Thursday, April 18, 2024
EditorialHow Should WWE Balance WrestleMania XL's 2 Nights?

How Should WWE Balance WrestleMania XL’s 2 Nights?

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WrestleMania XL is fast approaching and the card is nearly full, even after spreading it over two nights.

But although there are just a few episodes of SmackDown and Raw left, we still don’t officially know which matches will be on which night. Imagine the frustration to those who are attending live, having only purchased one of those tickets!

As it stands, one match is official for the first night, while two are by default designated to Night 2. Other than that, everything else is fair game.

So how does WWE balance out the two cards? Which matches should go where? In what ways have they painted themselves into a corner they can’t get out of without causing some kind of booking glitch? And what other matches will make up the remainder of the lineup?

Working with what we currently know, what we can assume will be on the card, and some of my random fantasy booking suggestions that may not necessarily be in the works, here are my suggestions for how to balance out WrestleMania Weekend 2024 to make room for all the festivities, including two nights of Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns and The Rock.

Side Note: I’ve got my annual Mania contest going on over at Smark Out Moment where I’m giving away 3 Rocky Maivia Funko Pops. Check it out and enter if you’re interested!

Matches Yet to Be Announced / Confirmed

If WrestleVotes is to be believed, we’re looking at only 4 more matches to be added to the card that we don’t already have confirmed.

That isn’t much, considering how many people are still left lingering with nothing to do, but if you consider the number of Superstars who weren’t on the card last year, it seems like it’s just how WWE operates anymore. Not everyone can get on the show when the roster is as big as it is these days.

My best guess is that those 4 matches will be the following:

  1. Rey Mysterio (and the Latino World Order) vs. Santos Escobar (and Legado Del Fantasma)
  2. The Pride (Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits) vs. The Final Testament (Karrion Kross and AOP)
  3. Dominik Mysterio vs. Andrade. Possibly this includes JD McDonagh being ringside for Dominik’s behalf, or maybe even a tag team match where Andrade teams with Ricochet.
  4. A Women’s Tag Team Championship match. If Asuka’s too injured, maybe instead of The Kabuki Warriors, it’s Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai. I guess Bianca Belair teams with Naomi. Maybe a ton of teams are put together to throw a lot of women onto the card, but maybe not.

It sounds crazy, but names like Jade Cargill, Tiffany Stratton, Chad Gable, Shinsuke Nakamura, Liv Morgan, and Nia Jax could just be forced to sit this out. Check out my Raw and SmackDown March to WrestleMania posts to keep track of those Superstars on the sidelines.

Going forward with this balancing act, I’m approaching it with just those 4 matches and nothing else, although there’s always a chance something gets added to the Kickoff. Lord knows there’s no need for 4 hours of talking about the card that weekend when we’ve watched all those weeks/months of television and we’ll get those same video packages on the show itself anyway.

I do expect the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to return on the SmackDown prior to WrestleMania, rather than to be on the card itself. Even on the Kickoff. This just seems to be where they’ve relegated this lately. Considering how they haven’t once pushed the winner beyond just a couple weeks in 10 years, there’s even a chance this doesn’t even return at all.

It’s still a good way to get people almost onto the WrestleMania card, even if it doesn’t truly count. The match is also an easy way to fill up time on that show, make it seem like it isn’t just promos, and keep the other talent away from each other. But until they confirm it, I’d have to assume it’s still up in the air if we get it at all. Stay tuned for at least my fantasy booking rundown of what that could be.

But knowing the full current lineup and those 4 matches above, let’s see how we can not overload Night 2 with all the title matches, while also not overcompensating by front-loading WrestleMania, either.

The 3 Confirmed Spots (IE, the 2 Main Events + 1 Carryover)

Obviously, the tag team match with The Rock and Roman Reigns against Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes will be the main event of Night 1. This dictates Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship as well as Reigns vs. Rhodes for the WWE Championship will have to be on Night 2, in what I would assume is the main event.

Options for Opening Matches on Both Nights

My guess is we’ll see Rollins/McIntyre open Night 2. That kicks off the crowd hot, likely with a title change. The alternative is to go with that midway through the show to act as the pre-intermission moment. It depends on if WWE wants to start the night with a downer of a heel winning (if that’s indeed the plan) after most likely ending the previous night with the heels winning the tag match, so there’s a looming threat of the same happening to Cody later, or if they want to make that the Act II break and start off with something happier.

In any case, the opener of Night 1 is entirely up in the air, and we have a lot of viable options to pick from.

I doubt it would be Mysterio/Escobar, Pride/Testament, Dom/Andrade, the women’s tag title match, or even really AJ Styles against LA Knight. Instead, I’d narrow it down to Jimmy and Jey Uso, the Gunther vs. Sami Zayn match, the Six-Pack Challenge for the tag titles, the Triple threat for the United States title, or either of the women’s championship matches.

My gut tells me it won’t be Rhea Ripley against Becky Lynch. I don’t know why. Just a feeling. Of course, I could be dead wrong.

If we’re to believe Logan Paul saying he’ll be on April 7th, that would imply he’s booked for Night 2, leaving him off that opener spot for the first night.

