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Will WWE Wrestlemania 31 fail?
Wrestlemania 31, the WWE's annual extravaganza featuring it's top drawing matches and celebrity appearances, is just a couple of weeks away. Since it's inception, Vince McMahon has headlined Wrestlemania with marquee bouts like Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant and John Cena versus The Rock. Even people who are not wrestling fans, will rune into Wrestlemania just for the pomp and circumstance. This year however, seems to be a bit different. With just a couple of weeks left before the big event, excitement among wrestling fans is down. Even with the return of The Undertaker and the debut of Sting isn't enough to get fans excited for this one. Are the top drawing matches just not what the fans really want to see?
Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns
Everything that could go wrong with this match, is going wrong with the match. First of all, Reigns is not the all encompassing babyface that the fans want to see in the main event. This was proven at the Royal Rumble, when even The Rock couldn't get Reigns a decent ovation from the crowd. The WWE, steadfast in their desire to put Reigns on top, even gave him a defeat over perennial fan favorite Daniel Bryan at WWE Fast Lane. But even still, the crowd is still split on Reigns. Secondly, Lesnar has yet to appear on television to build up the main event. A contract dispute with Vince McMahon has led to Paul Heyman doing all the work for Brock. And even though Lesnar is expected to appear at Wrestlemania, the build up for their match has been nothing but lackluster.
Sting vs Triple H
Sting, one of the biggest fan favorites of all time, is set to make his debut at Wrestlemania 31. And yet, the fans don't seem to be as excited as they should. This may be a case of "just a little too late." The fans of today don't know who Sting is. And there aren't enough of the older fans to get the younger fans excited. The WWE, for their part, has also done and awful job in introducing Sting and giving the fans a reason to love him. Gone are the days of Sting stalking the rafters or repelling from the ceiling. Instead what we get is a man in his 50s wearing a trench coat and pointing a baseball bat. There was so much potential to his debut, but it has fallen quickly.
Bray Wyatt vs Undertaker
This match could be the exception to the rule. Although the Undertaker hasn't appeared on television to promote this bout, that's kind of his thing. For years, he would be represented on television by all sorts of special effects. At this point in his career, Undertaker is so well known that he doesn't need to be on Raw each week to hype his match. Bray Wyatt is doing it for them. That being said, there isn't that same excitement as there was when the Undertaker would defend his streak. Will it still be cool to see the dead man? Absolutely. But does the match mean as much? Sadly, no.
John Cena vs Rusev
For the first time in many years, John Cena is relegated to the under card and challenges Rusev for the WWE United States Championship. I've never been a fan of former Heavyweight Champions battling for a secondary title, especially a guy who is now the record holder. If their battle at Fast Lane is anything like their match at Wrestlemania, its going to be unexciting and plotting.
The Intercontinental Championship will be on the line in a multi-man ladder match. Expect the usual stunts from men like Dolph Ziggle, Stardust and Dean Ambrose. An odd component of this match is Daniel Bryan. Much like Cena, one of the most over guys in the company is relegated to mid card status. I'm not saying Daniel Bryan should be in the main event, but he is such a popular figure that surely he deserves a singles bout.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
An annual battle royal less likely to honor Andre the Giant as it is just a way to get more wrestlers onto the main show. Coming off the Royal Rumble, a battle royal just seems cheap.
Wrestlemania 31 may be a rebuilding year, so that later Wrestlemania's can feature new and exciting stars. Or, it could follow in the same vein as Wrestlemania 9 or 13 and just fall flat. But one can't deny that as of this writing, the momentum for Wrestlemania is slow and painful. And unfortunately, it doesn't look like its going to get any better any time soon.