G5: WWE WrestleMania 32 Special

With WrestleMania 32 right around the corner we take a closer look at WWE’s marquee event in this week’s Gimme Five.

With at least three matches worthy of top billing which will—and which should—go on last at AT&T Stadium?

In addition to WrestleMania 32, NXT TakeOver: Dallas and a series of indie events will take place this weekend in Dallas. Which have attracted our attention, and why?

Plus, it wouldn’t be a WrestleMania Special without some time to reflect on our favourite WrestleMania moments from years past.

Join us for this week’s Gimme Five as we take one last look at WWE WrestleMania 32

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1. It’s a triple main event this year at WrestleMania 32, with three major matches dividing fans’ attention. Which bout do you think deserves top billing – and which will actually get it?

Clint:
Given that there’s a lot riding on the outcome of the match, and that it is potentially The Undertaker’s last ride at WrestleMania, I’d like to see Hell in a Cell have top billing. But I don’t see it going any other way than Triple H-Reigns headlining, due to Trips’ ego and the desire to end the show with that special “WrestleMania moment” of Reigns hoisting the belt into the air as the fireworks go off. Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts. Not well is my prediction.

Blake:
It’s very rare that the championship match doesn’t deserve top billing, and this Mania is no different. Granted, it’s not been the best build and doesn’t exactly have the favourite stars, but Ambrose vs. Lesnar is nothing more than a fight between a beast and a madman while Hell in a Cell has been confusing at its foundation. At least the championship match is clear cut.

Craig:
Circumstances have made this a weak card and the only interest I have is how they’re going to fix what appears to be an almighty cluster in both the heavyweight title and Hell in a Cell matches. Hell in a Cell should be the top billing because of the stipulations but the heavyweight title match will be top billing. With the pre-show around two hours, and the show itself being four hours, there is a real danger this title match will be a dud with the fans disengaged and exhausted from watching a pretty average event. The only hope is that there’s outside interference from The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold in the title match because it will need that kind of star power to revive what appears to be the worst main event in WrestleMania history. Reigns is surely turning heel. It’s the only way he’ll get a babyfaced pop and, let’s face it, he’s definitely winning.

Richard:
It gets no bigger in the business than the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That match should be last and in my mind is the biggest main event.

Grady:
They all deserve it. We have a pretty strong top part of the card. I think the top billing spot should go to Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker, it has the most repercussions of the main events with control of the company and The Undertaker’s future on the line. I expect they will put the championship match between Roman Reigns and Triple H in the big spot since it is the championship match and has had the main focus of building on recent Raws

David:
Each match can stake a claim to the main event, but when it comes down to it the WWE World Heavyweight Championship should be the focus. As interesting as the outcome of Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker, or the in-ring dynamics of Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose might be, neither of those matches have the background that Roman Reigns vs. Triple H has. I’m confident the WWE title bout will have earned its place at the end of the night.
 

2. NXT TakeOver kicks off the WWE action in Dallas this weekend. How hyped are you for the NXT special in comparison to the rest of the WWE offerings?

Clint:
I’m more hyped for NXT TakeOver than for WrestleMania. TakeOver is a great card, top to bottom, while WrestleMania has some definite filler and too many matches involving past-their-prime guys (Jericho, Dudleyz). The NXT card has two matches that I’m literally drooling over (Balor-Joe and Nakamura-Zayn) and a couple of others that I’m amped for. I can’t say the same about WrestleMania.

Blake:
I have two words to explain my excitement for this event: SHINSUKEEEEE NAKAMUUUUURAAAAA!!!

Craig:
Not at all.

Richard:
With two big debuts (Shinsuke Nakamura and Austin Aries) I can’t wait for NXT. I’m putting this right up there with WrestleMania at this point based on how all the other NXT specials have gone.

Grady:
Super hyped! There is just so much content on WrestleMania week, I guess the telling factor is I am taking a day off to watch WrestleMania, but I am not taking a day off for TakeOver: Dallas. I like the fact that Dallas will outline the rest of NXT for the next year by who wins and loses, who gets called up to the main roster on the Raw after WrestleMania and the massive debuts happening at the event, which I am also hyped about. So much hype!

David:
Speaking as someone who’s currently in Dallas, NXT TakeOver is definitely the hottest ticket in town. I can’t say I would have flown all the way here to see this card without the promise of WrestleMania 32 on Monday as well, but right now it’s got almost all of my attention.

 
3. WrestleMania weekend has grown to include a lot more than just WWE. With multiple independent events happening around the Dallas region, many available on iPPV, which have piqued your interest – or which are you attending should you happen to be going in person?
Clint:
Honestly I’m not aware of any of the indie shows that are on WrestleMania weekend, so won’t be watching any of them.

Blake:
Truthfully, I don’t know what else is on. I’ve become a bit pigeon-holed toward WWE over the last while. The only one I guess I could say I’m excited for is TakeOver.

Craig:
I would be more interested in going to the podcast live tapings than these fringe events. If Jim Ross, Ric Flair, and Stone Cold or the Canadian LAW podcasts were recording, I would make every effort to make up the nerd numbers.

Richard:
I haven’t really looked too far into other events. I will hunt out the ROH event videos from the weekend when I get a chance. Other than that, nothing has stood out to me as I’ll still be in New Zealand.

