Posts Tagged ‘The Undertaker’

If at the end of 2015, somebody were to show you this image, and told you that it would be happening in 2016, odds are that you almost definitely wouldn’t believe then.

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SmackDown is live? AJ Styles is WWE Champ? And OH MY GOD James Ellsworth is… who’s James Ellsworth?

Looping best-of-three-PPVs feuds are so formulaic that it is easy for some to shrug proceedings off as boring. Has booking really been that uninteresting though? Of course not.

2016 sought to prove otherwise, and for better or for worse, did a great job. Over the last twelve months, WWE have dreamt up things that comedy sites like Kayfabe News wouldn’t have done. This is less about just devestating moments (for example, the retirement of Daniel Bryan caused massive upset), and more about the surprises. Here are some 100% true headlines surrounding booking choices that would have seriously confused any wrestling fan just one year ago.

CHRIS JERICHO (AT PEAK OF HIS CAREER) DEFEATS A.J. STYLES
(WrestleMania 32, April 3rd) 

Fans have been drinking in the Gift of Jericho. 2016 has been incredible for him, and he has been revered for his role in the top-tier, alongside Kevin Owens. He has been incredibly in touch with fans’ desires, even if it is wearing a scarf, growing a moustache and calling everyone “stupid idiots”. With such popularity, a victory for him might forgiven on most days. But this wasn’t ‘most days’. His opponent was A.J. Styles, who had arrived in Royal Rumble 2016.

The match itself was great, but the result angered many. Jericho had stated that he would be leaving WWE (liar!), and did not need this win. Regardless of the result, a lot of spectacular rare signature moves by Styles were wasted (such as Styles’ 450 Splash) and weakened in reputation by the 45-year-old Jericho kicking out. Looking back now, the result did no harm, and Styles is WWE Champion.

 THE ROCK DEFEATS ERICK ROWAN AT WRESTLEMANIA 32, TO MIXED RECEPTION
(WrestleMania 32, April 3rd)

This would have caused a lot of confusion, and disappointment when actually explained. This, for me, was the most infuriating part of WrestleMania – The Rock’s surprise appearance. It turned out that the disaster of his appearance at Royal Rumble ’15 was a one-off. Rocky came out to address the crowd for over twenty-minutes, reeling off (disproved) info on the record-breaking attendance, and the standard checklist of catchphrases.

The Wyatt Family arrived to face-off with The Rock. The Wyatts got a far more positive reaction than WWE had probably hoped, considering how The Rock insulted absolutely everything about their demeanour, rendering them obsolete. The last nail came when The Rock challenged Erick Rowan to a match, which lasted for six-seconds. Then a still injured John Cena helped take out the rest of The Wyatts.

Fans have wanted The Wyatts to catch their break forever. This segment was the epitome of booking stupidity.

SHANE MCMAHON’S WWE OWNERSHIP DREAMS REVIVED, AFTER HIS HIAC LOSS AGAINST THE UNDERTAKER, AT WRESTLEMANIA
(Raw, April 4th)

Where on earth does one begin with this one? How about at the end of the story. Shane McMahon was shockingly back and Vince McMahon welcomed him on the Raw after WrestleMania. However, the second half of the above statement shows that the journey to this point had been a ridiculous and messy one. Under what circumstance would Shane-o-Mac be booked to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, in a Hell in a Cell match? As it turned out, according to his statement live on Raw, to give Shane “another fucking beating”. There really was little-to-no substance to Shane’s presence. Although this match started the road to the brand split, there is nothing to add to that headline, and nothing else to say.

The match itself was nothing to write home about. It was a show of Shane’s signature moves, leading to him throwing himself off of the cell, onto Taker. Fans had joked for a long time about one last jump, and said that it would never happened. Well now we’ve seen it. Sadly, too much of it, as the producers backstage screwed up and we got a full look at the airbag that he really landed on. And hilariously, you can also see Michael Cole reading his big “as God is my witness, he is broken in half speech” directly from a clipboard.

Looking back now, the end result was OK, but was a waste of a year for Taker, whose days are clearly numbered, and has a few dream opponents left who will never get their Taker at WM match.

