Well; that was some week wasn’t it? Despite my negative reaction to most of Wrestlemania 30; there have been a lot of positives in WWE this week. Join me as I trawl through some of them; as always comments and discussions encouraged and welcomed.
What with the reports of The Undertaker’s injury during his Wrestlemania 30 match with Brock Lesnar and the debate that is still raging over whether this was the right way for The Streak to go out; I feel something has been lost amongst all of this. It was a moment in history; and however we feel about it personally it was one of the most shocking moments in recent WWE history. But that’s not what I think was lost; so let me take a moment to address that.
The Undertaker is one of the true legends of professional wrestling; my very first WWE pay-per-view was his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series. I have watched his whole career and have always been one of his biggest fans; in recent years his return for Wrestlemania has been the highlight of the wrestling year for me. My friends would often say “Isn’t he getting on a bit now?” or “I saw him on Raw the other night; God he looks terrible”; but that didn’t phase me as I was looking forward to seeing one of my heroes perform. He delivered year after year; his matches with Shawn Michaels were almost perfect, his match with CM Punk stole the show last year and my personal favorite match of all time is his title win against Edge at Wrestlemania 24.
Is this the way I want to see the legacy of a true legend end? No; but, based on reports about his condition after the match, maybe this should be The Last Ride of The Deadman. Despite the match not living up to his previous high standards; it acts as a fitting ending to one of the great careers of the industry. He was old school and there had been many reports about how he wanted to drop The Streak to someone before he retired; now he has (despite it being to, on some levels but not all, the wrong person in this writers opinion). His professionalism was underlined by the reports that the injury happened early on and he still finished the match despite not knowing where he was for most of it; with that in mind then maybe this should be the last in-ring appearance he makes. No one will begrudge him retirement; and, despite my reservations about this being the final chapter of his stellar career, this writer now believes he should get out now while he still has his health. It saddens me to write it; but maybe it is finally time. Please share with me your favorite Undertaker memories in the comments section; if this is the end then lets celebrate his legacy rather than mourn for it, or him.
The post-‘Mania edition of Raw, or as I refer to it the Reset Raw, was stunning; this writer enjoyed it far more than Wrestlemania itself. Hot crowd, good matches and the set up for some interesting angles going forward. The crowd was awesome, as was the Reset Raw crowd last year; that’s the benefit of a more mixed international crowd for a show like that. People from all over the world, many from countries that are lucky to get one live show in their homeland per year, fly in for Wrestlemania week and are so much more excited to be there than crowds in US cities that get two or three live shows a year; it helps elevate the show. Plus you get gems like this:
God that made me laugh; thank you New Orleans.
Paige beating AJ Lee for the Divas Championship (something this writer predicted in my last article as the only logical place for the story to go after AJ beating the entire Divas roster at Wrestlemania) was a particular highlight; I feel more supportive of Paige than I have any Diva in a while. Not just because she’s a fellow Brit; but because I’m invested in seeing her succeed in WWE due to a wonderful documentary about her and her wrestling family (The Knights) called ‘The Wrestlers – Fighting With My Family’ that was shown on Chanel 4 over here. For those of you that haven’t seen it; I highly recommend it and have posted a copy below:
The other undoubted highlight was this gem of a promo by the best stick man in the business:
That was amazing; and testament to the brilliance of Paul Heyman. If pro-wrestling didn’t exist then we’d have to invent it just for him; truly an underrated great support performer. His pair up with Cesaro makes so much sense, despite my dislike for the “King of Swing” moniker for being a little hokey, and, as other writers have said on this site, it opens up an intriguing situation where Heyman plays both heel and face at the same time depending on who he’s with in that moment. After last years misfires with Curtis Axel and Ryback; WWE haven’t dropped the ball with Heyman this time. Cesaro is credible, over and, though not the finished product, a real star of the future; the association with Heyman helps them both and I’m genuinely excited to see how this new pairing will play out. Plus the prospect of Heyman and Zeb Colter trading promos is an intriguing proposition this writer has mulled over in the past; done right it could range from very good to awesome.
A couple of grumbles before I get to my final highlight; if WWE are so invested in Big E then why have him do the job to Bray Wyatt? It wouldn’t have hurt John Cena or Sheamus to do the honours; it just seemed pointless if they’re not going to use it to set up an Intercontinental Title feud between the pair (with reports indicating the plan is to carry on the John Cena vs Bray Wyatt series). Especially coming off of Big E being eliminated from the Andre Battle Royal by Fandango.
Also, and I know I said this in my last article, but aren’t WWE trying to re-establish the Tag Team division at the moment? Having their champions obliterated by Randy Orton and Batista did more to hurt the division than prop up those two; again this writer feels it was a waste and devalued the division as a whole.
But the best part of the reset Raw for me was the elevation of The Shield to the hottest face unit WWE has at the moment; the proposed split they teased before changing course for Wrestlemania always felt flat. Now, hopefully after a monster face run, the split will mean more and have more impact when it does inevitably happen. Bit of fantasy booking for you; how about having one of them, probably Roman Reigns, rise to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion while another, probably Dean Ambrose holds the Money in the Bank briefcase? You could build the tension for the split for even longer and make it have even more impact when the holder of the briefcase cashes in on his prone partner; if done right the angle could be white hot. You also have an interesting dynamic of the where the third man stands to play with; the most intriguing part of the aborted split for me was Seth Rollins’ story. Imagine that played out in the midst of the scenario; it could run for a while without it getting old. For now it seems we are on route for some kind of team match pitting Evolution and Kane against The Shield and Daniel Bryan; for what my opinion’s worth that sounds like money to me.