It’s Wrestlemania time folks, and if you’ve made it to a site like Camel Clutch, you don’t need anybody here to tell you what a big deal that is.
Where others have their Super Bowls or their Oscars or their Olympic Games, pro wrestling has its WWE Wrestlemania, an event which transcends its own medium to stand tall as a spectacle of epic proportions. It’s the one event of its type guaranteed to get people talking whether they follow the game or not, and the one event that most fans would give their right arm to be ringside.
Sitting here some twenty or so days away from the WWE’s marquee event, this writer can’t help but feel as though Wrestlemania 31 is fast shaping up to be little more than just another show.
Sure, it’s still going to draw the biggest numbers the company produces all year, and sure the only way they’ll attract more mainstream attention is if they somehow manage to book a dream match between a former UFC champion and that guy from the G.I Joe movie, but is The Granddaddy of Them All really inspiring anybody to tune in come March 29th?
Maybe some folks, sure, but sadly not this usually pro-WWE supporter.
As I’m sure many of my fellow Brits will tell you, being a WWE fan in the United Kingdom requires a special commitment. Forget splashing the cash for another Pay Per View or enduring another three hours of Monday Night Bore, the best some of us can do to pledge our allegiance to the Kingdom of McMahon is staying up til the early hours of the morning to watch the big events.
When you’re younger, it’s not a big deal. Stay up all night, sleep all day, hit the Internet to blast the booking decisions some time mid-afternoon. Though when you start getting a bit longer in the proverbial tooth, watching wrestling until four in the morning then getting up four hours later and trying to function like a responsible adult all day is no fun, trust me.
As such, you start getting a little more selective about the night’s you sacrifice sleep for the love of pro wrestling. Most years, the Royal Rumble is a cert, after that, it takes a pretty compelling card to keep you from hitting the pillow, unless of course, that card is Wrestlemania.
It’s been said before that ‘Mania as a show is bigger than any of the individuals who perform on it. That’s hard to disagree with, so much so that pulling an allnighter for the annual spring spectacular is even more of a no-brainer than doing so for the Rumble.
This year? This year things are different. No less than a few short weeks before the event, and there’s absolutely nothing at Wrestlemania 31 that makes falling asleep at my computer come March 30th seem worth it.
Looking up and down the card as it stands -or at least, is rumored to stand right now- the only match I’m even remotely interested in seeing is Triple H vs. Sting, and that’s much more for the novelty value of seeing WCW’s franchise player competing in a WWE ring than it is because I expect the two veterans to churn out a classic.
The same goes for Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt. Though a meeting between two of the WWE’s creepier characters certainly sounds compelling, and should make for some interesting theatrics as both men make their way to the ring, but once the bell sounds, there’s nothing to get too excited about.
As I mentioned in a previous article, rising star Wyatt is in a no-win situation here. Defeat the Deadman, and he’s only really defeated an aging performer who hasn’t been seen since he got his ass handed to him a year ago. Lose to WWE’s most tenured player, and well, you get the idea.
Beyond that, the proposed multi-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship does promise to be enjoyable for what it is, but it does reek of the WWE Braintrust throwing a bunch of guys together because they can’t figure out what else to do with them.
Fun though it might be, whatever happens in that match will either be largely forgotten about by the time the following night’s Raw transpires, or else repeated ad nauseam on every show for the next six months, neither or which is an ideal situation for some of the company’s most talented workhorses to find themselves in.
Speaking of talent. Seth Rollins delivered a star-making performance back at the Royal Rumble, though both he and Randy Orton are going to have to pull something pretty special out of the bag if their match is going to anything more than your typical Raw main event. Likewise with the battle royal.
What may stand out as being a cut above the usual is Cena vs. Russev. With the company’s star player involved, this is sure to get a decent amount of time, and could well prove to be match of the night, though sadly that alone is unlikely to raise Wrestlemania up from the depths of mediocrity.
Which brings us, at last, to our main event. Like Shawn Michaels in 1996, Steve Austin in 1998, and countless others since the turn of the millennium, Roman Reigns’ moment of glory is practically a sure thing by now.