The 31st edition of the “Showcase of the Immortals” is this Sunday so what better time to run down all the exciting possibilities and outcomes than right now. Tone down your smarkiness and put your hatred of Roman Reigns off to the side for a minute to relish in the fact we have 10 real good reasons to be excited about WrestleMania 31. Hit my music…
Montreal Screwjob Part Deux
With current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar’s contract negotiations still not finalized, there is a very real possibility Vince McMahon could call a last-minute audible a la Survivor Series ’97 to ensure the belt is taken off Bork Laser before he decides to bolt to the “non-rival” UFC. There’s also a possibility that Lesnar goes rogue and just works Roman Reigns so stiff during his match that the entire Anoaʻi family feels it. Even if you’re not excited about the fact Reigns is headlining the industry’s biggest event so soon and you’d rather have Daniel Bryan in his spot, Lesnar’s contract status could call for some shocking television come Sunday.
The Vigilante Sting
Anybody that was a fan during the Monday Night Wars doesn’t really need a reason to be excited to see WCW’s franchise player wrestle for the first time since 2001*. Although he’s not a part of the dream match with Undertaker we all wanted, seeing him go toe-to-toe with Triple H in his WrestleMania debut is a more than adequate consolation prize. Plus, you know his entrance is going to be epic.
*I don’t count his TNA run and neither should you.
Nobody in their right mind would have thought this guy would ever be over enough to make a list like this, but the AX Man did it. By totally ripping off (improving?) Hulk Hogan’s gimmick and launching a state-of-the-art website, fans have totally bought into Curtis Axel’s rise post-Rumble. If WWE creative has any sort of logic in their brains, they would play up Axel’s popularity by having him eliminated before ever entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal or have him in the final four alongside someone like Damian Sandow. There are so many entertaining possibilities that could make Axel’s appearance at WM 31 better than perfect.
The (Money in the) Bank is Open This Sunday
No man has ever cashed in their Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania. Many fans “will riot” if Roman Reigns walks out the champ. Welp, there’s a man with a certain briefcase that could turn these two points on their head. You have to wonder if Vince will throw a Hail Mary out there if the Santa Clara crowd totally craps on the main event like they did for Lesnar-Goldberg at WM 20. Seth Rollins is the variable that will hang over the entire event, regardless the outcome of his match with Randy Orton, and that’s worth tuning in for.
The Money In The Bank Ladder Match Is Back At Mania…Sort Of
Speaking of…once one of the most anticipated matches at WrestleMania each year, the WWE decided to stop holding a MIB ladder match at the event after WrestleMania XXVI. From a money standpoint, WWE’s decision to hold an annual pay-per-view centered around the popular ladder match was smart, but it left a huge void on the Mania card each year. It seems like they’ve gotten around that by holding the same style of ladder match with the Intercontinental Championship at stake instead of the MIB briefcase. With high workrate superstars like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Dean Ambrose in the fold along with crazy participants in Stardust, R-Truth, and Luke Harper the IC ladder match has a chance to steal the show. The only bad news I see here is anything the current IC champ Bad News Barrett doles out to his opponents.
They Got NXT
Everybody loves NXT and rightfully so. Triple H’s pet project puts out a consistently quality product with logical storylines that focus on actual wrestling. The show’s shorter time slot has a lot to do with that, but the talent level at Full Sail is off the charts.
What if I told you that one of NXT’s finest will be able to showcase his skills on the grandest stage of them all? Yep, the winner of the NXT tournament to be held at WrestleMania Axxess the Thursday before the big show gets a shot to win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal a few days later. The participants of the four-person tourney are Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, Tyler Breeze and long-rumored call-up Adrian Neville. My money is on Neville taking this tourney, but please don’t stick him with that Mighty Mouse gimmick, Vince.
The (Dead)Man Comes Around
The last time we saw Undertaker he was wobbling up the entrance ramp at WrestleMania XXX after getting pummeled by Brock Lesnar. The streak ended that day and many in the industry and across the WWE Universe thought the Deadman’s wrestling days were over. Fast-forward to this month and Bray Wyatt has done just enough to coax The Phenom into another (final?) battle for the right to claim they are the “Face of Fear”. Even if Taker takes part in his second consecutive sluggish match (I’m not betting on it), wrestling fans everywhere better savor the spectacle that is the Undertaker. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent on his last legs.
P.S. Is there any doubt both Wyatt and Taker’s entrances are going to take 45 minutes each? They’re still going to be breathtaking, I’m sure.
Second To None
Remember how the IWC complained about how the secondary titles in the WWE have gone to crap? You think John Cena holding the U.S. title and Daniel Bryan holding the IC strap will change their opinions? John Cena going over yet another young talent isn’t ideal and Bryan sliding down the middle of the card from where he was at least Mania is a bummer, but if Lesnar retains and continues to show up sparingly throughout the next year what better way to showcase your secondary titles than having the two most over babyfaces in the WWE be your U.S. and IC champions?
A few weeks back the Twitterverse exploded in their support of the current women on the WWE roster by tweeting out their complaints using the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag. While the WWE brass acknowledged the complaints, we’ll see just how much the powers that be believe in their current crop of Divas by the total time allotted to the tag team match between the “Legion of Womb” (AJ & Paige) and the Bellas. Paige is perhaps the most well-rounded women’s performer on the roster, AJ is the most over, and the Bellas are heat magnets. If the WWE will give these gals a chance, they could put on one of the best women’s matches in WrestleMania history and open the door for the talented crop in the NXT women’s division to make some noise post-Mania.
Shoot, Simmons, Shoot
This is probably the biggest long shot on the list, but with Grantland’s Bill Simmons appearing on RAW Monday night to help promote the pay-per-view, there’s a chance the WWE will let Simmons loose on Sunday to drop a pipe bomb or two. Simmons, an avid wrestling fan, has had more than a few issues with management at ESPN and what better platform to shoot on your employer than at the Showcase of Immortals. Don’t put it past Simmons’ ego to channel is inner CM Punk this Sunday. #heelsimmons
What are you most excited about?