Who should face Sting at WrestleMania 31?

If you’re not aware of Sting’s arrival in the WWE, I’m afraid you’ve been living under a rock. In any case, the question of who Sting should face in his first/only match for the WWE has caused much discussion. Sting has yet to make his official debut – he’s only appeared in behind-the-scenes footage and YouTube videos – and many have come up with dream scenarios as to when and how he should make his appearance. Most of these ideas all lead up to a one-on-one match at WrestleMania 31, but again, who should ‘The Stinger’ face?

The Undertaker

This rumour has been circulating the WWE Universe for a while now (in fact, I had an idea regarding this in an article earlier in the year), and it’s no surprise as to why many want this match to occur. On paper, The Undertaker vs Sting has ‘classic’ written all over it. You have a WWE and WCW legend (both of similar age) going at it on the grandest stage of them all. The potential of a great build-up is there, due to the mind-games they’re both capable of playing. However, if you really think about it, there are a couple of reasons as to why this match shouldn’t happen.

Firstly, either one of these stars losing in this match is a real blow. If Undertaker loses, his legacy could be remembered for two WrestleManias lost in a row – a greatly undeserved ending to such an illustrious career. If Sting loses, it would just be silly, having his long-awaited WWE in-ring debut end in defeat just so Taker can regain some unnecessary momentum. Secondly, it’s difficult to foresee this match being anything spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. While they’re both pro-wrestling greats, we have to be realistic and acknowledge their age, and are by no means anything like they once were in their prime. The match is likely to be slow and sluggish, and it would be appalling to see both of them struggle to carry themselves, let alone the match itself.

If this match were to take place, it should end in a Nexus-style fashion, similar to how I described this in my Triple H vs The Rock article. That way, we’d have no loser, and it would allow up-and-coming talent to shine and get themselves noticed on the biggest platform possible.

Bray Wyatt

Much like the reasoning for The Undertaker facing Sting, Bray would also be an ideal candidate. He’s got the mind-games and creepy persona, which would combine brilliantly with Sting’s character in the weeks building up to the fight. It also allows the ‘Eater of Worlds’ to become relevant again, especially as his recent vignettes have hinted the separation of the Wyatt Family. Furthermore, the bout should feel more exciting as we’d actually have a face vs heel match-up, as opposed to a face vs face scenario that wouldn’t generate as much of a good storyline/build-up. Sting losing to Bray wouldn’t be as diminishing to his career if the Wyatt leader wins using deceitful tactics, boosting his own career as well as keeping Sting relevant and strong.

John Cena

I know I know, roll your eyes. But if we are listing logical opponents here, having the face of the WWE go up against Sting in his first and potential last match for the WWE seems plausible. There’s not much more to say, although it would be great to witness the sheer crowd separation of who the fans want to triumph. Just be sure to expect constant and thunderous “Let’s go Cena-Cena Sucks!” chants. As to who wins, well that’s up to the brave WWE Creative team.

Randy Orton

Before you roll your eyes for the second time, hear me out. Personally, I feel that booking Orton against Sting is a great matchup, for ‘The Apex Predator’ could reawaken his ‘Legend Killer’ persona and go after the non-WWE veteran. Orton could release his more aggressive side in the weeks leading to ‘Mania, resulting in a true face vs heel contest. It’ll bring some juice back into Orton’s career, and if he’s not booked in this sort of matchup, you can believe that he’ll be involved in a pointless match at ‘Mania, and probably ‘job’ to his opponent in the process.

Orton is a veteran in his own right – but he’s no legend yet – so having Orton get stung by ‘The Stinger’ is no big deal as being involved in the matchup alone is a huge honour for him in itself. If Sting were to get bitten by ‘The Viper’, he should lose in an unfair fashion, much like how I described with Bray Wyatt, keeping his reputation intact and unharmed. In the end, we’d be left with an exciting match that has the potential to generate a gripping and intense rivalry. Whether the snake or scorpion comes out on top is irrelevant, for either outcome won’t really change the status for each combatant.

There are other names that come to mind, but due to the reasons mentioned above, this select few are the only ideal candidates to really generate a real and meaningful matchup with the WCW great at WrestleMania 31. But never say never. After all, we all thought The Undertaker would go 22 and 0 last April.

Who do you think Sting should face, and what would be the outcome? Let us know in the comment section below, and please don’t forget to share!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended. 

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Triple H vs The Rock at WrestleMania 31

Where it all began: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Rocky Maivia.

For a couple of months now, rumours have escalated around the WWE Universe of a potential match at next year’s WrestleMania, and these whispers have become even more apparent after SmackDown’s 15th anniversary show. Triple H vs The Rock at WrestleMania 31 is a match that screams, well, controversy.

 

On paper, this match seems brilliant (well to me anyway). It encompasses two stars that embodied the ‘Attitude Era’, arguably WWE’s greatest era in its existence in the professional wrestling industry. Not only that, but these two stars have had a tremendous rivalry for over a decade, stemming from their battles for the Intercontinental Championship in 1997, as well as faction-based rivalry as part of D-Generation X and the Nation of Domination respectively. ‘The Game’ and ‘The Brahma Bull’ also carried the company with their epic rivalry in 2000 and 2001 during Stone Cold Steve Austin’s absence, which made many forget about ‘The Rattlesnake’s’ temporary departure altogether. In essence, their rivalry was perfect; it was the ultimate heel vs the ultimate baby-face, and it was a rare rivalry where each Superstar was jeered/cheered by the audience as they were supposed to. It wasn’t anything like you see nowadays, with the heel generating most of the cheers and pops, and vice-versa for the face.

Their rivalry was at its peak in 2000/2001, carrying the company on its shoulders.

There is, however, a massive problem if this match were to take place on the ‘grandest stage of them all’. While it would momentarily excite the hearts of most 90s fans, it does nothing for WWE’s current talent – especially if the match is the main event like they hinted it would be. It would achieve a temporary bit of excitement and attract a wider audience, yes, but will do nothing in sustaining the future of the WWE roster. It doesn’t make sense, nor is it fair, for the Bryans, Ambroses, and Rollins’ of today to take a backseat on the show that they bust their asses on week-after-week, only to have a couple of in-ring part-timers secure their spots. I wouldn’t be surprised if the match encountered boos throughout its entirety by some of the more passionate fans. However, there are several ways in which WWE could capitalise on having both ‘The King of Kings’ and ‘The Great One’ present on the show, as well as boost their current/future roster at the same time.

Option 1

The obvious choice would be to have each competitor involve themselves in a singles match against a rising star. Why not have HHH take on Dean Ambrose, or even Seth Rollins, and have John Cena or Daniel Bryan take on the other ex Shield associate? Rocky could square-off against someone like Rusev, achieving a level of star-power that WrestleMania deserves – without hogging the spotlight. The main event could be the much hinted Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, allowing WWE to solidify their rising stars across the card. Of course, one or two competitors from each match could be switched around here or there, but you get the idea. What this results in is a series of matches where you have a veteran/well-known competitor – attracting a wider audience – going up against a rising star, making them more well-known and established as the faces of professional wrestling’s modern era.

