Three Weeks to WrestleMania 2018 - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Three Weeks to WrestleMania 2018 - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jonathan Maldonado Thursday, March 22, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jonathan Maldonado, Robert DeFelice and Jordan Chaffiotte will be giving their opinions on this past Daniel Bryan's clearance to wrestle, Carmella's pending Money in the Bank opportunity and which Undertaker will show up at WrestleMania.

Let's discuss...

Question 1: With three weeks left until WrestleMania, the Women's Money in the Bank briefcase is still in Carmella's possession. SmackDown Live has given very little time to this story, are we poised for a cash-in at Mania?

MALDONADO: From what I understand, the MITB briefcase was to be exclusive to SDL. My guess is the WWE will suffer convenient amnesia and throw that out of the window because there is no way she's cashing in during the Charlotte vs. Asuka match for the SDL Women's Championship. That is a dream match very much on the same level as Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles and I don't see how any type of shenanigans would be welcome.

Cue the Raw Women's Championship match between Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss. While I think these two are deserving of a good match in New Orleans, it's not a story fans or the WWE deem as untouchable, despite the deeply personal animosity brewing between these two. This would be the perfect opportunity for Carmella to take advantage of her briefcase. I wouldn't put it past the WWE to have their first ever Women's MITB winner fail in her cash-in attempt, especially given her character. However, I think it would be a wonderful way to get Nia Jax over as a monster to dispatch both Alexa Bliss and Carmella to win the title.

DEFELICE: I've been calling for this pretty much ever since Asuka won the female Royal Rumble and as soon as they clarified that Ronda Rousey couldn't challenge a champion. I'm not crazy about it at this point in time but this was a storyline that I had always fantasy booked for the Undertaker when the streak was still a factor.

I'm hoping it gets put to use here because it's a pretty good way to end a streak and keep somebody the hottest chickenshit heel that you possibly can. Carmella just tried to cash in on this past SmackDown and I think that was just a way to keep her fresh in your memory. I strongly believe that we will see Carmella cash in on Asuka at WrestleMania 34.

CHAFFIOTTE: You know in the movies when the two romantic leads are playing will-they-won't-they game but then the movie gets passed 90 minutes and by the time they get there you've checked out? That's what Carmella's MITB has been. I've started tuning out the briefcase whenever she's in the ring. The right move would be to have her cash in at a major-4, and my personal choice would've been Survivor Series, looking out for #1. Since we literally only have one left, it points towards her cashing in at WrestleMania. My issue with that is how special Seth Rollins' cash in was, and this might feel like a cheap trace if she jumps in the middle of Charlotte vs Asuka while they're both down and out.

So I offer an alternative. Book Charlotte vs Asuka as the opener, it may deserve to close the show but that's probably not going to happen regardless, and Asuka's music being the first thing we hear will pop hard. I believe Asuka will win because the moment's not right for the streak to end. Backstage, we see Carmella realizing she done goofed, as the kids say. So instead, she jumps brands and cashes in during Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss after Jax causes a little too much chaos for her own good. If they're both laid out on the outside, it gives Carmella ample time to get Bliss back in the ring for a pin. That gives us four things: the Royal Rumble winner on SmackDown (and away from Ronda Rousey), the Money in the Bank winner on Raw, Carmella as Raw Women's Champion, and Nia Jax with a fiery vengeance against that champion.

Question 2: John Cena has spent the last two weeks practically begging the Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania. When he does finally show up, will he accept the challenge as The Deadman or the American Badass?

MALDONADO: This now has way too much fuel to not happen, especially with only two Monday Night Raw events remaining before Mania. I don't see an official response from The Undertaker response coming until the go-home show, but I don't believe we're getting The Deadman. He was put to rest at the end of WrestleMania 33.

John Cena has done something really unique, bringing The Undertaker out of the kayfabe realm by calling him out for work out videos on Instagram and even posting a photo on his own profile of The Undertaker as Texas Red, his debut character back in the 1980s. Cena is just short of addressing The Undertaker by his real name, Mark Calaway. I wouldn't be surprised if he does. This plays perfectly into the storyline building between the two legends. WWE can skirt the whole implied retirement by having The Undertaker return under his American Badass gimmick. Cena has been calling him out as "a man," giving credence to him showing up on his motorcycle, abandoning the mortician, mystical stuff and getting ready for a fight.

The best evidence to back this up is the induction of Kid Rock into the WWE Hall of Fame. Kid Rock is the artist behind the American Badass gimmick theme, and I can't imagine this just being a coincidence. I'm fairly confident this is meant to setup a return of the motorcycle gimmick, with Kid Rock set to perform the theme during The Undertaker's entrance.

