RAW Deal: Looking at WrestleMania 33
We’re two weeks away from WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, and while it’s still not the best WrestleMania card since 30, I can’t deny that there’s a part of me that’s excited for this year. More than last year’s, at least.
Let’s run through the match-ups one by one and see what we can expect from all of them, and if there’s anything new we could see:
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship
Yes, this is still happening, and yes, we can still expect Brock Lesnar to exact his revenge for all the times Goldberg punked him. Other than the fact that this is what they’ve been building up to this entire time, new rumors have surfaced that Goldberg needs to sign a new contract soon if he wants to continue working for WWE after WrestleMania. For some strange reason, I doubt that’s gonna happen.
What needs to happen: Okay, they’re in a pickle here. Clearly, Goldberg can’t go for the right amount of time needed for a competitive match. And they kind of need to do a competitive match here, because a less-than-a-minute championship match at WrestleMania is not a good look. What I forsee happening is that Lesnar finally taps into his inner Beast Incarnate and demolishes Goldberg the same way he demolished guys like John Cena 3 years ago. No young star is helped by all this, with the exception of Roman Reigns next year. But that’s the best way to make this watchable.
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship
On the other hand, SmackDown’s going a completely different route. Bray Wyatt is a guy waiting for an opportunity to be straight up bizarre, and that’s what we got in this week’s episode. He rises from the ashes rubbing, uh, Sister Abigail’s ashes all over himself. Satan even gets a namedrop.
What needs to happen: They’ve got two weeks to up the intensity, as there was a lull over the past couple of weeks following Randy Orton’s act of arson. Also, Bray Wyatt needs the big successful defense at WrestleMania. They’ve managed to resurrect him ever since the brand split, and if they blow this, they’ll never get another serious chance again.
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
They finally figured out what to do with Roman Reigns, and to be honest, it’s probably the same thing I’d do with him. It’s also entirely possible that Reigns will give us a more watchable match with the Undertaker than anything.
What needs to happen: This is the perfect opportunity to turn Reigns heel. Nobody gets more casual love on the whole roster than the Undertaker, and it would be insanely stupid to even insist that Reigns be the babyface here. And they’re already toeing the gray area with him asserting himself as the owner of the Yard now, so this should all culminate in a turn already. Especially if they intend to put him in the WrestleMania main event next year, and are looking for a way to make him palatable.
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship
The logical culmination of the entire Owens/Jericho best-friendship, and arguably the best-written story on RAW right now. Also, the best way to bring back some glory to Owens, after a failed title run. (You can even say that the lackluster Universal title run was really a way to set up a glorious US title reign.)
What needs to happen: Well, Owens needs to win, obviously. There’s no Intercontinental Championship match made yet, and if there won’t be any, I expect this match to open the main card.
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
If Jericho vs. Owens is the best-written feud on RAW right now, the Cenas vs. the Mizanins is arguably the best one on SmackDown. The men’s performances—especially Miz’s—buoy the whole storyline, as sexist as that might sound, and honestly, if it weren’t for them nobody would bat an eye at this whole thing.
What needs to happen: It’s hard to imagine a scenario other than the Cenas winning, but if SmackDown wanted to work hard and build a new top heel, they’ll take a gamble and give it to Team Mizanin, just for the lulz. I just wouldn’t expect it.
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
The last big addition to the WrestleMania card, our worst fears were confirmed when AJ Styles attacked Shane McMahon violently backstage on this week’s episode on SmackDown. Styles was “fired” by Daniel Bryan, only to be reversed at the end of the show by a Shane McMahon looking for a fight.
What needs to happen: Obviously, obviously, McMahon is just going to take bumps all night for Styles. But there’s still time for McMahon to name a representative, an actual wrestler to actually wrestle Styles.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks in a triple threat match for the RAW Women’s Championship
This is the whole thing they’ve been building up to over in the Women’s division on RAW, and they’re even thinking of adding a fourth woman to the match. Honestly, I’m just surprised at the fact that Bayley is the champion heading into WrestleMania. Not saying it’s not a good look, but the matchup would look bigger on paper if it were still Charlotte.
