Welcome one and all to another edition of The Main Event. My name is Don Franc, back with another column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s go right to…
Rousey’s Resignation Rumour
There have been rumours swirling around that Ronda Rousey won’t be with us after her match on the biggest stage of them all. I just read a report from the Mirror stating that Rousey might decide to leave WWE after Wrestlemania to pursue her dream of starting a family. If this is the case then nobody can really bear her any ill will. She is turning 32 this year so it would make sense for her to want to start a family now.
But what does all this mean for the RAW Womens Division?
Well, presuming that she is indeed leaving, there is a possibility that it will leave the division in complete disarray. The aftershock will run through RAW’s Womens Division for many months. The most notable negative impact that I can conjure up is that RAW as a whole – and not just the Womens Division – would lose a huge star. As per the norm, WWE has thrown all their eggs into one basket with Rousey and they’d have to implement quite a few changes to fill that void.
You would have to consider that Becky Lynch would then certainly defeat Rousey for her title at ‘Mania and move over to RAW. That way the gap in starpower that Rousey leaves empty upon her exit can be filled with that of Becky’s. Honestly, I would rather prefer that not to happen because Smackdown is where she belongs. Smackdown is where Lynch will get the proper booking to continue her growth.
But because WWE decided to put the entire Womens Division on Ronda’s shoulders she has no viable replacement on RAW. They would have no choice but to move an established star over from the blue brand. I know you’d say that Sasha Banks or Bayley could step in, but because of the lack of attention they’ve been receiving in favour of Rousey they would need to be built up again. It wouldn’t take too long because they are still over and respected as wrestlers despite their unfavourable booking, but they’d still need a significant push.
Then again, RAW does have the Alexa Bliss well they like to go to and I would not mind that at all. I love Alexa Bliss and she has that “It Factor” that allows her to be champion on any brand. The only problem with this is that Alexa has defeated almost all the women on RAW so their matches wouldn’t exactly be fresh. Nevertheless, they have to consider what options they have available and if Becky does not move over to RAW – which I’ll be praying doesn’t happen – then Alexa would be the best option.
That would cause the writers to accomplish some complex booking because it wouldn’t make sense for Lynch to win the title from Rousey and not move to RAW. The more I dwell on this the more I’m beginning to realize that if Rousey leaves then Becky will undoubtedly be drafted to RAW.
However, if for some miraculous reason this is not the case, and WWE finds a way for Becky to remain on Smackdown even after defeating Rousey, then this could have a ripple effect on the Womens Tag Team Championships. WWE would have to change their plans of having Banks and Bayley legitimize the Womens Tag Team Division as they would need all hands on deck in the Womens Division in terms of starpower.
Hell, maybe I’m just overcomplicating things and Rousey leaves after defeating Becky at Wrestlemania and vacates the title on RAW the next night. You know for a fact that you can’t put that past WWE because their business mindset will ensure that they allow Rousey to leave looking strong in hopes of having a way to lure her back in. Remember, when it comes to WWE it’s always business above all else.
Besides the negative effect that Rousey leaving WWE will have on the RAW Womens Division, it might just create a slightly toxic environment for her final match. We all know that smarks like to shit on wrestlers who are leaving, and that negativity then spreads into the crowd. We have to look no further than Goldberg/Lesnar from Wrestlemania 20 as proof of that. Hopefully those who claim to be in the know will understand that Ronda is leaving for a mature reason and that would aide them in withholding their childish desires.
And if Rousey does have her last match at Wrestlemania I hope that she puts on a match worthy of remembrance. She is an absolute natural at this wrasslin’ stuff so it would be nice to see her show us what she had the potential to become if she had stayed another year. I’m sure that would be her mindset upon her exit and whomever her dance partner is – whether it’s Charlotte, Becky or both – will ensure that she contends for match of the night.
However, this is all speculation at this point and should be treated as such. I’m sure we will get more details the closer we get to Wrestlemania. One thing’s for sure though, Ronda Rousey leaving will unquestionably have a significant impact on RAW’s Womens Division.
THE MAIN EVENT
Royal Rumble Thoughts
The Royal Rumble has arguably become the most anticipated show of the year since the divisive opinions of Wrestlemania started coming to the forefront. Therefore I’ve decided to take a look at this year’s card and see what we’ve got in store.
