By: Mester, Travis
As of this writing, we are 18 days away from Wrestlemania 31.
We have nine likely matches that will be on the card for this year’s Showcase. There’s a chance a few others (Miz vs Mizdow, an NXT match maybe, etc.) could be added in the next two weeks, but that’s the unknown. I’m here to break down and not only predict winners, but tell you why we can make the best out of what we’ve been given going forward. I don’t agree with how we’ve gotten to this point with some of these feuds, and I’ll explain that in detail below. But there are some intriguing ways we could see the dominos fall in the next three weeks to make San Francisco a site for some memorable moments.
Let’s get to it.
Andre The Giant Battle Royal
Is there any real way to build to this thing? It seems like a tossed in event to make sure everyone gets on the card. Ryback will win it. Somehow. It will be a clusterfuck of a match and The Big Guy will toss out Kane and Big Show to give him a sweet victory, a la Cesaro last year. Let’s hope he doesn’t get tossed to the wolves by creative (like Cesaro did after last year’s Wrestlemania) and they actually have a plan for him.
Intercontinental championship ladder match: Bad News Barrett ©, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, Stardust, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan
This has been a fun, albeit awkward, way to solidify the IC belt as something that superstars actually want to win. They’ve got Ziggler, Bryan and Ambrose in one match…that has to be a good thing. They’re three of the most over stars on the roster and have all had moments in ladder matches in the past that lead me to believe this will be a show stealing part of WMXXXI. I’ve got Daniel Bryan winning the match, leading the YES! chants in San Francisco and carrying the title onto Raw the next night, to be greeted by a returning heel Sheamus to begin a feud between two former World Champions for the IC strap, further solidifying it as something to care about.
Divas tag team: Paige/AJ Lee vs Brie and Nikki Bella ©
If I were booking this match, I’d have Nikki Bella put the Divas title on the line and if the Bellas lost, whomever claims the pinfall/submission victory became the champion. That would add some sort of intrigue to the Paige/AJ situation if it mattered which one of them won and almost became a triple threat sort of match, in a way. Especially if Brie Bella was the one to lose the match, thus costing Nikki her title. That’d be some pro booking right there. Do it, WWE. Otherwise, we’re looking at a Smackdown/Raw type of Divas match. And that doesn’t excite this guy one bit.
Tag team title: Cesaro/Tyson Kidd © vs The New Day
I assume this will become a four corners tag team title match including the Usos and Los Matedores. If that’s the case, it doesn’t change the fact that WWE really has zero tag teams that I love watching right now. Cesaro and Kidd are the most entertaining of the bunch, but I still feel like the Natalya/Naomi dynamic and Total Divas in general, has had too much influx into this division as a whole. If I were booking it, The New Day will have some sort of falling out and get them disjointed (that needs to happen bad to give Big E something else to start doing before his career is lost in the shuffle) and Cesaro/Kidd will retain in an entertaining match that hopefully sees Cesaro toss people around like the beast that he is.
Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins
When Orton returned, he shouldn’t have played us all like dummies and acted like he was in the Authority. That made no sense and the ‘slow burn’ was ineffective in my eyes. T his past Monday saw The Viper strike on Rollins. Now, we’ll see a build of two the company’s best characters, as well as in-ring workers, to a 1-on-1 match that shouldn’t disappoint. There should be a stipulation added (last man standing, street fight rules, etc) added to the contest in the next few weeks to ensure that it’s a blowoff of their feud. J&J Security will be involved in the finish, which will have a sweet spot by Rollins to take out Orton somewhere in the arena. Rollins wins early in the night, and maybe again later in the evening?
US Title: Rusev © vs John Cena
This feud isn’t ending at Wrestlemania if I have the pencil in my hand. Cena passed out at Fastlane. Rusev passed out last week on Raw. Now, Lana is out of the picture and we’ve got the face that runs the place against the undefeated Russian superathlete for the US Title. I don’t have Rusev lose, and I think this one goes onto Extreme Rules before the payoff for Cena. I’m booking a disqualification finish that sees Cena beaten and broken down again after a long, entertaining match that shows off Rusev’s right to be in the main event scene moving forward. Cena is announced the victor, but Rusev keeps the strap and the Russian flag drops down from the rafters. Leading to a blowoff for this feud in Chicago in April at Extreme Rules, at which Cena will take the US Title and Rusev’s undefeated streak will end.
Sting vs Triple H
This feud should have been so simple to write. And they messed it up. Sting wrestled for WCW 15 years ago. That company closed and he went to different wrestling organizations other than WWE and has wrestled the past decade without joining WWE. He’s one of the few, and the only superduperstar, that has never wrestled for WWE. Now, creative is treading Sting as if he is a guy who hasn’t wrestling for 15 years and he’s here because he’s made that Triple H had a hand in closing the doors of WCW? That doesn’t do it for me. THE STORY SHOULD HAVE BEEN THIS: Sting is old school. He was the face of WCW until it went under and he has been everywhere and anywhere since then (TNA, etc.) making his name, his brand, bigger than any one company ever could. He is the best professional wrestler in history. And he is tired of turning on his TV and having the shit that WWE spews out being thought of as ‘wrestling’. He wants everyone that turns on Raw every week to finally see what the business should be. And Triple H is the face of everything Sting despises. It’s Sting vs. Triple H. The best professional wrestler any company or brand has ever seen versus the sports entertainment juggernaut that spits in the face of everything Sting believes used to be right with the business. Triple H is going to be the guy that deals with the wrath of Sting, but it’s the way the business has changed in the past three decades that is The Icon’s real opponent. The story they’ve used to lead us to it has been subpar at best, but the end result will be Sting strapping on the scorpion death lock and getting him ready for the Undertaker at WMXXXII in Dallas.
Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
I like that the Undertaker will not be seen until his music hits in San Francisco on March 29. And Bray Wyatt has done well to carry this feud on his own to this point. The dynamic of The Dead Man vs the new face of fear is a good one, and a welcomed change to the recent run of Undertaker opponents at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker is winning this match, and ultimately will be facing Sting in a retirement match in Dallas next year, but what it does for Wyatt will be the thing that will impact WWE TV over the next year. I’m booking a deranged Wyatt coming back a few weeks after Wrestlemania and becoming the leader of another faction similar to the Wyatt Family. He’ll be the voice of some new up and comers from NXT over next summer.
World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar © vs Roman Reigns
If Lesnar can work out a deal to remain with WWE after Wrestlemania, he should be walking out of San Francisco with the strap around his waist. If he is going to UFC, or anywhere else, he still should be walking out of San Francisco with the strap around his waist. I see a long, lumbering match between two huge men ending with a couple F5s from Lesnar. Then, a Rollins cash-in attempt that is staved off by The Beast as he gets his belt and escapes the stadium with his title in tact. Reigns looks strong, just not quite strong enough to beat The Beast…yet. And Rollins loses his briefcase. Rollins and Reigns have a feud to decide who the true #1 contender is (maybe Orton gets entered into this somehow as well) for Lesnar’s belt. The Beast, who will likely take his belt and go home after Raw the following night when he and Heyman state that this company has nothing for him, reigns on as champion into the summer months before returning against whomever has solidified himself as his closest competitor at SummerSlam at the Barclays Center.
I maintain the right to change any and all of my picks above over the next two weeks. My official predictions will be on the episode of The Pencil prior to Wrestlemania XXXI. Until then, this is the booking in my eyes. Believe that.
Play on, playas. Hit me @PencilPodcast or @TravisMester with your disagreements.
Episode 32: WWE Raw 3/9/15 Recap