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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WrestleMania 32: The Super Tournament of WWE Supremacy

Hear me out on this

WWE would obviously love to shatter the American indoor attendance record at WrestleMania 32 of 108,713, currently held by the 2010 NBA All-Star game. That also took place at Cowboys Stadium, so if history is to be made, that's obviously the building to do it.

There have already been stories that WWE plans to convince any and all physically-capable icons to work this show, with the intent of creating the biggest WrestleMania of all time. In other words, they're working on earning that attendance.

A modest proposal, if I may.

Inevitably, WrestleMania is the realm of the part-timer. In recent years, you can count on the 'house shows are a sin' crew of established stars to take up some of the bigger WrestleMania matches. Even Triple H and Undertaker, staples of the last 20 WrestleManias, are technically part-timers, and they don the ring attire every spring to settle some suddenly-budding issue.

Since part-timers will especially be on the menu for 32, 32 makes me think of tournaments. I'm not proposing a 32-man tournament, but I am proposing *a* tournament.

A tournament for the vacant WWE Championship

I'd hate to bring our old pal Abeyance into this, but let's say that by the 2016 Rumble, the belt ends up vacated after some screwy finish between Rollins and Lesnar or Rollins and Reigns or Rollins and someone.

Well, to make the biggest WrestleMania ever interesting, you assemble the most impressive tournament of stars in wrestling history, and institute a one-night tournament to crown the new champion.

Let's say you pick eight main-roster studs and eight part-time icons to fill out the brackets. How would it pan out?

I'd go John Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, and Rusev for the current crop. Maybe you can rebuild Dean Ambrose by then, maybe not, and he can fill in for Wyatt or Rusev, but for now, let's go with these eight.

For the stars of yesteryear, we'll take Brock Lesnar, The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, Sting, Shawn Michaels (it's Texas, he could be swayed), Chris Jericho, and Hulk Hogan. Hogan can be a first round exit so he doesn't bump, but he helped fill the Super--er, SilverDome. Let him take credit for one last house.

That's a hell of a group, isn't it? All of these different eras melded together, like the pages of the WWE history book. I mean, if WWE's going to be so self-reverential to its own past, may as well make the most of it.

Imagine the episode of Raw post-Fast Lane (assuming that's the name next year) where they announce the brackets. Like THAT wouldn't draw a monster rating? And if you're saying that it's a bad idea because WrestleMania IV was a drag-ass pile of dung, remember: that was a drunken businessman crowd, and this tournament won't have Jake Roberts and Rick Rude exchanging hammerlocks for 15 minutes (nothing against those two).

The brackets could be anything and everything, but here's a hypothetical

The Undertaker vs. Sting (Sting may only come back to face him)
Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (pays off the promised WM31 match)
Shawn Michaels vs. Bray Wyatt (Wyatt's God promos would be a natural)
Hulk Hogan vs. Rusev (FER MURICA)
Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (Feud ender)
Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho (Y2J may not be able to get heat on Reigns, but it'd be a fun match)
The Rock vs. Triple H (pays off the Rousey segment)
John Cena vs. Randy Orton (Eh, what's one more time)

If WWE's dead set on making Reigns 'the man', you'd give him the path of beating Jericho, Lesnar, Rock, and probably Michaels or Bryan in one night to become WWE Champion. Four great showings would mean he's earned it, assuming the next year of booking doesn't neuter him further. And that's an iffy if.

This would probably have to be a five-hour show like XXX was, especially if you inject some midcard crap like the Andre battle royal or whatever (which would have some star power with Ambrose, Sheamus, Barrett, and others not in the tournament). Pragmatically, it may seem like overkill, but as a fan of 26 years, my eyes and heart are doing palpitations alike just reading the lineup.

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