Hello everybody. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well in these strange times. I had hoped to write my remaining column about the big Wrestlemania matches sooner, but I’m classed as an ‘Essential Worker’ here in England, so I have still been putting in the hours. I can’t grumble though as many people I know aren’t so fortunate and are unable to work. I sincerely hope they and anyone reading this in the same situation continue to stay safe and hopefully they can return to work sooner rather than later.
I fully intended to write at length about Roman Reigns, but two days ago it was reported that Reigns will not be taking on Goldberg for the Universal Championship. Roman’s health must come first, so while I completely agree with his stance, I only wonder why this wasn’t decided sooner. At the time of writing, a new opponent has yet to be announced (no spoilers here), so I’ll skip that match for the time being. Anyway, there are still some scheduled matches on the card, so let’s take a look at what’s to come and my thoughts on each one.
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship
What should be the main event for the entire show has been derailed by the events around the world. I feel sorry for WWE in this respect as Wrestlemania is the biggest show of their calendar and should be a spectacular event. Personally I’d postpone, but WWE is insistent on forging ahead, so let’s see what happens.
Brock Lesnar retains – Certainly not in the realm of impossibility, regardless as to whether the world’s events weren’t having an impact or not. Brock gets some flak from many quarters due to his booking and schedule, but I don’t see any WWE star on his level now or in the last generation or so. He’s a legit badass and is booked as such. I really like him as a character and his work is phenomenal. Brock brings a lot of prestige to the title and anyone who takes it from him has to earn it the hard way. At the turn of the year, I’d have said Brock would drop the belt at WrestleMania, but I think he may retain for now until WWE can go back to some sort of normality and give the eventual new titleholder an arena full of fans to witness the event.
Drew McIntyre wins – The more likely outcome should circumstances have remained somewhat ‘normal’, and a deserving win it would have been. McIntyre has been booked very well since his Royal Rumble victory. He’s destroyed all before him and even managed to catch the champion by surprise and send him sprawling with vicious attacks. This McIntyre is streets ahead compared to his first run in WWE, when he was the ‘Chosen One’. His time away from the company has allowed him to gain more experience and broaden his repertoire. His mic skills are very good and he just looks like a champion. His attitude and determination are plain to see and he has no fear of Brock which gives him a credible edge to the match. Like I said before, since his Rumble victory, I saw nothing other than a McIntyre win, but in an empty arena? Now I’m not so sure. Save it for another day.
Edge vs Randy Orton – Last Man Standing Match
One in a while there are matches on PPVs that are there just to settle a grudge and depending on who is involved, they can either create a lot of interest or be categorized under the ‘meh’ column and quickly forgotten about. Edge vs Orton is not under the second category. I won’t go into the implications of a victory for each man here, because it’s not important and the wins won’t make much of a difference to the booking going forward. What I will say is that Randy Orton is sometimes chastised by fans for not caring or giving 100% in some matches, something I don’t have an opinion on, but it is fair to say that he, much like every other wrestler, can have great chemistry with different opponents, and Edge is one of those guys.
Orton can have great feuds and history has shown that he has. His rivalries with Rey Mysterio, Mick Foley and Triple H are signs that when given good material and a top opponent, Orton can deliver. Since Edge’s fantastic return, he’s set his sights on Orton in recent months and both men seem destined to clash at Wrestlemania. Edge is the grizzled veteran (although only 7 years older than Orton) who is having one last run at the big time, but like many veterans before him, has transcended the title picture and is just out there having fun with the best the company has to offer. It’s been a long time since Edge and Orton have squared off in the ring, so I expect a hard-hitting match that will bring the best out of both men. A loss for Orton won’t hurt him in the long-run, but Edge should walk away the victor and possibly onto another challenge.
Sami Zayn (Champion) vs Daniel Bryan – Intercontinental Championship
A match added to the card only last night on Smackdown, but what a match it looks to be. Zayn has been on the periphery of WWE for so long and it’s great to see him holding a top title in the company. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Zayn have a good solid run as a singles competitor and allow us to see just how talented he really is. Bryan for his part has slowly been working his way back up the card since his return from injury. We all know he likes to attack things head on and with full-blooded passion, but I understand the restraint WWE has been showing with him. Hopefully, now he can kick on, but there’s no need to do anything over the top and potentially injure himself again.
Sami Zayn retains – The sensible choice seeing as Sami has only recently grabbed the belt. As I said, the fans haven’t seen him have a solid run as a singles competitor regardless of the title he’s holding. I think the match will be competitive and very physical, but ultimately Zayn should keep the gold. It makes sense considering the situation WWE finds themselves in. Have Zayn retain and be the cocky champion for several months leading to him dropping the title to a younger star around the SummerSlam period. Then again, I wouldn’t be against him holding the belt for a long time, provided WWE allow him to defend it and build his credibility not just as a top performer, but as a believable and tough champion who deserves that spot.
Daniel Bryan wins – Any Daniel Bryan win is a good thing, and Bryan is a fighting champion – something WWE should do more often in their shows, but I doubt it happens here. Bryan is a fan favourite and he does his best work with thousands in attendance. Can he defeat Zayn? Yes, and to be fair, as much as I like Zayn, Bryan would probably do more with the title. I just don’t see it happening right now. I love the ‘Yes’ movement and all, but I don’t want to see it in an empty Performance Center. If Bryan is going to win the IC Title, I’d much rather see a hard-hitting brawl with a stipulation to make it more interesting. Will Bryan win the title? Yes, but at Wrestlemania? No.
I tried to go over three matches that are still scheduled for Wrestlemania. This is supposed to be the most popular and feverish time for professional wrestling fans across the world, and it’s a shame that it’s all been derailed. I’m happy that WWE is continuing to give us something to keep us entertained, and we can’t be upset at that. Professional sports have ceased across the globe and it’s a good thing that WWE is at least trying to give us something. I honestly wouldn’t be bothered if they postponed WrestleMania and just put on some matches for us to watch – mixed up the roster and did some open challenges, etc. I’d be happy with that. Anyway, they reportedly taped all of this over the last week, so what’s done is done.
In closing, I’d just like to say that I hope you all take care of yourselves and one another, stay safe and stay in contact with people. Try not to become bogged down in too much social media. Take time out to relax and de-stress. Try some DDP Yoga – I’m doing it at home even though I still have to work, and it’s great for your body and mind.