It’s like a long winding featureless desert highway.
Hey Gang, it’s that time of year again where wrestling fans like me start to get hyped up for the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania. Much like the Playoffs for fans of the more traditional sports, this is the time where we see who will be facing who and what position people will be for the big show. It is usually the time of year where the WWE brings out it’s best in terms of storylines and programming on its weekly shows. They call it “The Road to Wrestlemania”.
I’ve been underwhelmed.
Maybe it’s the fact that out of the top 3 main events of the show you only have 2 guys who are full time on the roster (Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose) and I’m sure the string of guys who are injured has a lot to do with it, but the build up so far hasn’t been that great to me. Like the WWE will have flashes of great stuff and then mix it into a sea of blah stuff they do every week. It seems like the creative team behind the WWE is at a loss for what to do until someone comes up with a random idea and they just throw it out there. Let’s break things down to show what I mean.
WWE Championship Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
The back-story here is that last year Triple H offered Roman a chance to become part of “the Authority”, Roman refused, won the Title, and then lost it thanks to Seamus. Triple H gets his ass kicked, then comes back for revenge. Triple H wins the title at the Royal Rumble by Eliminating Reigns and Ambrose to win the rumble and then puts the two of them in a match with Brock to get the Title shot at Mania. Roman wins making the match official. Roman gets attacked and “breaks his nose” during the segment putting him out for 3 full weeks while Triple H jaws with Ambrose and actually defends the title for the first time in 2 months where he pins Ambrose clean as a sheet before Reigns returns on Monday and he and the Game have a fight this past Monday.
Now, I get it. Reigns had nasal surgery to fix a deviated Septum and wanted to get it out of the way before Mania. But we are talking the MAIN EVENT of the show and the challenger was out-of-sight-out-of-mind for a month! If it wasn’t for the fact that Triple H has to come out every week to remind us of how great he is in his warbling long droning speeches he wouldn’t have a need to be on TV at all. The idea that a guy in his late 40’s who only wrestled one match in the last year is the champion and then not only have him go over Dean Ambrose but also Dolph Ziggler and do it cleanly for both is insane. This company is trying to put on the biggest show in their history and this is how they handle the main event?
We all know where this is headed. Roman Reigns winning the title and being “put over” by the guy who has masterminded his run from the very beginning. Never mind that Triple H as the WWE champion is just an ego stroke. Injuries or not there were plenty of alternatives (I even posted them back in January). But Triple H should be cheating his ass off in every match he is in at this age. Having him go over clean over two of the current upper-level stars without so much as a blink just makes things look like he really is just putting himself over more than anything else.
Not to mention Wrestlemania crowds don’t exactly respond the way the WWE wants fans to respond. Roman knows this already. So let’s see what actually happens when that many people who paid way to much for their tickets react to this match.
Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar:
The build here really was the build for the match last month. Brock Lesnar was the favorite in the 3 way match for the title and Dean felt pissed for being overlooked and thought of that he didn’t have a chance against the much bigger Lesnar. They had a few tussles where.. Lesnar beat him up. Neither guy wins the contenders match and Brock kind of blames Dean for it and here we are.
Not the most detailed of stories is it? We get it, Brock is bigger than Dean. Dean never gives up. So what? I mean it’s not “battling over shampoo” levels of bad ideas for Mania but still, that’s it? They could have made things a lot better f Brock ad been the one to cause Dean to lose against Triple H at the Roadblock special, but Trips had to be “kept strong” right?
I’m guessing here is that the “how creative will dean get in trying to beat Brock?” question is the selling point here. We saw Mick Foley “pass the torch” of the barbed wire baseball bat to Dean last night on RAW, but that doesn’t do it for me. The build has just been dean challenging Brock to a fight, Dean gets his ass kicked but “doesn’t give up” and still gets his ass kicked. You’ve got to do more than that for me, especially for ‘Mania.
For control of Monday Night RAW/Hell in a Cell: Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon
Oh good lord has the build to this not made any sense whatsoever.
That back-story here is that Shane shows up out of nowhere one night to interrupt some stupid award presentation from Vince to Steph. Shane alludes to some deal he made with his father years ago right before he left the company and that he is the one to inherit things when Vince leaves/dies/retires whatever. Vince tells him he has to win a match against the Undertaker and it’s in Hell in a cell.
There are so many plot holes you’d have thought someone shot this storyline with a tank mounted Gatling gun. We never get any kind of explanation about what the deal was that Vince and Shane made 7 years ago. Nothing. It’s been hinted at that Vince was in some sort of trouble and Shane bailed him out, or that Shane has some info dangling over Vince’s head or something, but that has never been explained. It sounds really stupid that Shane is fighting for control of “Monday Night RAW” instead of something more substantial like oh.. I don’t know, THE ENTIRE COMPANY?!? Despite Vince always saying “So goes RAW, so goes the rest of the WWE” but that doesn’t help make this any more foolish. The chairman of the company is telling you that RAW is the only show they produce that means anything. Great going.
They haven’t done a great job in explaining how Undertaker really fits into any of this. They’ve had a few interviews having Taker tell Vince he’s his own man, so why the hell is THE UNDERTAKER just kowtowing to Vince’s will for all this anyway? The only semblance of a reason was “I’m defending my legacy.” What the hell does that even mean? Do you think ANY WWE fan thinks that Shane friggin McMahon is a threat to your LEGACY?
This is a major failure of the WWE Creative team. Sure, I get it. This was supposed to be John Cena’s epic match with Taker, but Cena got hurt and can’t do it. There weren’t any other options available with the injury bug, but that doesn’t mean you can just puke some bullshit story up and have fans just accept it for the biggest show of the year because of Hell in a Cell.
If we are stuck with “Age in a cage” for Mania, there are some story points that should have been brought up that weren’t. Have Shane fight for something broader than “Monday night RAW”. Have him fight for the COO position or a large portion of Vince’s own stock in the company. The “deal” that was made should have been the FIRST detail revealed in this storyline, not vaguely hinted at for weeks on end.
As for the Undertaker, Vince should have forced him into this match. “You’ll do it or not only will you not be at Wrestlemania ever again but you’ll never be mentioned again on my show for the rest of time!” THERE. with one simple line you could have made this whole storyline a lot clearer and better.
It seems like the WWE creative was in panic mode putting this show together without a lot of their top guys, but creatively bankrupt when coming up with ideas once they did have something put together, at least for the top matches.
We will see what happens.
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