Ranking MOTY Candidates, Steve Austin At Wrestlemania?, Undertaker vs. Lesnar, Batista Public Enemy No. 1

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The "Match of the Year" list is growing. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the following matches - Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble, John Cena vs. Cesaro from Raw, The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield at Elimination Chamber and now Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro.

I am glad someone asked this question and laid out the matches. This is my Match of the Year list through two months and it's phenomenal that we already have four bouts to choose from. This is a good problem to have and let's hope it's a "problem" that we continue to have to deal with. I want to be careful not to get carried away with the matches I have seen most-recently clouding my judgment but I will do my best to rank this list. Keep in mind you can't really go wrong with any of these matches and they should all be considered "must-see" bouts. However, if I had to rank them, as you've essentially asked me to do, I would rank them as follows:

  1. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro at NXT ArRIVAL
  2. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber
  3. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt at Royal Rumble
  4. John Cena vs. Cesaro at Raw on February 17, 2014

Zayn vs. Cesaro is fresh but it's a slight notch above the rest in my opinion. The others could probably be interchanged and I would have no issue. However, I would much rather sit here and debate outstanding matches than have to scratch and claw to find something worthy of "Match of the Year" praise.

What's the latest on Steve Austin? Will he work at match at Wrestlemania 30?

Steve Austin is not in the plans to work a match at Wrestlemania 30. I believe it was John Cena that teased a bout against Austin at Wrestlemania 31 in Santa Clara, however, we're still over a year away from that. Austin is on good terms with WWE but there are multiple layers to him ever working another match. First, Austin has to have the desire to get back into in-ring shape. Second, he will have to agree to a sufficient payout to put his body on the line and offer up his services. I honestly don't know if we'll ever see Austin compete again. He made a good point recently when he said, say I train for one more match and work it, then what?

Why is Brock Lesnar getting the "golden ticket" to challenge The Undertaker at Wrestlemania? What has he done to earn the opportunity?

Undertaker requested a match against Brock Lesnar for Wrestlemania 30 before he faced CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29 last year. Undertaker felt it was one of the biggest matches they could do so he threw it out there. One of our correspondents from Wrestlemania 29 Fan Axxess met Undertaker and asked him if the bout against Punk would be his last. He pointed to Lesnar's picture and said he wanted a bout against this one. I've noted on numerous occasions that Undertaker vs. Lesnar for Wrestlemania 30 only hit one significant speed bump and that speed bump is obviously gone as the match has been announced.

Why are the fans so quick to bury Batista over Daniel Bryan?

The fan resentment with Batista starts and ends with how he was booked in the Royal Rumble match. He entered in a prominent spot and went over, while Daniel Bryan wasn't even booked for it. Fans haven't forgot and are very upset. Other people will point to Batista's ring shape and say he's getting gassed too easy and wasn't ready for such a top spot. I'm not as interested in talking about Batista's ring readiness as I am in talking about his booking. Babyface Batista has failed and it's time for a change. We noted a change was near and on this week's episode of Smackdown, he'll "tell the WWE Universe what he thinks about them." WWE should use the heat Batista is generating to their advantage by turning him in a big way, however, it will still not fix the bigger problem and that's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania. If Daniel Bryan isn't in the match, which appears to be the case, the audience is going to crap on it regardless. As for Batista, the audience at NXT ArRIVAL brought him up, as they chanted "a lot better than Batista" when Emma landed a sit-out powerbomb on Paige.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2013: Do you see Sami Zayn being a big name in WWE when he gets called up? - Sami Zayn, the former El Generico, is an extremely talented worker. He has all of the tools to have a credible run and is yet another well-seasoned name lurking in WWE developmental. I’m optimistic but there will be no way of knowing for sure until it happens.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, March 3, 2014.

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  • Anon

    You are wrong when you think Bootista is getting “heel heat”…he is getting x-pac, f*** off, we don’t want to see you heat, that’s not a good thing compared to real heel heat. The only way for WWE to save their WM title match is to get Bryan in there (via stip in his match with HHH or via Hogan as host of WM) or CM Punk on Raw this Monday. Otherwise this is going to be the worst title match in WM history – and if they put it on last people could very well leave…

    • MaGayle AceVivid Starks

      People won’t leave. They paid too much money and they would keep the hope that d bry would eventually get in the match someway.

    • Heath Slater

      Nobody is going to leave. It’s obvious that the stipulation will be to have Bryan in the main event if he beats Triple H. Vince is not an idiot.

    • Anon

      We all know how that hope in Vince’s wisdom turned out at the RR…

      • Steve pritchard

        After everyone crapped on last years wm. I don’t think Vince will make the same mistake again. He is arrogant , but he should now know if Daniel Bryan isn’t in that main event . The way the fans crapped on wm last year will seem like a small terd compared to what will happen this year . If they go with the current plans.

        • Simon Veitch

          It’s almost like Vince forgot what happened when he had Daniel Bryan lose the Sheamus in the opening match in 32 seconds. The fans revolted and joined Daniel Bryan, despite him being heel at the time, they crapped all over Sheamus as the champion and basically forced Daniel Bryans face turn with Team Hell No. The fans haven’t stopped since then, and have only become more and more vocal in recent times.

  • MaGayle AceVivid Starks

    I just watched the Sami zayn and cesaro match. I thought people were overrating it but it was truly phenomenal. Get that man cesaro on the main event picture and keep him there.

