Roundtable: WrestleMania 33

The Wrestledelphia staff talks about various storylines going into the Granddaddy of Them All.

How do you see Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar unfolding? Will the match last more or less than 10 minutes?

John Corrigan: Brock Lesnar will F5 Goldberg three times in 60 seconds and win the Universal Championship. Eat Sleep Conquer Repeat.

Evan Cross: It’s hard to imagine it going longer than 10 minutes. I see Goldberg mostly dominating, but not hitting the jackhammer, and then the match finishes with a ref bump, a Lesnar low blow, an F5 and a Kimura which Goldberg endures for a full minute before tapping out.

David Gibb: My gut says 12 minutes. The match starts spear-jackhammer-near fall, and then everything between that and the finish (Lesnar by submission) is impossible to predict.

David Levin: It won’t last 10 minutes, and Lesnar will go over. I like the idea of setting up for Lesnar vs. Kevin Owens moving forward.

Mark Macyk: The match itself will last less than 10 minutes, but the post-match promo in which Goldberg asks Lesnar to marry him will carry it beyond that time limit.

Anthony Mahalis: I expect Lesnar wins the title from Goldberg. It’s an odd choice to have the feud end at 2-1, but it needs to be over. The match will last just under ten minutes. I don’t think this will be Goldberg’s last match, though.

Troy Taroff: While this match may end up being the last match to go on, unfortunately it’s not going to be a long one. I expect it to go a maximum of 10 minutes, and that’s if Goldberg doesn’t get winded halfway through. Expect the Beast Incarnate to come out on top and end Goldberg’s short, slightly memorable final run in WWE.

Does the Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton match feel like a WrestleMania main event?

Corrigan: Nope. The buildup has been so wacky and worse so, secondary to AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon. It’s easy to forget that Orton even won the Rumble. I don’t have high hopes for them match, either.

Cross: It doesn’t. As with everything Wyatt has ever done, it’s been largely shock factor with no substance. Why did Orton feel the need to con Wyatt in the first place? What is the significance of Wyatt’s creepiness? The match itself should be excellent but the feud has been lackluster.

Gibb: Not really. They did this supposedly super serious personal angle, but all of it felt completely hokey and fake. Somehow, the title feels like more of an afterthought than it did even during the Dean Ambrose- James Ellsworth-Styles feud. With that said, the most motivated version of Randy Orton could make this a special match, but it’s unclear if that’s who we’ll see on Sunday.

Levin: I like how WWE has booked this. It has the makings of a very solid match, but I’m not as excited about it as other matches. Wyatt should retain or his run as a champion will be worth nothing.

Macyk: No. Rather than having Orton desecrate Sister Abigail’s grave, they should have run an angle in which Randy bets Bray that he can turn Sister Abigail into the prom queen before WrestleMania begins, only to fall in love with her and propose to her for real in the main event.

Mahalis: Wyatt vs. Orton does not feel like a WrestleMania main event to me. The whole build to this feud was odd. I think it will be a good match, but a triple threat with Luke Harper would have made it a tad more interesting.

Taroff: The fact that this match is already stale and has worn out its welcome to many fans is why I’m not fully on board with how this feud has been booked. The last few weeks of promos have been bizarre, and with a WrestleMania main event, I would have rather seen more face to face confrontation.

Is the Seth Rollins vs. Triple H match intriguing, or is it happening too late?

Corrigan: It’s peaking at the perfect time. I’d prefer an all-out brawl with multiple interference and weapons rather than another Triple H match, but if The Game lies down in defeat, this will be a career-defining performance for Rollins.

Cross: Other than last fall, when Rollins chased the Universal Championship without mentioning Helmsley, there’s nothing creative could have done to make this happen earlier, and the build has been intriguing enough that it’s not too late. This match shows how much babyface potential Rollins has, and how great of a heel Triple H is.

Gibb: The Rollins-Hunter matchup is overripe, but it’s not rotten yet. Both wrestlers are incredible big match performers, so I think this could wind up being the best match of the night when all’s said and done.

Levin: Yes. There was too much dead time between the first confrontation and now. WWE dropped the ball on this one.

