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Monday, March 13, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: The Good And Bad Of WrestleMania 33

By @TrueGodImmortal

Have you watched WWE RAW and Smackdown lately? The general consensus is that WWE hasn't been putting on consistently good shows and that they aren't making good use of the roster. Would you agree? I would, especially when you look at the lackluster card for Mania. WrestleMania used to be the Showcase of the Immortals, but a look at the actual history of the event would say otherwise. WrestleMania in the early days was usually a one or two match show, with two main event caliber matches or one huge main event carrying the build for the show. WrestleMania 2, 3, 5, 6, and a few others in the 90s suffered from this (Bret vs Austin, Bret vs HBK both come to mind), but to be fair, WrestleMania wasn't the spectacle like it is today, in stadiums, 4 hours long, and with the roster they have.

That begs the question of why has WrestleMania over the last 6 or 7 years felt lackluster a majority of those years? WrestleMania 25 was really just a one or two match show in itself, and while 26 was pretty good, WrestleMania 27 ended up being one of the worst. A lot of people enjoyed WrestleMania 28, but the fact remains that many of us hated or disliked WrestleMania 29. As for WrestleMania 30 and 31, WWE seemed to be heading towards a better direction, though 31 on paper didn't look the best necessarily. Last year's WrestleMania 32 is likely in the bottom half of the all time Manias, but most of the matches weren't bad in terms of in ring quality. The booking is what ruined the feel of the entire event and some questionable decisions made by WWE. Roman and HHH went 28 minutes in one of the most boring main events in WWE history, while Taker and Shane wrestled 30 minutes unnecessarily just to give us one heavy spot of Shane jumping off the cell. How does this year's Mania look? Well that's why we're here. With a majority of the card announced now, I wanted to take a look at the good and the bad of WrestleMania 33 less than 3 weeks away from the event. Let's start with the good, which is probably a shorter section.

The Good
-WWE doesn't do much right these days in terms of booking or match making, but here are the things so far for Mania 33 that have been executed well.

*Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho
-This US Championship Match will come up in the bad section as well, but for a different reason. However, this has been a long term story that's been executed very well from the long term friendship between the two to the inclusion of Jericho's list to the run of Owens as Universal Champion with Jericho by his side to help, this build was almost as perfect as can be. Jericho is over and has infused his new character into the usual Y2J we know and love, while Owens has become much more serious since the excellent breakup during the Festival of Friendship, which is probably my favorite RAW segment in years. This match needed to be for a different title, but I'll get to that later. Regardless, this has been executed very well.

*Seth Rollins vs HHH
-After this Monday's segment, I'm 100% sold on this feud and the match. Seth is clearly healthy enough for Mania and will make it there, and his return being set up like it was is going to make him the biggest face on RAW bar none. HHH is doing his job to draw more heat than he has in his last two Mania feuds (Sting feud was hit or miss and no one wanted to cheer Roman last year), and this long standing battle finally coming to a close at the biggest showcase possible is going to be amazing. I'd love to see the entrance HHH has at WrestleMania, and how Seth and HHH do with this match.

*Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
-I'm sold on this feud, but I'm also disappointed a bit. I'll get to that later. Considering we saw this match at No Mercy and it wasn't really that good, I can only hope they have a chance to do this right. Bray winning the title and going into Mania with the belt is great, but I'd have personally rather seen Bray win the Rumble and eventually turn on Randy for bigger effect in a story of the "Master" versus "Student", where Randy has to find himself again and become the Viper, but the way it's been executed is pretty good as well. I just hope Bray walks out with the victory and the feud ends in a huge No DQ or Steel Cage Match at the next PPV.

*Neville vs Austin Aries
-This will show up in the bad section as well, but for different reasons. That's the thing about the Cruiserweight Division that bothers me... these are two guys that were under contract to WWE before the CWC and they had different purposes but now they're taking the spotlight from the guys who were signed and not utilized properly. Still, this feud is going to be awesome and started off right in Chicago. Aries vs Neville is going to be a great match and if given ample time, this could be a classic match, just let it open the show and set the tone for the night with 11-12 minutes of ring time.

*Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin
-This match doesn't entice me as much, but it has been built up pretty well overall. Corbin getting the IC belt could be great for the next chapter, but one thing I'm interested to see is if he is ready for that next step and chapter. Will Ambrose and Corbin put on a classic? Probably not, but it'll be a brutal match, which is what both men need for their Mania resume.

The Bad
-Oh boy. Here we are. Gathered here today to talk the bad of WrestleMania, which is going to be a bit more extensive I'd say and highlights the problems of the WWE and their booking. Sigh. Here goes nothing.

