WWE WrestleMania 32: Is It Okay If It Kind of Sucks?


I’m not seeing too much positivity floating around when it comes to WrestleMania 32 and the overall plan WWE is setting up. Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker has people nervous that either the status quo will remain or The Undertaker will take an unnecessary loss and look weak (or that it will be overbooked to insanity), the main event isn’t what a lot of people want to see, and the midcard and undercard isn’t quite developed yet. Outside of a few gems like Sami Zayn’s return and Dean Ambrose facing Brock Lesnar, things are relatively cool in a time period where they should be heating up to a fever pitch.

But just because there’s an environment of “meh” and anxiety that we could be in for a rough night come April 3rd, does that mean WWE is doomed to be chastised if they don’t overcome the odds and put on a show for the ages? Is this a situation where anything short of amazing is going to be proof to everyone that they were right in saying that it was doomed and it sucks beyond belief, or is there room over the next few weeks to preemptively heal those future wounds?


First off, how much slack are we willing to give WWE with the amount of injuries going on? If all hands were on deck and we were in this same situation, there would be significantly less of a reason to accept what we’re being given, as it would mean that the only problem was with WWE’s lack of creative vision. When the talent pool is drained from people like Seth Rollins, John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton—four of the biggest names in the company from the past few years—as well as others who could put on a good show like Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, it cuts down the amount of options available to play around and find the best arrangement of all the puzzle pieces. Hell, even the lack of a name like Hulk Hogan does nothing but hurt this year’s WrestleMania. If his scandal had not gone down, there would be another perennial “big name star” marketing the event and building up hype.

The hype itself is within question. While I certainly don’t agree with all of the statements, there are criticisms all over the internet ranging from the factual to the baseless. I’m a fan of Roman Reigns, but if you’re someone who doesn’t want to see him on top, why would you care about the main event being built around the inevitable victory and multi-month title reign of a guy you don’t like? On top of this, maybe you’re upset that his challenger and the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion is one of those “old guys who is taking a spot away from a younger guy” as everyone loves to throw out there.

Last year, the United States Championship was one of the most featured matches. This year, it’s not outrageous for people to not even know who is holding the belt, since Kalisto is such an afterthought on WWE programming. AJ Styles still has momentum, but he’s likely facing someone who he’s already wrestled a handful of times over the past month. Remember that The Rock is supposed to show up? Lots of people will foolishly believe that he’ll wrestle in some capacity and will be disappointed.

Speaking of this, what if our expectations are too high for what WWE can realistically deliver? Has 32 years of WWE telling us that this is the best show of the year trained us to expect too much? Every match on this card should be the best possible match WWE could book in the eyes of the fans—so much so that “WrestleMania-worthy” is an actual term that is tossed around nowadays. This is all based on the perception of the individual fan, so no two people will ever agree on a definitive “perfect card” to schedule for the event. All you have to do is scour the internet for the multitude of fantasy match ideas and you’ll see a wide variety of what people think would constitute the best event of the year. That is what WWE is trying to do with what they have available: give the fans the best case scenario. If what WWE presents isn’t super mega awesome amazing, but it’s not the worst thing ever, then should we be treating that the same way we do with the IWC fantasy cards—symbolically pat them on the back, say “nice try, but here’s what you did wrong” and hope that the next card is better?

Keep in mind that the past two years, the build to WrestleMania has been lackluster, but the events ended up being pretty damn good overall. Sure, there were flaws in both of them, but when the general atmosphere of the fan base is screaming for massive retooling and calling it a guaranteed flop only to pretty much give a thumbs up to the final product, that’s a success. Could the same happen this year, where our expectations go down so far that by default, it will end up being better than we anticipated and an easier pill to swallow?

On the other hand, if the WWE Universe goes into WrestleMania with more of a whimper than an electric buzz and it doesn’t defy expectations, the response will be even more vitriolic. We’ll never hear the end of people leaving comments about how they’re done watching WWE and won’t be tuning into Raw or watching Payback, and after X number of years as a follower of the product, WWE finally alienated them and let them down too much to come back from. Then again, those people will probably be back by Extreme Rules, which brings up another whole issue to the situation: does any of this matter?

Think about it. If WrestleMania 32 sucks, are you really going to stop watching for good, or are you just going to write this off as a massive disappointment that will go down in history as a blemish? Is this an unforgiveable act, or will you just be pissed off for a while and hold out hope that 2016 will get better? They’ve had bad WrestleMania events in the past and it’s bound to happen many more times in the future. This could be one of those years, and after 32 years, the company was still able to keep fans despite blunders like WrestleMania 11. I personally went to WrestleMania 29 and I was thoroughly disappointed with everything from the lack of pageantry (no pyro?) to the horrible food service at MetLife Stadium and the forgettable matches that were trounced by the awesome Monday Night Raw that followed. Several hundred dollars were spent hoping that it would be the best event ever, but it disappointed, and yet I still watch every week, write articles, do podcasts and so on.

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