Normally, the build to the Grandest Stage of Them All is captivating. Every weekly show would have crucial developments leading up to the Sunday where we’ll all be watching.
This year, very different. Yes, the storylines are still being developed but at much faster or a disjointed rate. But wrestlers are dropping out of Mania for one reason or another and matches are changing on the fly. With the world in lockdown after the COVID-19 outbreak, shows the last few weeks were filmed in front of no fans at the PC in Florida.
Wrestlemania will be no different, as it’s already been recorded. It will be broadcasted over two days, the first Wrestlemania to be two days.
That is a smart decision, Wrestlemania 35 was eight hours long, that is just too long for one show. There are 16 matches on the card, WWE is looking at eight on each show so it will probably be about eight hours but split into two shows. A lot of WWE fans are effectively turning their back on Wrestlemania for various reasons; there is no Hall of Fame ceremony or NXT Takeover which is one reason. The main reason is coming from a safety aspect.
However, WWE has been very smart with filming. Various matches are being filmed in different locations so there is an easier way of keeping everyone safe. But why should people be excited for a pre-recorded, empty arena Wrestlemania in a time where viewership has taken a hit?
Firstly, the matches themselves. There are some absolute dream matches this weekend, ones we never thought we’d see and a wrestler we never thought we’d see in the ring again. Edge making his in-ring return this weekend, as he takes on Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match fuelled by emotion.
The empty arenas have fully benefited both Edge and Orton in their promos with the deathly quiet venue echoing nothing but their words, the focus on nothing but them. With the show being pre-recorded, it means Vince gets what he wants, a movie-style Wrestlemania. As I mentioned, a couple of the matches are being filmed outside of the Performance Centre. Although no confirmation has been made, many are speculating that John Cena vs Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker vs AJ Styles will be these matches.
With both matches receiving very odd stipulations, Firefly Funhouse match and Boneyard match respectively, you can anticipate a very Hollywood look for both of these matches that don’t involve a ring. You wouldn’t get these on a normal Wrestlemania card so something different to keep the fans on their toes.
Secondly, it is still Wrestlemania but it is the first to be broadcasted over two nights. Usually, most fans are burnt out by the main event after seven or eight hours worth of wrestling, and if you’re a UK fan, being awake until 6 am. WWE follows the mould of New Japan with their biggest show of the year, making it easier for fans to watch. This also, makes the wrestling later in the shows more enjoyable because you are able to concentrate on the wrestling, not sitting through seven hours and wanting to go to sleep.
It also allows the wrestlers themselves to have their moments and it not be overshadowed by other matches. We hope that Drew McIntyre vs Brock Lesnar will be the main event on night two and this allows other matches on the show, specifically the Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler match, possibly main event on the first night. WWE have been smart; they’ve realised that the whole work is in lockdown and are using wrestling as an escape from the horrors of the world. They’ve made Wrestlemania longer and last two days giving everyone an entire weekend to ignore the world and love the greatest show on earth.
Two reasons, it’s all you need to know that Wrestlemania will still be a fantastic show. The card is stacked, a lot of emotionally driven matches and uncertain situations that will lead to some absolute show-stealers. And, it’s still Wrestlemania, across two days. The thing us fans have wanted for years. I will be enjoying Wrestlemania for sure, the build hasn’t been perfect but the show, I think, will exceed expectations.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @George_Geal_. Thanks for reading!