AFTER CLEANLY DEFEATING ROLLINS AND REIGNS, FINN BALOR IS FORCED TO VACATE WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP DUE TO INJURY
(SummerSlam, August 21st)

This really was a moment that took some people a while to comprehend. Finn Balor had been drafted to RAW, having graduated from NXT. On his first match on the main roster, Balor became the first man to cleanly pin the overly protected Roman Reigns, in four years. And what on earth is this WWE Universal Championship? It might sound like a really daft writing idea, belonging in the same canon as Broken Matt Hardy, but is (luckily) just RAW’s humourously desperate attempt at one-upping SmackDown’s World Championship. Hopefully neither brand will create a Galactic Championship, but it wouldn’t be of any surprise.

Of course, this closes on the sadder note as straight after Balor vs Rollins at SummerSlam, Balor was forced to vacate the title, due to a shoulder injury. One noteworthy moment of the match was Rollins unleashing the very dangerous God’s Last Gift move on Balor, which Rollins hasn’t performed since actually being ‘Seth Rollins’. It’s a pity that it was done so unceremoniously, and kicked out of afterwards. Speaking of which…

KOTA IBUSHI KICKS OUT OF BURNING HAMMER IN MATCH AGAINST BRIAN KENDRICK, FOR THE WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
(Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinals, August 26th)

Impressed by the new WWE Universal Championship? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Absolutely everything about the sentence above is completely mind-boggling. To start with there are the wrestlers – the presence of Japanese legend Kota Ibushi in a WWE tournament, and the return of The Brian Kendrick (who would later become the WWE Cruiserweight World Champion). Oh, and there is the fact that there is even such a thing as a WWE Cruiserweight World Championship – brilliant news, however purple the belt is.

The cherry on the cake here though is the use of a ‘Burning Hammer’, commonly considered one of, if not the most dangerous manoeuvres in wrestling. Considering the dark cloud surrounding the dreaded and forbidden piledriver, this was stunning. Sadly, Ibushi was booked to kick out of the move – a bigger waste than Jericho kicking out of Styles’ 450 Splash, and Finn Balor kicking out of Seth Rollins’ God’s Last Gift. It’s a disappointing ongoing policy of WWE – ever match that ends with a pin, can’t end with anything that isn’t a finishing move.

AFTER THE SPIRIT SQUAD ARE REMOVED FROM RINGSIDE, THE MIZ LOSES WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN A TITLE VS CAREER MATCH, AGAINST DOLPH ZIGGLER
(No Mercy, October 9th)

Welcome to probably the best feud of 2016 – The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler. Considering Ziggler’s reputation as a fan favourite who is booked mostly as filler in the mid-card, it would have been baffling to even see Ziggler on the brink of becoming a champion once again. The fact that it would be booked as important enough to warrant a stipulation like ‘Title vs Career’ brings the highest degree of importance to the mid-card title. Oh, and who could ever expected the appearance of The Spirit Squad?

This feud was absolutely incredible, as it acknowledged the on-off history of Ziggler’s booking, and made The Miz the most horrid villain in the WWE. As top-tier heels have been misguidedly booked and perhaps been too likeable (for example, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are too entertaining that nobody wants to see defeated. And AJ Styles is… AJ Styles). However, The Miz has been the most incredible man on the mic this year (peaking during his shocking segment in Talking Smack). The feud took the best possible route, as Ziggler won in a massive feel good moment at No Mercy, and lost the title weeks later in a brilliant ladder match with The Miz. With The Miz champion again, he is destined for another amazing feud in 2017.

CHARLOTTE DEFEATS SASHA BANKS TO BECOME THREE TIMES RAW WOMEN’S DIVISION CHAMPION, HEADLINING HELL IN A CELL
(Hell in a Cell, October 30th)

There is a RAW Women’s Championship? Charlotte has won the title three times already? And the women have finally been allowed into the cell? And they headlined the event? It sounds like a dream come true, although some have since argued that this was not the monumental occasion that it should have been. To a point, I agree.

To start with, is the number of times that the title has changed hands. While there is no reason why it couldn’t happen, it probably shouldn’t have happened for two reasons: 1. Too much attention had been drawn to these two women over anybody else in the division, and 2. Having held the title three times in less than a year, somewhat dilutes its importance. As for the match, it was definitely styled to look like an important event – for example Sasha Banks being stretchered off having been put through a table, styled like a lighter version of Mankind’s famous fall from the cell in 1998. It wasn’t perfect, and as of December 2016, the title still seems to be fought for by only these two wrestlers. Hopefully, with the list of matches happening for the first time in the Women’s Division, is shrinking, more wrestlers will become involved.

