We’re on the way to Wrestlemania! So let’s talk about it and pretend this is a site that actually looks at modern wrestling without secretly wishing it was 1992 all the time.


HHH vs. Reigns


Oh nice, WWE’s re-doing the Lex Luger/Bret Hart thing from 1994…except er they’re going with Luger instead of Bret.


HHH vs. Reigns was probably their best option with the current injury fest they’re in. A rematch with Brock Lesnar could have worked as Reigns never got his rematch after last Wrestlemania, but they did it at Fast Lane so never mind. A friend vs. friend match with Dean Ambrose would only have only highlighted Reigns’ deficiencies and the Dean heel-turn everyone on Twitter was talking about a few months ago would be asinine. Sheamus was done before he even won the title at Survivor Series so at least shifting the title & MITB away from him saves us from The Darkest Timeline.


At least HHH has been presented as the all-powerful jacked-up final boss character of WWE for the last few years so he’s respected in a Kingpin from Spider-Man/Mr. X from Streets Of Rage/D-Mob from Def Jam: Vendetta kinda way. So he’s an easy bad guy for the good guy to beat and give us that feel-good Wrestlemania PPV moment, right? Like a parent trying to a feed an infant, the more WWE try to give the crowd Roman the more he’s rejected. But it’s still a dead cert he’s going to win because then it’ll really be for nothing if he frigging loses. Indeed, sites like SportsBettingDime have him at 3/7 odds to win. I know real-life gambling odds are hardly indicative of what fans feel but it’s ‘Mania season and it’s the time when those normal people watch WWE so it gives some decent insight.


And hey, maybe 93,001 fans (or whatever number they’ll claim) booing him may turn him into pissed-off Bret Hart circa ’97.


Interest Level: I won’t turn it off.


Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred Street Fight)


Now that’s a compromise. Ambrose needs something to do that isn’t lose to Bray Wyatt and Lesnar needs something that isn’t beat Bray Wyatt. It’ll be a hell of a match regardless but surely Ambrose is winning, right?


…right?


Interest Level: New Season of Game of Thrones hype.


Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks


Bit weird how this has transformed into a three-way rather than Charlotte vs. Becky finishing their feud, but Becky & Sasha have had good interactions while Charlotte’s been fucking around with The Bella That’s Leaving. Plus a three-way means 33 1/3 percent-chance less Charlotte.


Interest Level: Like the second season of Better Call Saul, I’ll forget all about it but when I’m reminded it’s back I’ll be happy to see it.


André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal 30-man Battle Royal


They still haven’t gone with my idea of having a NXT guy win a slot in this match by winning the NXT Big John Studd Memorial Battle Royal first. Bah. Well the trophy’s meant fuck-all since they introduced it and they’ll be lucky if they can find thirty men on the roster with all their original limbs. I see the Social Outcast exploding and Bo Dallas winning it because it’ll mean the same as anyone else winning it.


Interest Level: SHITTING TIME


The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

Dudleyz turning heel has given us gloriously dick Buh Buh again and for that I’m grateful. Sadly The Usos (like pretty much every other WWE good guy) do fuck-all other than smile and shill things in awkward backstage segments. So I’m looking forward to Buh-Buh’s promos and during the match I’ll make a sandwich during those dives The Usos do that hurt them more than their opponents.


Interest Level: The same anticipation I have for cleaning my George Foreman Grill.


The New Day vs. The League of Nations (Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev and King Barrett) 4-on-3 Handicap match


Nice that WWE have realised New Day are a country mile ahead of every other tag team on their roster and so their plan for the biggest show of the year is to feud with four men who are either injured, leaving or Rusev. There’s not a chance in hell of The League winning so I’m not raving.


Interest Level for New Day’s intro & Rusev’s tweets: High

Interest Level for everything else: Low


Kalisto vs. Ryback


After decisively beating ADR twice on PPV and winning the U.S. Title, it looks like they’re just spinning wheels with Kalisto until the ‘real’ stars return from injury. I look forward to another match with the commentators reminding the viewers ”KALISTO IS SMALL, HIS OPPONENT IS BIG.” Ryback’s just a guy at this point and I’m amazed he’s missed out on the Andre Battle Royal.


