Is it really almost SummerSlam already? It felt like only yesterday we were complaining about the outcome WrestleMania 32, and now we’re mere weeks away from the second biggest event in the WWE calendar.
But while the company has made efforts in recent years to make SummerSlam as important as WrestleMania, the showcase of the immortals still has that “Christmas” like feeling of tension, excitement and pay-offs. The company will already be planning the big feuds to take place at the event, and hopefully there won’t be an injury crisis to throw off their plans.
With the brand split imminent as well, the company will have a tough job balancing the perfect feuds for the next Show of Shows, and although there’s the potential for some amazing matches with exciting story-lines, there is also a lot of room for total duds and borefests.
So, with that being said, let’s look at 10 matches that would absolutely rock hard at Wrestlemania 33, and 10 matches that would suck the life out of you faster than you could say “Triple H vs. Roman Reigns went for twenty-seven minutes.”
20 NOPE: Big Show vs. Shaq
Oh dear. Seeing Shaq at the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 32 was fun, but the implication when he locked eyes with Big Show wasn’t fun. Big Show has been a part of a few celebrity matches over the years, notably against Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania XXIV and a sumo match against Akebono at WrestleMania 21. The company seems to think he’s a good hand for those kind of matches, possibly due to his enormous stature being an instant threat to any fans of the celebrities who tune in to see the match.
The Big Show is coming to the end of his career. He’s 44, and fans are beginning to get bored of him. His lack of TV time in recent months shows that the company understands this, and he must be thinking of hanging his boots up. With WrestleMania 33 comes a chance for him to go out with a bang, and having a lame match with a basketball player isn’t quite the bang he deserves.
19 WANT: Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
Before it got its own pay-per-view show, Money in the Bank was held at WrestleMania every year. Over the years it began to become part of the grandness of the event, and when it was moved away it felt like something was lost from the following WrestleManias. The Intercontinental Title Ladder match is the perfect answer to fixing that hole.
We’ve had one two years in a row now, and the images of Daniel Bryan “Yes”ing from the top of the ladder, and Zack Ryder “Woo”ing the year after are sure to become cherished memories for both competitors, and were great moments to be a fan of either guy. But whether it’s a face or heel victory, the grandness and stakes a ladder match brings can’t be denied. The IC title is the perfect championship to be contested in this way, and allows a group of upper-midcarders to show off what they’ve got in a match type that has quickly become a staple of the WrestleMania diet.
You got a good thing going here, WWE. Don’t ruin it. Make the IC Title match happen every year, and the fans will thank you for it.
18 NOPE: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
A lot of people joke about John Cena vs. Randy Orton being the overplayed rivalry in the modern era of WWE. Cena and Orton have had twenty televised matches since 2005, which although is a lot, has been spread out over a period of ten years.
Sheamus and Orton? Nineteen since 2010. They had five matches last year, two of them on pay-per-view. Something about these two just really makes sense for WWE, even though the feuds and matches have been typically predictable and a bit dull. I pray that we’ve seen the last of Orton vs. Sheamus…yet…They’ve never had a WrestleMania encounter.
WWE loves to remind everyone how much these two hate each other, and how their rivalry will never end. I really would not be surprised if they entered another rivalry, eventually culminating in a match at WrestleMania 33. Honestly, I’ve been expecting them to face off against each other at ‘Mania for a few years now. Even with Orton injured and Sheamus quickly becoming a low-card heel for Apollo Crews to beat, I still actively fear them two entering another feud upon Randy’s return. WWE just loves the rivalry. Way more than the fans do.
17 WANT: Randy Orton vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Randy Orton can be such a weird guy to watch. If he’s not invested in the story he’s working, it’ll show in his matches, as he’ll just go through the motions with a bored look on his face. But if he’s enjoying himself, you can almost guarantee to get an instant classic out of him.
It’s sad then that in recent years he seems to be enjoying himself less and less frequently, and we only get a great Randy Orton match on rare occasions. It seems the sun may be beginning to set on the Apex Predator’s WWE career as he begins to obviously lose interest…but there’s one guy who can inspire anyone to love wrestling again.
Shinsuke Nakamura, the hard-hitting King of Strong Style is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and can make a classic with anyone he’s put in the ring with. Put him with someone like Orton, who is sure to enjoy working a stiff, Japanese style with Nakamura full of unpulled punches and bursts of explosive action, and you’ll have a match worthy of WrestleMania.
16 NOPE: Big Divas Tag Match
The Divas Revolution storyline has ended, and with it, the women’s division seems to have evolved from a thunderous statement by WWE to a fart in the wind. It was only a few months ago we had one of the best female matches in recent memory when Charlotte took on Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 32, and now we’re back to quick two minute matches on Raw (and that’s if they even have a match). For all the statements WWE made about women’s wrestling, they’ve gone right back to treating it like they used to.
But as a fan of wrestling, and especially of some of the newer faces at the company like Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Asuka and new-NXT signee Nikki Storm (watch out for her, she’s a joy), I just really want to see these girls wrestle. The fifteen minute triple threat at ‘Mania was a step in the right direction, but it feels like since then all we’ve done is shuffled backwards.
At the current rate, we’ll be seeing a Three-on-Three Divas Tag Match as the only female match on the card. Failing that, we might get a battle royale with the entire division. Don’t do that WWE. Give us something watchable. Something like…
15 WANT: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
These are the two women that started it all. Sure, the “divas revolution” had actually already started before their Brooklyn Takeover match, but it was that match that really took the world by storm. It was these two that became trailblazers for their gender in the industry. They’re already going down in history as being two of the most important figures in wrestling – why not add an extra bit of sweetness to their legacy by having another match at WrestleMania 33?
There are certain wrestlers in the business that just click. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will always put on a good match, as can Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. From what we’ve seen from Sasha and Bayley, this could be the biggest female pairing in the ring since Lita and Trish, and all they need to secure that spot in history is to fight at the showcase of the immortals.
We’ve already seen it, and the world wants more. We want to see these two go all out once again, and we want it at Orlando next April.
14 NOPE: Goldust vs. R-Truth
I’ve watched WWE long enough to know what they consider a good idea. I mean, building up a tag team between two comedy veterans for literally months was agonizing enough, and I can almost guarantee now they’re together we’re on an inevitable path to their break-up. Why WWE can’t write a slow build like this for their main event feuds will forever baffle me, but here we are. I’m calling it now. Goldust vs. R-Truth will happen.
But please, don’t waste a precious Wrestlemania spot on it. It’s not worth it. It’ll be slow and plodding, and I would put money on the only good part of this match-up being Goldust’s sweet powerslam. Other than that, the match will be completely predictable and lack the stakes to get a crowd truly invested. Sure, their comedy segments have been fun enough, but I don’t think anything they’ve done really deserves a WM spot.
If you really, really MUST do this match WWE – stick it on the pre-show. At least admit that you don’t think it’s worthy of Wrestlemania.
13 WANT: Samoa Joe vs. Kota Ibushi
Kota Ibushi isn’t even announced to have signed with WWE yet, but there are plenty of rumors swirling around and he’s the hot favorite to win the Cruiserweight Classic, so I’d put good money on him signing to Vince and Co’s traveling circus of sports entertainment. Kota comes as Japan’s premiere flippy guy, bringing a wide arsenal of suplexes and holds alongside his moonsaults and shooting star presses. Kota Ibushi is a pure joy to watch.
Samoa Joe on the other hand, is the best in the business when it comes to facing off against smaller, high-flying opponents. He has consistently built superb Big Guy vs. Small Guy stories for most of his career, and despite not being called up from NXT yet, is still an established name to the Western audience that will help get Kota Ibushi over to a crowd who may not know much about him.
On top of that, as far as I know, this is a match that has never happened in the indie circuits. When it comes to creating dream matches, this is one the world would have never seen before, and has all the makings to be a classic.
12 NOPE: Nikki Bella vs. Eva Marie
I wish this wasn’t even a possibility, but with the women’s division quickly going to the dogs after WrestleMania, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came to this by next year’s WrestleMania. As far as passing the torch, old guard to new guard matches go, the battle of the fake breasts isn’t exactly one I’d look forward to.
With Brie retired and Nikki recovering from a serious injury, it’s beginning to look like the end of the Bellas may be nigh, and with that WWE needs to quickly push Eva Marie into the company's resident hot woman role they’ve been positioning her for. And, in the WWE’s mind, what better way to establish her in that role than with a win over the previous queen of sex appeal in the company, the Bella with the bigger bosom?
I mean, obviously, the match would suck. It would degrade women’s wrestling as a whole and be a pathetic excuse for a WrestleMania match. Sure, it might be better than the battle royales we used to have, but having Eva Marie in a singles match on the WrestleMania card would actually make me feel ill.
11 WANT: The New Day vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Revival
The obvious choice is here is simply The New Day vs. Enzo & Cass. That in itself would be a huge Wrestlemania worthy match. So why add current NXT Tag Champions The Revival into the mix?
