We’re now less than a week away from WWE’s “Ultimate Thrill Ride” Wrestlemania 33. Coming from Orlando, Florida on Sunday April 2nd, Wrestlemania remains the biggest event in Professional Wrestling and the highlight of the year for fans. To prepare for the big night I asked the Pro Wrestling contributors of Can’t Pause This their thoughts on this years Mania.
Are you excited for Wrestlemania this year?
Zak: That’s a hard question to answer. Yes and no. Yes, because it’s Wrestlemania, the grandest stage of them all. However, from the experience I had last year, I was struggling extremely hard to stay awake. It was long and boring. Unfortunately I can see the same thing happening this year. Wrestlemania is a show which is watched by people who don’t want Wrestling on a weekly basis. WWE know this, so they fill it with boring irrelevant situations that have nothing to do with anything. This makes it drag. Pointless celebrity cameos, ‘The Rock’ is who I’m pointing my finger at here. Oh, along with them live concert performances. From a currently popular pop band. You know what, I’ve changed my opinion, I am not excited to watch Wrestlemania. I will watch though, because I’m a Wrestling fan, and Wrestling fans like to moan about Wrestling.
Rick: I have this niggling thought in the back of my mind that if Vince and Michael Hayes and the rest of them play the strengths of the talent they have and let them just showcase themselves in the ring then they’ll be in for a great show. Unfortunately from rumours that it’s going to be an 8 hour event, this will put the slogfest that was last year’s Wrestlemania to shame. Certainly potential, but ill be looking forward more to TakeOver for match quality.
Marcus: Yeah. Kind of. I guess. I’m sort of excited because it’s Wrestlemania but I can’t name you a match or something I’m specifically excited to see, which hurts it. I’d be hyped just because its Wrestlemania but still feel burnt from last years marathon show which showed the big one is no guarantee of quality. To say what I’m interested in seeing, Lesnar versus Goldberg tops my list just because I want to see what happens and how it’s handled. It’s always good to see Undertaker’s annual match as long as his health is okay and Jericho versus Owens should be good.
Do you think the build has been what it needs to be so far?
Zak: Absolutely not. It’s been for seen for about six months. Everyone knew a long time ago which matches were coming along. Pointless story lines which means nothing. For example, Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt? Why? Ever since Randy joined Bray, everyone knew it was going to be a match at Wrestlemania. Yet again, they’ve ruined the WWE Title.
Rick: It has been horrible. Shoddy storylines thrown together at the last minute and some big talent relegated to lower card, I’m looking at you tag team division. There is also a lot of untapped talent not being used yet and the main event is two part timers who cant last longer than 10 minutes. With all the talent they have in the tag division how they’ve come up with the matches has been nothing short of “we don’t know what we’re doing”. I expect Harper will feature in the Wyatt vs Orton main event, New Day relegated to “hosts” after a record breaking title run, Sami seemingly stuck with Joe but not really, and with the returning Finn Balor what do you do with him? That said there have been some excellent build ups to some matches. As mentioned the Wyatt and Orton feud has been brilliant, JericKO has been nothing short of Jericho’s best work in the company and I expect the match to be outstanding, The Miz’s work over the past year has been outstanding, and finally Rollins and HHH is coming to a conclusion.
Marcus: The importance of the build really only applies to the big matches. For Goldberg – Lesnar it’s a yes as it’s overcome memories of their previous Mania outing to have people at least interested in what’s going to happen. As for Orton – Wyatt I’d say no as although the story started a while back it feels like it got kind of muddled in the last few weeks with Orton giving up his shot then taking it back and so on. The Triple H – Rollins build has been good and kind of a slow burn but destroyed by Rollins injury. After the title matches it’s Reigns – Undertaker which despite having the dead man involved earlier than usual hasn’t really done much in the way of build but Undertaker matches don’t really have to at this point. Honourable mention to Owens – Jericho that has had the best build of any match on the card, mainly due to the stellar work by both guys.
What’s your big hope for Wrestlemania this year?
Zak: CM Punk. It’s not going to happen, I’m living in a fantasy here. But here’s how I see it happening. AJ Styles beats Shane and carries on doing so, then boom. Cm Punks music hits, he comes out. Has a promo of a lifetime. Talking about how Shane signed him back, and how he owes Shane. Then they exchange blows in the ring. At this point Daniel Bryan comes out and organises a match, a match of which sees the winner join the title match, making it a triple threat, and actually interesting. This will never ever happen unfortunately. So I am hoping Roman Reigns loses, yes loses, not wins, even though he will. But I hope he loses. Then he attacks Undertaker and turns heal. Because honestly I can’t stand him, and he needs this.
Rick: I hope that Roman Reigns wins against Undertaker and then proceeds to destroy Taker for several minutes like he used to with The Shield, getting him the biggest amount of heat on anybody in the company’s history and will cement him as a monster heel for years to come. I’m expecting Kurt Angle to be active in his appearance and I too expect the Broken Hardyz to return at Wrestlemania.
Marcus: That something major happens. One of my main issues with so many recent editions of Wrestlemania is they’re neither a game changer nor a climax for anything, feuds continue on and through it with nothing memorable actually happening. In this case I’d like to see something like a full on Reigns heel turn (he’ll be treated like one anyway versus Undertaker) or maybe the formation of kind of an NXT stable in the Triple H versus Rollins match. Whatever it is just something that impacts things for the next six months.
What one match did you want for this year?
Zak: I wanted AJ Styles v John Cena again, they have been the only matches recently which have been incredible. If I could mix things up despite brand split and factions, it would’ve been AJ Styles v Nakamura. Or even a triple threat which includes AJ Styles, Nakamura and Sami Zayn. That is a match which they should’ve and easily could’ve gone with. But hey, WWE.
Rick: Stuck with WWE, I’d loved to have seen Balor vs Rollins or Nakamura vs Balor/Rollins. With literally anybody in the world of wrestling. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kenny Omega.
Marcus: Well I wanted John Cena versus Undertaker but I’ve said that for years now but just can’t understand why they’re not doing it, except for WWE’s hatred of anyone losing. But my interest is that their the two biggest stars WWE has and one of them would have to lose. I would also like to have seen a one on one culmination of Charlotte’s PPV Streak/Bayley winning the title/big one on one pay off but the previous two months killed all that and now we have a bland multi-woman match.
Do you think Wrestlemania is now more about the weekend as a whole more than the night itself?
Zak: Wrestlemania is a trend now, it’s not about the night at all. It’s all about, how they say, taking over a city. It’s about selling loads of tickets and merchandise. I think Wrestlemania is actually the Monday night Raw the night after. That’s usually much, much better than THE actual Wrestlemania.
Rick: Yeah to some degree. Wrestlemania weekend is still about Wrestlemania BUT now you have Hall of Fame and also probably much to Vince’s annoyance you have NXT TakeOver out performing WWE on every event. It is still though, about the event.
Marcus: Yes, for both WWE fans and general wrestling fans. For WWE they now have, on successive nights, the hall of fame induction, NXT Takeover (which has been better than Mania itself in recent years), Wrestlemania then the biggest Raw of the year where more seems to happen than at Mania as well as Axxess. Throw on the fact that every indie promotion worth anything seems to be in Orlando running something and a ton of conventions and parties to coincide with everything. The Wrestlemania event itself is just the centre piece of a big jigsaw now. I actually think it’s a good thing as it gives the wrestling world as a whole a focal point in the year and means if Mania itself is a disappointment there’s a load of other stuff to compensate for that. Also it’s potentially a great opportunity to find new stuff as WWE is putting on indie promotions at Axxess for the first time which is huge to me.