Sunday 23 March 2014
As we are approaching two weeks to the biggest wrestling show of the year it finally looks like the full card is just about confirmed. So it seems to me to be a good time to cast my eye over the card and give some thoughts and the obligatory predictions. So on with the show......
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (Winner is added to the WWE World Title Match)
Although this isn't the main event, i.e. it's not going on last. It has been given a lot of time in the build up and over the last couple of weeks it as worked out great. The Occupy Raw angle could have come off as pretty goofy but visually looked very good and explained why Hunter had to agree to Bryan's demands.
The following week with Daniel Bryan falling victim to a false arrest and then being brutally beaten by the smug Triple H was a very good end to the show. I also like the idea that they have announced that who ever wins will be added to the Orton vs. Batista title match.
It creates some doubt who will win and ensures there will be some interest in the title match itself as before this angle there was a real fear that the WWE were actually going with a Orton vs. Batista singles match.
Everything screams that Bryan will finally get his big win and potentially the title at the biggest show of the year after the storyline of him being screwed over since Summerslam. There is though always the doubt that Triple H's notorious ego will get in the way. I can't see that happening though and Daniel Bryan will get his clean win on his way to what could be a very memorable night for him.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
The 'Beast Incarnate' is the latest to try and break the streak and let's be honest right at the start he'll also be the latest to fail. What's surprised me so far is that in the build-up the WWE haven't had Heyman remind the fans that Brock has never lost to The Undertaker on PPV, they've had three matches with Brock winning two and the first was a Double DQ when The Undertaker decided he didn't feel like losing so the finish got changed.
I would have pushed that fact really hard because it's virtually impossible to get the fans to believe the streak is in jeopardy at the best of times. The match itself should be quite the spectacle but I can't see The Undertaker's run of MOTN continuing, his streak though will continue.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
The WWE have done a great job of pushing Bray since the start of the year. He delivered in his big singles match with Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble and the fans certainly saw the Wyatt Family vs. The Shield match at Elimination Chamber as the real main event.
His persona also fits with his promos attacking John Cena's character and they have been wise enough to have avoided seeing John Cena get the advantage over Bray Wyatt. Cena has beaten both Harper and Rowan but Bray as always eluded him and hopefully that won't change until they finally get to New Orleans.
Personally I'd like to see Bray get the big win, I think it would do a lot for him and potentially make him a major star in one night. I also don't think John Cena would lose any momentum and he'll still be the biggest star in the company and the centre piece of the TV shows. Sadly though I think that the WWE will see giving Bray a match against Cena as reward enough and that Cena will pick up the win.
Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan
Thank goodness that the WWE saw sense and realised that they needed to add someone to the main event. There is little interest in seeing the former members of Evolution going at it and the thought of 70,000 fans turning on them would not be something that the WWE would want to witness.
I'll be positive and hope that they want the show to end with Daniel Bryan standing tall holding both titles with a capacity crowd chanting 'Yes, Yes, Yes'. In fact I shudder to think how the fans will react if either Randy or Big Dave leaves the match as champion.
The Shield vs. Kane & The New Age Outlaws
The Shield's slightly confusing babyface turn on Raw when they decided to turn on Kane rather than attacking Jerry Lawler might not have set the world on fire but the fans do want to cheer them. I think they are still likely to split in the very near future with the likelihood of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose turning on Roman Reigns.
However Wrestlemania really isn't that moment for it, I think it would be lost in the shuffle and not deliver the impact that splitting them up should really deliver. So there really isn't any reason not to give them the win here against the veterans opposing them.
The Andre Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Or How can we get the rest of the roster on the card Battle Royale. Battle Royale's are normally tedious to watch but they can if done right create a star. There are some fairly big names in this such as The Big Show or Sheamus, but would they really benefit from winning this?
The answer is an obvious no, we've seen Alexander Rusev coming out with Lana on a number of episodes of Raw and Smackdown doing the gimmick of cutting a promo in a foreign language (Bulgarian in this case). He badly needs to do something soon to make the fans care and I'm not convinced that wrestling in singles matches would be the best way to showcase him initially. A win in this would be the best way to help kickstart his career.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback
Yes that's right you are seeing the name of Curtis Axel on the Wrestlemania card, why they are in this match rather than the Battle Royale especially when The Rhodes Brothers seem to be a far better idea to wrestle for the tag titles, is anyone's guess.
