Top Turnbuckle Weekly #3 – Roman Reigns out of Wrestlemania!

By Charlie Scott

Image credit – Lucha 868 via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Hello everyone and welcome to the third edition of Top Turnbuckle Weekly, where we take a look at all the wrestling from the last week and discuss the biggest talking points, match of the week, my views on things and much more!

There are some big things to discuss this week that directly affect Wrestlemania so let’s get started in this deep dive of the past week of WWE by taking a look at Smackdown from last Friday night at the Performance Centre!

Let’s start off by talking about one of the new Wrestlemania matches that was set that night, when former Smackdown General Manager Paige returned to announce that Bayley would defend her Women’s Title in a Six-Pack Challenge. The former NXT Women’s Champion will defend her title against Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, Tamina, Naomi and finally her best friend, Sasha Banks. 

This is surely the time to give us fans what we’ve wanted for years, give us Banks vs Bayley on the main roster. The two had amazing matches in NXT, including their iron man match, and have the best chemistry of any pair in WWE. So, the natural thing for them to do at Wrestlemania is to turn Sasha heel and revert Bayley back to being a babyface, her most natural role, as her heel run is stale and hasn’t gained any traction since it started.

Smackdown also saw former rivals Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak team up to take on Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. This was a fun little encounter, Bryan and Gulak have amazing chemistry as opponents and even better together as a tag-team. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn was on commentary bad-mouthing the two which made for a really fun match. 

Bryan and Gulak would get the victory after Bryan hit the Swiss Cyborg with a sunset flip, this feud is surely heading toward some sort of Wrestlemania match, with the dream being a ladder match for the IC title involving all five men and Braun Strowman. Because as you know, you always have to have a ladder match at ‘Mania. My pick for this match would be Drew Gulak too, he has been doing great things since his programme with Bryan and giving him the belt would give him huge momentum going forward. 

Wrestlemania host Rob Gronkowski made his debut last week on Smackdown, coming out to join his friend Mojo Rawley in the ring. They were swiftly interrupted by King Corbin, the best heel on Smackdown may I add, who got up in Gronks face. Elias then joined the three-time Superbowl winner and helped dispatch of Corbin from the ring. The Wrestlemania host would then announce that Elias and Corbin would face off at the Show of Shows, in what really seems like a match scheduled really just to fill some time. 

Monday Night Raw this week consisted of a lot of feuds reaching boiling point before the biggest event of the year. Rivalries such as Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre reached fever pitch as the two men confronted each other ahead of their WWE Championship match. This match surely has to be the coronation of McIntyre, the Scot has been on red hot form in his second WWE run and is so over with fans, it only seems logical to have him be the man to dethrone The Beast and win his first WWE title. 

AJ Styles and The Undertakers feud took an interesting turn this week as well, with The Phenomenal One challenging Undertaker to a Boneyard Match. Whilst the stipulations for this match are really yet to be determined it seems likely it’ll be a Buried Alive style match that The Dead Man made famous during the Attitude Era. 

The way Styles was talking was as though the match may take place outside of the Performance Centre, saying that he would bury the Undertaker in his family plot. This match has now started to intrigue me, on last week’s edition I said I wasn’t too excited for this one, but with the new added stipulation it has now caught my attention. Styles can get a good match out of anyone and I really hope this isn’t a squash match like ‘Taker vs Cena was two years ago. 

The Raw Women’s title match contenders Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler came to blows this week as the champion interrupted the challengers interview. Baszler promised to destroy The Man at Wrestlemania and end the nearly yearlong reign of Lynch. The champ then responded by attacking The Queen of Spades with a steel chair, showing her dominance heading into their battle. 

For me this match really only needs to go one way, Lynch has reigned supreme on the red brand for nearly a year since she beat Rhonda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 last year, becoming Becky Two Belts in the process. She is the most over female wrestler to have ever stepped foot in a WWE ring, and will continue to be over even in defeat and so WWE need to capitalise on Baszler’s red-hot run and put the belt on her now. 

That concludes our weekly round-up of Raw and Smackdown this week, so let’s move on to the biggest talking point that has just come out whilst I am writing this, Roman Reigns is out of Wrestlemania!

As you all know Reigns was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2018, 11 years after he had battled it and won previously. He took time out to recover and returned last year to nothing but love and respect from fans. Reigns came to the decision not to travel and compete at Wrestlemania this year due to the coronavirus and doesn’t want to risk his health. 

This is a completely fair decision from the former WWE Champion and absolutely every wrestling fan under the sun respects and supports his decision, and we here at Top Turnbuckle admire him for making such a tough decision. 

Reigns was set to take the Universal Title from Goldberg at Wrestlemania and once again reach the top of WWE. A feat that any wrestler would be proud to achieve but has instead decided to step aside from the event. This takes a lot of guts to do and Reigns has completely made the right decision in doing so, choosing to protect his health over his career during this worldwide pandemic. 

This now leaves the Universal title match in a state of limbo, WWE have yet to release a statement as to whether they are going to postpone the match or replace Reigns with a new challenger for Goldberg, so let’s take a look at some of their options. 

The first option they can do is just postpone the match for a later date and not have Goldberg defend his title against anyone, this would still enable WWE to give Reigns his crowning moment later down the line but will leave their second biggest championship off the card. 

The second option they have is finding a new challenger for Goldberg, so here are a few of my picks. In terms of top guys on Smackdown there really isn’t many to choose from who aren’t already tied up in a feud, the only real standout star would be Jeff Hardy. Hardy has only recently returned to Smackdown so hasn’t got much momentum behind him, but as former three-time world champion he will be able to hold his own more than enough and still have the big match feel behind it. 

Another option they could go with is NXT star Matt Riddle, who has taken to Twitter to challenge the Universal Champion. This is really an obvious option, Riddle has been calling out Goldberg for years now, saying he will be the one to retire the former WCW Champion. But is the timing right now? Riddle is currently one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions with Pete Dunne and the two are really being booked in a long-term feud which will obviously end with Dunne turning on Riddle one day. 

Right now, I can’t see this being the right choice, Riddle isn’t quite ready to take on Goldberg yet and when they do finally have their match down the line it needs to be Riddle’s crowning moment. He is currently in the middle of a great storyline and to pluck him out of that would be a real waste and he certainly isn’t ready to become Universal Champion yet. 

Another option is to switch things up and make it a triple threat match between Goldberg, John Cena and The Fiend. There is already a storyline built up there as Goldberg was the man to defeat The Fiend to take the title from him. Cena is also looking for the record-breaking 17thworld title reign and so would easily slot into this match and still make it work. With either Cena or Wyatt going over in this match would easily set up the eventual crowning of Reigns later down the line. 

It definitely is an uncertain time for WWE creative and whatever decision they choose to make for this predicament will be an interesting one and cause a lot of talking points for fans. So, stay updated with Top Turnbuckle where we will discuss their eventual decision! 

Match of the week 

We’re keeping with last week’s theme of a Wrestlemania match of the week again! For this week I’ve chosen in my opinion the greatest Wrestlemania main event of all time. At Wrestlemania 30 Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H in the opening match of the night to earn his spot in the main event against Batista and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. Bryan would go on to defeat the two future Hall of Famers and win the biggest match of his life to the biggest pop in ‘Mania history. So sit back and enjoy this one, it is a real emotional roller-coaster! 

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