The slew of injuries leading up to WrestleMania 32 was devastating for the company. Randy Orton, Cesaro, Seth Rollins and John Cena were off the card. In a matter of months they WWE lost a veteran, a superstar, their champion and the face of the company. The writing was on the wall, right where the fans could see it. WrestleMania was going to need a little help this year.
I don’t blame Vince, Stephanie, or HHH for wanting the show to be great. However, I didn’t expect them to literally pimp out the Attitude Era for a couple of extra ticket sales. Maybe I should take that back. I hoped they wouldn’t ruin WrestleMania trying to save it. Yet, that is exactly what they did. The WWE doesn’t need the Attitude Era anymore. Once they realize that is the case, the company, fans and talent will be better for it. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t just the WWE. The Attitude Era stars are just as much to blame. I was expecting to turn on the TV the next time to see Stone Cold telling us to call 1-800-Collect. Maybe Foley being the new spokesman for Apartments.com or whatever the math guy from Jurassic Park is selling.
The worst part about the sellout booking is that they didn’t need it. The ladder match to start the show was HOT! I looked at my eight year old son about half way through the match and told him this was going to be a great Mania. From a match standpoint it really was. You expect the past superstars to add to the show. This year they took away from it. Things only got better when you have Style and Jericho in the ring. I wouldn’t have put Jericho over, but it was a great match. New Day vs League of Nations is when the show became booty.
First of all the match isn’t for the titles, which makes no sense. I didn’t know it was a non-title match until the rematch on RAW. What was the point of the match? I didn’t pay much attention until I heard HBK’s music. Of course I marked out like fifth grader and glued my eyes to the screen hoping for a moment to come. After Foley comes out it happens. The glass shatters and the reason I am watching wrestling walks out on the stage. Stone Cold Steve Austin is headed to the ring to raise some hell.
Then I notice that Austin is not in wrestling gear. Michaels and Foley both got dressed for the occasion. Can we at least get a little cohesiveness? Then after a little jawing they get into a short brawl. All the Hall of Famers performed their finishers and its over. The next match got underway and instead of excited, I sort of felt cheated. On his podcast, Austin talked all year about how he needed the right story and the right money to get back into the ring. Then he sells out to stun a couple of mid card heels. Mid card heels who are no longer hot, as they were then they first came together. Michaels, Foley and Austin sold out. Michaels gets a free pass because he has not been nearly as critical or out spoken about the company. Foley and Austin talk at length about what works and what doesn’t. Whatever the reason was, it didn’t work. The Attitude Era was great, but it isn’t popular anymore. The crowd popped for Austin, but not like it used to. Not even like it did a couple of years ago when he showed up with Hogan and the Rock. That was a special moment. Michael as part of HHH vs Taker in Hell in a cell was a special moment. Foley providing weapons to help Ambrose beat Brock would have been a special moment. Instead they sold out for s cheap pop that meant nothing.
The Rock wasn’t much better. The fans don’t give a crap about breaking attendance records. If you have internet you know that WWE wasn’t going to get to 100,000 for real. I think the actual numbers was like 95,000 or something like that. Having the Rock tell the crowd was kind of pointless. Was that what he was hyping all month on Twitter? Tune in to WrestleMania so Rock can tell you a number? Wasn’t it Shaemus who held the record for fasted win at Mania years go against Daniel Bryan for the championship? It meant something. Now the Rock, guest wrestler and full time actor holds the record. And he breaks it several years after he has “retired.” Maybe instead of WrestleMania it should have been called “Down with Shameus.” First he gets jumped by old wrestlers and then an old wrestler breaks his record against someone a little above a movie extra. Let’s be honest here, Eric Rowan? Rock over Rowan looks better than Shameus over Bryan for the title? SOLD OUT. The WWE played the fans for fools and the Attitude Era stars went right along with it. The Rock segment wasn’t all bad. His promos are still amazing and everyone still knows who he is. It was a nice way to bring Cena back. Again, it was sell out piece to get a few more tickets.
Sure, the ticket sales are what drive the ship and I get that. But they didn’t need to do it. Almost every match on the card over performed. The IC match, Women’s title, Hell in the Cell, Street Fight, AJ vs Jericho, and the title match all delivered. Might have been one of the greatest collection of skilled matches for any WrestleMania to date. The crowd was hot and they killed with Attitude. Shame on WWE and shame on the superstars of the past stealing WrestleMania from the guys who worked so hard to put on a good show. It must be nice to know the company doesn’t trust them to get the job done. It must be nice to know the company doesn’t think you can sell.
Yeah, I know that it was big Mania and I expected superstars to make an appearance, but what a waste. Why didn’t Stone Cold come down and win the Andre the Giant battle royal. That match almost killed the show. Austin or Michael’s could have won that match and the fans would have been happy. Outside of that, the match means nothing. Foley should have been guest refereeing the street fight. Last but not least the Rock should have been ring side for the main event. In Roman’s Reigns corner. That would have given Reigns the opportunity to turn heel by attacking his kin. The most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Roman would have been universally hated setting up a feud with the Rock. But instead they just sold out. And we fans bought it, hook, line, and sinker.