QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is your one wish for Wrestlemania 34?
Baby Fenichel #2 has arrived! Zoe Eileen Fenichel arrived on Easter Sunday/April Fools Day. I’m in love. Do you know what that means though? It means I had to sneak off to write an article before my wife figures out what I’m doing and murders me. If you don’t hear from me again, it means she found out. If so, it’s been a fun ride.
We’re only a week away from the biggest show of the year, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think that we’re looking at an A+ card from top to bottom. At some point between now and next Sunday, I’ll hope to drop a column where I discuss what I think WILL happen. Today, this column is all about what I’d like to see happen.
Without further ado:
Wish #1: Don’t Hinder Jinder.
I’d like to think that anyone reasonable can recognize that Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Title wasn’t the worst thing in the history of the business. Smackdown managed to get worse after the title was taken off him, further solidifying the reality that he wasn’t even close to the show’s biggest problem. Second, that world title run has now put him in a position where he’s a credible threat to be a mid-card title winner at Wrestlemania.
Like him or not, he still has some juice. His main event push ultimately didn’t pan out, but he’s still more over than many on the roster. A run with the U.S. is exactly what the doctor ordered. If Jinder settles into a role as a mid-carder to upper mid-carder for the remainder of his career, the WWE’s decision to put the title on him will have been a wise one.
Now is the time to pull the trigger. Orton doesn’t need the title, #RusevDay doesn’t feel like a gimmick that is going to hold a title and Bobby Roode isn’t over enough outside of his ring entrance. Who knows? Maybe Jinder will go the traditional route, grow by leaps and bounds as a mid-card champion, and ultimately end up in the main event again. A guy can dream can’t he?
Wish #2: Daniel Bryan Loses.
I view Daniel Bryan’s return to the squared circle in the same manner as I’d view a virgin getting some action for the first time. If you haven’t had any sweet loving, it’s instinct to jump the gun, start jackhammering away, and have the entire event be over before it started. Instead, discretion should be the better part of valor – slow and steady wins the race.
For those of you that are starving to see Bryan drop everyone and for Yesslemania 30 to repeat itself, I’d caution you to pump the brakes. A Daniel Bryan victory isn’t the right story to tell. Sure, he can run through Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn like a hot knife through butter. What happens next? A dream match with A.J. Styles? A match with The Miz? By Summerslam, he’ll have exhausted the lion’s share of his interesting possibilities.
Instead, Shane McMahon should turn on Bryan mid-match. Shane’s done an admirable job as a face authority figure, but that is a role that has run its course for him. On the other hand, this entire storyline still has tremendous mileage on it now that Daniel Bryan has been cleared for in-ring competition.
A Shane heel turn creates a superstable of heels for Bryan to work with between now and Summerslam. It becomes more than just a personal redemption story, but a specific redemption story against the other three men involved in the Wrestlemania tag match. It would provide a tremendous opportunity for Bryan to pull in the Usos to help fight his battle. This would elevate what I consider to be one of the greatest tag teams ever to a level that they haven’t yet reached. It’s a win for everyone involved.
Again, Daniel Bryan standing tall in a week would be a great short term gain. I just don’t want to see the long-term sacrificed as a result.
Wish #3: A Cash-In.
Seriously, Carmella needs to make it happen at Wrestlemania. If the Wrestlemania plan is for Nia Jax to roll Alexa like a joint and for Asuka to ascend to the throne, there is ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of a reasonable cash-in opportunity between now and Money in the Bank.
The WWE can’t let this gimmick become stale. Money in the Bank is too important of a show and the briefcase is too important of a storyline to risk ruining it forever. Nia probably isn’t a great choice for a champion. The smart decision would be to have her beat the tar out of Bliss, resulting in a DQ. Carmella cashes in and it’s party time.
I’d even get on board with Carmella cashing in on Asuka and ending her streak before I’d get on board with her continuing to hold a briefcase that she has no hope of cashing in successfully. Make it happen WWE!
Wish #4: Don’t Turn Braun Strowman Into a Comedy Act or Sideshow.
To me, there are four plausible options to be Braun Strowman’s tag team partner against The Bar – Elias, Samoa Joe, Big Cass or a nostalgia main event act from the past. I’m going to strongly push for either Samoa Joe or Big Cass to be the choice.
The pairing of Elias and Braun would lead to nothing more than comedy. They are a mis-match on paper. They are the odd couple. No one is clamoring for a showdown between Elias and Strowman down the road. He’d be a choice that relegates Strowman to the mid-card for the foreseeable future.
A nostalgic act like Hulk Hogan or The Rock sounds great on paper. I don’t like it. Sure, it’d be great to see either guy show up and get in the ring. Nostalgia is fun. I’m not the Grinch when it comes to seeing blasts from the past. There are plenty of those columnists on LOP – I don’t need to add to it. However, either of those men, or any other nostalgia acts that could be considered, would render Braun to be a sideshow. Instead of elevating him to a position where he can win the world title at Summerslam, he’d become second fiddle. It’s not a path that I want to see him going down.
With either Samoa Joe or Big Cass, the WWE is providing him with an equal from a physicality standpoint. Either man would be a spectacular choice for an eventual singles feud for Strowman. Either man would be a perfect person to put him over and position him for the world championship that he’s long overdue.
Although it may not seem like it, the choice for Braun’s partner could have major implications on his career trajectory. It is essential that the WWE gets it right.
Wish #5: A 30 Minute Cruiserweight Title Match.
I’ve always been a huge fan of cruiserweight wrestling. The WWE hit a home run with the Cruiserweight Classic and followed it with air ball after air ball with the abomination that is 205Live.
Ever since they kicked Rapey McRaperton to the curb and set out on the cruiserweight title tournament, the division has made major strides. 205Live has stellar wrestling on it week after week after week. The only problem? No one that wasn’t already watching has noticed.
Cedric Alexander v Mustafa Ali is the kind of matchup that can deliver the type of crowd pleasing fireworks that non 205Live watchers will be drawn to. However, merely having a “really good match” just isn’t going to cut it. Neville and Austin Aries did that last year, and it didn’t lead to additional viewers.
The only reason that would draw the average wrestling fan to the cruiserweight division is to see something that they aren’t seeing from the rest of the product. With a two hour preshow and neither of the battle royal matches needing a ton of time, there’s no reason that the WWE can’t dedicate half an hour to letting these two tear the house down.
It’s put up or shut up time for the cruiserweights. I hope that the WWE gives them the time to make it happen.
Wish #6: The Booger Eaters Don’t Hijack the Universal Title Match.
I’m over the “Roman Isn’t Worthy” nonsense. He’s not hipster-cool and he’s not an underdog. He’s flat out great and that’s all there is to it.
If he retired TOMORROW, he’d have had a top 15 career all-time. Here’s the list of Wrestlers that have main evented 3 or more Wrestlemania shows: Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, and The Undertaker. He has NOTHING left to prove.
He’s not “taking anyone’s spot”. Daniel Bryan is wrestling in a prominent match on this show. One of the WORLD TITLE matches pits Shinsuke Nakamura v A.J. Styles. Seth Rollins v Finn Balor v The Miz is happening. The Usos are finally getting their Wrestlemania main card match. Women’s wrestling has never been stronger. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are in one of the top matches on the card.
Those of you who can’t behave like reasonable humans during his match should take a bathroom break and stick your head in a toilet until it gets stuck.
That’s a wrap kids. I’m going to hopefully find some time for a Takeover and Wrestlemania preview. If not, I hope everyone enjoys the best wrestling weekend of the year as much as I know I will. Thank you for reading. Sound off below!
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