The Piledriver Report 3.20.14: The Build of WrestleMania
Posted by Ronny Sarnecky on 03.20.2014
From CM Punk's departure and fans rejecting Batista's return to fan support for Daniel Bryan, the Road to WrestleMania 30 has taken several detours! 411's Ronny Sarnecky looks at the build to this year’s show and the problems along the way!
The countdown to WrestleMania XXX is less than three weeks away. Usually by this time, the major matches are signed. The major angles have taken place, and the WWE is just putting the final touches on the last turn towards the finish line called WrestleMania. This year has been really different. The WrestleMania XXX card isn't close to being finalized. There have been only three WrestleMania matches announced, plus one thirty man battle royal.
Besides the Andre the Giant Invitational Battle Royal, the WWE has officially announced the following matches. The Undertaker puts his WrestleMania streak on the line against Brock Lesnar. Randy Orton defends the WWE World Heavyweight championship against Batista. Daniel Bryan battles Triple H. While the latter match was heavily rumored since the moment CM Punk walked out that door, the WWE didn't even make the match official until last week. At that time, they also added the stipulation that Bryan would be added to the WWE title match at WrestleMania if he beats Triple H.
During the final month, the WWE should be fine tuning the build up to WrestleMania, not creating new matches or adding stipulations to previously existing matches. However, that's exactly what they did on Monday night when Triple H added the stipulation that the winner of the Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H match will be inserted into the WrestleMania WWE World title match.
Starting the day after WrestleMania XXVII, the WWE announced the main event for WrestleMania XXVIII as being The Rock vs. John Cena. The WWE had a whole year to build up the Cena/Rock match. Following their "once in a lifetime" battle, it was heavily rumored that the WWE would present John Cena vs. The Rock II for the WWE title at WrestleMania XXIX. The next night on RAW, Brock Lesnar was set to attack The Rock on Monday Night RAW in order to start another year long build to a WrestleMania feud. Unfortunately, The Rock tore his abductor and adductor in his WrestleMania XXIX encounter and plans for a Lesnar/Rock showdown was put on the backburner.
In September, the WWE made a deal with Batista to make his triumphant return to the WWE after a four year absence. He was scheduled to win the Royal Rumble, and follow this up with a WWE World championship victory in the main event at WrestleMania XXX. It would be a battle of former Evolution team members in an epic battle, or would it?
After Triple H nailed Daniel Bryan with a pedigree following the former "American Dragon's" WWE title victory at Summer Slam 2013, it was assumed that Daniel Bryan would be in either the WWE title match, or in a match against Triple H at WrestleMania XXX. After all, Triple H cost him the title. Bryan needed to get his revenge in a match against the WWE's top authority figure. I figured that if Daniel Bryan didn't face Triple H by WrestleMania XXX, they would do battle at the biggest show of the year. If they fought before WrestleMania, then Daniel Bryan would be in the WWE World title match. I was dead wrong, or so it seemed.
As the Royal Rumble approached, Triple H was set to fight CM Punk at WrestleMania. WHAT? Where did that come from? Daniel Bryan didn't get his revenge against Triple H. During their feud, Triple H mentioned that he would never face Bryan, because Daniel was a B level player. While that was a line in a storyline promo, by not fighting Daniel Bryan, Triple H was inadvertently telling the fans that the WWE really feels that Bryan isn't a main event player.
To make matters worse, the WWE actually had Daniel Bryan turn heel during the height of his popularity. Unlike when CM Punk turned heel, this wasn't a full-fledged heel turn. This was designed to be a very short term heel run. What was it designed to accomplish? The only reason that I can think of is that the WWE trying to kill Bryan's momentum. It's the only thing that makes sense- even though that makes absolutely no sense.
While Triple H was going to face CM Punk in a high profile match at WrestleMania XXX, Daniel Bryan didn't have a set spot on the show. The most popular wrestler in the company was being relegated to the number five match on the show against Sheamus. This would be the third WrestleMania out of the last four WrestleManias that the two would be facing each other. At least the last time they faced, the World Heavyweight title was on the line. This time it was just a filler match.
