Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns is the scheduled main event for this Sunday’s WrestleMania and all the chatter going into the match revolves around the popular opinion is that Reigns isn’t ready to be anointed ”the guy.” Looking at this objectively, I’m wondering what kind of match these two are going to put on.
Lesnar delivers in high-profile situations largely because his opponents have been able to mask his shortcomings as a worker by accenting his strengths. Reigns hasn’t had that standout singles performance and needs to be carried at this point of his career.
With two wrestlers that have a lot of weaknesses to hide headlining the biggest show of the year, the prevailing theory is that the match will be entirely scripted with everyone hoping for the best.
Scripting an entire match move-for-move is generally frowned upon by veterans at the higher levels of the industry. If every move is set prior to a ten minute match and the fans crap on it 3 minutes in, the next 7 minutes you have planned will garner the same result. Working a match by listening to the crowd to figure out they want while establishing key spots beforehand is the preferred method of doing business in the ring.
Still, there is a precedent when it comes to planning out an entire match in order for it to be successful.
Ricky Steamboat stated in an interview that Randy Savage wrote down their entire WrestleMania III match in a notebook and had him study it weeks before the event. Steamboat said that kind of preparation was foreign to him, but he went along with it and helped produce one of the greatest matches of all time.
The Undertaker scripted and rehashed the latter half of his WrestleMania streak matches for several weeks in advanced and is doing the same this time around with Bray Wyatt. While some wrestlers found him frustrating to work with, Diamond Dallas Page was known for planning out every move behind the curtain which made for some memorable matches in WCW.
Professional wrestling is an art form that entertains like no other. I don’t think it’s prudent to give Lesnar, Reigns, or even WWE a demerit for presumably preparing the best way possible. I want the main event to deliver the goods, but I’m skeptical what the finished product might bring. If my fears are unfounded and the match turns out to be a classic, it doesn’t matter how it got there.
There will always be a difference of opinion on the proper way to put a match together for the sake of perfecting one’s craft. While I don’t have a dog in this fight, I’m pretty sure that if I did, Steamboat vs. Savage would still stand out to me as a legendary encounter.
***As I finished writing this blog, news broke that Brock Lesnar has resigned with WWE as his contract was set to expire at the end of the month. This changes the landscape of WrestleMania because a Roman Reigns win was a sure bet, and now its not.
With just four days to go, this development has sparked a level of excitement that was absent for the eight weeks leading up to the match. Even though I believe that Reigns walking out with the belt is the likely outcome, not knowing for sure makes this a can’t miss affair.