WWE’s biggest weekend is just one week away and strangely there are still plenty of questions unanswered.
The TakeOver card was finalized this week, but the Mania card still has a few glaring holes. Will the Raw tag titles be defended? How about the Smackdown tag titles? Are more than 3 men competing in the Andre Battle Royal? Is there even going to be a women’s battle royal? And where the heck is John Cena??? They have just one more Raw and one more SDL during which to answer these questions AND continue pushing the matches that we already know about.
PPV Event Plans
NXT TakeOver: New York, Apr. 5
NXT Title: 2 out of 3 falls for the vacant title: Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole (bay bay)
NXT Tag Titles- War Raiders© vs Ricochet & Aleister Black- Ricochet and Black defeated the Forgotten Sons to win this year’s Dusty Rhodes Cup and also earn this title shot against the War Raiders. What remains to be seen though is if the tandem also gets to go for main roster tag titles 2 days later.
NXT Women’s Title-Shayna Baszler© vs Io Shirai vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane
NXT UK Title: Pete Dunne© vs Walter
NXT North American Title: Velveteen Dream© vs Matt Riddle
WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony, Apr. 6
-Degeneration X: Shawn Michaels, HHH, Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn
-Honky Tonk Man
-Warrior Award Inductee: Sue Aitchison
-Hart Foundation- They were one of the 1st rumored entrants for this year’s HoF class, and finally were announced. This induction refers only to the original tag team of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart. The later faction that included Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Brian Pillman unfortunately still carries with it too many issues with surviving family members wanting nothing to do with WWE. It’s still great to see The Anvil get recognition for the sake of his daughter Nattie. It’s a shame it didn’t happen a year or two sooner though so that they could have that moment together.
There are several teams/factions in this year’s Hall of fame class. That means several men are getting their 2nd HoF rings. Prior to this year only Ric Flair was a two-time inductee, as both an individual and a member of the Four Horsemen. I don’t think anyone would argue against a guy like Flair, one of the greatest and most influential wrestlers of all time being recognized twice. This year Shawn Michaels, Booker T, and Bret Hart will all get inducted for a 2nd time. This seems a bit much for a single year and takes away some of what makes it special. Hopefully this is not a new trend that will continue every year.
Wrestlemania, Apr. 7
Host: Alexa Bliss
Guest Singer: Yolanda Adams –A live performance of “America the Beautiful” has traditionally opened the show since Wrestlemania I, and this year it will be performed by legendary gospel singer Yolanda Adams.
Special Correspondents: Michael Che & Colin Jost of SNL
Universal Title: Brock Lesnar© vs Seth Rollins
Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey© vs Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch– Will they or won’t they actually allow the women to close the show on the biggest night of the year? That’s the question fans have been asking for months now, and WWE officially ended all speculation this week. The term “main event” tends to be thrown around pretty fast and loose by WWE when it comes to Mania, but they made it pretty clear this week that the Raw Women’s title match would indeed be THE main event. Congrats to everyone who has worked so hard the last few years getting us to the point that this isn’t JUST a bit of history making publicity but a genuinely worthy moment for the industry.
Additionally, Joan Jett will be performing her song “Bad Reputation” live as part of Ronda Rousey’s entrance for the big main event.
WWE Title: Daniel Bryan© vs Kofi Kingston
Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy© vs Tony Nese
No Holds Barred: Triple H vs Batista
Farewell Match: Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin
Miz vs Shane McMahon
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
United States Title: Samoa Joe© vs Rey Mysterio
Andre Memorial Battle Royal: Braun Strowman, Colin Jost, Michael Che
Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre
Intercontinental Title: Bobby Lashley© vs Finn Balor- Balor earned his way into this match by defeating Lashley and Jinder Mahal in a 2 on 1 handicap match. There were rumors when Balor dropped the title back to Lashley that there were larger plans in the works for the Irishman. If yet another rematch against Bobby were those plans than I have to question why they traded the title back and forth. It seems to me that if this was the plan all along it would have been much better just to have Balor on the hunt all this time and finally get the big victory AT Wrestlemania. It’s going to be far less of a “moment” now given that he just had the title a couple of weeks ago.
