Sunday, March 2, 2014

State of the WWE...Road To Wrestlemania

Wanted to take a break from talking about hip-hop and sports and get into some other the World Wrestling Entertainment. Wrestlemania season is right around the corner which is the most exciting time for fans of the WWE. With stories, storylines, and anticipation at a high that the company probably won't reach the rest of the year, it now seems like a good time to make a State of the Union address from a fan on the complete opposite side of the country from where the headquarters are located. If I had a show, there would be a rundown of topics I will talk about but since I don't have a show or have the knowledge to do that even if I had a show, I'll just list what I will talk about: John Cena, the Wyatts, the Shield, CM Punk, Randy Orton vs Batista, and Daniel Bryan.

The biggest draw for the WWE the last decade has undoubtedly been John Cena. I was a huge fan back in the day and how could you not be. With his Thuganomics gimmick, he was something fresh and hilarious. It seemed like everyone loved him. Then he started to win...A LOT. After that, it seemed like fans were just getting sick of Cena getting shoved down our throats week after week. With Cena being the posterboy, he was always involved in the Wrestlemania spotlight. Every John Cena Wrestlemania match since 2005 (his first actual Wrestlemania match was 2004 and he won the US Title) was for the WWE title (or Heavyweight Title). I take that back, the only match in that time period that wasn't for the title was when he faced the Rock at Wrestlemania 28 in "Once In A Lifetime" part I. Also in that time period, John Cena always faced an established superstar (I'm pretending The Miz match didn't happen). This year's event appears to be heading in a different direction. Not only is John Cena probably going to steer clear of a title match he will be facing a fresh face in Bray Wyatt (at least that is the way it appears and I hope it turns out that way), which is a perfect segue to talk about Bray Wyatt and the amazing work he has done since coming onto the scene.

Bray Wyatt and his family (Luke Harper and Eric Rowan) burst onto the scene this past summer and made their mark. Bray established himself as the cult leader and gave WWE a character they have been severely lacking for a long time. I don't know if WWE will ever again come up with characters like The Undertaker, Kane, or Goldust anymore but Bray Wyatt is probably the closest thing they will get to those kinds of characters. Bray has come in and has made that character his own. Everything about him screams creepy cult leader from the blowy shirt to the tattoos to the beard to the long hair to the mannerisms when he opens his mouth to the way he paces back and forth when speaking. He is a person fans either are afraid of or absolutely love. The night he debuted the fans chanted Husky Harris because that was the character he broke in as but I do not think anyone chants that anymore and that is a credit to the job that Bray Wyatt has done. He is the best in the business right now whenever he touches a microphone because when he speaks, he commands attention. John Cena, Triple H, and Daniel Bryan may scream and shout more but no one makes an audience hang on to his every word quite like Bray Wyatt. He is the complete opposite of what John Cena is. This is the reason that this match is going to be the most anticipated match up for Wrestlemania 30. It doesn't involve a title match, it doesn't involve John Cena in a title match but it does involve John Cena. The common hate that John Cena receives is that he is such a stale character. WWE is too scared about their ratings and think that they must have John Cena be champion in order for fans to care or for viewership to stay up. That is not the case. John Cena is still the biggest draw in the company, I'm not arguing that. There are plenty of reasons for that. But the reason this match will be so intriguing is because this is a match that the John Cena haters have been waiting for. A match against a fresh superstar who is a legitimate threat to Super Cena. No one can predict how the match will end up. Bray Wyatt has a ton of momentum right now and it would be foolish to have him lose to Cena at Wrestlemania because 1) it could be a potential career killer for Bray and 2) Cena losing does absolutely nothing to hurt his own legacy. However, WWE is known to go against logic so it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Cena pull off a miracle victory while fighting off all 3 Wyatt family members. Personally, I think Bray Wyatt will score a victory but it will be because John Cena will get distracted by Harper and Rowan at ringside.

From talking about Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family, I'll start talking about the "other" trio that has been dominating WWE for the past year and some change and that is The Shield, made up of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns. From the way things appear, it looks like the three are going to break up and have a Mexican stand off at the big show, possibly with Dean Ambrose's US Title on the line. Strange how things changed from the time this trio debuted. I still think they are a better team than the Wyatt Family (and I just watched their match from the Elimination Chamber again) because all three members of the Shield can hold their own and I am confident all three will have successful singles careers. But when they broke in, they claimed to have no leader yet it was clear that Dean Ambrose was positioned to be the breakout star. He was the best mic worker and had the US Title around his waist. Seth Rollins (known as Tyler Black in his independent days) was the acrobatic one who took all the hard falls, like a Jeff Hardy that could wrestle. Roman Reigns was the muscle, the enforcer. He didn't say too much. As time went on, Roman Reigns is the one positioned to be the breakout star of the group, with Rollins probably ending up with a Dolph Ziggler/Daniel Bryan-like career and Dean Ambrose will probably be forever chasing the Intercontinental Title and feuding with Kofi Kingston. I think they all have main event potential but whatever, that's not what I'm talking about here. The possible triple threat match is going to be exciting because as much as fans loved the Shield's dominance as a group, it had to come to an end sometime. The three guys are just too good to not go their separate ways and their break up will happen on the biggest stage. I predict Roman Reigns wins the match by pinning Ambrose and we'll see what happens from there.