ASUKA DEFEATS MICKIE JAMES, TO RETAIN THE NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP AT NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO
(NXT TakeOver: Toronto, November 19th)

On the other end of the scale, NXT really have opened up when it has come to opportunities. Look no further than the decision to bring Mickie James in for her first WWE match in six years, to take on Asuka – new champion in 2016. This could have been a very poor decision, and considering how one of the primary talking points of her career was when she grabbed Trish Stratus’ crotch at WrestleMania, one could be forgiven for being pessimistic. However, there was no need. While NXT has seen a few superior women’s matches, Mickie did not disappoint, delivering what some have called the greatest match of her career.

Looking back on this, I am in two minds about this event. I’m very positive due to the quality of the match itself, however I was admittedly quite disappointed when this match was first announced. This was the first women’s TakeOver match to be more novel that a standard singles match, since TakeOver: Respect (headlined by Sasha Banks and Bayley’s Iron Man match), and NXT decided that the twist would be from bringing in another veteran. This to me indicates the confirmation that NXT has well and truly lost the agenda of being developmental territory, and has grown to a scale that it can never step back from. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t jeopardise the progress of talent such as Peyton Royce and Liv Morgan.

GOLDBERG CLEANLY DEFEATS BROCK LESNAR AT SURVIVOR SERIES, IN EIGHTY-SIX SECONDS
(Survivor Series, November 20th)

For the most part when writing these, it has been a matter of shoehorning as much unlikely information into the space of one sentence. In this instance, there is no point. Bill Goldberg showed up, was signed up for a match against the unstoppable Brock Lesnar, and he won. This is perfectly representative of WWE being so painfully formulaic that something so barmy as a 49-year-old wrestler, turning up for his first match in twelve years and defeating Lesnar in eighty-six seconds, is accepted.

Fans even surprised themselves, pondering “why am I so happy about this?”. Venturing a guess, this was the opposite of the upset surround The Rock and The Wyatts at WrestleMania – neither side needed a victory, so the most ridiculous enjoyable result was allowed to happen. If Lesnar had done the same thing, groans would resume about the pointlessness of the match.

While it’s confirmed that Lesnar and Goldberg will be in the 2017 Royal Rumble, we can’t be entirely sure what comes next. The novelty might wear off quickly, but for the time being? Wow.

SHINSUKE NAKAMURA BECOMES FIRST TWO-TIME NXT CHAMPION IN MATCH WITH SAMOA JOE, AT OSAKA HOUSE SHOW (NXT, December 3rd)

The NXT singles championship has changed hands at a house show before – Samoa Joe won his title at a house show Lowell, Massachusetts in April 2016. However, this is not what makes the matter especially shocking. It is the fact that the title was taken by SHINSUKE NAKAMURA!

His shocking arrival in 2016 was great, debuting in-person (having challenged Sami Zayn to a match on the screen in the Full Sail studio) at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, in what might be my favourite match of 2016 – Nakamura vs. Zayn. NXT promoted his arrival as though it was the most important moment in the history of NXT. If the promotion has decided that it isn’t developmental any more, it may as well do things properly, and man they are.

And most surprising of all? Considering how the company have changed names to mononyms, such as (Adrian) Neville, Big E (Langston) and (Alexander) Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura is at least as of December 2016, still called Shinsuke Nakamura. Will it last?

Which other WWE moments of 2016 would have sounded outrageous in 2015, and what is the most outrageous thing that you think is actually possible in 2017? Post below.


 

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Remember the boos at Royal Rumble 2015, as it became apparent that 29 men were being wasted in favour of the future of Roman Reigns – a character that no matter how WWE have tried, will not be adored by wrestling fans. If you didn’t think that their intentions were ridiculous enough then, Wrestlemania 32 buried more beloved talent than one could ever have dreamt that they would.

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You ain’t seen nothing yet. Balee dat.

There is a reason why Wrestlemania 32 is already being referred back to as ‘Vince’s Revenge’, and it is not only down to the fact that Roman Reigns won cleanly against Triple H, with the microphones turned down so to blot out the 100,000 people booing him. No heel turns. No intervention. This was the moment at which (as if we needed any confirmation) that Roman Reigns is *staying* top face whether fans like it or not.

