Wrestlemania: What Match Starts the Show?

There has been a lot of talk about what is going to be t he opener for this year’s Wrestlemania. There have been many moments where we got a solid opener for a match.  Some examples that come to mind are Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania 21, a match that I was fortunate to witness live.  Then not that long ago we had a match between Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio that stole the show.  If there is one thing that can be said for Wrestlemania, it’s that the first impressions matter and that if you don’t have a solid opener, you leave people thinking that this is gonna be a long couple of hours.  Now does this mean that you should start the show with the heavy hitter? Not necessarily because if you do that, you raise the bar too high and in some cases you’ll have matches that will not be able to reach that level.  You also have an example of last year where you started with the World Heavyweight Title match between Edge and Alberto Del Rio.  The first impression that I remembered having when watching that was that “Great, nothing is gonna happen here.”  The reason I thought that was because if there was going to be anything major that would happen in that match, it would have been later on in the card.

That being said, there has been a lot of talk about what should start off this year’s Wrestlemania.  There have been many that have said that Chris Jericho vs CM Punk should be the one to start off the show.  Bad idea because if you do that, you run the same risk of what happened with Del Rio vs Edge last year.  Punk vs Jericho has all the potential to be the show stealer and they’ve done a pretty good job to this point of building up that match.  To leave it as a 10 to 15 minute long match that will be the kick-start of the show seems like too much of a waste. So once again, you start off with this match, and you run the risk of raising the bar so high that it can’t be reached. Nobody has brought up the Hell in a Cell match and to start the show with that one would be an even worse idea so I’m not going to go into that option.

Then you have Cody Rhodes vs Big Show.  For better or worse, they’ve been hyping up this match to some kind of degree.  I could see this being the starter if anything because of Big Show since it’s not the first time he started off Mania since we once got him losing the US Title to John Cena at the start of the show.  But the reason I’m not so sure if this is a good idea is for the fact that you had Cody Rhodes kick off the show last year and while we know he can do it, this is something that should be given to something else. You also have Randy Orton vs Kane but that seems to be a step down for Orton, but the one way that it serves is that there hasn’t been near the great amount of time used to build up the storyline for that one.  You also have regrettably Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus and I say that because people ought to care about this match, but they don’t.  Bryan’s establishing himself as a heel, but I keep worrying how much of it will distract from his abilities and as far as Sheamus goes, hard to really buy into him being pushed when all he’s gotten have been tackling dummies with occasional competitors like Dolph Ziggler. It’s like Sheamus got the push for the WHC and the Royal Rumble win simply because he was there.

Then you have the 12 man tag that will determine who runs both shows.  The only reason people care about this is for the slight possibility of not seeing John Laryngitis on TV anymore, something that I would very much welcome for the simple fact that it’s bad enough that I have to put up with Monkey Cole’s horrible announcing skills where he doesn’t sell anything except himself. I have said that my problem with Not So Big Johnny is that there really is no room for his character to branch out as a heel.  His character is a one level character much like Vickie Guerrero where you see one side of them and no that no matter who you put them against, this is all we’re ever going to see and that is not a good thing. Heel characters have to have a certain ability to adapted keep their character fresh in some way without getting stale or boring. But anyway, back to the match, you have Long’s team with R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder and The Great Khali while Johnny’s team has Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and David “Dead Weight” Otunga.   Two spots remain, one for each team and the only intrigue is to see who actually makes it onto there, but it’d have to be something big and/or something that nobody expects for people to have the “you have my undivided attention” mentality which sadly, people don’t have for this match.  Some people are saying Alberto Del Rio and some are saying Rey Mysterio. I can see Del Rio on Johnny’s team but what I think could come out of this is that since The Miz is on a losing streak anyway, what if this match was him jumping on the bandwagon for Teddy’s team since he already couldn’t get a spot on Johnny’s team and ends up winning the match for Teddy Long.  It works in multiple ways because you have The Miz end his losing streak, gets his match at Mania, and you have him as a face which will leave the door open to numerous possibilities for the guy.   It’s one of the few ways that you can make this match matter or at least somewhat have a moment to kick off the show as a “Welcome to Wrestlemania” moment.

Bottom line, it comes down to Sheamus vs Bryan or the 12 man tag or Randy Orton vs Kane.  The reasons vary but any of those would be better suited as an opener.  The first two for the lack of care from the fans towards it, thus you have little expectations but plenty of room to show them up and surprise them.  Orton vs Kane is not so much for the lack of caring but for the minimal amount of build-up when compared to the rest of the card. This is supposed to be one of the biggest Wrestlemanias to happen in years, and the WWE should make everything count and that includes the opener.


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