how they get from where we are just now to a classic WrestleMania experience.
Jamie: Indeed. Producing a Wrestlemania worthy card that is not full of re-runs does not look like an easy task at this moment in time. While the big names will likely appear, seeing the likes of Austin and Rock in action is a long shot.
I too read the John Cena vs. The Undertaker rumour. I’m fine with that, so long as it is not Taker’s retirement match. The Dead Man is pretty old school – pun intended – so would probably want to bow out in defeat. However, that would mean Brock Lesnar ending the streak and John Cena retiring Taker. The latter is not and will not be a heel, so why would he benefit from defeating Taker in Texas? This is all ifs buts and maybes but IF Taker is retiring I’d book him against Roman Reigns. My first choice was Bray Wyatt, but WWE appear to be cashing that in now, for some reason.
You know what might make life easier in terms of deciding what the title match is and who faces Taker…. who faces Lesnar? The three big matches will be Taker’s match, Lesnar’s match and the title match. So, who is left for Lesnar? I wish we knew if Daniel Bryan will ever be cleared to return to action…
Craig: Yeah, what to do with Brock Lesnar. Do the WWE go with star power and have him go for the WWE title? There is nothing that jumps out at this stage for Brock. If Reigns remains a babyface it’s less likely that we’ll get Brock vs Reigns headlining ‘Mania for the title but there’s really nothing that obvious that jumps out for him.
Let’s park the Lesnar chat just now, to come back to briefly, but do you see any of the current NXT talent being at WrestleMania? According to some online rumours, Finn Balor was sitting by the phone waiting to see if he was needed on last week’s Raw. I think it’s a certainty that by mania season a few will have made the jump up. Maybe Apollo Crews too. Now, there would be some match: Lesnar vs. Crews…
Jamie: Balor, Crews and Joe look ready to me. I think we might see one at the Rumble, but the others might depend on when Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami return to replenish NXT’s top tier. If Balor is closest to getting the call, then what would he do on the main roster? He’s not huge, and WWE’s track record with smaller guys isn’t great. He’s also handicapped at the moment because the one thing that would 100% make him stand out on the main roster has been – temporarily I hope – removed from his arsenal. Notice that he has not wrestled as his demon alter-ego since Kane started wearing his mask again…?
Sadly I may have to write Samoa Joe off, purely because he has made a name for himself elsewhere and does not have a six pack. It’s not fair, but that’s WWE.
As for Crews, if WWE decided to pick someone from NXT right now and strap a rocket to their back then this guy stands the best chance. He looks like Vince’s vision of the ideal superstar, and he has some credibility with older fans who would hopefully not rescent him for receiving a mega push. As a total long shot, I could see him facing Reigns for the title, or a match with Cena would probably work too. A match that far up the card might be a long shot, but it’s fair to say that he has every chance of competing on the main card at Wrestlemania.
Brian: While Finn Balor might be the most ready to join the main roster in time for Wrestlemania…I see Baron Corbin being a guy more Vince’s speed to make the roster first.
Jamie: I did think about Corbin, but even in this hypothetical situation I just can’t see him in a feature match at Wrestlemania 32. He might very well be called up before then, but his lone wolf gimmick is such that it might take time to connect with the audience, as it did in NXT.
I do think we can agree on one thing though, something has to give in order for WWE to book a halfway respectable looking card for ‘Mania. Big names are limited and big matches between the big names are at a premium because they’ve all been done before. One or more guys will have to be launched into contention just to create a card we haven’t seen before, and there’s no reason why they cannot come from NXT. If that doesn’t happen – or WWE do it completely half arsed – then we will, by default, be left with Undertaker vs. John Cena, Reigns vs. Triple H and Brock Lesnar vs….. someone. Randy Orton maybe? Fuck, that would be shit…
We haven’t mentioned Sting yet, should we? For me he’s been ruined. Lost to Triple H, Lost to Rollins, maybe at ‘Mania he’ll lose to Wyatt?
Craig: It’s fair to say that by this time of the year we usually have a fair idea who will be doing what at WrestleMania. Currently there’s not even a WWE champion let alone an obvious challenger for him at ‘mania. Who will win the Rumble? It’s not clear. Who will face The Undertaker? Could be Cena but it’s anyone’s guess and where does Brock Lesnar fit into all of this? If Mania is the culmination of a year of feud and the reset butting gets hit straight afterwards, as many believe, it all certainly should be more obvious than it currently it.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.