Of course, there were some great matches. It goes without saying that the Women’s Triple Threat was the match of the night, and was treated as incredibly important. And quite rightly so. Also the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, while a bit of a mess, could not have ended any better as fan favourite Zack Ryder won, and Kevin Owens has every reason to be irritated with Sami Zayn. On top of this, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale wasn’t very special, but there are certainly worse ways to be introduced the main roster as Baron Corbin was last night – by winning the trophy. It might have been at the cost of popular low-carders such as Damien Sandow and Tyler Breeze, but it seemed worthwhile in introducing more talent from NXT.

However, the attitude of boosting talent that really did not pushing, as was the case with Reigns’ victory, lasted for the majority of the show, as A-list stars leeched off of fan favourites. These stars are untouchable, and yet those booking had decided to feed various wrestlers to them. It was as though it was a conscious method of making sure everyone watch various favourites be deleted. A fantastic looking Stephanie McMahon attempted to provoke boos from the crowd during Triple H’s entrance by announcing just how evil there were, and how “after tonight, all hope will be gone!”. Fans can be forgiven for feeling that this was the case when certain characters were given a push at the cost of favourites. Here are a few examples of such superstars and their victims:

THE ROCK & JOHN CENA

Victim: The Wyatt Family

This twenty-five minute segment was the ultimate caricature of everything that WWE followers have been irritated by over the course of the last decade. Who needs booking to boost charisma and importance any less than The Rock, and the returning John Cena? Still, WWE felt the need to take the most imposing faction in the WWE not to appear in a match at Wrestlemania 32, with a leader that many have felt was ready to take the creepy role held by The Undertaker for so many years, and reduce them from dominance, to being told how ridiculous they look.

It was sad enough to see the monstrous Erick Rowan be defeated by The Rock in six seconds in an impromptu match. That was the moment at which the Family should have disappeared with Bray Wyatt having an evil grin, as though he had a cunning plan. Unfortunately, just minutes later, both he and the previously highly protected Braun Strowman were squashed by The Rock and John Cena, again in seconds. However beautiful the 100,000 ‘fireflies’ looked, there is no denying that this felt like dreadful closure to the Wyatts’ reign of terror, as they are now taken even less seriously than The Social Outcasts.

And to think that everyone felt sorry for Bo Dallas for not getting nearly as much glory as his brother.

BROCK LESNAR

Victim: Dean Ambrose

Was this not meant to be the match that stole the show, especially after all of the ‘torch passing’ promos with Foley and Funk over the last few weeks? Where Ambrose would be the man to really push Lesnar to his limit? Sadly, it wasn’t to be (and they almost made a mockery of this as Dean Ambrose revealed Barbie only not to use ‘her’), and even at just thirteen-minutes long, Suplex City got very boring. Fans don’t need reminding that Lesnar is a monster, but WWE decided that they would show off Lesnar by saying that he is so dominant that he won’t even let his opponent get to the weaponry, as opposed to showing what he can withstand. Equipped with so many tools to take down Lesnar, and not coming anywhere close, Ambrose looks weak.

This was the biggest disappointment staged by WWE in a very long time. This is not to say that everyone was expecting a brutal and bloody match, but one still couldn’t help but feel that the ‘No Holds Barred Street Fight’ stipulation was completely redundant. There was a low blow, a quick spot with a fire extinguisher, an F5 on some chairs, and that’s it. Ambrose lost, clean as a whistle, and Lesnar is now due to disappear for a while. This served no purpose but to remind viewers that Brock Lesnar is good at German Suplexes, and that the people of Dallas know how to count, at the expense of babyface Ambrose’s time to shine.

Instead, Ambrose lost, and has nowhere to go.

SHAWN MICHAELS, MICK FOLEY & STEVE AUSTIN

Victims: The League of Nations, and to a lesser extent, The New Day

This was another match that was good, but didn’t feel quite as energetic and electric as some other The New Day segments, but a victory for the League of Nations was a good idea to grind The New Day’s gears and pursue the tag team title over the next few weeks.

But no. It had been disappointing enough to have to see King Barrett at ringside, his role clearly reserved to being the man to intervene and help his team to get the win. However, there was a glimmer of hope for him when he got the microphone post-match so to boast about had brilliant his ‘lads’ are. As it turns out, this match seemed nothing more than a set up for what was a humorous segment but yet another waste of the only active heel faction that are (or were) in pursuit of the Tag Team title. It’s always fun to see Austin, Michaels and Foley return, but did it have to be on the representatives of the world outside the USA?

