I’m really proud of what Marcho Madness has become. Something that was a silly idea four years ago has grown into one of our flagship events every year. We are supported by the fine folks over at r/squaredcircle and now we are streaming LIVE on Twitch via the PSN. This little tournament is all grown up.
For those that are unfamiliar with Marcho Madness, we take the concept of the NCAA basketball tournament and create our own mega-wrestling bracket that is simulated via the latest WWE video game.
Here are the updated requirements for entry:
-You had to be a full-time wrestler during the grading period, either actively or seasonal (March 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015). This explains why Triple H, Batista and Chris Jericho aren’t in the tournament, for instace.
-If you hold a title in a major wrestling company with national TV in America (WWE, TNA, ROH, NJPW and Lucha Underground) at the time of selection, you automatically qualify just like some of the crappy teams in the NCAA tournament making it in because they won some random conference title. Consideration is also given to other independent champions. Determination is based off of physical date, not air date in terms of which champions make it in.
-Any wrestler is subject to exclusion if they are unavailable for download on WWE 2K15 online.
Now, let’s get into the Tales of the Tapes.
-How close will video game Brock Lesnar be to real life Brock Lesnar?
-Bucking every rule we normally have, Brock Lesnar is the number one seed in this year’s tournament, his first since winning the 2004 version (I am a sicko and simulated every hypothetical tournament two years ago and somehow stayed married). Based on the year he had in real life, Brock should win this easily. However, this game is tricky. Brock’s high rating will help counterattack any weird AI (he’s tied for the second highest rated wrestler in the tournament) and his road is conceivably very easy (his first three matches could be against Tyler Breeze, The Miz and Adrian Neville).
-Is John Cena really only going to win one of these things?
John Cena has been the focal point of this tournament every year. He was the runner up in 2011, winner in 2012, surprisingly eliminated in round 2 in 2013 and tapped out in the final four last year. As the number two overall seed this year, Cena is running out of time to join Jim Neidhart, Bret Hart, Lex Luger, Triple H, Goldberg and Big Show as two time Marcho champs (and the first to do it in the live era that really counts). His road this year looks incredibly hard (wrestling Cesaro, Orton and Wyatt BEFORE the Elite 8 is on the table), but if anyone can overcome those odds, you bet your ass it’s John Cena.
-Can AJ Styles finally act like a superstar?
Last year, we were fearful that, like CM Punk, AJ Styles was on his way out of this tournament. Instead, he had a career year and enters the tournament as the third overall seed. Unfortunately, he has never made it past the Sweet 16. On paper, that fact is okay because he has fallen to Austin Aries, Roman Reigns and Sheamus. A 4-4 live record and 7-12 all-time record doesn’t scream “Phenomenal” to me. His region is arguably the most diverse, but he matches up well against most of the combatants. Will he get ready to fly or get ready to die?
-Will we regret Jay Briscoe as a number one seed?
The final number one seed in Marcho Madness is always interesting. Men like Edge, Jeff Hardy and Alberto Del Rio normally fall into this category to mixed results. This year, we made history making a non-WWE and TNA wrestler the final top spot in Jay Briscoe. It still looks weird on paper, but he has been on fire in real life. A brawling style could translate well to the game, but Briscoe has never won a match in a live Marcho. If he loses to Murphy in the first round, he would be the first person to lose to a 16 seed and he wouldn’t completely shock your faithful host/writer.
-Can the re-emergence of the two seed continue?
After going 0-4 in the 2013 tournament, two seeds in last year’s tournament had a significant upswing. Sure, Magnus lost in the first round, but AJ Styles made it to the Sweet 16, CM Punk made it to the Elite 8 and Bully Ray won the whole thing. This year, two seeds looks to continue the momentum. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have significant momentum from their deep runs last year and their higher ratings this year could mean big things. Bobby Lashley is a prototypical competitor in Marcho Madness in terms of moveset and power. Daniel Bryan is tied for the second highest rated wrestler in the tournament and finally found a way to win in last year’s Marcho. Any of these four gentlemen could win their side.
-How will the veterans perform?
Establish names in Marcho Madness are always successful, but falling short. Eddie Edwards and Dolph Ziggler are former runners up that could make it back there very easily. All-time, nobody has wrestled more Marcho Madness matches without a title than Kane and he isn’t getting any younger. The same goes for Randy Orton. Sheamus and Big Show have been victorious outside of our live era, but naturally carry some favor still. Even newer characters like Bray Wyatt and Cesaro have gotten their hands dirty over the past couple years and could make a big jump. Long story short, a couple of the mainstays of Marcho Madness will be around as the tournament nears its close.