  • Jeff Ono

    I feel bad for Batista as a performer because the fans took their anger (at the Royal Rumble and since then) on him, instead of the real culprits in creative. Those fans should be booing Vince, Triple H and the creative writers for the booking mistake. It’s disappointing to see Batista take the heat because he deserved a better welcome from WWE fans. People can say that he’s overrated. But booing performers, as opposed to the characters, just seems classless to me. Having said that, Batista has echoed on several occasions that he prefers playing a heel. But even when fans boo him as a heel, I still see the hatred being misdirected. Then again it never stopped people from booing Cena. The lesson is that when you have a problem with the creative, don’t watch the programming and don’t attend the events. That’s how you send a message. Attacking the performers just doesn’t follow any logic… and it ruins the experience for kids who want to follow the storyline as it was intended.

  • Guest

    The people who attend and pay have every right to direct their anger, hatred or whatever at whoever they like…if they want to go there to boo the man dave bautista, fine with me…i don’t give a f**** if this ruins the experience of some cena-fanbois or kids…

    • Jeff Ono

      Of course, they “have every right.” That’s not the point. See it’s comments like those that give wrestling fans a bad name. Nobody is saying that you don’t have the right, rather that it’s classless to do it. It’s misdirected anger. As for the Cena kids, maybe you forgot that you probably watched wrestling as a kid too. But go ahead and keep making it all about yourself. Hijack shows, misdirect the pathetic boos and keep the narcissism alive and well. It’s really doing great things for wrestling.

    • Guest

      Tell em

  • Vince McMahon

    The correct match of the year list is
    1. Randy Orton vs John Cena at royal rumble.
    2. Randy Orton vs John Cena at Raw feb 10
    3. Batista vs Alberto Del Rio at Elimination chamber.
    4. Batista vs Alberto Del Rio At Raw feb 24

    Though I’m sure number one will be replaced by Batista vs Orton at wrestlemania! That match will be epic!!!!

    • Triple H

      I can’t wait for wrestlemania myself. Now if I can just find my old shovel!

      • AlphaMale

        Kudos to both of you! That’s hilarious!

    • IWC

      Your a jerk, I’m sick of how your running the WWE. I’m gonna show up in Chicago and take a big fat crap all over every match. CM Punk! CM Punk! CM Punk!

    • Scott Davies

      This made my day lol

  • supercilious1

    WWE has a golden opportunity to create an “anti-smark” heel in Batista. He’a already starting to go in on the fans with his twitter account. The only problem with Batista in this change in character is that he might take it too far.

  • I got a chance to watch the whole Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro match this morning before leaving to work and I was very impressed by both performers.

  • Robert Olley

    You know your not much cop when the fans say a diva that you outweigh by nearly 200 pounds does a better powerbomb

    • Steve pritchard


  • El Steve

    Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘Batista Bomb’

  • Rich119uk

    Batista being hated is more because people are sick of the same. Part timers coming in this time of year. Atleast the rock had the promos. Batista is shocking and didn’t encounter any possible ring rust or promo rust. Arrogance for a payday.

    • opie

      Batista isn’t part-time. He’s full-time on a two year contract. He’s been on raw and smackdown, had matches on both this week, and has even been on the house show circuit. I don’t know what else you want from him.

      • Simon Veitch

        The problem is, before Batista left, people were really getting over his character in a big way, he just wasn’t interesting anymore. During his time out, he crapped all over the product and the talent, now he’s back and taking the spot from that same talent who’ve worked the whole time he’s been gone. The fans just aren’t interested in it anymore. Over the last 4-5 years we’ve been given guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, and the guys in NXT coming through and giving us 5 star Wrestling matches with stuff that the WWE audience doesn’t see often, so Batista coming back with the old school muscle head gimmic and look, fans just don’t care anymore.

        • opie

          I’m not debating any of that. He just shouldn’t be lumped in with the part-time guys. I will say there’s room for both big and small guys as long as the characters are interesting.

  • the great one

    Sami zayn vs Cesaro told a great story which is the main objective of a match where as the other moty candidates did but not as well

  • Guest

    Totally totally totally agree with you.

    • Simon Veitch

      I don’t entirely agree here, the thing to remember is that in order to convince Batista to return, the main event match at WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble win would have pretty much been sealed in the deal for his contract when he signed it. There’s no way Dave would have gone back on all of his open hatred for WWE-PG unless he was getting promised a slot, straight in on the main event. Without really having done anything to earn it, and especially when fans have been screwed since Summer Slam over getting the champion they actually want.

      While I do understand that this is largely creatives fault, it’s not entirely, as if Dave was simply being brought back to return, and NOT get a top run, NOT get a WrestleMania main event, he probably wouldn’t have come back at all.

  • Most of these matches are PPV matches. I haven’t ordered a PPV in a long time.

    • Simon Veitch

      Two of them are PPV matches, one was a live event on the WWE Network and one was on Raw. That’s a pretty even spread for MOTY candidates based on WWE’s usual approach of only giving the good stuff on PPV

  • Scott Davies

    To all the TNA fans who say TNA is better than WWE. Where is TNA’s MOTY candidates?

    • John

      The best match of this year is Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito from NJPW.. And it’s not even a close debate. It blows any of those 4 WWE matches out of the water! So yeah this is clearly a discussion biased towards WWE.

  • Jim

    Richard, I’ve got a question. When are you gonna deal with these awful pop ups that lead you to the App Store on iOS devices? It’s really annoying me now.

  • Jbreed

    It doesn’t really matter if the fans crap all over the Batista/Randy Orton match. Vince McMahon already has their money.

  • Steve

    Daniell Bryan is going to face HHH, its done but now the best way to save the main event is put Punk in it, im sure hell be back on monday in chicago if hes offered a spot in the title match. Problem solved. Match will be good and fans,will be happy