Sure, the legends needed their targets, but the League are (or should be) too potentially valuable to throw around like that. The New Day’s silliness is insulting enough (in a good way) to the League of Nations in their matches, so neither tag team (let alone both) needed to be wiped out in seconds by three long retired men.

CHRIS JERICHO

Victim: AJ Styles

The majority of this match was actually great, but slightly tired considering that this is the fourth time that Jericho and Styles have faced each other in a short amount of time. It also goes without saying that Styles would naturally be the winner of this match, on the grounds that as such a popular face, it was inevitable, and that Jericho being upset about not being the most popular is flexible enough to drop him into a feud with anyone popular. One might expect him to get upset with Nakamura fever at a WWE Network event.

In spite of this being laid out for WWE, they chose was Jericho to win. This serves no purpose, especially considering that Jericho is only semi-active with nothing to gain, and that in spite of AJ Styles being ‘The Phenomenal One’ AJ Styles, he again has nowhere to go. Even more infuriating were the closing minutes of the match where some highly protected spots such as the Styles Clash and the Superman 450 Splash were kicked out of. It might have been Wrestlemania, so it could have been the right stage for that to happen, but those spots have now been thrown away and wasted against the wrong man.

THE USOS

Victims: The Dudley Boyz

Speaking of the tag team division and poor choices of targets, this was another example of a match that was assumed to be what the audience were so desperate to see, but could not have been more wrong. This led to the worst match of the night, besides Rock vs Rowan.

Is ‘victim’ an overly strong term to use for such legends at The Dudley Boyz? Maybe, but due to their defeat in just five minutes, this was completely unnecessary. The Usos’ were popular enough, and could have naturally had a nice return on Raw, but instead WWE felt the need to mark the occasion with what they hoped that fans would appreciate as a finale of their feud and poetic justice – the Dudleyz were put through tables.

Needless to say, the audience made it known that this was not the way they wanted The Usos to return, and it would have been far more successful had they been dropped straight into a feud with The League of Nations.

THE UNDERTAKER

Victim: Shane McMahon

The big one. It was relatively obvious that Shane McMahon would not be hanging around for too long, but that is not to say that whatever happened at Wrestlemania 32 wouldn’t leave a mark, so a match which decided the kayfabe owner of Raw was bound to grab attention. The entire segment for this match was fifty-minutes long, from the opening promo, to the fade-to-black as McMahon was taken away on a stretcher. The match itself was over half an hour long, and was more like a street fight than the street fight.

This was a match that could actually have done with an intervention to help McMahon win, or continue. I had expected The Wyatt Family to get involved considering their lack of involvement on the card, as there would be a great antihero force to start screwing with Raw, with The Authority not able to keep them under control. Instead, McMahon lost and in spite of an awesome jump spot from the top of the cell, the match was completely pointless and redundant.

This wasn’t ‘burying’ Shane McMahon, as this moment will not be forgotten any time soon, but in essence, this was a moment that made many feel as though was a conscious booking decision to point out that tonight is for confirming who will stay and who will go, especially since Shane even acknowledged things that fans disliked during promotional segments, as if to say “we are not out of touch, we know what you’re thinking, but we don’t care.” The final nail, so to speak.

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This really does pose the question of whether this truly was a case, as some are very quick to refer to the spectacular ego of Vince McMahon, as well as the possibility that the night was written all around Roman Reigns. After all, the only other babyface to win, and not be completely drained was Zack Ryder, right at the beginning of the show. Of course there was also the easily noticeable attempts to blot out the crowd who were booing him, with ‘Ole’ and even ‘Hey Bayley’ chants happening throughout the match. This point of view suggests that WWE had deliberately removed all reason for fans to be happy up until HHH/Reigns – the match that everybody was hoped to be happy about.

We will never know the full truth of the logic, but it goes without saying that WWE failed miserably at pleasing the crowd. This was not because heroes weren’t winning, but because those who actually *need* attention (whether good or evil) are just peripherals both for those who don’t need support, and WWE will stop at nothing, even breaking the fourth wall, to ram their intentions at viewers. THESE are who we have chosen as our present and future, and THOSE will never come close. Where better to confirm it than on the grandest stage of all? It’s a real pity.

Well, that’s it. All programming on the Road to Wrestlemania is over. We have all the proceeding evidence available. Therefore, it is time for predicting how Wrestlemania 32 will unfold on Sunday – aka procrastination season. Here is my shot.

