The Road to Wrestlemania is underway and for the most part, fans know the major matches taking place the Show of Shows.
One feud that seems to be brewing right now is a potential program between former Raw Women’s Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley.
Banks and Bayley recently had a Twitter exchange about the latter wrestling Asuka, which is leading some fans to believe they will enter into a program between the two NXT alumna. Given the timing, fans could see Banks and Bayley wrestle in a one-on-one match at Wrestlemania.
It’s only a matter of time.. https://t.co/MwRHqtprdN
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) February 10, 2018
Until I beat her… https://t.co/FfxxeYvI0u
— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) February 10, 2018
…Yeah, like how you beat me? Pppffttttt https://t.co/Kv0QPQw34M
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) February 10, 2018
Although it not be seen on the same level as the women’s title matches or other bouts on the card, Bayley vs. Banks would be a great addition to Wrestlemania in New Orleans.
The card for Wrestlemania is laid out for the most part. Four matches are confirmed for the event:
- A.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship
- Asuka will challenge for either the Raw Women’s Championship or the Smackdown Women’s Championship
- The finals of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament
- Brock Lesnar will defend the WWE Universal Championship against the winner of the Men’s Elimination Chamber match – most likely Roman Reigns
There are other unconfirmed matches for the event
- Ronda Rousey vs. Stephanie McMahon in some capacity, possibly a mixed tag team match
- The Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship against either Finn Balor or Braun Strowman
- Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
- John Cena is scheduled to have a big match
- Whoever Asuka doesn’t challenge will likely defend their title
If all of these matches come together, it will be nine matches on the main show. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is usually held for the pre-show, but with the HBO documentary based on Andre, WWE may want to feature the match on a larger platform.
Adding Bayley vs. Banks would bump the main card to 10 matches, which is the same number Wrestlemania 33 had the year before. There are several potential matches WWE could book as the 10th match, but if the company wants to make Rousey a focal point of the show, it would make sense to have as many women matches as they can at the show.
Banks and Bayley are big enough names in the company to where they can build to a good match and make it a five-star classic.
Fans still talk about their two star-making performances at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and NXT Takeover: Respect. They have had matches on Raw and wrestled on pay per views, but WWE could give them enough time at Wrestlemania to tell a great story in the ring that is as good as their singles matches or NXT, or better.
WWE doesn’t need to give them 30 minutes for their match.
Undercard matches like Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania 21 and Christian vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XX told good stories in under 16 minutes.
Banks vs. Bayley at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn was under 20 minutes.
Some fans may complain that Banks vs. Bayley wouldn’t have the importance of a title match, but it doesn’t need to – at least not right away. Cody and Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12 didn’t have any stakes up front, but it did – at least partly – lead to the current drama between the American Nightmare and Kenny Omega.
Banks and Bayley can use their past in NXT, friendship outside of the ring and their rivalry as a way to build to their match at Wrestlemania. If the plan is to turn Banks heel, she could be Bayley’s friend and say the match is to see who is better, then turn on her during or after the match.
As for the aftermath, the winner of the match could go on to a new program with whoever they want. Bayley could resume her quest for the Raw Women’s Championship. Banks could as well, but she could also approach McMahon and say “screw championships, I want Ronda in the ring.”
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 16, 2019
For Raw, they got the best addition from the shakeup to their show, which was AJ Styles. After Styles really made his mark on Smackdown, it seemed like WWE creative was running out of ideas of what to do with Styles on Smackdown. So, having him on Raw is really intriguing now and it should be interesting to see what the future holds for him on Raw.
For Smackdown, their biggest addition from the shakeup was Roman Reigns and the way they introduced him to the show was entertaining. After Vince McMahon announced that the “biggest addition in Smackdown history” was Elias, Roman Reigns interrupted and ended up clearing out the ring and declaring that Smackdown is his yard now. Reigns needed a change of scenery after being on Raw for few years, so this is something the WWE universe should be excited for.
For Raw, while it was great to see an NXT tag team called up, the name they gave him is horrible. Formerly known as the War Raiders, who are the current NXT tag team champions were called up to Monday nights. But, they decided to change their name to the Viking Experience, which is one of the worst name changes in WWE history.
For Smackdown, they had a match between Carmella and Charlotte Flair and this felt like filler. After all the new names that they brought onto Smackdown during the shakeup for the women’s division, they could have had one of them in this match instead of putting them all together in the 8-women tag match that was featured on the show later.