Interest Level: I’ll be ordering my food during this match.


and er what was that other match oh yeah UNDERTAKER VS. SHANE FUCKING MCMAHON


I knew Shane had MMA business interests but I wasn’t expecting a Bellator main event to show up in the middle of Wrestlemania. Even with the shoe-horning of a Vince vs. Shane feud (with Undertaker as Vince’s attack dog, which is a weird role for him to be playing at this point), this will either give us Shane Leaping Off High Shit, Shane and Undi’ showing off their striking or the rest of Bullet Club will debut and help Shane take control of WWE. Or all three. Either way, it’s the most interesting match of the show in a ”what the fuck is this?” way.


Interest Level: Watching a NASCAR race where someone dies.


If that run-down sounds like I’m being overly negative, don’t forget about the NXT Takeover event!


Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin

Aries makes his debut, Corbin ruins it with a clothesline because he hates indy guys. Regal wants to punish Corbin for his behaviour, but Aries demands a match instead because he’s a MAN.


Interest Level: Like hearing Tom Hardy’s doing a new film.


The Revival vs. American Alpha


Both teams are sweet, with Revival successfully defending against Amore & Cass twice on PPV and Alpha being OVER AS FUCK. I can’t wait to boo The Revival and chant daft things from my couch.


Interest Level: House of Cards Season 4


Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson


Two guys who aren’t top-notch just yet as the Samson gimmick can’t hide the fact he’s pretty ropey in-ring. Crews needs something other than ‘happy smiley guy’, but at least he’s ready for Raw.


Interest Level: A big shrug.


Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura


OH YEAAOH


Interest Level: 


Bayley vs. Asuka


Surprised they’re not going for either of these two against Marie or Jax. Neither of them have had bad matches since making a name for themselves in NXT so I’m looking forward to this.


Interest Level: HYPE HYPE HYPE


Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe

Joe beat Zayn in a 2/3 Falls match that lasted an entire episode of NXT and Bálor’s been injured and not done much of note. Is this Joe’s time to crush Finn? ORDERTHEPPVTOFINDOUT


Interest Level: Not as excited for this as I am the rest of the card but it’s virtually guaranteed to be great.


—-


So, there’s a load of words on a screen. What are yours?

  • MisterForth

    Boy is WM a mess.

  • Showing Cena’s surgery would be better than 2/3 of the matches.

  • Todd Voeltz

    I can feel Rusev shaped tears welling up inside me. 🙁

  • BigDickRamirez

    This is like in Wrestlemania IX when they only had like two big stars and they wasted them in shitty midcard matches. But for all that can be said about Wrestlemania IX, atleast It paved the way for Wrestlemania X. Who knows? Maybe Maybe 33 will be great, Right?! Right…

    • FatKraker

      Hogan and …?

      • Kenneth Wise

        The Booty Man

  • Ellen J Miller

    Elias Samson is called The Drifter as that’s what my attention starts to do whenever he appears. I don’t give a shhhh about him. Samson vs Crews is the only match I’m cold for in NXT Dallas.

  • The Harbinger

    I really do hope Dean actually wins the match. He needs a win like that to cement him as a main eventer star. And Brock will always be Brock Lesnar.

    • I wish the same, but I also think Vince doesn’t think he could be a main eventer.

      • The Harbinger

        Yeah the more the fans cheer for Dean the more that Vince plans on using him to get his guys over –_–

    • Melon Farmer

      But doesn’t Ambrose win just by going 20 minutes with The Beast? Like, that’s enough of a rub for me.
      I see a long Ambrose v Reigns as champion feud as a fantastic opportunity.

      • The Harbinger

        Would be an even bigger rub if Ambrose wins the match after throwing a giant Wrestlemania sign at him and conquering the beast.

  • Melon Farmer

    I spit my coffee everywhere at SHITTING TIME.

    Thank you.

  • LennyTheTroll

    From what’s been announced the only things I’m forward to is Ambrose/Lesnar, Divas Championship match, and the possibility that Shane does a crazy spot.

    Hoping a one-on-one match between Owens/Zayn for the IC title is made.

  • The only interest I have for Mania is Brock vs Ambrose. My real interest, although, is Nakamura’s debut.

  • Catherine Bouey

    “The same anticipation I have for cleaning my George Foreman Grill”.

    If your anticipation is like mine I take that to mean you’re not going to like it but you got to do it anyway,

    “Lex Luger/Bret Hart thing from 1994…except er they’re going with Luger instead of Bret.”

    Was Bret hated by smarks in 94 but liked in an ironic way going into that match like Triple H is?

