FanPost

An In-Depth Breakdown of Wrestlemania 31

Ready or not, the "Grand Daddy of Them All" is this Sunday. WrestleMania is one of the biggest entertainment spectacles of the year. However, there has been lots of skepticism about the build and the card itself. Many in fact do not believe it feels like WrestleMania at all; instead, they believe it feels more like a forgettable Summer Slam card. Keep in mind, though, that most people always believe WrestleMania feels uneventful. This long (and when I say long, I mean long) analytical breakdown will discover whether WrestleMania's build was truly lackluster or not.

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar © vs. Roman Reigns:

The biggest issue people have with the show is the main event and rightfully so. It is a travesty that Roman Reigns is main eventing this show over someone more deserving. Internet fans used to complain about wrestlers like John Cena and Batista, but both had many fans and generated tons of money. As long as a wrestlers draw money, complaints about them are a waste of time. Wrestling is a business, meaning it is all about making money. The difference between Roman Reigns and the Cenas and Batistas is he does not have many fans and is not drawing a lot of money. He is still a work-in-progress. But because WWE attached a rocket ship on his back, the majority of WWE fans are protesting against him and it is one of the most unfortunate things of this entire debacle.

Reigns has virtually become a sacrificial lamb, due to McMahon's vacuous decision. He is taking the brunt of his mistake, and it sadly could ruin his entire career. He is far from terrible and has potential. He is just a victim of being pushed him too fast and bad booking. Someday, he could be a main eventer. Today just is not that day.

After all, fans were champing at the bit for Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose to receive the golden ticket to the main event of WrestleMania. The fans adore all three, and they are young and highly skilled at their crafts; meaning, they would be perfect fits as the top-tier main eventers of the new generation. However, for whatever reason, WWE does not want to commit fully on any of them. In fact, WWE threw all three of them into a multi-man Ladder match over a title that means nothing. They could not even give them a high-profile match at the biggest show of the year.

WWE made a gargantuan mistake last year by having Dave Batista win the Royal Rumble over Daniel Bryan – who was the most over and deserving wrestler on the roster. It was an illogical decision to believe the fans would accept Batista winning the WWE championship instead of Bryan -- who had been fighting an uphill battle for about 4 months in a quest to win the WWE championship and give the Authority the comeuppance they deserved. However, because of this, WWE completely rehabilitated their Wrestlemania plans, to make the fans happy; and everything worked out for the better. They made a mistake but fixed it. No one could be mad at them for doing that.

This year, though, WWE had multiple chances to alter their WrestleMania plans. The fans booed Reigns around Summer Slam. Then, after being injured for months, he made a few cameo appearances and received lukewarm receptions at best. He thereafter won the Superstar of the Year awards and received another unremarkable reaction. Most people either were rolling their eyes or perplexed about how he won. Then, in spite of all this, he still won the Royal Rumble, and the fans booed him out of the building the minute when one of the favorites to win, Daniel Bryan, was eliminated early. The fans were still hopeful either Ziggler or Ambrose would win, but once Kane and Big Show eliminated them, the fans just booed everyone in the ring. Not even Rock’s comeback stopped the fans from jeering Roman Reigns.

To add insult to injury, WWE gave Daniel Bryan advocators more hope at the main event of Fast Lane. If Bryan could defeat Reigns, he would be main eventing WM instead. Although most fans did not think WWE would take Reigns out of the main event, people believed that WWE would add Bryan into the match. Neither thing happened. Reigns defeated Bryan clean as a whistle

Hope was seemingly lost. The match would be a train-wreck, and the fans were figuratively going to smear their species all over it. Reigns would win the WWE championship, end Lesnar’s terror of destruction, and inaugurate the Roman Reigns Empire of doom era. That was until rumors, indicating that Lesnar may retain, started floating around. Then, yesterday, he reported himself that he was staying in WWE on ESPN. Because of those things– and Heyman and Lesnar’s glorious promotional/marketing work – the match no longer seems to be a lost cause. In fact, it will be intriguing to see how WWE approaches it.

There is no way of sugar coating it: Lesnar has to retain the title at Wrestlemania 31. Nothing else would help this debacle from becoming one of the worst decisions in wrestling history. Wrestlemania’s main event is more than a title. It is about Reigns ending Lesnar’s path of destruction and one of the greatest ubber-monster heel runs in WWE history. He accomplished the impossible by conquering the insurmountable Undertaker in his own playground on top of emasculating and embarrassing John Cena. Lesnar is on Mount Rushmore, and if the proper wrestler slayed the beast incarnate, he could become a preverbal goddess.

