The purpose of WWE's Wrestlemania is to showcase their best stars on the grandest stage; the rare time when WWE gets mainstream appeal and old fans come back for one night only. It's like it is the WWE's window of opportunity to help grow their product and gain viewers, yet this year's edition looks to be fairly underwhelming, regardless of the star power.
Here is how the card is shaping up so far:
WWE Title: John Cena vs. The Rock (C)
HHH vs Brock Lesnar : stipulation yet to be added
World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger vs Alberto Del Rio (C)
CM Punk vs The Undertaker: "The Best in the World" vs The Streak (20-0)
The Shield (Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns) vs Sheamus, Orton and Ryback
...and that's it. So far. Here is another list of stars who don't have an official match:
Mark Henry, Big Show, Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Kane
You'd think most of these wrestlers here (especially the US and IC champions) would have something set up, or close to it, but nothing seems to have developed in recent weeks. The WWE sems to be focusing their energy on three main story lines and neglecting the rest of the roster/card.
The biggest show of the year is mere weeks away, and that's the whole card so far. The point of buildup is to make a match must see- not just one, or two, but the majority of the card. Yes, you have you bathroom break matches (divas, I'm looking at you), but this card is just filled with stars but no purpose. Let's run down the list and break down why this might be one of the most mundane 'Manias in a long time.
John Cena vs The Rock
Yes, this match needs the title. Read that sentence with a straight face. I know, you can't. The two stars who have had rockets strapped to their backs and have been pushed to the moon are....getting pushed to the moon...again. The title does nothing for this feud- especially when your champ no shows RAW completely (not even via satellite) and Cena stays home to eat Fruity Pebbles. If the Champ can't show up and show us he cares, why should anyone else? There is no reason why the belt should have been taken off the historic reign of the uber-talented CM Punk. He made it seem important again. The belt had prestige. Now it sits in Rock's gym bag while he does bicep curls and reads lines. The title is used to elevate a match, and make it seem important. Yet the promos for Cena and Rock's "twice in a lifetime" matchup do nothing to make anyone care. All the rational fan is thinking is, "when will this be over?" It's a game one one-upsmanship between two of the most prolific mic talkers in the last 15 years. Yet, they can't put together one memorable segment leading up to their match? Pathetic.
HHH vs Brock Lesnar
Another rematch no one asked for. HHH was beat clean, and his arm was "broken" last summer. This should have marked the end of his in ring career, and the end of this horrid feud. But no, HHH has to get his win back- since he is around 40, and it will do nothing for the company except stroke his ego. HHH belongs no where near this card, as he should focus on the backstage stuff, like what he had begun to do witht he tag division until it went belly up a month or so ago- it seems like Daniel Bryan and Kane cleaned out the division and now forgot they even have the belts. Lesnar is a pure badass, and should be booked like it. Monday's outing was a great step, yet he is mired in this pointless feud. Lesnar should be going toe-to-toe with the Undertaker, or even Cena, or the Rock. At the rate this matchup is going, by the time they face off, Mania will have ended two weeks prior.
Jack Swagger vs ADR
One of the few matchups I can truly get behind. Swagger's repackaged tea party American angle has been done perfectly. Zeb Colter is an incredible mouthpiece, and really adds to Swagger's abilities. Keep him to few words and just kicking ass in the ring. ADR as a face is the perfect foil- even if his argument makes no sense. The promos for both sides have been entertaining and funny, and the ring work between these two men will be impressive, and I look forward to their showdown at Mania.
CM Punk vs The Undertaker
Taker's leverage: The Streak. Punk's leverage: nothing. That is why this matchup is so odd to me and well- lacking. What's Punk lose besides the match? Nothing. He should still have the strap. Streak versus streak. SIMPLE. But no, Rock had to have the title. I would have originally rewarded Taker for the Belt (he hasn't held one since 2002) but I think in my heart of hearts this is the year Taker should lose. What's undefeated mean when it becomes totally predictable and borderline unrealistic. (Punk is over a decade younger than Taker). Punk winning would create a huge ripple and elevate him to legendary status. Everyone would remember the day the Streak was broken. Just imagine a wrestler who debuted in 2013 kept a streak going for 21 years..that'd be 2034. While the match itself will most likely be incredible, the set up and lack of the belt really hurt this feud.
The Shield vs Orton, Sheamus, Ryback
With as good as The Shield have looked as of late, I see the boring trio of faces winning here. Most likely a tri- finish ending. Make me care, WWE. Have the Shield run roughshod over these bland, predictable faces. Orton has been spinning his wheels waiting to turn heel. Sheamus is just a lousy character. Ryback was hot in late 2012, but his push was derailed after multiple losses to CM Punk. The Shield still have no real motive behind their attacks or why they are in WWE, aside from "injustices". Be more specific, guys. Make us care, too. Ryback looked to have a feud all set up with Henry, but on Smackdown the two were interrupted by the Shield. Because no one would have rather seen Ryback vs. Mark Henry....NOT.
When it comes to stars who have yet to be booked in matches, I will tell you why they should be on this card:
Dolph Ziggler: has held the MITB briefcase since July 2012, and has yet to cash it in. But nothing tells me he will anytime soon, as he has had so many losses since his win. The last week has seen him beat Daniel Bryan on RAW and Kane on Smackdown (something the Primetime Players seem unable to do). After Raw's classic match with Bryan, the two should be booked together to go 45 minutes at Mania in a classic match. Easy as that. The best worker vs....the best worker. Kane and Daniel Bryan should drop the tag titles before Mania to the PTP or Rhodes Scholars. Make those belts mean something instead of just carrying them around. Kane- well he has no place on this card. Throw him in with Henry if you want. But I'd rather see Henry against......
Ryback. The two seemed destined to face off at the show of shows, but now after Smackdown that match is off the table. Now the Hall of Pain seeks out a new inductee, and who might that be? I have no idea. Ryback vs Henry would definitely be fun. Alas, it was not meant to be.
Antonio Cesaro is a great US Champion, except anytime a main eventer faces him, he forgets how to win. Stop having him lose to Orton and Ryback..and build your midcard champions up, WWE. Orton and Sheamus have almost reached Cena/demigod status. They will NOT lose cleanly. It's embarrassing, and shows the WWE is afraid to push new talent for fear of not selling merchandise. Stop caring about pushing the dollar, and push the young guys, Vince.
Speaking of mid-card champions...Wade Barrett has also been made to look like a joke. He has had the pedigree of a future champion for years (like Ziggler) and gets embarrassed every step of the way by lesser wrestlers such as Sheamus. It makes no sense. Wade Barrett should be against Jericho, and winning at Mania. Jericho is a team player and we all know he would put over his former NXT protege.
The Miz- like HHH, he has NO place on this card. His new figure 4 is so horrid, Ric Flair almost gave him directions to how to do it. Face Miz has been an abomination, and nothing will make me want to see him on this card. Aggressive heel Miz is way cooler.
That's it so far The most predictably bad Mania is about to be upon us, and I CAN WAIT. I have no investment in any of the matches (aside from Swagger/ADR). That is never a good sign. Then again, I am over the age of 12. Vince doesn't care what I think.