A new report has thrown a monkey wrench into all previous WrestleMania 31 reports. A new report earlier this week indicates that the WWE and Vince McMahon will do the unthinkable at 31…listen to their audience.
The news comes just hours after a WWE insider leaked to Reddit.com the Fastlane result of the Bryans vs. Reigns match. The insider reported that Reigns would win at Fastlane and go to Mania as planned to wrestle Lesnar. According to Meltzer, this is a recent shift in plans for McMahon so it is likely that both reports are actually correct.
I am extremely surprised. The WWE is stubborn to a fault at times and barring injuries or guys walking out (like last year), they will rarely change WrestleMania plans. Keep in mind that plans for this year’s show were developed over the last year so a large commitment creatively and through marketing was made to Reigns in the headliner. A big question has to be what changed Vince’s mind so fast regarding Bryan?
It was clear at the Royal Rumble that the WWE had no intentions of booking Bryan in the headliner. Bryan was booked in and out of the Rumble in about ten minutes with no angles shot to indicate any further plans. Furthermore, a few days later Dolph Ziggler tweeted a challenge out to Bryan for a Mania match and reports indicated that the company were working towards a Bryan vs. Ziggler match.
Why the resistance in the first place? Vince reportedly did not want to “repeat” Mania with the same idea by putting Bryan in another championship Triple Threat. What is funny about that is that it was only two Mania events ago that the company repeated the exact same headlining match in Rock vs. Cena. I can understand where Vince is coming from, at the same time the crowds were singing a different tune than Roman Reigns.
Why the change? Is it the response at the Rumble, is it house show response, has there been a peak in Bryan merchandise sales, what is it that drove the change? My hunch is that Lesnar is leaving and the company was afraid that the fans would crap all over the match with Lesnar leaving and Reigns being the unpopular choice. Adding Bryan cleans up this mess as fans will be so excited, they’ll forget about Lesnar leaving and will be receptive to the match.
Either way the fans have spoken and for once, the company is listening. Maybe there is hope after all?