The most anticipated wrestling event of the year is still a few months away, but why not speculate? WrestleMania 35, which takes place at the MetLife Stadium this coming year in the New Jersey-New York area, should be a hotly anticipated event given the quality of the WWE roster. Still, the brass finds a way to disappoint the fans when it comes to Mania, and by the brass, we mean Vince McMahon.
For all the good that the chairman has done, he makes questionable decisions at times, like having the most polarizing superstar in WWE history don the main even year after year. He also likes to make a big spectacle out of WrestleMania, often focusing on pop culture and entertainment over wrestling - which is most important to diehard WWE fans.
Let's hope the Showcase of the Immortals can be consistent next year, and that from start to finish, wrestling fans get a spectacular show. In order for that to happen, McMahon needs to avoid certain things, and better yet, pull the strings to make a few changes that the event desperately needs. We're all in favor of having 10 really good wrestling matches on the card (or 11-13 if you include the pre-show), and despite the expectations being high for Mania year after year, it's hard to please everyone. With that in mind, it's important fans aren't divided about the show, either, since last year left a poor taste in everyone's mouth. The show before that did too (at least the latter half), and the show before that one (WrestleMania 32) wasn't very good, to say the least. Without further ado, here are some things we're worried Vince will do at WrestleMania 35:
20 A 7-Hour Show
You might think it's laughable and entirely not possible, yet you never really know how long WrestleMania will last. Given that there is a two-hour pre-show, the festivities should begin at 7 pm eastern time, yet if Mania goes over four hours and teeters into the five-hour mark, we may be looking at a ridiculously long event.
If next year's Mania runs over 7 hours, it's either because the pre-show will be extended to three hours, or because the main show goes on for five hours.
Either way, let's hope this doesn't happen, because that would hinder the enjoyment of wrestling's biggest spectacle.
19 Matches Without Exciting Stipulations
If WrestleMania just has singles matches and tag matches without any exciting stipulations, then it's just going to look like any other pay-per-view event – only much longer in duration. The problem with having designated events for Money In The Bank and Hell In A Cell is that those matches don't happen often outside of those particular events, so it really takes away from having those types of matches excite a Mania crowd.
That being said, there is still plenty to choose from, like a Street Fight or No Disqualification Match, as well as a Ladder Match, a Cage Match or even a Two Out of Three Falls Match, if Vince wants to keep things a little cleaner.
18 Not All Championships To Be Defended
If WrestleMania is the mecca of pro wrestling shows, then all of the WWE titles should be on the line. Vince doesn't seem so invested in traditional wrestling ideas, but if there's one thing he can learn from NJPW, it's that the promotion has all of its champions compete on their Wrestle Kingdom card in January, which is their version of Mania. That means all tag titles on the line, and it also gives every match an interesting back story when a championship is on the line. Plus, it looks good on paper, too, when a match has a certain attachment to it.
17 No Shining Light On NXT Stars
There may not be an NXT match at WrestleMania, and that's understandable because of the NXT Takeover event that takes place one night before.
Instead of having NXT guys in the battle royal, why not have a group like the Undisputed Era cost someone a match at the grandest stage of them all, or attack someone after their match?
This would be a good way to not only get heat, but to shock the universe by making their main roster debut at Mania instead of on Raw the next night, when most fans expect the call-up. This would be a good way to turn some heads and get NXT involved.
16 Lack of A Big Match For Braun Strowman
WWE really messed up the Strowman push in favor of keeping Reigns on top and giving him a Universal title reign before the Monster Among Men. Strowman still has a chance to win the gold in Saudi Arabia, yet either way, he definitely needs to have a mega match next year at WrestleMania. Remember where he was last year? Forming a team with Nicholas, a 10-year-old planted fan. Let's hope that Braun has a big match against someone like the Undertaker, AJ Styles or Randy Orton, to name a few. If there happens to be a title in the mix, then all the better.
15 No Meaningful Returns Or Surprises
While the returns of part-timers fail to thrill some, a huge surprise or an unlikely return would get people talking. When the likes of the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels showed up over the years, it helped the show and popped the crowd. While WWE has a fascination with returning legends, they can ask someone other than Hulk Hogan or Jerry Lawler to make their presence felt. For example, someone like Rob Van Dam can make a return to compete in the Battle Royal, or even have someone like Brother Love or the Honky Tonk Man interrupt an Elias concert. There should at least be a few surprises for the audience, and not the same old stuff from the company.
