With WrestleMania 33 on Sunday night as the main attraction, the biggest wrestling week of the year is now fully underway in Orlando.
There are so many promotions putting on events in the area and hundreds of wrestlers scheduled to make appearances. And for those not attending the festivities, more shows than ever are streaming live on various platforms.
The WWE Network will have the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony, NXT TakeOver, and WrestleMania in successive nights, FloSlam is putting on a full lineup of shows, and ROH’s Supercard of Honor XI is available on iPPV.
With all that is going on, there would seemingly be something that appeals to every type of fan. We’ve assembled our staff to look ahead to the weekend and briefly preview what they’re most looking forward to. Our contributors are:
Will Cooling (Columnist)
Joseph Currier (F4WOnline editor and Figure Four Weekly writer)
Mike DellaCamera (Columnist)
Zach Dominello (Columnist)
Paul Fontaine (MMA writer and ratings expert)
Josh Nason (F4WOnline assistant editor and host of Josh Nason’s Punch-Out)
Jeremy Peeples (Lucha Underground writer)
Joey Janela’s Spring Break —
By Mike DellaCamera
In my years as a fan I can’t remember anything quite like Joey Janela’s Spring Break. How do you even describe it? “Yeah, this wrestler fantasy booked a card that has a guitarist from a rock band, half of The Rockers, Glacier, Dan Severn…and some of the best up-and-coming indie guys…and it’s at midnight…and it’s at a bar.”
Okay. What? In a weekend filled with all-star talent — look at the WWN shows, my god — I’m really excited to see something that is completely different. Listen, this could be an abject disaster (but I don’t think it will be) or it could be the absolute highlight of the weekend. Janela has gotten a lot of attention recently with the release of the documentary short “Please Don’t Die Joey Janela” so I’m excited to see how his debut as a booker goes.
It’s always great to see something new and exciting, hopefully no one dies.
Kurt Angle’s Hall of Fame induction —
By Will Cooling
I dunno, it’s hard to be in a positive mood given how much WWE has mishandled the booking of not just WrestleMania but TakeOver too. WWE is either burying its most interesting matches on Axxess or the WrestleMania pre-show, or has failed to book them at all.
I mean, for the love of god, Samoa Joe, Chris Hero, and Finn Balor somehow aren’t wrestling this weekend. I’d love to say I’m really looking forward to Neville vs. Austin Aries, but I just don’t think they’re going to get the time. I’m not even convinced that Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens will either.
Probably the highlight of the weekend will be Kurt Angle’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Nobody took to the sport so quickly, and few have come as close to being destroyed by the business, as The Real American Hero. For all the great moments he’s given us all, and for managing to put his life back together, Angle truly deserves this moment for us to all say thank you.
Oh, and Matt Riddle vs. Trent Seven at Friday’s PROGRESS show should be all sorts of fun.
By Paul Fontaine
The thing that I’m looking forward to most on WrestleMania weekend is the return of Kurt Angle. On Friday night, Angle will officially return to the WWE fold as he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. That ceremony is always a lot of fun and is good for a few laughs, tears, and great memories as we look back on the careers of all the great wrestlers that will be inducted on that night.
I’ve always been a big fan of Kurt Angle, and it will be great to reflect on his career during that ceremony. Even more than that, though, I’m anticipating something more for Angle that could take place either on Sunday at the WrestleMania show itself or on the post-Mania edition of Monday Night Raw.
Angle is still capable of performing very well in the ring and the last couple of years he’s taken it relatively easy, so I think that it will be interesting to see just what he does now that he’s officially back.
In that same vein, I’m hopeful that a couple other contemporaries of Angle’s will also make their return on Sunday or Monday and render the current tag team division OBSOLETE.
Christopher Daniels vs. Dalton Castle —
By Jeremy Peeples
ROH’s Supercard of Honor XI houses some intriguing matches, but the most bold match is definitely Christopher Daniels vs. Dalton Castle. ROH, by featuring Castle as more than just a campy act, has made his character stand out as a star. Castle himself has done such a great job that everyone affiliated with the act is over.
Rather than relegate him to being pure comedy, he has been given a serious edge and is now a somewhat viable contender for the World title. Should Castle win it? Well, now it would certainly make news, but it does seem too early for Daniels to lose the title — and Castle is better served chasing it for a while.
He and The Boys being six-man tag champs makes more sense for his first title win in the company, but within a couple of years, it’s easy to see him making a regular run for ROH’s top championships.
NXT TakeOver: Orlando —
By Zach Dominello
For me it’s NXT TakeOver. But only for the outcome of the match between Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura. I’ve never wanted Nakamura to lose a match so bad. And that’s just so he can finally leave NXT and make his main roster debut.
WrestleMania 33 —
By Joseph Currier
It’s entirely too much of a copout to say that what I’m most looking forward to this week is the sheer amount of professional wrestling that’s going on, but that’s probably what my answer is.
The best part about WrestleMania is that it turns a single city into a global hub of wrestling. WWE’s marquee event of the year serves as a backdrop for so many wrestlers and promotions to put their best foot forward. It provides an opportunity for people to prove themselves on what may be the biggest stage they see all year.
NXT TakeOver: Orlando should be another card that delivers despite a lack of buzz heading into it. There are so many interesting things on FloSlam. PROGRESS has a stacked show planned. And The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks at ROH’s Supercard of Honor may be the best match that takes place all weekend.
But if I’m being honest, WrestleMania itself is probably still the singular event that I’m anticipating most. Even though last year was a bit of a drag, there’s still something special about WrestleMania that has inexplicably grabbed me within the last few days.
I’ve been constantly checking Twitter for updates about the set construction. I’m hopeful that some of the midcard matches will deliver. I still have no idea what to expect from Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. And I may have even caught myself contemplating whether John Cena will propose to Nikki Bella or not.
Maybe it’s just the WWE marketing machine getting to me at the last minute, but I’m excited for WrestleMania. I just hope I feel that way when it enters its sixth hour on Sunday.
The Raw after WrestleMania —
By Josh Nason
Since it basically feels like an extension of WrestleMania week, I’m going with Raw on Monday which feels like a season premiere after the grand finale of Mania.
While some may get annoyed with the crowd going into business for itself, there is a certain energy to the show that isn’t found at most Raws throughout the rest of the calendar year. We usually get a few storyline farewells, a few surprises, and a sure-to-be-changed direction for the next few months.
So the thing I’m most excited for is an event the day after WrestleMania. Go figure.