WWE WrestleMania 2019: Lesnar vs. Rollins and Matches with Bust Potential
The biggest show of the year should, for all intents and purposes, have the best matches WWE could deliver, but that may not be the case for WrestleMania 35.
The build for the April 7 event has been chaotic, and while that has been fun for some feuds, others have fallen by the wayside.
Even still, no matter how much potential there may be for setting up a particular match, everything could turn into a complete mess once the bell rings.
It's great to be optimistic about The Show of Shows, but there are some matches scheduled for this year's card that may turn out to be woeful.
Let's take a look at which bouts have the biggest chances of being total busts at MetLife Stadium.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
The Universal Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins may be at the top end of the card, but it's also been one of the most underwhelming builds.
As with previous Lesnar storylines, this has been simple to a fault, with no nuance or any real hook. Rollins simply wants to beat The Beast Incarnate because the championship isn't around often.
That's the same thing we've heard for over two years. It was boring heading into WrestleMania 34, let alone now, when it's been pushed aside in favor of giving more time to an alternative main event.
But while some people are clinging to the hope that the match will at least be better than the storyline, there's a track record of lackluster performances on Lesnar's behalf that can't be ignored.
Yes, he's had some decent matches over the years, but they're few and far between. For every AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan or Finn Balor to get something good out of him, there are four or five squashes that last under 10 minutes.
Three decent bouts over the course of multiple years isn't a great ratio. It's more likely we'll see another match of nothing but German suplexes and a few F-5s than anything worth paying attention to.
Lesnar had a downer match last year against Roman Reigns, so there's nothing stopping him from doing the same this year with Rollins, especially as it doesn't have the stigma of needing to be better because it's the main event.
Don't be surprised if this is a waste of time with The Beast retaining and WWE trying to pass it off as worth the stings of disappointment because what follows will make up for it in some way.
Triple H vs. Batista
Let's face it, Triple H and Batista aren't in the same physical shape they were in 2005 when this match first happened at WrestleMania.
In fact, The Game likely isn't even back to 100 percent fitness after the torn pectoral injury he suffered at Crown Jewel in November.
That wouldn't be so bad if his opponent were someone like AJ Styles who could carry him, but Batista was never that type of performer in his prime, let alone now when he'll also be dealing with ring rust.
The No Holds Barred stipulation is going to help this out, but it may not be enough to save it from being something that is hyped up to a level far beyond what these two are able to deliver.
Fans should go into this match expecting a C+ to avoid being too disappointed, as there's virtually no chance it will be the A+ battle WWE wants us to think it will be.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Everybody and their grandmother is against Kurt Angle's final opponent being Baron Corbin, including Angle's wife, who complained about it on social media.
Even fans of The Lone Wolf who think he deserves more credit than he's given willingly admit he's not the right choice to end the Olympian's career.
It's something that speaks volumes to the disconnect that happens at times between Vince McMahon and the creative team versus the WWE Universe.
WWE has turned into the skid by referencing this in the feud itself, but that's not going to change the public perception, as there is no way the crowd in attendance rolls over and embraces this match. Rather, this is going to be riddled with boos and chants that it's not good enough.
Angle has also proved his days of classic matches are well behind him, so there's no hope the two can turn things around and shock the audience with a stellar performance.
People will be sitting in boredom and frustration, waiting for John Cena as a surprise replacement to save this from being a total bust.
If WWE doesn't do something like that, this part of the night will be a horrible way to cap off Angle's wonderful career.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Women's Battle Royal
The sixth annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is shaping up to be a glorified bathroom break segment, as only one legitimate wrestler has been announced to compete in the match alongside two cast members of Saturday Night Live.
Obviously, the focal point here will be on how Braun Strowman will interact with Michael Che and Colin Jost, rather than any true competition between stars such as Kevin Owens, Mustafa Ali, Andrade, EC3 and plenty of others who will be inserted in this match.
Having Jost and Che in the squared circle will mean everybody having to wrestle around them, so this might as well just be 30 seconds of Strowman tossing everyone out to cut right to the chase.
It doesn't help that this match has never meant anything in the grand scheme of things, since all five previous winners had their pushes nixed just weeks afterward.
Whatever happens this year will probably amount to nothing, too.
Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese
Knowing how good the 205 Live roster is and how few people actually watch the show is disheartening enough, but Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander were at least guaranteed to put on a great match. The same can't be said for Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese, though.