What needs to happen: Keep this match as is. Give the title back to Sasha Banks.
Alexa Bliss vs. every woman available on SmackDown for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
We actually don’t know who else is going to be in this match, beyond the obvious: Becky Lynch, Natalya, Mickie James, Carmella. We also don’t know what kind of match it’s going to be; is it a gauntlet match, an elimination battle royal, an elimination match, or a one fall to a finish match? There’s still time to explain this.
What needs to happen: It’s obviously going to be a malfunction at the junction, so it’s most likely going to be an elimination match. It could be over the top rope, but it’s also likely to be an elimination match, like the inaugural SmackDown Women’s title match.
It’s also possible that the “every woman available” clause opens up an avenue for an NXT callup. The number of women on SmackDown are limited, and if they wanted everyone else in the match, then they would have just named everyone else. Depending on who wins the NXT Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Ember Moon at NXT Takeover: Orlando the day before, this match could see Asuka making her main roster debut. Or it could just be a way to shoehorn Nikki Bella in before/after her mixed tag team match.
Neville vs. Austin Aries for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
I follow 205 Live closely, and Austin Aries could not have returned at a better time. This is the biggest matchup the cruiserweight division could put up right now, and I’m glad they’re going with this. Aries is the CM Punk-type of magnetic, charismatic personality the division needs right now in order to break through from just being the athletic sideshow.
What needs to happen: Aries needs to beat Neville, and they should just feud for the rest of the Philippine summer (while elevating the upper midcarders of the division, of course).
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs. Cesaro and Sheamus in a triple threat tag team match for the RAW Tag Team Championships
There were too many big matches on the card, so the potentially starmaking and inevitable singles feud between Cesaro and Sheamus was put on hold. Oh, and the titles need to be defended.
What needs to happen: I have a feeling this is the time Cass and Amore finally win their first tag team championships in the company, no matter how much I want either the Club to retain and establish themselves as a top heel team, or Cesaro and Sheamus to win and continue being an entertaining babyface tag team.
The 2017 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Who says winning the ARMBAR doesn’t get you anything? One year after, Baron Corbin is in line for an Intercontinental Championship match (that hasn’t been announced yet). We don’t know who’s going to be in it, but probably everyone else who hasn’t been booked yet—including Big Show, which I’ll discuss later.
What needs to happen: Give the winner a title shot of his choosing already, especially now that Money in the Bank stopped being a WrestleMania thing. Have Braun Strowman beat everybody.
Matches that haven’t been announced yet
Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
This is in grave danger of being relegated to the kickoff, considering how much is in the main card. Either this, or the Cruiserweight Championship match. Either way, we’re just waiting for the big announcement—they’ve made too much out of Ambrose and Corbin kicking each other’s asses over the past few weeks that it would be strange not to get this match at all.
What needs to happen: Either a Falls Count Anywhere or Extreme Rules match, given how they’ve been beating each other up and down arenas. Give Corbin the big win, because he deserves it.
Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal
A match we thought we were getting, but apparently not getting yet because “Princess Shaq” (Big Show’s words, not mine) is hard to please.
What needs to happen: This match actually does need to happen, because hey, what’s WrestleMania without any celebrity involvement? It’s a great way to send Big Show off to a well-deserved retirement.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship match
The SmackDown tag division was one of the lowkey finest-booked scenes going into 2017, and it’s a shame that they’re staring at oblivion going into WrestleMania. American Alpha deserve better than this, but it’s not their fault their competition has been booked to look completely incompetent at Elimination Chamber. I can’t believe I’m saying that the division needs a shot in the arm, real quick.
What needs to happen: Call the Revival or DIY up already and give them an open challenge spot at the kickoff. – Rappler.com
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