by Craig Higham - March 22, 2014
The promo delivered by Paul Heyman on Monday night RAW, while helping promote The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, also reminded us that The Undertaker has very limited amount of matches left. While I think both the WWE, and The Undertaker are hoping to end on the magical figure of 25, to me I see next year as being his last, hopefully against John Cena.
What we have seen with the announcement of the Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal is the WWE’s way of testing the waters of an eventual replacement match for the streak. This is some smart planning by the WWE as the first future Wrestlemania that occurs without The Undertaker is going to feel like it is missing a major main event match, (although I expect that will be the year The Undertaker is placed in the Hall of Fame).
As the Streak has become a main event for Wrestlemania over the past 10 years, the WWE is now on the lookout for a replacement main-event feel match once The Undertaker fully retires.
I will look at the long term potential the option of the Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal as a replacement match for Wrestlemania.
Battle Royals have had a chequered past across the 30 Wrestlemania. This style of match has had a long history with Wrestlemania with varying success and importance on the card. In order from worst to best of the Battle Royals to have occurred so far:
12. Wrestlemania 27 impromptu Battle royal, that replaced the Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match. It was won by The Great Khali…enough said
11. Wrestlemania 25 25 Diva Battle Royal. The Diva’s were forced to walk down to Kid Rock rather than their own music, and the match was won by Santino Marella dressed as his twin sister.
10. Wrestlemania 15, held on WWE heat before Wrestlemania, the co-winners Test & D-Low Brown went on to lose against the then WWE tag team Champions Owan Hart & Jeff Jarret.
9. Wrestlemania 24, a preshow 24 man Battle Royal where the winner (Kane) went on the face ECW champion Chavo Guerrero at Wrestlemania. Kane would go on to defeat Chavo in 12 seconds.
8. Wrestlemania 22 18 man inter-promotional Battle Royal won by the late Viscera, who sealed the win with an in-ring kiss with announcer Lillian Garcia, Considering the quality of superstars for this match, the kiss was the highlight.
7. Wrestlemania 26 26 man Battle Royal, with the shock winner being Yoshi Tatsu in what will possibly be his WWE career highlight.
6. Wrestlemania 17, Gimmick Battle Royal where past legends (use the term loosely as this included Doink The Clown, The Bushwakers and Brother Love to name a few) battled it out before The Iron Shiek became the last man standing. Funny match, but really a waste of time.
5. Wrestlemania 21 30 man RAW vs. Smackdown Battle Royal won by Booker T. Considering he was the only main event star in the match, drops the importance of this win in his career highlight reel.
4. Wrestlemania 14 15 team, Tag team Battle Royal, where a returning Legion of Doom (LOD) would win the match to become the new number 1 contenders. Unlike the Wrestlemania 15 tag team battle royal, this one only one member of the team had to be eliminated for the whole team to be eliminated.
3. Wrestlemania 4, 20 man battle royal won by Bad News Brown, although the match is more remembered as the match that Bret Hart went from Heel to Face. Also a side note, this match also had a trophy (which was destroyed by Bret Hart)
2. Wrestlemania 2000, 15 man Hardcore Championship Battle Royal. Making a match based on the 24/7 rule of being the Hardcore Champion, the title would change hands no less than 10 times during the match before Hardcore Holly would walk out the Champion.
1. Wrestlemania 2, The very first Battle Royal to be held at Wrestlemania won by none other than Andre The Giant. The match consisted of WWE superstars and NFL superstars.
If we look at the Pros and Con’s of why The Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal would make a great replacement main event match at Wrestlemania match, we can see while the concept has merit, history shows that this style of match can have many flaws.
The pros of The Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal is it gives 30 WWE superstars the rightful opportunity to participate in the biggest event of the WWE calendar. Too many times there are too many superstars who have been delivering for the WWE throughout the year, only to be sitting in the locker room come Wrestlemania. This match would allow for nearly every WWE superstar a place on the Wrestlemania card, and give the winner a 12 month lift in their profile. If we are to look at the quality of contestants so far we see it includes 6 previous WWE / World Heavyweight Champions (Christian, Sheamus, Mark Henry, The Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio)
For the next 12 months the winner can carry around the Andre The Giant trophy (just like Owan Hart did with his slammies) and you can possibly have him battle other competitors for the trophy at other PPV’s.
As I said last week, I can see if this match does become a regular of the Wrestlemania card, then the addition of a title shot prize be added. However it should be an intercontinental title/US title shot, as this would allow the option of any superstar winning, unlike the Royal Rumble where we know it is only 3 or 4 superstars that can realistically win.
We have seen many feuding superstars enter the match, Christian & Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, so the match itself can contain mini battles to keep fans interested leading up to and during the match.
However if we look at the con’s of The Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal we can see that history has shown that this style of match can be either a hit or miss with fans.
While there are 6 former champions in the match, there are also going to be 24 mid to lower card superstars, NXT superstars and possible Diva, including low event stars such as Zac Ryder, Santino Meralla, and Curtis Axel.
I see this match being the match that will be cut for time restraints, so could be over in less than 10 minutes. The Undertaker’s Streak matches have been going for 20+ minutes over the past couple of years.
There have already been rumours that this match might find itself on the preshow, something never spoken about an Undertaker match.
I can see The Andre The Giant, 30 Man Battle Royal being a big event this year, but if it is to become a regular match, then it will either be the first match on the card, or find its way to the preshow. It is a great idea to honour such a legend in the business so deserves a place, but as a replacement for The Streak, then no, as The Undertaker and his opponents over the past 10 years have made The Streak match seem even more important than the main title match on Wrestlemania.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE WRESTLEMANI BATTLE ROYAL?
Hooroo and see you next week.
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