Friday, February 28, 2014
Road to Wrestlemania
So the Elimination Chamber is in the books, and next up is WrestleMania XXX. I thought it was a good show overall. The match of he night was obviously the six man tag team match between the Shield and the Wyatt Family. That was the best tag team match of any kind that I've seen since I started watching again back in 2011-12. It's enough to make you wish the Shield wasn't going to break up soon. (More on that later.) The Chamber match was a good one as well, with lots of memorable spots and a good overall flow. Even the opener between Big E and Jack Swagger was pretty good for a big man match. Big E is better in the ring that he was a year ago and Swagger did the good job that he usually does. There were a few stinkers; the Diva's title match was a dud and the Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio match, while not bad, was dampened by it's predictable ending (no one believed Del Rio was winning that thing) and the crowd's hostility to Batista. The booking decisions were correct, in my book. Everyone in the Chamber match got a chance to show what they could do, and Orton walking out with the Title was the right pick. Christian and Cesaro had no chance of winning, and any of the remaining faces (John Cena, Sheamus, and Daniel Bryan) winning would lead to either a meaningless one month title reign ending at WrestleMania or a suspense-free title match where everyone knows they'd be retaining the title. The Wyatts winning the tag match helps with the Shield break-up storyline, so that was the right call. Big E retaining makes sense seeing as how nobody cares enough about Swagger to put a title on him right now. I wold have rather seen the Uso beat the New Age Outlaws for the tag titles, but I'm not crushed by the actual result. And as suspense free as the Diva's division is, AJ walking out still champ was the right move.
Now what about the future, particularly the Big Event itself? Well, based on what went down on RAW we're going to get Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, which is fine by me. Daniel Bryan and Triple H appear to be heading to a showdown of some kind, and there's the stated main event of Batista vs. Randy Orton. Everyone seems to think that the main event will not stand as it is listed. The fans have turned on Batista to the point where he should go heel, and Randy Orton already is a heel of course. Anything other that Daniel Bryan getting another title chance and finally winning it clean is going to get boos. It's not Batista's fault, really. It would have probably been better to hold him out until after the Royal Rumble. You could bring him out the night after the Rumble, have Del Rio get in his face and set up a match at the Chamber that ends in a DQ finish, and then a decisive ending at WrestleMania. Then after 'Mania set him for a big Summerslam title match. Have Daniel Bryan win the Rumble, and then the title at WrestleMania. It seems to me that the brass didn't remember that Batista wasn't all that when he was there before, and that having him jump ahead of the guy the fans have been screaming their guts out for months was going to be a bad look. You could fill the rest of the show in with CM Punk vs. Triple H, 'Taker vs. Lesnar, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (or with some partners against the whole Wyatt Famly), Batista vs. Del Rio, and some other matches. But they've got to make due with the bed they've made now. I wold salvage the whole thing by putting a stipulation on the Triple H-Bryan match that puts Bryan in the main event if he wins. We'll see what happens.
The other mess on their hands is the CM Punk situation. Punk was reportedly supposed to face Hunter instead of Bryan; I'm on record as being pro-WWE in the whole situation. Punk is getting paid good money and shouldn't have walked out like he did. Now he's put his company in a major bind heading into it's biggest show of the year, and may very well have screwed the fans out of the main event they really wanted to see. Way to go, Jack. (Punk's real name is Jack Brooks). As much as I enjoy watching his matches I can't ride with him on this. Unless he really is burned out, which I would understand. But if it's really just a booking situation then he's heading into Bret Hart territory where he's taking the results of the matches too seriously. I really do hope he comes back in time to be included in WrestleMania some kind of way. But if not, the show can and must go on.