The Fantasy Book on Hittin’ the Road to Wrestlemania (First Stop – Elimination Chamber, John Cena, Randy Orton)

Greetings all. We are officially road trippin’ to Wrestlemania. We thought about getting a party bus, but with the way expensive vehicles are treated in the WWE, we decided it would be best to just travel down the old Information Superhighway. Are you with me? Let’s pack up the station wagon and roll…

Let’s start with getting a few things off my chest regarding the Royal Rumble. First, the Rumble itself. Frankly, I thought it was pretty boring. I am not sure why it has gotten the praise it has, as I didn’t see that it deserved it. For a match where you had at least a third of the participants set up to logically win, to go with Randy Orton doesn’t make much sense. I’ve been enjoying Orton with the Wyatt Family storyline. I hope it continues. And I hope they don’t try to force a split between Orton and Bray yet. But let’s say that Bray wins the title at Elimination Chamber and they go with the whole Wyatt Family drama with Orton versus Wyatt at Wrestlemania. Does anyone really consider that to be a main event?

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Bray Wyatt and have been hoping the WWE would do more with him. But Orton? Main eventing Wrestlemania? In 2017? My goodness, I don’t think there is enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake for that. Especially after a 14 hour show, or however long it is. I think the WWE is making a mistake here. Orton gets pops for the RKO. But other than that, he is boring. The hanging DDT is too contrived in its setup to be interesting. His snap powerslam is scary and not in a good way. I think he is going to break someone’s neck every time he does it. And the Garvin stomp? Really? Yawn, yawn, yawn.

And if Wyatt doesn’t win the belt and the main event winds up being Orton versus John Cena, I may just have to set myself on fire.

There were also a lack of surprises in this year’s event. Especially when so many surprises could have been thrown out there without trouble. There were many times where the ring was just filled with dead weight waiting to be eliminated. Couldn’t you have thrown a few surprises in there during those down times to at least keep the crowd interested? Couldn’t you have at least debuted Samoa Joe or brought in Kurt Angle or Batista or a returning Finn Balor? Heck, you could have even dragged Ric Flair out there and had it be a fun little surprise.

Now, I mentioned his name, so let’s get to that. I have zero problem with Samoa Joe fighting Seth Rollins. That could actually be a very fun thing. And I am cool with Joe being introduced as a heel. People are going to cheer for him anyway, just because he is so badass, but he could work as a heel here to help Rollins get over more as a face. What I don’t like is if they treat him like he is just Triple H’s muscle. Samoa Joe works as his own man, doing whatever the hell he wants without fear. Having him be ordered around by Triple H will be frustrating at best and very detrimental at worst. Just let him and Rollins go at each other and let those two talents bring the story. Triple H can now step aside and let the fun go down.

Let’s get to the undercard. People have been very high on the undercard of this event, and for the most part, rightfully so. The Owens versus Reigns match was good, even with the Braun Strowman interference. (And hey, I called the brass knuckles spot! Woohoo!) But if this doesn’t set up Strowman versus Reigns, what is the purpose? Owens shouldn’t give Reigns another match after beating him multiple times. And as over as Strowman is getting, he isn’t title shot at Wrestlemania over, I don’t think.

But if Reigns is out of the title picture, and Strowman is out of the picture, who will Owens wind up facing at Wrestlemania? Chris Jericho? While that might be fun, it is going to wind up playing like an alternative timeline to the Wyatt family implosion over on Smackdown Live! Seth Rollins is going to be distracted for a while. Maybe Finn Balor will come back to take a shot at the Universal title? That would be awesome, but I have a different idea about the Universal title. I’ll get back to that in upcoming weeks.

Charlotte Flair defeating Bayley at this event was the right call. They need to keep building Bayley until an eventual win at Wrestlemania feels like an even bigger deal.

Neville defeating Rich Swann to take the Cruiserweight title was a good match and important for the division. In fact, I am surprised they hadn’t pulled the trigger on that one before the PPV.

Then the WWE World title took center stage. And John Cena won, tying Ric Flair for most World Title reigns ever. And it was a good match. I don’t even mind all that much that Cena won. But here’s the thing – I do NOT want to see John Cena in the main event at Wrestlemania. I want to see AJ Styles in that spot. And maybe we will still see it, but it isn’t looking good right now. And what will happen to AJ? Will he be curtain-jerking against Dolph Ziggler? All of a sudden, Styles’ place in the peckng order seem to be a very iffy situation.

On a good note, there is very little that seems to be decided about other matches at Wrestlemania. We have no idea who Undertaker will be wrestling, and that is always a big match. Strowman and Reigns appeared to become a focus going to Wrestlemania but then Reigns threw Undertaker out and stared him down. Would they go with Reigns versus Taker? Would they do a 3-way match? Will Taker wrestle someone else entirely, like perhaps Finn Balor or Sami Zayn? Maybe Taker will be inserted into the Brock Lesnar versus Goldberg rematch? Taker has a historic grudge against Lesnar and Mean Mark threw Goldberg out of the Rumble match. Plus, those three men were all in the ring together on Raw’s go-home show before the PPV. Who knows at this point.

One other note, I thought having Baron Corbin eliminate Braun Strowman in the Royal Rumble was genius. Strowman was built up as an unstoppable monster on Raw. And you have the Lone Wolf wrecking havoc over on Smackdown. Their stories are not exactly the same, but they both have been dominating their respective shows. So, they have Strowman look unstoppable in the first half of the Rumble. That was to be expected. Then, you figure Corbin would come in and throw a bunch of people out as well in the middle of the match. You might even have the two of them come face to face for a stare down at some point. But I never expected Corbin to be the one to toss Strowman. And it worked perfectly. Corbin didn’t have to throw out a ton of people, he just had to eliminate his biggest threat. And he did. So coming out of the PPV, Strowman is still booked strong because he eliminated 7 other people. And Corbin is still booked strong because he eliminated the monster who eliminated 7 other people. Very, very good booking for that aspect of the Rumble.

So now, as we round the bend, we see the exit for Elimination Chamber coming up. We will dive into that a tad more next week, but I will say this – I did not like the way they announced the participants in the Chamber match itself. Daniel Bryan said something like the 6 top superstars were going to be in the match. But none of those 6 are Randy Orton, who just won the Rumble. Are you saying that one of your main eventers for Wrestlemania is not one of the top SIX superstars on your own show? That is an unfortunate way to get this travel plan started.

Until next week, kiddos. Be good to each other.



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