We’re three weeks away from the biggest wrestling event of the year and that means WWE has six official pit stops left on the Road to Wrestlemania to advance storylines and build intrigue heading into Wrestlemania 31. As of right now, the official card has only four total matches, two of which are multi-man bouts, and only two of the five official titles are up for grabs.
These next three Raws and three Smackdowns are pivotal in filling out the rest of the official card.
I’ve been a fan of WWE since the late 1990’s/early 2000’s during the peak of the Attitude Era. My younger brother Paul and I used to wrestle on our parents king-sized bed using pillows as chairs and tables. Despite following the WWE off and on during the past 15 years, I have never attended a live event. On March 29, at Wrestlemania 31, I will finally attend my first live WWE event.
Before I get to Santa Clara though, I have to first get through three more weeks of WWE TV. How will WWE fill the rest of the card? How will the seemingly inevitable John Cena – Rusev rematch get booked? Will Daniel Bryan enter the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match? Will the divas title be on the line? These are the top five things my brother and I hope take place between now and Wrestlemania.
1. – Daniel Bryan wrestles his way into the IC Title Ladder Match
So far, the build to the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match has involved wrestlers either stealing the belt and entering themselves into the IC title match (Luke Harper) or beating Wade Barrett in a non-title match (everybody else). More often than not, somebody just claims they are worthy of competing for the IC title and BAM they’re in the hunt.
It seems a foregone conclusion that D Bry is going to be in this ladder match but it’s how he gets into the match officially that is still unknown. Have the Authority briefly interject themselves into the story, not to screw over the Yes Man, but instead to say that they worry for his health. In order for him to get a shot at the IC title he has to prove himself in the ring during the next three weeks. However it happens, by wanting to prove himself worthy of competing in the ladder match, Bryan would essentially be elevating the status of the IC title by showing it’s something worth fighting for.
2. – Damien Mizdow challenges the Miz to a one-on-one match
The former Intellectual Savior to the Unwashed Masses has been comedy gold in his role as the Miz’s stunt double/personal assistant, but it’s clearly time for him to move on and become a full-fledged face whom the fans can get behind. The build in the Miz/Mizdow feud has been one of the longest builds WWE has done since Daniel Bryan’s climb to the top of the card a year ago.
After last week’s slap, Mizdow finally got physical against his “boss” and was on the precipice of snapping. Considering where the former Damien Sandow was a year ago – languishing at the bottom of the card in rotating comedy role – the Miz wasn’t wrong when he said Mizdow owed him everything. Therefore, the best setup to this match is simply for Mizdow to ask for an opportunity to prove himself in the ring in a one-on-one match against his mentor.
Of course Miz being the heel will turn him down, frustrating Mizdow even further and continuing the slow build toward Mizdow’s outburst and the heel’s inevitable comeuppance.
3. – WWE Books a Femme Fatale Four-way for the Divas Title
The four-way divas match at NXT Takeover Rival was one of the best women’s matches I’ve ever seen. Not only that, but it was a long, compelling match that showcased each women’s talents. Unfortunately with the divas on the main roster, they are rarely, if ever, given the opportunity to shine in long, hard-fought matches.
Right now, the rumors are pointing toward an AJ Lee/Paige vs. the Bellas tag-team match at Wrestlemania, which is disappointing for a couple reasons. Mainly, if this is true, then the Divas title won’t be on the line on the biggest show of the year. In a four-way match, you’d have frenemies AJ/Paige working together to take out the Bellas and the Bellas working together to take out AJ and Paige.
It could start out like a tag-team match but eventually both pairs would turn on each other and show that friendship/relationships aside, the Divas title is what everybody wants. It’s a wrestling-specific storyline that doesn’t dwell on petty drama.
4. – Sting speaks to the WWE Universe
When Sting showed up at Survivor Series and cost the Authority the match and, at the time, their jobs I was shocked. After years of rumors, Sting had joined WWE and it looked like the fans were finally going to get to witness Sting wrestle a WWE match. That being said, in storyline terms, I still don’t understand why Sting showed up at all – what’s his motivation.
If WWE wants Sting’s first WWE match to mean something and wants the fans to get behind Sting in his battle against HHH, then we need to hear from the man himself so we have a reason to support him. The problem is that I’m pretty sure we won’t get an explanation from Sting ahead of Wrestlemania. I heard he had only four dates on his contract and if one is Wrestlemania and one was Survivor series, then he already used the other two at Raw and Fastlane. Maybe WWE can put together one of their nifty video packages or sit down interviews. If not, I’m afraid the HHH-Sting clash is not going to garner as much heat/love as WWE hopes it will.
