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The Road To WrestleMania XXVI – Week 1

I consider the Monday after the Royal Rumble to be the start to what the WWE likes to call, “The Road to WrestleMania”. It’s generally where the the booking to the biggest show of the year becomes more clear and since the winner of the Rumble dictates at least one of the main events for Mania, it’s a good place to start.

With Edge winning the Rumble, we were all thrown a bit of a curve ball. One would think that it would be logical to assume that Edge was going to face Chris Jericho since they seemed to be leading there ever since and even before Edge got hurt last year. Jericho cut a promo on him that Edge referenced in his comeback interview on Raw last night. Injuries suck for the performers, but it’s actually ok for the product. Edge came back as a fresh character and the fans loved seeing him back. His promo was just the beginning of his storyline and it didn’t need to be anything other than the beginning of what they have planned. It was good to see Sheamus in the ring with him as they need to continue to get Sheamus in there with the big stars and show him as their equal.

I really like what they’re doing with Shawn Michaels and I think it’s an interesting parallel to the Bret Hart storyline. Though I feel that we saw this broken down Shawn last year during his angle with JBL, he plays the guy who has to overcome odds better than almost any guy can. He gets sympathy very easily. But it’s a interesting parallel in that Michaels wants something so bad and can’t have it, seemingly a bit down on his luck and Hart is trying to gain respect from Vince McMahon and is being manipulated and comes off a bit weak. However, because he’s so good at being the Bret Hart character, you desperately want to see him succeed, just like you do Michaels. It’s going to be fun to see where both of these storylines are headed and with Batista and John Cena thrown into the Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon angle, my intrigue went up. However, I don’t think they can go away from Hart and McMahon now settling their feud at WrestleMania in the ring. They can’t have Cena and Batista fight for them.

If they didn’t already whet our appetites for Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker again, I think I’d be fine with Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels in one of the main events. But I do think his other strongest match would be against Sheamus, who he’d probably be willing to get over (I didn’t say lose to). No one wants to see he and Randy Orton in the same ring with each other ever again. Speaking of Orton, I don’t mind him being involved with Ted DiBiase Jr. and the son of a son of a plumber, Cody Rhodes. If he can help raise their stature, it’s all good for all of them. But if he being in a three-way program with them doesn’t bring them up at all (like what eventually happened with Kofi), then I’d rather seem them go away from that angle.

I don’t like having two Elimination Chamber matches on one show, but for whatever reason, they can’t find a creative way to only do one chamber match and thus, we get two with both titles defended. I can see them taking the belt off the Undertaker, with Shawn possibly weaseling his way into the match to cause Taker to lose and setting up their match. Then Edge could challenge Jericho, if Jericho would be the one to win Taker’s belt in the chamber. I can also see Sheamus losing with Triple H winning the chamber, which could set up Triple H and Edge if the other scenario doesn’t happen. But I’d rather see Sheamus stay strong.

Now back to Vince vs. Bret. Both guys were tremendous in their own way during the last segment on Raw. Bret was great at being honest, forthright, and convincing, while Vince was great at being over the top, bombastic, and an asshole. I’m not sure I liked that Bret got his revenge for the kick, but technically, I guess it was an eye for an eye at that point, and when Batista came out and helped Vince spit on Bret, the favor returned to Vince again, which sets up Bret’s revenge again. I do wonder how much Bret Hart we’ll see on TV as they don’t want to shove him down our throats. Part of the reason this worked very well was because we anticipated seeing him again after not seeing him for a few weeks. He’ll stay over if they limit his TV time.

We’ll see what Smackdown has to offer and I’ll be back next Tuesday to share my thoughts.

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