WrestleMania 33 is less than two weeks away. The card is pretty much 100 percent set in stone. There are some interesting matchups on the card, but there is a lot of conversation surrounding which superstars are facing each other and the direction their characters seem to be going. Like any other pay-per-view, there is discussion surrounding whether or not the right people are getting the spotlight they deserve.
With WWE officials having continuously promoted their new era with future superstars, there seems to be a big focus on older veterans on their final legs or people you don’t see on a regular weekly basis. On the business side of things, it makes sense to see someone like Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg fighting each other for the WWE Universal Championship. But that means a young rising star’s push has been slowed down to let them have another time to shine.
It seems to be the time of year where fans discuss, mostly to disagree, about what the WrestleMania card is going to look like. Why is their favorite superstar not in a title match? Why are they not in a match? This year is no different with many former world champions in what seem like lower-tier rivalries that are better suited for an episode of Raw or SmackDown Live; not so much for the WWE’s biggest show of the year.
The following are WWE superstars who are not being booked properly for WrestleMania 33, along with those who are in the perfect match card slots.
15 Wrong - Dolph Ziggler
It seems like the WWE is giving Dolph Ziggler the jobber treatment despite being one of the better overall talents. In 2003, Jeff Hardy had a similar experience being kept low on the card and essentially becoming a jobber before leaving the WWE the first time. However, Ziggler doesn’t the kind of issues that Hardy had during his stints with the WWE; at least none that have been reported.
For the later half of 2016, Ziggler was arguably one of the better superstars with passionate promos while chasing both the WWE Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship. Now he’s being delegated to rivalries with Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley and Kalisto. The recent heel turn hasn’t done anything. He will likely have a throwaway role when he, likely, enters the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
14 Right - Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin was an unexpected call-up to the main roster around this time last year. There were no vignettes or promos to hype his main roster debut. Corbin just showed up during the Andre the Giant Battle Royal during WrestleMania 32 last year. There was some criticism considering there were about five or 10 superstars more deserving of being called up before the WWE’s “Lone Wolf.” But he has improved so much in one year.
He’s embraced being a big man who doesn’t need backup or tag team partners. He’s likely going to continue improving in the ring and on the microphone. With that in mind, it seems like a good idea to have him challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 33.
13 Wrong - Big Show
We get it, The Big Show is certainly the modern-day giant in professional wrestling. However, it would be nice to see him in a match that doesn’t center around the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Big Show has been in each of the battle royals since the match was first created for WrestleMania XXX three years ago. It would have been great to see them do something more for someone who has been involved in wrestling since the 90s.
There were rumors that he was going to have a singles match with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. However, it seems that isn’t going to happen since Big Show was announced for the battle royal, again. The time is running out for Big Show and he should get a good run before he decides to retire. He’s certainly earned consideration for getting into the best physical shape in his career.
12 Right - Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
When AJ Styles came to the WWE in 2016, he also brought fellow Bullet Club alumni Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The duo provided more depth for the main roster’s tag team division that was in desperate need of more teams. Back then, it was essentially the New Day ruling the roost and everyone else fighting for the right to play second fiddle. Anderson and Gallows now enter WrestleMania 33 as Raw Tag Team Champions.
It feels like the WWE had been wasting a decent team by having them become a second fiddle after their arrival in the main roster. While it will be interesting to see if they will retain their championship, having them with the titles and at the center of the Raw tag team division is where they belong.
11 Wrong - Alexa Bliss
There’s nothing wrong with the idea of having Alexa Bliss hold the SmackDown Women’s Championship. The real issue is the way she’s defending her title at WrestleMania 33. Instead of facing just one or two at a time, Bliss is defending her title in a match against the entire SmackDown women’s roster. This would put Bliss in an obvious disadvantage with a low percentage to win.
But it will likely not be as good of a match for Bliss compared to having just one opponent. A really great idea would have been to have her defend the title against the recently returned Mickie James. The veteran has been great in the ring so far and with her recent turn on Bliss, a simple one-on-one match would have been a much better choice.
10 Right - Seth Rollins
This one was extremely predictable the moment Triple H cost Seth Rollins the WWE Universal Championship. The Game had grown tired of the long-time star supported by The Authority. Since then, we’ve seen a long face turn for Rollins. Granted, it took some time to take him seriously in that good guy role. He had spent most of his time on the main roster after The Shield break-up as a whiny, suck-up WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
But Rollins has improved to a point where he can become one of the next big stars in the WWE. Hopefully, Triple H actually does what a good veteran should do in this position - put the younger star over. It will be interesting to see if Rollins continues using the Pedigree as his finishing move. Unfortunately, he probably isn’t able to go back to using the Curb Stomp.
9 Wrong - The New Day
From 2015 and through 2016, the trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were easily the top dogs in the WWE’s tag team division. Their dominant 483-day reign as the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions put them on a different level than any tag team in the last 10 years. But ever since The New Day dropped the titles to Cesaro and Sheamus, their status has dropped off a bit. But surely they would have a chance for tag team gold, er … silver, at WrestleMania 33, right?
Instead of having any kind of match, Big E, Kingston and Woods will be acting as hosts for WrestleMania 33. It’s a surprise to see that the WWE literally couldn’t think of a storyline for them to have some kind of match at the biggest event of the year. They will likely be able to have some kind of entertaining segment to possibly steal the show. But they still deserved a memorable match opportunity.