Option 2

However, as mentioned in my previous article, this could get a little predictable. Having any one of the veterans go over wouldn’t make sense, unless WWE get really creative with an extremely clever storyline – but let’s not get our hopes up on that. Therefore, it would be fairly obvious as to who the victor of each contest will be. So maybe getting two veterans to go one-on-one could fit into a WrestleMania card. Let’s say WWE do go ahead and decide to have Triple H vs The Rock at WM31. Despite most of the crowd’s initial disputes over the match-up, they’re excitement will probably emerge as the event gets within an arms-reach of commencing. In addition, I’m sure the months of build-up prior to the event would’ve made the match-up that much more exciting. Everyone would want to know just who is the better man out of the Hunter-Maivia rivalry, and this match would be the climax of it all. However, how about having the match end in a Nexus-style fashion? The match could draw to a close, when all of a sudden, the lights go out. The lights reappear, and surrounding the ring could either be a group consisting of WWE’s undeserved mid-carders, or even NXT stars such as Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. They’d get into the ring and pummel the hell out of Triple H and The Rock, claiming on RAW that their intentions for doing so was because they’re sick and tired of legends taking up spots and costing the current roster opportunity after opportunity. This would, again, achieve star-power that the event needs to attract a larger demographic, as well as do wonders for WWE’s current/future roster.

While it’s clear that having Triple H and The Rock compete at WrestleMania 31 is “best for business”, WWE need to be clever of how they incorporate the two so that it benefits the grand scheme of things: sustaining its Superstars’ longevity and relevancy.

Do you think that Triple H vs The Rock should happen at WrestleMania 31, or that WWE do something different in utilising these two mega-stars in the interest of their current crop? Leave a comment below and please don’t forget to share if you liked this!

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Are old-timers cramping WWE’s style?

While a portion of both the performing talent and fans alike thoroughly welcome the return of WWE’s megastars that helped pave the way for the company’s current crop, others greatly frown upon the idea. In recent history, WWE have managed to majorly cash-in on returning big-name Superstars, such as The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and Batista. It’s a great idea, at first, but these returns also spell trouble for WWE’s current and future states.

Let’s first look at a good-use example of this strategy. In veteran Chris Jericho’s Jericho-Wyatt-SSrecent return, he feuded with Bray Wyatt. While it didn’t produce the greatest rivalry or series of segments of all time, it certainly did one thing; and that’s help solidify the ‘Eater of Worlds’’ status as a serious competitor who’s here to stay. From this example alone, it can be said that having returning veterans to help ‘pass the torch’ onto WWE’s current and future roster is a smart move, as it sets these stars up for glory and success in the future – but that’s if they actually do this and not bury these up-and-comers like they have done so many times in the past.

Put it this way; WrestleMania is an event that attracts even the most casual fans. More often than not, I’ve watched WrestleManias with casual fans who are only tuning-in due to a megastar like The Rock or The Undertaker being present on the card. For the remainder of the event, the growing mutters of “Who the hell is he?” or “Back in the day we had (so-and-so)” certainly frustrated me. Such audiences lack the desire to keep up with WWE and hence, lack the knowledge for new talents and recognising what they bring to the table. They’re only familiar with the stars who really made a name for themselves, and why’s that? Aside from these fans being into the product at the time, it’s also largely because the stars that have become household names were marketed and booked correctly in the first place.

Therefore, wouldn’t the logical strategy be to book competitors of the current/future WWE roster go over these returning legends, just like how Bray did with Y2J? These casual fans would then take notice of these stars, and perhaps feel encouraged to watch the show more often due to this ‘newbie’ defeating one of their old-time favourites. In addition to majorly pushing a rising star (and so raising his/her awareness to an extended audience), WWE would receive further benefits as they’d still receive higher ratings due to the megastar being present on the show, as well as the current/future roster still getting TV time due to being involved with the legend in the segment. It’s essentially killing two birds with one stone.

The Rock lays both the verbal and physical smack-down on Rusev.