    • Melon Farmer

      No. Bret was very much the ‘in the know’ fans preferred option. Luger was really immobile in ring and his mic worked sucked. I can’t stress how much his ‘Lex Express’ megapush reminds me of Reigns current situation. Except Lex wasn’t getting half the boos Roman does.

    • Moppy<3Perry

      I think he’s comparing Ambrose to Bret and Reigns to Luger.
      But then I have had a lot to drink.

  • Gruntt

    I wish the winner of the ATGMBR actually got a push. The entire match kind of just shits on Andre’s legacy.

    • Crab_Botherer

      The should change its name to Andre The Giant Hotel Bathtub Memorial Trophy.

  • Francisco Cabezas

    like Summerslam, NXT is owning the weekend

  • Always Right

    The league of Nations is exactly what I would expect the WWE to do with 4 high mid card guys that have no other story line.

    This event will be trash, and if Taker loses again I will be very, very upset.

  • ColeYote

    You are a lot more optimistic about Reigns/Aitch than I am. By which I mean you like they way they’ve booked Trips. I’m just sick of the heel authority figure archetype in general.

  • Tony the pimp

    NXT Dallas Takeover is looking more better than this years WM. Vince better do something quick to make WM 32 watchable

  • David Coates

    Totally random and off topic, but years ago I donated $20 and one of the benefits of donating was to choose a song to be featured on a botchamania. You’ve since said that you no longer accept requests and even offered refunds to those who felt ripped off. Ton of respect for that.

    One little issue though, you’re dealing with me and I’m persistent. It would make my day if one day you featured Slagsmalsklubben on a botchamania. They fit the chiptune/almost video game music style you already have going.

    I was thinking Kasta Sten, His Morning Promenade, or Fox Goes to Japan. If not… just listen to them sometime. Take this as my endorsement if you don’t already know of them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjSxkCBjb1I

  • Gregg

    The only thing I really hope for is Ryback undergoes a decent character transformation. He’s certainly a heel, but he’s not been doing it as blatantly as taking away Michael Cole’s Viagra, he’s a bit more one track like he was when he started. The cartoon spiel had it’s time, but to get a Ryback that is one track mind, no favorites, no alliances, and certainly no Big Show or Kane might develop into something worth a damn (or as you said, something to hold off Randy Orton’s lackluster return)

    As blasphemous as it might be, I’d rather HHH and Reigns end in a DQ…at a Wrestlemania. By this point Reigns has tried to make his lone wolf character work and it hasn’t, any more sugarcoating is going to ruin him in the long run as they lead him into a corner. The only proper way I can see him getting better is to have the title stolen once again, not from the Authority taking the piss and marking the Hound of Justice, but from him screwing himself over. Have the crowd work him up and infuriate him, have HHH try to pull a chair or a sledgehammer but have Reigns deflect both. Get him into the position where he is poised to take the title, and then have him either lose his temper and say strangle HHH but fail to relent for a 5 count, or to have him get progressively harsh on his damage (work a leg, work an arm, tangle him in the ropes, choke the life out of him) and then conclude with him trying to work a part and land a low blow on accident (whether legitimate or HHH curling like a condensed straw wrapper is up to the writers). At this point he can only blame himself, he let the crowd get in his head, he let his anger consume the ultimate goal, and he’ll realize just how little he’s gotten with so many opportunities. Whether this is his cue to turn on Ambrose or not, I don’t know, he might need another month in tag action to see Ambrose get cheered while he gets jeered to properly transition. This move would also allow Shane McMahon to put Hunter through the wringer as the boss and offer a chance to a proper superstar who then has the benefit of dethroning the Game while Shane is white hot and the Authority is primed to collapse as the last call of the Vince/HHH/Stephanie rule.

    Taker and Shane needs to end with a passing of the torch from Taker to Shane, brutal fight until the very end, with Taker then laying down to forfeit his role as the Gatekeeper of WWE, passing on the rule to the next generation as the company’s longest performing superstar to date. Maybe one last Chokeslam to Vince for good measure, but then lead Shane up as a crutch as they disappear into the mist, truly ending an era.

    Yeah that was sodding long, funny considering this match card looks horrible compared to last year (It’s FREE for a reason ya?)

  • Deathmaster780

    What about the IC Title ladder match?

  • Kerberous

    Real life Botchamnia.