8 Right - Chris Jericho
While he might not be in the main event of WrestleMania 33, Chris Jericho is being booked properly for a likely departure after WrestleMania 33. The fans loved his friendship with WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. The two provided some of the best segments on Raw during Owens’ reign as Universal Champion. There were some who thought that Jericho and Owens would go into WrestleMania to face each other for that title.
But then Goldberg walked in and ruined that plan in about 22 seconds. It makes sense that Jericho would cost his former best friend the WWE Universal Champion. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea (from a storyline perspective) by Owens to end the friendship before the match with Goldberg. At least Owens should win the United States Championship and get his first win at WrestleMania, while Jericho will do the right thing and put a young star over.
7 Wrong - Samoa Joe
It was exciting to see the Samoan Submission Machine make his main roster debut by attacking Seth Rollins. The idea of having Samoa Joe become Triple H’s new heir apparent was a good call. But there’s just one problem with the call up from NXT - what is Samoa Joe going to be doing at WrestleMania 33? As of this writing, he’s not announced for any matches. With about two weeks from the big show, this will likely be addressed soon.
Joe could have been considered a replacement to face Triple H if Rollins wasn’t medically cleared. Joe’s been around long enough to know you shouldn’t fully trust The Game. Now this point becomes moot if Joe happens to find himself booked in a match against a returning Finn Balor. Who wouldn’t want to see those two square off in a singles match?
6 Right - Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt becoming the WWE Champion felt like a long time coming. He’s been one of the best villains in recent history. His promos are crafted with a unique creativity that trumps the other 99 percent of the WWE main roster. For a larger guy, he is able to move well in the ring. And there aren’t a lot of wrestlers who are able to do an upside-down crab walk that makes him look like someone who came out of the television in a horror film.
It took a while, but it’s great to see Bray Wyatt going into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. This is going to be his chance to show what he can truly do in the biggest spotlight possible. Hopefully, the WWE doesn’t waste this opportunity and continues to elevate his status as the next top main event villain.
5 Wrong - AJ Styles
AJ Styles had one of the best debut years any WWE Superstar has ever had in 2016. After making a huge debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble, Styles rose to the top and was one of the wrestlers to greatly benefit from the recent brand split. Styles was undoubtedly a success as the WWE Champion on SmackDown Live. He has every reason to gripe about having to settle for facing Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33.
While there’s a good chance the two will have a decent match, it still feels like a major demotion for Styles. He’s not alone since he joins a group of wrestlers in The New Day who had great years in 2016 and were buried after dropping their respective championships. Hopefully, Styles is moved to Raw and can benefit from a reunion with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows after WrestleMania.
4 Right - Randy Orton
Questions were certainly raised when Randy Orton would join forces with Bray Wyatt. It might have felt weird at first to see the 12-time world champion become a sidekick to the Eater of Worlds. However, it’s become one of the more intriguing storylines in the last few months. From the winning the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship and then seeing Luke Harper become a face, it’s led up to a match between Orton and Wyatt.
It is a toss-up to see who will leave WrestleMania 33 with the WWE Championship. Maybe if Erick Rowan is cleared to return in time, he can play a factor in the WWE Championship match. However, Orton can be able to play the important veteran role of putting over the rising star. This would be a major win to build credibility as the new top villain.
3 Wrong - Roman Reigns
In all honesty, there is going to be criticism wherever the WWE decides to put Roman Reigns in their WrestleMania plans. But a match with The Undertaker in what could be The Deadman’s last match - yes, that’s the thought seemingly every year since around 2010 - will likely set a record for the loudest boo for any WrestleMania event. While it’s true that Reigns continues to improve overall in the ring, he’s still hated by a large portion of the WWE fanbase.
Reigns will probably never be accepted by that group of fans as long as the WWE continues to push him as a top face against the will of the WWE Universe. The WWE would have been better putting someone else into this spot on the card. Braun Strowman would have been a better choice. Unfortunately, The Undertaker has another questionable matchup ever since the streak ended.
2 Right - Goldberg
There are a lot of fans would have preferred to see Kevin Owens keep the WWE Universal Championship into WrestleMania 33. The feud between the former best friends and defending the title against Chris Jericho could have been a true main event. Instead, Goldberg would steamroll Owens and win his first WWE title in more than 13 years. While a number of fans might not have liked the title change, it made sense in terms of ratings and live crowd reactions.
Goldberg is still attracting some of the loudest chants at recent WWE events. He’s still popular enough to generate plenty of buzz with major sports media outlets to talk about his matches. The ratings have gone up for his appearances. From a business standpoint, Goldberg entering WrestleMania 33 with the title made sense. It’s also part of a run that makes up for how he was booked poorly in his first run in 2003-2004.
1 Wrong - John Cena
John Cena deserves better. There I said it. While he might not be everyone’s favorite wrestler of all-time, he has done a lot of good things for the WWE and professional wrestling. To say he has been a perfect role model for the younger members WWE Universe is an understatement. He’s also one of the hardest working superstars on the WWE roster. That’s why he tied Ric Flair’s record for 16 world championship reigns.
However, the creative booking team has decided to have Cena involved in a mixed tag team match. It makes sense that he’s teaming up with his girlfriend Nikki Bella. But downgrading the two men who were in the main event of WrestleMania XXVII six years ago is a bit of a surprise. Both men should have been involved in some kind of championship match.
You could argue The Miz has been mis-booked as well, as he had a great 2016 as well.