There are currently ten scheduled matches for WrestleMania this Sunday. Let’s take a moment to think about that fact. Out of the hundreds or very possibly thousands of matches that WWE will have on TV this year between PPVs, Raw, SmackDown, Main Event, and Saturday Morning Slam, these ten have been deemed the chosen few that are worthy of being played out on the grandest stage of them all. Theoretically, the buildup for these matches should have created more excitement for this elite handful of matches than any other we will see this year. Of course we know that isn’t really true. But that shouldn’t have stopped WWE from trying over the past few months. The buildup to each of these matches should have gone above and beyond to convince you that this was a match truly worthy of being added to the history of great WWE matches. So today, were going to take a look, not forward at the upcoming PPV, but rather back, over the past few months, to look at where WWE successfully created anticipation for the match, and for more frequently, where that didn’t happen.
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz: Winner of worst build this year, with a build that can be best described as more or less, nonexistent. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Barrett was building to a feud with Sheamus? With the limited time that these guys got to face, each other recently, the best thing I can figure that this feud is about, is who was in the better movie recently.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry: Like the one above it, this match had no time to build. I guess were just supposed to be excited because these two guys are both pretty good at picking up weights.
The Shield vs. Some other people: This match might win the award for biggest missed opportunity. Had they actually settled on the team of “other people” in time, there might have been some time to buildup genuine heat between the two teams. But now, all of that time spent having The Shield feud with Ryback is wasted, because it turns out, we’re not getting to see them go at it after all. Ryback is apparently too busy having weight lifting contests.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: The critical downfall of this match is that they never let us see Fandango wrestle. And they had time, I mean, how many weeks did we see those dancing promo videos before he finally appeared. Whether or not the WWE has faith in his ability, I’m not going to get excited about a guy that I’ve never seen wrestle. (And yes, I could go find footage of Johnny Curtis wrestling if I really wanted, but the WWE should want me to be excited enough to spend money. They should be the ones doing the work here.) The saving grace however, is the fact that Jericho is involved. Give the man a mic and a few matches on Raw, and he will force any feud he’s in into one that’s worth getting excited about.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger: Where I spent the earlier entries complaining about how feuds were not given enough time to grow, here’s a case of one that got way too much time. Swagger came back with his new persona and Zeb in tow just a bit early, and while the initial heat on these guys was great, and probably exactly what WWE wanted, It’s worn off a bit. Instead of getting mad about Zeb’s rants, I really just started to get tired of them. There’s a sweet spot in building a match, and while WWE often never makes it that far, sometimes the get in wrong in the other direction as well.
Team Friendship vs. Big E and Ziggy: Another match with very little buildup, but this one gets by on the fact that we like all four (five?) people who are going to be involved in this match. The excitement from this match comes, not from anything that’s happened over the past month, but from all the work that these guys have been doing over the past six months that make us excited to see them wherever they are, and just glad that we’re going to get to see them at Mania
Mixed Tag Team Match: If we were grading the match buildups on effort instead of success, this one would actually get a very high rating. Those that are involved in this match have worked so hard ever Monday for the past several weeks to try and be as entertaining as possible. I mean, I’m still very, very, very, very, very much dreading this match, but maybe with one or two less verys than before.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H: This is one of those matches where the men involved are such titans in the business that just announcing that they will be facing each other would be sufficient buildup. But then we hit an awkward snag. Because the last time these guys went at each other in the ring, it wasn’t very good. So as much as they tried to get over that hump, really the buildup to this one doesn’t so much result in “I can’t wait to see this match!” but more along the lines of “I just hope it doesn’t suck as much as last time.”
The Rock vs. John Cena: The bulk of this feud would have easily gone toward the worst end of this list. After all we heard it all last year. We saw it last year. What is there left to see or be said? Well I’m actually giving all the credit for this feud to Cena. And not for everything Cena’s done because most of that falls into the aforementioned recycle pile of last year’s stuff. But in the one promo were Cena spoke about getting cocky last year and beating himself, we actually saw, dare I say, some emotion coming from the guy. Yes I know that this match is supposed to be all about Cena’s one shot at redemption, but for that one promo, it looked like Cena might be aware of that fact as well.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk: And now we get to this one. I think it’s safe to say that of all the matches this year, this one had the buildup that everyone is talking about. I think it’s safe to say, at this point, that from this point on, nobody should be allowed to turn heel without getting a how-to crash course from Punk. Everything Punk has done for the past month has worked to propel this storyline to the forefront of everyone’s mind whenever thinking about WrestleMania. I take nothing from Undertaker, or the situation that has resulted in this being the storyline for their buildup, but Punk is the one who has taken the ball (or rather urn) and ran with it toward the finish line that is WrestleMania. Weather, you a full Punk mark that still refuses to “boo” the man or can’t wait to see Taker give Punk his well deserved punishment for his actions this past month, I don’t think anybody is looking forward to a WrestleMania match as much as they are this one.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, cm punk, john cena, Mark Henry, Raw, ryback, The Miz, The Rock, The Shield, the undertaker, triple h, Wade Barrett, wrestlemania, WWE