Monday, April 8, 2013
Wrestlemania 29: Parallel World Order and A Look into the Not-So-Distant-Future of the WWE
The build to this year's Wrestlemania 29 in New York/New Jersey was definitely lacking to say the least. A lot of people who typically get amped for the "Super Bowl of Wrestling" were skeptical of this year's card and rightfully so. It was full of rematches, matches no one asked for, decent matches and matches that had no build, thus not allowing fans to invest anything in them. The build to the show produced the effect that is never desired: unadulterated doubt. Sunday only reassured those doubters.I will explore what should have happened and what ended up transpiring before our eyes and what could be on the horizon for World Wrestling Entertainment.
What should have happened: Hold the event ANYWHERE but New York. Wrestlemania 1, 10 and 20 were at MSG. Hold off a year and have it there. Also, if you are going to pick a location...PICK ONE. The NY/NJ under the logo was very confusing.
What actually happened: WWE held it at Metlife Stadium and advertised the show being in New York and New Jersey.
What will happen next (year): Mania in New Orleans. Because New Orleans.
Xbox Live Pay Per View Stream:
What should have happened: Users should have been able to log in successfully on the first start, order the program and watch it in its entirety, uninterrupted.
What actually happened: Users who logged in and ordered the $59.99 event were booted out for a solid hour, if not longer. Users late to the party (me) couldn't log in after multiple (dozens) of attempts, until finally it decided to work. The sad thing is, in reality- we didn't miss anything of importance, since nothing of note went down at this pay per view.
What will happen next (year): WWE will resolve any and all technical issues and have a pay per view that can be watched without any disturbances. One can hope.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs Wade Barrett (C)
What should have happened: This match should have been on the main card. not the pre-show. Shows you how important belts are in the caste system of the WWE right? Titles < Yesteryear's Big Names < Cena is the equation they use. Miz winning was what I would have gone with, only because Barrett did nothing with it, to no fault of his own. Yes, I'm looking at you, Vince and "creative".
What actually happened: Miz won the title in an average pre-show match on Youtube. I'd try to type more and make it seem better, but it'd be like putting lipstick on a pig.
What will happen next: Miz parades the title around and no one cares because it is meaningless.
Sheamus, Big Show and Randy Orton vs The Shield
What should have happened: After a back and forth battle, the trio of main eventers take control and look to have the match won, when Orton turns on his teammates and the Shield win. Orton's character has a fresh start and the WWE has a new main event heel, as well as the Shield's star grows brighter.
What actually happened: Big Show turned on his team and the Shield won, staying undefeated in the WWE. Show turns are very tired, as he was a face for all of a few months. The Shield winning was the right decision, but how we got there...not so much.
What will happen next: A very boring Orton and Show feud for the next month or two, and Sheamus spouting off terrible jokes in another blase feud. The Shield's push continues, but hard to say when WWE will make a big move with the group and not keep them in a holding pattern.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
What should have happened: Ryback gets the big win at Mania and gets back on track in 2013, while Henry "does what he does" and beats people up for all of eternity while screaming at cameras, small children and meek ringside employees.
What actually happened: Mark Henry gets the win, one that he didn't really need as he's been in the WWE for close to eighteen decades and can get over in a matter of seconds on anyone.
What will happen next: Ryback's star takes a hit and people begin to wonder what could happen with him. The doubt in him might cause resentment from both fans and himself, and we could see a heel turn and have him fight Cena-tron. The fans will realize they hate Cena more, and a double-face turn would be more than welcome at that point....but if last night was any indication, Cena will remain a good guy for the next 2,000 years. More on that later.
Tag Team Championship : Dolph Ziggler and Big E vs. Team Hell No (C)
What should have happened: Dolph and E win the belts and the rise of the Showoff begins. Dissention forms between Kane and Bryan and they have a brutally physical match at Extreme Rules.
What REALLY Should Have Happened : Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes beat Team Hell No in a solid eight minute contest and go on to have a bro-tacular epic run as tag team champs and help get the division over while Bryan and Kane split finally allowing the American Dragon to have legitimate singles feuds and amazing matches.
What actually happened: Team Hell No retain the belts, and Dolph loses for the millionth time since he won the MITB briefcase.
What will happen next: The belts begin to lose their shine and people become tired of the partnership between the two champs. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler continue to imply AJ is a super skank and undermine her as a performer. Ziggler will lose his briefcase to Hornswaggle on Superstars. Two of these are honest predictions. Wait, no...the third event could very well happen.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
What should have happened: The match should have gone for 15 minutes, and been a breakout for a rising star who they hyped for the last month or so. Fandango should have gotten the win in convincing fashion and stolen Jericho's finishers to anger the crowd further.
What actually happened: Chris Jericho mysteriously injures his knee, and Fandango took advantage with a roll-up for the win. Fandango looks more lucky than talented, and the match underwhlemed to say the least.
What will happen next: Jericho will take time off to pursue music and other opportunities. Fandango will look to build off of his 1-0 record at Mania, but WWE will most likely screw up his push and demote him to FCW. (Editor's Note: Please don't mess this up, WWE. Kid's got talent.)