Team Total Divas vs Team B.A.D. & Blonde (5 vs 5 Divas Match)

Who should win: Team Total Divas

Who will win: Team Total Divas

Big spot: Brie Bella will get the winning pin, considering her promotional pulling power, due to her Bryan connections.

So Paige is a ‘total diva’ now? Whatever happened to her being the revolutionary ‘anti-Diva’? Oh well. This is a pre-show throwaway match that will probably be shorter than The Undertaker’s entrance. The name of the team alone suggests that WWE wouldn’t dare let them lose on the grandest stage that they have to offer.

Kalisto vs Ryback (US Title Match)

Who should win?: Kalisto

Who will win?: Kalisto

Big spot: Due to size difference, there will be a rather unconvincing Salida del Sol from atop a turnbuckle.

This is another match that won’t get much attention, not helped by the fact that it is demoted to the pre-show, and will quite possibly be slated for some unconvincing spots by Kalisto on Ryback. The title was not long ago held by John Cena, so for it to change hands in the pre-show is highly unlikely. It would be a spectacular demotion for the title if this happens in the pre-show, even at Wrestlemania. I imagine that Kalisto will soon lose the title to a heel figure, and that Cena will return to briefly feud with them (with viewers expected to consider ‘justice’, even if the heel’s win is entirely within the rules).

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

Who should win?: Curtis Axel

Who will win?: Braun Strowman

Big spot: All but one of the Social Outcasts, will be eliminated in the first minute, leaving one fighting his way through to the final minute.

The Social Outcasts faction needs a big crowd-pleasing win. Sure, it won’t be as big a pleaser as a The New Day victory, but being the fun that they are, means that this requires that they win. On top of this, this win will be a good thing for them to be booked to bicker about over the next few weeks. However, I am guessing that it will be Strowman. This booking has indeed happened already, with Strowman being responsible for the elimination of the most combatants in Royal Rumble 2016 (tied with Roman Reigns, with five), as well as being the man to eliminate both Big Show and Kane. It is not especially thrilling to see yet another giant win (after Big Show won last year), but if any meaning is to be milked from this generic battle royale, Strowman comes across as one of very few men that this can come from. Unless the Wyatts invade later in the night, this will sadly be their primary appearance.

The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz

Who should win?: The Dudley Boyz

Who will win?: The Usos

Big spot: D-Von will get the tables…

The Dudley Boyz are fantastic, strong heel figures, and really should remain that way. However, at some point or another, The Usos will climb their way to the top of the tag team division, and WWE will make use of Wrestlemania to start that climb. It’s a bad idea, especially considering just how popular The New Day are (adding another face tag team into the title picture just wouldn’t work), but the event will presumably be exploited none the less.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Who should win?: AJ Styles

Who will win?: AJ Styles

Big spot: AJ Styles will deliver his first Superman 450 Splash in WWE.

This has been a solid and entertaining (albeit repetitive) enough mid-card rivalry that their matches have been numbered over in Reddit /r/SquaredCircle (this is Jericho vs Styles IV for anyone curious). While not all matches at Wrestlemania have to be a finale, this has to be the moment at which these two go their separate ways. This feud will end with a Styles win (en route to a title picture), and with such a great heel turn by Jericho that is built around being so irritated by the lack of audience respect, it will be simple in the eyes of WWE writers to find the next man that he will be annoyed by for the same reason. Expect this to end cleanly with a phenomenal flying elbow from Styles, followed by a post-match diva tantrum by Jericho.

Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

(Triple Threat Match for the WWE Divas Championship)

Who should win?: Becky Lynch

Who will win?: Sasha Banks

Big spot: Sasha Banks will lock a winning Bank Statement on Charlotte, when Charlotte is distracted by her father being evicted from ringside.

This match should be monumental to the degree of changing the name of the title to be the Women’s Championship. After all, one only has to look at the Wrestlemania card to see that there is a Diva half and a Women’s half in booking. It is a fair compromise that WWE should stick with – but one can presumably only dream.

Becky Lynch should be the winner due to the fact that she is the person most in the need of the big win. Charlotte is a Flair, and Sasha Banks is, well… Sasha Banks. Becky doesn’t have such support, and only has so long before fading away. If a point is to be made for the women, it should be made sooner rather than later, and Becky is ideal. Unfortunately however, I presume that Becky will be victimized at Wrestlemania and that it will be Bayley who will make a statement with a Banks vs Bayley III in the months to come.

