WrestleMania XXVII is fast approaching and, in four weeks time, wrestling’s greatest spectacle will be upon us. Between now and April 3, a lot can and will happen. We should expect surprises, shocks, swerves and possibly Justin Bieber.
But where do we stand now?
Based on recent developments, what can we expect from WrestleMania XXVII?
This is the very purpose of this article.
Every week from now until WrestleMania, I will be commenting on the week’s salient events and speculate on their impact come April 3.
Up first, Triple H’s polarizing promo from Raw…
Last Monday, Triple H cut his first promo in almost a year.
It was interesting to say the least.
The Internet wrestling community is in a state of confusion following the apparent burial of the entire WWE locker room. This issue will be addressed in the next slide.
For now, I will merely examine the superficial aspect of Raw’s opening promo.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H already has “the big fight feel” and this promo’s purpose was to simply add to the hype surrounding the potentially classic bout.
Triple H spoke with a passion, a determination relatively absent in The Game in recent feuds. I would go as far to say that he displayed antagonistic, heel-like traits.
The most captivating part of the promo in regards to WrestleMania implications came when Triple H said he will beat The Undertaker or “die trying.”
Immediately, this implies a Career vs. Streak match at Mania, something that will almost certainly build interest in the match.
This feud will definitely become a focal point of WWE programming for the next four weeks.
Considering the direction of WWE programming in the last 6-12 months, this was absurd to say the least.
In the opening 20 minutes, the entire locker room was stripped of any importance and Sheamus was made to look as relevant as an Aaron Carter album.
Not only is this a massive step backwards for WWE, but Triple H runs the risk of damaging the audience’s engagement with the rest of the WrestleMania card.
You have to ask where Sheamus will end up come April 3. A feud with Daniel Bryan for the US Title has been teased and would make for a strong rivalry…well it would have two weeks ago.
Both Sheamus and Bryan were buried on this week’s Raw, so why would the audience care for two guys who have been portrayed as weak on TV?
This is an issue WWE needs to rectify by WrestleMania XXVII. Remember, it is a four-hour show. You cannot expect buy rates to match expectations if the lower half of the card is continually buried.
WWE is doing a fantastic job of developing this story. Orton’s chilling promo, CM Punk's interruption, the adding of the Nexus stipulation and the McGillicutty punting all pushed the narrative forward.
By developing a game of one-upsmanship between the Viper and CM Punk instead of merely relying on the Unforgiven 2008 backstory, WWE is doing all it can to encourage fan investment.
I for one cannot wait for this match.
The best heel and the face who's most over in the WWE will be going at it at WrestleMania XXVII. These guys are two of the best in the business and should be able to translate the fantastic build up into a entrancing show stealer.
This is a great move.
By removing (or in the case of Nexus, limiting) outside involvement, the WWE is treating the matches they're involved in with the importance they and WrestleMania XXVII deserve.
I hope come April 3 both Alex Riley and Nexus are as far away from ringside as possible. However, it is hard to foresee what role the aforementioned will play at Mania.
Considering the number of external variables influencing Cena vs. The Miz, Riley would only confuse matters as well as compromise The Miz's credibility as a champion that WWE is trying to portray.
Furthermore, due the stipulation of the Orton and Nexus matches, I cannot envision any member of Nexus beating Orton cleanly.
Time will tell, and if nothing else, these developments only build intrigue for WrestleMania XXVII.
WWE is doing the right things as it pertains to this feud.
As I alluded to in a previous article, treating this match as a traditional wrestling bout is a potential disaster zone, primarily because, and this may come as a surprise to most of you, Michael Cole is not actually a wrestler.
By adding a coach and a referee and whatever else between now and WrestleMania, this match should become the sideshow it needs to be.
Furthermore, by seemingly giving Cole the advantage WWE must be setting the “Voice of WWE" up for a fall. He won’t win, will he?
Expect this feud to be shoved down our throats for the next four weeks, primarily because its main proponent is the company's main broadcaster. Furthermore, rumour has it that creative is firmly behind this match.
Forget the fact that this is only The Rock’s second promo in seven years.
This was not only the most passionate promo I have seen The Great One cut, but it was one of the most passionate promos I have ever seen from any performer.
