Look, the community of wrestling fans has been pretty downtrodden in 2014 as we built toward this milestone WrestleMania anniversary. But with one of the most unique segments in pro wrestling history last night, the biggest show of the WWE year now looks like a must-see, and the company has found a way to involve a handful of other Superstars who might otherwise not have found a spot on the card when Hulk Hogan announced a match that could become a WrestleMania staple.
Daniel Bryan fans finally got what they wanted last night, and it wasn't a match with Triple H, although we're getting that too. Playing on the grassroots sentiment of last week's #HijackRaw movement and 2011's Occupy Wall Street movement, Bryan had a bunch of fans (some of which were, others of whom were actually WWE backstage staff) enter the ringside area and hold-up Raw until the Authority gave him what he wanted. It was a really cool visual and the segment was practically perfect, with everyone on point in their roles. Stephanie McMahon, in particular was great in this segment and her earlier segment that set it up.
Triple H flipping out and acquessing to Bryan's demands was great, then Bryan sneaking in the stipulation that he'd be added to the WWE World Championship match should he beat Triple H seemingly satisfies everyone. I do smell a bit of a swerve coming, but more on that in the coming weeks.
Bryan's night got even better when he and the Big Show defeated his two prospective opponents for the title at WrestleMania, Randy Orton and Batista. This planned WrestleMania main event was quickly becoming an out-of-control dumpster fire in the eyes of many, so adding Bryan to the match should quell concerns about poor fan reaction and just a poor bout in general.
Hogan's announcement of an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania has been met with mixed reaction so far, but that's probably because fans were hoping for the announcement to be something bigger. I thought the segment was executed incredibly well. Hogan was able to pimp the WWE Network a little, and having John Cena come out to rub elbows will Hogan gave us a feel good moment. By Cena declaring he wanted to be the first participant in the Battle Royal, it actually put over that it could be a pretty big deal. Obviously, within 10 minutes, he would no longer be part of it, instead challenging Bray Wyatt, who interrupted.
Wyatt's promo, calling Cena and Hogan liars, painted them in a way much of the IWC views the two individuals, so it's another good example of WWE using real life sentiment in their angles. Some might complain about how Cena responded to Wyatt's serious promo, but I liked it, because it's basically how I've felt about the Wyatts since they've debuted. They look goofy and Wyatt speaks in such a way that you're not quite sure what he's saying, but you know it sounded pretty cool. I don't know if Hogan will be by Cena's side for the rest of this angle through WrestleMania, but I thought it was a good use of everyone here.
Back to that battle royal for a minute. For those of you that don't know, Andre was at one point known as the King of the Battle Royal, which was a very cool attraction and big deal back in the day (before the advent of the Royal Rumble). The fact it's 30 Superstars involved means it's going to be a pretty massive brawl. I don't think it takes away from the Rumble, or is hurt by the Rumble either, because in this case, all 30 men will start in the ring, whereas the Rumble is unique because of the entrances. I do think, if this becomes a tradition, it'll be pared to 20 men in the future. Thirty makes sense this year because, A. It's WrestleMania XXX and B. The WWE roster is so deep right now, they might need all 30 spots.
With that said, we've now got five official matches for WrestleMania, which in recent years has consisted of eight "main show" matches and one pre-show match. That means roughly three more matches could be booked for this show, and then something in the pre-show. Off the top of my head, the other obvious storylines going on right now are the feud over the tag team titles, the break-up of the Real Americans, and whatever is going on with the Shield. The Divas division is in a slight state of flux, but some sort of women's match is likely to be added to WrestleMania too. Then there is the rumor of having an NXT showcase match at the Show of Shows, too. I think that could actually fill the pre-show role.
If I'm booking WrestleMania, I'd consider either taking the Shield or the Real Americans angle and make them part of the battle royal. Have the other play out on the main show. Do the NXT showcase on the pre-show, have AJ defend (and perhaps finally lose?) the Divas title in a cool-down match between some of the big main events, and have the Usos defend the tag team titles on main show as well.
Suddenly, a WrestleMania that looked pretty lame just a few days ago is looking like a terrific show worthy of being the 30th edition of the Showcase of the Immortals.