  • Morgan “The Retro Goat” Hench

    My thoughts exactly. I look forward to the NXT card and its probable perfectfion, and I look forward to Wrestlemania because it gives me an excuse to make nachos. Hype…?

  • Toby Tobias

    I feel like the best way to explain Mania is Steiner’s Math Promo.

  • Placid_Snake

    I agree on most of this. Pretty much the only thing I don’t agree with is The New Day being ahead of every other team as I really can’t stand them, which is sad as I rather like its members on an individual basis. But man, their gimmick went past “ironically obnoxious” into “X-Pac heat” territory for me a long time ago.

    They’re essentially the Spirit Squad 2.0 except we’re not getting a Mickie James out of the deal so there is absolutely nothing redeeming about this concept.

    Also, while I see nothing good come out of Shane O’Mac vs Undertaker, it certainly has made me go “okay… you’ve got my attention” for the sheer lunacy of that booking. And don’t get me wrong when I say I see nothing good come out of this, I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic match but let’s look at out options here:

    Either Undertaker wins and we still don’t have the one McMahon who has a clue in his head how wrestling works or Shane wins and Undertaker’s Mania record, after going from “holy grail or wrestling” to “well they sure wasted that on someone who didn’t need or deserve it”, now goes from being a waste to being a fucking joke.

    I suppose there’s always the third option of Russo-ing it up and somehow having a Hell in a Cell match end in a no-contest and keep the feud going, because nothing gets the fans going like WrestleMania’s main event ending with no decision.

    Honestly I’m hoping they pull a swerve and find a way to replace Shane with someone else for Mania and still keep him around after it.

  • Unwin8r

    You forgot about AJ styles vs Chris Jericho

    • Iocus

      Back when he wrote that preview that match wasn’t yet officially announced for the card, They’ve added it 5 days later.

  • Christ J

    Have to say, reading this – and the Wrestlemania card in general – after NXT is pretty melancholy. To have to follow a masterpiece like Zayn/Nakamura with any of these matches feels heretic. I have highest hopes for the Divas title match, and even that seems to have an obvious finish with the least well-developed character going over because of her NXT performances and popularity.

    Fuck it: I’ll just watch that match one more time…

  • Iocus

    My favorite part of this preview is your reference to the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon version of the Kingpin. Pretty marvelously spot on, that’s really how HHH’s character is written by the ‘E these days.

    Also, I’m guessing “House of Cards Season 4” level of excitement was/is good? Never got into the US House of Cards hype personally. I liked the old British House of Cards miniseries the US version is “inspired” by, but the US version is just Kevin Spacey being an over-the-top “immoral and demonic” caricature and pulling of plans that require an extreme amount of willing suspension of disbelief. That would be fine enough I guess, but the series markets itself as “realistic” (and a significant portion of its viewership regards it as such). I remember reading some critic said “it starts to look too fake to be real, but too real to be a cartoon” that’s pretty much my sentiment. I’ve stopped watching at around the first few episodes of the 3rd season.

    Anyway, since the events are now behind us, NXT Takeover exceeded my already high expectations. Especially Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley vs. Asuka were simply phenomenal. They even gave Nakamura a cool theme, I thought it’d be hard to replace his NJPW theme, but they did a pretty good job.

    Wrestlemania 32 on the other hand, underperformed despite my already low (and reasonable I thought) expectations. Only the Women’s title match was a blast from start to finish. That wasn’t the only good wrestling on the show, but all other matches either had poor booking, contrived spots, anticlimatic endings or dragged at some point. The Women’s title match was the only one that was fun from start to finish for me, even with the heel going over. Some people single out the IC title match, but I’m kind of numb to multi man ladder matches at this point. Even when people I like are in it. And the “feel good moment” of the IC match ending was rendered meaningless on next Raw anyway.

    • Christ J

      I’d have preferred Sasha to take the defeat. Nobody ever does well with that “undefeated” albatross around their necks, so the sooner she loses that burden the better.

      Zayn/Nakamura was breathtaking. I’ve re-watched it every day since. Just magical.

      • Iocus

        I wasn’t even aware she is undefeated on the main roster? I don’t watch every Raw and Smackdown, so I assumed she had some tv loss by now, during last year when the “Divas Revolution” started and the 3 factions traded a lot of wins and losses.

        Anyway, even if she is indeed undefeated i don’t think think that particular albatross is an issue for her, since the commentary never brings it up (unlike say with Brodus Clay,, Ryback, or Rusev) and tv packages acknowledged and showed bits of her two defeats to Bayley on the NXT Takeovers during main roster tv show broadcasts.

