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Top-Down Smackdown: Mania’s Main-Eventers, Knocked Back Down

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Normally, the people who main-event the largest wrestling show of the year continue to do so. Hulk Hogan was consistently at the top of every card in his era, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels after that, the Austin and the Rock, and more recently John Cena. And yet, thanks to circumstances and odd calculations, I suspect the men who recently were built up for months to headline WrestleMania will not be main-eventing any more pay-per-views for a while.

Brock Lesnar’s reasoning is obvious – his contract is for limited appearances, so now that he’s no longer the champion, this means we’re going to get several “suspension/resigning” angles. Which is stupid, really – you showed footage of him re-upping for real, so just acknowledge what his contract is on TV. When he’s champion again, if he is, have Paul Heyman explain there’s a clause in his contract that supersedes the 30-day mandatory defense rule. It’s that easy. But there goes me expecting logic again.

Roman Reigns may well get a rematch against Seth Rollins, and it may have even been announced by the time you read this. But I suspect it won’t be 1:1 – Randy Orton has been thrown into the mix, as it seems to be dawning on WWE that despite their best efforts, Reigns is not the same level of draw as a John Cena type.

The last time I can remember a main-eventer getting such a demotion so quickly is also the last time a bad guy won the main event – the Miz, who got bumped to the pre-show this year so that the Rock and Ronda Rousey could make everyone in the company look inferior to the stars of Furious 7. But perhaps a better guide for Reigns’ future trajectory is the Big Show, who periodically makes his way back into the title picture, but mostly shows up every time the storyline requires a big angry guy. Over the years, commentators like Jim Ross have hinted that the Big Show didn’t work as hard as a could have to be a top-level star; he should stand as a lesson to Reigns that you have to keep working to improve, always.

Meanwhile, I give props to the storyline that has John Cena defending the US title every week. In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have him do that on Smackdown, and Bryan do it on Raw. With Lesnar having conditioned us to expect world title defenses only on special occasions – something that should be considered (albeit not to that extreme; think more like Hulk Hogan fighting only at Saturday Night’s Main Event, etc.) with Rollins too – the secondary titles have room to step up and be meaningful. The side-effect of that is it will actually be a big deal when Cena or Bryan participate in tag-team action…as opposed to the default main event of every show.

In other news, Sheamus’ comeback with a stupid haircut and beard-style is hilarious, but how long can he stay a bad guy when he’s so entertaining? I have a particular fondness for Irish characters who are complete dickholes, having known more than my share in Ireland. I can also tell you that anyone appearing like Sheamus currently does would get his arse kicked in the mean streets of Dublin’s north side for looking like a “tick eejit”…fella.

A.J. Lee’s retirement announcement was sudden, if not slightly expected – it can’t be easy to work at a place that your spouse still bitches about constantly. Even if it were easy, it wouldn’t necessarily be healthy. Obsessing over past jobs, while natural, is too often a negativity trap. I’m guessing AJ wants to have a kid before the very real chance comes about that her hubby will actually get his nuts kicked into infertility by genuine jiu-jitsu fighters in the octagon. She could always go into acting later – her portrayals of an unhinged mind early in her career were convincing indeed.

Now…how, exactly, did WWE decide that just plain “Neville” had more of a ring to it than “Adrian Neville”? And how about those Lucha Dragons? I can’t imagine Kalisto can continue the pace he showed last week without officials telling him to slow down, but I’m starting to remember what it used to be like to watch Rey Mysterio.

What, if anything, has your interest post-Mania? Talk back about that and Raw below.

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist