The WWE have so far done a great job with the build-up for a lot of the WrestleMania card. The feuds are good on both brands and there’s a general sense of anticipation about the show as a whole. Of course, some feuds have been better than others and some haven’t quite taken off. Here is the WrestleMania card from worst build-up to best.
Unknown: Samoa Joe and Finn Balor
This is the final piece of the WrestleMania puzzle. Balor is yet to return and Joe hasn’t been booked for the show yet and is still feuding with Sami Zayn. Zayn will probably be the one overlooked and thrown into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. We’ll probably end up getting Balor versus Joe, but it can’t be ranked since nothing has happened yet.
14th: SmackDown Tag Team Division
The SmackDown tag team division has been horribly mismanaged. American Alpha, the champs, were left off SmackDown two weeks in a row before randomly popping up with a match against The Usos in the main-event in a match that was constantly interrupted by footage of Shane McMahon. They’re clearly building towards Alpha versus The Usos which we’ve seen a number of times and the division has no momentum whatsoever.
13th: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
There’ve only been a handful of undercard superstars who have entered into the battle royal and almost nothing has been made of it so far. It seems likely Strowman will be the one winning it and no one else of note has been put into the match to add interest. There has been an entrant from NXT the last few years, but we haven’t heard anything about that either.
12th: SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
With Naomi going down injured, the SmackDown women’s division has become a total mess. The title was thrown back on Alexa Bliss in a seriously rushed move and now Bliss is defending the title against the entire division. We know of five entrants and we’ll probably be seeing Tamina, Eva Marie and possibly Naomi if she’s fit … which is the opposite of building up anticipation. If it were a fatal 4-way between Bliss, Becky Lynch, Mickie James and Natalya, then you’d have something to work with – but instead they’ve opted to put zero effort in.
11th: RAW Tag Team Championship Match
A triple threat match between the poorly booked Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, the poorly booked Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady and the poorly booked Cesaro … with Sheamus … will be a nice way to kick off the pre-show and that’s about it. This match has been your stock standard tag team division feud and the match could just as easily be had in the second hour of RAW. All they had to do was book Enzo and Cass as a serious tag team looking for their first title wins in the company and they’d have some momentum, but instead this is about as mundane a feud as you’ll ever see.
10th: Intercontinental Championship Match
SmackDown deservedly gets a lot of credit for its story building rivalries, but it has completely dropped the ball with its mid-card titles. None of them have any hype going into WrestleMania. Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose will at least produce a great match if given the time, but they’ve been given no time on the show and while they’re clearly trying to put a good feud together here, it hasn’t taken off just yet.
9th: Universal Championship Match
The reactions Goldberg has received over the last two weeks about sums up the problems with this match. If they had simply gotten Lesnar to interfere at Fast Lane and cost Goldberg the match and/or had Lesnar put his career on the line to prove he can beat Goldberg, then you’d have a spark. You’d have a reason for this match. Instead, we have a champion we don’t want, a challenger who doesn’t deserve a title shot and probably a main-event of WrestleMania that will be deflating.
8th: Cruiserweight Championship Match
The Cruiserweight division has been saved by Neville. Everything he touches turns to gold and any time you give Neville more than 10 minutes in a match, he’s going to deliver something amazing as we’ve seen in his last few title matches. Austin Aries comes in completely fresh and with plenty of time spent on commentary getting over with fans. Don’t expect much work put into the actual feud, but you’ve got a dominant heel, a popular babyface and what will be a very good match at WrestleMania.
7th: RAW Women’s Championship Match
This has been handled pretty well… if you completely ignore Charlotte unnecessarily losing her pay-per-view streak at Fast Lane. Bayley as the champion who hasn’t really earned the title is a very smart storyline for her character, Charlotte as the challenger who Bayley still hasn’t shown the ability to conquer and the wild-card that is Sasha Banks who is moving towards a heel turn make for a very interesting dynamic. All they have to do from here is keep subtly moving towards a Sasha heel turn after WrestleMania and put Bayley over as someone who needs to prove herself and you’ve got yourself a good feud… Watch the ruin it by adding Nia Jax and Dana Brooke next week…
6th: WWE Championship Match
As much as the chaos around finding a number one contender helped the AJ Styles versus Shane McMahon feud, it took a bit away from Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. Having Orton turn on Bray so suddenly felt rushed and who we should be cheering for feels slightly off. It seems like they’re persisting with Wyatt as a heel, but everything Orton has done has also been heel-like. This is why Luke Harper should have been added to the match. It would’ve made the match better and added an extra dynamic.
5th: The Undertaker versus Roman Reigns
It’s clear this match is going to revolve around the idea of Roman replacing The Undertaker as the alpha of the company, which honestly is a decent idea. Having Reigns show no respect to Taker and wanting to show that he is the one who runs RAW in 2017 works because it is probably time for Undertaker to pass the torch. The segment with Shawn Michaels on RAW was exactly the Reigns we need to see in this feud and with a few weeks left to go, this should culminate nicely at WrestleMania.
4th: Shane McMahon versus AJ Styles
As much as the match itself may not be too hotly anticipated, the build-up has been perfectly executed. All of the controversy leaves AJ Styles rightly upset with Shane and Styles’ vicious attack on SmackDown is the perfect catalyst to set up the WrestleMania match. It may not be the match fans want for Styles, but it’s a great storyline, puts him in a great spot on the card and leaves him free to move onto something better immediately afterward.
3rd: Seth Rollins versus Triple H
This would be number one if it weren’t for the fact that Triple H cost Seth the championship in August and we didn’t hear anything more until December and, of course Rollins’ injury. However, the injury seems to be working for the feud and adding to the underlying storyline that Seth’s initial knee injury caused this fallout. This is a classic story of the student taking on the ex-master and, praying Rollins’ knee holds up, it should be a classis match.
2nd: John Cena and Nikki Bella versus The Miz and Maryse
The idea of Maryse in a big WrestleMania match featuring John Cena sounded awful on paper, but this feud has been outstanding. Shame on us for doubting the skills of Cena and The Miz who have delivered some of the best promo work we’ve seen period. Honestly though, the Nikki Bella and Maryse aspect of the feud has more than held its own. Maryse’s promo on SmackDown about Nikki and Total Divas was genuine and powerful stuff. This should be fantastic.
1st: United States Championship Match
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho have been the best part of RAW since SummerSlam and even though this was the obvious culmination of their pairing, that doesn’t make it any less amazing. The Festival of Friendship is up there with the best RAW segments of all-time and the fact that this match will be in the upper mid-card for the United States Championship might actually add to it by meaning there’s less pressure on them to steal the show. There’s no question Owens and Jericho are currently delivering the best build-up of all the WrestleMania bouts.