WrestleMania: It Isn’t For You
After what seems like an eternity, the wrestling year has come full circle and we are just a few short weeks away from WrestleMania. Notice I didn’t say WrestleMania 33—while it’s been called the 33rd for a on nearly every WWE broadcast during the build, it appears the official name still just “WrestleMania.”
Thankfully it’s not being called the “33rd Anniversary of WrestleMania,” because I still haven’t gotten over 25…
Looking at the card, there are a ton of reasons for “us” to be unhappy. As a fanbase who wants to see new-stars-not-named-Roman-Reigns, it’s easy to see why so many will complain about a “lineup” full of part-timers and a potential in-ring proposal.
— WWE (@WWE) March 7, 2017
Take a look at the confirmed matchups:
Universal Champion Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Champion Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (and maybe Luke Harper but definitely not AJ Styles)
United States Champion Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (who just lost the Universal Championship to Goldberg in 20 seconds)
RAW Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks
Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. any available Smackdown women’s competitor (most importantly hometown girl Naomi if she’s cleared)
Raw Tag Team Champions The Club vs. Enzo & Cass and/or Sheamus & Cesaro (most likely both teams)
The yearly Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal (which Braun Strowman will probably win)
Hosted by The New Day
That’s seven announced matches and a host, equal to the total number on the main card of WrestleMania 30, widely included among the best ‘Manias ever. But we’re hardly done…
Now let’s take a look at the expected matchups:
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins in some form that may or may not include Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn and Finn Balor
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin
Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Austin Aries
Smackdown Tag Team Champions American Alpha vs. The Usos
The Big Show vs. Shaq (our on-again-off-again showdown that’s been announced for what seems like 2 years now)
That’s a potential eight additional announced matches, enough for an entire second WrestleMania card! I’ll spare you the column on making WrestleMania a two-night affair for now, but I don’t think we’re that far away from it.
Fifteen total matches, with anywhere from 3-6 hitting being featured as part of the Kickoff festivities that stream everywhere and might actually be watched by more people than WrestleMania itself.
— WWE (@WWE) March 8, 2017
And that’s part of the problem for the fan reading this article. You know damn well the following matches have ZERO chance of being part of the preshow: Golberg-Lesnar, Orton-Wyatt, Reigns-Taker, Shane-Styles, Cena/Nikki-Miz/Maryse, HHH-Rollins, and Show-Shaq (if it happens).
That’s seven matches and I didn’t even include Jericho-Owens, Ambrose-Corbin or either Women’s Championship match. Add in those and you have eleven. Let’s remember that WrestleMania 32 featured 9 main card matches, and that’s only if you count The Rock vs. Erick Rowan, and it the event was four-and-a-half hours long.
What I’m saying is I’m not 100% sure we won’t see Ambrose vs. Corbin and/or the Smackdown Women’s Championship match “featured” as part of the kickoff. In fact, I could see the Kickoff get the same treatment as the UFC Prelims and be promoted as its own show, complete with its own main event. And I know how much you’ll just LOVE to see that.
Now add in the fact that in the seven matches I said have ZERO chance of being on the preshow you have seven part-timers (including Cena and Show), one celebrity and one manager, and escalate that with the fact that the main event will likely feature two of those part-timers fighting over the Universal Championship (although they might surprise us and end with Wyatt vs. Orton) and the fact that The Undertaker’s opponent is your favorite whipping boy, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Or do you?
You see, there’s a really hard pill to swallow involved here. A pill that you will cringe at the mere sight of…
If you’re reading this article, WrestleMania IS NOT FOR YOU.
I know what you many of you are thinking: “But Greg, I support the product more than anyone! I watch shows on the Network despite hashtagging for its cancellation, I watch Raw after hashtagging its boycott, and I buy the merch after complaining that merch determines storyline pushes! I am keeping this company in business and I deserve a great WrestleMania!”
No, you don’t. Does the phrase “Showcase Of The Immortals” ring a bell?
WrestleMania represents a time of the year where the WWE is put on display for everyone else, not us. They have us hooked, and as much as we claim we’re going away, those numbers are small and for every one that leaves two more join. That’s the magic of social media.
Think about what a casual fan—maybe one who religiously watched during the Monday Night Wars—would say about these two different Universal Championship matches:
“Kevin Owens—the fat guy—is defending the title against Chris Jericho? Ok, I can watch.”
“HOLY SHIT, Goldberg is back and he has the title? And he’s defending it against Brock Lesnar? I can’t wait to see that match!”
You’re scoffing at this notion, and that scoff proves my point—WrestleMania isn’t for you. It is indeed a showcase for the company, and that showcase does indeed focus heavily on “Immortals.”
Look at Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker. ‘Taker is obviously a legend and in that immortal category. The company sees Roman Reigns as a future immortal, and this match is part of his path. You may not want to see it (especially since Reigns has a good shot at winning), but that’s WrestleMania.
Let me take another one that so many don’t want to see: Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles. I know you’d rather see Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Styles (despite Nakamura being a relative unknown to 75% of the Raw and Smackdown audience), but take a look at Shane McMahon’s WrestleMania opponents: The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, X-Pac (in a Degeneration X feud). That’s it. He’s faced the man who build the WWE, WrestleMania’s most legendary performer, and a future Hall Of Famer in a match built around in the faction that the company still considers the best in history.
AJ Styles is being trusted with an amazing responsibility, and being put into what the company considers to be a top position in this match against Shane. He would not get the focus, promotion, push or time with Nakamura that he’s going to get with Shane.
— WWE (@WWE) March 7, 2017
Now you are getting that coveted Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho match, it’s just probably going on second and isn’t for the Universal Championship. It might get less time than the likely in-ring legends segment that probably also includes The New Day.
You should be excited at the possibility of Neville vs. Austin Aries, but you’ll ignore that the Kickoff is considered part of THE SHOW in the WWE’s eyes and complain about that fact.
And how will you feel when, after defeating The Miz and Maryse (potentially with Nikki pinning The Miz), John Cena gets down on one knee and proposes to Nikki Bella in the middle of the ring, taking “valuable time” away from Jericho and Owens?
You’ll find a reason to hate it, because WrestleMania isn’t for you.
What can be done? You may be surprised by this, but WrestleMania is the event I enjoy the most on the WWE calendar. Having a family and living on the west coast, I frequently watch WWE PPVs on a delay. To keep from getting spoiled, I turn my phone off. OFF. No social media at all. It’s the only way, because even if I log out of Facebook and Twitter, someone is going to call or text me about the show. I disconnect for one night, for one event.
I watch WrestleMania as a fan… and if you choose to, WrestleMania will once again be for you.