At this juncture, not even Seth Rollins successfully cashing-in would be an acceptable outcome. For starters, Rollins is a heel and thus cashing-in on the ubber-monster would not generate heat. If anything, it would probably generate a positive reaction.

If Rollins cashes in on someone, it should be on a sympathetic character (the likes of a Daniel Bryan, for example). Also, it would be an anticlimactic and ineffective way to end Lesnar’s path of destruction, as no one would get that over from it. Bluntly put, it would be a wasted opportunity.

Sting vs. Triple H:

After almost two decades of anticipation, Sting will finally make his triumphant in-ring debut against Triple H. To no surprise, people are still complaining. It is understandable that people want to see Sting battle Undertaker. There is a time and place for it next year, though. Undertaker will be in his hometown, which means he can go out after facing his decade-long dream opponent.

Anyways, despite its many question marks, this match seems interesting. It will be interesting to see how motivated Sting looks out there, and whether he will give an honest performance or not. All signs point to him trying to give a performance of his lifetime. This is a historic moment for him, so he does not want to lay an egg.

Not only does Sting have to be in good shape – as WWE is very strict about their wrestlers being in tip-top condition – it is also safe to say that he wants to be in good shape. And, he does not have to wrestle for an entire year after. Meaning, he can put everything on the line at WM (analogous to Underaker post-2010).I am not sure if this is going to be a classical match, but I believe many people are sleeping on this match. It should be at least good. Even if Sting is limited, HHH can be very good at putting matches together that augment the match’s drama and hide wrestler’s weaknesses.

The only real flaw with this match is the lack of stipulation. HHH’s overlong tyranny has made WWE an unsettling place, both from a storyline and real-life perspective. Sting, meanwhile, is a watchful protector and guardian who seeks justice for all. The feud is too vast to only be about legacy; thus, something concrete should be at stake. Sadly, though, WWE wants to have its cake (Sting winning) and eat it too (Authority still lives), which is a massive cop-out.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker:

Many people’s interest level will not blow a roof off a building, although people seem more excited for this match from when it was announced. By now, everyone knows how WWE likes to select which parts of history it wants to include into its present day programming. So, biggest fear of this feud was WWE ignoring or playing down Undertaker’s lost at WrestleMania 30. It would have been lazy booking and also a huge slap in the face.

Not only has WWE acknowledged the loss. They have also incorporated into the story. It is all about how Bray Wyatt believes he is now the new face of year, spending weeks to prove that the Undertaker is dead. Undertaker, however, made his presence known and challenged Wyatt to a match at Wrestlemania 31. So, Wyatt now wants to destroy the Dead Man for good.

Since the John Cena feud debacle, Wyatt has struggled to feel relevant again. He lost a lot of momentum and heat because of how poorly WWE treated him in it, and it did not help that he thereafter became lost-in-the-shuffle in the black hole mid-card. Even taking time off and then feuding with the red-hot Dean Ambrose did not help him. In fact, he brought Ambrose into the black hole with him.

And the more Wyatt talked, the less over he became. His promos’ style was becoming repetitive, more confusing and extremely pretentious. He said so himself that he believed he was the only person who understood them, which begs the question: why do them if the fans cannot understand them? However, ever since he started cutting promos on the Undertaker, he has been on fire. The content, deliver and passion have all been top-notch. He has stopped doing the overly convoluted, pretentious promos. Instead, he is more focused on getting the messages across. He has literally single-handily carried this feud and turned the match from a seemingly pointless match into an intriguing one.

Like most of the card, the match could go either way. It truly depends on Undertaker’s condition. If he is in tip-top condition, this could be good. If not, it could be a train-wreck. And while the dynamics of their styles could clash, Undertaker has made the best out of uglier situations, and Bray Wyatt has had some unexpected good matches with others in the past.

Credit should be give when it is due, thereby WWE and Bray Watt deserve credit for narrating this story as impeccably as possible.

Rusev vs. John Cena:

If anyone needs to build a case for McMahon being antiquated, this feud is a great point of reference. How many people care about this feud? Do insults like "Americans are stupid" really raddle anyone’s chains in 2015? The fact that this is a lowbrow bottom of the barrel feud is the second worst thing about it. The first thing is the content. The dialogue has been so terrible that MTV might sponsor it. Cena sticks out like a sore thumb in this feud; everything he says seems forced. Nothing seems natural, as he does not seem conformable in this propagandic balderdash.

