The build to the confrontation between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles has been one of the better angles WWE has worked in some time. While it hasn’t been the car crash event of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, who will compete for the Universal Title at WrestleMania 34, the mental battle between arguably the two best performers in professional wrestling has been as good as any storyline WWE has put together in a decade.
I’m a bit torn here over who to root for. It is almost a guarantee Nakamura will go over, becoming the face of Tuesday nights, with the door open for a rematch with Styles at WWE Backlash in May. The Nakamura-Styles feud could become the next great rivalry in wrestling, rivaling John Cena and Edge, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho and The Rock and Steve Austin.
This is exactly what WWE needs to set the tone for what figures to be one of the better cards in recent memory.
Here are a few thoughts as we are less than two weeks away from New Orleans.
Will it be Rusev Day?
Rusev’s inclusion in the United States Title match was the right thing to do. The former U.S. Champion has been as hot as anyone since the new year, winning fans over with his “Rusev Day” chant thanks to Aiden English.
The addition of Rusev, along with champion Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal makes a “Fatal Four Way” match one of the most anticipated programs of the night. It could be the leadoff match, which is the perfect spot for this title.
Reigns for the Win
WWE is giving fans it’s best sales pitch when it comes to Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns and their upcoming match for the Universal Title. I have never been a fan of this match until recently, where the company has built Reigns up to be the company man, while it has tried it’s best to prove that Lesnar doesn’t care about the business or the company. It’s a formula that has worked so far.
The past three weeks have proven that this is a match that could be remembered as one of the better matches in recent memory.
After watching Reigns get the hell beat out of him the past two weeks, there is no doubt he will walk out of New Orleans holding the Universal Title. It has been predetermined since the night after the Royal Rumble, but it has been effective, nonetheless.
The idea of making Reigns-Lesnar the opening segment of Raw the past two weeks has only added gasoline on a volatile situation, which is a throwback to the Attitude Era.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Finally, Sasha Banks attacked Bayley, setting the stage for a WrestleMania match. It’s a feud fans have been crying for since last. Finally, it has come to fruition.
The Bayley-Banks feud is one of that stacks up to Trish Stratus in Lita. It’s as popular as John Cena and Edge. It has the potential to be as good as The Rock and Steve Austin. It falls in line with what WWE has done to promote the women’s divisions on both Raw and SmackDown Live. Having them compete in the first ever Royal Rumble match and the first ever Elimination Chamber match is a stroke of genius. Since neither Bayley or Banks are part of the title picture on Monday and Tuesday nights, the best thing for both of them is to re-ignite their feud.
I hope this match is as good as their Ironman Match in NXT.
Strowman Keeps Us Waiting
If Braun Stroman and his unnamed partner win the raw tag team championships does it mean that the Monster Among Men is no longer part of the main event picture?
Is WWE setting itself up for backlash by having Strowman compete in the tag team division while he could be challenging Reigns once he defeats brock Lesnar?
Yes, the idea of Strowman and his mystery partner – which I hope will be Elias – could make for an interesting situation. There is no doubt that Cesaro and Sheamus are two of the best tag team wrestlers in the company today. I think having somebody so much bigger and as dominant as Strowman competing in tag team matches loses something in translation.
Strowman’s greatest asset is his ability to beat up men with ease on the singles circuit. Tag team wrestling will take away some of the skill set that has made him so popular.