WrestleMania weekend is finally upon us, and the WWE Universe seems to be excited about the awesome two nights of wrestling we are about to see. Beginning tonight with NXT TakeOver New Orleans and finishing with WrestleMania 34 tomorrow night, WWE is going to need to be hitting on all cylinders for the next 48-hours to put together the best shows possible.
The question is though: Which show will be better? TakeOver? Or, WrestleMania?
While most main show pay per views are hit a miss nowadays, more often a miss than a hit, though, NXT seems always to put on the best show of the weekend when compared to WWE’s main roster. Since the first-ever NXT TakeOver, which featured Neville and Tyson Kidd going one-on-one in the main event for the NXT Championship, the developmental brand has put on amazing match, after amazing match, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Tonights TakeOver event features three matches that could easily main event, and also steal the weekend in the North American Ladder Match, the NXT Championship Match, and Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa.
Aleister Black has constantly churned out great match after great match in NXT, his career highlight so far being him vs. Velveteen Dream at NXT War Games, is going up against one half of WWE’s last Meltzer rated five-star match in Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas for the NXT Championship. This match will no doubt be a contender for match of the year in NXT and will leave fans in awe by the end of the night. Couple this match with the barn burner that it should follow Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa and once again WWE’s main roster will have a near-impossible chance of having a better show.
Gargano and Ciampa have been embroiled in this rivalry since Ciampa turned on, and beat up, his former DIY teammate back at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. Unfortunately, shortly after the event, Ciampa was put on the shelf due to a knee injury. Once he came back though he became the biggest thorn in Gargano’s side that he could, attacking Gargano at every possible opportunity, and leaving him a pile of pain and agony at the end of two different shows. Fans want nothing more than to see Gargano walk away victorious tonight, but they also want to see him move up to the main roster after Mania. The good news is, both could happen.
WrestleMania, on the other hand, has its own set matches that fans are looking forward to. From the triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship between champion The Miz, and challengers Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, to the long-awaited dream match between WWE Champion AJ Styles and 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble Winner Shinsuke Nakamura. This years WrestleMania card could be the best one in the last decade. So, it really could be a tough job to decide which show was better, once it’s all said and done.
Aside from the two Mania matches already mentioned, WWE’s main roster show also boasts a match fans have been asking for since Asuke came to the main roster in the middle of last year when she takes on Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. It’s Queen vs. Empress and title vs. streak, as this match has the potential to outshine, by a wide margin, the other women’s matches tomorrow night, and even some of the men.
Charlotte vs. Asuka, while it hasn’t gotten the best build, it didn’t need to have a great build. It’s two of WWE’s best Women going to head to head on the “Grandest Stage of Them All.” What more could you need? Having the two face-off in the ring week after week, without things coming to blows, seemed pointless, and WWE was smart not to do that. There was no need to give us more than what we needed when it came to these two. Sometimes less is more, and that was the case with this build.
Would it have been nice to see them trade blows before Mania? Sure. Was it needed to keep fans excited? No.
WrestleMania 34 also boasts the return of Daniel Bryan to a WWE ring. Something we haven’t seen since right after WrestleMania 32. Even if it is in a tag match with Shane McMahon as his partner, he is still going up against two of the best, and most underrated, WWE has to offer in Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. This will no doubt be a good one.
Although NXT has one of the best feuds going in the wrestling world, second only to Cody vs. Kenny Omega, WrestleMania will probably be the show that many fans are left talking about once the weekend’s events are over. Even though it’s going to be a seven-hour show, there doesn’t seem to be a bad match on the card. Sure Angle and Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon may drag on, but the other matches on the card will have no problem making you forget about that match. Plus, the ending of that match, Stephanie getting her arm “broken” (not the Matt Hardy way) will make everyone forget how bad the rest of the match was.
I could be wrong come Monday but with matches like Styles and Nakamura, Charlotte and Asuka, the IC Title Triple Threat, and the SmackDown Live Tag Team Triple Threat I don’t see how Mania could possible disappoint this year.
*Knocks on wood*