The WWE’s “Ultimate Thrill Ride,” WrestleMania, will mark the fourth major pay-per-view since the WWE re-initiated the brand extension concept where matches will feature superstars from both RAW and SmackDown Live. SummerSlam came a month after the brand split, highlighted by the main event between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. Survivor Series and Royal Rumble also featured cross-promotional interaction, and WrestleMania’s only example will likely be the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
The remainder of the card for the WWE’s biggest show of the year will feature brand-exclusive feuds, meaning stars from RAW will only face other stars from RAW and the same goes for the performers on SmackDown. And much like SummerSlam and Survivor Series before it, WrestleMania will have plenty of choices when deciding which will headline the event.
At SummerSlam, there were two WWE heavyweight title matches, including the debut of the WWE Universal Championship which was decided between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. John Cena and AJ Styles were considered, but WWE officials ultimately went with Lesnar and Orton, promoted as a match 15 years in the making, and a controversial ending certainly had the WWE Universe talking about it for weeks after.
At Survivor Series, the WWE went with the Goldberg-Lesnar bout, billed as fantasy warfare, but there was certainly some debate as to whether the five-on-five traditional Survivor Series elimination match between Team RAW and Team SmackDown should go on last instead. Again, WWE officials made the right choice considering the shocking finish that was booked as it turned out Goldberg was staying in WWE longer than originally expected.
While the main event of those shows is extremely important, the main event of WrestleMania is considered the biggest match of the WWE’s year. And while it has long been expected that the WWE Universal Championship bout between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg would go on last in Orlando on April 2, SportsKeeda is reporting that may no longer be the case.
There was an initial feeling that the negative chants Goldberg was getting last week on RAW led to the decision that his title match with Lesnar would get moved down the card. While they certainly didn’t help, Vince McMahon and WWE officials changed their minds more so because of the status of the Undertaker. There is a legitimate chance that the Deadman’s date with Roman Reigns could be his final showdown and if that’s the case, the WWE wants to give the match the red carpet, main event treatment.
It’s certainly interesting to note that the WWE Championship match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton is not being considered to close out WrestleMania 33 despite the fact that SmackDown announcers have been selling the match as the main event. The debate within the WWE creative team is whether to have Brock Lesnar-Goldberg or Roman Reigns-Undertaker headline the show.
There are two schools of thought backstage among WWE officials. There is the feeling that nothing should follow an Undertaker match, especially if it’s his last match ever in WWE. There’s also a feeling that the Lesnar-Goldberg match may not be all that good. Some fans have started turning on Goldberg because of the length of his matches since returning. While the Survivor Series match was a shocker, his win over Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane was met with considerable backlash.
WWE officials are certainly wary of another fan-hijacking, similar to the duo’s first match back at WrestleMania XX in 2004. Sliding the match down the card and keeping it to an acceptable time limit should help, but if this is indeed Undertaker’s last ride, there is no reason it shouldn’t close out the biggest show of the year.
There has been a prevailing notion over the last few years that if the Undertaker decides he is going to retire, then the WWE should milk it for all it’s worth and build a show entirely around that angle. So because they haven’t, there’s a thought that he won’t be stepping down. Regardless, it’s certainly interesting to consider that the WWE has a plan in place for the main event of WrestleMania 34, but have yet to totally confirm the headliner for their show in less than two weeks.
[Featured Image by WWE]