Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A better Wrestlemania than you'll see

By Rick Morris

Since the WWE needs to begin planning for WrestleMania (well, they should have begun months ago, but it’s not really their style and in fairness, injuries have cropped up), what matches would you like to see? I went through the possibilities, taking into consideration the politics of the WWE because that really dictates what is and is not possible and here’s what I came out with:

WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton defends against Chris Jericho: Since Jericho was not brought in as a hot-shot opponent for Orton at No Mercy, the WWE has the opportunity for a slow build to WrestleMania. The show was probably going to end with John Cena in another successful title defense and the format seems to call for a babyface winning the top Raw title at the end, as it is now frozen in stone for all time that a Raw match must be the main event. Jericho going over here would cement him as a big money star for the next few years.

World Championship Match: Undertaker defends against Edge: There’s already a built-in feud here stretching back to last May, and it can plausibly be billed as “Streak vs. Streak” since Edge’s only loss at Mania was not in 1-on-1 competition, but rather the “Money In the Bank” match (and as a heel, he should claim that loophole for being undefeated anyway so as to rile up the crowds). Assuming Edge is the guy that the Undertaker is willing to put over at Mania, this makes sense because it puts Edge into the pantheon of elite heels in the history of the company.

ECW Championship Match: CM Punk defends against Mark Henry: Not a great match, admittedly, but I don’t see many possibilities for Punk. He should make it through the ECW roster before Mania and exhaust those feuds, so they’re going to have to bring somebody in from the outside. Having said that, the emphasis should be on having Punk get an impressive victory and Henry is probably a big enough name to furnish that boost. Make it a relatively short match with a gutty Punk comeback to keep building on his list of accomplishments.

HHH over Batista: Somebody’s going to have to be fed to HHH, and I don’t have as big a problem with this as some of my fellow smart marks. Realistically, he’s going to be somebody the company is building around for at least the next 2-3 years since he’s back from his hiatus and being pushed big-time. The WWE seems to be hinting at this match based on the last 2 PPVs. The setup could come easily, by having Batista interfere at No Way Out to have HHH drop the title back to Orton (again, realistically, HHH will probably hold the belt at some time in the next few months) – perhaps a Batista heel turn based on building jealousy of HHH. This solves a few purposes: puts a cross-brand match on Mania, gives HHH a win against somebody who is a big name but “disposable” enough looking down the road and gives HHH one win after he gave Batista three in a row back in ’05.

Shawn Michaels over Kane: These two have never had a really big-time feud over the years, and like HHH/Batista, it’s an opportunity to go cross-brand. Kane seems to work better as a heel, and with the host of psychological issues his character has had, finding a rationale to have him go after the popular and accomplished Michaels should be easy. Plus, since Kane seems fairly bulletproof in defeat, this, like the HHH victory, is a fairly harmless way for Michaels to go over somebody. Remember, he’ll probably go over whoever he wrestles, and he is probably going to be one of the core players at least in the near term, so the politics dictate that he gets thrown a bone – and this could be a great match.

US Title Match: MVP defends against Rey Mysterio: MVP deserves a successful singles match at Wrestlemania to help build him for bigger things possibly even in the next year (hindsight is 20/20, but don’t you think the WWE wishes he had gone over at last Mania?). Rey Rey could probably withstand a loss without any damage, especially if MVP uses the ropes for leverage or the victory is not completely clean.

Lashley over Mr. Kennedy: This is assuming that Lashley recovers in time for WrestleMania. If he does, the revenge angle is money and this could be the kickoff of a hot summer feud.

Money in the Bank: Jeff Hardy and Santino Marella from Raw, Matt Hardy and Chavo Guerrero from Smackdown, Elijah Burke and Finlay from ECW (with Finlay being moved to ECW in the next few months to fill the veteran leader role that he has performed on Smackdown and that was being reserved for Chris Benoit in ECW). This is a good opportunity for Marella to go over and take his character to the next level

Women’s Title Match: Beth Phoenix defends against Ashley: The identity of the competitors is significantly less important than the format. The “lumberjill” style used last year should be a part of every WrestleMania going forward, as it gets the Divas involved, but puts them into one match rather than taking up space during the rest of the show. Ashley could be built up nicely for this coming off of her Survivor run and Phoenix is great in the role of harsh, dominating female champ. Phoenix should go over just to keep the balance of faces and heels winning to be somewhat even.

Brand Wars Battle Royal: Instead of the “DVD only” battle royal of the last few years, put the battle royal as the opening match of the PPVwith team rules. 10 wrestlers each from Raw, Smackdown and ECW, each wearing the official T-shirt of their brands, would compete to have wrestlers from their brand as the last one(s) remaining. The respective general managers could make bets among themselves and offer incentives to the wrestlers. It would provide an all-inclusive storyline opportunity for the wrestlers left off of the big part of the card. Politics being what they are, Raw would end up going over and I would use Snitsky and Umaga as the co-winners. They could eye each other warily at the end and you could have some interesting storyline possibilities as friend or foe going forward.

Note also that I did not account for bringing back any stars of the past or any currently on the outs (Ric Flair, King Booker, etc.). It's time to start looking to the future in a viable manner and to prove that the WWE can fill a football stadium with the talent currently on their roster.

No comments: