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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier - WrestleMania XXX Daily Thoughts (Update #6 - Cena vs Bray)
By PEN15
Apr 5, 2014 - 10:52:47 PM


WrestleMania XXX Thoughts - Match by Match

Intro

Tag Team Championship - Fatal Four Way - Added April 1st

Divas Championship Invitational - Updated April 1st 7:25 PM

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal - Updated April 2ns 4:55PM

The Shield vs Kane and the New Age Outlaws - Updated April 3rd 4:51 PM

Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar - Updated April 4th 4:49 PM

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt - Updated April 5th 11:52
:
Daniel Bryan vs HHH

Triple Threat for WWE World Heavyweight Championship


WrestleMania XXX Daily Blog

Match and Build Up Analysis
As mentioned in my Monday Live Blog, I was planning to do a daily blog with the idea of having analysis for each match up on this Sunday’s card.

As I was writing that blog, I came across the recent Chair Shots from fellow columnist on LOP, TripleR, which was exactly the idea I proposed. I’m not saying he copied me, it was pure coincidence.

I’ve decided to offer the same concept anyways, though I’m concentrating on the analysis. I skimmed through the first update from TripleR, and felt that we would be offering different write ups for the same topics in the same style of delivery (daily updates).

I invite you to read his work, and contrast (not compare) our different viewpoints. I’m going to avoid reading his work until the day of WrestleMania, and I’ll see how it all came out. I don’t think we are stepping on each other’s toes, and just in case someone feels that’s what we are doing, I’ll gladly offer a link to his daily column so you can click on his piece as often as you click into my blog.

TripleR’s Chair Shots Column, the top being the recent Week Long Look at the WrestleMania Card



Enjoy, LOPers.

Tag Team Championship - Fatal Four Way

The Usos {c} vs Ryback/Curtis Axel vs The Real Americans vs Los Matadores
Lots of complaints concerning this match. Originally the problem was the names included in the match, with Cesaro, Ryback, and Curtis Axel all being announced for the Battle Royal, and then being moved into this. It’s a small issue, but it does show lack of planning which is something almost this entire card seems to be a victim of.

Then the issue was the inclusion of Los Matadores as competitors. The former Primo and Epico haven’t had a single angle or program since debuting, with their ringside mascot El Torito being the star of any of their segments, and taking a spot in the Royal Rumble instead of the masked bull fighters. Yet they get included in a WrestleMania XXX Tag Team Title Match?

Finally, it was recently announced that this match would be moving to the Pre Show instead of being on the main card.

The internet burst into flames!

The reality is that while the Tag Team division has been strongly rebuilt over the last year and a half in WWE, it’s still not at a point of drawing. It’s been well documented that in the 80s, WWF would have two touring groups - one headlined by Hulk Hogan and the WWF Title, the other would be either a headlining singles draw like Andre the Giant or a Tag Team Title match. Or, you’d get Hulk Hogan draw people to the show but perform before the intermission, with a tag team bout in the main event. Now, this is obviously from a popular “golden era” of tag wrestling under the Titan umbrella, but it still bears mention as comparison to today’s product. Are the Usos as over as the British Bulldogs were in 1987? Are the Real Americans as established as Demolition?

In context of the entire card, this bout is either perfect for starting the action for the PPV, much like WrestleMania VII was kicked off with a very underrated match between The Rockers and the team soon to be known in WCW as the Faces of Fear, Haku and the Barbarian. But back in 1991, there wasn’t a pre-show like we have in 2014. Back then, we’d have a rundown of the matches, usually hosted by Sean Mooney or ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund, and no actual in ring content. The start of the PPV would be the first time viewers at home would get a glimpse of the arena. There would be a dark match, but it wasn’t anything as grand as a contest for the Tag Team Championship defended in a Fatal Four Way. At WrestleMania VII, the dark match was Koko B. Ware defeating the Brooklyn Brawler.

Last year’s pre-show match was an Intercontinental Championship match between Wade Barrett and The Miz. If that match can be offered for free before the PPV, this match fits the same bill.

As for Los Matadores, I ask you how many matches they’ve lost? I’ll not argue that they haven’t had a lot of exposure, but they seem to be winning all of their matches when they are on TV. During my weekly Raw Blog, I use the intros to the forums discussion threads from LOPforums poster StormDragonz. He asked quite the apt question (that has since gone ignored, I’m assuming because no one could find an answer):

Who deserves the spot over Los Matadores?

Now, I’m not indicating that we couldn’t find another combination of stars to be included, but could you find one more deserving of being in this match? Diego and Fernando are faces, rounding out the teams at 2 heel pairs and 2 fan favorites. So to find another team, I would suggest WWE was looking for a duo that the live crowd could get behind and cheer. Who does that leave? Big Show and Rey Mysterio? Or Rey and Sin Cara? R-Truth and Xavier Woods? Big E. and Mark Henry?

The only other possibility that fits would be Cody Rhodes and Goldust, especially since they are recent champions. In fact, they might be a better option. But something tells me that WWE is orchestrating away from being a team with the Rhodes brothers. They’ve been in mostly singles action since losing the titles. I’m speculating here, obviously, but it’s a sense that Cody and Goldie will have some sort of angle stemming from the Battle Royal.

Did any of the people crying foul about Los Matadores being title contenders tune in on Monday and saw the match of the night between teams consisting of the 4 pairs challenging for the Tag Titles? Los Matadores fit right in, and showcased a style not found from the other 3 teams. The Usos are agile, quick, and at times spotty and high flying, but not to the degree that the Colon Cousins are known for.

One thing I’ve not yet seen brought up is the introductions for The Usos. Already they have a dynamic and hot entrance in a standard arena. With a stadium and more elaborate set design, I’m expecting quite the bombastic Samoan War Dance from Jimmy and Jey. I won’t say it’ll rival anything John Cena has done over the years, but something tells me it’ll be more than the usual pyro and music change.

I’m expecting this match to get a lot of time. With the pre-show being officially 2 hours long, and 1 hour specifically on the WWE Network, I expect this to get at least 20 minutes, most likely more if this becomes an elimination bout. For my friends attending the party at my place, I suggested arrive at 7:00-7:30 Atlantic time (8:00-8:30 Eastern) so that they catch the full tag title match. I also expect it to be a real barn burner. Probably not match of the night the way they stole Raw this week, but still among the best tag matches of the year, and a front runner of fitting in the Best of the Year compilations WWE delivers.

Predictions? Successful defense from The Usos, leading to either The Real Americans splitting up or being straight contenders for Extreme Rules.

Divas Championship Invitational

AJ Lee {c} vs Brie Bella vs Nikki Bella vs Naomi vs Cameron vs Aksana vs Alicia Fox vs Emma vs Eva Marie vs Summer Rae vs Layla vs Natalya vs Rosa Mendes vs Tamina
I won’t pretend that this isn’t a complete piss break match, but I do think it deserves more merit than it’s been given recently.

As devoid of real substance as the Divas division seems these days, there actually is quite a bit going on. The problem is that it’s not occurring on Raw or Smackdown, but on Total Divas. And I’m guessing not many of you are watching (I know I’m not). So it is ok to be disinterested, because it’s not as readily available as the programming found on USA or Syfy (or the WWE Network).

What storyline is taking place on Total Divas? I’m not sure if there are many, but it is giving character development to all that appear. I think it’s easy to see that the Bella twins are more over thanks to the show, as the receptions they received before the E Network started airing them were even more dismal. No, they aren’t over like Trish Stratus, but the recognition is higher, and that carries over.

The Divas and the writers are in a tough position. To get people to tune into Total Divas, the WWE programming should portray those women as fan favorites. I’m not saying they can’t be heels and be stars on the reality program too, as Summer Rae is obviously proving that wrong for now. But in general, people like having someone be likable in some way. I’m not sure if these females are being portrayed all that well, judging by the comments I have read, but the attempt is there, and that connects with fans of Total Divas more than you’ll likely ever recognize.

On the other hand, the wrestling Diva that the WWE Universe cares about is the only woman that matters that just happens to not be on the show. So she’s a heel.

It’s strange, but it’s the way it is.

How are the writers going to dig themselves out of this hole? By throwing them all in the ring together, and letting one of them walk out as champion. Is it all that enthralling? Not to me, but at least it’s a direction. The recent storylines on Raw for the Divas has been random tag matches where the champ is beaten routinely, while she has her back-up nearby.

This is a very kindergarten-esque version of the Shawn Michaels’ and Diesel as his bodyguard angle. Maybe even toddler age.

At least there’s a mystery as to the stipulations of the match. That is creating intrigue, even if it’s on the level of “how dumb will this be?”

At the end of it all, we’re going to see a singles feud, with AJ either taking on whoever is the new champion, or the retaining champion taking on the newest threat, who will most likely be Jimmy Snuka’s daughter.

Is it great? No, but what match involving women at WrestleMania has been? Except for Mickie vs Trish, none of them have been memorable. This will be more comedy than anything, so let it be what it is.

Besides, it’s an invitational. We could get Beth Phoenix to run out and win this thing. You never know.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Current 27 known participants: Alberto Del Rio, Big E, Big Show, Brad Maddox, Brodus Clay, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Darren Young, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Drew McIntyre, Goldust, The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Justin Gabriel, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, Titus O'Neil, and Zack Ryder.
Today, photos were revealed that gave an idea of what the trophy will look like for whoever wins the 30-man over-the-top Battle Royal set for this Sunday. I didn’t realize how coincidental my recent blog concerning the WrestleMania IV opening match Battle Royal was until I saw this trophy design today. It is almost an exact replication of the exact same match and scenario. Will we have a similar result?

I have to credit WWE for this match. Every year, it seems like the company does a piss poor job in crowbarring minor talent onto the show in order to make sure everyone gets a share of the spotlight. The best/worst examples in my opinion were the WrestleMania XX Fatal Four Way tag matches (yes, 2 of them, for each brands’ titles) and the Team Teddy vs Team Johnny from WrestleMania 28.

This Battle Royale is been pushed quite well, and should mean something. Now, I would suggest they make it only 20 men, or even less next time, because there are quite a few talents that just have no business being at WrestleMania, no matter how big Grinch Vince’s heart grows at this time of year. I think if the contestants were only the top tier talent that are unbooked, with a surprise or rookie inclusion here or there, you’d have an even more special spectacle.

The key to this match is actually have happens afterwards for the winner. This win should propel the victor into something substantial. I’m not saying a guaranteed title show, or for the trophy to be up for grabs like the Money in the Bank briefcase often is. I would instead suggest that this would follow in the same footsteps as winning a King of the Ring tournament. All winners went into some sort of storyline and push. Successful or not, it was a way to pave the road for these men to take the next step forward.

I am also quite happy with how The Big Show has been developed into the odds-on-favorite to win the 30 man contest. I think this is a golden opportunity for Vince and HHH to do anything they want, and make it work. That’s the beauty of this match: no matter who wins, it works out. If Big Show wins, it’ll be slightly disappointing, but it would be a giant step in creating a legacy for this match should it become an annual contest. If it’s someone like Mark Henry, it still legitimizes the match for future WrestleManias, while doing something less predictable. If Damien Sandow wins, it reinvigorates his career and could move him into a feud with someone like Mark or Show. If Zack Ryder wins, it’ll be that underdog victory that people would get behind, and would give him more quality TV time for the next couple of months. If Alexander Rusev wins the bout, he gets launched onto the roster with major momentum.

It’s quite perfect. There are honestly more good options than bad options, in terms of who should win. Hell, after losing to Daniel Bryan, HHH could enter himself into this thing and win to make it all about the Game, and it would still be great heel work.

But the key is the follow through. If Brad Maddox wins this, and then continues to be a bitch for The Authority, who gives a shit? But if he uses this to move away from Steph and HHH, it would work. Or could work.

A victory like this can mean everything to any one of the competitors. That’s what makes this match so exciting: who gets made?

Predictions? Not making one. Barring an Alberto Del Rio victory, they can’t go wrong here, and that makes it hard to pick anyone. All possibilities can work, so it’s hard to eliminate anyone from contention.

My hope would be that it again follow the WrestleMania IV formula, and that we have 2 heels try to share the victory, only for one to turn on the other. I want this purely for my personal nostalgia for the Hitman/Bad News ending from 1988, but it would have a lot of potential in 2014 as well. I think I would have 3MB somehow make it to the end. I know, 3MB. These guys have talent, and there seems to be something more out there for these guys. You could honestly have all 3 be the last, and share the trophy, moving all 3 up the ladder in some way. Maybe designate a tag team out of 2 of them, while another moves into a leader or singles midcard title hunt? Just like the Shield, but not as dominant. Or have Drew McIntyre, the obvious breakout star of the group (if there is one), make his move away from the group in an Edge and Christian style battle over the trophy with Heath Slater.

No, I don’t honestly hope for that, but if it happened, I wouldn’t be disappointed. And that’s because it’s so rare WWE delivers something as wide open and unpredictable as this match. It might be a throw away that never takes place again, or it might be legendary. We’ll find out Sunday (and afterwards).

The Shield vs Kane and the New Age Outlaws

6 Man Tag TeamMatch
I covered a big chunk of the discussion for this match during Live Monday blog on March 24th. I am going to copy that text here for you now.

“It seems a lot of people are upset about this proposed matchup. I’m unfazed. I understand the expectations of having a bigger match for The Shield, but it would most likely be their first real bout as faces. I recently had a decent discussion with how most face turns require some strengthening wins. The Shield, as dominant as they have been, have been built by some nefarious wins using their numbers, along with some cheating along the way. I’m not saying they aren’t credible, but in most cases heels tend to get by without legit wins. The Shield is a minor exception, though they’ve still won many matches by breaking rules.

So, in a very subconscious way, they still need to prove themselves in the fans eyes. This will require some wins in credible fashion, which is most likely what this bout is being set up for. Will it really do much to get them over more? No, but it’s still a logical step to start.

Besides, is there really a compelling 3-man team to take on The Shield that isn’t involved in the top matches already? The face turn works against Kane more than anyone at this point, and Kane needs 2 men to join him. Another duo could have joined the Authority for just this match, but the Outlaws have already had their association hinted at, so they make sense more than anyone.

I think the real anger is the idea that HHH’s friends can simply request a match and get it, even though they aren’t full time on the roster. I have no issue with this one, because unlike how the other part timers should be used, The Outlaws are present to put over the full time guys. I’ll take that over the way Punk lost to Rock, Taker and Lesnar in his 3 biggest matches of 2013.




At this point, my thinking is that we shouldn’t expect a Shield victory here. It might seem like a swerve for swerve’s sake, but this is one of the matches where a heel victory would work in the big picture. Whether or not we will witness The Shield implode, there’s more intrigue to see Kane and the Outlaws sneak out a victory.

Keep in mind that the next PPV is Extreme Rules, and that event is typically full of rematches from WrestleMania. Not every match here is going to be a direct copy of the original bout, but one match with an added gimmick that could work really well in the same combination would be this one.

So I could see The Authority winning, but then why would a rematch take place? Why would Kane want to get back in the ring with anyone he’s already proven himself against, if he’s part of those in charge?

I think we are going to be seeing a change in Authority this week. Either at WrestleMania, or on Raw the next night, someone is going to have to step forward to right the wrongs we’ve seen from the Authority. I’m not going to pretend to know or have an idea who it might be, but we’ve heard rumors of Sting, Vince McMahon, and Hulk Hogan having a regular on screen role, so they could all do that job. The rematch would be booked, maybe with tornado rules, or Extreme Rules (flashback to the 6 man tag of Mania 13, which was a damn good match and a damn shitty WrestleMania). The Shield comes out on top, and moves on to the next chapter.

The giant pink elephant in the room is the Roman Reigns push, or the split of The Shield. I can’t imagine how this will take place, but it seems too likely not to happen. This match could be the catalyst, with the turns taking place in New Orleans. I hope not; The Shield are too intriguing as a group with their new babyface direction. I just feel the intrigue within the company is too strong for WWE not to pass up on the super push for Roman Reigns.

Shame.

Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar

The Beast vs The Streak
I am going to flat out admit that I have no idea what to talk about here.

This match is just another example of what is wrong with WWE booking. Last year, CM Punk won a Fatal Four Way match on Raw to get a chance to challenge the Streak. He then spent the rest of the Road to WrestleMania attempting to get inside the head of the Undertaker with some of the harshest heel tactics we’ve seen on PG TV, especially when using the then-recently passed away Paul Bearer/William Moody. It was a series of deplorable actions that made people want to see the Undertaker murder The Best In The World.

Yes, the streak was at stake, and sure, it’s possible Punk could have ended it, but I don’t think many of the online fans had any delusions about who would walk out victorious. It was predictable, with a terrible way to start the build up with the Fatal Four Way, yet it ended up being one of the most anticipated matches of the night, and ended up stealing the show (despite what the Slammys had to say last year).

So, why is this year’s so disappointing?

Simple: Brock is no CM Punk.

No, I’m not saying Brock is not as good. The problem is he’s not as evil. CM Punk, either as the character or the human playing the character, has displayed enough bad attitude that his actions last year weren’t all too far fetched. It all fit together.

On the other hand, Brock is a physical specimen who realistically should destroy 99% of the competition in WWE. He has the best mouthpiece in the company today.

So why don’t I care?

WWE has booked this so terribly wrong, seemingly depending on the name power and draw of the Streak to sell the match. Brock should be a major threat, but he hasn’t been. At all. At. All.

At.
All.

Is this Vince’s fault for protecting the Deadman? Who knows? It doesn’t matter. I have a feeling that as badly booked as this bout seems to be, it honestly doesn’t need anything to make it any more special. It’s still Brock vs Undertaker. It really does sell itself.

The problem is what happens post-Mania. If Brock is to ride off into the sunset, never to be seen on Monday nights again, it’s a great way to bow out.

But isn’t the news that he’s signed until Mania 31? Then why is he booked to look like a punk?

This match raises too many questions, and none of them are about who might win. That’s fucked.

With Brock around for another year, I’m very curious to see what he does after WrestleMania. My guess is he might go on a revenge rampage on the roster, maybe targeting a new underdog WWE World champion? Or, we might see another best of 3 series between him and the Undertaker, where Brock gets a rematch at SummerSlam, and then a match next year at WrestleMania in a Loser Leaves Town match. It will have to be interesting, because he’s not walking out of WrestleMania this year with his hand held high.

Consider Brock’s WrestleMania record right now: 1-2, with a win over Kurt Angle in the main event, but losses to Goldberg and HHH, with Undertaker making him 1-3.

Aren’t we glad he went over CM Punk at last year’s SummerSlam now? Fuck.

All that negativity aside, I do expect a great match between these two. Will it match anything we’ve seen with the Streak on the line since Edge challenged it with his World Title on the line? Probably not. Brock’s a beast, and a great wrestler, but it’s hard to imagine Undertaker being able to sell Brock’s offense enough to get the brutality over. He worked well with HHH selling that side of the match over, but Brock is a different beast altogether. I’ll enjoy it, despite not really being hyped for it. It’s so highly unlikely this will be a dud, which is rather impressive, all things considered.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt

Cena Wearing Sheep Mask Segment was Awful
The intriguing part of this match is the outcome. Predictions are pretty easy, and it seems pretty obvious to me that Wyatt will walk away with his hand raised in some fashion, but there's more to an outcome than the result.


The Wyatt Family have slowly become as useful and dominant as The Shield have known to be, yet by taking a drastically different path towards their success. The Shield have prided themselves on being the Hounds of Justice since their debut at Survivor Series 2012, and their official in-ring debut at TLC of the same year. They've been on a path of destruction over everyone one the card, from entry level stars like Zack Ryder, to the elite at the top like trios of John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback. They've shown no fear, and gone full force against everyone, using their strength in numbers to come out on top more often than not. They are essentially a solid unit of mercenaries, with no leadership required.


The Wyatts on the other hand have had every action determined by leader Bray Wyatt. The straw fedora wearing fear monger has used a creepy and cryptic promo delivery style to etch a new style of villain for the hearts of the WWE Universe to loathe. Seemingly using brainwashing techniques to give out orders to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, the Wyatts have dominated in their own right, even over The Shield.


Bray and his followers have used their TV quite wisely over the last year since their debut. I know many mock how disappointing the match at SummerSlam was against Kane, but the purpose of that bout was to establish the family in a way I believe a standard one-on-one match could not have achieved. By adding the Inferno Match gimmick, an impression was made on the WWE Universe starting their era of warning everyone to “Follow The Buzzards.”


Then, on the other side of the ring will be John Cena, who was perfectly described by Ric Flair during the Legends of WrestleMania program as both the flagship and the franchise of the company. It seems like the perfect scenario, having the superstar true face of the company against the most bizarre and twisted heel in recent memory.


Yet, somehow, it's a bit of a letdown. I seem to be in the minority in thinking the segment last Monday was absolutely laughable. I liked when Bray tied Cena in the ropes with the sheep mask on. That fit their storyline and their characters. But for Cena to show up masked again behind everyone like he was Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, and for the Wyatts to just stand around and wait for the mystery man to unveil himself, made for a very uncharacteristic segment for both parties. I have no problem with Cena getting a psychological advantage, but to do it in such a pedestrian fashion was offputting.


Thankfully, it hasn't ruined the potential of this match or feud. Bray might not be normally thought of as one of the wrestlers who can put on classic matches, but he's shown he can hang in there with Daniel Bryan. Cena is another of WWE's top performers, so this will be a test, that I think he'll pass just fine.


The real interest I have is how this will move forward. Will Cena get the unpopular victory to continue the rage Bray has for our heroes? Or will Cena put over the new talent on the biggest stage of them all?


While I think Bray will get the victory, I don't think this match is the only bout we'll see between these 2. There's a boatload of potential for this to keep going into the spring. WWE will be using this showcase to give the Wyatts the spotlight in some fashion no matter what, but theories are abound for whether the first match will go Bray's way or John's. We can debate until our fingers or ears bleed about which way is the best to go, but thankfully we're all in the same mindset that this should be the first chapter of a long book.


My suggestion? Bray gets the win here with the help of Harper and Rowan. I think Cena would then be best served to find some teammates. I don't mean to replicate what was done vs The Shield last year, but actual friends that could match what almost took place with Cryme Tyme a few years ago as the C.T.C. I'm not going to start guessing who it could be, because he could bring up some people from NXT, or he could have someone like Dolph or Kofi by his side for a major rub. It won't matter, because this should be about the Wyatts. A 6-man tag at Extreme Rules would be great if The Shield isn't doing the same thing. The Shield should take precedent over Wyatts for a 6-man tag match that night, because a singles rematch for Bray and Cena could work as well. They should trade wins on PPV for a couple of months, but include some sort of 6-man tag team match in between, which is where Cena should get the win in some way.


But the first match should be Bray's, and so should the last. But they will all be awesome.

Daniel Bryan vs HHH

Winner is the 3rd man for Main Event



Triple Threat for WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Randy Orton vs Batista vs ?



And on that note, Peace out

Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
Follow me on Twitter if you wish, though I don't really do much with it.
@LOPPEN15

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