WWE is handling this feud with John Cena perfectly. We can expect these two to exchange shots until a Raw confrontation at a later date. John Cena has already confirmed that he will respond to The Rock on Raw this week.
The passion shown by both Rock and Cena suggest something can, will and must happen between these two. The situation is far too explosive to end amicably.
You remember that guy, don’t you? The Miz, Mike Mizanin, that tool from The Real World?
Good, good, because WWE is putting this guy so far in the background he is about as relevant as an Aaron Carter album.
(Oh…I’ve used that joke already?)
This isn’t entirely fair, as I believe it is an intentional move to enable Miz to win at Mania in the midst of The Rock and John Cena debacle.
Remember, a similar thing happened at TNA Bound for Glory last year when Jeff Hardy played third fiddle to Angle and Anderson, only to get the win.
Can we expect The Rock to cost Cena the title?
While I would love this, it would be a dangerous move by WWE. The buildup over the next few weeks will indicate the likelihood of this happening.
Following SmackDown, Kane is now involved with the Big Show and his problems with The Corre.
I think it is safe to say the audience are now immune to a Kane heel/face turn.
In the last five years, Kane has turned more often than TNA has proclaimed to shock the world or Charlie Sheen has spawned a new catchphrase.
Kane certainly is not #winning.
We can certainly assume these men will feature in a tag match at Mania. But who will be their partners? Rumoured partners include Diesel, Kofi Kingston and Christian (more on the latter two later on).
I think it is worth arguing that this potential match-up can shine due to the maturity of The Corre members and the reduced focus compared to the anti-climactic SummerSlam Nexus match.
Cody’s promo as well as his newly found psychotic persona adds necessary depth to this thus far underwhelming feud.
In the coming weeks, expect more verbal and physical altercations between these two as they build their match that will certainly feature at WrestleMania XXVII.
One thing needs to be asked:
What on Earth is up with the mask?
It completely undermines the authenticity of the rivalry, as Cody clearly has nothing wrong with him. It makes me think that wrestling may be fake.
How can you say a man has a severely damaged face only to give him a transparent mask, clearly illustrating that he looks exactly the same!
This feud needs a little bit of work in order for it to capture the audience’s interest effectively.
This promo effectively mirrored Triple H’s in terms of hyping up this behemoth of a bout.
What I want to comment on was the subtle changes to the Deadman’s character.
Firstly, the use of the Johnny Cash song was a masterstroke by WWE. Leaving the traditional entrance song behind may leave some disillusioned, but I loved it. If nothing else, it was something different. Time will only tell if we will see this entrance again.
In addition to this, the promo was not delivered in the style usually indicative of the Deadman.
Whilst this may be Mark Calloway merely adapting The Undertaker character, it may be a way to show the human side of the Deadman and a possible weakness as Atlanta approaches.
It will be interesting to see if these changes stick around.
Despite lurking in the shadows of the feuds featured on Raw, SmackDown’s Edge and Alberto Del Rio are putting together an engaging rivalry.
Based on the current standing of this feud as well as the track record of the two performers, we can expect a strong WrestleMania match.
But all may not be as it seems.
Christian has involved himself in this feud twice, both times beating down the recipient of one of the biggest pushes in WWE memory, Alberto Del Rio. Surely his involvement is too large to result in a throw-away SmackDown match with Del Rio.
Will Christian end up in the WrestleMania XXVII main event?
He deserves it. Whether it will happen is another question, but it will certainly enhance the card. Christian is deserving of such an opportunity.
With no disrespect intended, it is insane to think Edge is an 11-time World champion whilst Christian has never achieved “the big one” in WWE.
The progression of this story is as engaging as any other currently on WWE programming.
Considering WrestleMania is the “Showcase of the Immortals,” it is surprising to see so many talents lacking creative direction four weeks from the big show.
For example, what are Kingston, Morrison and Ziggler doing?
All men are rumoured to be taking part in tag matches, with Kingston facing The Corre, whilst Morrison is said to be teaming with Trish Stratus and Beth Phoenix to face the team of Ziggler and LayCool. At this stage, these are merely rumours.
With four weeks to go, the undetermined placement of some talents on the WrestleMania XXVII card is a concern.
The Road to WrestleMania XXVII rolls on, and we are certain to see further developments as we progress on our journey to the Georgia Dome.
Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts on what direction you think WrestleMania will take following this past week’s television.