Let’s now look into a bad-use (and much more recent) example. The Rock made a huge and unexpected return on Monday Night RAW (10th October – Brooklyn), except this time it wasn’t in a main event segment. He actually interrupted Rusev and Lana, who had called out The Big Show initially. This was brilliant, as it came to an enormous surprise for everyone watching around the world. The live Brooklyn crowd nearly blew the roof off the place! The Rock electrified as per usual, dropping his epic one-liners as only ‘The Great One’ could. What disappointed me though was having The Rock triumph in that segment. As you may or may not know, I’m a pretty avid Rock fan, but even I admit that the segment would have been that much more complete if Rusev had the last laugh. WWE would have achieved that level of star-power through The Rock, as well as having one of their rising talent make a huge statement. Maybe they could’ve had Lana distract The Rock during his and Rusev’s brawl, with Rusev then cheap-shotting him, leaving him helpless on the mat – similar to how The Shield did so last year. The Rock wouldn’t lose any star-power, and Rusev would benefit greatly – achieving the best of both worlds. The only downfall is that the live crowd wouldn’t have been sent home happy, but it’s all about longevity and sustaining the future right? On the other hand, it could be said that sticking to this rule of having the youngster go over would make the show a lot more predictable than it already is, leading to a stale and uninteresting product.

Batista wins the 2014 Royal Rumble, emphasising WWE’s reliance and priority on yesteryear talent.

I’m sure there are plenty more examples, but after this week’s RAW, it got me thinking of how WWE utilise their legends with their current stars. Let’s not even get into Batista’s win at this year’s Royal Rumble (I think I voiced my opinion in one of my earlier articles anyway). To be fair, they quickly rectified this by having The Shield go over Evolution. However, in most cases, it’s almost as if that WWE’s current roster isn’t their priority. It’s no wonder that the likes of CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler air their complaints, some more discrete than others. It’s even worse when WWE pair-off two legends to go one on one against each other in a pay-per-view, which shows that WWE still heavily rely on these ex-stars to generate viewing numbers. The sooner WWE start focusing more on their current and future stars, the sooner they won’t need the Steve Austins and Bret Harts of the company’s yesteryear to attract a wider audience. It’s a brave step, but is sure to solidify and sustain the longevity of their talent.

Do you agree that the WWE should try to adhere to the goal of ensuring that their current talent benefit in some way, shape, or form if they decide to bring back a legend/veteran/megastar, or do you think booking these old-timers in a way that appeals to the wider audience should be the priority? Comment below, and please share!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended. 

Championship Chumps

In one of my first articles, I created a diagram of the title structure in that time (May 2013), compared to that of a decade ago. Forward on a year or so, and this hierarchical diagram is still very much relevant and appropriate. Nowadays, WWE’s product is severely diminished due to the way championships are distributed and champions are portrayed. Back in the day, a championship belt made the man – which was a perfect ingredient to add to a concocted formula of creating a top-flight star. Today however, due to the degradation of title belts (being overshadowed and thrown on anyone), the trend of a man making a title belt relevant is starting to occur.

Let’s revisit CM Punk’s 434-day title reign last year. This was brilliant, as having the belt change so rarely revived its prestigious aura. It generated more anticipation as to who would hold it next, and it also boosted Punk and his career in more ways than one. This was a prime example of having the championship belt make the man – or making the man greater than he initially was. Aside from that instance, it’s difficult to think of an example of where this has happened in more recent times. In this current feud with John Cena and Brock Lesnar, it’s almost as if their rivalry is overshadowing the grand prize. This match would do just fine without the title at stake, but with it involved, it’s becoming an afterthought – especially after Cena got his a** so drastically handed to him at SummerSlam. A title belt should always be the primary factor that makes a match exciting, and should not be overshadowed by the combatants or story itself. It’s hard to think that this could ever be the case these days, and that’s because WWE’s portrayal of championship belts have made them irrelevant, which shouldn’t have happened in the first place!

