Throughout my life as a wrestling fan, the months of January through late March/early April tended to be the most exciting. Even though Summerslam gets the reputation of being the informed fan’s show, there’s just something special about the Wrestlemania build-up. That said, while I don’t love some of the matches on the show coming up on Sunday, I have been trying to remain positive, even in light of last year’s rough showing.
Even with that positive bend, I cannot look past this year being extremely underwhelming for me. The obvious spark of negativity comes in the decisions to push Goldberg v. Lesnar for the Universal Title, but the reality of their drawing power gives credence to the decision. Even though there’s plenty of reason to be frustrated about two part-timers leading the biggest show of the year, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me beyond the fact that match itself will either be fairly short, or presumably dip in quality pretty quickly. So with that out of the way, the rest of the card looks like it could be pretty solid (I get the Reigns/Taker frustration, but that match just is what it is), though it’s weird that this show seems so mundane.
This weirdness is especially true with matches on the card like Owens v. Jericho and Wyatt v. Orton, which, by all accounts, should be excellent. On top of that, The Miz and Cena are putting in excellent work in telling the story leading up to their match, as well as Triple H/Rollins and many others. Along that line, there’s no particular reason that this show should be any worse than other Wrestlemanias past, and it should surpass last year’s disappointment. Yet, it seems like it’s been a down start of the year for the main part of the roster on both Raw and Smackdown.
In my opinion, this could be due to a few factors to me. First being that while the shows on TV aren’t bad, and there was some momentum coming off of last year: NXT’s consistency with in-ring quality really challenges the main shows. And this consistency comes top to bottom, as all the title feuds remain strong, while Sanity and wrestlers like Cien provide a very solid undercard base. That being said, I can understand where part of this is a matter of personal taste; but to me, NXT just seems to be booked a lot stronger than the main shows.
The other possible main factor for this sudden bit of slog could be the overwhelming strength of other wrestling promotions; specifically New Japan and some indies like PWG. After watching Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year (which is, admittedly, an extremely different product from WWE), I found myself craving more of that action. Obviously, this comes down to personal preference again. However, if the feeling is this strong in comparison to other years where I watched similar or the same products, there has to be something to this negativity. It’s not an easy thing to quantify, as I can’t really pinpoint why the WWE product is a little stale, but it seems as if a surprise like the rumored arrival of the Hardys or a possible brand roster shake up could solve a lot of the problems. It’s hard to fault WWE here though, as the stories are all being told – a new cycle just needs to start.
In short, while Wrestlemania should be the most exciting time of the year for wrestling, there’s something slightly off for me. I’m certainly going to be watching, and will obviously be hoping to be surprised. It might just be me, but if anyone feels similar, let us know!