It’s here, it’s here! WrestleMania Sunday. Time to run through the card and get the Chad Dukes Wrestling show & staff picks, including Dukes’ & Thommy’s picks from Wednesday Night’s WrestleMania Preview Show.
Don’t forget! WrestleMania starts at 5PM on the WWE Network with the Kickoff show & with TWO matches on this year’s kickoff I’d expect matches to start around 6PM, so you’re looking at 5 hours of WrestleMania!
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
In one corner, the reigning, defending, newly re-signed WWE World Heavyweight Champion for the past 223 days: Brock Lesnar. In the other, the 2015 Royal Rumble winner, public enemy #1 of the bitter (sigh) “internet wrestling community”, and the Samoan Dreamboat, Roman Reigns.
The complexion of this match changed greatly just this past Tuesday with the announcement of Brock Lesnar’s re-signing to a multi-year deal with WWE. Prior to that, those critical of Reigns’ readiness bemoaned the “obvious” coronation of Reigns, but now… all bets are off.
A number of finishes are now on the table. Does the mainstream coverage of Brock Lesnar on Sports Center turn him face? Does Reigns turn heel and join up with Heyman? Does Lesnar retain straight up and continue his “prize-fighter” reign? Does Reigns still prevail as the Chosen One? Does Seth Rollins cash-in?
Whatever the eventual outcome, I think this match, and did before the re-signing, will surprise a lot of people as being a really good, big man, HOSS fight.
- Dukes- Brock Lesnar, Rollins attempts to cash-in, but Lesnar leaves Santa Clara as Champion.
- Thom- Roman Reigns, Rollins cashes in Money In The Bank.
- Goat- Brock Lesnar then Rollins cashes in with an outside shot that Reigns interferes with the cash-in after it’s official, giving Reigns and Rollins beef over the Summer over who gets the shot at Lesnar at SummerSlam.
- Frogman- Brock Lesnar
- Louis Tully – Reigns takes Lesnar to the limit but ultimately Brock Lesnar retains, no Rollins shenanigans.
- Alex Wright- Brock Lesnar
- Richard Martel- Brock Lesnar
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Image Credit: WWE.com
Three new matches were confirmed, two more hinted towards as we travel down a somewhat low-key road to WrestleMania. A middling episode of the flagship last night to be sure (the show is still WAY long) but by no means the worst thing to ever happen in sports entertainment like I’ve read this morning.
Admittedly the build to this year’s show has been down from past years. I think where people are having a hard time getting excited this year lies in the fact that three of the players in the top three matches making sporadic or no appearances at all. While there’s no doubt Bray Wyatt has done a yeoman’s job selling me on Taker vs. Wyatt being one of the top matches on the card, the lack of face to face confrontations from Lesnar/Reigns & Sting/HHH might be hurting the interest for some. Wyatt’s build with the Undertaker works where those two have not because Bray has been trying to lure Undertaker back, so his absence from TV makes sense to the viewer.
For some it could be the dreamy blue-eyed Samoan in the room, Roman Reigns. There is a portion of the fan base that have stayed steadfast in their refusal to accept the Rumble winner. They’ve ignored the weeks he does get a great pop from the crowd or the strides he’s made in the ring with and without Daniel Bryan. While Paul Heyman always does a fantastic job getting his client’s point across for him on the microphone as he did in another masterful performance tonight, we need more Reigns-Lesnar physicality. Staredowns, sneak attacks, etc. to create more anticipation for their match, something to take people’s minds off of internet negativity. Talking about Roman Reigns isn’t going to do that. Seeing Roman Reigns do cool stuff, now you’ve got a chance.
For others it could also be the (seemingly) eternal gripe that Daniel Bryan should be facing Daniel Bryan for the Daniel Bryan Championship and Daniel Bryan should cash in his Daniel Bryan briefcase afterwards because…Daniel Bryan. Okay I got carried away there but I hope you follow my meaning. I love the guy as much as the next but there is a difference between being a “main event guy” and being in the Main Event. Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Triple H, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and the Undertaker are all “main event guys” not in this year’s “main event” because there are only two (sometimes three) spots a year.
If the build hasn’t spoken to you speak with your time and energy by avoiding the show. It’s entertainment. I’m not entertained by everything you are I’m sure but come WrestleMania when you’re seeing Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker face to face, or Sting WRESTLING in a WWE ring, you may not care how the build was if the spectacle delivers on your $9.99.
With that out-of-the-way let’s hit the major happenings.
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DDP on the Mend - Facebook
Diamond Dallas Page was hospitalized over the weekend for a rare breathing issue called subglottic stenosis. He’s posted lengthy updates on his social media accounts detailing what went on. As of yesterday, he’s been released from the hospital but will still need surgery to clear up some issues in his throat. All the best on a speedy recovery.
Second NXT Live Event in Ohio Announced – Lords of Pain
In addition to their date in Columbus, Ohio on March 5th, NXT will run a second live event on Friday March 6th in Cleveland, OH.
Orton & Dallas Return to Live Events – WrestlingINC
Randy Orton and Bo Dallas both returned to action at this weekend’s live event in Salt Lake City, UT. With any luck we’ll be back BOLieving in no time!
I think we can all agree Sunday’s Royal Rumble Match has 2-3 clear “favorites” to emerge with the Championship Match at WrestleMania. There are dark horses to be sure, names I wouldn’t object to winning or who would be a legitimate surprise winner like Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, or Dolph Ziggler. However, the current leaders in the clubhouse would have to be narrowed to Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, or a “surprise” returning Randy Orton. All three are huge names within WWE and all three, with the right opponent could deliver a satisfying WrestleMania main event. And let’s be honest, each superstar will be on the card in their own high-profile match anyway, win or lose, so why not the main event?
Less clear heading into Sunday is the fate of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Originally scheduled as Cena-Lesnar III, the result seemed destined to have Lesnar retaining his championship. However, between the rumors of Lesnar’s return to UFC looming and the addition of Seth Rollins to the match, the identity of who will walk into Santa Clara on March 29th as champion has become a bit more murky, and that’s a good thing. The inability to 100% forecast the triple threat winner presents several intriguing options for each different champion/potential champion, but none more than Seth Rollins.
In all likelihood we are headed towards Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar, which despite the protests of a suddenly huge anti-Roman movement online sounds like a great time, but as last year proved WWE can change things up rather quickly. With that in mind I thought I’d explore all the title scenarios for the WrestleMania main event.
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