Tom Jenner rocks!
In 2018, I really don’t think it’s accurate to continue to refer to WWE’s biggest Pay-Per-View of the year as their version of the NFL Super Bowl, because that comparison is way off-base. I am anything but a football fan (hell, I still don’t understand the rules), but from my understanding, there are only TWO teams who play at the Super Bowl. The two teams who play for the chance to be the proud owner of a Super Bowl ring are determined by winning their playoff games in the weeks prior. Ultimately, it’s exclusively the best of the current NFL season who earn the privilege of playing at The Big Game in front of a massive audience for the top prize in their league.
It wasn’t that long ago that WrestleMania was almost a mirror image of the Super Bowl. WWE had their main-events booked at least a month in advance (which featured top stars battling over one or more world titles, as well as two other top-tier talents settling their beef in a grudge match), and filled the rest of the card with roster members who were on the outside looking in. But did they throw them all together in a multi-man ladder match? Not until recently. WWE actually created stories for their midcard feuds. Could you imagine Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho being booked in some random multi-man match at WrestleMania 19 instead of letting them steal the show one-on-one instead? Or what about Batista vs. Umaga from WM24? Sure, their match underwhelmed, but could you imagine WWE just including stars of their magnitude into the Money in the Bank ladder match? That would have been insane.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, according to the ~RUMOURS~ WWE is planning on having multiple, I repeat MULTIPLE, multi-person matches take place at ‘Mania this year. I’ll tackle each one individually in a moment, but these all seem to be in the works for April 8, 2018:
-The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman vs. Elias
-The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
-The first-ever annual Mae Young Memorial Battle Royal
(Note: this is without even taking into account the tag team title match from each brand, both of which could very well end up being a multiple-team affair).
Alright, let’s start with the Intercontinental Championship match. I don’t know about you, but Miz vs. Balor vs. Rollins is a dream match for me and would add a lot to any WrestleMania card. However, despite Braun and Elias being two of my favourite guys on Raw with Dean Ambrose on the shelf, adding those two to make it a Fatal-Five-Way would take away a lot of that match’s luster, with or without a ladder involved.
The solution? Add Braun to the Universal Championship match OR if Samoa Joe is healthy, have those two go at it. As for Elias, promote a musical performance from him instead of the usual Kid Rock/Flo Rida/whoever. Then, have a legend (preferably Rock or Austin) interrupt him. No WrestleMania match needed for The Drifter, at least not this year.
Next up, we have the annual Andre the Giant battle royal, which is rumoured to have a strong build-up this year due to the HBO Documentary on Andre set to be released around the same time as ‘Mania. I’m okay with this getting a spot on the main card, as it’s a bathroom break and there’s nothing wrong with that. Besides, we’ve already seen a Jinder Mahal/Mojo rawley final two, so it can’t possibly be worse than that this year.
The solution? Nothing, I’m fine with it. All I ask is for the final four to be four of the match’s biggest and/or brightest stars and actually DO SOMETHING with this year’s winner.
It’s the rumours of a female version of the ATGMBR that are making my blood boil. We already have three major women matches confirmed for WrestleMania – Ronda Rousey’s mixed tag team match as well as a title defense for both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champions – with a strong possibility of a fourth being added in the form of Sasha Banks vs. Bayley. Four different WrestleMania matches revolving around females is a milestone all by itself – we don’t need the leftovers competing in their own battle royal, we really don’t.
The solution? It all boils down to what I said at the beginning of today’s column. More so than than the men’s battle royal, a female version reeks of giving the rest of the women participation awards, which doesn’t make any sense. Does the Super Bowl feature a melee of the dozens of other players who weren’t good enough to make it to the Championship Game? Of course they don’t – there’s always next year. Women like Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte are deserving of being featured at this year’s ‘Mania. Maybe next year Carmella, Becky Lynch and Ruby Riott will earn that right.
Trying to fit everyone onto the WrestleMania card so that no one feels left out is a perfect example of the PC culture we live in. For instance, why should talent be inspired to be cut-throat and ruthless backstage or over-performing if they know they’ll make an appearance at WrestleMania as long as they’re healthy? Much like the Super Bowl, WrestleMania should exclusively feature wrestlers who are worthy of being there. That may not be fair in regards to the Ronda Rousey situation, but that’s no different from the countless times a male wrestler was pushed aside to make room for the part-timer of the month.
The easy solution is to simply not book the match. Giving into the PC police resulted in Dean Ambrose being left off the WrestleMania 33 card. Let’s not go down that path again, alright?
Lastly, I want to address the news that broke less than an hour ago: this April, in Saudi Arabia, there will be a 50-Man Royal Rumble match.
As of this writing, we have no indication if this is going to air on the WWE Network or if the winner actually receives a prize, like a world championship match or something. All we know is this will be the THIRD Royal Rumble match to take place in less than four months. That’s crazy and a sure-fire way of killing the Royal Rumble’s appeal as a once-a-year, Road to WrestleMania event. I was alright with there being two Rumble matches last January, mainly because both over-delivered in quality. However, I’m not really interested in seeing ANOTHER Rumble mere weeks after WrestleMania, especially one that will feature a lot less killer and way more filler.
I mean, I get this is a big deal for WWE as I’m sure they will make a lot of profit moving forward. But as a North American fan, I don’t find myself interested whatsoever. I feel similar to how I felt when WWE announced Money in the Bank having its own separate Pay-Per-view, mere months after they hosted one at WrestleMania. As a result, we saw THREE MitB ladder matches that year, with each one regressing in appeal. I don’t want my favourite Pay-Per-View gimmick to go down that route. I want the Rumble to feel like the Rumble, even if we’re now getting two in the same night.
Maybe I’m over-exaggerating and prematurely, as well. For all I know, the 50-Man Royal Rumble will roll around in April and I’ll be chomping at the bit to watch it on the Network. Hell, it may not even be a Network-exclusive, but rather a way of selling out the arena they run in. Nevertheless, I’m a firm believer in the principle of “less is more” and I hope WWE doesn’t start going around announcing Elimination Chamber or TLC matches left and right.
YOUR Two Centsss: Would you rather WWE fit as many wrestlers as possible onto the yearly WrestleMania card or do you think only the elite should get a spot?
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