DEFELICE: Undertaker will probably show up after John is done wrestling Kane on Monday. This match would mean so much more with the streak on the line. Be that as it may, I'm still very much looking forward to this match. It is the one match that I have wanted to see since I was a teenager at a WrestleMania. The issue with Undertaker possibly reverting back to his American Badass character is that we've already seen John Cena take on the American Badass.

I really want to see John Cena battle The Deadman. However, The Deadman had a very good song song last year and John Cena really seems to be calling him out as a man and with Kid Rock going into the Hall of Fame this year I wouldn't be surprised if we see a return of the American Badass for one true final ride.

CHAFFIOTTE:LET. MARK. RETIRE. The man has no hips! Does this have something to do with me being upset I stayed up last WrestleMania and watched him put down his gloves and hat and limber out of the ring? Maybe. More importantly, in this industry, one full of incredibly hard workers and determined performers, we need to be careful here. There is no shame in knowing when to say when. Especially not with the career the Undertaker has had. Last year's match was concerning, but it ended on a really beautiful note. Why erase that?

If we're going to insist that John Cena gets in the ring instead of sitting next to Frank the Clown all night, then okay. This probably is only even happening because Kid Rock is being inducted into the fake wing of this fake Hall of Fame. So that implies it'll be the American Badass with Kid Rock performing it live. I missed the Undertaker losing his streak because the match was slow and so I went to go make a snack. The American Badass' last ride might suffer the same fate.

Question 3: The biggest news in wrestling today is Daniel Bryan's clearance to return to in-ring action, and this week's SmackDown Live featured the GM getting into a scuffle and beaten down at the hands of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Give us your ideal booking for this Mania situation. 

MALDONADO: Well folks, the impossible has happened. WWE has cleared Daniel Bryan to return to the ring, and on the very same day of the announcement Bryan took some serious bumps from the team of KO and Sami Zayn. Honestly, it was exhilarating and scary to watch. I just want to watch him dish out the beat downs, not take any bumps for fear of something going wrong again.

Regardless, the American Dragon and leader of the "Yes!" movement is back and will without a doubt be featured in a match at WrestleMania. Most likely it will end up being a tag team match featuring KO and Sami Zayn vs. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. This is fine with me as I think a singles match for Bryan in his return, on the biggest stage, in the same building where he had the biggest moment of his career, would be a bit too much. Let's not forget Bryan is a on par with biggest names in wrestling in terms of in-ring work and the WWE is not about to let him go without some sort of limitations.

However this plays out, I am super excited for the fan reaction when his music hits in New Orleans. Even with a roof, the noise is going to be so loud the entire state of Louisiana will hear the cheers.

DEFELICE: Ideally, I would have had Shane McMahon brace his inner McMahon and really go hard on Daniel Bryan for living vicariously through Owens and Zayn and then I would have had Bryan announce that he was cleared to compete after Shane McMahon kept tearing into him and then they could have fought. Hell, I would have appreciated Shane with Stephanie and Hunter vs Bryan with Ronda and Kurt in a six person tag.

I don't hate this story I just think that it's a little convoluted and a little too muddled for biggest WWE comeback story of the last 5 Years. All that aside, I'm just happy that Bryan is cleared to compete and it was very refreshing to get some genuine good news today.

CHAFFIOTTE: I have a lot of very complicated feelings about this whole situation. Not the least of which is the fact that SmackDown has been awful recently. The Shane McMahon storyline has no direction, no sense of urgency, and no vision. So how do we retcon it? McMahon is taking an "indefinite leave of absence" which takes him out of the picture for the most part. I would assume by the leadership structure of WWE, Daniel Bryan doesn't have the authority to throw out that match out. He can, however, add to it. He can add himself. Kevin Steen vs. the American Dragon vs. El Generico? Make all of the indie fanboys happy and give Bryan a match where he can show off his technical skills against two guys who are pound for pound as good as him. Don't give him Randy Orton, don't give him a rookie from NXT to carry. Give him a match he'll always be proud of, because if Paige is any indication, we never really know when it's going to be the last.

Alternative suggestions: Let Mark retire and put Cena vs. Bryan, Bella Husband vs. Bella Husband, it's good for ratings. Bring in Pete Dunne and let them fight for the title of "World's Toughest Vegan." Finally let the Miz make good on his promise and go toe to toe with Bryan in the squared circle.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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