Good lord–and thank God–WrestleMania is mercifully over, and what an excruciating affair it was. I normally have low expectations for WrestleMania as I expect them all to pretty much put an abrupt and unsatisfactory halt to all possibly progressive angles, an expectation they normally live up to in grand fashion; but this year, the let-down level was Earth-shattering. Maybe this is so because I actually gave them a shred of credit because their recent PPVs and matches on the road to WM have been decent, but the road to WrestleMania found itself screeching to a halt at a dead-end not blocked by a wall, but vanishing at a cliff and now the vehicle of WWE storylines hangs precariously at the precipice looking at a bullseye where it could very easily crash and burn. Yes–I think Mania was that damn bad.
Now, I pretty much bombed out on the predictions, going 3-8, which is fine. I went 6-1 for Roadblock, bringing my yearly total to 17-14. Sometimes, I predict what I hope will happen/should happen in the face of the obvious cronyism and nepotism that prevails in WWE. Other times, I predict things I think will happen because of the politics that supposedly goes on (usually evident by what transpires on the shows), but am often pleased to be wrong when/if it happens. Unfortunately, a lot of my predictions came from giving WWE a chance to prove themselves as a competent wrestling company like they were a couple of decades ago when they had competition, and they failed to provide a very entertaining card.
Now, I’m not like a lot of these marks who hate the mid-card. The mid-card is what made WWE great when it was WWF. It gave the PPVs intrigue as opposed to the redundant levity they possess now. Leading up to Mania, it appeared it was improving, but the way it looks now, I might be back on fan-hiatus come this time next year. But, I’ll have to keep the network because NXT is awesome despite WWE being so watered down. Sad that the “Road to WrestleMania” was far superior to Mania itself. I guess it’s like the old adage that the journey is more fulfilling than the destination. Perhaps the theme for the show should have been “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.
Here go my thoughts on the matches:
- Kalisto beats Ryback: I missed this match and I don’t feel like I missed much. This belt is probably getting phased out since they never put any emphasis on it. Both of these men are good wrestlers if they’d just use them correctly. But, I don’t see much in the future for them after Mania.
- Total Divas get BAD: I was wrong on this match, but not upset about it. When the faces won, it gave me hope for the Women’s Title Match. I caught this match about mid-way and it seemed Paige and Natalya did the heavy lifting, and the lesser of the Bellas got the pin. Naomi and Emma were impressive; Lana has potential but needs more experience; and I might as well just give up Alicia Fox. It was disorganized chaos as I knew it would be. I love the women, but this match was a bad idea. 2.5/5.
- The Usos Reign(s) Supreme: Since they’re doing nothing with the Usos, and have been using the Dudleys in semi-significant roles against Roman Reigns, and could very well use them to put New Day over as faces, it makes perfect sense to have the Usos win, right? <eye roll> Nothing worth anything came from this match, except maybe the crowd expressing their weariness with the cousins of Roman Reigns, suspecting maybe they keep winning matches because of their relation to him. Really dumb and the match wasn’t even that good. 2.5/5.
- Ryding the Ladder to the Top: Here is the only point on the show where WWE actually did something surprising. I am not particularly a fan of Zack Ryder, but I recognize the work ethic and time spent by him in WWE, and I am glad for him. He’s earned it and the fans wanted it. Good for him. When he came out with a robe, I suspected he might win; and, they’ve been giving him momentum here-of-late. I toyed with the idea of predicting him, but knew the WWE top wasn’t big on him so I didn’t pick him. This one was actually a nice job on WWE’s part. The match had a few high spots, but wasn’t the dynamo ladder matches tend to be, but at least it had a satisfying outcome. 3.25/5.
- Why 2J?: So, I guess it’s official: WWE signed A.J. Styles simply to bury him. I almost turned the show off after this. I could have been working on my book instead of wasting time with this nonsense. I’m not one of these pissy fans who get mad when their guys lose, but the event had already been relatively boring and I recognize what they’re doing. I was wondering why Jericho was so slow and groggy in the ring (even more so than usual), and not performing at a decent level. I guess he was trying to make Styles look bad. I don’t know. But, what good comes of having Styles lose to a washed-up former champion who never wins feuds or titles, anymore? Nothing except a wasted investment. The match was subpar, the outcome was ridiculous, and it is all indicative of the fact that WWE hasn’t changed. Either way, I pray the angle is done. I want to see AJ go against people who are actually on his talent level inside the ring as opposed to over-the-hill slobs who use the same three moves in the same order for fifteen plus years. 2.25/5.
- WWE Gets Real Booty: So, here’s WWE “creative” at its best: pulling off a booking move that not only makes absolutely zero sense, but is counterproductive, as well. Let’s give the New Day–the most over men on the entire roster, save Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens–give them a big entrance, take away the title match status and the handicap odds, and have them lose to four has-beens no one cares about. Why? Because Sheamus is HHH’s bud? Look, I understand bringing out the old guys for a cheap pop–goodness knows WWE needs all the positive fan reactions they can get–but, to change the landscape of the match and give us the piss-poor outcome they did, it is laughable. What happened to the match, anyway? It was supposed to be a 4-on-3 handicap match for the Tag Team Titles? Gee, that might have actually worked. If the New Day defied the odds and defeated the League to retain the titles, that might have been a hot WrestleMania moment the fans could have remembered, and then the New Day would have been over huge. After that, the League could have beat them down, then Austin, HBK, and Foley could have saved the day and celebrated with the New Day, and this would have elevated the Positive Unicorns way up to the top. Nope. Instead, they received a de-push as they lose to this boring faction, then relinquish their moments to guys not relevant to the story, and then, one of them gets stunned by Austin, making them look even worse. Good job, WWE; way to mess a good thing up. I knew when the stamped came so early in the match that the New Day was going to lose. Also, the League sucks as a tag team. They have no cohesion, their teamwork is sloppy and they just looked like Indy amateurs. A very bad match with a worse outcome. 1.25/5.
