We're approximately one month away from "The Granddaddy Of Them All", WrestleMania. One month away from the biggest event of the WWE year. One month away from all the pomp and circumstance that comes with what has, essentially, become a week-long event. At this point, we have several rumors floating around, detailing possible matches and happenings that will be taking place at the event, so it's time to take a look at them. Some are good, and some... well... aren't as good. Even this far away from the show taking place, I have ten thoughts about what we've seen, what we might be seeing, and how we're getting there. Some of these opinions could easily change over the next few weeks, simply based on a storyline tweak here, a title change there, or a superstar returning from injury. Let's see if we're all on the same page or not.
1. John Cena & The Miz are probably going to be wasted on the card. Alright, I've seen the defenses of the rumored mixed tag match that will see Cena team with Nikki Bella to face The Miz and Maryse. People say that Nikki is coming to the end of her career, and that both she and Cena will probably love getting a chance to team together in a match before she retires. People say that being in a match against John Cena at WrestleMania is a huge reward, no matter where it takes place on the card. That's fine and all, but the first point is irrelevant, and the second point simply isn't true. I don't doubt that Johnny Boy and Nikki Girl would love to have a match together before their careers are over, but having it at WrestleMania just seems wrong. It would be a really nice way to sell a smaller event, whether it be a Smackdown-only event or even the company's second-biggest show of the year, SummerSlam.
Through the years, I'll always be at the front of the line to criticize The Miz for his faults and any wrong doing he does. When his mind doesn't appear to be in the game, he comes across as an incredibly lazy in-ring performer. His strikes are often downright horrible, and his overacting is cringe worthy, even in the over-the-top world of professional wrestling. However, when he's "on", he's as "must-see" as his character claims to be. Since Maryse made her return to the company during the night-after-WrestleMania episode of Raw last year, Miz seems to be as motivated as he has ever been. He's showing a fire in his promos that he has never shown before. His in-ring work isn't exactly stiffening to the point where he looks like a 1990's Puroresu phenom, but he's a lot more "believable" (I don't even like using that word when it comes to wrestling) these days. With all the work he's been putting in over the last year, I feel he deserves a high-profile singles match at Mania. I've seen folks that were calling for him to win the Royal Rumble, as well as folks who wanted him to win at Elimination Chamber. There are only so many spots at the tippy-top of the card, so I don't know if I'd go that far, but he does deserve better than a mixed tag match. Maryse hasn't wrestled in nearly six years, but her return isn't a "story" like, say, the return of Trish Stratus or Lita would be. It isn't even on the level of Mickie James returning to WWE after six-plus years away. You just know the company will try to paint it as a huge deal, though, with the two-time Divas Champion returning to the ring. It all comes across as phony and hollow, you know? In no way am I saying the match will be a zero-star dud or anything like that. It's just my personal opinion that the match could/should be bigger for both Cena and Miz, and let's not even get started on the all-time stupid way that the match is going to be put together, with Nikki accidentally spilling makeup and powder on Maryse during a backstage brawl with Natalya. To quote a great philosopher... that is just turrible. Turrible.
2. WWE has backed themselves into a corner with how the Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar match can go. Not like you all need the memory jog, but go back to Survivor Series a few months ago, and the match that Goldberg and Brock Lesnar had. It was hyped to incredible lengths, and then it was over in less than 90 seconds. Now, fast forward to this year's Royal Rumble match. Both Brock and Goldberg were in the match, so we were looking forward to seeing if Mr. Lesnar could get some revenge. He did not. Goldberg eliminated him rather easily. Now, fast forward to the here and now. We're waiting to see what is being hyped as Brock's final shot at Goldberg, after the loss at Survivor Series, the elimination at the Royal Rumble, and the loss at WrestleMania 20.
If you polled wrestling fans, the majority would probably say they're expecting Lesnar to win, sending Goldberg into an official retirement. I'm predicting a Lesnar victory, as well, but how does it happen? Does it become an epic battle between "monsters", with 20 minutes of two men beating the hell out of each other? Wouldn't that only continue to make Lesnar look "weak"? He basically got destroyed two times in a row, and then needed everything he could possibly muster to beat a 50-year-old man in the last attempt. I've seen a prediction or two that Brock gets the dominant win this time around, squashing Goldberg in two minutes. Alright, but that makes the last half-year look like nothing but flukes. It looks like Goldberg accidentally stumbled into a quick victory, and then Brock did the same thing down the road. This all goes back to what I said after Survivor Series, echoing the thoughts of a very large percentage of the WWE Universe... having Goldberg win his match that way was stupid on an astronomical level. It did nothing for the company, and it made Brock look terrible. By the way, that's the same Brock that WWE had spent a few years making look like an unstoppable, God-like character, feeding him some of the company's biggest names, as well as The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, in doing so. The company has put itself in a position that is almost impossible to get out of without hurting yourself, kind of like the middle pages of the Kama Sutra. Now go ahead and picture Vince McMahon performing things from the Kama Sutra while I move along to my next thought.
3. Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens could be a classic. This one is a pretty simple one. You can make an argument that Kevin Owens is currently one of the best in-ring performers in the world. You can also make an argument that Chris Jericho is one of the sport's all-time best in-ring performers. No, Jericho isn't the proverbial "spring chicken" anymore, but he can still "go". Even if there were no story, and the match was taking place at a house show in Maine, you would expect it to be something entertaining. Being at WrestleMania is only going to motivate them more, but it's the way the Festival Of Friendship ended that has me excited about the match. As I said in a previous column, that has the potential to go down as an all-time great segment, helping Owens get over as the jerk heel he should have been all along, and helping Jericho to probably get the biggest babyface sympathy he's had since people thought he defeated Triple H for the WWF Title on Raw. The fans have been dying to cheer for him in recent months, and now they have that chance.
Most of the early rumors have this being nothing more than a grudge match, without the Universal Title on the line, as Owens looks like he's losing the title to Goldberg at Fastlane. While it would be nice to see these two square off for the biggest prize the company has to offer, the title being on the line would only be secondary, anyway, to the story of Owens betraying Jericho. Because of that, I don't even view it as a problem if the title isn't involved.
If these two are given a good amount of time (no less than 15 minutes, please) to put on a show in the ring, they'll deliver. I'm talking Match Of The Night, and perhaps even a Match Of The Year candidate with all of the heat that the crowd will give. Let's cross our fingers and hope this doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
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