Is the build to Wrestlemania the “right” build?
As is typical of every year, the WWE goes into overdrive in the push toward Wrestlemania. Right now we have a “Guest Host” in The Rock, two championship matches in John Cena vs. The Miz and Alberto del Rio challenging Edge, and Triple H taking on the Undertaker. Seeds have been planted for Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes, CM Punk vs. Randy Orton and maybe even Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus. The card is a long way from set, but anticipation is building. The question is, is this the the way the card should be built?
The past year in WWE has largely focused on a new generation. The Nexus a group of wrestlers who had never been on WWE TV dominated the storylines on Raw. The Corre has since become a major part of Smackdown. Alberto del Rio has risen in one of the most effective pushes in recent memory. Daniel Bryan has held the United States championship for quite a while, and the Miz has become one of the better heel champions of recent memory. Pretty much that entire list of wrestlers was not competing in WWE five years ago. This is what the company needs and they are taking steps to move past some of the departing greats like Shawn Michaels.
With all of this creation of new stars, Wrestlemania has largely been focused on the stars of the past. Granted, Miz and del Rio are in title matches as champion and challenger respectively, but they haven’t entirely been the focus of their own feuds. The build toward Mania thus far on Raw has been about what sort of interaction The Rock and John Cena will have rather than The Miz and John Cena. I love The Rock, and I was thrilled to see him back on TV, but he is a star from a while ago and has clearly moved on from wrestling and will likely disappear from our TV screens again after Wrestlemania. Cena even reverted to an old persona for this angle. It was amazing, sure, and the best promo work Cena has done in quite some time, but it was reviving an old character.
Edge has been more wrapped up with Vicky Guerrero than with Alberto del Rio. This is not exactly new ground either. There is still a lot of time, so I won’t harp on that one too much. Punk vs. Orton, Sheamus vs. Bryan, and Rey vs. Rhodes are all potential match ups and fresh ones for the most part, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
The other main match up the returning Triple H vs. the returning Undertaker. This could be a great match, it could be terrible and boring too. I am in the minority that extremely disliked their Mania encounter at the 17th iteration of the granddaddy of them all, but I remain optimistic. Still this is a match with two men who could give a huge rub to the younger talent that the WWE has spent all year building. Triple H tends to bring the goods for big shows, and seems ready to do right by the business. Mania would have been a great spot for him to do this. The Undertaker has the greatest “title” in the history of the sport. The streak is far and away the most important and vaunted honor in wrestling. I am not saying he should lose, but coming close to unseating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania is a better rub than a win over any roster member at the big event. Triple H gains nothing from almost beating Undertaker, and takes away from the business with a win. This match has huge shoes to fill because it will certainly be held up against the previous two matches with Shawn Michaels. I highly doubt it can attain that level of quality. There is not much to be gained for either wrestler as well. This was a huge match when it happened at X-7, and it is still a huge match now, but I don’t know if it is the right one.
WWE has spent the past year building new stars, and the past two weeks has been focused on reminding fans about how much better it was “before.” It’s true, but in an industry that has thrived by having a “short memory” and often forgetting the past the last thing WWE needs is to remind people of how much better things were a decade ago. Looking back to the past will probably spike a buy rate, but the next night on Raw some of these stars won’t be around anymore and we will be left with the young stars that have been built for a year, but deemed not big enough to be the focus of the Wrestlemania build thus far. Is it all worth it, is a buyrate worth abandoning a year of work? When the bottom line and quarterly dividends are the primary concern, yeah it probably is. I hope that in the next few weeks we see more of the young stars they have put so much quality effort into building become more of a focus towards the event that will make or break their careers and future bottom lines for the company.
I’ll see you next time…
Tags: alberto del rio, edge, john cena, morning backlash, The Rock