WWE | Pro Wrestling

Does Anyone Really Care About WrestleMania XXXI?

The WWE has lost its mojo. Somewhere on the path toward trying to reinvent the wheel and keep audiences entertained, the big engine that steamrolled through promotions and territories lost steam and now is chugging along like a ’74 AMC Pacer trying to survive another hot summer.

Where did the business I grew up watching, the Grand Marshall of reality television, misstep and twist and ankle?

Wrestling isn’t what it was just five years ago. It couldn’t be by any stretch of the imagination a good product then is just plain bad in a blink of an eye. There is no quick fix in sight. John Cena cannot save the WWE. Daniel Bryan tried, but failed. Vince McMahon wants to go back to the “Bigger is Better” theory of champions and place the title on a guy that looks the part in Roman Reigns, but isn’t like his cousin, The Rock, further damaging the brand.

By god, please have someone send over a shot of adrenaline to give the company some life and ease its pain. The Undertaker can no longer deliver a main event caliber match, but we will certainly put over Bray Wyatt. Triple H isn’t sure he can put together a good match with Sting, who finally gets the WrestleMania moment he deserves – but its 10 years too late. Cena has become the middle man, falling backward to take a giant leap forward, but most of us do not care.

This WrestleMania proves more than ever how troubled the product is. It almost makes ardent fans grab a box of Kleenex as they tune in each week.

Where have all the good men gone? And where are all the Gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules, to fight the rising odds?

A friend of mine, Jeff Maudlin, asked me a few weeks ago how I felt about the changes in professional wrestling. The times when we were young and watched our favorites on TBS in Atlanta and cable television. We liked the idea of Kayfabe and the mystery surrounding the business, the wrestlers and the lack of social media and internet to “spoil” what we saw for the first time. He asked if I thought the elimination of secrecy hurt what we see today. I replied with a resounding, “YES!”

Wrestling’s greatest character flaw of today is the knowledge that fans know what is going to happen beforehand. Even in a business of predetermination and the quest for suspended animation, knowing how and what will happen has destroyed all “credibility” for the McMahons and those who work to make the product what it used to be. There is no replication here. Hulk Hogan or The Rock are not going to come out of the back and save the show. Ric Flair is not going to make Brad Rheingans look like Tommy Rich. There is no sense in trying to make Dolph Ziggler dance with a ladder.

Vince McMahon created this problem with a monopoly of the industry with no real competition. If the WWE had a WCW-like opponent or the TNA brand was built to challenge the super power on every level, then there would more interest. There is a watered down version of the company because there are too many stars who have stood in the main event spotlight and are trying to hold on to that one shining moment. Some characters will not move from the zenith to help the company grow.

Take that underlying message for whatever it is worth to you.

WrestleMania is 19 days away and frankly, I don’t see myself or Mike Mooneyham or Dave Meltzer or Bill Apter jumping on tables, begging the event to happen. Hell, the fans aren’t doing it, either.The WWE has lost its way, lost its Mojo and cannot find its way out of a paper bag. Until the layers of the onion have been peeled back enough to find the sources of the problem, we will all still wait and hope for wrestling the way it used to be, not the way it can be and more importantly, the way it should be.

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