If the four posts of the wrestling ring that will be featured in the New Orleans could talk, it might tell you a story that Vince McMahon knows all too well. There are problems that still exist with the production of this event. It might tell you the owner of the company is worried this event – the biggest so far in the WrestleMania series – might not be the blockbuster it needs to be. He might tell you that cable buys between WrestleMania XXVIII and WrestleMania XXIV suggest this could be the biggest cable payday for the wrestling mogul, but it also might leave a very vulnerable wrestling community feeling a little empty inside.
How can McMahon expect the fans who come to the Big Easy to be excited when the matches they want to see are not listed on the card as of yet? How can he expect the fans to be excited when Batista’s return been just as bad as the fall of Dolph Ziggler? How can the company expect there to be a huge buzz when we aren’t sure who Daniel Bryan will be facing – knowing all too well he should be in the main event with Randy Orton and not the “Animal”, who is nothing more than a moving body with more tattoos?
The answer to that? Anticipation.
WrestleMania and all its likenesses over the years have been predicated on a few things that we all may not realize. McMahon may worry his product is not the tremendous gala event it once was, but that does not stop him from trying to outdo himself year after year. WrestleMania is based on the belief this year will be better than last year and last year will be better than the year before.
Only problem is it cannot do that and remain true to its original form.
McMahon came up with the idea of WrestleMania to do three things: prove his product was sports entertainment, welcome the masses of fans across the country to the premise of Hulkamania, and to create a sense of mainstream entertainment with the connection of wrestling as reality television at its best. For the most part, he has been wildly successful. But of late, the product of the WWE has taken a nose dive, one that Mark Madden, Dave Meltzer and other have written about. I on occasion throw my two cents in for good measure.
The idea that all three of these components must be present at these events gets lost in the translation of the buildup to “The Greatest Wrestling Show on Earth.” Yes, I just compared the idea of Wrestling to P.T. Barnum, and rightfully so.
Before McMahon took over the reins from his father, Dusty Rhodes tried the same thing in the NWA and with Jim Crockett promotions with grand attractions called The Great American Bash – a southern-style carnival of wrestling grandeur. Live events, outdoor events, southern rock, feeding off the roots of backyard wrestling and the fans who were mostly in the south. It worked for a bit. It was highly successful because of a few reasons. It lived up to the hype. The NWA was the best thing going at the time. Dusty was wildly popular. And the cities were in southern states where the NWA was king. Once he moved his events to Cincinnati and Des Moines he lost his fan base.
Vince lost his fan base because he was too busy being Vince McMahon – the man who is not willing to fail and in doing so has failed at the simplest of concepts.
If that wrestling ring Vince and the boys bring to New Orleans tells us anything, is that time and time again, he tries to give the fans the best show he can think of. Sometimes, his thoughts and his ideas are nearsighted. But the intension is still there.
For this year to come off correct, changes are needed on the card. If it happens, there is no doubt this becomes the biggest event of wrestling history ever – the way it should be. The way McMahon envisioned it to be.
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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