Kickoff Pre-show: WWE United States Title Match
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (c)
This feud started off a bit slow but things really started to pick up in the latter stages. Sure, it’s not a blood feud by any stretch of the imagination but Smackdown’s writers were able to create some personal animosity with the Lana injury angle. That spices things up as U.S Title feuds aren’t exactly known for drama.
I quite liked their bout a few weeks ago on Smackdown so I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to put on another good showing here. Admittedly, I was very high on Shinsuke Nakamura when he debuted but WWE took all the sting out of him when he lost to AJ at Wrestlemania last year. Rusev will undoubtedly win and it will be interesting to see who his next challenger will be due to the lack of depth in the midcard on the blue brand.
Kickoff Pre-show: Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Cruiserweight Title
Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami vs. Buddy Murphy (c)
I wish that I could find more time to regularly watch 205 Live. The show is simplistic in it’s presentation but that simplicity is negated once the cruiserweights step foot in the ring. 205 Live constantly falls under the radar by most, which is why live crowds aren’t too invested in the characters that the purple brand brings forth on PPVs.
But if Survivor Series is any indication then these guys will have the opportunity to liven up the crowd. I have no doubt in my mind that this match is going to be fantastically worked by these four competitors who will provide us with high-octane offense. Buddy Murphy has had a good run with the belt and I don’t see his run ending here.
SmackDown Tag Team Titles Match
The Miz and Shane McMahon vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (c)
There are some – if not many – who are not too impressed by the McMahon/Miz angle citing a lack of chemistry as to why. I, however, am quite enjoying what this feud brings to the table. Lack of chemistry aside, if you’re involved in a story with a McMahon you will always be featured on the show. And if anyone deserves to be featured it would be The Miz. Miz has done very well for himself on Smackdown and this storyline – that WWE deems important due to Shane’s involvement – is a great way to state his importance.
This story will predictably lead to a match at Wrestlemania between Shane and The Miz. Even so, at least The Miz will have an important match on a card where even some of the bigger names can get overlooked. The result of this match is up in the air because I’d never count out a McMahon in a title bout. But for all that The Bar has done in their time together there is no way that a misfit team should be able to beat them.
RAW Women’s Title Match
Sasha Banks vs. Ronda Rousey (c)
Banks has gone on record stating that she believes this feud should have been given more time to develop and I’m in agreement with her. Sasha has become a part of the supporting cast of Rousey’s Womens Division which is a true shame. Nevertheless, if this feud was given more time these two women may have been able to a craft a compelling story. As it stands this is just interesting at best.
Luckily, this past RAW was able to up the ante of my anticipation for this title match. At first I couldn’t really care less but at least they managed to draw me in. The consolation for a potentially great feud will certainly come in the form of a great match between these two women. Ronda has improved exponentially to the point that she can arguably put on a good match with anybody. The baddest bitch on the planet wins here – of course – as we all know Banks and Bayley will become the first WWE Women Tag Team Champions in the modern era.
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (c)
It feels like whatever happens in this match will go hand in hand with what happens in the Womens Royal Rumble. I think it’s pretty obvious that this title match has been designed to keep Lynch busy in an important setting until normal business can resume after the Royal Rumble. It’s worth noting that Becky doesn’t really bring up her attack on Rousey that much anymore. On the other hand, Charlotte Flair brings it up ad nauseam. Perhaps WWE is paving the way in a different direction than we originally expected.
If that is the case I can imagine a HUGE uproar and it might even make Lynch even more popular. But let’s not get carried away. This match is in the way of what comes next and surely Becky and Asuka will be looking to steal the show on Sunday. We all know that these two women have all the tools in their arsenal to do just that. Somehow, someway Becky Lynch will lose this contest and hopefully in this loss the seed will be planted for an epic Wrestlemania encounter.
WWE Title Match
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (c)
I have loved Daniel Bryan’s turn immensely as it’s a different take on CM Punk’s straight-edge gimmick. Bryan cleverly put an end to the Yes Movement before it rendered him stale and the results were productive. In the other corner we have AJ Styles who had a fire lit underneath him by Vince McMahon. I’m loving this new aggressive stance that Styles is taking and that makes this match even more compelling. These two men are proving that they have the potential to be one of the great feuds of our generation. Well, that’s if it continues of course.
