Part time wrestlers have become so immersed in the show of shows, it’s hard to imagine a time when they didn’t exist. Really you’d probably have to go back to about Wrestlemania 26 when they weren’t reliant on them to steal the show in any capacity.
There seems to be a rift between people who believe their inclusion should be wiped completely, those who believe they’re essential, and those who believe a balance needs to be struck.
But what would a card of no part timers look like? Would the company be doing a disservice to themselves by omitting proven draws like HHH, Goldberg, or even The Rock? Is the women’s division less interesting if you take away a possible Rousey/Charlotte main event? I wanted to explore a world devoid of the stars that take center stage and focus on a Mania where the roster as currently constructed gets the show from start to finish! Without further adieu…
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
(Winner gets a shot at either the Intercontinental or US championship the RAW or Smackdown after Wrestlemania.)
Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sin Cara, Tye Dillinger, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Titus O’Neill, Apollo, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Akem, Rezar, Zack Ryder, Rhyno, Heath Slater, Johnny Gargano (NXT), Tomaso Ciampa (NXT), Tyler Breeze, Drew Galak (205), Fandango, Mike Kanellis, Mojo Rawley, Jinder Mahal, No Way Jose, Drew Mcyntire, Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Goldust, Sami Zayn, R. Truth, Shelton Benjamin, Velveteen Dream (NXT), Cedric Alexander (205), Buddy Murphy (205). Lince Dorado (205), Gran Metalik (205), Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, Adam Cole; NXT), Mustafa Ali (205), Riccochet (NXT), Cedric Alexander (205)
The idea is to make this match worth more than a measly participation trophy and a Wrestlemania pay check. The RAW and Smackdown after Wrestlemania is always highly anticipated. Having a tangible prize up for grabs in the form of an IC or US title shot makes every elimination mean something and adds a ton of intrigue for the fans of NXT or 205 live to see if their guy is possibly the one to win it. Two big stories here are the addition of Bobby Lashley and including many cruiserweights. I would’ve originally liked to have Lashley in a big time match, as well as having a Cruiser-weight title bout as well, but the matches piled up quick. I felt it was a decent compromise to have a 205 influence here with the opportunity to win a bigger than normal reward to compensate for no championship match. Quite frankly, I don’t find Bobby Lashley all that engaging so putting him here adds to an otherwise dull battle royal. Tough choice here but give me the Velveteen Dream to win the battle Royal and go to Smackdown on Tuesday night to face the US champ.
RAW Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (C) Vs. Ember Moon
I’d prefer for Bliss to actually stay out of the spotlight this year but I think by default, and given the context of this format that’s devoid of Ronda Rousey’s influence, this is not realistic. I’m hoping Ember Moon doesn’t become another NXT to WWE bust given her track record down on the yellow brand, especially in epic bouts with Asuka. For as long as they want to milk Bliss as a tool to crown a new champion, this could work.
Rusev (C) (W/ Aiden English) Vs. Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods) United States Championship Match
Eventually, moving Big E into a more prominent singles role will have to be addressed. I think this will be done while The New Day stick together as a unit. The idea of The New Day remaining in tact while ‘E gets a much deserved singles push opens up some possibilities to entertain a split, or give the group more of an edge as they acquire championships. Big E wins the US title for the first time.
Women’s Wrestlemania Battle Royal
Liv Morgan, Natalya, Nia Jaxx, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Carmella, Lana, Mandy Rose, Naomi,Sonya Deville, Tamina, Zelina Vega, Shayna Blaszler (NXT), Kairi Sane (NXT), Dakota Kai (NXT), Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke, Bianca Belair (NXT), Taynara Conti (NXT). Mickie James
This is another in what I assume will become a staple of the show. While there’s no reason to put any kind of prize on the line here, I’m not really sure who’d be my pick or if it would even matter but I’ll go Ruby Riott.
