As of this article’s publication, WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdrome is only nine days away. In terms of WWE programming, that means there is only one Raw and SmackDown left before the “big one” called WrestleMania. This past Monday on Raw, WWE filled in all of the blanks on the WrestleMania 30 match card, and if you’re not sold by now, then I don’t know what will!
Beginning with the Divas division, this past Raw confirmed that current WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee would have to defend her title against 13 other Divas, including a returning Layla, and Lee’s protector, Tamina, in the Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational. The invitational is a result of the history between Lee and Guerrero, current General Manager of SmackDown, but is a welcome addition to the WrestleMania card for a few reasons. Most importantly, the Divas Championship is now actually being defended at the “Super Bowl of professional wrestling,” something that has been absent in past WrestleManias. In terms of storyline, this makes some sense, utilizing the bad blood between Lee and Guerrero to make this happen. Finally, this is not an over-the-top battle royal, but a match where if one Diva scores a pinfall or submission on any other Diva, she is the new WWE Divas Champion – Lee doesn’t have to be pinned to lose the title, which is always an interesting wrinkle to a title match.
In the same vein as the Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational, the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal sees 30 Superstars competing to win a trophy of the likeness of WWE Hall of Famer and legend, André the Giant. However, unlike the Divas Championship match, this match is an over-the-top battle royale, where Superstars are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope, with both feet hitting the floor, and the last man standing wins. The key reason that this match is significant, other than the fact that it is in André the Giant’s honor, is that this match gives 30 Superstars a spot on the WrestleMania 30 card, where in past WrestleManias many of these Superstars would be outright excluded from WrestleMania altogether, simply watching from backstage.
Just announced this past Monday, The Shield has been confirmed to have a match at WrestleMania 30 against The New Age Outlaws and Director of Operations Kane. The basis for this match harkens back to a storyline that has been loosely followed since it began a few months ago, wherein The Shield was a collective pawn for The Authority. Since then, The Shield has turned face, becoming “good guys,” and have rebelled against The Authority through defying Director of Operations Kane. Additionally, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, The New Age Outlaws, are friends with Chief Operating Officer Triple H, an aspect of the storyline mentioned in the past, so The Shield’s opponents make complete storyline sense. Unfortunately, the WWE began teasing a breakup with The Shield, before releasing that the WWE Universe (fans) loved The Shield too much to split them up. Thus, this match is a bit of a mess logistically, but the story has a basis, it keeps The Shield together longer and gives them a WrestleMania match.
Continuing the flow of segues, another team in Rybaxel (Curtis Axel and Ryback) will be getting an opportunity for the WWE Tag Team Championship when they square off against the current champions, Jimmy and Jey, The Usos. Now, the interesting part about this match is that this will almost certainly not be the match we see at WrestleMania 30; one should expect a multi-team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship for two reasons. First, more Superstars can appear on the WrestleMania card. Second, Los Matadores pinned the number one contenders, Rybaxel, this past Monday on Raw, and Cody Rhodes and Goldust have had continued success as a tag team. Rybaxel’s entry into the WWE Tag Team Championship picture is a result of Kane’s vendetta against The Shield, in which Rybaxel helped in executing with The Shield’s beat-down this past Friday on SmackDown. None of the rumored tag team breakups actually happened, as The Real Americans, The Shield, and Cody Rhodes and Goldust are still together. Logically, and I’ve been watching long enough to make this prediction with confidence, all of these teams will vie for the WWE Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 30 in what is called a tag team turmoil match, an elimination-style match that features multiple teams in a traditional tag team match, except any team member can tag in another team’s member(s).
With The Shield’s match, Divas Championship, and WWE Tag Team Championship matches being officially announced, all mystery ends for WrestleMania 30. Now, it may be hard to see because it is imaginary, but there is an asterisk after “ends,” and this indicates that with the WWE, “definite” doesn’t exist. The WWE’s mantra is that “anything can happen in the WWE,” and over its decades of existence, the WWE has proven that true.
This following Monday and Friday will be the “go-home” shows for WrestleMania 30 and will serve to sell any ambivalent fans on WrestleMania 30. This past Monday successfully added more dimensions to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, as tensions grew more severe with The Authority, Batista, and Randy Orton, refining the non-Daniel Bryan portion of the main event of WrestleMania 30. Also, Bray Wyatt and John Cena’s feud has intensified this past Monday, too, legitimizing Wyatt as a threat to Cena, and a believable one at that. Lastly, The Undertaker played mind games with Brock Lesnar, using a casket as a harbinger of Lesnar’s fate at WrestleMania, as the two maintain a very simple but enticing dynamic for their historic match at WrestleMania. In short, this year’s WrestleMania is stacked with matches ranging from solid to must-see, a great sign for its success this year.
At a little over 950 words, this is one of my shorter columns; be thankful, but get ready, as next week’s issue is going to have a feature on WrestleMania 30, two days before the actual event.
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