        • Christ J

          They do occasionally, and so does she. Like you said, it’s been a problem every time it has applied. As things stand, it looks painfully obvious that she’ll beat Charlotte and eventually lose to Bayley.

          The best way of fucking up this delightful women’s division would be to signpost the title changes a year in advance, but they’re doing it. I suppose it goes to show that they truly do have the women on the same level as the men, with Reigns being set in stone over a year ago…

          I’d just get it over with and have her lose a competitive match with someone like Becky. Problem solved.

          • Thomas

            I’ve noticed that WWE still hasn’t figured out how much they want to have a blank slate with NXT call-ups. Do you repeat storylines because you know they’ve worked and the majority of your audience hasn’t seen them or do you build on things already established that you super core audience will love, or do you try and think of something new.

            This time round though I’m happy for them to just repeat the NXT storyline (sucks for poor Becky though). It’s a good storyline and I haven’t got enough of those matches yet. Another Bayley vs Sasha is something to look forward to with long build-up.

            My biggest worry is that we’re going to see months of Becky vs Sasha vs Charlotte vs Bayley on RAW and it’s going to mean they’ve stopped feeling special when they clash at a PPV. WWE suck at keeping matches fresh already and it’s much worse when there are 4 particular wrestlers who need to make up your backbone (plus Emma)

          • Christ J

            I’d disagree about seeing the same storyline again, but I’ll gladly watch another Sasha/Bayley match or twelve. They deserve better than a copy-and-paste feud though, and Becky and Charlotte are outshining Sasha enough to justify their own tale at the moment.

            I share your concern about them eclipsing the rest of the roster. I think it’s painfully obvious that they are considered the upper card and everyone else is the lower card. It’s a shame, as people like Summer and Paige really do deserve better, and the less said about the mishandling of Emma the better. She and Asuka put on a glorious performance a while back (London, maybe?). Hell, she gave Asuka a better match than Bayley did, which is remarkable.

            On a positive note, Charlotte no longer needs Ric. That much is clear. When she debuted on Raw I thought she walked out as if she owned the place, and now she’s really acting the part. Also, that may be the most beautiful moonsault I’ve seen in years (in the WWE).

          • Iocus

            Just replying to confirm that the Emma versus Asuka match indeed took place at Takeover London. Though personally I think the Asuka versus Bayley match was equal in quality to the Emma versus Asuka match, They just told a somewhat similar but ultimately different story. Since one match was a badass versus defiant resourceful heel, and the other match was a badass versus plucky defiant babyface champion.

          • Iocus

            I see, I wasn’t aware she hasn’t been pinned or submitted on the main roster yet. Thanks for the info. Still the Women’s roster is less bloated than the Men’s roster, so hopefully an eventual loss of her “undefeated” streak won’t make her get lost in the shuffle and lose her heat/steam like it did with Rusev. While I’m not majorly worried, I do agree that a loss in a competitive match to get it out of the way would be the best course of action though.

            I’m actuallly not that certain anymore if Sasha will be the one to dethrone Charlotte. I took Charlotte moving on to a filler feud with Natalya as a sign that they want Bayley to dethrone Charlotte and are waiting for the former to lose her rematch to Asuka before getting the call up and doing the Bayley/Charlotte feud, probably around Summerslam.

          • Christ J

            Oh, I’m not worried that her streak will get her lost when it finally goes, but that it will make any match with her too predictable. As I said, anyone aside from Bayley will lose to her. A well-fought loss to Becky, Charlotte or a resurgent Paige/Emma would instantly remove that problem, as well as putting her opponent over immensely. As good as Becky has looked lately, she’s been the one taking losses to both of them. A slight nudge back up with a win over one of them would set her up nicely.

            I think Natalya’s impending shot is a thank-you for her still being there after all the crap she’s put up with. Give them a little time and that match could be slick as hell.

            I’d also like a little more attention on the “Divas”, which might just happen, judging by the promo on Raw. They put on a really good match on the pre-show, and 5-on-5 matches are usually horrendous. Even Eva looked pretty decent.

  • FilmJenkins, from YouTube

    Scenes from Axxess:
    https://youtu.be/Z45C5-Ct9PI

  • Carninho

    haha I went though this for the first time today and its as if you wrote it after WM! top draw