With less than two months to go before WrestleMania 35, I think we all know where the main event is going. The triple threat match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey has been written in the stars (a million miles away) for months now and the ending of this week’s Monday Night Raw made it all the more clear. That’s what we’re getting to close the show and that’s a rather good idea. Aside from the pure history of it, there’s another simple issue: what in the world is there to close the show other than that one match?
While I don’t think it’s going to main event the show, the other option would be Brock Lesnar defending the Universal Title against men’s Royal Rumble winner Seth Rollins, in a match that isn’t the most inspiring in the world. That’s been my reaction to it for a few months now, as Rollins getting the title shot hasn’t exactly been the biggest secret since at least the late fall. Really, it’s not like there is anyone else worthy of facing Lesnar at WrestleMania, but that doesn’t exactly help things out.
As we get closer to the biggest show of the year, it’s becoming more and more clear that this isn’t the most interesting match in the world. Today we’re going to take an overall look at the match and try to figure out what’s hitting and what’s missing, while also looking at what I think is going to happen once the bell rings. Well also once the bell rings again, which is what really matters more than anything else.
We’ll start with the good. First and foremost, there is no one on the Monday Night Raw roster at the moment who is more worthy of such a spot as Rollins. He completely owned the first half of last year with one great match after another and that should be enough to put him in such a match. Rollins is young, healthy (enough) and has the experience and success that is more than enough to be a realistic challenger to Lesnar.
Tying into that, there is the story of Lesnar having issues against smaller, faster wrestlers. He had trouble against Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles and more recently Finn Balor, all of whom came very close to taking Lesnar down. Rollins could easily be presented as the final boss of such a group of wrestlers, as he is known for having the mental aptitude to bring Lesnar down once and for all. If nothing else, pitting Paul Heyman vs. Rollins in a battle of the minds (and therefore promos) could be excellent, especially considering that Lesnar isn’t exactly around all that much.
Rollins and Heyman know how to argue:
Finally, there’s the simple fact that the match would just be awesome. The two met in the first place back at Battleground 2015 in a one on one rematch with Rollins defending the title he stole from Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. In a word, it went badly for Rollins, who was physically dominated by Lesnar, as most people tended to be. Couple in the desire for revenge for both (as the match ended in a disqualification) and Rollins as a changed man and we could be in for a crazy great match.
There’s also the bad though, and this one can be summed up by one major problem: this just isn’t all that interesting of a match, at least on paper. It’s been a problem with Lesnar matches for a long time now, mainly because of how uniform and predictable the buildup tends to be.
How many times can Heyman come out and say some version of “My client and I respect you sir because you’re an amazing athlete, because he’s the Beast and you’re not. You will be conquered and that isn’t a prediction, but rather a spoiler”? It’s been done to death now, with almost the same exact statements being made for years. The match winds up working because the wrestling itself is often great, but there’s a lot of other stuff that needs to be included, with a solid build at the top of the list.
There are only so many ways that you can present this match and unfortunately I have a feeling WWE is going to go with the way they know best. At the end of the day, WWE doesn’t like to shake things up with Lesnar and I’m almost scared to see where they’re going to go with things. I know the match itself is likely to be good (as most Lesnar matches are), but I can’t say that I’m incredibly excited to actually see the match, at least not given how the build has gone thus far.
We’ve been here before:
So what happens? Who is actually going to leave WrestleMania 35 as the Universal Champion? Really, that’s what matters more than anything else. The build to WrestleMania means a lot, but the big, important part of the whole thing is who winds up as champion. That’s going to change several things as we head into the rest of the year, and either option has different levels of positives and negatives.
First and foremost, I don’t think I can handle another year, or even several months for that matter, of Lesnar as champion. It’s a situation that is long, long, LONG past its expiration date as, save for a two month Roman Reigns run with the title, Lesnar has been Universal Champion for almost two years, with the anniversary coming up at this year’s WrestleMania. Something has to change at some point and that point probably should have come a year ago, if not earlier.
But will WWE actually pull the trigger? Rollins certainly has more options for challengers to the title than Lesnar, mainly because Lesnar isn’t around often enough to build up many stories. Since winning the title from Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, Lesnar has had eight televised title defenses (for an average of a title defense every three months).
Of those eight defenses, two of them didn’t involve Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman. Since Lesnar won the title from Goldberg time, five people have had title shots: Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Kane and Finn Balor. For comparison, Rollins fought three different people in January alone. In other words, it’s fairly easy to see that Rollins would be a little more versatile as champion.
So what happens. I’ve gone back and forth on this one, but I’m thinking we see a title change, albeit with some shenanigans. During his exchange with Heyman on this week’s Monday Night Raw, Rollins hinted that he would go to some very strong lengths to get the title. That could mean reuniting with Dean Ambrose, or perhaps even managing to swing Heyman over to his side (impressing Heyman with his physical abilities and showing the mental side as well could be very persuasive, but I don’t see why Rollins would need Heyman long term). But yeah, Rollins wins the title, somehow.
I’m not sure if we’ll see this again:
There’s a lot of time left before WrestleMania, but I’m not sure how well things are going to shake out. With Rollins being held out of the ring due to his back being banged up and Lesnar being Lesnar, I’m not sure how well the match can be built up. Rollins and Heyman are more than good enough at talking to get them pretty far, but there has to be something more than that. If we can get to the match with the interest still around then things will be great, but they certainly have their work cut out for them to get there. It’s going to take a game plan, and I’m not sure if Rollins is enough of an architect to get them there.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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