Following WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, PWP Nation’s Bruce Hart gives his thoughts and concerns as everything builds to WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, FL.
As a rule, one of the main ostensible purposes of the Royal Rumble pay per view is to set the stage for Wrestlemania, but at this point, appears to be up in the air, as far as the main matches go. Heading into the Rumble, it was widely assumed that Triple H would come down from his ivory tower in Stamford, Connecticut and shoot some kind of angle for a big showdown between him and former colleague, now avowed enemy, Seth Rolllins – which was projected to have been one of the main events at ‘Mania.
Things appeared to be on that track after the smoke had cleared at the Rumble, but the next day at RAW, Rollins was involved in some angle with Samoa Joe and, unfortunately, sustained a serious knee injury which will reportedly keep him sidelined for several months – thereby taking him out of the picture for his big, ostensible showdown with “the Game.”
While it’s unfortunate that the showdown between Seth and Hunter now appears to be by the boards, out of the ashes of adversity sometimes arises even better solutions. Given that Samoa Joe and Hunter were responsible for supposedly injuring Rollins and given that Seth’s on again, off again, relationship with his Shield cohorts, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose has been “on” again, as of late, I could see the merit in having Hunter and Samoa Joe team up to take on Reigns and Ambrose at Wrestlemania, with perhaps some compelling stipulations – such as an Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell or something along those lines.
Since Samoa Joe hasn’t worked that much with either Roman or Dean in the past that I know of and given the fact that he and Roman are both Samoans, there are some good pieces already in place for such a scenario that should serve to capture the imaginations of the fans. Beyond that, all four are pretty good workers, so they should be able to render a hell of a match.
Another major match that usually emanates from the Rumble as one of the main events at Wrestlemania is having the winner of the Rumble – in this case, Randy Orton and the defending WWE champion – newly crowned John Cena (who won the title by beating A. J. Styles at the Rumble), go head to head. As far as I can ascertain, an Orton vs. Cena world title match still appears to be a go for Wrestlemania. Not to be pissing on anyone’s parade, but because Cena and Orton have already fought countless times in the past and, in recent times, don’t seem to have any particularly compelling issues with each other, I find it hard to get overly excited (yawn) about these two headlining Wrestlemania.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt though, both John and Randy are terrific workers and are “over” with the fans. If the powers that be in the WWE’s booking department come up with some compelling storylines or angles that suit the occasion, this match could possibly become a hot ticket, but at this stage, it doesn’t really grab me.
There are a few other combinations, I could envision, off the top of my head, that might have some potential. For example, newly crowned Cruiserweight champion – Neville, seems to be getting over pretty well in his new role as an arrogant heel. I’m told that the present plan is to have Neville and former champ, Rich Swann, have a Cruiserweight championship re-match. No offense to Swann – who did a nice job as Cruiserweight champion, but to my way of thinking, if the WWE were to set up some kind of compelling Cruiserweight title clash between Neville and fellow United Kingdom superstar Finn Balor – who’s apparently ready to return, it would be a far hotter ticket and has “match of the year” potential.
Another match that I think could also have a lot of potential would be to set up a title showdown between Women’s champion – Charlotte Flair and fast rising monster heel, Nia Jax. Even though Charlotte’s been doing nice job lately as the heel champion, I think fans would probably take her to be more of a face if she and Nia were to collide. All things considered, I think Charlotte and Nia has the potential capture the WWE universe’s imaginations and to raise the bar for women’s wrestling to unprecedented new heights.
There are some other intriguing scenarios that I think the WWE’s braintrust could parlay into compelling, hot ticket scenarios. Among them: Universal champion Kevin Owens and any number of worthy challengers to his belt; new tag team champions, Gallows and Anderson, defending their straps against some of the new, up and coming tag team tandems; and perhaps, some kind of compelling showdown between former Wyatt family cronies – Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt, who have now become bitter enemies.
In any case, I’ll be watching with great interest what transpires in the next few weeks and will render my takes on all of it. In the meantime and in between time, I’ll call it a wrap for now though, but will look forward to catching up with you all next week for more candid commentary.
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