So as usual, every year rumours aplenty swirl around Wrestlemania, ranging from surprise returns to how matches will go to long-term post-mania plans to which NXT folks will get the post-mania Raw and Smackdown call-ups. Today’s Mania Countdown will discuss the more prominent amongst those rumours this year. PLEASE note that I will NOT address absolutely STUPID rumours like Kenny Omega will be in the Andre Battle Royal or suchlike. If there is absolutely ZERO possible way the rumour could EVER come true, (Omega is under contract with New Japan until January 2019), there is ZERO point in humouring it or wasting column space discussing it.
The Results of Bryan/McMahon Vs Owens/Zayn
Okay, even before this match was ever made official, before we EVER knew we were in fact getting it, there were rumours aplenty surrounding it. One rumbling for example is that, even before knowing if Daniel Bryan would ever get the green light to compete again, plans were already in place for Bryan to face Shane McMahon at Summerslam just in case he did indeed get medically cleared. With that clearance given and the Mania match made, that rumour has gained traction, and the major rumour surrounding this match is that Shane will full on turn heel, attack Bryan for months of contradicting his decisions, and cost them the match, guaranteeing Owens and Zayn they keep their jobs and setting up the build towards the long rumoured Summerslam match now that Bryan being cleared opens the door for it.
Then there’s the rumour that, after Owens and Zayn lose, Owens will go back to Raw, but Zayn will stay on Smackdown disguised as El Generico. This rumour is less prevalent, but it HAS been fuelled by the El Generico Twitter Account suddenly waking up after 5 years of silence. This of course could just be Zayn trolling the fans, given they’ve wanted to see Generico on WWE pretty much since Zayn signed, but then, given the emergence of Woken Matt Hardy, it suddenly DOES feel possible that WWE would be willing to go this route. I mean, it wouldn’t even be the first time WWE has run an “I got fired but I’m back under a mask and everyone knows it’s me but they can’t PROVE it so HAW!!!” angle. They did it with Hogan as Mister America, and they KINDA SORTA did it with Edge & Christian as the Conquistadors.
Of these two rumours, the former is the most likely to be the one that plays out, assuming SHANE is medically cleared for Mania after his NOT a work Diverticulitis. I mean we’re talking the thing that nearly killed Lesnar, cost him half a liver, and forced his MMA retirement. And all reputable sources have confirmed Shane’s illness is NOT a work. There is a very real chance he may not even BE at Mania, and if that happens, they’ll need to call an audible and give Bryan a surprise replacement, and most likely go with the latter plan.
The Results of the Andre Memorial Battle Royal
There are literally DOZENS of different rumours and theories and fanwank about how this year’s ATGMBR will play out, and to discuss every single one would take probably 10 full columns on their own, so here I’m just going to cover the three I’m seeing posed most often on youtube and social media.
- Jeff Hardy makes a surprise return as Brother Nero and helps Matt Hardy win.
- Bray Wyatt makes a surprise return repackaged as Woken Wyatt and helps Matt Hardy win.
- Either or both make a surprise return and COST Matt the victory.
Notice how all three of the ideas I’m seeing and hearing most loudly and often from fans, wrestling news sites, etc, ALL surround Woken Matt? Yeah, we’re going to talk more about THAT part of it in tomorrow’s countdown. For THIS column, let’s discuss the impact and likelihood of these rumours on THIS match.
First of all, let’s rule out Wyatt even appearing. His repackaging following Ultimate Deletion is going to take a few more weeks at least. That story is going to be drawn out awhile. So not only is Bray unlikely to appear at all, he certainly won’t appear to help or hinder Matt. Especially as Goldust is already quickly filling the heel adversary role for Matt for the time being. Jeff on the other hand, is cleared for return, was one of the highlights of Ultimate Deletion for the all of 5 seconds he was on screen, and is perfectly time to be a surprise. So it IS very likely that Jeff might appear, regardless of whether or not it’s to help or hurt Matt. The bigger question would be HOW. The arena in New Orleans is huge. He couldn’t be an actual entrant in the battle royal. That would ruin the surprise. He’d have to appear out of nowhere near the end of the match. But as the New Orleans arena is covered rather than the open ceilings of the last two, the odds of pulling a Lights Go Out Oops Here I Am Hi There with Jeff is doable. So the odds are good that Jeff WILL make a surprise appearance. Whether it will be on Matt’s side or opposing him will be another matter. And honestly that could go either way.
