What Might Have Been

Notice a common thread?

Notice a common thread?

This year’s WrestleMania had the chance to be the best in ages. Top to bottom we had matches that were interesting and had the potential to have some element to them that could make them special. From a retirement match, two world championship matches, a tag title match featuring at least 3 of the best workers in the company currently, a six man tag with the hotshot newcomers versus the babyface super team, two freight trains running head on into one another, the debut of a very talented new worker against one of the best in the history of the business, an eight person tag that could have been terrible but could have also given us a new superstar in the top of the card, and the ever impressive “Streak” between the best of today and possibly the best of all time. Unfortunately, even with ALL that potential the show fell flatter than the chest of an anorexic supermodel.

Let’s start with the obvious misstep first, the dropping of a match in order to allow a guy who hasn’t been truly relevant musically for 10 years to perform a medley of songs that were lackluster. I would give them a pass if they had brought in Jay-Z, he is the best thing New York/New Jersey has to offer in the world of hip-hop currently, but even that should have been something on the preshow instead of cluttering up a stacked card on the biggest event of the year. I, like many others, didn’t really care too much about the eight person tag match overall but I did want to see if they were going to do something special with it by splitting Rhodes and Sandow finally. Unfortunately we got bored by aged rap music instead. Nothing against Sean Combs, but even a diva’s match between Mae Young and Lennay Kekua would have been more interesting than watching him dance around with some guy playing music from a laptop on the grandest stage of them all.

Next up would be the two failures to bring Dolph Ziggler up the ladder in the company. While being a tag champion isn’t the MOST prestigious thing in the business, it IS a title when you have been losing a decent amount while supposedly being a threat to take a World Championship title. This match could have served as the moment that lead to the breakup of Kane and Bryan, propelling them to the main event again in a major feud with one another. It also could have elevated Langston to being a powerhouse and a threat as Ziggler’s bodyguard while putting gold around Ziggler’s waist again, and they whiffed. Later in the evening you had Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio square off for the World Heavyweight championship. Del Rio goes on to win in the middle of the ring with the most BORING finish in the business today, the Craig “The Pitbull” Pittman cross armbreaker. After the match we get a healthy Del Rio celebrating while Swagger walks away. I would have taken that opportunity to either have Langston slip in to the ring and drop Del Rio, giving Ziggler his title, or had Ziggler slip in just before the finish and insert himself into the match via the case to steal the victory. Hey, what the hell do I know, I’m just some dumb fan who pays (luckily not this time) for their product.

My last, for now, and probably biggest feeling of failure of the night was the sappy love fest that ended the show. This is WrestleMania not some damned chick flick. We’re not watching for the loving happy ending, we want something to get us thinking and talking about the product. As a fan I miss that “holy shit, did you see what happened last night” element to the product. You don’t have to be vulgar with it or excessively violent, but at least give us something to talk about. Cena had the heat from the crowd, he was just booed out of the house and called boring last Monday night, and even had some heelish moments during the match tonight between himself and the crowd, only to be the good little Boy Scout and shake hands and hug his opponent to cap off the night. As soon as Cena and Rock were face to face after the match, they shook hands, and Cena started to walk away. I would have had him step through the ropes, Rock climbs the turnbuckle to pose for the fans across the ring, and Cena runs in and nails him in the back with the title. Rock falls to the mat and as he starts to get up Cena comes in with a head shot (once in a while it isn’t THAT bad) with the title. Rock bleeds, Cena hits him with two more F-U’s, then locks in the STF until he’s pulled off by security, doctors, and refs. Cena walks out with the title and a smug “kiss my ass” look on his face. Stops at the top of the ramp and gives a salute with the grin and walks out as Rock is helped out by the medical staff. Again, what do I know, it’s not like people would have been shocked and wondering what was next after that finish.

The last thing I’ll touch on is the one shining moment of the card, the brightest moment every single year lately, The Streak. People have spoken a lot lately about the part time roles in WWE and how unfair they are versus the guys there every night. While I do agree to an extent, someone like The Undertaker deserves what he’s been given; when he DOES perform he’s one part of the best match of the night, every single year. I expected this to be a shorter match than recent Streak matches due to Undertaker’s nagging injuries and Punk’s current injured status, I will admit I was pleasantly surprised. I’m an unashamed mark for Undertaker, have been for ages, but I’m also a big fan of Punk and got to see the best in the world take on the best in the underworld at the biggest event in the business finally. I had planned to write a piece on why Sting and Undertaker should never work at WrestleMania, now I may have to rethink that article. Richard Gray suggested that Undertaker has now moved out of one of the best of his era in conversation to possibly best of all time. I would wholeheartedly agree with that statement. People have been calling Big Show the best big man lately, and it’s somewhat hard to disagree, except for the fact that Undertaker is pretty damn big himself. Every year I fear it may be his last, but every year he comes out and performs better than anyone else on the card. While it may not be worth the $70 price for the HD show tonight (which my brother got for free thanks to shoddy cable service), it was damn sure the best match on the entire broadcast.