Both are talented—though not to the same level as Alexander and Ali—but their styles may not mesh well as they're both used to playing up their strength against smaller opponents. Being up against someone of a similar build could result in a magnetic repel, rather than attraction.
Nese might be playing the babyface role in front of a home New York crowd, but it's still strange to see him in that vein. He may not be able to pull it off, which will hinder Murphy's ability to come off as a dominant heel champion.
It's also pretty much a guarantee this match will be the opening contest on the kickoff, since that's the role the cruiserweight division tends to play, meaning there may not even be anybody watching at all.
WWE has had issues getting fans to their seats in time for the first match, and if the arena is empty, that will stretch the few passionate 205 Live fans even further.
Between a potential lack of fans, minimal interest from the WWE Universe, a clash of styles and a babyface without heat, it will be a minor miracle if Murphy and Nese pull this off.
Women's Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Fatal 4-Ways are best when all the wrestlers involved act like complementary ingredients to a recipe, where the flavors can merge and create a bolder taste. That isn't likely to be the case for the Women's Tag Team Championship match, as these four teams seem out of place.
Nia Jax and Tamina have already proved their value is little as they lost twice to Sasha Banks and Bayley in matches that had enough botches that nobody in their right mind should be begging to see repeats.
It will also be laborious to watch them play the part of the physically dominant duo, slowly beating down everyone until they ham it up when their opponents fight back, as they aren't great sellers in that regard.
The IIconics are underutilized, so it's nice to see them included here, but their strength is in character work, not in-ring performances. Oddly, despite that, they've been on the outskirts of this storyline instead of at its forefront.
Just like with Batista, there's a chance Beth Phoenix brings a lot of ring rust and hinders her side of the match alongside Natalya. If that doesn't true, it will call into question why WWE didn't go with The Boss 'n' Hug Connection against The Divas of Doom without incorporating the two other teams at all.
On a side note, it's interesting that these titles are supposed to be defended on all brands, yet there are two Raw teams involved and none from NXT, meaning this is a flawed concept from the start.
There's far too much chance this match will be a mess, with nobody knowing what to keep track of or how to balance one team's slow power with another's comedic wimpy attitude while two more serious teams face off.
Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Finn Balor
Over the past few months, Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley have faced each other so many times that they've ran this feud into the ground.
The story has essentially consisted of a series of matches with nothing more to it, so now that we've seen what they can do together multiple times, there's no reason to get invested in it. It's just going to be the same thing we've seen throughout 2019.
They've faced off in tag team matches and singles bouts to the point that they've even had two handicap matches just to try to insert someone else into the mix, which did little to spice things up.
It seems WWE is banking on the idea that Demon Balor will be enough of a wow factor to justify seeing this for the umpteenth time, but that's lazy, uninspired and won't work.
Slapping some paint on Balor isn't going to change the dynamics of the match at all, since he wrestles the same style no matter what he's wearing.
At best, the gimmick is cool for the entrance visuals, but nothing else beyond that. Even that is a stretch as the entrance is largely the same as what he does in his regular gear, too. He hits the same beats while raising his hands. The only change is that he crawls a bit beforehand.
When broken down, The Demon leaves little to the imagination, and once the initial pop dies down as the bell rings, this will be no different from what we've been watching on Raw the past two months.
Raw Tag Team Champions the Revival vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
When it comes to actual in-ring performances, there should be no doubt Aleister Black, Ricochet and The Revival could put on a fantastic show. The problem is they likely won't get the opportunity at WrestleMania.
Since the card is so stacked, matches will have to be cut short in order to squeeze everything in, and when Vince McMahon is looking at what needs to be trimmed, he's not going to see the Raw Tag Team Championship as immune.
There's a longstanding history of a lack of support for the tag team division from his viewpoint and this match—more than any other on the card—has the potential to be cut entirely.
This is exemplified by the fact it hasn't even been made official yet, despite all the signs pointing to this being the only possibility for these titles to be defended on the show.
Like other matches on the card, this bout also suffers from the repetition problem, as The Revival have had enough confrontations with Black and Ricochet that it's no longer special.
At best, the two teams will wrestle a carbon copy of what we've already seen, but it will be even more rushed as they won't have enough time dedicated to their segment. At worst, this match won't even make it on the show.