World Heavyweight Championship: Jack Swagger vs. Albertio Del Rio (C)
What should have happened: Both stars are in the ring post entrances when Dolph Ziggler's music plays and he cashes in his title shot at the show of shows; a perfect opportunity for the "show-off". Ziggler outperforms both men in a classic triple threat match and the crowd is stunned at a very unique booking move.
What actually happened: ADR defeats Swagger in a match you could have seen on RAW or Smackdown, and no one cared.
What will happen next: Swagger will be suspended for his DUI a few weeks back. ADR will possibly feud with Ziggler anyway, but with no sense of surprise. His face turn will begin to fizzle and WWE will take the belt off of him.
CM Punk vs the Undertaker
What should have happened: Back in January, CM Punk retains his belt against the Rock and keeps it until Wrestlemania. During the buildup, Punk puts his yearlong- plus reign on the line against Taker's 20-0 streak, thus putting some sort of doubt in the match-up. The match goes on last. Punk loses the belt finally and the Undertaker gets a "lifetime achievement award" title run for being a loyal company man. Taker's eventual title drop in the summer allows another star to be put over.
What actually happened: Taker moves to 21-0 in a very good match. Both wrestlers came out of this looking good, but the win was almost never in question.
What will happen next: Punk is rumored to take time off to heal nagging injuries and Undertaker will likely take the rest of the calendar year off and come back in January to build to his final Mania match against John Cena. Cena will be put over because John Cena is John Cena and he is an "underdog." Yes, the most over star for the last decade views himself as an underdog. More on this later.
Brock Lesnar vs HHH
What should have happened: Lesnar beats HHH again, the WWE gets the most out of their huge investment and HHH retires to focus on backstage. Lesnar looks like a badass and can match up with any superstar (Ryback/Sheamus) to further build them.
What actually happened: HHH beats Lesnar in a slow, plodding match. It was physical and parts were fun, but was bogged down in my mind by the pace and HHH winning. He has no need for a win at Mania in 2013- simply put, no one cares. Lesnar sold the kimura lock like a champ and looked like a savage the entire match.
What will happen next: HHH will cut a 30 minute promo on RAW and refer to himself as the "ass-kicker." Lesnar will take a few months off until Summerslam where HHH beats him three times in a row on the same night even though it is a 2 out of 3 falls match. Because HHH.
WWE Title: John Cena vs The Rock (C)
What should have happened: Back in January, Cena loses in the Royal Rumble allowing a young star to get exposure with a Rumble win. Cena calls out Rock who plays hard to get but eventually agrees. The two fight in the co-main event and Cena does one of two things:
1. He wins the belt through way of nefarious means (think Austin/Rock in 2001) and becomes defiant against any fan or star who questions him which signifies his change into a bad guy.
2. He loses and let's it eat at him. His pride is shot and he begins to grow resentful to the Rock and fans and goes off the deep end which makes him a baddie.
What REALLY should have happened: Not this match. Rock builds another star while Cena fights Lesnar or Punk. Aside from little kids, no one truly gave a damn about this rematch.
What actually happened: John Cena won the title in a very, very, lackluster main event. The crowd was worn out after a four hour event...but even last year in Miami the crowd was hot for the very same match....that didn't include the title. That's right- they moved the title to a feud where neither star needed the belt and the champion took weeks off at a time during the critical build to the company's biggest show, and the live crowd didn't care. The end saw a ton of countered finishers as the two sensed how dead the crowd was. Even then, the reaction was mostly tame.
After the match, the two hug it out and share respect- again to which no one cared. The crowd sat on their hands, waiting for anything to get out of their seats for. But alas, it did not happen.
What will happen next: Now that he got his "worst year ever" over (which included winning the Rumble and Money in the Bank) we can now look forward to Cena's reign of mediocrity. The vicious cycle continues and the Rock goes back to Hollywood for a long, long time. Cena cuts a promo on Monday Night RAW claiming he is "back and that the champ is here. If you want some, come get some" and any phrase he has used since 2002. He has a sh*t eating grin on his face as the live crowd boos him relentlessly and he tries to laugh it off.
The trouble with John Cena as I noted earlier, is his character constantly views himself as an underdog. He thinks he is the 2004 Red Sox, when in fact Cena is the New York Yankees. As CM Punk once said, Cena IS the dynasty. No one believed in his journey to find himself and get back to being John Cena, because the truth is...he never left. He's been the most reliable star for the last decade but the trouble is his character stays the same. A heel turn is the last big move they can make that would shock the audience and bring a new edge to their product which helped them back from 1997-2001.
Every year, Mania is a chance to start new and set the WWE up for success, whether through title changes, classic matches or big-time moments to be remembered forever. This year, Vince and company decided to rely on yesteryear's names and play it safe by having the fans go home happy with all the good guys winning for the most part. The trouble is, it's 2013. The fans don't always want the good guy to win, showing how out of touch Vince and his cohorts really are.
When they stop listening to fans and their reactions, the result is simple: everyone loses, except John Cena.