It’s been a long journey filled with Fandango reboots and Nursery Time with Roman Reigns, but we’re finally here. The Road to WrestleMania begins this Sunday. There should be a noticeable difference in the quality of WWE programing in the next few weeks. After all, this is the time of year when writers will employ slightly more long term booking, as WrestleMania is only two months away.
You’ll have to excuse me if I’ve been a little down on the product lately, as CM Punk’s podcast with Colt Cabana was disheartening. Vince McMahon’s surprise appearance on the Network with Stone Cold was even more worrisome. We’ve been saying it for years, but I think it’s finally true; the 69 year old Vincent K. McMahon is out of touch. He no longer knows what the audience wants. I’ve had to get my wrestling fix outside the confines of Monday nights. Not like that’s been a bad thing.
The past few months I’ve had the joy of getting to witness extraordinary events such as ROH War of the Worlds, NXT Takeover: REvolution, and most recently NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9. If you get a chance, please check out these shows. They helped restore my faith and remind me why I’m a wrestling fan. I can say with certainty, the future of professional wrestling is bright. NXT is stocked with young and hungry talent. I’m talking about Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, as well as the artists formerly known as Kenta, Prince Devitt and Kevin Steen. I’m going to be honest, I look forward to NXT’s PPV’s with more fervor than I do WWE’s at this point.
If you haven’t already seen Wrestle Kingdom 9, stop what you’re doing right now and find a way to watch it. The wrestling is top notch and as an added bonus, Good Ol’ JR calls the matches without stopping every three seconds to try and sell you something or let you know how many Twitter followers the Miz has (also, is Tout still a thing?). Need proof? One of those matches, Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi, was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The PPV was the
first time I’ve seen Kenny Omega wrestle–he reminds me a great deal of Brian Pillman. Consider me a fan. The main event was great as was the undercard: ReDRagon, the Young Bucks, Shelton Benjamin and AJ Styles all impressed. Jeff Jarrett…was there. What I’m trying to say is, yes, RAW has been lackluster as of late, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying some good quality wrestling.
Before I get started, let me get some personal business out of the way. Yours truly, Mr. RAW Librarian himself, is turning 30 this weekend. When I found out that the Royal Rumble was going to be in the city of my birth, the day after my birthday, attending was no longer optional. What is the point of being an adult with a real job if you can’t drop large stacks of money on Royal Rumble and WrestleMania tickets? If you’re going to the event and want to say hello, be on the lookout for a fan with an inflated sense of self worth, wearing a custom tailored Franchise Shane Douglas shirt.
On to the preshow!
Royal Rumble Pre-show: New Day vs Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, Adam Rose
Where the hell did Adam Rose come from? Did this feud originate Sunday Night Heat? Regardless, I’m a fan of the Kidd/Cesaro team. The opposite can be said for New Day. My memory is awful, but the first time Kofi, Xavier Woods and Big E came out, didn’t they demand to be taken seriously? And then Ferguson happened and as well as the Del Rio incident and now we have a poor man’s Nation of Domination, only if they were dressed up like powered blue Power Rangers. I’m hoping Cesaro comes off looking strong (like Roman Reigns strong) but I doubt that’ll happen.
Prediction: New Day wins. Hopefully Philly will boo them.
And now the good stuff.
The New Age Outlaws vs The Ascension
I was just kidding when I said good stuff. I’m going to be honest. I’d rather watch a David Arquette title defense.
Prediction: The Ascension via Fall of Man
Personal prediction: I will be stuffing my face with food and drink and will miss this entire match.
Paige and Natalya vs The Bella Twins
Holy crap, I might not show up until 9 o’clock. This card has to get better right?
Prediction: The Bella Twins via…let’s just move on
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos (C) vs The Miz and Damien Mizdow
Finally, a match I sem- care about. This is going to seem like Nakamura/Ibushi compared to all the hot garbage that comes before it. Mizdow is the most over person in this match by far. I fully anticipate him getting a huge crowd response. I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to this one, but I am curious about how the Miz/Mizdow dynamic is going to play out.
Prediction: The Usos retain, resulting in tension between Johnny Cage and his stunt double.
WWE Championship Triple Threat: Brock Lesnar (C) vs John Cena vs Seth Rollins
This match could go in a million different directions. Oddly enough, out of the three, I feel like John Cena is least likely to emerge victorious. When was the last time anyone has said that? Seth Rollins truly is a wildcard in this match. His inclusion is one of the things that prompted me to pay out the ass for a ticket to this event. Fans did not want to see Brock Lesnar vs John Cena III (technically IV).
I was in the crowd during the last PPV in Philly. It was Money in the Bank in 2013. John Cena defended the title against Mark Henry. You would have thought Cena murdered the Philly Phanatic with how mercilessly he was booed.
The winner of this match will be determined by Brock Lesnar’s real life contract status. By that, I mean if Lesnar is planning to leave after WrestleMania, I could see him dropping the title here. If he’s going to stick around for a bit, maybe he retains here and then defends against Daniel Bryan at Mania. Hey, a guy can hope.
This match is going to be awesome. Brock Lesnar is the most powerful man in the business. If he can toss Big Show around like a rag doll, imagine what he is going to do to Seth Rollins (I’m getting Mike Awesome vs Spike Dudley flashbacks). Cena is always at his best in a hostile environment (see; One Night Stand 2006). I’m expecting a tremendous performance out of each of these men. They all bring something a little different to the match. Seth Rollins the high flyer. Brock Lesnar specializes in “ground and pound.” John Cena will be doing John Cena things. I’m excited.
Prediction: I have no idea who is going to win, but I strongly feel like Seth Rollins will cash in the briefcase after the match.
30-Man Royal Rumble match
The way I see it, there are only a few viable options to win this match. Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt. Out of these five men, the only two realistic options are Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose is great, but he’s not ready for the WrestleMania main event. Bray Wyatt doesn’t have the star power to be in the main event at the biggest show of the year. Philadelphia will lose it’s mind if Randy Orton wins, if he’s even in the match.
For me, the biggest WrestleMania draw is Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan. But I could see Vince McMahon wanting Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns as his main event. Health wise is it smart to put Daniel Bryan in the ring with Brock Lesnar? You’ll have to ask him that. But the risk of injury against an opponent like Lesnar seems incredibly high. If I were booking (and I have no idea why I’ve never been asked) I would have held off bringing back Daniel Bryan and would have made him a surprise entrant. What has he done since he returned? Wrestled Kane and lost to Bray Wyatt. Yeah, that was definitely worth bringing him back early for. Regardless, he is my pick for your 2015 Royal Rumble winner.
Prediction: “The Dazzler” Daniel Bryan
Surprise entrant odds
The Sandman: 20/1
Just a gut feeling. But don’t expect Enter Sandman.
Sami Zayn/Adrian Neville: 2/1
One of these two men will be there. Bet the house on it.
The Dudley Boys: 5/1
ECW territory. They’re technically free agents.
Pete Rose 100/1
Imean he did lead the Phillies to the 1980 World Series and he IS a WWE Hall of Famer (which I’d argue more prestigious than the MLB Hall of Fame).
He may be there, but he will not be in the actual Rumble.
CM Punk…well now I’m just depressed.
Feedback is always welcomed. Hit me up @TheRawLibrarian on Twitter.
Also, I’m applying for the new season of Tough Enough. Just thought I’d throw that out there.