My boy Fred made a suggestion last night that I do a Wrestlemania preview post after I went on a long tirade about why I am a bigger Lucha Underground fan than a WWE fan. He asked me to rank the matches in order of my excitement level, but I’m not event excited about more than half of the card. Instead, I’ve decided to list the top 10 things to look forward to about Wrestlemania weekend. Ready? Here we go.
Number 10: The WWE Hall of Fame Inductions of Sting, Jacqueline, and The Fabulous Freebirds
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled for all of the individuals getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, but these are the three speeches I am most looking forward to. The Fabulous Freebirds are a group we have all been waiting a long time to see inducted (much like Owen Hart or DPP *still waiting*) and I imagine Michael P.S. Hayes will have some very interesting things to say. But mostly I am looking forward to the speeches of Sting and Jacqueline, both of whom are admirable members of the pro-wrestling community. I think it’s a very interesting choice to have the Dudley Boys inducting Jacqueline, though not unfounded. I could skip Ric Flair crying over Sting, though, and just get straight to The Icon.
Number 9: The Interncontinental Championship Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 32 (Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Sin Cara vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder)
Let’s not kid ourselves – this match is going to be a lot of fun. Ladder matches are hard to book, and a seven-man match is complicated enough already. But I have the utmost faith in (most) of these guys that they will rise to the occasion of making the IC title match one to remember – and one hard to follow. Plus, hello, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will be appearing in their first Wrestlemania event! Congrats to them both!
Number 8: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay at Evolve 59
If you aren’t spending every free moment you have watching videos of 22-year-old Chaos-member Will Ospreay, you’re doing something wrong with your life. Also, if you’re not spending every OTHER free moment of your life watching matches featuring Lucha Underground’s own Prince Puma, Ricochet, you’re definitely doing something very wrong. These two high-flyers were always destined to collide, but when they run into one another in Dallas, you can bet it’ll be a barn-burner. Sounds like a good enough reason to get in on that iPPV action if you ask me.
Number 7: Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin at NXT Takeover: Dallas
There is a ton of hype around this match and I would just like to thank all of you for finally coming to the Baron Corbin table where you belong. I have always been a huge fan of Corbin, regardless of what type of character he’s portraying. But as a heel, he is magnificent and as his confidence has improved so have his matches. He has truly become a leader in NXT, and I hope they keep him there for a long time. Though he may feel he is destined for greener pastures (and I’m sure he is) he is a true asset to the NXT product, and the perfect first feud opponent for long-time vet Austin Aries. I have no doubt this match will be a sight to see.
Number 6: Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong, 2 out of 3 Falls at Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor X Day 2
I can’t imagine I would need to explain to anyone who knows the names Bobby Fish or Roderick Strong why this match is destined to be beautiful and messy simultaneously. Bobby Fish never lets me down, even as my attention has traveled away from reDRagon and back again. Roderick Strong has been involved in some of my most favorite ROH matches of the last few years, so it’s hard to imagine this match, clearly meant to go on for a solid length, will leave me in pieces.
Number 5: Matt Sydal vs. Kyle O’Reilly at ROH’s Supercard of Honor X Day 1; Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly, No Holds Barred at ROH’s Supercard of Honor X Day 2
Reason 1 to watch these matches: KYLE FUCKING O’REILLY. I adore this dude, please don’t make me explain why, just go google him or something. Reason Number 2: I adore Matt Sydal. If you didn’t watch him and Ricochet become IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, make sure you google that, too. (I’m going to give you a list – are you writing these down? If you just try them, I guarantee they will make you happy. Or at least ONE of them will, for cryin’ out loud.) Reason 3: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole in a “let’s let Future Shock just fucking kill one another” match of J’s ultimate fantasy. *drools*
Number 4: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar, No Holds Barred Street Fight at Wrestlemania 32
WOAH, HANG ON. THIS ISN’T NUMBER ONE?! No. You know why? Because as much as I love Dean Ambrose (and that is a lot. More than any other wrestler on this list actually) I know this match is likely not to give me what I want. It isn’t going to be a violent, bloody, or ridiculous as I want because of the regulations WWE has in place. Sure, it will likely be more vicious than anything else on the card, but it’s not going to be 2002 Lesnar vs. Mox in a Death Match which is the only way it could top this list. Sorry to disappoint.
Number 3: NXT Women’s Championship Match, Bayley vs. Asuka at NXT Takeover: Dallas
This is going to be a clinic. What we’ve all been waiting for is an opponent who can take Bayley to her limit and Asuka is that opponent. If Bayley makes it out of this match with her title, it’ll be amazing. If she makes it out of the match conscious, I’ll be shocked. But either way, Bayley is either going to prove herself to be the true queen, or she’s going to fall to the biggest monster WWE has seen since Brock Lesnar himself – and my money, Bayley, is on Asuka killing you.
Number 2: Sami Zayn vs. the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas
Shinsuke Nakamura is facing the biggest male babyface NXT has ever had in his WWE-ring debut and we are all crying already. Good luck to Sami Zayn making it to Mania on Sunday. YeaOH!
Number 1: WWE Diva’s Championship Triple Threat, Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania 32
Let’s remember for a second that last year all we had on the card was a tag match between Paige and AJ vs The Bella Twins. Let’s remember that the year before AJ defended her Diva’s title in a ridiculous Vicki Guerrero-instituted battle royal in the WORST spot on the card, moments after the Undertaker’s streak was broken. Let’s remember that three years ago THERE WAS NO DIVA’S MATCH ON THE CARD AT ALL. And now, we have finally reached a new pinnacle of the Diva’s Evolution (as I like to call it, as it’s a more reasonable word choice:) three of the four horsewomen are going to face off in what will likely be the best match, wrestling-wise on the card. And regardless of who wins, they will make an entire generation of women proud to be fans. This match will be the new litmus test.
To the little girl who sat next to me at the WWE Live event last weekend: these are your heros, these are the women paving the way. You cheer them, darling. They’ll make you proud!