Without question, this has been the very worst build to a WrestleMania in WWE history, and I’ve sat through the turgid 2008-2012 years. This will be the first WrestleMania in two years to host fans.
You’d have thought Vince McMahon would be going all out to make it a major success, and an event nobody will ever forget. Instead, he’s devised a two-night card that better resembles a B-level PPV instead of what is supposed to be the biggest spectacle in all of entertainment.
That wouldn’t be so bad in itself if the stories were actually logical and kept us tuning in for more, but sadly it’s having the reverse effect. Edge’s epic fairytale return to the mountaintop has been scuppered in favour of another go-around with Daniel Bryan. Shane McMahon is bullying Braun Strowman for being stupid.
Former WWE Champion The Miz is dressing up as a rabbit to get inside the head of Bad Bunny. The All-Mighty Bobby Lashley is so dominant and scary that he’s put a bounty on Drew McIntyre’s head to ensure he doesn’t make it to WrestleMania. And the less said about the miserable job the company has done with the women’s division the better.
It could have all been so different, but then WWE would have to put effort into their work, and when Peacock, Fox and USA are throwing them billions of dollars for being abject failures, why stop? The penny will drop, and they’ll realise there is no mainstream future in professional wrestling because Vince McMahon got lazy, and Tony Khan is just happy being less successful than TNA.
Is it so hard to insert realism into their angles? Let’s look at Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman for a moment. The angle currently sees Shane berate Strowman on a weekly basis for being stupid by showing a made-up 5th-grade report card and pouring green slime over The Monster. They’ll now wrestle inside a Cage, but who cares? Nobody, because WWE hasn’t given us a reason to.
That’s where realism should’ve come into it. They should’ve had Shane berate Strowman for being a waste of money for his father. Ridicule Braun for having all the potential in the world, and doing nothing with it.
Laughing at his moniker as The Monster Among Men by showing highlights of him constantly choking in big title matches. Give us facts that can’t be ignored. Then have Strowman absolutely obliterate Shane at WrestleMania.
As far as Lashley and McIntyre go, why the hell is Bobby now a coward? He’s meant to act like a killing machine, but now he’s paying off the locker room to take out his feared challenger? It doesn’t make sense. What would’ve made sense would have been to have had Lashley be super confident of decimating Drew at WrestleMania, but MVP be sceptical of the fact and, to protect his investment, offer a big reward to anyone who could remove McIntyre from the title picture.
Then we have Edge’s emotional comeback ruined by a nonsensical heel turn and the bizarre inclusion of Daniel Bryan.
I still don’t get the reasoning behind this. Surely the story was already written? You have the perfect underdog story, ala Rocky Balboa against Ivan Drago from the fourth instalment of the movie franchise, with Edge risking it all against the seemingly unbeatable Roman Reigns? But no, now it’s a Triple Threat Match, where Edge is a bad guy, and will likely not leave WrestleMania with the title, which was the whole point of his return supposedly leading to. Nothing makes sense anymore, and nothing makes fans want to watch.
The Miz was WWE Champion just a few weeks ago, and now they have him dancing about in a rabbit costume to “promote” his WrestleMania clash with Bad Bunny. Just atrocious. The reason Big Show vs Floyd Mayweather worked so well was because it felt real, it felt different, and it made people want to see it. This just makes me want to switch off. Celebrity involvement is fine when done right, otherwise, it’s just painfully embarrassing. Why not have Miz steal and destroy Bad Bunny’s Grammy? At least give us some heat and reason to care.
The women’s matches have been so poorly built up that it is actually laughable. Sasha Banks against Bianca Belair should have been kicked into the next gear the moment Belair chose to come after Sasha’s title upon winning the Royal Rumble Match, thus turning The Boss heel, and looking to school Belair on the Grandest Stage of them All.
As for Raw, they just had Rhea Ripley debut, ask for a title match and get one. If everyone can do that, what’s the point of the Rumble Match? Ripley now has the same opportunity as Belair, despite being a loser. Why didn’t they have Asuka issue an open challenge, Ripley answer it, completely destroy and defeat the Champion in brutal fashion to set up the title shot at WrestleMania with the story being that for once it was Asuka who wasn’t ready for her opponent?
Then we come to the biggest clanger of all, Randy Orton and The Fiend, which Alexa Bliss has been carrying for months. She’s done an incredible job of making lemonade out of lemons, but the story absolutely sucks. She can’t help that. Again, none of it makes sense. Every time Orton faces The Fiend, he defeats him. Randy even burned him alive in their last one-on-one encounter. But Alexa Bliss has a perfect record against The Viper in singles competition, and has repeatedly got inside the head of Randy, so what is the purpose of The Fiend returning to vanquish Orton?
Bliss is already doing it all by herself. What should’ve happened is this – after Wyatt was set on fire, have Bliss manipulate Orton for several weeks until he captures her, holds her hostage, and have her warn him that The Fiend is coming to save her. As Orton tries to focus back on his career, have vignettes and spooky happenings take place courtesy of The Fiend, who we would be dying to see return to kick Randy’s butt and save Alexa. They could even do a spin on the Beauty and Beast kiss at WrestleMania to return The Fiend to his original origins.
This will be the first time in twenty years that I will not be watching WrestleMania. Nothing there interests me. No dream matches. No spectacular angles. No must-see event. It’s a watered-down WrestleMania that speaks volumes for the failings of professional wrestling as a whole.
The curtain is coming down on the incredible entertainment art form, and it’s no one’s fault but the decision-makers, and wrestlers refusing to sell because it doesn’t make them look cool, get likes on social media or make them a freaking meme.