From the WWE Rumor Mill: Original plans for WrestleMania 33 Main Event
What’s the story?
On a recent episode of Talk is Jericho on the Westwood One Network, Chris Jericho had invited his friend and former colleague James Ellsworth to discuss his time in the WWE and his departure at the end of last year.
In the interview, Y2J and James spoke through a variety of topics and went into specifics around when plans change and getting your hopes dashed due to the nature of the creative. During this conversation, Jericho let Ellsworth into the plans of the original WrestleMania 33 main event.
In case you didn’t know…
Chris Jericho hosts a weekly podcast with a variety of guests from the world of WWE, Pro Wrestling, music and anyone that interests him. James Ellsworth was the plucky underdog 'extra' who was fed to Braun Strowman back when Braun only did squash matches. James was the first extra to deliver an in-ring promo before the match and impressed bosses with his mic skills and his ability to work. Fast forward a few months and James was in the company challenging for the World Championship vs AJ Styles and went on to continue his comedy character with Carmella. James was then let go by the company after 16 months in November 2017.
The heart of the matter
During the podcast, while discussing James's feelings towards his departure and perhaps taking it to heart too much, when really it was just the company not needing him for now, Jericho attempted to cheer James up with an anecdote of his own.
Chris claimed that Vince told him in November of 2016 that the impending feud between Jericho and Kevin Owens would naturally run till WrestleMania (as it did) but would culminate in it being for the Universal Title, which Jericho would win. Vince said that he would then lose it in the next PPV to Brock which Jericho was fully onboard for, given he had never won the world title as a 'babyface' before and was excited about the possibility.
One week later, however, Brock was beaten by a returning Goldberg in 1 minute, and after saying he would work more with Goldberg in the future, the decision was made to make Goldberg beat Owens for the title and work another match at WrestleMania for Brock and Goldberg for the title, which Brock ended up winning to gain the Universal Title.
Jericho went on to have that match at 'Mania for the US Title that Jericho had won off of Roman Reigns and ultimately ended up losing to Owens on the night. He would have a rematch at Payback for the title and then leave the company to concentrate on his band Fozzy. Aside from a few one-off appearances for the WWE, Chris is still focusing on music and touring, whilst appearing for NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 12 against Kenny Omega. Ellsworth was let go from the WWE at the end of 2017 but is optimistic about his future given the number of independent bookings he has already, plus not leaving the WWE on a bad note.
The actual main event at WrestleMania was a great, a hard-hitting rematch between two legitimate tough guys who had had a lacklustre main event at WrestleMania XX when both left the company. This original idea still happened, with the build-up involving the 'Festival of Friendship' and the list making it 'must see TV'. The main event suffered however from the sheer volume of other matches on the card. Perhaps the Universal Title being on the line would have ensured that this match delivered in more of a way than it did.
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