Macyk: It is not too late for Rollins to admit he is in love with Triple H’s wife, Stephanie McMahon, and propose to her at the end of WrestleMania.

Mahalis: I love how the lead up has played out (besides Rollins’ injury, obviously). The promos they have delivered have been great. I am curious how they’re going to work around Rollins’ injury though. Might there be a surprise in store for The Game?

Taroff: I’m very intrigued about how this match is going to go down. Will it be in the ring? Will it flow out into the stands or backstage? Will there even be a referee? It seems WWE has been building to this match for the past two years. We are finally going see the payoff point and I couldn’t be more excited. Hopefully Rollins will be ready to go and put on a quality match. If not, at least we’ll have a cool Triple H entrance to look forward to.

Is John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. Miz & Maryse enhanced or detracted by the fact that it’s a mixed tag match?

Corrigan: Enhanced, because I’m not ready to live through another Cena/Miz Mania match. There’s also appeal to Maryse finally stepping back in the ring after years away, and Bella potentially calling it a career after Sunday.

Cross: The rivalry between Bella and Maryse has added a ton to this build, although it would have added more if either woman was as good on the mic as their significant others. I’m never a fan of mixed tags in a vacuum, but the build to this has been so fantastic, I don’t mind this one.

Gibb: The mixed tag is a great showcase for Miz & Maryse, who have a tight, straightforward, singularly well-executed act. If Cena & Bella had half the on-screen chemistry of the Mizanins, this match could be a real attraction. The problem isn’t the mixed tag; it’s that John Cena isn’t in the couple people think is cool.

Levin: Cena vs. Miz has some interest for me. Seeing the two women in the match – not so much. Oh, wait! Maryse is getting in the ring? … Nah, I’ll pass. I suspect this is a ploy for Cena to finally put the ball and chain around his ankle once the match is over.

Macyk: This is the only thing on the show that matters.

Mahalis: It’s most definitely enhanced by the mixed tag status. The build for this match has been terrific. The men taking shots at the women, and vice versa, has worked out quite nicely. Miz may be the top heel in the company.

Taroff: This match could have easily have happened on SmackDown. Everyone is gearing towards a Cena/Bella victory and possible marriage proposal. It’s a nice change of pace for Cena, since now that he’s a part time guy, he doesn’t need to be in the main event scene of every PPV. The inclusion of the women only adds more intrigue; specifically, how they will work with their male companions. Plus, we haven’t seen Maryse wrestle since she’s returned to WWE.

There’s been a lot of dismay over the way the Raw women’s division has been handled. How would you right the ship?

Corrigan: The ship has sunk. Charlotte Flair should have gone undefeated on PPV to face Bayley one-on-one or Asuka in a title vs. title, streak vs. streak match. At this point, they should cut their losses and have Bayley retain the title at Mania, only for Sasha to turn on her the next night.

Cross: There are only two ways this nonsensical mess of a build makes sense. One is for Bayley to completely dominate and pin all three other women to prove her worth. The other, far more likely scenario is for Sasha Banks to turn on Bayley and ruin the Huggable One’s chance at proving her worth. Anything else will make me wish for Emma to come back and beat up everyone.

Gibb: The clear path forward is Bayley vs. Banks. Sure, it’s a rehash of something they already did in NXT, but it’s probably the best match they can promote, and the main roster audience hasn’t seen Banks at her singles heel best. Either Banks heels on Bayley to win the title this Sunday, or Bayley picks up a strong, clean, plucky babyface win only for Banks to turn heel on her in a few weeks.

Levin: Have Banks cheat to win, setting up the confrontation we all want to see. Somehow Nia Jax turns face and takes on Flair, who helps Jax get over with the fans.

Macyk: Could we include some wrestlers who are currently off the card (Goldust??) that could propose to the winner following this match?

Mahalis: I would send Carmella and Naomi to Raw in exchange for The Boss. Not an even trade by any means, because Banks is the best female performer on the roster, but Raw is wasting Banks and I think a fresh start on SmackDown would do her a world of good. The fact that Banks wasn’t given one extended title reign is a joke. Raw could use the extra depth anyway.