- The Few-Holds-Used Slap-fight: You think with Lesnar in a match, there’s going to be Hell to pay, but the only people who paid for Hell were the people who dumped a ton of money down the toilet to go to this dull-as-dishwater event and see the plethora of disappointing matches–this fiasco being among the top. I mean, Lesnar’s a beast, Ambrose is a lunatic, and no one bleeds and they hardly leave the ring? Hell, Al Snow and Road Dogg used to have better no-holds-barred matches than this on Raw. This should have been Ambrose’s moment to move up, but he wasn’t impressive and neither was Lesnar. These are two guys I am a big fan of, and they sorely disappointed me. Pretty much it was Lesnar suplexes Ambrose a lot of times, Ambrose hits him in the balls, throws a bunch of chairs in the ring, and gets pinned. Terrible. 1.50/5.
- The Women Save the Day: What kept me watching after all the stodginess that came before was the Women’s Title Match. I’m a huge mark for Charlotte as I think she is the most talented woman they’ve had in so many years. I don’t think Becky Lynch is a very good in-ring performer, but she has this thing about her that makes you want to like her because she seems so amiable; Sasha has a good move set and a lot of guts, but still may just need a little more oil on her cogs, but she has a great presence and look. All of these women deserved to be where they were, and they completely stole the show. They knew what was at stake and brought all the heart, soul, and talent they had in their arsenals and laid every bit of it out for us. I mean, my God–Charlotte’s Moonsault from the top turnbuckle onto the floor was the portrait of a masterpiece; it was perfect and even better than that of the Great Muta himself–and coming from me, that’s a huge compliment. She is a ring Goddess. The only issue I had with this match was the outcome. Believe me, I was thrilled Charlotte won, but why can’t they let her win on her own? Flair’s interference is getting older than his shtick and it might be time to go ahead and file him away in a museum somewhere and let Charlotte shine alone. She might have needed him at first to get over as a heel, but she needs him no longer. Also, when Total Divas won earlier, I pretty much knew that meant Charlotte would win. 4.5/5.
- Hell in a Cell, or Fizzle in the Fence?: I didn’t have high expectations as far as performance level going into this match because Taker’s nearing his final days as a competitor and Shane’s been gone for 7 years. With that in mind, the guys put on a pretty solid match. I knew Shane would come off the cage at one point because he’s on a level of insanity that would have wooed an old ECW crowd. (Ambrose–take some pointers). But, my prediction, I admitted, was kind of stretching, but I thought I’d take a chance that WWE might do something interesting. As it stands, this match amounted to nothing more than a slick way to sell tickets, which is okay. But they could have at least had the decency to further the angle. On a card rife with disenchantment, this match didn’t look so bad. Not that it looked too good, but it wasn’t a complete debacle. 2.75/5
- Andre Frowns Upon Thee: The only thing that kept this farce from being a complete waste of time was Baron Corbin winning it. Other than that, this was one of the worst Battle Royals I ever watched–even worse than that awful NFL/WWF gimmick at WM2. It was so pointless and so late in the card that it was tantamount to Tito Santana vs. The Mountie at WM7. I was actually kind of hoping they’d skip it, but they didn’t. Ugh. Corbin was the only saving grace. 1.25/5.
- The Fall of a King, the Crumbling of an Empire: Talk about garden variety, that was the main event. I like both of these guys, but this was as bland as white rice. How WWE still thinks forcing Reigns on everyone as a face is “what’s best for business” is beyond me. He got jeered worse than John Cena. Nothing happened in this match worth talking about; the only thing I enjoyed was Stephanie’s introduction at the start. But, I’m a fan of Steph–I think she’s great. Other than that, all I can say is that they better have a bang-up continuation in store for Raw, or else they stand to destroy everything they had been building up for the last few months. While I didn’t think this match was absolutely horrible, especially compared to a few other matches on the card, and especially compared to some past WM stinkers (both Cena/Rock matches come directly to mind), it certainly was not a worthy main event for WrestleMania, or even for a TNA card. 2/5.
My final thought on the matter is that I am afraid we are looking at some major setbacks. I fear WWE is going to keep on pushing people just because HHH is friends with them, or because they kiss Vince’s ass, or whatever other reasons they push people the fans don’t really care about. I worry they’re going to go back to focusing on guys that are losing momentum (or never really had it), about to retire, or just plain aren’t over, instead of building up the youth. That’s where we stand right now: WWE wasted so much time focusing only on veterans through the years and guys the fans didn’t care much about it, that they never groomed a class to take over, which is why there is no “star power” and they have to bring out a fat, drunken Stone Cold, a broken, washed-up HBK, and a scuzzy, scruffy embarrassing Mick Foley to get any reaction. But wait–hold on, for I just had a brilliant idea: if you listen to the fans and push the people they react to, you might have a real product to work with! Wow! Novel ideas!
Anyway, the show was too long, the matches were too run-of-the-mill, most of the outcomes were too status-quo, and pretty much all the storylines closed in an unsatisfactory fashion without any new ones being set-up to begin. This was a real pisser of a show. If this is the direction WWE is headed, this may be one of my last reviews for a while.
Maybe I’ll start blogging about NXT.