American Alpha (C) Vs. Broken Hardys- RAW Tag Team Championship
This might be my most out of left field selection, but hear me out. I really hate when established tag teams are broken up but in the situation of American Alpha, it worked for the better of both Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. I believe these two can succeed as a super annoying and cocky, yet very talented tag team. Look at some of the work Chad Gable was doing with Shelton Benjamin and you’ll see he has the capability to be decent on the mic when given the opportunity. As for Jason Jordan, he seemed to have finally found his groove prior to the injury as the overly confident character with a complete lack of self awareness . RAW’s tag team division is in a pretty weakened state and the situation sets up nicely for these two to get back together and have a nice run. As for the Hardy’s, it certainly feels like Jeff has peaked and Matt’s “broken” character hasn’t translated as successfully to the WWE and perhaps a return of Brother Nero is in order to make sure the “broken” gimmick comes to its true potential. Jeff is on Smackdown and Matt’s on RAW, but they could find a way to reunite them through some storyline drama I’m sure. Tough choice but give me Alpha to keep the momentum going and retain.
Kevin Owens Vs. Finn Balor
Ideally, you’d want these two guys in a better spot but with so many mouths to feed, they end up here. Kevin Owens has been on record saying he wants to face Balor. I’d like to see just this storyline for what it actually is- two guys who came up together, are friends, and want to see who the better man is. The template of KO’s character for the better part of a year and a half has kind of handicapped him from being the Prize fighter we know and love. This is a perfect opportunity to reprise that role. In a match of the night candidate, give me KO to win as both guys hug it out afterwards
Dolph Ziggler (C) Vs. Elias- Intercontinental Championship
I’m a sucker for those “first time ever” moments and the potential for Elias to transition from heel we love to hate to babyface we’re waiting to love has a lot of potential, especially with a well deserved mid card prize at stake. Ziggler seems like the perfect workhorse heel to bring out the best in Elias and the feud would be both engaging and pure comedy gold I’m sure. On the grandest of stages, we may be able to walk with Elias as the Intercontinental champion for the very first time. Give me Elias to win here to win his first gold in the company.
The New Day (C) (W/Big E) Vs. The Bar Vs. The Usos– Smackdown tag team championship
Three teams largely responsible for restoring tag team wrestling deserve a chance, maybe even by default, to all be a part of the big match. You could make a strong case that all 3 of these squads are in the top 10 best tag teams over the past decade. I’ll take The New Day the win to retain and retain while The Usos possible go to RAW in a shake up.
AJ Styles Vs. Randy Orton
Orton’s mission is to take down our heroes and who has championed Smackdown live more than AJ styles over the last 2 years? He’s had 2 solid championship runs now with the company and is becoming synonymous with the brand in a time when superstar shake ups have just about everyone switching places. The obvious challenge is to keep them away from each other but this feels like the kind of match that fits both men perfectly. The issue is if Orton can keep up this heel gimmick until the show of shows. If he can, this could be a very decent bout. I’ll take Orton in a hard fought 20+ minute match as he ascends to the championship picture.
SaNity Vs. The Wyatt Family (w/ Nikki Cross)
This would be a win/win for everyone involved. The Bludgeon Brothers have probably peaked in a stacked tag team division on Smackdown and Bray Wyatt could use the re-direction at this point. Imagine if the Wyatt’s “stole” Nikki Cross and revealed her as Sister Abigail? There’s a lot you can do here to build the kind of drama and intensity necessary to make this work. Give me The Wyatt Family to win with some Nikki “Sister Abigail” Cross interference.
Samoa Joe Vs. Braun Strowman- Interpromotional SD vs. RAW Match
I really like Samoa Joe because he’s a grappler, he’s tough, and he legitimately looks like he could kick anyone’s ass. I have always told anyone who would listen that I think he should’ve at least traded the title with Brock Lesnar last year at Great Balls of Fire after looking white hot in the feud. Strowman’s size and strength make him a difficult match up for most people, but Samoa Joe is someone I’d love to see him fight. I am envisioning a pink in the face Braun Strowman put in the coquina clutch and how well that would come across at such a big event. You could easily slot Lashley here and maybe it makes more sense, but Joe has the proven track record where I’d want to see him in this spot. I’ll take a double countout here with an all out brawl that possibly warrants a re-match after a potential Superstar Shakeup.
Charlotte (C) Vs. Becky Lynch Vs. Asuka- Smackdown Women’s Championship
The context of these characters months down the road is very hard to project, but this feels like the right choice. In this prism where the Rousey/Charlotte match is off the table, this is another triple threat match where everyone will have their own unique story to tell. For Charlotte, it will be about further cementing her legacy while Lynch I would assume is still trying to validate herself as being on Charlotte’s level. You also have the story of Asuka trying to avenge last year’s loss and perhaps even trying still win that elusive first Smackdown women’s championship. Asuka makes Flair tap and wins her first championship to avenge last year.
