Raw and SmackDown this week began to bring about some clarity to WrestleMania 33, which emanates from Orlando, Florida on Sunday, April 2nd. While several of the key matches, including the main event, were officially announced, there were no shocking revelations considering that the card was leaked online a month ago.
Vince McMahon deserves credit for sticking to his guns this time around where in years past he would change booking plans if he got the slightest whiff of a leak. So far, the storylines leading up to the matches have been good, thus making the journey as important as the destination.
Universal Championship – Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar: Goldberg squashing Kevin Owens in 21 seconds to win the title didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is how the writers allowed Lesnar to earn his title shot simply because he had the foresight to challenge the eventual champion four weeks before Fastlane.
Shouldn’t Lesnar have to earn a title shot?
Ah, woe is me. I guess these are questions that don’t need to be explained because wrestling – isn’t – real.
United States Championship – Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens: We didn’t need script leaks or Miss Cleo to tell us this match was going to happen. The Festival of Friendship segment where Owens double crossed Jericho made for one of the best wrestling angles in years. Owens stating that he will take away Jericho’s U.S. title in retaliation for his own championship loss put some shine on a belt that is normally an afterthought.
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley will defend the title in a Triple Threat Match against Charlotte and Sasha Banks. Nia Jax was penciled in for this match but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Plans could still change making it a Fatal Four Way.
Can Bayley trust Sasha? We’ll find out.
WWE Championship – Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton: This match was a given after Orton won the Royal Rumble and Wyatt won the title at the Elimination Chamber. This program heated up last week when Orton revealed his true intentions by burning down the Wyatt Family compound.
Orton went over on AJ Styles in an excellent match last night on SmackDown to solidify his spot in the main event after abdicating his title match weeks earlier in a ruse to lure Wyatt into a trap. Man, I really hope this actually ends up being the main event.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Daniel Bryan announced on SmackDown that Alexa Bliss would defend her title against every available woman on the show’s roster, though no further details were revealed. Becky Lynch, Natalya, Mickie James, Carmella, and Naomi would mean “every available woman on the show’s roster” except for Nikki Bella who will mostly likely see mixed tag team action at Mania.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Mojo Rawley was the first wrestler to announce his entry into the match. Apollo Crews followed suit on Talking Smack.
Hopefully, WWE can find a way to make this inter-brand match mean something as opposed to an excuse to get every wrestler on the card.
Six matches announced and five more matches, while not official, had their feuds begin on television this week. Baron Corbin/Dean Ambrose, John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse, AJ Styles/Shane McMahon, Neville/Austin Aries and Undertaker/Roman Reigns will make for eleven matches total.
But wait, there will be more!
The two-hour kick-off show along with the four-hour pay-per-view means we’re in for an over six-hour show. That leaves plenty of room for the notable stars such as Dolph Ziggler and Samoa Joe along with the both tag champions to find a place on the show that doesn’t include the word ROYAL.