*Bill Goldberg As Universal Champion
-In what world does this make sense? Goldberg doesn't have the draw power to really carry a WrestleMania and he's only wrestled for 2 minutes total in 2 matches that were a waste of our time. WWE has devalued the Universal Championship so much since the inception of it, and the man who should be holding it is Kevin Owens against Chris Jericho. There's no reason why anyone in WWE could think that Goldberg as champion makes more sense going into Mania, when the Goldberg and Brock match (which isn't exciting in itself, more on that later) would sell itself without the title. It just feels rushed and forced. Which leads me to my next point in regards to this match.

*Brock Lesnar Becomes The No. 1 Contender Out Of Thin Air
-Imagine losing to Goldberg in 2 minutes, getting eliminated in a few minutes by Goldberg and losing all your momentum..... JUST to come back and get a shot at the Universal Title at WrestleMania. Add that to the fact that Brock wrestles like 5 to 6 times a year in pretty bad matches and we've got another disaster on our hands. Brock doesn't need to be fighting for the title and damn sure not against a 50 year Goldberg. Which brings me to my final point on this match.....

*We Don't Need Brock vs Goldberg 3
-Let's be honest: I think we all thought the purpose of Brock vs Goldberg at Survivor Series was to promote WWE 2K17 and give Goldberg one last match and moment in front of his son. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. This shit has gone way too far. No one wanted another Goldberg vs Brock match in 2017, and especially not for a damn title. This match feels like the most forced thing I've ever witnessed in my life for WrestleMania. The match is going to be horrible and with it rumored to close the show, the Mania crowd will likely shit over it....... just like they did 13 years ago at WrestleMania 20. Which... is.... 13 years ago.... and the same thing is about to happen, but with a title added. Lord help us all.

*The Deadman vs The Big Dog
-What baffles me is that the WWE is legitimately going with this. I'm sorry. Roman Reigns has plenty of young girls and odd men as his fans, much like John Cena used to, but this love affair with Reigns is killing the overall product. Before this match was even thought of, I heard a number of people say they had two people they would love to see Undertaker face at WrestleMania: John Cena or AJ Styles. Both of those matches would have been better choices and made much more sense. This all started over a stupid Royal Rumble elimination where Taker might have to win this Reigns match to get revenge. Otherwise, burn this whole thing. Burn it. Shoot it. Kill it. Taker can barely have a decent match these days, and Reigns hasn't carried many guys to a classic, and his last Mania main event against Triple H was boring and pretty horrible. Will this be different? Maybe, but do you really care? Really? Could you do without seeing this match unnecessarily? I could and I know many who share the same belief, which is why I don't think this needs to happen. Reigns stating that he's going to retire Taker might be the most disgusting statement I've ever heard. They sacrificed the streak to put Brock over for a weak title run and they're about to put Reigns over to prepare him for an apparent heel run and a rematch with Brock for the Universal Title (another match we don't need). This is going to be pretty sad to witness and one of the reasons I'm not planning on watching Mania. Fuck this match and everything about it. Reigns vs Braun should have been the match for Roman, and it should have been Styles vs Taker or Cena vs Taker.... speaking of which...

*The Most Boring Mixed Tag Match Ever
-John Cena and Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse. Not on like a Backlash or No Mercy.... no... at WrestleMania. I can't believe I'm saying this, but John Cena deserves much better. You go from putting on classics with AJ Styles and winning your 16th World Title to a pointless mixed tag match against Miz and his wife which is only leading to a proposal live in the ring for Nikki and John. This WrestleMania 7 Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth bullshit re-creation is not going to work and won't be something pleasing to actual fans, especially the Mania crowd. I'd rather have had a 4th Cena vs Styles match than this. Speaking of AJ Styles....

*Who In the Hell Wants AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon
-I could give you a list of opponents that I'd prefer to see against AJ Styles at WrestleMania instead of Shane McMahon and I'll list them all right now: Sami Zayn (in a RAW vs Smackdown contest), Finn Balor (ditto), Samoa Joe (ditto), Baron Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose again, basically just about anybody that's on the roster who can actually wrestle (notice I threw in Bryan... yup), because where does this come from? AJ carried Smackdown in 2016 and he gets a match with Shane at the biggest event of the year? Who wants to see Shane wrestle again in a high profile match? AJ will likely make this a good match, but I just don't think this is necessary at all.

