I have to give WWE some credit. They have a tremendous ability to bounce back from a lacklustre Fastlane and create all of the hype they needed to on the final stretch to WrestleMania in just 24 hours.
It took roughly half an hour, to be exact.
We found out who would face Undertaker at the Show of Shows, and shortly after we had confirmation of Dean Ambrose versus Brock Lesnar… in a Street Fight.
Oh, and it seems the closer we get to WrestleMania the more the WWE Universe rejects Roman Reigns.
“Here comes the moneyyyyyy…”
Aside from a return which nobody thought they’d see, and we later saw Roman Reigns Googling “how to” get such a reaction, the pure motivation behind Shane O’Mac’s return is in the first line of his awesome theme song.
You see, behind the casual combo of Air Jordans and a suit, Shane McMahon is a big money draw based on two things:
1. His six year absence has us all clamouring to see him take another insane risk (I personally think he’s going Coast-to-Coast across the Cell), and
2. Most would agree it’s time to change the captain of the ship, so to speak. WWE needs a baby face leader in its office, and there is money in having Shane in that seat. He oozes charisma and he can claim to be the only universally loved McMahon. He’s the perfect foil to The Authority in many respects.
But, a Hell in a Cell match versus Undertaker at WrestleMania?
It seems so far out there as a match, since Undertaker is known for this match, and Shane hadn’t competed in six years, and never was an active superstar. That’s not to suggest it isn’t a “money” match, but I just can’t see it being the match we see at WrestleMania.
With an Undertaker return reported for next week’s Raw, I can see the Instagram and Twitter teases from a certain John Cena coming to fruition.
It’s no secret that Cena has battled The Authority before, and won. The inclusion of Cena might make it awkward to back Shane as the victor here (who actually wants to see Cena go over Undertaker at WrestleMania?), but it would level an otherwise uneven playing field and bring back the whole WrestleMania 2000 adage of “a McMahon in every corner”.
Of course, I could be wrong. The one thing I do know is that there will be one undefeated name at WrestleMania 32. – Shane O’Mac is 2-0 after all…
“Stone Cold” Dean Ambrose
In the same vein as Steve Austin, Ambrose has a tendency to drunkenly emerge from big, motorised vehicles.
I spoke about the WrestleMania hype only taking half an hour to set in this week, but it could be argued that the ever-increasing brutality of Ambrose versus Brock Lesnar started the ball rolling hours before Raw went on the air.
In what could be considered an old-school tactics nowadays (seriously, why are there never any backstage assaults anymore?), Ambrose was the victim of Lesnar’s anger after the “Lunatic Fringe” effectively cost him his title shot with the aide of a steel chair at FastLane.
It was obvious that Ambrose would return later in the night to challenge “The Beast”, mostly because WWE has real trouble leaving cliff-hangers in their storytelling nowadays. But we also knew the two would face each other once that assault happened, it’s the logical path after all.
What makes this match more intriguing is the stipulation of a Street Fight, and how it gives Ambrose a great chance to come out of WrestleMania victorious. A Singles match would hinder him greatly against “The One in Twenty-one and One” (you can’t really count Undertaker’s streak after WrestleMania XXX), as it would seem unfeasible that Ambrose is on a higher level than Undertaker at WrestleMania.
The real payoff here is, though, that regardless of outcome, Ambrose leaves WrestleMania in the hunt for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
To me it just makes sense.
If we had the Year of Seth Rollins, followed by the Year of Roman Reigns, surely we should head into WrestleMania 33 with Ambrose leading the pack and completing The Shield’s journey to main event status?
And if all else fails, we deserve THAT Triple Threat at WrestleMania.
“One more time! One more time!”
It feels like Roman Reigns is on a path which we’ve all seen before.
WrestleMania 21 – John Cena defeats JBL to win his first WWE Championship and proceeds to become rejected as the charismatic baby face he once was.
WrestleMania 22 – John Cena defends his WWE Championship against a heel Triple H, and receives a chorus of boos while the crowd supports “The Game”.
I’ll grant you that Roman never won his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, but the path itself is still a very similar one.
Since ‘Mania 31 many have argued that Reigns has been forced down our throats in the same way Cena was after his ‘Mania 21 victory. I happen to agree, but can’t say I’m overly bothered about it.
The WWE product has never been just for one audience, and Reigns is what the women and children are looking forward to at WrestleMania. It makes sense to have Reigns as the poster boy in this respect.
For those over the age of 18, we have the likes of AJ Styles, Chris Jericho, and the rest of a roster who can put on a show-stealing match at WrestleMania regardless of the storyline behind it.
What I have noticed is that we get closer and closer to WrestleMania and the support Reigns had pre-Royal Rumble is long gone.
WWE could have a major problem with its WrestleMania 32 main event if their new lead baby face is booed out of Dallas.
I mean, Triple H cannot possibly be expected to remain champion?
Well done WWE.
In one night the Road to WrestleMania finally felt like just that, and as hyped as I am for the matches we’ve been told about, I have to wonder what will happen to certain others now.
The Jericho/Styles feud is wrapped up it seems, meaning both are at a loose end.
Bray Wyatt has been tearing through the XXL section of the WWE locker room for seemingly no payoff, and now has less build ahead of him than in any of his previous WrestleMania appearances.
The New Day seem set to defend their titles against the rather pointless competition of the League of Nations, and I can only wonder who WWE wants us to cheer for?
All in all, this week WWE sent out a reminder that this is WrestleMania Season, and we should all get our Air Jordans on and try to keep up.
Written by Andy Springer.