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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – (Trying at) Predicting WrestleMania 34
By Samuel 'Plan
Dec 29, 2017 - 5:36:17 PM




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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!




Just Business: The Preview Side of the Pond – (Trying at) Predicting WrestleMania 34


This week on The Right Side of the Pond (TRSOTP), exclusively available on Lords of Pain Radio every Friday, Maverick sits it out, leaving Mazza and I to open up discussions for the first time about the possible look of WrestleMania 34 this coming April. What we find in opening that discussion is that everything is still to play for!

It’s not unusual by this point in the year for us to have heard rumblings about the potential plan for the Grandest Stage of Them All in the pending spring, and indeed just this week the first snippets of information have been slowly emerging. They have, however, remained curiously vague, making it no easier for us to be able to figure out what ‘Mania might be looking like in just a few months.

We know that John Cena is apparently slated for an opponent “bigger than the World Championship.” As problematic a philosophy as that hints at, and as frustrating as it continues to be that Cena maintains his special spot despite his now undeniable disinterest in the company and its product, such news completely alters the possible complexion of the pending Royal Rumble Match – Cena being an early favourite to win it – as well as the two World title bouts at the Showcase of the Immortals.

We know now that Dean Ambrose is going to be missing most of 2018 because of his recent injury, but these last few days, for the first time, rumours have started to circulate that said injury has forced WWE into a rewrite of some of their more prominent WrestleMania plans. That’s a conflicted prospect, equal parts gutting and exciting. While it means that those of us among Ambrose’s more passionate fans will be denied seeing him in the prominent bout at ‘Mania he has more than earned but been repeatedly denied, and which most likely was going to be against his wrestling soul mate Seth Rollins, it does hint at the potential, no matter how slim it might be, that the company could yet pull an audible with what have been their most depressingly inevitable matches – primarily, the Lesnar / Reigns clash.

On tonight’s Pond, I prove how obsessive I remain about the notion of seeing Seth Rollins injected into that main event match. I know it’s unlikely; I know there might not even be many who feel it’s the best way for WWE to get what they want while making it more palatable for the fans. With Ambrose out, though, and with some WrestleMania 31 symmetry already in play – not to mention the parallel arcs both Rollins and Reigns have been on these last twelve months – and with Lesnar’s best work often coming in multi-man scenarios, it feels like it all makes too much sense not to do.

Alas, precedent is not on our side. When WWE had the chance to avoid the obvious with something more intriguing by injecting CM Punk into the Cena / Rock rematch in 2013, they neglected to do so, much to the critical harm of the event and match both. If WWE have proven one thing repeatedly, it’s that they are incapable of learning from their past mistakes.

Nonetheless, I will continue to cling to my little slice of hope that Rollins may yet shock the world and flip the script to find himself contending for the Universal or WWE Championship come WrestleMania season.

I mention the WWE Championship to deliberately table the idea that WWE may yet resurrect the concept of the Rumble Match winner challenging for either brand’s top championship – an easy way to switch a top star to an alternative brand and ensure WrestleMania Season remains colourfully unpredictable. It’s the longest shot of all that WWE would do such a thing with Seth Rollins, but it’s not like the WWE Championship situation is a foregone conclusion anymore.

With Jinder Mahal beginning a trek through a US Championship tournament – a spot I am in no way adverse to seeing him in, incidentally – and with recent news that Cena’s opponent will be “bigger” than the WWE Championship, that leaves the Smackdown Live (SDL) title scene for the Big One as a completely blank slate.

It would be a damn shame for AJ Styles not to walk in with the title around his waist, though it is by no means a certainty he will. Kevin Owens already seems to be on a direct trajectory for the Phenomenal One, and either talent would be a prime fit as the defending champion come April. Alternatively, maybe theirs will be the match SDL fields at the top of its own card at the Grandest Stage?

Many have their hopes pinned to Shinsuke Nakamura of course; I fear that might be a slimmer possibility than those many might be willing to admit to themselves - Nakamura has undoubtedly been treated poorly since his arrival to the main roster, leaving him far from any position where a Rumble Match victory would feel appropriate to me. Nonetheless, WWE has shown signs of belief in his status as a top talent, so you never know; Styles, we know, has been lobbying hard for the pairing, it would be a nice response to Chris Jericho’s presence at WrestleKingdom and it would most definitely be refreshing to see a contemporary talent once again win a Royal Rumble Match – a sore requirement at this stage, after the time warp that the fan favourite match has been stuck in since 2005.

In just a couple of hours, Mazza and I are going to be discussing Nakamura’s suitability and potential to headline WrestleMania, as well as that of many others – from Braun Strowman, to Bobby Roode, to the Miz and more. The underlying point, though, is that, unlike other recent years, WrestleMania remains impossible to predict with any certainty right now. While that is concerning – especially given WWE’s penchant for cramming in part timers for the sake of it, which we again cover on tonight’s podcast – it also means that there remains an exciting degree of hope that WWE could pull something surprisingly refreshing out of the bag.

Dare we embrace that hope remains the only question we should ask ourselves.

You can, of course, hear about all of this on the next instalment of The Right Side of the Pond, airing only on Lords of Pain Radio to kick your weekend off right! The Right Side of the Pond airs only on LOP Radio every Friday night, 9pm GMT / 5pm EST, or can be listened to on demand at any time via BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes, so be sure to check it out!

Be sure to let me know how you’re feeling about WrestleMania Season as it looms ever closer, and what the card could or should look like come April, in the comments below, over on social media or even by signing up to our own LOPForums, where TRSOTP and every other LOP Radio show has its very own discussion thread for you to throw some responses our way without the limitations of Twitter or Facebook; just click here to sign up!



LOP’s up and coming writers continue their good work in the Columns Forum, and SirSam continues leading the pack with the concluding part to his mini-series of stories that defined WWE in 2017, which you can read here: The Five In Ring Stories That Defined The WWE In 2017 Pt. 5: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Brothers Reborn




Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!





Click here to add me on Facebook!


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