I watch WrestleMania every year, it’s supposed to be the biggest show of the year and the reason people pay attention to the WWE for the most part. Tonight they didn’t do themselves any favors as there’s really no buzz that I’ve seen EXCEPT talk about the one match that captivates every single year. Maybe it’s the lack of competition, maybe it’s that the top dogs have been tied up getting Hall of Fame stuff worked out and building their developmental system, or maybe it’s that the creative crew is being run by people with a sub-100 IQ, but this show was basically a bigger, slightly less commercial filled, four hour version of Raw. I feel that they missed so many boats that they made Gilligan’s crew look like a Mensa convention. I’m very thankful that I didn’t pay for this, even more thankful my brother didn’t pay for the show. What could have been the best PPV top to bottom in years turned out to be a dead duck. Sadly, part of me wishes I were watching a show that is centered around ducks and their eventual death instead of this event. At least then I would have been entertained and had something worthwhile to talk about when I go back to work.

{Follow me on Twitter @Surrency525 and Like me on Facebook}

  • http://WWENews.net Van Hammer

    I am the biggest Chris Surrency fan. Your articles motivate me to argue with you and what fan of any sport doesnt love that.
    Point 1 – I am not a Diddy fan but he is a great ambassador for hiphop and he is the most financially successful artist in hiphop. I think any strictly musical performance outside of the national anthem or live intros is waisted on the WM audience.
    Point 2 – I would love to see Rhodes Scholars split but maintain an alliance but I would hate to see it happen due to tons of funk and i do not know why this was the match to the fire from the IWC
    Point 3 – I think the tag titles would put Ziggler on a course that derails him from the WHC. I was expecting ADR to win and Dolph come out with the MITB briefcase and a ZigZag.
    Point 4- Your "heel Cena" scenario was great. I like it but as soon as it happens we can guarantee Rock/Cena for WM next year. As much as our folks complained this year, you know they would have a fit.

    I talk too much, I like your articles, thanks for the hard work.

    • christopher525

      Thanks for the appreciation, I have a funny feeling we're getting Rock/Cena 3 either at SummerSlam or next year already to break the tie. With the stories of Undertaker hinting at him working Lesnar next year I think we get Undertaker/Lesnar, Austin/Punk (FINALLY), and Cena/Rock the third. While I would have loved to see Ziggler walk away with SOME title, I think it was a mistake to not at least take give him the tag titles, that could have setup so much for all 4 entrants, and even AJ, especially if he won the tag titles AND took the WHC, then AJ getting the diva's title would have the little faction draped in gold. I'm not upset at the lack of the 8 person match, as I thought it was a throwaway match for the most part, just hoped they would do something big with it. While Diddy may be ahead to an extent, I personally feel Jay-Z is the top man in the game based in the New York area. Jay-Z may well hit a billion in net worth within the next 10 years. Once again, thanks for the respect, trying to get my name out there as much as I can.

  • Steven

    I realize this is going to show my age, but I can still fondly recall the excitement that used to come with Wrestlemania. The big payoffs, the swerves, and the drama all contributed to an annual revival in the industry. Nowadays, it is just one more PPV that I wisely chose not to order. Reading the results on the Internet is a much better use of my time and money.

    The night after Wrestlemania was once a new beginning for storylines. We were teased with the prospect of WWE getting back on track last year. After losing to the Rock in what was supposed to be a once in a lifetime match, out comes Brock Lesnar to give Cena an F5. One story over, and a new story begins. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

    Ryback turning on Cena last night was a surprise for me. Okay, guys… I didn’t see that one coming yet, so I will give the creative team credit for that part. What I won’t give them credit for is how they took us there: Mark Henry feuds with Ryback, beats him at Wrestlemania, and then answers a challenge from the Champ the next night on Raw. We start out thinking it is going to be Cena’s first title defense but are informed the WSM will only get his championship match if he beats the champ in a non-title match first. Cena ends up winning, only to have the guy who just lost to his opponent the night before come out and “pull a Lesnar” on him.

    I get the whole suspension of disbelief. It’s the reason why I still enjoy watching professional wrestling after all these years. The problem is it has to at least be plausible and have some form of rationality.

  • Steven

    Having Cena joke around about a heel turn when so many fans have been begging for it for so long is actually a pretty smart and effective way to generate even more heat. What is the logic in turning one of the most popular wrestlers like Ryback into being the “bad guy” against the guy everyone is booing? I think Ryback can be a great heel, but the FEED ME MORE chants are only going to get louder when he is facing Cena.