Grady:
I just don’t have the time this WrestleMania week: Raw, WWE 24, NXT, SmackDown, Stone Cold Podcast, TakeOver: Dallas w/ pre-show, Hall of Fame w/ Red Carpet, seven hours of WrestleMania, Raw after WrestleMania… and then the cycle continues. It is my one big regret with my current schedule is that I don’t have enough time to watch the independent wrestling.

David:
I’ve got tickets to Evolve 59 partially because of Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay and partially because it’s being held earlier in the day so as not to clash with anything else. It seems like a lot of other people share my thought process – it’s on track to be the highest-attended Evolve event yet. I’m also very interested in the ROH TV taping that same day, and Shimmer 80, but not lucky enough to attend

 
4. The final inductees have been announced for the Hall of Fame 2016. What are your thoughts on the class overall?

Clint:
I think it’s a very strong class, most notable for people who did their best work outside of WWE (Sting, Stan Hansen, The Freebirds). I was a huge fan of all three of those aforementioned talents so am extremely happy to see them being honoured. The Big Bossman and The Godfather are worthy recipients, and I guess Jacqueline is as well. Snoop Dogg is just a dumb pick, but I realise that it’s more about mainstream publicity than anything else. As for the people inducting this class, I can’t wait to see Slick!

Blake:
Well done Snoop Dogg, you are the epitome of the perfect professional wrestling Hall of Fame candidate.

Craig:
It’s lacking a wow factor. Sting isn’t a big enough WWE name to headline and the headliner should’ve been the Undertaker in his home state of Texas. Ric Flair proved you don’t have to be retired to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It would be awesome to have an active member of the roster in the Hall of Fame. I think Godfather is a crazy induction when there are bigger names like Ravishing Rick Rude who are more deserving, but with two Freebirds dead and the Big Boss Man also in the big house in the sky, it can’t be all about dead people… Here’s a serious question, when is The Rock going in? Because he surely isn’t wrestling again. Seriously, what else does he have to do?

Richard:
Looking forward to the Hall of Fame as always. Every year there is always a choice or two that makes you scratch your head but their speech can often steal the show. I can see a reason why all of the inductees have been chosen so I look forward to it.

Grady:
It has the same problems that every class always has, but overall the wrestlers being inducted is a strong class. Sting, The Godfather, The Freebirds, Big Boss Man, Jacqueline and Stan Hansen are all people who, in my mind, deserve spots in the Hall of Fame. Are there people who deserve it more? Yes, but that isn’t the only qualifier.

David:
As Clint said, this is a group who largely made their names outside of WWE, and goes a long way toward legitimising the WWE Hall of Fame as an authority for pro-wrestling in general.

 

5. With 31 previous installments to choose from, what’s your favourite all-time WrestleMania moment?

Clint:
I’ll always have a soft spot for the ending of WrestleMania XX, with Eddie and Benoit celebrating with the two world title belts. While it’s a shame that Benoit’s legacy has been soiled, I watched both wrestlers in ECW and then WCW and loved seeing two cruiserweights at the pinnacle of the sport. But for my favourite all-time moment, I have to go back to WrestleMania VI in 1990 – Hogan vs. Warrior. As a massive Ultimate Warrior mark, it was pure magic. Obviously because the Warrior won, but also because I’d never seen a match with that kind of spectacle. It was so rare to have face vs. face matches in those days. Part of me knew that Hogan was probably going to win, so when Warrior got the 1-2-3 I was jumping around the room marking out. Good times.

Blake:
That’s a tough one. My natural instinct is to say the final moments of WrestleMania XX, but I fear some flak comes with that one. Instead, I’ll just say the moment Lesnar beat Undertaker. It’s not often you get shocked by wrestling nowadays, but this moment was the one that set up the year of the Beast, and a moment we will never forget.

Craig:
I’m embarrassed to say it probably is the Warrior beating Hogan at WrestleMania VI. It was a massive deal at the time with Hogan missing the leg drop and Warrior being the first wrestler to hold the Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Championship at once. Those were the days, how I wish the title was still the winged eagle belt! Another more obscure one is Bad News Brown ghetto-blasting Bret Hart at the end of the WrestleMania IV Battle Royal. Bret Hart getting back in the ring and smashing the biggest trophy in wrestling history left a lasting impression on me (I was 13 at the time and remember it clearly). Actually, Bad News Brown should also be in the Hall of Fame ahead of The Godfather (but Bad News is dead too).

Richard:
My favourite event would be WrestleMania 21 – the first WrestleMania I ever saw. Favourite moment… any Undertaker match from WrestleMania XX onwards (they just keep getting better and better).

Grady:
I have a horrible memory, so I will probably think of a better one after I answer this. I choose “The End of an Era” with Shawn Michaels, Triple H and The Undertaker walking up the ramp together after a great match… and then only one of them ending their career after that…

David:
I pop for the weirdest things at WrestleMania, like John Cena’s “WordLife” entrance at WrestleMania 25, or Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker being given the main event billing over Batista vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 26. But when it comes down to it, standing in the middle of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as confetti fell from the ceiling to celebrate Daniel Bryan’s victory was almost a life-changing experience for me. In many ways the spiritual successor to Benoit and Guerrero’s celebration at WrestleMania XX but without any of the ensuing tragedy to mar it.