5. – Usos and Kidd/Cesaro both try to prove they are the best in their division
The problem with the WWE tag division is that when you have one team gunning for the belts WWE often pits those teams against each other in tag or singles matches without the title on the line. This then dilutes the eventual title match as the fans have already seen much of what both teams have to offer against the other.
What WWE needs to do during the next three weeks is have the Usos and Kidd/Cesaro each wrestle tag matches on every show against other tag teams, with the No. 1 contenders and the champs winning all of their matches. Each team would be trying to one-up the other team to prove they are the best in the division. When one team wrestles, the other team scouts them, taking notes and putting together a game plan for how to win at Wrestlemania.
When they finally face off in three weeks, it would be easy to play up the storyline where each team knows the other so well that they truly have to pull out all the stops if they hope to retain or regain the tag team titles.
1. John Cena earns his rematch with Rusev.
It is practically a given that they will have a rematch for the US Title at Wrestlemania. However, it has been quite enjoyable watching Rusev deny Cena the rematch. Rusev is completely right in that he already beat Cena once has no obligation to grant him a rematch. That being said, in the next three weeks leading up to the ‘assumed’ rematch, I would like to see this storyline continue.
Have Rusev continue the heel mentality of refusing a rematch and make Cena earn his shot at the US Title. By having the company’s biggest star earn a rematch for the US Title, it will elevate the importance of the title while also continuing to build up Rusev as a legitimate main event threat to the top stars of the company.
2. Orton snap on Rollins but maintains the grey area between face/heel.
Orton has teetered on the face/heel line since his return at Fastlane but he doesn’t need to turn face for this feud to work. The teasing has been good with Orton assisting the authority on his own accord and not by being told to do so. However, with only three weeks before the rumored match is to happen, the teasing needs to stop.
Orton is clearly hearing voices in his head and its time he listens to them. Rollins curb stomped him on the announcers’ table as well as onto the steel stairs, (after Kane tripped and fell over Orton’s leg while walking away) putting him out for months At some point in the next three weeks Orton needs to give Rollins one helluva RKOouttanowhere and let the voices inside his head be heard loud and clear by everyone.
3. Hear Sting’s side of the story.
The rumors are that Sting won’t make an appearance in person until Wrestlemania. This is fine, however he needs to at least release a video aired on Raw that explains why he came to WWE.
HHH has been running promos that by beating Sting at Wrestlemania he will put the final nail in the coffin that was WCW. These promos have been acceptable and appealing in the build to the match, however the question that has yet to be answered is what does Sting have to gain by appearing in WWE and accepting the challenge to face HHH. The answer to that question should be that Sting is the person to finally put an end to the Authority.
His appearance at Survivor Series thwarted HHH’s attempt to influence a surefire Authority victory, thus allowing Dolph Ziggler to shine and put the Authority out of power.
However, there was the stipulation that Cena could put them back in power if need be, which of course happened shortly after Survivor Series. Now, there is no fallback plan. Sting cuts a video promo stating that he caused the Authority to lose power once, and now he will finish the job. If he beats HHH at Wrestlemania then the Authority is out of power with no stipulation for them to regain it.
4. Bray Wyatt officially challenges the Undertaker to a casket match at Wrestlemania.
The promos Wyatt has been cutting have been really good in that he is focused in his delivery and purpose. The streak ended last year when the Undertaker was pinned clean by Lesnar. Undertaker should not be pinned two years in a row, but that doesn’t mean he can’t lose two years in a row, and I think that Wyatt should be the winner of this feud. All the talk of Wyatt coming for the Undertaker’s soul and burning the casket last week should lead to Wyatt cutting a promo announcing he will be the one to put an end to the Dead man and put him in a casket so he will never resurface again… until he’s inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year.
5. Don’t mention Rollins briefcase or allude to a cash-in attempt at Wrestlemania.
This is a little bit of a curveball as it isn’t what I want to see but rather what I don’t want to see, mostly due to my wish for the outcome of the main event at Wrestlemania.
For the next three weeks I don’t want any mention during promos of Rollins’ briefcase. I am hoping for a cash in at the end of Wrestlemania and to me, the best way to keep that element of surprise is by not mentioning the possibility of a cash in, at all, in the next three weeks. The times it has been brought up in the last couple weeks have been nice so as to put it out there as a possibility. But from here to the main event on March 29, they should not bring it up again.
By doing that, there will be a GIGANTIC pop when he shows up at the end of the main event to cash in and win the title.