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Dr. Wrestling:The Road to Wrestlemania

by Amish Patel - April 06, 2013

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The biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania is tommorrow and while the road to the pay-per-view is usually a major build up, it’s been a rather short journey compared to previous events. More specifically, some of the match ups seem to be thrown together just to get competitors on the card, rather than a storyline leading to the match. The Chris Jericho/Fandango match is a prime example of a contest that was seemingly just thrown on the card for no particular reason and while Fandango might have the potential to be a star, does he really need a Wrestlemania match for his debut? I understand the storyline or lack there of is that he finally has to wrestle, but why not book the match for a different PPV? It’s also somewhat disappointing that Jericho, one of the most solid performers in the company, is booked in a match with three weeks build up on the biggest event on the WWE calendar. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bury Fandango, but it seems as though Jericho could be in a more important role at the PPV. Jericho will make Fandango look good in the ring, which will obviously help him get over as a heel with the WWE audience, but after the Jericho/Ziggler matches on Raw the past few weeks, it seems like the WWE might have overlooked a potentially great Jericho/Ziggler match at Wrestlemania.

Speaking of Ziggler, he’s almost in the same category as Jericho, in terms of Wrestlemania booking because while it’s good to see the WWE place an emphasis on tag team wrestling again, the money in the bank winner could be booked in something more important than a tag team match that only has a few weeks of a feud for it. Yes, I know there’s the AJ factor, but that’s not really the focal point of the storyline. With that being said, Big E. Langston and Ziggler aren’t really a team and Ziggler as a tag team champion wouldn’t really do anything to further his push as money in the bank winner. That being said, I think Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. the Rhodes Scholars would be a better choice for Wrestlemania, but than again, there could be more to the storyline to unfold at the PPV, considering Ziggler could still cash in the title shot at the event.

The Ryback/Mark Henry match is another one that doesn’t have much build up, but it doesn’t necessarily need a storyline because it’s being promoted as  the “irresistible force vs. the immoveable object” type of match. That being said, if it’s kept short, it could be an entertaining bout and hopefully Ryback can get the win to help reestablish himself because despite being lost in the shuffle somewhat on Raw the past few months, he remains really over with the WWE audience. Obviously, Ryback is somewhat limited in the ring, but the intensity he brings to the table helps get a crowd reaction and an augment could be made that the WWE could have put the title on him during the CM Punk feud. Mark Henry also deserves a lot of credit for what he’s accomplished in the past few years, considering that he floundered in the WWE for most of his career, he had a solid run as World Heavyweight champion and after taking some time off to heal some injuries, he has had a decent return to the WWE. I don’t expect Ryback/Mark Henry to be Savage vs. Steamboat, but I wouldn’t disregard it either because as I mentioned, it could be an entertaining match.

Ryback was originally booked in a six man tag match as part of a Sheamus/Randy Orton team vs. The Shield, but the Big Show replaced him in the match. Usually, it wouldn’t really effect the match because The Shield had various run ins with Orton and Sheamus, but the Big Show was a heel and is now technically a face without any explanation for it. Also, one of the reasons The Shield is over with the WWE audience is because there was some type of reason for their interference and the “fight injustice” angle was intriguing, but there’s really no direct reason why they have targeted Sheamus, Orton, and The Big Show. However, it should be a good match and I think The Shield will be major stars in the WWE.

The World Heavyweight title match is one of the few on the card that actually has a few months of a build up for it and I think the promo work during the feud has added to the importance of the match. Specifically, Zeb Colter, who some fans might know as wrestling veteran Dutch Mantel, has been great on the mic and he has really generated some heat for the feud. Also, the Colter character proves that managers can still be effective for the current product and he deserves major credit for how Swagger’s push has progressed because after his initial main event push flopped, I don’t think Jack Swagger would get over without a manager to do the mic work. That’s not necessarily a jab at Swagger’s lack of mic skills, but rather an observation that if the WWE used more managers, it seems possible that some of the roster that can’t get over because of a lack of promo ability would have a chance to become more established stars if they had a manager to do the mic work. Since the topic is managers, I have to mention that I think the WWE could have used managers on a more regular basis in recent years and it would have benefited the product, but because mangers are used to sell angles, not t shirts, the entire concept of a manager was almost disregarded during the past decade. That being said, Zeb has provided some great TV and hopefully his run as Swagger’s manager will continue after Wrestlemania. As for the actual match, it should be solid and it will be interesting to see if the WWE has Swagger win the title because while he has definitely improved during the push, if he can have main event quality matches on a consist basis remains to be seen. That’s not to say he won’t be on the main event level, but rather that Wrestlemania will be his opportunity to show he can have a good match on the major stage. If Alberto Del Rio retains the title, it will be interesting to see who is the next challenger for it and despite some online reports suggesting that Ricardo would be written off TV after Wrestlemania, I think Ricardo will continue to be in Del Rio’s corner. As much credit as Zeb deserves, Ricardo should get some credit as well because as I mentioned in a previous column, Del Rio saving Ricardo is what got him over as a face champion with the WWE audience.

The Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar match has a background, but the WWE has really generated some steam for it using the promos the past few weeks, which should build to a good match at the PPV. I think Triple H gets the win because Lesnar won at Summer Slam last year, which allows for a trilogy, potentially at Summer Slam this year. I was really surprised that Lesnar signed another two year contract with the company and in some ways, it gives the WWE an insurance policy if they need to add star power to a particular PPV, they could book Lesnar for it.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk could potentially steal the show, which has been the case for the past few years, mostly because there’s such an emphasis on what the steak represents and in some respects, the two decades behind the streak make it tough to follow on the card. The Undertaker/Punk feud was put into overdrive the past few weeks to generate some steam for the match and while conterversal, the Paul Bearer stuff has generated a lot of heat for CM Punk to build to the match. I can understand why some people would think the Paul Bearer segments, specifically the conclusion of Raw this past week went a little too far, but it was reported that Bearer’s family approved of the storyline. I think The Undertaker will win and the streak will continue, but even if the match is predicable, it should be a great match.

The WWE title match has created a lot of buzz and while some people criticize another The Rock/John Cena match, it will draw money and that’s basically the point of the wrestling business. Cena/Rock at the top of the card sold out a stadium and people will pay $60 to order the pay per view so it’s mission accomplished in terms of the business aspect of Wrestlemania. Yes, the WWE champion should be on Raw on a weekly basis and the WWE had to cover a lot of ground to build up the rematch because of The Rock’s sporadic appearances after he defeated CM Punk to win the title, but the promo work the past few weeks added a level of intensity to the feud so it provides a solid build up for the main event of the show. That being said, it doesn’t exactly establish younger stars when The Rock can show up in the main event spot to promote a movie, but The Rock wrestling on the card will get more fans to watch the show, which gives the younger talent more exposure and the opportunity to showcase their skills. I think John Cena will win the match and it will be interesting to see the next challenger for the title.

Until next week

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It

Dr. Wrestling

If you have comments or questions you can e mail me [email protected]

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