Taroff: With the ever-swirling carousel that is the Raw Women’s championship, it’s hard to predict how this match is going to go. I would like to see Bayley retain and feud with Banks for a while. Flair and Nia Jax should feud as well. Maybe also get some fresh faces in there like Dana Brooke, Emma or, dare I say, Paige.

Will the outcome of the Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles match lead to anything big soon?

Corrigan: It must lead to Styles being drafted to Raw to help with Chris Jericho’s departure and create some exciting matches with Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins.

Cross: I’m guessing McMahon somehow wins and a furious, humiliated Styles demands a trade to Raw. In return, SmackDown happily takes Seth Rollins, who has infuriated his own commissioner by beating up her husband with a bad knee and maybe something else.

Gibb: I think beating McMahon in a “Shane McMahon at WrestleMania”-type match is an underrated step in the path towards Styles’ inevitable face turn. To the fans for whom the WWE Universe is the entire wrestling world, tangling with McMahon will boost Styles’ credibility and give fans a “WrestleMania moment” to think of fondly as they start to embrace Styles as a babyface.

Levin: No, move on. There is nothing to see here. Styles got screwed in this matchup.

Macyk: An interesting thing is that Styles is regarded as the best wrestler in the world, but more common people know who Triple H is. Makes you wonder how Styles’ career would have turned out if he married Shane McMahon before Triple H married Stephanie McMahon all those years ago. Here is his chance to remedy that mistake.

Mahalis: I don’t think we see anything big from Styles, but I do think we get something huge: The Phenomenal One vs. The King of Strong Style. On the post-Mania SmackDown, have Styles come out and brag about his victory. Suddenly, the audience is serenaded by the mesmerizing entrance of Shinsuke Nakamura.

Taroff: The only possible thing this match can do is put Styles back in the WWE title picture, where he should be. It’s a total shame that Styles has been reduced to wrestling McMahon at the biggest show of the year, as he has been the one of the best things about WWE this past year. Let’s just get this match over with and get Styles back to where he belongs, and that’s at the top of the mountain.

There are rumors this may be Undertaker’s last match. Would that affect how you book it?

Corrigan: God, I hope it’s not. But if it is, Reigns should beat the Deadman, shake his hand after, let the entire roster come out to applaud his tremendous legacy, and then Reigns should spear Taker to signify the sorely needed heel turn.

Cross: This match should be Reigns turning heel to beat Undertaker no matter what. But if this is indeed Undertaker’s swan song, it’s insane that it wasn’t part of the build. Almost no one cares about this match and that wrinkle would have made everyone care.

Gibb: I don’t think it affects how you book the match because regardless of the actual finish, the post-match story will be all about Undertaker. Even if Reigns wins and people hate it, he’ll slink to the back and Taker will still have a great moment in the ring with his fans.

Levin: Reigns must turn heel and go over. This match isn’t worth much if that does not happen.

Macyk: I would have Reigns drink a goblet containing Undertaker’s essence, completing his turn to the new evil character “Darkness Reigns.” I would put this match on last and have Darkness Reigns marry Sister Abigail afterward to show that SmackDown and Raw exist in the same universe.

Mahalis: Whether this is Undertaker’s last match or not, the booking should not change. We have heard a few times now that we may be seeing Undertaker’s last match, so I would go with business as usual. I believe Taker will lose and join Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair as other all-timers who lost their final match. That is some good company.

Taroff: As much as this pains me think about, Reigns needs to win this match. I understand this may be Undertaker’s last Mania, or even his last match ever, but if Reigns is going to be booked as a top heel (which should have been done last year) he should go over The Deadman in convincing fashion. However, we’ve heard this Undertaker rumor before, so take this rumor with a grain of salt.

Do the Intercontinental and United States Championships feel elevated compared to a year ago? Which of the matches are you most interested in?

Corrigan: The Intercontinental sure does, but it took me a second to remember Y2J is the U.S. Champion. Last year, the IC title was being tossed around like hot potato to set up a multi-man ladder match. This year it’s the focus of a solid one-on-one battle between a popular star and rising one.

