The bell to start the 2016 WWE Royal Rumble has not even rung yet and there is a reported WrestleMania 32 main-event in place. While predictable, this year’s headliner is the logical choice and arguably best for business.
Dave Meltzer confirmed what I have written about for the last several weeks regarding the WrestleMania 32 main-event. Meltzer confirmed that a headliner is indeed in place, offering up the predictable choice. Yet anything past the main-event is purely rumor and speculation at this point.
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H for the WWE world championship will top the 2016 WrestleMania card. While Meltzer doesn’t report whether the title will be a part of the match or not, I think it is safe to say that it will be. Reigns vs. Hunter has been in play for a few weeks now, although that was hardly the draw Vince McMahon had in mind just a few months ago.
A rash of injuries has forced WWE Creative to put in a lot of extra hours this year with several of the company’s top stars hitting the disabled list. John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton are all off the board with what has to be the worst period of injuries to the roster in WWE history. With three of the four (Brock Lesnar) top guns out of the picture, the card has been re-written several times.
Fans are quick to crap on the Hunter vs. Reigns headliner but there is absolutely nothing else that makes sense. While it would be nice as a fan to see Kevin Owens or Dean Ambrose in the top spot neither of those guys have been positioned to draw in a Mania headliner. The match brings the Authority storyline full circle and whether you like Hunter or not, he has clearly been positioned as the number one heel in the company all year, thus nobody else makes sense for the match.
Interestingly enough this was not the match the WWE had in mind throughout the year. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena was reportedly on the books. The match would have packed a lot more punch than Reigns vs. Triple H in regards to being a “WrestleMania Main-Event.” Once Rollins got hurt the top of the card had to be reshuffled and other than HHH-Reigns the only other choice would have been a Lesnar vs. Reigns rematch and in my opinion, that’s just too soon.
Triple H had quite a few dance partners penciled in throughout the year. HHH was originally slated to wrestle The Rock coming off of the angle they did at WrestleMania 31. The match was largely set up in an interview segment earlier that year on the SmackDown Anniversary show where they talked about having a match in the biggest stadium possible. Rock reportedly is dealing with insurance issues which prevent him from wrestling and the company had to move on. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Rock thrown into the Triple H vs. Reigns match as the guest referee. As a matter of a fact, I’d expect it.
Hunter was next booked with Seth Rollins in a match that would have likely been second from the top. Again, Rollins getting hurt squashed this plan. It appears that the plan was for Rollins to drop the title to Reigns and turn babyface against the Authority. This would have given the event Cena-Reigns and Rollins-Hunter as the top two matches with Brock Lesnar underneath. Rollins’ injury freed up the Game, thus the new headliner was booked.
Brock Lesnar has played a big part on WrestleMania since returning to the big event at WrestleMania 28. He has wrestled Triple H, the Undertaker, and Roman Reigns is semi and main-events. Lesnar is the big question mark this year as there doesn’t appear to be anyone who offers Lesnar the marquee match he is expected to deliver. Coming off of RAW, Bray Wyatt appears to be the man for the job. It’s greatly disappointing but at the same time, there is nothing else that makes sense at the moment.
What is interesting about all of this is that Lesnar was originally scheduled to wrestle Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell blow off that would have been huge. However, multiple reports indicated Vince McMahon had changed his mind and had a new, bigger plan for Brock. Thus WWE expedited the match earlier in the year, incurring the additional expenses of booking Brock and Undertaker on an extra show. At this rate, Vince would have been much better off holding off the rematch until Mania. Now it appears he not only wasted the match, but wasted a ton of money in expediting a feud that didn’t need to be rushed. Whatever the grand idea that Vince had is obviously different than Bray vs. Brock.
Finally, there is the Undertaker. The Undertaker played a small role in last year’s event and looked fantastic a few months back in matches against Brock Lesnar. What do you do with this guy? According to Meltzer, the working plan was a Legend vs. Legend match with Cena vs. Undertaker. It’s not nearly as exciting without the streak but it would have given Mania that special match it’s lacking. Cena is technically out of Mania, although that is still not 100%. There is always the chance he makes a speedy recovery and the match stands. If not, I would have to think that Kevin Owens (who has been rumored to be lobbying for the match) would get the spot.
It’s ironic because it seems like every year we as fans are complaining about the watered down lineups at WrestleMania and yet this year is probably the least exciting card on paper the company has had in years. The company desperately needs something “special” and with Cena on the sidelines, I just don’t know where they get it from.
One thing is definitely for sure looking at this lineup. Like it or not, it is now officially the Roman Reigns era.