The Final Verdict
For these being the superstar shakeup episodes, both shows felt a little underwhelming. While we are able to think of the possibility of matchups that we will see in the future because of this shakeup, the introduction of these new names felt like they should have been a bigger deal. Along with that, it seemed like WWE either was confused on how to handle some of these shakeups or they purposely wanted to confuse the fans. A prime example is how Finn Balor went to Smackdown with the Intercontinental championship. Since this was introduced to us on Smackdown, is there no secondary belt now on Raw? Or did Samoa Joe just automatically move to Raw because he currently was holding the original secondary belt on Smackdown? Overall, as to who had the better show, I will have to say that Raw had the better show. The additions of the Miz, the Usos, Rey Mysterio, Andrade, AJ Styles, and Naomi are all new faces that were due for this. In conclusion, while the shakeup could’ve been handled better, the future should be intriguing as WWE prepares to fully move on from Wrestlemania.
Matt Hardy Responds to John Oliver’s WWE Segment
John Oliver, host of HBO’s popular ‘Last Week Tonight’, took WWE to task in a recent episode over their lack of healthcare for their performers, bringing a dark element of the treatment of WWE superstars to light.
Since then, wrestlers have spoken out, both in support of Oliver’s segment and coming to the defense of WWE.
One of those coming to WWE’s defense is WWE superstar and future Hall of Famer Matt Hardy, who praised WWE and how far they have come over the years.
“When I first started here [1997/1998] the locker room, everything was like the wild wild west then” Hardy said in an interview with FOX Sports (h/t Wrestling Inc). ” The change that has happened in those 20-plus years has been unreal. I mean, now the drug testing is very stringent. … You have to be here, and you have to be good and you have to be on top of your game. You have to be a professional. The physicals they do as far as cardiovascular and just checking you over and over — [there have] been several guys they caught that have had serious [health] issues that could have been life threatening if they didn’t catch it here, and just the way they take care of you. “
“Every surgery I ever had, WWE has paid for. They’re very faithful and very good about that. It’s just some of the stuff that the John talked about was kind of passé, kind of outdated because now they really do [take care of wrestlers’ health]. They take care of everything especially stuff that happens in house. As far as the whole health insurance thing, that’s kind of a different argument, because we do a different gig in many many ways. But WWE has never done anything but be great to me.
“They’ve taking care of me in every capacity, every front. And they’ve given me a great life. I mean one of the characters I play is ‘Big Money’ Matt, who’s like this millionaire that’s been around for a long time, and you know there’s a lot of truth to it in some ways, and I wouldn’t have that persona and I wouldn’t have the great life that I have right now if it wasn’t for WWE.”
WWE Hall of Famer Stevie Ray Talks Not Joining WWE After WCW Buyout
WWE Hall of Famer Stevie Ray, who was inducted as part of Harlem Heat, alongside his brother Booker 2, in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame, recently discussed why he never joined WWE following his career in WCW.
Stevie Ray recently appeared on an episdoe of ‘Conversations with the Big Guy’ with host, and former WWE superstar, Ryback and talked about his thinking when WWE bought WCW.
Although his brother Booker T went on to WWE, Stevie Ray didn’t want to do the same.
“I didn’t want to go to WWF (WWE). As a matter of fact, the last WCW Nitro, I didn’t even attend and they sent me a ticket. Bu,t I was always in the mindset of this is competition to me. This is NFL vs AFL, or National League versus American League in baseball. WCW vs WWF, to be honest with you, bro, I didn’t want to go out like a bitch.”
The Monday Night Wars were hard to get past for Stevie Ray.
“We had been fighting for the team (WCW). But when I heard Vince McMahon had come in, and stuff like that, which I knew was coming, it’s like, you saw the writing on the wall and you put it in the back of your mind.
But at the end of the day I knew it was going to happen. But I didn’t attend the last show because my brother [Booker T] said that they (WWE) are going to be auditioning people. I told him that he should do it, but I’m done.”
Stevie Ray was concerned that WWE would change to Harlem Heat, stripping them of the elements that made that tag team so special.
“I wanted people to remember Harlem Heat as an ass-kicking tag team of color, you see what I’m saying? I didn’t want us to be something else. I didn’t want us to turn into a “Doink the Clown”. So, I’m not saying that they would have done this with Harlem Heat, but, I didn’t want to lose the edge that we once had as Harlem Heat.”
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