It’s absolutely insane that this year marks five years since Marcho Madness officially began. Rich’s random idea has grown into our signature event that yielded over 800 submissions last year. Heading into the sixth live tournament, we are proud to have the support of the great guys over at r/squaredcircle and we will be embarking on our longest stream LIVE on Twitch March 26th from 11 AM EST until we are finished with all 67 matches. 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 have made a considerable impact on the wrestling world within the grading period (March 1, 2015-March 1, 2016). Factors that the selection committee considers are a combination of real life and on-screen elements including (but not limited to) title reigns, main events, popularity, etc.
If you hold a title in a wrestling company that has a significant North American following or presence (WWE, NXT, TNA, ROH, NJPW, Lucha Underground, PWG, EVOLVE) 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. Determination is based off of the title holders that were seen on TV and not spoilers at date of cut-off.
Any wrestler is subject to exclusion if they are unavailable for download on WWE 2K16 online.
With the additional play-in games this year, we lessened our stance on champions having their own spots and tried to streamline the amount of tag teams in the tournament. Here are the results of those matches:
Barrio Negro defeated Trece and Siniestro de la Muerte
Tomoaki Honma defeated Togi Makabe
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Bobby Fish
Doc Gallows defeated Karl Anderson via DQ
Davey Richards defeated Eddie Edwards
Matt Taven defeated Mike Bennett
Hanson defeated Ray Rowe
Scott Dawson defeated Dash Wilder
Now, let’s get into the Tales of the Tapes.
Will being the smallest number one overall seed ever doom Seth Rollins?
As a reward for his incredible work before his injury, Seth Rollins was named the number one overall seed in this year’s tournament. That said, being rated only a 92 in the position he is in makes it a precarious spot. As seen in our Podswoggle Title streams on Twitch every month, high fliers have performed better than years past. Rollins made it to the Elite 8 two years ago and the Sweet 16 last year. His road could include Randy Orton in the second round and his potential Elite 8 match is brutal in multiple ways. The Architect is going to need a great set of blueprints to go deep like last year’s overall number one, Brock Lesnar.
Can Jay Lethal make it back-to-back for ROH?
Last year, the cursed spot of the final number one seed was broken when then ROH Champion Jay Briscoe went all the way and won Marcho Madness in convincing fashion. Briscoe is back in the tournament as a six seed with a very difficult road back to the top, but he laid the groundwork for Jay Lethal to become the second overall seed. Lethal’s 93 rating and incredibly varied moveset make him an exciting favorite just like Rollins. Plus, this game has a weird, subconscious narrative sometimes and it could like ROH enough to keep the momentum going. But, Lethal is in the HOSS region (which we will get to later). Whichever way it goes, Lethal will be a big story.
Will Okada put on another clinic?
Adding NJPW representatives last year made the tournament exponentially better and nobody was a better example of that than Okada. Even though he only made it to the Sweet Sixteen, he was a participant in the best match in video game wrestling history against EC3 and looked like a force to be reckoned with for a long time. His first stint as a number one seed could have some bumps (King Barrett in the first round is ridiculous for a number one), but he will definitely make every match dramatic and action-packed. With a 93 rating and Strong Style, though, don’t be surprised to see him make it rain very late into the tournament.
Can Finn Balor retain the Podswoggle Title and bring the real NXT Arrival?
Every month on Twitch since November, we’ve been holding mini-tournaments just for fun to crown a Podswoggle Champion. Finn Balor won last month, absolutely dominating Brock Lesnar in the championship. As the lowest rated number one seed ever at an 88, it would seem as though he would have an uphill battle to climb, but his recent victories tend to suggest otherwise. His moveset is incredibly effective and momentum is on his side. However, every NXT wrestler was eliminated in the first round last year. Couple that with a Pentagon Jr. first round match (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and Finn will need the Demon to come out every round in order to take it all.
How scary are the two seeds?
Scary. Roman Reigns has performed well every year and is destined to win Marcho Madness one year. Brock Lesnar was in the Final 4 last year and surely can dominate all the way to the end. AJ Styles has struggled in past tournaments, but has never been ranked higher (or been a WWE Superstar). Then, there is John Cena. The 2012 winner and perennial favorite (he’s 19-4 lifetime) has never been a number two seed and that’s terrifying for everyone that is in his path. In any given year, these four could be number one seeds. This year, it might not matter either way.
Is the HOSS region bound to have the winner?
As referenced earlier, Jay Lethal’s area is filled with so much talent, so much beef and really high ratings. Seriously, Tanahashi, Lashley, Mil Muertes, Shibata, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Hanson, Rusev, Cesaro, Brock Lesnar and Apollo Crews! That’s EXCLUDING Kofi Kingston, Drew Galloway and Timothy Thatcher! If Matt Taven wins this bracket, burn it all down!
How will the veterans perform?
Established names in Marcho Madness are always successful, but falling short. Bray Wyatt, Big E and Dolph Ziggler are former runners up that could make it back there very easily. EC3, Randy Orton and Sheamus have all gone deep and are poised to do so again. The same goes for Alberto Del Rio. Even newer characters like Luke Harper and Johnny Gargano 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.
Who will make the biggest splash out of the newcomers?
Debuts always create some intrigue because unknowns always make a bigger impact than expected. Lucha Underground has a much bigger presence this year and a well-rounded competitor like King Cuerno or an underdog story like Fenix could make it far. Young guns like Trevor Lee or Xavier Woods are intriguing just like light heavyweights such as KUSHIDA and Kalisto. You also can’t sleep on powerhouses such as Baron Corbin or Braun Strowman. It’s not a guarantee, but it won’t be a shock when somebody makes a big statement on their first go-around in Marcho Madness.
Who will be upset?
Nobody called Cody Rhodes beating Randy Orton or James Storm beating Sheamus 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 Mason Ryan look like Kurt Angle, for crying out loud. Who is susceptible to a shocking early exit this year? Keep your eyes on Kenny Omega over Ryback, Tomohiro Ishii over Bray Wyatt, Eric Young over Alberto Del Rio and Doc Gallows over Dean Ambrose (especially since Gallows beat The Rock three years ago). Plus, a 16 over 1 upset has never happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Pentagon Jr. or King Barrett shock the world.
Which matches will cause marking out?
Sometimes, WWE’s video game has a great wrestling mind and totally watchable/enthralling matches come through. As I mentioned earlier, EC3 vs Okada was a legit classic (and one of my five favorite matches last year) and the game definitely brings some incredible actions. On paper, I can’t wait to watch AJ Styles vs Neville, Brock Lesnar vs Apollo Crews, Ricochet vs Luke Harper and FINN BALOR VS PENTAGON JR. Seriously, that is insane.
Before we completely wrap up, here is a list of every Marcho Madness Champion and Runner-Up ever (using the ridiculous research I did many years ago that drained years off of my life. The last five years are all that really matter).
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
2014 Winner: Bully Ray; Runner-Up: Big E
2015 Winner: Jay Briscoe; Runner-Up: Bray Wyatt
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.
Channel your inner Digger Phelps, call your favorite bracketologist, and don't take Tigre Uno too far! It is Marcho Madness season and we couldn't be happier.