14 A String Of Underwhelming Hall Of Fame Inductees
Drew Carey or Kid Rock, anyone? The Hall of Fame ceremony brings forth some good speeches, but apart from that, they do omit dozens of wrestlers who should be in the prestigious WWE hall.
Instead of putting B-list celebrities and career jobbers in the class, why not have behemoths like King Kong Bundy and Earthquake in the mix?
What about a guy like the British Bulldog or a team like the Midnight Express or the Hardy Boyz, should Jeff retire before next year's event? And when will it be Vader Time?
The Hall of Fame ceremony has been criticized by many, and if the inductions are sub-par next year, then it's understandable why.
13 A Long, Unnecessary Pre-Show
The WWE tries to present itself a legitimate sport, akin to the NFL and NBA, when it comes to their pre-show. They have people like Charlie Caruso and the guy from Barstool Sports trying to give insider information when they can simply have two matches that are given 10 to 15 minutes each, some footage from Raw and SmackDown building the matches, and a few “last words” promos from its top competitors.
The WWE used to do a Free For All show in its WWF days, and that half-hour slot was really good at selling the PPV for fans to buy. With the WWE Network, it seems like they don't have to do that anymore. Still, what's the use of a pre-show at that point? Just make it one hour, like the rest of the events.
12 Leave Out Many Major Main Event Players
There's no reason as to why superstars like Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, the team of Cesaro and Sheamus, Sasha Banks and The New Day should be relegated to the pre-show or in a battle royal.
Of course, there isn't room for everyone to be in a high profile match, but there have been plenty of omissions over the years when it comes to the top stars of the company and it shouldn't happen this year.
Samoa Joe definitely needs to be in a big match, perhaps against the likes of Brock Lesnar or Shinsuke Nakamura, and Finn Balor should at least be competing for the Intercontinental Championship or the United States title.
11 Put Shane McMahon In An Unfortunate Position
God only knows why Shane McMahon does what he does. The billionaire's son has jumped off titantrons and the Hell in a Cell cage, and come Mania time, he resurfaces on television in order to do something wild. In his match against The Undertaker two years ago, Shane crashed through a table while jumping off the cell, and his landing didn't look that good.
Regardless of their relationship, Shane doesn't need to perform stunts like those, and if he wants to wrestle a decent match like the one he had against AJ Styles a while back and keep it relatively low key, then that should be enough for the chairman's son.
10 Drown Out The Crowd Noise
We heard it a few times with Roman Reigns in the main event, so we're a little worried that Vince will try to alter the sound of his crowd. We all remember the days of when SmackDown added crowd noise as the show was pre-taped, yet it was hard for fans to notice at times. When WWE lowers the crowd noise at live events, it sounds somewhat distorted, because the theme music and announcers are jacked up while the crowd suddenly sounds muffled. The Mania week crowds are a rowdy bunch, and while they're a lot more knowledgeable and cynical than most wrestling fans, there's no reason to censor their voices.
9 Short Matches That Serve No Purpose
Time constraints are a thing at the Showcase of Immortals, so it's understandable that matches need to be cut short.
However, when a match is booked to purposely go short, it'd better be for good reason.
When Sheamus stunned the world and beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds, it was a huge surprise, but it left a sour taste in everyone's mouth because a wrestler such as Bryan did not deserve to lose after being kicked once. If there is a flash finish or if a match is less than 30 seconds, it doesn't look too good if it's similar to The Rock's outing against Erick Rowan, because the guy taking the fall shouldn't be exposed in that way.
8 Leaving Out Women On The Main Roster
While Evolution will leave a mark on women's wrestling, WrestleMania can't afford to have just one or two women's matches for the Raw and SmackDown championships. There should at least be a six-woman's tag or a four-corners match, so that wrestlers like Bayley, Sasha Banks, The Riott Squad and Naomi could also have their time to shine on the card. There could be another battle royal for the women's division, yet it would make more sense if there was somewhat of a scramble for one of the titles to really get as many competitors as possible on the main card.