Cross: Slightly, but not significantly. I would argue the Intercontinental Championship has damaged Dean Ambrose more than he’s elevated it, but it’s better off now than it was last year. The United States title is completely irrelevant to the Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho match. I am more invested in Owens vs. Jericho, but Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin will be the more impactful match.

Gibb: No. I find it very easy to forget that both of those titles exist.

Levin: Yes. Both have potential to be very good. Owens vs. Jericho could have main evented this show. I like the feel of this feud, and it should be an instant classic.

Macyk: Intercontinental. Dean Ambrose will propose to America’s Canadian Sweetheart, Renee Young, causing Baron Corbin to grab a microphone and say “The Lone Wolf is tired of being a lonely wolf.” (I will switch answers if Kevin Owens proposes to Chris Jericho following the US title match.)

Mahalis: The Intercontinental Championship is elevated in the sense that, thankfully, Zack Ryder will not win it again this year. The United States Championship absolutely feels more important this year. Jericho may be the most over star in the business right now – not to mention one of the greatest of all time – and that lends legitimacy to the title. I am looking forward to Jericho vs. KO more than any match on the card.

Taroff: They’ve definitely been elevated. Ambrose and Y2J are two superstars who are more than capable of being great champions. That said, Ambrose’s character is stale and needs a heel turn, so I’d give the IC title to Corbin and see how he does. Jericho vs. Owens is the most anticipated match of the night for me, as their storyline has been some of the best programming I’ve seen in WWE in a long time.

Do you like the recent decision to make the Raw Tag Team Championship match a ladder match?

Corrigan: Absolutely. Before the stipulation, I cared as much about this match as Whited does about the site. Now that’s there the possibility of Enzo Amore scratching and clawing his way up the ladder to achieve the gold, it could be a WrestleMania moment.

Cross: I like the change, but I don’t like that it took this long to announce it. There’s no reason not to make that stipulation three weeks earlier. Unless WWE just reached terms with a certain tag team who is famous for their ladder matches and wants to get them involved. Then I have no complaints.

Gibb: The stipulation doesn’t affect my interest level in the match whatsoever. That said, I think the last-minute change says a lot about what WWE thinks of their own WrestleMania card.

Levin: No! No! No! Did I say no?

Macyk: Yeah, but they should put a wedding ring at the top of the ladder so Enzo can propose to Big Cass and then Cass starts crying and says, “I just got TWO WORDS FOR YOU… I do.”

Mahalis: I am happy with the decision. Hard not to be happy with a ladder match, right?

Taroff: Franky, we all can pretty much assume Enzo and Cass are getting their coronation this year by winning the belts, so the changed stipulation doesn’t matter to me. Hopefully we get a few good spots with either Cesaro or Enzo diving off the ladder. It’ll be entertaining for sure, but the changed stipulation didn’t heighten or decrease my interest.

Are you disappointed that certain matches are on the pre-show rather than the main card?

Corrigan: Nah, there’s no such thing as a pre-show in a post-PPV world. They’re still coming out on the same WrestleMania stage, wrestling in the same WrestleMania ring and we’re still watching on the WWE Network.

Cross: It bums me out that a potentially great match like the Cruiserweight Championship match will not be on the main show in 10 years when someone gets the Network for the first time and is searching for hidden gems. That said, I’d much rather a match get 15 minutes on the pre-show than eight on the main card.

Gibb: I’m super bummed about Austin Aries vs. Neville. It’s the match that the cruiserweight division has been building to since the Raw debut, and WWE can’t find a way to get it onto a four-hour show.

Levin: Yes. Neville vs. Austin Aries has the potential to be one of the best matches of the night. It’s a bad booking decision by WWE.

Macyk: No, because life is just the preshow to the WrestleMania that is death.

Mahalis: Austin Aries. vs Neville should be on the main card. I assume WWE wants to get a lot more people to watch the pre-show. If it ends up working, they made the smart move, I guess.

Taroff: Any title match on the biggest show of the year should be on the main card. But with WrestleMania, you can never fit everything into the main show, so some matches must be on the pre-show. I’m kind of upset about Neville and Aries, who are going to put on a hell of a match. It’s a shame that it’s going to get banished to the pre-show, which casual fans may not watch.

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