Remember all the hype, prestige and build up to the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that existed last year? Remember stars like Dolph Ziggler talking so passionately about what winning such a match would mean? I do too, and I miss that.
Remember how many of us were convinced, the way things were built up, that Big Show would win since he was pretty much Andre’s biggest fan and the near literal re-incarnation of the Hall of Famer? Remember how exciting and satisfying it was when in a masterful swerve at the last minute Cesaro pulled a Hulk Hogan spot and hoisted up the giant and eliminated him to win the contest instead? It was brilliant.
Remember how we all thought Cesaro was destined for a main event push after that? Yeah. I do too.
So, here we are. A year later. Who are the front-runners this year, on paper and television and in the minds and hearts of fans and analysts? Who will end up winning? Let’s take a little look-see…
Many analysts are predicting that since the feud between The Miz and his under-appreciated personal assistant and ex-stunt double didn’t blow up at Night of Champions or Survivor Series or TLC or Royal Rumble or Fastlane, that it will finally come to a head at WrestleMania.
The scenario certainly lends itself to such a happening. One could indeed picture both men becoming the last men in the ring, after combining their efforts to get rid of some of the more formidable entrants like Big Show, Mark Henry and Kane. Down to just the two of them, Miz would of course order his assistant to eliminate himself, and Mizdow’s refusal would yield a massive pop.
Mizdow definitely deserves a victory and an honour. Lest we forget he was a hair away from becoming World Heavyweight Champion, a hair away from defeating John Cena, Since then he has suffered a bit of an identity crisis, but has now found his way back into the fans hearts. Before such adulation gets lost and forgotten again, the man deserves his name engraved on the brass plate of history.
My personal pick. I have always been a mark for the muscle-bound wrecking ball, ever since his early days of squashing jobbers. The man had two main event pushes in less than a year, one as a face and the second as a heel, and neither yielded anything. He was a Paul Heyman guy. he was part of The Nexus. He made a tag team championship run with Curtis Axel. In the short time he’s spent in WWE he has covered much ground, worn many faces, but has continually come up empty-handed.
It would be nice to see the Big Guy to win something, that’s all I’m saying. But maybe that’s just not his thing. Maybe he’s just meant to carry the ball down the lane but never make the basket.
Either way, the fact that he’s being built as a favourite to win the battle royal this Sunday is the main reason why I doubt he will win.
The Big Show
Paul Wight entered the WCW initially calling himself simply “The Giant”, wearing Andre’s old strongman singlet and claiming he was the son of the legend himself. He has stated numerous times how Andre was his role model, his inspiration, his hero. He suffers from the same condition that gave Andre his freakish size, and has surpassed the legend in his accomplishments inside the squared circle.
No other man in the wrestling world deserves an Andre the Giant Memorial Award more than Big Show, and for that reason he can’t simply be handed the victory. It’s why he didn’t win last year. To do the job and put someone else over is the greatest achievement of a pro wrestler, and in such fashion Big Show put over Cesaro last year.
It is conceivable that since he has not been featured as vehemently this time around, that WWE will “swerve” and have Big Show attain the gold he was destined to hold.
He has a master villain to work against in Kane, which makes such an ending possible. Kane is not only a fellow veteran of battle royals and fellow monster, but also a fellow member of the authority and essentially Big Show’s superior. If left up to the two of them, Kane could pull rank and order Big Show to eliminate himself. This would make a face of Big Show, and if he defied Kane and the authority to win his coveted prize and honour his hero, it could be a WrestleMania moment to be remembered.
The problem is that Big Show switches from face to heel and back again so frequently, he changes character on the drop of the dime so often, that such a moment might not have the gravity one would hope. He may eliminate Kane and hoist the trophy and celebrate to a crowd that could not be bothered.
I never liked Curtis Axel. I never thought he was much of a performer. I never get excited when I find out he is on the night’s card.
That changed with this whole “AxelMania” angle. It has real heat, and the crowd is behind it. He has succeeded in playing up his own mediocrity, and the fans have gotten on board. He took his short-changing at the Rumble and turned it into a push. He took the disparaging comment JBL said about changing the channel into a catch phrase. He has taken every lemon thrown his way and made lemonade and sold it on a tee shirt.
In short, I admire what he’s been able to do with very little the last little while, and it may possibly yield him a victory at WrestleMania.
It has been announced that a tournament will be held at Axxess between four members of the NXT roster, the winner earning a spot in the battle royal. Most, including myself, are predicting that Adrian Neville will win that honour.
Although it may seem a bit much to give such a WrestleMania moment to a wrestler who is not even officially part of the main roster, for someone like Neville it could be the big impact he needs to establish credibility in the land of the giants.
Remember, the trophy doesn’t actually mean you are destined for a bee line to the top of the company, as was proven by Cesaro last year. If all it means is a nod from above that your efforts and talent are appreciated, than what harm can be done by giving it to a young upstart like Neville?