Why I’m More Interested in the Non-Title Matches at Wrestlemania by Mike Sanchez

If I was to tell you I wasn’t interested in this year’s Wrestlemania, I’d be lying. Sure there are some matchups I’m not super-hyped for, but it’s by no means a terrible card. We’re going to be treated to a ton of great bouts and I’ll 100% be tuning in. It’s safe to say I was pretty pissed after Fastlane and it’s now a week later, so I think I’ve cooled down a little bit, enough to take some deep breaths and get over the fact the face of the company, the WWE Universal Champion is a 50 year old guy who has barely wrestled since he returned. I’m over it. I accept it. Well, perhaps not completely, but enough to not rage all over this column.

Ahem, as I was saying, Wrestlemania is becoming must-see for me right now and it’s not for the reasons I expected. The grandest show of them all is supposed to be the culmination of weeks and months (sometimes years) of intricate storylines, epic feuds and battles for titles drawing to their climax. It’s supposed to be the crowning of deserving, hardworking champions and the graveyard of evil heels who’ve kept their soiled hands on the belt by any means necessary. The bad guy’s time runs out at Wrestlemania and we’re supposed to be excited for the big title matches. Except, I’m not. I’m really not.

Before I get into it, that’s not strictly true as there are two title matches that could be exceptional. The Cruiserweight Title match between Neville and Austin Aries should be a technical and creative masterclass. Two extremely talented individuals should set the purple brand alight. The same could be said about Corbin/Ambrose. Ambrose can and has delivered on the big stages and a Corbin victory will certainly push the big man onto another level in WWE. The potential is definitely there for a good match. Those two aside, are there any title stories we’re invested in, or is it the non-title matches, the basic feuds that have our attention? For me, the answer is simple. The feuds outweigh the titles, at least for this year’s Wrestlemania.

Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho will finally get to settle their differences at Wrestlemania. Their fantastic story will come to a dramatic climax and with two obscenely talented wrestlers, it promises to be the match of the night. I’d completely forgotten that there’s a title on the line, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t care one bit if it wasn’t. It doesn’t make one iota of difference to the hype and anticipation to the match. The story and work of both competitors built and sold this match, not the gold. It’s not bringing anything to it.

Over on the blue brand and although I agree it’s about damn time Bray Wyatt wore the gold, his feud with Randy Orton hasn’t been all that great to me. Yes, Orton was a surprise Royal Rumble winner in some eyes (anyone but Roman, eh?), but their on/off will they/won’t they build up didn’t help sell their feud to me. Burning down the house was cool and all, but it’s not the Smackdown match I want to see. That would be the one involving the phenomenal one. AJ Styles was the best performer of the last year, fact. Will he be wrestling Shane McMahon, or will we be served a swerve and the returning Kurt Angle steps up? No disrespect to Orton or Wyatt, but I’d rather see Styles at Mania than see the brand’s top title go on the line.

Even the tag teams on both brands have slipped of late. American Alpha continue to impress, but there’s no real passion in any feuds, no fight to see them climb a mountain – because they’re sitting at the top. Over on Raw and they do have the good booking (for once) in that heels hold belts going into Wrestlemania and a pair of good guys are going to have to face tough odds to capture their first titles. How you doing’?

Staying with Raw and the big blow off between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg (sigh). Seriously, how long does anyone think this match is going to go? Will it be the true main event by going on last too? Man, I can see it being such a disappointment. Like when you were a child and saved the biggest birthday present to open last only to find it’s not the SNES you wanted, but a set of encyclopedias. Damn you, great Aunt Iris. You think, hope and pray it’ll be amazing and it only serves to disappoint. No, give me Seth Rollins vs Triple H. Give me the injured underdog who keeps getting broken by his old boss – who incidentally can channel his past heel personas really well. You know this match will be great if given enough time.

That’s not to mention the other matches rumoured or confirmed to be on the show. The Smackdown Women’s Title match should be good, but it deserves to be high on the card, such is the talent there. The Bayley/Charlotte/Sasha saga doesn’t interest me so much, purely because WWE blew it by crowning Bayley too early in my opinion. This should’ve been her moment in the sun against Charlotte’s undefeated PPV streak. But, like I said, I’m not going to vent that here. Damn you, WWE. Damn you for that.

In closing, I’ll end with the match I’m most interested in because I believe it will go some way to changing the landscape of WWE in the coming months; The Undertaker vs Roman Reigns. I wrote a column last week on my prediction that this is where Roman will finally turn, so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this. Then again, if watching WWE has taught me anything this last couple of weeks, then I’ll likely be wrong and can begin my rage all over again.

Wrestlemania is going to be really good. It’s going to be memorable. I’ll enjoy it. But as I’ve said, I think we’ll all be talking about the non-title matches a lot more than the ones with belts on the line the following day. Part of me hopes I’m right and a little, nostalgic part of me hopes I’m wrong.

What do you think? Does the hype for the non-title matches eclipse the ones with gold on the line? Should it matter what the draws are, as long as attractive matches are on the card? What matches are you looking forward to the most? As always, thanks for reading.