7 A Musical Performance Nobody Wants To See
The days of Flo-Rida and Saliva are behind us, and unless Lemmy rises up from the grave to summon Motorhead back to Mania, there shouldn't be a musical performance that takes away time from the wrestlers. The national anthem is one thing, and since it's at the beginning of the show, nobody really makes a stink of it. But there really shouldn't be any sub-par or C-list artists on the Mania stage anymore.
WWE has a tendency of getting bands or singers that only few are familiar with, so unless they can bring someone in like Rihanna, Bruno Mars or even Rush, then what's the point?
6 The Cruiserweight Title On The Pre-Show
It's apparent that 205 Live isn't really on Vince's priority list, even though it makes for a really good hour of television week after week.
The cruiserweights are being really underutilized by being relegated to just one show, so don't expect them to be all over Mania.
However, if there's one thing WWE can do to put more of a light on the division, it's to have the cruiserweight championship match open the show at Mania between two high flyers, or even put the title match before the main event as a warm up to the biggest match on the card. It might be wishful thinking, but why have another championship match on the pre-show?
5 Pointless Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Do you remember who won last year's Battle Royal? Yes, you are correct – it was Matt Hardy. But after seeing him talk to the statue for a week or two on the following episodes of Raw, what purpose did it serve? When the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal first took place, it had potential, since it was served to elevate a young prospect like Baron Corbin. Now, it's just a match to fill time on the pre-show and to have wrestlers on the card who don't have matches lined up. They can at least spice it up by giving the winner a title shot of his choosing, or have a young NXT superstar win it all to kickstart his career.
4 Part-Timers Squash The Main Roster
WWE fans love returns, but they don't like when a part-timer kills the momentum of a rising star. The fans would get behind someone like Kurt Angle making a singles return, but if it's Batista, who didn't have a great WrestleMania XXX return because of Daniel Bryan's rise to the top.
Should someone like Batista, Goldberg or Brock Lesnar find themselves in a match at WrestleMania 35, they shouldn't be beating guys like Finn Balor or Seth Rollins – those guys should be going over, and the veterans should be coming back to help the business. Plus, in most cases, they do it for the money over everything else.
3 Booking Decisions That Make No Sense
Remember when Chris Jericho beat AJ Styles when the latter debuted, or when Charlotte beat Asuka and completely halted the Japanese star's rise in the WWE? How about when Brock Lesnar beat Roman Reigns last year?
While these types of decisions can help with storyline longevity and are done with a plan in mind (at least we think so), WrestleMania isn't the place to fiddle around with weird decisions and flimsy booking.
It should be a place where feuds are ended appropriately, or at the very least, sensible decisions should be made without the calls being too evident or obvious.
2 Ronda Rousey Beats Charlotte Or Asuka...Or Both
The Ronda Rousey experiment is actually paying off, despite worries from naysayers who didn't believe “Rowdy” was ready for the squared circle. She had arguably the best match of the night at WrestleMania alongside Kurt Angle against The Authority, proving she was able to hang with the best of them. After securing the Raw Women's title at SummerSlam, the sky's the limit for Rousey, but her mic skills and the length of her matches need a bit of fine tuning.
With that said, we wouldn't argue if she was pitted against the likes of Charlotte or Asuka, yet it wouldn't be the right move for Rousey to beat those wrestlers, given the experience she has. But hey, she's a huge pop culture draw, and money sells, right?
1 Roman Reigns In The Main Event...Again
Reigns has been in the main event of WrestleMania for four years running, and the reception wasn't good for the three last WrestleMania events. His showcase against Triple H was boring, his match against 'Taker was slow and uneventful, and by the time he faced Lesnar last year, the fans were sick of seeing him. This isn't to say Reigns does not deserve the main event spot; he is one of the biggest stars of the company, after all. Although maybe it's time to let someone else main event, like a women's bout, or a super fight between two bitter rivals like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles.
Reigns will probably be in the main event again, though, and while fans wouldn't be opposed to seeing a triple threat involving The Shield, rumored matches against The Rock or John Cena may not be the most exciting affairs after sitting in the stands for four hours.