Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on the events surrounding WrestleMania Week 2019 including NXT TakeOver: New York, the Hall of Fame and WrestleMania 35.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Richard Staple, Chris Holden, and Ethan Absler.
1) “What are you most looking forward to seeing at the WWE Hall of Fame this year?”
MANGO: I’m hesitant to trust the changes they’ll be making to the ceremony this year, but I’m hoping they give X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg a decent enough time to talk. Their speeches are what I’m most anticipating, as well as the general atmosphere.
STAPLE: Seeing Chyna getting inducted into the Hall of Fame in any capacity will be cool. I know people will say WWE is low-balling her by inducting her in as a member of a faction as opposed to an individual induction, but it’s better than nothing, right?
HOLDEN: Honestly, the end. It’s become more and more of a waste of time, in my opinion at least, every year since inception. No question The Hart Foundation are a HOF-worthy team, Harlem Heat can also make a strong case, and of course DX as a stable should be there. But Brutus Beefcake? Torrie Wilson? Sure, as it stands, in a Hall of Fame that already includes Koko B. Ware, I get it. It’s not “really” a Hall of Fame as much as it’s an Acknowledgement of Accomplishment. But for me at least, that makes me care less and less about it each year.
ABSLER: I am most looking forward to seeing Degeneration X’s induction. I think the stable getting inducted is not only well deserved, but I can’t wait to see their energy one more time and believe it will bring an element of fun and unpredictability to the show.
2) “Which show do you think has more potential, NXT TakeOver: New York or WrestleMania 35?”
MANGO: I have faith TakeOver will be the more concise (obviously) and overall better show when looked at in a bubble, but I think there’s more potential for WrestleMania to be more memorable in the grand scheme of things.
STAPLE: Considering WrestleMania is going to have about 15-16 matches, Takeover will be holding my attention longer. WrestleMania’s length is ridiculous. You could divide it into two separate PPV’s. NXT’s match card is a third of the length of WrestleMania.
The ol’ “quality over quantity” battle is something NXT always wins. Although if Seth and Kofi leave with the world titles, they could have bigger individual moments than NXT.
HOLDEN: Since I’m not expecting much from Mania, and expect a fantastic show from NXT, I guess WrestleMania has more potential. It’s felt like an underwhelming build to the crescendo that is supposed to be Mania this year. Everything has seemed more generic than usual, like we’re heading towards any PPV on the schedule instead of the Showcase of the Immortals. Having said that, I can’t shake the feeling they’ll put on a special show with moments we’re really not anticipating. Could just be my stupid hope acting up again.
ABSLER: I think NXT TakeOver has more potential again simply because I believe the WrestleMania card is too cluttered. For the last few years in a row, TakeOver has outshined the Show of Shows and I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen again this year.
3) “Are you satisfied with the backup plan of Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship match?”
MANGO: Admittedly, it isn’t what I would have gone with, but I know it’s going to be a great match, so I’m cool with it. I just hope this doesn’t mean Gargano loses just to avoid going with the obvious win, and that they push off his title reign for months, as well as holding back The Undisputed ERA from jumping up to the main roster. Basically, this will be great and it’s a good option for the card, but I’m withholding some judgment until finding out the ramifications a month or so from now.
STAPLE: I mean, this is about as entertaining a backup plan could get. Gargano and Ciampa have had entertaining battles, but let’s not forget the two faced each other for three straight Takeovers last year. Having them face off again after Ciampa had an extended feud with Aliester Black would kind of be motonous.
This is a completely fresh matchup, and it gives Adam Cole, one of NXT’s top performers, an opportunity. I am very much looking forward to a great bout.
HOLDEN: Yes. In fact, this is probably an even better story at the end of the day than Gargano vs Ciampa again; we’ll still certainly get to see that again down the line, but for now, it gives a different, equally compelling, direction to Johnny Wrestling. Should be a fantastic match, two out of three falls, can’t wait!
ABSLER: If there was ever a good backup plan for the NXT title picture, this would have been my number one choice. Cole brings versatility and legitimacy to the NXT title and nobody is more deserving of the spot in the first place than Johnny Gargano.
4) “Regarding the two battle royal matches, which male and female superstars do you think WILL win and who do you think SHOULD win?”
MANGO: For who will win, I’m leaning toward Strowman or Lars Sullivan for the men, Mandy Rose or Lacey Evans for the women. For who should win, I’d go with either Strowman or Andrade (or maybe Kevin Owens) for the men, Asuka or Shayna Baszler for the women, although part of me does really want to see Mickie James get a boost and another accolade.
STAPLE: Male: Strowman probably should win, but knowing WWE, they’ll give the victory to one of the SNL guys.
Female: Asuka should win since her opportunity to have a title match at Mania was taken away, so I also think she will win as a consolation. Though I really think someone like Ruby Riot could use something big to give her some credibility.