One of the big stories (as of March 1) is going to be of someone who will not be in attendance. In the five weeks between now and Wrestlemania, CM Punk might come back to WWE but as of right now he is not on the roster, or as Vince McMahon would like to say...he is on a sabbatical. Punk left the night after the Royal Rumble and no one is entirely sure why. There have been different rumors and if I had to throw my two cents in, I think he left because of Batista winning the Royal Rumble match. CM Punk has voiced his displeasure in the past with people like The Rock getting to headline Wrestlemania and Batista winning did nothing to smooth out those feathers. I too disagree with part timers taking the spotlight from talented individuals like Punk and Bryan who have amazing crowd support plus bust their butts every show to not get their proper recognition as the stars of the company. Fans have been vocal at shows for their support of CM Punk but who knows if he will be back for Wrestlemania. I would hope he is but I do not know where that would leave him in the scheme of things. Does he insert himself into the Batista vs Randy Orton match, does he insert himself into the Bryan vs Triple H storyline? I don't think he will be back because there won't be a logical spot for him. Plus that would be hypocritical of him to quit on the company then come back right before Wrestlemania season and demand a main event spot at the event.

I alluded to it earlier but the Batista and Randy Orton is going to "headline" Wrestlemania. It is pretty sad that championship matches hardly are the spectacle they once were at Wrestlemania. Title matches are no longer guaranteed to close out the show and generally are not the focus of the event anymore despite that being the grandest prize in the business. The only other WWE Title match (I'm not counting the Heavyweight title matches) I can recall that has been met with a universal yawn was The Miz vs John Cena back in 2011. I don't know how anyone could possibly in their wildest dreams be excited about that match, which is funny because I don't know anyone can possibly be excited about this year's title match. I understand Vince McMahon's want of a big name draw to bring in those extra buys for Wrestlemania but I don't believe Batista to be that guy to bring those ratings in. At least The Rock was someone the fans wanted to see back in the ring and is a bonafide Hollywood star. Batista on the other is mehh to the wrestling fan. He was an integral part of business when he was a regular but when he left in 2010, no one was really longing for a Batista return. I'd rather see Ric Flair in the ring than Batista, and that statement is coming from a fellow Filipino. Notice how in this paragraph I didn't mention Randy Orton. No one even cared I didn't mention him. Although I will say that I absolutely loved the mannerisms he was pulling at the Elimination Chamber. He was playing the guy you just want to punch in the face but somehow always ends up on top. I can honestly see either guy coming out on top and neither is an appealing choice so I'll mix it up and say Daniel Bryan somehow gets into the match and wins the title.

Speaking of Daniel Bryan, he is the superstar that is on the biggest roll in the company. He has complete crowd support and he delivers on every match. Rich Homie Quan based his mixtape, I Go In On Every Song, on Daniel Bryan's wrestling style. As I just said I am praying that Bryan somehow gets involved in the title match and walks away as champion but I have been watching WWE for far too long and know that Vince McMahon would rather have his way than listen to the fans. It is ironic because Triple H keeps using the line "best for business" yet he constantly holds Bryan back when he is the hottest wrestler in the business. This long standing confrontation between the two have led to their match at Wrestlemania. I fully expect Bryan to win this match if it still proceeds but I would not put it past Triple H to have one last shining moment. I do not think that will happen though because it seems like Triple H is looking to model himself after his father-in-law. The thing that I will give Vince credit for is that whenever he showed up for a match at Wrestlemania, he made sure to get his ass kicked and then some. I don't anticipate Triple H to get a whooping but I don't believe he will steal Bryan's spotlight.

There is my way too early predictions/preview for Wrestlemania XXX in New Orleans. I hope Daniel Bryan gets his proper shine at the event. I hope each member of The Shield looks strong if they do have a triple threat match. And I hope that the Bray Wyatt and John Cena match is everything I think it could be. Can't wait to "order" it and watch Wrestlemania on TV.

Danny Brown- XXX

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