-Which fresh face will emerge and why will it be from NJPW?
Debuts always create some intrigue because unknowns always make a bigger impact than expected. The freshest faces in Marcho Madness come from New Japan Pro Wrestling this year. Guys like Tanahashi, Nakamura and Okada who should have been doing damage this whole time finally make their way in, among others. I fully expect one of them to make it deep and thoroughly confuse Augie. Beyond Japan, personalities like Rusev, MVP and Prince Puma all have the opportunity to stake their claim and surprise some people upon their debut.
-Will the small time make a bigger impact?
The independents had another good year with Johnny Gargano’s Elite 8 appearance last year. Along with Gargano’s return this year, guys like Kyle O’Reilly, Drew Galloway and Roderick Strong could come from underneath and open some eyes. If you consider NXT small time, their presence grows as well with Tyler Breeze, Sami Zayn and more scratching and crawling to get a win (just like they scratch and crawl to stay in NXT). Eventually, it feels like this tournament will evolve to see WWE become the minority. This year could be the start if Adrian Neville, the Young Bucks or Jay Lethal make it far.
-Who will be upset?
Nobody called Christian beating Big Show or Abyss beating Sting last year. If I have learned anything after watching so much stupid video game wrestling simulations, it is that literally anything can happen. I’ve seen John Cena get rolled up and beat in less than 30 seconds by Cody Rhodes, for crying out loud. Who is susceptible to a shocking early exit this year? Keep your eyes on Karl Anderson over Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper over Kurt Angle, Ryback over Jey Uso or Kenny Omega over Roman Reigns. Those men have the potential to bust some brackets and go far.
-Which matches will cause marking out?
Sometimes, WWE’s video game has a great wrestling mind and totally watchable/enthralling matches come through. On paper, I can’t wait to watch Tomohiro Ishii vs Bobby Roode, Nakamura vs Tyson Kidd, Dean Ambrose vs Samoa Joe and JOHNNY GARGANO VS SAMI ZAYN. Seriously, that is insane.
Before we completely wrap up, here is a list of every Marcho Madness Champion and Runner-Up ever.
1991 Winner: Jim Neidhart; Runner-Up: Ricky Morton
1992 Winner: Jim Neidhart; Runner-Up: Ultimate Warrior
1993 Winner: Bret Hart; Runner-Up: Barry Windham
1994 Winner: Lex Luger; Runner-Up: Giant Gonzalez
1995 Winner: Yokozuna; Runner-Up: Avalanche
1996 Winner: The Undertaker; Runner-Up: Cactus Jack
1997 Winner: Lex Luger; Runner-Up: Brian Knobbs
1998 Winner: Bret Hart; Runner-Up: Lex Luger
1999 Winner: Goldberg; Runner-Up: Sting
2000 Winner: Big Show; Runner-Up: Masato Tanaka
2001 Winner: Goldberg; Runner-Up: Lex Luger
2002 Winner: DDP; Runner-Up: Rhyno
2003 Winner: Shelton Benjamin; Runner-Up: Ken Shamrock
2004 Winner: Brock Lesnar; Runner-Up: Goldberg
2005 Winner: Big Show; Runner-Up: JBL
2006 Winner: Triple H; Runner-Up: Kane
2007 Winner: Batista; Runner-Up: Brother Ray
2008 Winner: Tomko; Runner-Up: Randy Orton
2009 Winner: Triple H; Runner-Up: Tomko
2010 Winner: Sheamus; Runner-Up: John Morrison
2011 Winner: Matt Morgan; Runner-Up: John Cena
2012 Winner: John Cena; Runner-Up: Eddie Edwards
2013 Winner: Tensai; Runner-Up: Dolph Ziggler
2104 Winner: Bully Ray; Runner-Up: Big E
Whew, that went long. But, I hope that goes to show how awesome this can be. So enough analysis…it’s time to get your picks! You gotta play to win! Fill out your bracket for a chance to win some sweet prizes.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND SUBMIT THE 2015
MARCHO MADNESS BRACKET
Channel your inner Digger Phelps, call your favorite bracketologist, and don't take Erick Rowan too far! It is Marcho Madness season and we couldn't be happier.