The Revival are probably among the best tag teams in the business when it comes to ring psychology and putting a match together. They’ve been responsible for both American Alpha’s and Enzo & Cass’s best matches to date, and although some would prefer the “purity” of a simple two-on-two tag between E&C and New Day, I for sure believe we’d get a much more exciting and memorable match with The Revival added into the mix. My worry with a simple New Day vs. Enzo & Cass is that while the build-up and spectacle will be there, the actual match won’t be nearly as memorable as the promos between the two.
When you combine the sheer likability of Enzo & Cass, the in-ring work of New Day, and the psychology and construction of The Revival, you’ll have a tag match guaranteed to go down in wrestling history.
10 NOPE: Brock Lesnar in a Squash
I am sick of being teased with a Brock Lesnar match only for it to be a five minute squash. Over the last year or so we’ve seen him dismantle Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Luke Harper and even Dean Ambrose in powerful displays, when all of the best Lesnar matches have been longer, more intense affairs. When I see a Lesnar match, I want to see him like he was against The Undertaker and like he was against Roman Reigns. Powerful, destructive, but not invincible.
One of the major failings for me in WrestleMania 32 was having Lesnar fight such a bizarre match against Dean Ambrose, full of no-selling and moments of pure power from Brock. If they wanted it to be an exciting contest, they should have made it a bit longer and let Ambrose’s offense phase the Beast Incarnate a bit more. It just doesn’t seem right that one of their marquee stars had such a disappointing match at WrestleMania, when he had a Match of the Year candidate at Hell in a Cell only a few months before.
9 WANT: Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar
We were teased with this for the Roadblock Network Special, but were given Luke Harper facing Brock instead in a squash match. Then at WrestleMania we were teased with a good Brock Lesnar match against Dean Ambrose, but instead got a bizarre elongated squash match. I think at this point, we deserve a good Lesnar match, and it needs to be against Bray.
Bray Wyatt has consistently shown he has all the makings of star. People love him, and are clamoring for him to be given chances up the card, but creative always decide it’s better for him to lose to Ryback. On one side we’ve got fans who want to see Wyatt do well, on the other we’ve got a creative who seems unsure how to let him win.
The answer to this is very simple. Brock Lesnar can make anyone look a star in defeat. Simply surviving Brock Lesnar in a long match makes you look like a force to be reckoned with. Not only that, both men are capable of building a great match, and if the two manage to share decent chemistry we’d be in for a classic between the two.
8 NOPE: John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
I think the last thing anyone wants is a passing-of-the-torch match between John Cena and Roman Reigns. For one, Roman Reigns is terribly unlikable at the moment, and is drawing huge jeers from audiences. But even ignoring that, it’s a match we’ve seen coming for a long time. Ever since Roman starting being positioned as the next company babyface, everyone foresaw a match between him and Cena, and everyone knew he’d be going over.
So why even have it? The whole audience knows that if this match happened, Roman would win. But more concerning, I don’t think the audience particularly cares. You’re going from an unbeatable boring babyface to another unbeatable boring babyface, and I don’t think many want to see that transition happen at WrestleMania.
Thankfully, with Roman slowly turning into a more interesting heel, and failing the wellness policy on top of that, I don’t think he’ll be getting a torch passed to him anytime soon.
7 WANT: The Undertaker vs. John Cena
The Undertaker is getting way too old to be competing at the highest level. I think everyone would have preferred 32 to be his last, but although the Cell match with Shane was memorable, it wasn’t exactly a fitting swansong for the Deadman. Love him or hate him, there’s only one person in the WWE other than Lesnar who can gift The Undertaker the retirement match he deserves, John Cena.
While a lot of his career so far has been marred by superman booking and predictable matches, Cena has been one of the top guys in the industry for a damn long time. He’s become inspirational to even those who don’t watch the product, and has been described as the only guy on the active roster who can sell out an arena on his own. So isn’t just weird that he hasn’t faced the Deadman at Wrestlemania?
It’s the only match that makes sense on paper. We’ve seen Lesnar break the streak, we’ve seen Undertaker face Kane time and time again, he’s already beaten Bray Wyatt…John Cena is the only name left on his list, and once he’s faced The Franchise, Mark Calloway can finally retire and ride into the sunset.
6 NOPE: A McMahon Match
So hold, let me think on this for a second. We had The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell at this ‘Mania past. The one before that we had Stephanie step up to Ronda Rousey, teasing a match with her. A few years before that we had Bret Hart vs. Mr McMahon. A few years before that Vince went head to head with Donald Trump by proxy of actual wrestlers, though the focus was on the billionaires. What else was there…Oh yes, the 20-minute match Vince had with Shawn Michaels! Or the 20-minute match Vince had with Hulk Hogan! And who can forget the epic Vince vs. Shane match? Or the McMahon in Every Corner match that MAIN EVENTED WrestleMania 2000?
All this would be fine if the McMahon Family were trained professional wrestlers, but they’re not, and although it’s nice seeing Vince get his comeuppance, we’ve seen the McMahons appear at far too many WrestleManias. It’s time for them to disappear completely from the card and leave the wrestling to the people they pay a lot of money to for specifically that reason.
5 WANT: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Believe it or not, this feud has been going strong since 2009. We’re quickly coming up to the tenth year anniversary between these two, and they’re still an absolute pleasure to watch in the ring. They have a rare kind of chemistry that we only very occasionally see between wrestlers, and each match feels fresh and different, with the spots very rarely being repeated. The WWE is being very coy with the two right now, only giving us one straight encounter between the two on pay-per-view, and seem to be giving them a blow-off match at Battleground to “end the feud”. But anyone who knows Zayn and Owens knows the feud will never end.
And what better place for it to end up than WrestleMania? The thought of their 2012 ladder match for Ring of Honor getting replicated and improved upon at the Show of Shows gives me goosebumps, and it would be the perfect way to end this long and historic feud between two of the most entertaining guys in the company.
4 NOPE: Triple H vs. The Rock
A match that they’ve teased us with for years that I am 100% confident will be happening at WM33 will also be a total bore.
We’ve seen these two fight at their absolute prime. Would a match between two men nearing fifty really be as good as the ladder match at SummerSlam 1998? Can two part-timers reach the peak they did when they duked it out in a 60 minute Iron Match at Judgement Day 2000?
No, they can’t. At best this will be a spectacle match, but even then it’s a spectacle we’ve seen before. This isn’t a dream match. This isn’t something people are clamoring to see. It’s simply something we’ve seen a million times before, and we’ve no doubt seen done better than whatever they could provide now.
Both guys were great in their prime, but that time is done, and this match would only serve to entice nostalgics into buying the show. Fans who actively watch the current product would be left wondering throughout why this time wasn’t given to younger, more exciting guys.
3 WANT: Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
Despite both being famous for working in Japan with the Bullet Club, the only time these guys have been in the same ring at the same time was a tag team match in 2008. Balor and Styles have never faced one-on-one in the ring, and it’s about time that happens.
Both men work adaptable styles and would be able to easily work around each other. They’re also both incredibly hard workers, and will go to extraordinary lengths to get the crowd invested in a match. These two could easily work a set of three matches, stretching from Royal Rumble and culminating at Wrestlemania. It would be a dream match for long-time followers of New Japan Pro Wrestling and the Bullet Club, but even for those not invested in the history there’s enough talent in the ring with these two that they would inevitably steal the show. AJ Styles once said “having the match of his life is what he does” – which is a fine statement, but I can’t help but feel that the match of his life isn’t gonna happen until he steps into the ring with Finn Balor.
2 NOPE: The Rock vs. Erick Rowan II
Honestly this should go without saying, but after last Wrestlemania I feel the need to specifically say this: We do not want The Rock to fight Erick Rowan.
WrestleMania 32 was already running over when The Rock made an elongated walk to the ring before being interrupted by the Wyatt Family. Fans began to get excited at the prospect of The Rock vs. Bray Wyatt, something that would be worth the show running overtime. But instead Erick Rowan got into the ring, took a Rock Bottom and lost.
I mean…why? To make The Rock, of all people, look strong? To get rid of Daniel Bryan’s record of shortest match time at WrestleMania? None of these reasons seem like a particularly great one for pushing the length of the show into the five hour mark.
So, allow me to reiterate, we don’t want this again. And by that I mean, any weird small pointless match you decide to throw together on the day. If you want The Rock to fight, have him fight. Don’t have him screw over a young performer’s career at WrestleMania.
1 WANT: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns
The WWE seem to be rushing this one at Battleground to get it in before the brand extension. Which is a shame, this is a match with WrestleMania main event written all over. To have the long build of the Shield Triple Threat finally culminate at what many consider a B-tier PPV is really sad to see. But whether it happens at Battleground or not, the WWE universe demands to see this at WrestleMania.
I don’t think Roman Reigns has many fans right now, but his part in this story is vital. Ambrose and Rollins will always deliver a good match together, and Roman being there to draw crowd heat will allow the other two to pop the crowd and explore the full depth of their move-sets.
As long as WWE stops calling Dean Ambrose “The Dude”, there’s nothing about this match that could go wrong. Seth Rollins is one of the most exciting performers in the company, Dean Ambrose is one of the hardest workers, and whether he’s supposed to be a heel or not, Roman Reigns can draw more crowd heat than anyone. This could be a WrestleMania classic. As is, it’s looking to be a Battleground classic.