It’s mid-March. WrestleMania 37 is right around the corner and it doesn’t feel like it to me. How about you?
By and large, I feel even less like this is The Road to WrestleMania than I did this time last year when the pandemic was a brand new thing we weren’t used to. Lately, I’ve been struggling to get excited at all. The creative direction and the lack of enthusiasm behind what is normally the best time of the year for WWE is striking.
Rather than do my usual March to WrestleMania breakdown of the title scenes, which seem to be in shambles and will result in a “well, this is the best option we can think of 2 weeks before the show…good enough” mentality, I figured I’d change this up a bit. Let’s focus on what we know, what we don’t know, what’s going right and wrong, and anything else in a general overview of the biggest show of the year…supposedly.
What We Know
Unless something changes:
- Roman Reigns will defend the Universal Championship against Edge — However, Daniel Bryan will look to alter that path as he fights The Tribal Chief for the belt at Fastlane.
- Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair will clash for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
That’s it. WWE hasn’t confirmed anything else. This close to WrestleMania and we have two matches scheduled. They were the Royal Rumble winner choices. That’s the bare minimum WWE had to figure out in advance.
What We THINK Know
There are several matches that we can assume will take place, based on the trajectory of some feuds. They may include different twists and turns, some stipulations or gimmicks we can’t predict ahead of time and so on, but they should be easy guesses for the lineup:
- Bobby Lashley’s only potential challengers for the WWE Championship are Brock Lesnar (long shot) and Drew McIntyre (virtually guaranteed).
- Asuka will likely defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair.
- Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt is a lock.
- I feel like it’s guaranteed both the Raw and SmackDown tag titles are multi-team matches. Likely, The Hurt Business against The New Day, RETRIBUTION and Lucha House Party, while Dirty Dawgs fight The Street Profits, Alpha Academy and Dominik & Rey Mysterio.
- Bad Bunny will do something. Maybe he teams with Damian Priest and fights The Miz and John Morrison. If Morrison is still injured, maybe it’s something different. Hell, maybe even R-Truth reforms Awesome Truth with The Miz in an attempt to get the 24/7 title back.
- Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon is probably a lock.
Of course, just because those seem like the logical next steps doesn’t mean that’s where WWE will end up. In fact, at times, it’s foolish to think WWE will go with anything remotely close to logic. We could very well be looking at Lashley dropping the WWE Championship before this show to Humberto Carrillo who fights one of Shane McMahon’s kids, for all we know.
What We Don’t Know
Even if all that does happen, there are still plenty of matches left to build to and time is running out.
- What is the plan for the Intercontinental Championship? What about the United States Championship? Is it Riddle against someone like Keith Lee and Big E against “TBD”?
- Will there be an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal? If so, who will compete in it?
- How about a women’s battle royal?
- Will the women’s tag team titles be on the line? Wouldn’t that basically render the battle royal pointless, if so? Could it be an alternative, where Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defend against lots of people (Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, Lana and Naomi, The IIconics could maybe reform, Natalya and Tamina, Bayley and Carmella, The Riott Squad). That would put most people on the card. The only ones missing would be Reckoning, Alexa Bliss, Lacey Evans (pregnant), Nikki Cross, Chelsea Green (injured) and Sonya Deville (authority figure).
- Will Rhea Ripley show up on Raw before WrestleMania, or is WWE dragging this out until after so they can avoid figuring out a plan for her on the show?
- What’s Daniel Bryan going to do after he loses at Fastlane?
- Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro – Is that a Fastlane thing or is that being stretched until WrestleMania?
- Are there any plans for AJ Styles and Omos?
To be honest, I think the answer to most of those, if you were to ask WWE, is “We’re trying to figure that out” rather than “You’ll see. We have a plan and we’re just waiting until Fastlane before we rush it all in the few weeks left before WrestleMania.”
What’s Going Well
Not much, in my mind. In fact, I’m wondering if this is somehow going to be more of a creative mess than last year’s, despite how WWE had a full year to get the hang of things, has a better venue, fans in attendance and more people available.
At most, I’d say the one positive is that there’s less of a chance people get taken off the card at the last minute. However, even that isn’t a guarantee.
The Major Struggles
Belair and Banks are so good, but their feud is garbage. It’s revolving around the same segment each week: they smile at each other, Banks says she’s better, Belair says “Girl, nuh uh” and then Reginald gets involved, for whatever reason. Doing a repeat of the Elimination Chamber tag team title match is indicative of how WWE clearly has NO IDEA what to do with these two and they’re just killing time and hoping the match itself is all that matters. Either zero effort is being put into it, or they’re completely lost and can’t think of a story.
I’m not sold on Edge vs. Reigns yet. Are you? On paper, it makes sense, but I don’t think they’ve done anything noteworthy. This is becoming very forgettable.
Lashley and McIntyre are doomed to fail. The intention would be that McIntyre wins the title back and gets the big pop in front of the audience that he didn’t get last year, but that’s not going to happen. Lashley’s too cool at the moment and people are happy he finally won the title. Guaranteed, McIntyre will get booed, WWE will get crapped on for not giving Lashley a better run, and this will look bad because it will seem like they can only give the title to a black superstar for a transitional reign. Even though I’m sure that’s not why this is happening, some will inevitably take it that way and be offended.