For the last two years I have been one of those guys who has “beat the drum” on how the part-time wrestlers (The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho) were actually helping the WWE product rather then hurting it as some fans believed.
Since heading into WrestleMania 27 the WWE product has seemed “flat” at times as the company is going through changes in creating new stars. The days of John Cena, Batista and Randy Orton leading the charge had passed us because the fans wanted the product to be led in a new direction. They clung onto superstars such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan & Dolph Ziggler and while the company has been successful in giving us “wrestling” in recent months it appears that they could be heading into a “train-wreck” of a situation in-regards to WrestleMania 29.
Due to all these changes fans are discussing the phrase “disappointment” rather then “excitement” when describing the WrestleMania 29 card at the moment and the show is two weeks from now. This lack of draw currently is reminiscent to the lack of excitement we most recently saw in-regards to WrestleMania 27 that was headlined by Cena vs. The Miz but was overshadowed by The Rock’s feud with John Cena.
And that’s where the problem may actually be stemming.
Since WrestleMania 26 the WWE has been focusing their Main Event matches around “part-time” stars that it may actually be taking away from the “foundation” of their biggest event of the year, the undercard and after a really good “fiscal year” (WrestleMania 28 to WrestleMania 29) for the WWE it appears they are botching their biggest event simply because their focus could be directed towards the “part-time” stars.
The Rock vs. John Cena II – if you read this blog then you know how my feelings about this match have gone up and down in recent weeks. The WWE needed to plan better for when The Rock wasn’t going to be there or they shouldn’t put the WWE Championship on him.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – it’s been a good feud thus far but I don’t think the fans are that invested into it. When you don’t see Triple H or Brock Lesnar for nearly 6 months how are the fans supposed to be excited for this match? If the WWE is going to keep using Lesnar the way they currently do I’d like to see a little more of a creative way to keep him relevant in storylines.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk – Out of all the “part-time” workers on the WrestleMania 29 card this is the one match fans are caring about. You want to know why? Because CM Punk’s face has been the focal point of WWE TV for the last year and now he is facing one of the biggest tests in professional wrestling history, The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. The fans are invested in CM Punk because the product has invested well into him.
It’s a simple formula in professional wrestling: emotional investments into talents that have “it” (i.e. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler).
Now don’t get me wrong, wrestling fans love seeing The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Triple H, The Undertaker and Chris Jericho back in the squared circle. But what has made a good WrestleMania event in history? Top to bottom and bottom to top great matches on the card, WrestleMania 17, WrestleMania 18 & WrestleMania 19 immediately come to mind thanks to great cards that got fans excited.
Recently fans were excited for WrestleMania 26 as well due to what was “on paper” a great card. The WWE, at the time, did a great job of building the entire card once January hit the calendar that year. It appeared to be a focused card that got fans excited. The WWE isn’t focused right now and therefore their WrestleMania 29 card deserves the criticism it is getting from fans.
It’s a formula of so many things right now that’s really hurting the excitement level of one of the best times of the year to be a wrestling fan: too much focus on “part-time workers,” a lack of undercard direction that could stem from too much focus on the “part-time workers” and going off the formula of what has worked successfully all year long.
People want to see Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan wrestle one another, but not in a Tag Team match. People want to see Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger wrestle one another in a great feud, but not in a World Title match. Why did the WWE listen to their fans for so long but all of a sudden stop once January 2013 turned on the calendar?
It’s a frustrating time for wrestling fans because this card has had so much potential yet the WWE appears not to be tapping into. It’s going to take a lot the next two weeks to get wrestling fans “jacked” for WrestleMania 29…I won’t doubt the WWE in creating that buzz once again, but that got an uphill climb at the moment.
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