Hmmm I’m feeling especially funky this week so let’s make this week’s soundtrack reflect that. Van Hunt should do the trick.
My Ragean senses are tingling and it could mean one of two things. Seeing as how no traces of one of those things were found last time I went to the doctor, I’ll assume it’s the other. That tingling comes from knowing exactly what you, Rage Nation, is thinking right now. You’re thinking “Chris, that soundtrack is awfully cheery for THE RAGER and aren’t you trying to stay true to your rage roots?”
My answer is simple, its WrestleMania week and I reserve this time every year to completely mark out and feel like a giddy kid all over again. Now, I’m not quite into full-on marking-out mode just yet (that’ll more than likely happy just before the actual event) so that leaves me with just enough negativity (also known as the scene were Jesus’ angry twin was born) and cynicism to squeeze out a new Rager to drop on every last one of you… and maybe then some left over (if that’s the case then those young whippersnappers with their thumping music in their Honda Civics better watch out for me).
So everything is in place for WrestleMania 28 and I would like to take a look at just how it’s all shaped up (I’m reserving all match predictions for the presumably forthcoming Roundtable, obviously).
Starting off is the setting itself, Miami Florida. When they made the announcement a year ago, I kinda sighed and wasn’t stoked about it. It felt like it was just yesterday that WrestleMania 24 was held in Orlando but when I re-watched that WM, I realized that WWE pulled off the outdoor event pretty well that year. So all-in-all, thumbs up for location.
Kelly Kelly & Maria Menumenamana (screw fact-checking!) vs. Eve & Beth Phoenix:
This match takes care of two obligatory WrestleMania staples, a Divas match (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was turned into a LumberJill Match at the last minute) and the celebrity-interaction schtick. Like most of you, I think that calling Maria Monopoly a celeb is playing fast and loose with the definition of the notion but I’ll play along for the simple fact that it’s two birds being killed by a merciful stone. Any year, the Divas and celebrity spots can be quite painful to power through so this year we only have to get through one segment. Thank you WEE (yup, I’m bringing it back).
Why it’s disappointing: We were supposed to get Big Show vs Shaq this year. I’m trying to say that I actually wanted to see such a thing but that would’ve meant that we wouldn’t be stuck with Show facing Cody. I still firmly believe Cody vs Goldust would have been an amazing thing and I’m disappointed that it’s being passed up just to give Show his Mania bonus.
Also, we’re not getting what everyone wants to see and that’s Beth vs Kharma. Don’t get me wrong, Kharma can take all the time she needs (and deserves to do so) because we all know she’s going through a traumatic time. I just really hope we get to see that match at some point.
Randy Orton vs Kane:
This is a card-filling/bonus-grabbing match and it’s as simple as that. I know this can’t be anything close to what WEE had planned for Orton at Mania and the injuries were a huge setback and that’s unfortunate seeing as how Orton has been healthy for a while and NOW he gets a slew of disappointments (same sentiments to Wade Barrett). This match could very well be entertaining on Sunday but, due to no fault on Kane’s or Randy’s part, there’s practically no build-up or excitement at this point.
Team Johnny vs Team Teddy:
I’ve talked to great lengths about this match the past few weeks so I’ll keep this segment brief. The only thing I have to add is how surprised I was about the final few spots announced this past Monday. I really assumed Johnny’s final spot would go to Del Rio and completely counted Miz out and was genuinely surprised when it went the other way. Then later in the night when Christian was taken out of the match, I thought that surely that would be Del Rio’s spot. But NO, we got something insanely left-field-ish with Drew McIntyre. We got a guy that’s hardly been on weekly programming and that hasn’t been on a PPV since Elimination Chamber ’11. And then on the other side of things, Booker T takes the final spot for Team Teddy that we had all assumed would have gone to Mysterio. Of course, in all of those cases, the reason can be explained by injuries not healing as fast as expected/hoped (which I truly believe to be the case with Christian). However, one has to think that it possibly has more to do with Del Rio and Mysterio getting out of the good graces of the WEE. Mysterio had his contract dispute not too long ago and Del Rio has stated in several interviews that he wishes he could go all MMA on some of the people he’s in the ring with (on top of the company not being thrilled at the lack of caring from the audiences towards Del Rio).
I am Disappoint: There’s still no MitB.
Big Show vs Cody Rhodes:
This match just reeks of disappoint for me. This just should not be. Of course Cody’s video segments were fantastic (or more accurately, everything Cody has done has been fantastic) however, Big Show could have easily been in Team Teddy (in the place of The Great Khali) and we still could have gotten Cody and Goldy. But it is what it is, I just hope the belt stays on Cody because I think it’s about time Honky Tonk’s record was broken… even though Cody is on the verge of main eventing. I would be okay with him holding multiple titles.
Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus:
The best thing about this match is that these two guys had a US title match at WM27 but got bumped to the preshow dark match and this year, they’re having a match for one of the major belts. That alone should solidify that both men are gonna put their all into this match. Sheamus has established himself as a big time face for SmackDown and I would argue that Bryan has become the top SmackDown heel after a huge bucket of cold water got dumped onto the Hall of Pain. The only complaint I have about this would be there not being any story between the two participants themselves. The main story in this seems to be how Bryan is a jerk boyfriend to AJ. However, I can overlook that factor because I’ve had high hopes for the match itself.
CM Punk vs Jericho:
I know for a fact that I’m not the only one to make the “match of the night” prediction for this and it’s really a no-brainer. I’m just flat-out excited for this and that pretty much speaks volumes for my cynical disposition. My single complaint would go to the jabs at the family Punk. I know Jericho prides himself on getting as much heat as possible and there would still be plenty of vocal Jericho supporters had he not offered this latest development (although I would argue that anything short of actual murder wouldn’t discourage people for cheering for Jericho). I just felt like it was a bullet that could have (and should have) been saved for another feud. Maybe it could be used by a lesser established heel at some other time or a face turning heel or something along those lines. But I’m going to put all that aside the rest of this week, I’m friggin stoked.
Undertaker vs HHH (Shawn Michaels special ref):
I rolled my eyes the moment it because evident we would get Lil’ Taker and Lil’ Trips (cartoon coming to you at some point… patent pending) part 3. I got a little bit more invested with the Hell in a Cell match but then I remembered that HiaC matches are now regular matches with an obscured foreground (and I thought I would never use anything from those film production classes). Add in Shawn Michaels in the mix and I think WEE have gotten the audience interested fully. Personally, I feel as if you can’t build up interest in just Taker and his streak on that alone, then you’ve failed. They shouldn’t need HHH or Shawn Michaels or a cage to make people interested but WEE likes their formula (this coming from a life-long HBK fan who is giddy for any reason that he’s on my magical tv box).
Rock vs Cena:
It has been a full year since it was announced and boy have we noticed the time creeping by. We started with immense excitement, followed by the acknowledgement of it being a loooong time away and it kinda mellowed since that point. Finally, after Elimination Chamber, BAM we get Rock every week for some weak-sauce/baby-town-frolic promos and pretty solid points made by John Cena. WEE has not held back one bit in trying everything they could to get you invested. I’ll speak plainly: they failed right until the final promo between the two last Monday. The one thing the feud had been sorely lacking was real, true emotion. We had head all the jabs back and forth all year and we heard how there was genuine discontent towards each other backstage but we never actually SAW that emotion manifest until Monday. Both guys in the ring, yelling at each other and feeling as if they could rip each other apart right then and there. It was the first time I didn’t roll my eyes when the two opened their mouths all year.
That being said, I’m in.
So there you have it. WrestleMania is set and the only thing to do now is enjoy it. The question I have for everyone now is just how will you celebrate it? As for me, I’m making a weekend out of it and taking off my aggravating weekend job. A bunch of friends are coming down Saturday and we are gonna get all dressed up in suits and play laser tag (as per tradition). Sunday, Joel Leonard and myself are going to host a special pre-WrestleMania class (including power point presentation, of course) to assist non-wrestling-watching friends that are joining the festivities. And then, of course, is WrestleMania, where I will try to hide my childish giddyness from my girlfriend (it’s okay, she won’t read this). After WrestleMania, I plan on having a belated viewing of the Game of Thrones season 2 premiere. So again, let’s hear YOUR super awesome WrestleMania plans!
Side note: Joel Leonard recommended that I start watching NXT on the basis that it was actually pretty entertaining and he definitely wasn’t wrong. I mean, William Regal is just fantastic on commentary, Johnny Curtis is actually funny and holy crap is Tyson Kidd really awesome in the ring (not saying I didn’t know that already, I guess I kinda forgot). Anyways, I just might have to add a NXT segment to THE RAGER every week.
My final thought for this week’s elongated episode of THE RAGER is this:
I know this column has had sort of an identity crisis, I went from full rage-mode, to “everybody lets just chill and enjoy,” to whiney rage (lookin’ at you Kue), and back to full rage-mode and I always try (and give up on) a different format every week. But all in all, I’ve enjoyed bringing you this column every week over the course of my first full year with Pulse Wrestling and I’m already excited for the post-WrestleMania lull when I just get angry over everything WEE does. With that being said, follower me on Twitter so we can share thoughts/quips/crude humor during WM28. But most importantly, Merry WrestleMania to you and yours and lets just enjoy this oh-so-special time of year.
Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,
The Answer: My dreams are getting fat, I’m pretty sure I dreamed about cake last night…
Tags: AJ, big show, Booker T, chris jericho, christian, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, HHH, john cena, John Laurinaitis, kane, randy orton, shawn michaels, sheamus, Teddy Long, The Miz, The Rock, the undertaker, wrestlemania, WWE