Apparently, the cat is out of the bag.
According to a story on Forbes.com, WWE has decided to take WrestleMania 34 back to the Big Easy in New Orleans. Can the company that created magic with Daniel Bryan claiming the WWE World Title replicate the same kind of excitement New Orleans has a penchant for?
“New Orleans is, of course, an incredibly popular tourist destination, and according to NOLA.com, the city is hoping to attract 13.7 million tourists by 2018, something that WWE bringing WrestleMania 34 to town would certainly help the “Crescent City” accomplish,” Blake Oestriecher writes.
It’s also been announced next week’s Raw program from New Orleans (Jan. 9) will feature appearances by Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker in an effort to really ramp up the sell of the Royal Rumble in San Antonio later this month on Jan. 29.
While I am a big fan of the city of New Orleans and the party atmosphere that such an event creates, I wonder why the company that wants to change its own culture doesn’t branch out more, reaching other destinations where wrestling is popular? A couple of years ago, I wrote a story on Camel Clutch Blog outlining the fact it seemed SummerSlam’s unofficial location was Los Angeles. The glitz, the glamour, the big names – it created a huge buzz much like ‘Mania. My stance was simple – move the event around more and generate more fan support.
The same should be true of WWE’s signature pay-per-view event.
WrestleMania 33 will take place in Orlando, just nine years removed from the last time wrestlers laced up their boots in front of Mickey Mouse and the central part of Florida. While I get the idea of WWE coming to a true tourist mecca, there are other cities that could host such an event – Tampa and Jacksonville. WWE should also consider Charlotte, NC and Minneapolis, MN – two cities with rich wrestling traditions.
I’m not sure how WWE is going to keep Enzo and Big Cass together if the company appears ready to let the big guy have a run as a singles star. The angle with Rusev leaves me with mixed emotions.
The storyline itself is a tried and true program. But is Cass ready to take the next step on his own? Enzo, the mouthpiece for the tag team is the closest thing WWE has to a Road Dogg of this generation. He would do well on his own – especially in the cruiserweight division. Charisma alone would be a huge boost to “205 Live” and weekly cruiserweight programming.
I see Cass as part Test, part poor man’s Bradshaw and stiff as a board. There is appeal with his sidekick accompanying him to the ring, but how does he fare selling himself?
The idea to pair him with Rusev benefits Cass more than the Bulgarian. I find it hard to believe WWE has pushed the former United States Champion further down the title ladder by putting him in a program with a neophyte.
Matt Hardy – Wrestler of the Year
I know publications will point to other wrestlers in terms of rankings – Roman Reigns being ranked No. 1 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated – both none had the impact on the business like Matt Hardy did.
Wrestling in the shadows of his younger brother, Jeff for most of the past decade, Matt changed his look, his persona and made TNA relevant again. I know this is a few days late, but no one deserves more credit in changing the direction of the struggling promotion.
Hardy’s gimmick and subsequent reunion with brother Jeff became must see television. It is possible Hardy hasn’t gotten the respect he deserves for making TNA relevant again.