So I'll take a guess on that and say they will be the team that loses the pinfall because I honestly can't think of any other reason. The Usos deserve their current run with the tag titles, they've worked really hard and had some very good matches and I'll be disappointed if they leave the 'Big Easy' without the titles. I can also see this being the time where the Real Americans split with Cesaro making his babyface turn from Zeb and Jack Swagger. Cesaro's turn is important but not to the point where it could be compared to The Shield's implosion which is why I would do the Real Americans split here but hold off with The Shield.
The Diva's Match
This hasn't been announced but I'd be pretty surprised if AJ Lee didn't defend the Diva's Title in some kind Multi Women match. There was an early prediction that Naomi would get the belt and she has come back after Aksana carelessly dropped a knee straight onto her orbital bone.
That being said a strong case could be made for either Bella twin winning, Nikki has the advantage of being in a relationship with John Cena. While the WWE might decide that it might make a nice story for Brie to win and then both herself and Daniel Bryan are champions when they get married a few days after Mania. Who ever wins I think we'll get a new champion and that might be yet another message to CM Punk that they can mess around with his latest girlfriend.
Wednesday 5 March 2014
But before DDP hit the stage, the host for the night was Jim Smallman, stand up comic and the man behind PROGRESS Wrestling. I originally saw him on the “undercard” on Mick Foley's first stand up tour. He really is a funny guy, his brief introduction included quite a lot of banter with the crowd and some funny stories from Progress – somewhere I still really want to go it just keeps selling out too fast! (I wonder how many cheap plugs would help me?) But, seriously if you like comedy and you like wrestling you should certainly check him out on Twitter @jimsmallman or go to www.jimsmallman.com
Now it’s time for the man himself - kind of a mix of a motivational talk, wrestling road stories, the story of his development within the wrestling business as well as the truly remarkable work he has done with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall. The set up was that the first half of the show was DDP telling the story of his life, from an unhappy beginning up until along with some funny anecdotes along the way. Page is really captivating as a speaker and for me personally I was really sucked in by his story – which was certainly not the traditional way into the business. He definitely comes across as a fan of the business first and foremost which is what helped him break in in the first place, and his personal drive and motivation that made it all possible is amazing. Page also offers insight into his relationships with Roberts and Hall and why he has dedicated so much time to them in the last year or so. DDP was quite frank about his experiences in the business but never came across like he had an axe to grind and didn’t get caught up with shooting on anybody, it would seem that he had, and still has, very good relationships with the people he met in the business.
After a short interval the second half of the show saw DDP taking questions from the audience covering topics including Kanyon, David Arquette, The Rock, the three tiered cage, injuries and a brilliant cookie story involving Steve Austin. Page finished with an emotional story bookending the resurrection of Jake “The Snake” from being ready to give up on everything and “waking up every morning and hating God for still being alive” to making his return to Monday Night Raw and getting his spot in the Hall of Fame.
Then to end the night there was the meet and greet portion. Everyone who had booked for it got their photo taken with DDP while holding the big gold WCW Heavyweight Championship belt and the opportunity to get stuff signed. Page seems like a genuinely nice guy taking a bit of time to talk to everyone not just whizzing everyone through. I even got a DDP hug to really top off a great evening.
Overall this was a really fun night and I can’t help but feel inspired at the end of it, maybe because it is something I was looking for or maybe because Page is that good at what he is doing now with DDP Yoga. His success is reward for his relentless work ethic and personal motivation. I guess my review is my way of saying thanks to DDP as well as to Eros Comedy for organising it and to Jim Smallman for hosting the evening (One last cheap plug)
You can follow DDP on Twitter @RealDDP and @DDPYoga or check out his website www.ddpyoga.com and you can follow Eros Comedy @ErosComedy on twitter or head directly to www.eroscomedy.com