And just like that, we are on the road to WrestleMania.
More importantly, we now know the two big matches. We now know the focus of WrestleMania 35 will be over the two biggest titles on Monday Night Raw -- the WWE Universal title and the Raw Women’s title. (If you would like to talk to yourself into Daniel Bryan and his new hemp belt facing Rey Mysterio for the WWE World title being one of the top programs heading into the event, be my guest, but that will not be the case. Should be a fun, irrelevant match, though!) WrestleMania 35 will be about two of the biggest MMA superstars of all-time trying to keep their titles from two of the hottest pro-wrestling characters of the last year.
As of this writing, the WWE Raw Women’s title match at ‘Mania is a singles match between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see Charlotte Flair is getting added to this match. There is a reason the women’s Royal Rumble ended with Charlotte being the last wrestler eliminated by Lynch. There is a reason the opening segment on Smackdown Live this week ended with a stiff shot from Lynch to Charlotte. Flair is still very much a part of this story.
Also, what if her story...is the story?
When Lynch turned on Flair at SummerSlam, the plan was not for Lynch to become The Man and the hottest babyface act in the business. No, it was it to give Flair more juice and sympathy as a character. There is a reason Flair is already a six-time champion and held the Smackdown Live Women’s title for the longest amount of time in the company’s history. There is a reason that Flair was chosen as the wrestler to end Asuka’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. There is a reason the WrestleMania main event that we spent most of the 2018 talking about was Charlotte Flair versus Ronda Rousey and how this company was going to get there.
Then Lynch caught fire and plans changed.
Or did they?
Has Vince McMahon ever been the type of showrunner to drop his long-term plans for the flavor of the month? Did this guy not put Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania year after year when nobody was clamoring for it? Did this guy not do John Cena versus Randy Orton 930034 times when nobody was clamoring for it? Did this guy not upend the Summer of Punk with Kevin Nash and Triple? Did this guy not upend the Yes Movement with the Wyatt Family?
Why would Vince change who he is now? Why would Vince give Lynch her moment in the sun over two characters he has clearly shown to be much, much higher on in the past? Has that ever sounded like something Vince would do? Give in to an organic rise of a wrestler he never really believed in? Vince spent years building to Reigns finally slaying the Beast at WrestleMania and still didn’t pull the trigger on His Guy.
I just can’t see it.
It feels too NXT-y for WrestleMania 35 to end with Rollins and Lynch winning the belts and Making Raw Great Again in the following months. The idea that Charlotte, Rousey and Lesnar all come out on the losing end of WrestleMania 35 is too much. It’s too much EWR and not enough Vince McMahon Still Runs This Shit, My Guy.
So I like Charlotte to win.
So I like Lesnar to win.
I’m more confident in Charlotte over Lesnar, but I’m confident in both. I’m confident that Vince McMahon doesn’t want to see Lesnar face Chris Jericho in All Elite Wrestling anytime soon, and that means keeping the title on Lesnar for a longer amount of time. If he is not going to allow Lesnar to lose to Reigns clean, do we really think he is going to allow Seth Freaking Rollins to curbstomp Lesnar to close a WrestleMania with no shenanigans? Are we watching the same company?
Charlotte feels inevitable, as she has seemed and felt her whole existence on the main roster, in this kind of match. Why would you give her the rub against Asuka the year prior, pencil her in for the biggest match of her career against Rousey, only to have her tapout to The Man? It just doesn’t add up. Charlotte is not getting added to this match just to be the fall woman. No, Charlotte is getting added to this match to win. For a seventh time.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Vince will adjust. Maybe Vince will throw the fans a bone and give them, checks notes, what they actually want -- Rollins and Lynch. Or maybe Vince will stay Vince. I’ll bet on Vince staying Vince.