WWE championship match- Miz (C) Vs. Daniel Bryan
To touch a little bit on what the Doc said in his column when peaking into Mania 35, I do not have high hopes for this match happening, either, but I absolutely think it should. I believe the Miz, by hook or crook, needs to keep getting the better of Daniel Bryan until they eventually distance from one another. AJ Styles/Joe could work through November together, possibly even trading the title back and forth, until the Miz eventually gets the belt off the Phenomenal one at the Rumble (with some Orton shenanigans maybe?). All of a sudden, on one special night, you have Daniel Bryan win the Royal Rumble and announce he’ll be going after The Miz in the same manner Nakamura called out AJ Styles last year. Daniel Bryan’s underdog story got off to a pretty rough start, but I think finally overcoming the Miz on the grandest stage could be exactly what the Dr. ordered. The Miz is long overdue to be the WWE champion and has proven himself in the midcard to get that kind of opportunity again. Bryan overcomes all Miz to win the WWE championship.
Sasha/Bailey Vs. The IIconics for the newly introduced Women’s tag team titles
The women’s revolution is all about setting new precedents and it makes sense now with the amount of women they have to do tag team titles that are not brand specific. I have warmed up to the idea of this, as I believe it gives Absolution, Riott Squadd, Iconics, and others a purpose while not always jobbing out on television. The premise that you can defend on either brand opens up enough possibilities to make this division more than sustainable, even entertaining. The Iconics are the absolute picture perfect inaugural champions to put in this concept, as their naturally antagonistic personas make them like a a LayCool-lite. I’ll take them to win, finally ending Sasha/Bailey for good.
Universal Championship Match- Roman Reigns (C) Vs. Dean Ambrose Vs. Seth Rollins
If done correctly, this match has a chance to be as memorable (if not more memorable) than any special part time attraction that could be thrown in our direction. One would assume Dean Ambrose is fairly close to turning on his brothers and finding success as a heel. Seth seems to be the fan favorite that everyone wants to rally around after learning a valuable lesson about turning on the group for individual gain. But it’s Roman,however, who I think is the most intriguing and obviously polarizing member of such an epic match. Lest we not forget, it was Reigns who was hit in the back with a chair that resulted in the group’s demise. For Roman, the splitting of the group seemed to affect him very little and his high roster privilege the last 4 years would make me question if the faction ever mattered to him, or if he ever needed them in the first place. Dean may prove to pull off the heel role as he re-develops the edge necessary to stake his claim as the top member of the group rather than the goofy comedy-esque character that at times became just a little too stale to handle. For Seth, I think he’s ready to take the fans along for the ride with him and be the company guy that they’ve portrayed Roman to be. As for Reigns, a victory here would only solidify his spot with the company even further while continuing to antagonize the fans. Who should win? I think that’s the most intriguing part of this all. A win here is so important for historical significance as we argue who the best Shield member was. Seth’s time time will come, but I’ll take heel Dean to win the Universal championship here.
I am definitely in the camp of people who think it’s insane to pass up on a good part timer match up from a business stand point. Having said that, I absolutely think that any part time match moving forward should A.) not go on last and B.) not involve a world championship of any sort. Would the WWE have the balls to put on a Shield triple threat match last if say Rock Vs. Brock was a go for the event? Those are the kinds of tough decisions you create in this part time world we live. This part timer card has 15 matches, which would break the record for most by 1. With less part timers, I wanted the emphasis to be on guys mid card guys like Elias and Big E getting opportunities.
That’s it! The non-part timer ‘Mania.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF PART TIMERS AT WRESTLEMANIA? WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LIKED ON THIS PARTICULAR CARD? WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IF A NON PART TIMER MANIA WAS UP TO YOU?
Want more? Follow on on Twitter @BadNewsBeauLOP! Also, message me on twitter if you’re interested in my next fantasy draft! It’s going to be a Starrcade/Wrestlemania draft. You can take anyone whoever appeared at either show since their inceptions and your goal is to build the most exciting roster of 25 celebrities, women, men, managers, etc. who was ever on those shows! Its going to be FUN!