WrestleMania XXX went from a main event line-up of Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock, Triple H vs. CM Punk, and Batista vs. Randy Orton to Brock Lesnar vs. the Undertaker, Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan, and a Triple Threat WWE World title match featuring Batista, Randy Orton, and the winner of the aforementioned Triple H/Daniel Bryan match. So, what the hell happened that threw WrestleMania XXX on its ear?
The first roadblock was the injury to The Rock that cancelled his match against Brock Lesnar. However, that injury occurred almost a year ago, so the WWE had more than enough time to find a suitable replacement. Their back-up plan was the Undertaker and the streak.
The next monkey wrench in their plans happened the day after the Royal Rumble. Rather than face Triple H at WrestleMania XXX, CM Punk decided the match wasn't important enough for him, so he walked out of the WWE. This would seem like a huge road block. However, luckily for the WWE, it's most popular wrestler did not have a major program booked for him at the time. Thus, the WWE inserted Daniel Bryan into CM Punk's spot. It was the natural place on the card for Bryan, a spot that he should have been in all along.
The final straw that threw the WWE's WrestleMania plans into an upheaval was thanks to the "WWE Universe." The fans were so hell bent on getting Daniel Bryan into the WWE World title match, that they went on the offensive. They hijacked shows. They shit on the WWE World title match at the Royal Rumble. They were extremely hostile during the ending of the Royal Rumble match once it was apparent that Daniel Bryan wouldn't be in the bout. Most importantly, at every turn, the fans turned Batista as the biggest heel in wrestling. The only problem was that Batista was supposed to be a babyface. The WWE was stuck. They either went ahead with their planned Batista vs. Randy Orton title match, and risk getting embarrassed by the fans' negative reaction at the biggest show of the year, or they could make a change.
The first change was to embrace the boos, and turn Batista heel. However, you can't have WrestleMania's main event be a heel vs. heel match. Thus, enter Daniel Bryan into the picture. By putting Bryan into the WWE title match, the fans won't kill the title match, and if you put the belt on Bryan, the WWE will give the fans one of the greatest WrestleMania moments in the events history. Of course, there is still a chance that Triple H wins, and gets added to the title match instead. However, that would be stupid, and not even the WWE could screw this up.
Normally, it would be easy to blame the WWE's creative team for not cementing the WrestleMania line-up by this time. However, the factors already discussed are the primary cause for WrestleMania's build-up to have not been finalized yet. Actually, I think the WWE's creative team should be commended for the job that they have been doing at this point. The Daniel Bryan-Triple H segments have been gold. Mix Batista and Randy Orton into the equation, and the build up for the main event program has been phenomenal. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena build has been strong, with the video package presented this week being a very solid device in hyping the match. The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar match has had some good moments. However, with the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar being part time players, the WWE has left the promotion of their fight in the hands of the guy who isn't going to lay a punch on anyone; Paul Heyman.
The WWE has even been doing a great job with the undercard. Everything involving the Shield has been captivating. Is Roman Reigns turning face? Is Seth Rollins? Are all three members turning face? I'm on the edge of my seat during their segments just waiting to see where the WWE is going with this. The Sheamus/Christian stuff is pretty good, as you can feel the hatred. The bickering between Cesaro and Jack Swagger is making you beg for the eventual Real American breakup. My only problem with the undercard build is that they haven't announced any undercard matches, except for the battle royal. Where are all of these undercard angles leading to? Are the Real Americans going to face each other at WrestleMania? Will Sheamus and Christian have one final battle? Who will the Shield fight, if not each other? With three weeks to go, the undercard should be complete by now, despite the fact that the main event scene was thrown for a loop.
After looking at all of the obstructions put in the path of the main matches at this year's WrestleMania, you could say that this is the cursed WrestleMania. Is it a good curse or a bad curse? We will see in less than three weeks. However, with Daniel Bryan probably wrestling in two twenty plus minute matches, the fans could be the ultimate beneficiary of the WrestleMania Curse.