WWE – Wrestlemania Weekend Excitement
It’s only two weeks away people. Wrestlemania Weekend. The most jam packed few days in the wrestling calendar year is swooping down on us like an eagle to a fish. The build to this year’s show has been arguably lacklustre in places, but you know what? I couldn’t care less. Just the very mention of Wrestlemania sends a tingle down my fanatical spine, as it should do to everyone with an interest in this world of oily, grappled entertainment. My expectations last year were set low, and the show was a surprise hit. This time around, I’ll take note and learn from Wrestlemania 31, and you should too. And here’s why.
The WWE Network is a modern marvel, and Wrestlemania Weekend is a chance for it to really spread its wings. As well as any extra shows and nostalgic documentaries they’re bound to air, we will have 3 guaranteed glorious nights of prime, brand new wrestling centric television. Placing an NXT Takeover show on the Friday is a smart move by WWE. It allows the NXT roster to be a part of the festivities, and with the added interest and PR that surrounds the grandest stage of them all, it’s effectively a massive pre-show event. That’s no bad thing. This latest Takeover also serves up a fascinating card. We’ll see a Finn Balor and Samoa Joe rematch over the NXT Title, and an eagerly awaited battle between Bayley and Asuka. We’ll also witness the debuts of two wrestlers never to enter a WWE ring as Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura take on Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn respectively. That’s insane. 2 years ago, there’s absolutely no way we could’ve predicted WWE’s updated stance on hiring independent talent and TNA’s former stars. Now, the best wrestlers in the world are flooding across to WWE. Not to say WWE didn’t have most of them already, but it really has become a place where anyone can be hired if they have the skill, irrespective of their past. In Dallas, we can also delight in American Alpha stepping up to the plate as they look to capitalise on a wave of momentum. It can only be a matter of time until they’re on the main roster. That’s a solid bill, and anyone disappointed with the Wrestlemania match-ups should look towards this and take heart.
After Takeover, we get the Hall Of Fame ceremony. Last year was the first time I’d ever watched the full coverage, and it was astounding. The speeches by each inductee, as well as those inducting them, were, on the whole, incredible. The passion with which they spoke, and the reverence their colleagues and successors watched on with was both humbling and eye-opening. It was a fine experience to watch characters, egos and gimmicks stripped away to reveal the honest responses of the people behind them. Wrestling is a business in which the employees have a profound respect for each other, and it was refreshingly humanising to see current superstars honour those who paved the way. Alundra Blayze rocked her speech; Rikishi praised family; even though Larry Zbyszko wouldn’t shut up about Bruno Sammartino’s garden, the gratitude for his own predecessor and eventual contemporary was as endearing as it was unending; and if you didn’t shed tears at Daniel Bryan’s Connor Michalek induction then you have a black, putrid soul. Passion, family, respect. Key words the locker room runs by, and as words to live any life by, they’re not too shabby. Another batch of inductees will enter the hallowed halls and it even looks like Sting may use his speech to officially retire from in ring competition. We’ll have time to reminisce and revel in the past glories of legendary competitors. It’ll be great.
And then, the big one itself. In front of one of the largest audiences ever assembled to ogle athletes in their prime, and probably even Big Show, launching each other around a canvas. At the time of writing, the card isn’t 100% confirmed, which, only 2 weeks before the show, is a little worrying. However, there’s potentially a mammoth 11 matches to feast upon. It’s possible we’ll see every non injured wrestler on the roster, as the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal will need filling. Every title is on the line. The first meaningful Diva’s Title match in an age will be contested. The Rock will be there. The Taker / Shane McMahon Hell In A Cell bout throws up a myriad of possible outcomes, as does the Triple H v Roman Reigns match for the company’s top gold. Lesnar and Ambrose will batter the living daylights out of each other. Hell, we’ll probably see AJ Styles and Sami Zayn. And this is stuff we can predict. Vince McMahon has subtly hinted at swerves and surprises, so god knows what we’ll end up getting on the night. A massive Shane O’Mac bump off the Cell? A surprise return? A Bullet Club debut? A huge heel turn? The possibilities are endless. This isn’t even to mention Raw the following Monday. The fallout always provides the best show of the year, and there’ll no doubt be debuts as WWE effectively resets itself.
What I’m saying, rather verbosely, is that there is a whole lot to look forward to. We fans who tip tap on our keyboards to criticise and over analyse so frequently should just set down the tech for a weekend. I implore you to cease your double screening, sit on your hands, order in some wings and a cold one, hell, even bring the duvet in to your lounge, and get ready to hibernate for the weekend. Sit back, chill out, and relax. If you watch it for what it is, and I mean actually WATCH, you might just enjoy it.
Tags: Break The Walls Down, Hall of Fame, NXT, NXT Takeover