Three matches to examine today, one which could be a bloodbath, another an incredible passing of the torch, and another match which has quickly lost its novelty.
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal
Starting with the one which lost the novelty. I mean that. This year, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has almost become a joke. As of this writing, we have the following participants:
- Big Show
- Mark Henry
- Damien Sandow
- Jack Swagger
- Tyler Breeze
- Darren Young
- Curtis Axel
- Bo Dallas
- Adam Rose
- Heath Slater
Chances are, you stopped reading after Fandango. The first year had a lot of potentials, and Cesaro winning the match gave the Battle Royal a ton of credibility. The second year went to the freshly heel Big Show, who, in my opinion should have been the first man to win. The problem is how the commentators tout this match as a potential career-launcher for the victor. I did say problem. Problem, because Cesaro’s trophy got destroyed in an outright stupid feud with Jack Swagger and Cesaro amounted to less than zero following said feud, and Big Show, well, he’s been around for nearly 20 years, so he’s already had a fill of a career. This year it seems Big Show and Kane are being pushed to win. Might as well include Mark Henry in there. If a loser like Bo Dallas or Fandango win, then WWE had better make said winner the next Money in the Bank or WWE Champion. I’m just not sure what the point of it is.
I would like it to come down to Mark Henry, Big Show, and Kane. Three big men, three guys who are around the 20-year mark with WWE and ready to hang up the boots.
Maybe we get some surprise NXT entrants?
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Here we have a potential show-stealer. Then again, outclassing Roman Reigns vs. Triple H shouldn’t be too difficult. But Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles? This could be great. We already saw three matches between them, perhaps the fourth one will somehow shock us all? No stipulations have been announced, but I would not be surprised if Jericho put his “career” on the line once again, or announces some sort of retirement after this match. After all, he did the same thing last year, the year before that, and I think sometime before that too. So, a “career match” really means nothing, but in a situation to put over AJ Styles, a guy who was Mr. TNA/Impact, a guy who competed in Japan, a guy who is no rookie by any means, this could be huge. AJ Styles winning at his first WrestleMania? That is an honor right there. AJ might as well call it a career too. I have a hard times seeing WWE put the WWE Championship on him in 2016, but perhaps if Seth Rollins is healthy, Cesaro gets a push, who knows, Rollins vs. Styles for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33 or 34 would be epic. Assuming careers will last that long injury-free.
Where does this leave Y2J? A win does nothing, and a loss gives him the credit for putting Styles over. This is the story of someone who has won the World Championship and secondary championships multiple times. There is nothing left to do except for having the novelty showcase matches. Jericho is a performer and a good one at that. He can play the good guy, the bad guy, or the neutral guy.
For some strange reason, I keep flashing back to Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels. Not because of the post-match groin kick, but because it was a dream match. If you think of the “dream matches” one could picture Jericho as one of the opponents. I certainly could.
Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Match
Mick Foley. Terry Funk. Tommy Dreamer. Sandman. These four, the epitome of ECW. The dictionary definition of hardcore, extreme wrestling. Granted, this concept no longer exists, however we come close in Dean Ambrose. The guy is branded the Lunatic Fringe. He is crazy. He is good at crazy. The guy did wrestle in CZW after all. He can take some sick bumps, and deliver some too. In this one, he will be taking all the sick bumps. Granted, Brock Lesnar can take some bumps and some hard hits, but my money is on Dean Ambrose for the “Best Cactus Jack impersonation” award. Will he actually use the chainsaw? Doubtful, but it will be teased, this I can promise.
It bugs me how often we have seen Ambrose holding or wearing the WWE Championship, yet it does not belong to him. We came close at WWE Roadblock, but it turned into one of those swerving, dusty finish sort of endings.
What will it take to put the WWE Championship on Dean Ambrose? A feud with Roman Reigns? A Seth Rollins return? CM Punk? The Dreaded John Cena? We already saw Roman Reigns defeat Dean Ambrose twice, which never sat well with me. Ever. Yes yes, Roman Reigns always has to look strong, we know. It is disappointing to think Dean Ambrose will forever be one of those we are teased as being champ, but just won’t happen.
Then again, Mick Foley became champ. Maybe one day Ambrose will too.
At WrestleMania 32, this is not about championships, but about surviving an onslaught. Brock Lesnar. We know, we know, he is a beast, a monster, a Suplex machine. Suplex City. I hate to say this, but I am beginning to tire of “Suplex city.” I know, me, of all people, a guy who goes bonkers for German suplexes and overhead T-Bone suplexes. But when it is all Brock can do, plus the F5, then the novelty wears off. The novelty of Lesnar, a guy who is a complete jerk on and off television, has no mic skills, and frankly I wonder what skills he might have besides fighting. It is a bit sad to see, I miss the Brock Lesnar of old. His feuds with Kurt Angle, now those were great. Brock is a spot-machine, but, a spot-machine who does not know his own strength, and may actually kill Dean Ambrose if he is not careful.
Just throwing this thought in here before I close. Brock has a very silent, very under the radar feud with Bray Wyatt developing. I would not be surprised if somehow the Eater of Worlds got involved.
This one will end in blood. Both will bleed, someone may break. I worry for Ambrose because doing some crazy diving stunt is not out of the question, it is whether Brock takes it, or no-sells, or worse, completely botches it and someone winds up in the hospital.
Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar will put on a performance which will be talked about for months. This is a lock. Hopefully careers will not be cut short by any overzealous actions.