Who Will Be Braun’s Partner?
The prevailing rumours for Strowman’s big secret mystery partner are Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose, Big Cass, or a surprise NXT Call-up.
Mysterio has already been ruled out, confirming he WAS in talks, but hasn’t been cleared to wrestle after his recent muscle tear. Ambrose is a more recent rumour, after he was suddenly yoinked from all his scheduled appearances at Axxess this coming weekend with no official reason offered by the WWE, leading some to speculate him as the mystery partner, but there has been no word of him being medically cleared after his injury this past fall. An NXT call-up is unlikely, as the only NXT stars to debut on a Mania are the obligatory Andre Battle Royal entrants. That leaves Samoa Joe and Big Cass, both of whom have been gone since the middle of last year with injuries, both of whom have fully rehabbed and been cleared to wrestle, both of whom have been spotted backstage at recent Raw shows. So those two are the most likely candidates. And of the two, most folks have their money on Joe.
I am not one of them. I can’t see them putting Joe with Strowman as a partner when they’d work so much better as opponents. And honestly Joe is so over he doesn’t NEED the rub of being paired with Strowman. I’ll probably turn out to be wrong but my guess is Joe, if he shows up on Sunday AT ALL, it will be in the Andre BR. That leaves Cass, who was over as Rape Boy’s partner but kinda lost steam with the crowd after his heel turn. Cass actually needs the career boost he’d get returning as Braun’s partner and winning the titles his first night back. Plus it would let him return as a face, because honestly he’s just better that way. Cass just does NOT work as a heel. The option here that makes the most sense, and most benefits all involved, is for Braun’s mystery partner to be Big Cass. Which is why it’ll likely be Joe. Because Goddess forbid WWE book anything logically.
The Return of BikerTaker
It’s pretty much a given that Cena WILL wrestle Taker on Sunday, despite having not shown up even on video to cut so much as a silent thumb across the throat promo. It’s certainly been a damned weirdass build for the match. And yet an interesting one. I mean, I am SO not a fan of Cena, given how many Abuser Red Flags he shows on Total Divas/Total Bellas, (which for Nikki’s sake I hope to all fuck are fully scripted, because if even HALF of what we see of real life John Cena on those shows is genuine and unscripted, I’m genuinely scared for her future), but the frustration he’s shown throughout this build has been palpable and believable, and he’s won fans over on this angle completely by himself.
That said, WWE wouldn’t have had Cena cutting all these frustrated promos if Taker hadn’t already agreed to the match. Not at their biggest show of the year. That just isn’t how WWE works. With the moneymaking stakes of Mania each year, plus the fan interest in this match, WWE simply WOULD NOT have Cena cut these promos week to week unless the match was already set in stone. So why the uncharacteristic silence from Taker even on the Go Home show? The most likely reason is so his entrance at Mania has that “Holy shit are you seeing this?” factor. With Kid Rock going into the Hall of Fame this year, the odds are high that Taker will be his American Badass self, complete with Harley and Kid Rock Theme song. (Though PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t let Kid Rock actually perform Taker to the ring, given these days he sounds like a screeching half-dead turkey). If he had shown up like that on the go home show, it would have detracted from his Mania entrance. So all the odds are in favour of this rumour being true. 100-1 we get Bikertaker at Mania.
Well those are my takes on the biggest and most talked about rumours for this year’s Mania. There are a few other rumours I could address, like Carmella cashing her MITB contract on Asuka after she beats Charlotte, but I just can’t see that ever happening here. But you lot? Please do feel free in the comments to talk about any other big rumours I missed, or chime in with your opinions on the ones I covered.
See you tomorrow when this column gets…. DELETED!!!
Tags: A Penny For Your Thoughts Wrestlemania Countdown, Rumours, wrestlemania, WWE