From the putrid dialog, to the terrible accented Russian lawyer, to the phoniest of Cena’s rah-rah Amurica persona, all the way to WWE shoehorning Cena into a patriotic angle because they believe it will help him gain more popularity and less heckling (HOW CAN AMERICANS BOO ONE OF THEIR OWN FOR AN OUTSIDER? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, DAMMIT!), this feud is more unintelligently funny than heated or anything else.

Rusev and Cena, though, seem like they have good chemistry together. So, the match could be good if given time.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton:

From one laughable booked feud to another. This feud has exposed WWE’s creative team as being people who brush their teeth before they eat and put on their shoes before their socks. Calling this worse than Vince Russo’s TNA and WCW booking might be a stretch. However, this would perfectly fit into those eras.

Fans often complain about the predictability of wrestling, as if predictability is the evilest detriment to storytelling ever. That, however, is far from the case. Predictability is sometimes the best decision a writer can make. People are obsessed with superhero movies, and no matter how thin or deep a plot may be, it always ends the same. The protagonist discovers a way to prevail over the antagonist. Never has the superhero winning plagued a movie’s enjoyment. Someone could make debate whether or not Batman should have died in the Dark Knight Rises; however, the villains would have still failed if he did. Batman would have just been the ultimate hero, sacrificing himself for the lives of Gotham.

Predictable swerves, however, are a huge detriment to a story. When people foresee a turn of events happening a mile away, there is no mystery, and the excitement is gone. Concisely, the predictable swerve bedeviled this feud. Besides, they did have to do one.

Seth Rollins, and the Authority, put Randy Orton out of action for almost four months. Orton’s seek of redemption and to make Rollins’ pay for his sins is all the story had to be. But WWE had Orton come back to attack Rollins and join the Authority the next night. Then, Orton – as everyone saw coming a mile away – turned on Rollins and the Authority weeks later. Laughably, WWE tried playing this off as an ingenious scheme by Orton. Frankly, it is debatable who it made look worse: Orton for thinking this was a great plan or Rollins and the Authority actually falling for it. If a stupid person tricks other stupid people, who is the stupidest of them all?

This could have been a heated and well-worked match. Instead, WWE has virtually buried it. It will be lucky if it receives more than 10 minutes. It is one of the least important matches now on the card, which is a shame because both wrestlers could have torn the house down.

Intercontinental Championship Match:

Initially, it did not make much sense why everyone wanted to steal the championship. However, the wrestlers made it work and turned it into a creative little storyline. It has been clever seeing who and how a wrestler would steal the belt. More importantly, WWE gave this a lot of airtime and build, and for the first time in forever, they are not doing the "IC champion loses on TV, then wins on PPV" story. From head to toe, this match is stacked and is the top-running candidate for the show stealer. With time, effort and creatively, this could rival any ladder match in WrestleMania’s history. It is a very bold statement, but the talent in it is uncanny.

Indubitably, the million-dollar questions are: will match dig the IC title out of its grave and will WWE invest some time and effort into it? The likely candidate to win is Daniel Bryan, which could lead to interesting feuds and compelling matches with Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. WWE could easily give the IC title some much-needed merit. It is not a matter of if they can. It is instead a matter of if they want to.

Conclusion:

Concisely, Wrestlemania is mixed bag of pros and cons. Jim Ross said it best by saying it does not look like a bad show. It just has many question marks. Whether the show will be good or not depends on booking decisions, wrestler’s conditions, which matches receive the most time and how much creativeness and passion the wrestlers, agents and writers put into the matches. It is unlikely, though, that it will be the worst WrestleMania ever or the best one. All signs, to be honest, point to it being a solid-but-unspectacular show.

And, let us be honest, most WrestleMania’s historically are mediocre. Usually, there is one or two memorable moments, and an impressive match, a few above average ones and then the rest are barely above average, average or below average. It will not be the end of the world if this show is terrible. As of late, better content has come after a mediocre or sub-par WrestleMania opposed to a good or great one.

WrestleMania 26 was a good show but the rest of 2010 was merely garbage. WrestleMania 27 was a very poor show, although the summer of 2011 was awesome. WrestleMania 28 was a good show. However, the product became very mediocre after Extreme Rules in 2012. WrestleMania 29 was a dull show, but the summer of 2013 produced some excellent material. WrestleMania 30 was an incredible show, though the rest of 2014 was not impressive.

This does not indicate that if WrestleMania 31 is a terrible show, then the rest of 2015 will bowl a perfect 300 or vise-versa. It is something to consider, before we jump to hot-take assessments. Just because it is the biggest show does not mean it will be the best. It rarely ever is.

(The other matches on the card are the Divas match, the Battle Royal and the preshow tag match. However, there was no point of analyzing those matches, as there is little to talk about when it comes to them.)

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.