Hey folks, I hope all of you are keeping safe. The coronavirus hasn’t affected me personally, but a lot of my work has been halted or dramatically altered. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the groove of things and provide more content for you here as I love you all.
Due to extenuating circumstances, WrestleMania is facing a litany of major changes. WrestleMania is now a two-night event instead of one. However, the main controversy lies in the decision for WrestleMania to continue as is. It is safe to say that WrestleMania will look very different, and examining WWE’s role in how this came to deserve to be analyzed further. So let’s do that.
The city of Tampa declared an order that large gatherings will no longer be allowed, and since WrestleMania falls into that category, WWE’s biggest event would not be taking place at the Raymond James Stadium. Instead, it will be taking place at the Performance Center and other undisclosed locations for special gimmick matches.
It seems very sour that moments such as Drew McIntyre potentially winning the WWE Championship and the heated, personal rivalry that is Edge and Randy Orton will be taking place without thousands of fans losing their minds in the background. We saw the kind of reactions that were elicited at the Rumble, so you can only imagine the kind of reaction they may have gotten at WrestleMania.
On one hand, it may be fun to imagine what WrestleMania will be like without anyone. While the dynamic will be drastically different, there are certain things that have worked without any fans in attendance. For example, the promos cut by Edge seemed to have more weight to them without anyone listening. That being said, the decision to carry on with WrestleMania as advertised has not been a popular decision, and many major changes have taken place as a result.
The biggest immediate change (that WWE has yet to elaborate on) is the fact that Roman Reigns, who was set to compete against Goldberg for the Universal Championship, has pulled himself out. This is because he has a history of leukemia and that being potentially exposed to this virus can do serious harm to his immune system and body. It was a bold, but great decision for his health and to put his well-being first over what may have just been a five-minute sprint against Goldberg.
To a lesser extent, but still prominent, The Miz showed up to the Performance Center sick, and this caused visible frustration from Roman Reigns and The Usos for obvious reasons. He will no longer be able to compete as well. There are other changes that will be visible, but ultimately, the decision and onus was on the Chariman of the Board, Vince McMahon.
Apparently, no one else was feeling this decision except Vince itself. I think it is safe to say that his judgement was more than questionable regarding this issue. By proxy, Vince McMahon is the biggest reason why this decision is such an unpopular one.
First of all, there is no incentive for WrestleMania to be held as is. When we look back at WrestleMania 36, and people see the reason why, there may be those who just ask why it wasn’t postponed. This is where the biggest frustration lies. Why not just postpone WrestleMania to a future date where it may be deemed safe for social gatherings again? Why not follow the example by other major sports leagues who have suspended or postponed their games and events? Would it really change much?
There may be some that ask how WWE would fill the weekly content to continue to build these matches. Well, my solution to that would be simple. If there is one thing WWE has done pretty well, it is occupy RAW and SmackDown with vintage content to pass the time. WWE could simply do that until WrestleMania. There is literally thousands upon thousands of hours worth of content that WWE could show to build up to any match or hype up any individual superstar.
“The show must go on” mentality has clearly taken over WWE’s higher-ups (more specifically, Vince), and depending on how WrestleMania pans out, WWE may be seen significantly less favorably.
Now, if there is one benefit that I can identify, it’s that WrestleMania is two days. I’ve been tinkering with this idea for years, but since WrestleMania has always been advertised on one day, this means fans will have to see the entire card from top to bottom.
Folks, WrestleMania this year is 16 MATCHES LONG. To provide you with the proper perspective, WrestleMania 25, which took place about a decade ago, was 8 matches long. Imagine a fan going into WrestleMania at 5 in the evening and having to stay in their seats for 6-7 hours and only periodically getting up for big moments.
Folks, I watched the replay of last year’s main event of Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch. The crowd was audibly drained from watching it, probably because their energy was drained from seeing Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston win their respective matches. Whatever WWE decided would have gone on last would have been a snooze fest.
So, if you’re going to have a 16 match WrestleMania card, the solution is simple. Split it into two days, having 8 matches one day and the other 8 matches the next. That way, each match can get the proper time to tell the story and you won’t drain the crowd by having to sit through a marathon. WrestleMania shouldn’t feel like listening to a long seminar that takes nearly a third of one day to complete. It should be a fun couple of hours of professional wrestling.
So as you can see there are negatives and (potential) positives of how WWE has handled the WrestleMania situation. What’s your take on what Vince has done?