Women’s Tag Titles: Sasha Banks & Bayley© vs Natalya & Beth Pheonix vs Nia Jax & Tamina vs The IIconics
Rumored possible matches: Usos vs Hardyz, Revival vs Ricochet & Black
One rumored match that definitely will not be happening now is Asuka’s title defense against Mandy and Sonya. The scheduled #1 contender match we were expecting to see on SDL this week was scrapped at the last minute in favor of a title match for Queen Charlotte. Flair defeated the perpetually poorly booked Japanese star and will now carry the Smackdown Women’s Title into the Raw triple threat. It’s a shame they felt the need to once again bury the once dominant Asuka in favor of adding an undefended title to the main event. The only way I can see a happy moment coming from this is if they close out the show with all 4 of WWE’s “Horsewomen” in the ring together holding every women’s title.
There will be plenty of action taking place during Wrestlemania’s fan Axxess event all weekend. There are 3 NXT UK TV tapings set for the weekend as well as a number of cross-promotional bouts. Former NXT stars will face current NXT stars, cruiserweights from all 5 brands will do battle, and many other interesting combinations. Most of these will be assembled for another “Worlds Collide” special to be aired on the WWE Network at a later date.
NXT recently announced the signings of a couple of guys who may already be familiar to those who watch other promotions, and both men made their debuts last week as managers at NXT house shows. Robert “Robbie E” Strauss is a former TNA X-Division champion who also competed of Dwayne Johnson’s competition series the Titan Games. Robbie showed up at a March 21 show wearing a suit and beginning the formation of an international faction. His 1st clients are Indian wrestlers Saurav Gurjar and Rinku Singh. The following night he added Riddick Moss to his stable.
Also making his debut at the March 22 show was popular indy manager Stokely Hathaway. He’s now going by the WWE name Court Moore, and his client is the impressive monster Babatunde. The Polish behemoth has impressed me every time I’ve seen him and an experienced mouthpiece like Hathaway could be just what he needs to rise to the next level and start making an impact on NXT TV.
Assorted News and Notes
The Bella Twins are officially retired from in ring competition. Though they had not been full-time roster members in a long while, the sisters had made sporadic appearances for big moments such as last Fall’s Evolution PPV. On the most recent episode of their Total Bellas reality show Nikki made it clear that match was her last…. And yet, she has already started talking about a willingness to return at some point.
There are conflicting reports circulating about Dustin Runnels’ contract status. Many outlets were reporting that his WWE deal had already expired some time recently and that his non-compete period would be up by May. Goldust himself took to social media to declare these rumors false but the rumor mongers seem to be sticking to their guns. If he truly is a free agent by May he would be able to make a big debut at his brother Cody’s 1st AEW PPV and offer a nice veteran presence to that roster. This is one rumor we’ll have to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Due to TakeOver New York happening on Friday, next week’s Scrumming PPV Preview report will be published a day early on Thursday.
- New NFL Playoff format could be game changer April 2, 2020
- An A-to-Z look at the best Lightning player for each letter of the alphabet March 30, 2020
- Week in pro wrestling 03/23/20 Pro wrestling’s new norm March 28, 2020
- A series against Toronto should equal first round redemption for the Bolts March 25, 2020
- Hes’ back! Bucs sign Ndamukong Suh to new deal March 25, 2020
- Potential playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers March 24, 2020
- Vinik to victories: A decade of Tampa Bay’s best moments March 24, 2020
- Butherus: Where is now if why? March 22, 2020
- Week in pro wrestling 3/16/20 Pandemic affects the wrestling world March 22, 2020
- Done deal! Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer March 20, 2020