The New Day vs The League of Nations

Who should win?: The League of Nations

Who should win?: The League of Nations

Big spot: Rusev will hit Xavier Woods with Francesca II, and Xavier will spend the next few weeks complaining about her betrayal.

It is incredible how far The New Day have come. Who would have thought that they could have been the most beloved babyfaces in the roster, but it’s happened. It has actually happened – unicorn horns, cereal, trombones and all. That said, note that this match does not have any titles up for offer, therefore making it look highly likely that The League of Nations will get a win out of it. The New Day can get enough great fun in an opening segment and during the match that their loss, even at Wrestlemania would not be a waste. I expect that Xavier Woods will be pinned by Sheamus.

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Dolph Ziggler vs Zack Ryder vs Sin Cara vs The Miz vs Stardust (Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Who should win?: Kevin Owens

Who will win?: Sami Zayn

Big spot: Zack Ryder will hang off of the belt.

Sami Zayn is now in the main roster, but what is WWE’s priority, and what should it be? Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens should be a highly anticipated match-up. During the duration of their NXT feud, it was dreamt of being the feud that should have topped the main roster. However, I assume that WWE will rush this feud into fruition in the mid-card far too quickly. Considering how good Kevin Owens is at tantrums, him losing the title might not be that terrible, as he can rant his way into a title match in no time, aided by Authority connections. Unfortunately, WWE are remorseless when it comes to throwing the Intercontinental Title around at a quick rate, and Wrestlemania 32 will be a textbook example.

The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell Match)

Who should win?: Shane McMahon

Who will win?: Shane McMahon

Big spot: The lights will go out due to an interruption by the Wyatt Family to attack The Undertaker (magically appearing in the cell), who will function as Shane McMahon’s minions in a similar vein to The Undertaker for Vince, leading to Shane’s win.

There are plenty of reasons why one should be unsure of this result. To start with, this match is not the last match of the night. With such an important stipulation as control of Raw, it seems highly unlikely that the hands will change earlier in the night, making an Undertaker win likely. Similarly, we have yet to see a Cena/Taker match at Wrestlemania, which seems inevitable, and therefore this not being The Undertaker’s final Wrestlemania.

Oh, and there is the fact that one of the combatants is Shane McMahon. There is no way that this match will be ‘clean’, and I refuse to believe that such a strange choice of match could happen without there being a big pay-off. WWE have a habit of going back on decisions very quickly. Just look at how quickly The Authority regained power after losing it at Survivor Series 2014. For this reason, bizarrely, a win for Shane is not a bad choice.

Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred Street Fight)

Who should win?: Dean Ambrose

Who will win?: Dean Ambrose

Big spot: Dean Ambrose, in continuing the matter of ‘the torch’ being passed to him, will bring Mr Socko with him.

So long as this match is spectacular, this is the one match tonight that fans will enjoy without a care for its result. However, strangely for his reputation, Dean Ambrose’s eventual Wrestlemania win must be booked as monumental. Yes, this will be a massive match against Brock Lesnar, but the sentimentality of the fabled Shield Triple Threat one day is where Ambrose finally gets his Wrestlemania ‘eureka’ moment.

However, considering that Lesnar is due to go on a hiatus after Wrestlemania, one can’t help but feel that this stipulation is reason enough for Lesnar to lose, and the vengeful method by which he will return later in the year, getting back at Ambrose.

Roman Reigns vs Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship)

Who should win?: Triple H

Who will win?: Roman Reigns

Big spot: Triple H will bring in his sledgehammer, and Reigns will retaliate with Barbie, which (or who?) has been left at ringside from the Street Fight. The final shot will be Seth Rollins at the entrance with Reigns taunting him from the ring.

WWE are clearly desperate for Reigns to have a big moment, and as a result of all that confetti not being enough at Survivor Series 2015, and no one really caring about injustice at Royal Rumble 2016 (except the fact that Reigns cheated), means that they are just going to make things bigger until it works. WWE are clearly desperate for Reigns to have a big moment, and as a result of all that confetti not being enough at Survivor Series 2015, and no one really caring about injustice at Royal Rumble 2016 (except the fact that Reigns cheated), means that they are just going to make things bigger until it works.

For that reason, Reigns will finally do it. This will presumably require a big crowd-pleasing pop for somebody else, as I seriously doubt that WWE would risk such a massive backlash as the closing shot. I guess for this reason, that the show will end with an appearance by Seth Rollins.

Well, that’s it. What are your predictions?