wrestling / Columns

411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Did WrestleMania 40 Have The Right Ending?

April 22, 2024 | Posted by Jake Chambers
Cody Rhodes WrestleMania 40 WT WWE Image Credit: WWE

411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Did Wrestlemania 40 Have the Right Ending?

Welcome back to the 411mania Wrestling Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Just me this week, as I’ve got a few “takes” on some topics I’d like to get off my chest about Wrestlemania, AEW and New Japan. So chime in below with some comments if you’ve got a FACT to my FICTIONs.

Statement #1:The ending of Wrestlemania XL was satisfying.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – I will say this acknowledging that clearly the audience was happy and the critical response has been pretty positive, and I liked the Roman vs. Cody match enough, but was I personally satisfied? No.

The “Bloodline Rules” match made no sense to me. Why would Roman win the rights to that match and then just treat it like a regular match? Having interference from Bloodline members one at a time without ever taking into consideration that others might interfere as well seemed pretty dumb.

Roman, technically, would have been much better off with a regular rules match where he had the championship advantage and Cody could have been disqualified for any outside interference. Instead, Cody somewhat won because of the No DQ element. If the vague “Bloodline Rules” are in place, then why not have the entire Bloodline out there from the beginning ganging up on Cody? Overcoming those stacked odds would have then made for a much more satisfying ending, instead of the kind of served on a platter ending we got.

Honestly, I was hoping for a more Wrestlemania X-7 ending where like everyone from The Judgment Day to Sami Zayn come out to join a new age Corporate Bloodline to stop Cody from winning. This would have made The Rock’s power seem more omnipotent and shocking, setting up another even bigger obstacle for Cody to overcome throughout the year.

Statement #2: It was wrong for AEW to air the footage of the All In backstage fight.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – Why wouldn’t everyone want to see that? We all talked about it last year over and over and speculated incessantly over different verbal accounts of what happened. Turns out it was pretty interesting and a lot of people wanted to see it, so.

The main argument I’ve heard against showing that footage was “nobody wins”. Okay, lol, well… what does anybody win ever? It’s just a show. We watch it or we don’t. Nobody is winning or losing. AEW is not in any danger of going away, neither is WWE or CM Punk.

I can’t imagine there’s one person who complained about AEW showing that footage who didn’t ultimately watch it, so what are we even talking about? It was something interesting to see for a day, now on to the next thing.

Statement #3: The Rock will not wrestle again until Wrestlemania 41.

Jake Chambers: FACT – WWE books at a snail’s pace these days, so a Rock vs. Cody match at SummerSlam would almost be hot-shotting by comparison.

Why can’t the WWE book Cody vs. Rock at Wrestlemania 41 now like they did to great success for the Rock / Cena “Once in a Lifetime” match at Wrestlemania 28? Clearly announcing that match made for a really unique year of booking like we haven’t seen since.

WWE prefers, during the previous and new Paul Levesque eras, to instead just book a bunch of predictable matches for the champion between now and Wrestlemania in order to set up a match we can all see coming a year away. This has happened 3 Wrestlemanias in a row, and now likely a 4th time.

This comes to one of my pet peeves with modern WWE and the concept of “long-term storytelling”. Equating professional wrestling to traditional literary techniques is not very fun and disregards the chaos inside the DNA of this art form. What it may do is create stable money-making strategies for a billion dollar corporation, but limits any unpredictability week to week and year to year. I don’t want to watch a show that’s just going to fill in the blanks on a template. Give me the insanity of real pro-wrestling, not the story arc of a movie.

Statement #4: Will Ospreay was wrong to respond to HHH’s comment about wrestlers not wanting to come to WWE because of the grind.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – Good for Will Ospreay. Sub-tweeting Ospreay like that was pretty ridiculous for HHH, a guy who has mastered the corporate “art” of saying a bunch of words that mean nothing in every public appearance. But the one thing he had to say that was almost literal implied that Will Ospreay, who in 2023 ran around the world having the best matches each night in different promotions, was afraid of the grind.

If anything, it’s probably better for Ospreay’s career down the line to talk shit like he did in response. CM Punk, who basically tore the guts out of the company on a podcast and got sued over it, just walked back in to become one of the highest paid stars in the company, while Cody Rhodes smashed a symbolic HHH chair on the first AEW show, and last week HHH figuratively dry humped Cody with the love of a teenage boy on worldwide TV. Speak your truth, bruv, HHH ain’t doing shit about it except writing you a fat cheque one day.

Statement #5: You are excited for Jon Moxley’s run as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in New Japan.

Jake Chambers: FACT – Going from an unenthusiastic Okada to a dull SANADA to a washed Naito has been a traumatic run in the main event scene for NJPW. Moxley brings a history of good matches in New Japan and Strong, and a great G1 run a few years ago, that makes him a legit champion (unlike my fear they were going to put it on Nic Nemeth in his first match like they did AJ Styles), and someone who can have some fresh match ups with the somewhat diluted roster of rookies and veterans over there these days. This is assuming he’s willing to commit to a run that stretches through this year’s G1 and not just defending it once against like Jeff Cobb on an episode of Collision before dropping it back to someone on the next NJPW Strong show.

Statement #5: The new tracking shots used by WWE production lately are really cool.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – It was cool once or twice, but it’s gimmicky. What’s funny is the overwhelming IWC rush to declare “genius” or “CINEMA!” over something pretty basic that the WWE has already done to death in just a couple of weeks.

I think anybody who has seen sports broadcasts, or generally any movie, for most of the past like 50 years, has seen shots like this used sparingly to modest effect pretty regularly.

Meanwhile, this rush to celebrate basic camera movement seems to also come along with atrocious disrespect for former WWE producer/director Kevin Dunn.

For almost 40 years, Kevin Dunn basically created the entire way professional wrestling has been broadcast on TV and PPV, shaping the televised visual language of this art form that we all understand today. Imagine the lifetime of technical and artistic challenges this man had to overcome from the early ’80s until today, all for the love of pro-wrestling. The world’s best filmmakers and sports broadcasters would kill for a career a fraction as accomplished as the one Dunn had, but all the actual fans of the WWE want to do is now is call him hack every time someone Tweets one of these clips of a camera going down a hallway. Okay… eyeroll.

I’ll say this, they should fire immediately whoever is currently in the WWE production truck that decided for the past 6 months that it would be a great idea for EVERY match on RAW, NXT and Smackdown to cut to commercials when someone is throw to the outside in the first 1-2 minutes. That shit is fucking annoying!