It’s not just the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that’s been affected either – it’s safe to say that all of WWE’s belts have diminished in prestige and value. WWE could do several things to make their championship belts become more relevant to solve problems like the one above:

  • Join the Intercontinental and United States Championships. Yes, this’ll probably cause an uproar to life-long fans due to each belt’s prestigious history, but it would help create that one secondary title WWE have so desperately needed. The US Title alone does nothing for its wearer, so joining it with the IC Title – which has also lost its worthy reputation – seems like the logical move. Merging the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship belts was a step in the right direction, as we now have one ultimate champion and there is no longer a dispute over who the real champion is. However, as mentioned above, there is still more work to be done to make this belt the grand prize it once was.
  • Make the jointed IC/US champion have an actual goal of becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and pursue it. This shouldn’t be a title that collects dust around the waist of the holder, but more a stepping stone towards the next big goal – just like how it once was. The Rock and Chris Jericho are two examples of many who have won the IC Championship and gone on to win the ‘big one’. Look at the recent holders of this championship belt now. Kofi Kingston, Bad News Barrett, The Miz, Curtis Axel, and Big E Langston are to name a few. Excluding BNB due to his unfortunate injuries, what have the rest achieved since their IC Championship reigns? Let’s hope Dolph Ziggler’s history repeats itself, allowing his current reign as champion to lead onto bigger things for his career. Doing this would also make the WWE World Heavyweight Championship seem that much more of a worthy possession, and so this would lead to more stars involving themselves in title-related story-lines.
  • Stop showing title matches in pre shows and less-than-mid-card matches! This seriously degrades the value of the title at stake, let alone match itself. How can we feel any respect for a championship/champion if they’re competing in matches that don’t even make any slots on live television? It’s like WWE are telling us where their priorities lie, having story-line-driven matches take up live slots over title matches.
  • Edge & Christian, The Hardys, and The Dudley Boyz had one of WWE’s most heated rivalries over the tag-team titles.

    Make each division more about the belt. The tag-team division is a very confusing one. Yes, you have your tag-team champions, but then you have teams consisting of two random Superstars put together competing for it. Tag-team title defences don’t come too often either, and should happen on a more frequent basis and be the focal point of tag-team rivalries. Establishing more concrete tag-teams would also make a difference, making the belts seem more of a serious prize that the roster strives to acquire. Hopefully the newly-crowned champions Goldust and Stardust can be the ignition of this process. Much of the same could be said with the Diva’s division, although AJ Lee and Paige are greatly aiding its resurrection.

  • Back in the day, if a championship belt was involved, it was the ignition of a feud or rivalry. As mentioned earlier, the belt nowadays is thrown in as some sort of ‘bonus prize’, with it being overshadowed by the rivalry itself. WWE should ensure that story-lines involving complex plots, ‘edgy’ content, and extremely personal rivalries should exist outside title matches. This would allow for exciting title-less matches to occur, increasing the strength of the overall show/pay-per-view. You’re probably thinking, “Won’t we just be left with boring and meaningless title matches?” If WWE played their cards right, they could still generate intense rivalries that are all about the title belt, without making it so personal that it overshadows the treasure at hand.
  • Create a couple of other divisions so that all Superstars have a goal to strive for. At the moment, WWE have a lot of talent that are championship material, but are floating about aimlessly and are wasted on pointless story-lines or over-ambitious title matches that everyone knows they’re not going to win. If divisions such as the Hardcore and Cruiserweight divisions made a return, we’d have more Superstars with an achievable goal in hand, giving championship belts on the whole more recognition and value. It would also lead to some extremely entertaining segments – who didn’t like the 24/7 Hardcore Championship rule back in the day?!

    The Hardcore Championship could change hands anywhere at anytime.

  • The final (and most obvious) suggestion would be to have titles belts change less frequently. As explained earlier, having title changes occur so rarely would increase the belts’ value as a prized possession, making the WWE Universe become more anticipated as to who will hold each title next. It also does wonders for providing a boost in momentum for a built-up star.

These are just a handful of thoughts and ideas of how WWE could regain their titles’ prestigious value back. With these values restored, WWE can achieve the perfect combination of story-line and championship-driven content, ensuring that every match in a weekly show or PPV has some relevant meaning. This would lead to more interesting matches, keeping everyone watching more engaged.

What are your thoughts? Are you happy with the way things are going right now, or do you agree that WWE title belts have lost their aura due to their de-prioritisation? Let us know in the comment section, and please share!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended.