You know, sometimes it's difficult to believe that WrestleMania has been around for as long as it has. We just experienced the 34th version of the big event, and it got me to thinking about every one of those shows. I started looking at all the cards, seeing who wrestled when and what titles were on the line. I looked at career longevity, total number of matches, and just about anything I could think of, but in the end, my focus came down to a single topic... main events.
I had to look at the term "main event" in the tried-and-true definition that we've all come to understand. The "main event" is the final match of the night. It's an important thing to break down, because we're very deep into an era where shows like Mania are sometimes billed as having more than one "main event". We've even seen ridiculous events where four or five matches get that billing. When I looked at the 34 matches that have closed out a WrestleMania, something very interesting jumped out at me.
Depending on whether or not you count technicalities, Roman Reigns is currently tied for the all-time record of main eventing four consecutive WrestleMania shows. The reason I bring up technicalities is because the record for wrestling in advertised main events is four, with Reigns (31-34) tying Hulk Hogan (5-8) this year, but that doesn't count WrestleMania 9's main event of Bret Hart vs Yokozuna turning into Yokozuna vs Hulk Hogan. I know of numerous people who still consider Hart vs Yoko as the main event of the show. However, for the sake of argument, I'm going to give Hogan the credit for wrestling in that night's final match. That gives him a streak of five consecutive WrestleMania main events. That's quite the streak. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin never did that. The Rock didn't do it. John Cena, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Randy Orton, and everyone else in the history of the WrestleMania Era couldn't do it. That speaks volumes about Hogan's popularity at his WWF peak, as well as how much faith Vince McMahon had in him to do big numbers on the company's grandest stage year in and year out.
Fast forward an entire quarter of a century, and we now have Roman Reigns accomplishing something those aforementioned wrestlers never did. Of course, the main difference between Hogan's streak and that of Reigns is that fans actually wanted to see Hogan main event at the time. Yes, his popularity was on the decline towards the end of his WWF run, but there weren't many people in the wrestling business who were getting face pops like he was. Reigns is getting the main event push even though it is crystal clear to everyone except Vince McMahon that it isn't working the way it should. No matter how you feel about Reigns and his spot on the card, main eventing four straight Manias is quite the accomplishment.
Now is a pretty good time to point out that Roman Reigns won't turn 33 for a few more weeks. That means, barring injury or some unforeseen circumstance, he has plenty of time left in his career. A decade is something that is easy to envision, with something of a lesser schedule in the latter half of that, like John Cena has had in recent years. Can you imagine what the anti-Reigns crowd would have to say if his Mania streak hits five, and then six, and then seven straight years, and so on?
In a recent media interview, Reigns was discussing people he'd like to work with at WrestleMania next year. He specifically mentions that he'd love to wrestle Daniel Bryan again, and also mentions that he'd love to wrestle Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose if the Bryan match can't happen. I don't know about you, but Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan is certainly a match I can see WWE putting some heavy marketing behind. It just screams "WrestleMania main event". Has he already started his quest for five straight? What makes it an even bigger deal is the fact that Reigns and Bryan are on different brands. Yes, WWE "pay-per-view" shows will be co-branded moving forward, but that just means Raw vs Raw matches will be on the same show as Smackdown vs Smackdown matches. To get Reigns vs Bryan would require something bigger. Something like... oh, I don't know... a Royal Rumble victory for one of them and a Universal/WWE Title reign for the other? Does that sound big enough?
If you're sick and tired of the Roman Reigns push, there might be one person that can save you, at least as far as WrestleMania is concerned.
Remember back when we were on the road to WrestleMania 34? We, as wrestling fans, had absolutely no idea what to expect from Ronda Rousey's debut match. We knew it would be a spectacle, as is just about every match that features anyone from the McMahon family, but would it actually be any good? It turned out to be better than anyone expected, being given Match Of The Night honors by numerous sites, reviewers, "experts", and media members. She helped to bring in some major mainstream media attention for the company, put on an incredibly entertaining debut match, and had the live crowd eating from the palm of her hand with everything she did. She became "made" on that night in New Orleans.
If WWE is ever going to prove just how serious they are about a "Women's Revolution", it's quickly becoming time to put up or shut up. We've seen the women of WWE make history time and time again in recent years. New titles, new directions, participating in match types that were previously only for the men, main event spots on television, and just giving them a lot more publicity and hype than ever before. What is the next logical step? Giving the WrestleMania main event spot to the women, of course.
At the end of WrestleMania 34, I turned to my wife and said that the main event of next year's show was going to end up being Rousey vs Charlotte. Since then, I've seen a few people make predictions along those lines, with some folks substituting Asuka in Charlotte's spot. I'm a huge fan of Asuka, but WWE putting Charlotte over at Mania clearly shows how they feel about the former Smackdown Women's Champion.
Before I get too far into the deep end of this pool, yes, I know that Rousey still has some work to do. We haven't seen her participate in a singles match yet. We haven't seen her participate in a match, period, that didn't include a WWE Hall Of Famer, a WWE Hall Of Fame lock and a person who has been involved in the business their entire life. She still has to prove she can cut decent promos on a regular basis and not rush through her sentences like she was trying to meet a deadline. WWE is giving her every tool she could ever need to be successful, though, from the people she has been training with to the veterans that she'll be wrestling in the infancy of her career.
Ronda Rousey. Charlotte. In one corner, you have the woman who can use her star power to transcend the entire wrestling industry, helping to take it to new heights. In the other corner, you have the woman who has been at the forefront of the "revolution", and who carries herself like a star more than any woman that has ever stepped foot in a wrestling ring. They aren't on the same brand, so they can easily be kept apart for an entire year, outside of a backstage segment or two at shows like SummerSlam, and then whatever interaction they could have at the Royal Rumble. The easy option is to have Ronda or Charlotte as the Women's Champion of their respective brand, and then to have the other one win the Women's Royal Rumble and cross over like Asuka did this year. The whole thing writes itself, really. It's also a much more interesting story than another year of Roman Reigns going on last, even if he could be facing Daniel Bryan, and even if that would have all the potential to be a Match Of The Year candidate.
There was a time, not all that long ago, where you could say we would never, in a million years, see a women's match in the main event spot at WrestleMania. You'd say it, and you'd be right. Now, is it really outside the realm of possibility? WWE currently has all the ingredients to bake the cake. Now, they just need to figure out how to turn the oven on.
Am I crazy?