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March 18: Mark Madness
Daniel Bryan Set for Huge WrestleMania XXX
After a couple weeks of poking and prodding Triple H, Daniel Bryan finally got Triple H to agree to a match at WrestleMania XXX. Bryan and a large contingent of fans "occupied" Raw and refused to leave the ring until Triple H agreed to Bryan's demands. In addition to getting a match with Triple H, Bryan will be inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship contest should he win.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will Bryan Fare at Mania?
As great as a Bryan vs. Triple H bout figures to be, the big story here is the fact that Bryan could potentially close WrestleMania as the new WWE World Heavyweight champion. Ever since Batista won the Royal Rumble, it was abundantly clear that the fans had no interest in a WrestleMania main event between Batista and Randy Orton. Whether this Bryan stipulation was planned from the start or dreamed up as a way to save face is irrelevant. The important thing is that the WWE finally appears to be in tune with the fans.
With that said, there are no guarantees when it comes to Bryan winning the title or even winning against Triple H for that matter. As one of the most powerful people in WWE in both real and kayfabe terms, Triple H is likely to have some tricks up his sleeve.
At the same time, Bryan clearly needs the WrestleMania victory more than he does. Based on the way that Bryan has been booked in recent months, however, there is plenty of doubt when it comes to his WrestleMania prospects.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Logically speaking, there is no reason why Bryan shouldn't beat Triple H and win the title at WrestleMania. He is WWE's hottest star in recent memory, and he certainly deserves to have a WrestleMania moment for the ages.
Bryan is the ultimate underdog, and the odds are stacked against him from a storyline standpoint. In order to win the title, he'll have to go through three of the biggest stars in WWE over the past 15 years. If he does, then he'll cement his spot atop the company.
There was some debate about whether or not Bryan will beat Triple H at WrestleMania, but having Bryan go over seems like an obvious move. If he doesn't, then WrestleMania will have a main event that features two heels and that nobody wants to see. Even if Bryan doesn't win the title, WWE needs him in that match.
Provided he gets there, it all comes down to Bryan or Batista winning the strap. Batista is a definite possibility since he and Bryan could feud in the months following WrestleMania, but there is more value in sending the fans home happy with a Bryan victory.
Post-'Mania Plans for Daniel Bryan (per F4WOnline via WrestlingInc.com)
Hulk Hogan Announces Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
As WrestleMania continued to draw closer prior to last Monday, it was becoming clear that a number of important Superstars on the WWE roster were at risk of being left off the card. A multiman match of some kind was needed in order to ensure that 'Mania was as star-studded as possible, and that led to Hulk Hogan's announcement of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This an Effective Use of Talent?
Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania III is one of the most iconic moments in WrestleMania history, and Andre was the king of the Battle Royal. With that in mind, having a WrestleMania Battle Royal in his honor is a perfect fit. According to Hogan's announcement, the Battle Royal will feature 30 Superstars, so the vast majority of the roster will have the opportunity to compete on the big stage, which is a positive on many levels.
Also, the winner will be presented a trophy featuring Andre the Giant's likeness. Trophies aren't used much in wrestling anymore, but they used to be commonplace, especially in the 1980s. Newer fans may not understand the significance, but it should make for a great visual. The Battle Royal also provides a platform for a number of different wrestlers to shine, and it could ultimately be one of the highlights of the night in New Orleans.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
For all the positives that come along with the Battle Royal, there are some negatives as well.
Chief among them is the fact that it allows for lazy booking. Since the likes of Sheamus, Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and plenty more recognizable names are likely to take part in the Battle Royal, the creative team doesn't have to put any thought into angles for those wrestlers. That doesn't mean that the Battle Royal won't be entertaining, but it does feel as though the writers are taking the easy way out to a certain extent.
It's definitely a better option than having a random 10-man tag match, though, so there isn't much reason to complain. One exciting aspect of the Battle Royal is the potential for some legends and surprise entrants. It doesn't take much athleticism to compete in a Battle Royal, so a number of old favorites might get involved. Add in the fact that there could be as many as 10 or so candidates to win, and this promises to be an entertaining match if nothing else.
Alexander Rusev to Compete at WrestleMania? (per PWInsider Elite via WrestlingInc.com)
Reviewing TNA Lockdown
TNA held its first live pay-per-view since Bound For Glory on March 9 in the form of Lockdown. Every match on the card was contested within the confines of a cage, and a number of important prizes were on the line. Not only did Magnus defend the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Samoa Joe, but a team led by MVP faced a Bobby Roode-led team representing Dixie Carter for control of wrestling operations in TNA as well.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Was Lockdown a Quality PPV?
It is no secret that Magnus has looked weak throughout his championship reign thus far, and it has led to him being referred to as a "paper champion." Magnus really needed a clean, convincing victory over Samoa Joe at Lockdown to validate his status as TNA's top guy, but that didn't happen.
Instead, Abyss busted through the bottom of the ring and interfered on Magnus' behalf. That led directly to Magnus retaining the title, but it did nothing to add to Magnus' legitimacy.
MVP, The Wolves and Willow locked horns with Roode, BroMans and Austin Aries in the main event of the night. Dixie appeared to have an ace up her sleeve when she sent Bully Ray to the ring as the special guest referee, but it ultimately backfired. Bully Ray provided a distraction that allowed MVP to defeat Roode, and Bully closed the night by putting Roode through a table.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The notion of having all cage matches on one card may not sound terrible in theory, but it quickly lost its luster after just a couple bouts. Also, TNA failed to make the rules for each match clear, so it was always a guessing game in terms of whether the matches allowed for pins, submissions or escapes.
Also, the logic behind the Lethal Lockdown match is terrible. Since the match can't be won or lost until all eight competitors enter the ring, there was basically no point in watching the first half of the match.
TNA's convoluted booking was on full display, too. The Abyss situation was ridiculous, but Bully's sudden face turn was even worse. He ran roughshod over TNA for months as the leader of Aces & Eights, and then he took on even more sinister character after that.
Just weeks prior to Lockdown, Bully was threatening to harm Mr. Anderson's wife and children. Having Bully help MVP made absolutely no sense, and it ended a mediocre pay-per-view on an extremely sour note.
Backstage News on Bobby Lashley's Return (per PWInsider via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 257.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 125
3. Donald Wood: 35
4. Michael Cahill: 20
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