*Smackdown Women's Title Picture
-I'm very confused on this whole thing. Don't get me wrong. I like Alexa Bliss. I like Naomi (who is rumored to be back as a surprise for Mania and win in her hometown). I like most of the women on Smackdown, but this "invitational" match is going to be odd if it goes how I see it. There's rumors of older wrestlers like Kelly Kelly and Victoria coming back for this match, and this just feels like a cluttered match and sloppy botch fest waiting to happen. The women have learned how to work well together in a one on one setting, as well as tag team setting, but for a match that could possibly end up having 8 or 9 competitors, something just doesn't feel right about this. It can turn out to be a good match, but I'm not so sure it will flow as well. Another match that just doesn't feel like it'll work on the card.

*RAW Women's Title Match
-I am a fan of Sasha Banks. I am a fan of Charlotte and I think she is a really good heel. I am a fan of Bayley to a lesser extent. This match doesn't do much for me. Blame the buildup. Sasha has been saving Bayley and Bayley has been made to be some sort of super face that needs help from her friend to win or to even the odds, but she's also cocky after winning, which goes against her whole thing as some innocent face. This has been dragged on, and I'd be much happier with this triple threat match if we didn't see it on Night of Champions. Sasha vs Bayley would have been a more compelling story with Sasha turning heel in the process, but with Nia Jax waiting in the wings beating up Bayley, one assumes she will be added, and that still doesn't really excite me. This whole women's feud lacks what made Sasha vs Charlotte so engaging and it just drags on. Just like most of RAW.

*The New Day Hosting
-We've had WrestleMania hosts. That hasn't worked out too well in the past. Unfortunately, The New Day is near the point of jumping the shark and I can only hope this goes well, but it's not a good idea. It virtually means "hey we've got nothing for you guys, but you guys sell the most merch so let's try and use you to help sell this PPV as well". This looks to spell the end of the New Day if they don't somehow find direction or get traded to Smackdown, which might be exactly what the New Day needs to revitalize them.

*Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.... For What?
-This battle royal is just an excuse to put a ton of jobbers and talent who that does nothing on the card. Need more proof? Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley and Big Show are pretty much locks to be involved in this match. It doesn't make much of a difference in the card and will likely be pushed to the pre show, making this a huge waste in general. I'm glad this battle royal means very little to many of us, but it is a sore thumb on this card. You know the battle royal sucks when the first two people who say they want to be in it are Mojo Rawley and Apollo Crews. Sigh.

*The Cruiserweights Are Missing
-Neville and Austin Aries are having a one on one match, but why not a Ladder Match at Mania to determine the no. 1 Contender or even a MITB match for the Cruiserweight Division? There's Jack Gallagher, TJ Perkins, Brian Kendrick, Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, Rich Swann, Tony Nese, and of course Cedric Alexander (who is injured currently), but yet none of them are listed on the card or even assumed to be a part of the card. The WWE has no faith in the division and it shows. Cruiserweights deserve better. The WWE just won't give them better. Don't give me that bullshit about 205 Live not being exciting, because given the fact they cram 3 to 4 matches on the show like a random episode of Main Event, the division does as best as they could with their limited resources.

*The Lack of Excitement For The RAW and Smackdown Tag Titles
-American Alpha are the Smackdown Tag Champions. You might have forgot. You're forgiven if you did. They have no direction for WrestleMania. On RAW, there is no direction either. Gallows and Anderson are terrible tag champions for RAW, and I'm not really so sure that Enzo and Cass are the saviors for the division. The tag team title match for RAW doesn't excite me, and with there being no match set for Smackdown and their tag team division, it just really points out the fact that WWE doesn't give a shit about either division like that during Mania time. Per usual. Also, where is The Revival?

*No Matches Or Clear Direction For Top Talent Yet
-It is less than 3 weeks away from Mania, and as it stands, Samoa Joe has no match, Sami Zayn has no match, Luke Harper was involved heavily in this Wyatt storyline, but he's slowly dropped out of it in the last two weeks. Finn Balor is healthy and wrestling again, but where is he now on RAW? They seem poised to bring him back next week in Brooklyn, but that's less than 2 weeks away from Mania and doesn't allow for a good build for the feud. WWE is letting a lot of their top talent down, and one could assume that if they focused more attention on their full time roster than the part timers that this wouldn't be an issue. And there lies the issue. WWE isn't focused on their talent enough during the biggest show of the year. That's what's wrong with WrestleMania 33. Take a look at everything on that card. The problems practically scream out at you. Hopefully, Mania 33 turns out to be good, but I just don't have much faith in this company. Hopefully I'm wrong.



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