While I could see an argument for the tag team title ladder match going on first to allow the crew time to set up any ladders ringside, I’d make the case that they’ll have plenty time to do that during one of their MANY video packages and commercials we’ll see. Plus, the ladder match will be such a clusterf*ck that it’ll be a nice change of pace from the singles bouts, so it should go in between two standard matches to break up the monotony.

Bayley’s gotten such little attention for the promotion of WrestleMania that it makes me doubt they’ll have her open the two-night affair, even with her title change. As much as women’s wrestling has upgraded over the years, it does still have a stigma of feeling lesser to a lot of the casual audience, and when Bayley and Iyo Sky are treated like they aren’t as important overall, that hurts them.

Plus, there’s another problem with that…

Night 2 Can’t Have All Title Matches + The Damage CTRL Problem

Do you have Bayley beat Iyo before The Kabuki Warriors (and/or Dakota Kai) lose the tag titles? Doesn’t it take the wind out of the sails of the tag match if they go into it with Iyo having already lost? Or does WWE simply not care enough at that point?

WWE also can’t realistically put both Bayley/Iyo and Ripley/Lynch on the same night, nor can Night 2 have all the title matches. That would make Night 1 a fool’s event of the lesser fights. Next year, people would be buying tickets for the second night and leaving Night 1 open to even further discourse of the main event “not really counting” as a true main event and such arguments.

I also think there’s a chance Ripley retains over Lynch. At some point, there’s a management of heel and face victories as well as title changes and retentions that need to be balanced out.

Do you open Night 1 with Gunther retaining his title, fans frowning, and then moving on? Or do you open it with a non-title match just to get them fired up?

For that matter, does Jey beating Jimmy need to be placed far enough away from the tag match on Night 1, or entirely away from Night 2, to differentiate those wins and losses from The Bloodline?

Ultimately, here’s how I think we’ll end up seeing this play out…

PREDICTED LINEUP – NIGHT 1

  1. Opener = Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso
  2. Intercontinental Championship: Gunther vs. Sami Zayn
  3. The Pride vs. The Final Testament
  4. Women’s Championship: Iyo Sky vs. Bayley
  5. AJ Styles vs. LA Knight
  6. Tag Team Championship Six-Pack Challenge
  7. Main Event = Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns & The Rock

Start the show off with Jey Uso getting the crowd riled up during his entrance. He likely wins, putting smiles on faces to get the ball rolling.

Title match next, with a “downer” outcome of Gunther retaining.

Final Testament and The Pride have their big clash. Maybe it’s a gimmick match, like a Street Fight. That would dictate, in my mind, being separate from the ladder match, the Night 2 main event, AND the United States title match. But it could just be a six-man tag team match that is rendered a total bathroom break (no disrespect to the talented people involved, but there’s a hierarchy here)

Ramp back up again with a title change and Bayley beating Iyo. This finishes at the mid-way point of the show.

Personal rivalry between Styles and Knight could very well end with The Phenomenal One on top to keep that feud going. Even if it doesn’t, it still separates some title matches.

Then, there’s a big bang of the massive ladder match. I’m convinced the titles change hands here with some shenanigans with the belts, possibly splitting the Raw and SmackDown championships. But that’s your last “positive” of the night.

Night 1 ends with the downer of Rock and Roman winning, and the cliffhanger of how Bloodline Rules is going to impact tomorrow’s show.

PREDICTED LINEUP – NIGHT 2

  1. Opener = World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
  2. Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
  3. Andrade vs. Dominik Mysterio
  4. United States Championship Triple Threat: Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton
  5. Rey Mysterio/LWO vs. Santos Escobar/LDF
  6. Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Becky Lynch
  7. Main Event = Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes

We keep the ball rolling with the downers. Last night’s main event woes are felt with Rollins not having much time to recover. He drops the title to McIntyre. Even though that’s a “negative” outcome, it’s a positive in the sense that the crowd gets to see a title change from the start of the night. It heats things up fast and sets the tone for how doomed Cody is.

Then, there’s a break from that with a positive. Bianca Belair and her partner (Naomi or Jade Cargill, I’m assuming Naomi) win the tag titles. Yay.

Bathroom break. Andrade and Dom have their match in whatever fashion that’s going to be.

Logan Paul is a featured act. Owens and Orton are very popular stars. They do their thing. I’m not convinced there’s a title change, but there might be.

Mysterio’s LWO is victorious over Escobar and his crew. It involves more than a 1-on-1, and it’s one of the less important matches, so if anyone needs a bathroom break that didn’t take it with Andrade and Dom, you’re good to go now.

Semi-main goes to The Nightmare and The Man. They’re among the most popular stars today, it’s a title match, and I think people are expecting a title change, but it could go either way. If the belt does change hands, maybe it doesn’t go on this spot and they shift that to before the Mysterio/Escobar match. One wrong guess on my predictions could dictate all other matches shifting around.

Finally, Night 2 ends with a No DQ match of hopefully Cody Rhodes successfully beating Roman Reigns and the celebration that follows, to send the crowd home happy.

What do you think the lineup should be for these nights? Drop your ideas in the comments below!

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