Their match at TLC was spectacularly worked with counters upon counters and innovative moves that you have to applaud. That match was as crisp and clean as you’re likely to see and im expecting this match to be no different. Well, maybe different in the sense that it’s a given that it’s going to be better than the TLC match. I’m pegging this match to be one of the all-time great Royal Rumble World Championship matches. The unpredictability factor is high so I’m left guessing as to who is going to win, and the match is all better for it.
WWE Universal Title Match
Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar (c)
This match will be interesting to see. Like Rousey/Banks, their interactions on RAW got me hyped up for their match; even more so than the former. What’s most intriguing to me is how this match is going to be worked. I’d assume that it would be akin to Lesnar’s match against Bryan at Survivor Series. If that is the case then we can expect another good showing from the Beast Incarnate. Brock has gone on record as saying he prefers wrestling against smaller opponents and his matches against CM Punk, AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan indicates why.
It would honestly be refreshing to see Balor take the Universal Championship from Lesnar but you’d be almost naive to believe that as a possible outcome. Finn is red-hot right now and Vince would have to be deaf not to gauge the level of positive reactions The Demon is getting from the crowd. Regrettably, Vince is no longer one to strike while the iron is hot and he will surely bypass this star-making opportunity.
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match
After the success of the Royal Rumble match last year the women involved in this edition of the match has a lot to live up to. Expectations are high but if they follow the blueprint of the previous year it will aide in creating another success. This one is quite the head-scratcher in terms of who will win. WWE needs to get this right as this match has an impact on the most anticipated match that we’re all expecting to get: Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch.
I think perhaps Charlotte is too obvious of a choice as winner. Although I wouldn’t be too perturbed if Charlotte did win and go on to challenge Asuka in a Wrestlemania rematch. However, I wish WWE would just give us exactly what we want for a change. All we want is for Lynch to get screwed out of her title match and then go on to win the Rumble as a surprise entry. You know, I wouldn’t even be surprised if WWE found a way to have both Flair and Lynch win this match and secure a triple threat between the winners of the Rumble and Rousey. This is WWE after all. But with all that being said, as crazy as this may sound I’m going with Ember Moon as my dark horse pick to win the match.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
This is another head-scratcher. I think the winner here all depends on the result of the female version. If the expected winner of the Womens Royal Rumble gets the ‘Mania title match then this match will then have an unexpected winner and vice versa. Seth Rollins is the favourite to win this match by a country mile. It’s not hard to see why when considering the tremendous year he had in 2018.
I am of the opinion that this is the year that WWE will be justified in allowing the obvious winner to come out on top at the Rumble. There is just nobody else who is more worthy of a spot opposite Lesnar at the Grandest Stage Of Them All. I’m sure Drew Mcyntire and Dean Ambrose will have strong showings but I just don’t see any other winner besides Rollins. My only hope is that the final two are Rollins and Ambrose. Nevertheless, Rollins has already slayed a king at Wrestlemania and now it’s time for him to conquer a beast.
My expectations are seriously high for this show. With the matches that have been scheduled this show should produce nothing less than greatness. Now it’s in Vince’s hands to start the year off with a classic PPV.
Mysterio’s Magical Movements
I’ve heard plenty of opinions about Rey Mysterio lately in that he is slowing down in the ring. Well, if that’s the case then I must be going blind. I remember back in 2007 you could see he was struggling to cope with WWE’s grueling lifestyle and at the time he was working like his knees were shot. At that point you could definitively see he was slowing down considerably.
I think he realised that the WWE schedule was too much for him which is why he parted ways. He left at the right time as he became a caricature of himself. Clearly Rey is a man that knows what’s best for himself because once he ventured out and away from WWE he was able to work on his own terms. That aided in giving his body ample amount of time to recover.
His body must have rewarded him for that life choice because he has been straight fire since he returned to WWE. Those who are saying Mysterio is slowing down have clearly not been watching Smackdown. These past two weeks on Smackdown alone Rey Mysterio has been phenomenal and he was just rolling back the years. He even did moves that I never saw him do before. On top of that, he did them with ease. Hell, he even did a Westcoast Pop! I haven’t seen him do that since 2005.
So to the naysayers who believe that Rey Mysterio has slowed down in any way, please watch his matches against Andrade Almas and revert back to me. Go ahead, I’m waiting…
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What do you think about Ronda Rousey’s possible departure? Are you looking forward to the Royal Rumble? Do you also believe that Rey has slowed down in the ring? Please leave a comment below. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.