WWE | Pro Wrestling

Missed WrestleMania 26 Opportunities

John Cena and Triple HAs is the case every year, World Wrestling Entertainment is preparing for the biggest show of the year and along with those preparations come the fond memories of yesteryear and mixed emotions when I think about what could have been or what should have been. If you think about it, the original format of WrestleMania was a show that pitted the WWE’s best against each other in storylines that lasted for six months to a year.

Sometimes the feuds lasted even longer. It gives me a nostalgic feeling to think back to 1985 and going to the Philadelphia Spectrum to watch WrestleMania I on close circuit television. I can remember how much my mother loved watching Andre the Giant and how much she wanted to see him slam Big John Studd. I remember trying to take a picture of that moment and getting home only to find out that what I had was a great shot of the guy’s shirt in front of me. Back then there was emotion built into the feuds. There were engaging storylines that kept the audience focused for months. Now the industry has changed. Somewhere along the way, Vince forgot about delivering compelling storylines that would last several months and went to mini feuds that last a month or two at most. While changing the focus to that philosophy, he missed out on many opportunities to bring back some of the audience who lost their passion for sports entertainment because of long drawn out interview segments and very little match time on the weekly shows.

Can you imagine if Vince had put Hulk Hogan on the card against Muhammad Hassan instead of just having the short segment with him saving Eugene? At the time, you could have had Eugene in his corner to neutralize Daivari and made a match that mattered. It has been going on for years. Remember WrestleMania X? Brett Hart wins the World Championship on a Yokozuna slip off the second rope. Really? This guy can’t lose a match for over a year and he falls to a foot slip. Ridiculous! It only took away from Brett Hart’s celebration for me. Why did they have the Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna Match at all? Lex Luger could have wrestled Owen Hart instead of Brett setting up a number one contender match for Summer Slam. Owen would have still made a nam for himself and he could have beaten Brett the same way prior to their cage match at Summer Slam later that year.

It isn’t just about the booking but also the order of the matches. Can anyone remember the good old days when the Main Event was THE MAIN EVENT? At WrestleMania X8, the entire wrestling world wanted to focus on the Rock vs. Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, there were 2 matches after this epic battle that had no emotion after everyone exhausted themselves cheering for the return of Hulkamania. Why would WWE want to put HHH vs. Jericho on after a match of that magnitude? The entire Pay Per View had been built around the Hogan/Rock Showdown. Everything else was irrelevant.

In the current installment of WrestleMania we will get to see a tag team championship match with number one contenders who teamed up just once prior to getting that moniker while more established teams like the Hart Dynasty and Cryme Time continue to get buried. We will see Divas matches that showcase how much better the TNA Knockouts are in terms of athleticism and skill set. The exceptions would be Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Natalia Neidhart, Melina, Mickie James and Maryse, but none of them are matched up against each other, so their talent is wasted by having to be matched up with the less talented Barbie Dolls that WWE seems to want at the top of their Divas Division.

There will be an Undertaker win over Shawn Michaels to explain his wanting time off, which makes no sense to have the stipulation when the wrestling world already knows who is going to win. If Taker was going against John Cena or Sheamus, you might question the booking, but against an already established future Hall of Famer, there is no reason to end the streak at the hands of the Heartbreak Kid.

Batista and John Cena has potential, but was probably inevitable and from a fan perspective, I could care less who wins. The more interesting World Title Match is between Jericho and Edge for who has the better talk show segment on Smackdown and who can waste more TV time instead of wrestling. After all my banter, the match could steal the show. They seem to work well together and they have a gift for holding the audience in the palms of their hands.

My concern this year is that there was so much more potential to go in other directions. Taker vs. Michaels was just done. If Taker was going to face a former opponent, I would have rather seen HHH. I thought they had laid solid groundwork for an Undertaker vs. John Cena Main Event, but that didn’t happen either. Heck, if you want to solidify Sheamus any more, Taker would have been the guy. Do the brand names mean anything any more? I guess not when Batista isn’t traded to Raw but challenges and wins its world title. He should have been traded to Raw first or put in a different program with say Randy Orton, who by the way has been completely misused on this year’s card. If they have ailed on the push for Ted DiBiase to be a main event star then tey should have had a better backup plan that a 3 way dance with nothing to gain. I feel Randy Orton is the best in the business right now, but he has faced just about everyone there is. This is why I would have saved Sheamus vs. Randy Orton for Mania and had Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase in the undercard instead.

For all that is said about the Hart Family, why hasn’t the Hart Dynasty been involved in some way with the Hart vs. McMahon angle? It would have built their characters immensely and opened the door to them getting the Tag Title Shot and speaking of Titles, why is the US Champion buried in a Tag Match? Miz should have had a chance to showcase his abilities in either a US Title defense against perhaps the Intercontinental Champion in a title vs. title attraction or in the MITB ladder match.

That brings me to the horrific booking of that match as well. Is anyone else tired of seeing Matt Hardy in this match? I like Matt Hardy in the right situation, but MITB isn’t it. There are 9 guys in the match and I don’t want to see most of them. Kane? Why? He’ll never get another world title shot in his career. If anyone other than Christian wins, I’m starting a riot.

Why not Hair vs. Mask in the Mysterio vs. Punk match? Why not R Truth and Morrison in the MITB match instead of Evan Bourne and Dolph Ziegler? Why not a legends match for kicks? Who knows why these opportunities are passed over more and more as the years go by, but if I was Vince McMahon, I would start considering listening to fan opinion a little more when booking because some of us are beginning to hear the noise that TNA is making, and though TNA will never be WWE, at least they seem to try just about anything to get fans attention.

WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology 1985-2005 DVD Set

Read WWE WrestleMania : The Official Insider’s Story

Check out the WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 – 1985-1989 (I-V)

WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 – 1990-1994 (WrestleMania VI-X)

WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3 – 1995-1999 (WrestleMania XI-XV)

WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 4 – 2000-2004 (WrestleMania XVI-XX)

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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