After another year, it’s that time once more. It’s the biggest day of the year for the professional wrestling industry.
It’s WrestleMania day.
I’m entering my fifth year of working with Wrestling News World, my fourth as the Live Events Blogger, responsible for covering any of the major pay-per-view events that take place over the course of the year. Tonight marks the fourth time I’ll be covering WrestleMania, and I still get just as excited. Will this year produce anything as exciting as my first year covering the event and being able to put into words the final match of Shawn Michaels for the best audience of wrestling fans on the internet? Probably not, realistically, but I’m guessing it’ll still be a hell of a fun ride.
There are genuine reasons to be excited about the card tonight. Just because CM Punk doesn’t seem all that crazy about his match with the Undertaker doesn’t mean that they won’t put something together that’s wholly watchable. Taker works a once-a-year schedule that works for his beat up body, and Punk is a workhorse that put together one of the most entertaining championship runs in years. Every time over the last couple of years, we’ve had people banging the drum saying that Undertaker needs to hang it up, and that this year will be the one that his body gives out. But every year, Taker has come back to put on one of the best matches of the night. And Punk is no slouch, always seeming to want to top and one-up himself and others. The build-up has been controversial, but I think the wrestling will speak for itself with this one.
With the added speculation that this may be the year to end the streak, even if the chances of this happening are slimmer than slim, how could you not be excited for this match? At the very least you’re going to get a wrestling match that takes you on a ride. From these two guys who are both natural story-tellers (maybe not so much in Taker’s early days, but especially so over the last few Mania’s), expect a match that takes us on a journey, utilizes the build, and pulls off something special. If you’re still not looking forward to this one you might want to check yourself for a pulse.
I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the so-called ‘part-time’ talent. I don’t know that I’d call what Brock Lesnar has done since his return last year ‘entertaining’, but it’s been an awesome, crazy car-wreck that I haven’t been able to look away from. From busting himself open the hard way in insane spots, to leaping around the ring with all sorts of disregard for his body, Lesnar has been an absolute highlight reel of brutal moments. He’s had two matches over the past year, and a couple of stare-downs and pull-apart brawls, and every minute of it has been fun to watch. On the biggest stage of them all, his opponent (Triple H) almost doesn’t matter. I’m expecting Lesnar to pull out all the stops. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see him attempt another shooting-star press like the one he botched in his Mania match against Kurt Angle. Two years ago, I couldn’t ever have thought of writing that sentence, but in everything I’ve seen since his return, Lesnar might just shock us all tonight.
That brings me to the final thing that has me really excited about tonight, and that is the new talent that will be on display. By my count, there are eight people slotted for main-card matches that will be having their very first WrestleMania moment tonight (ten if you include the Funkadactyls). That’s a lot of new blood, and hopefully all are hungry to prove themselves on the biggest stage that this industry offers. There are people who we know will step up and bring the intensity that the occasion deserves. The WrestleMania debuts of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns are almost certainly going to be memorable. Giving the Shield a proven trio like Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus to work against almost guarantees that this match goes smoothly. And the hunger of the three new talents, as proven in their matches at TLC and Elimination Chamber, could make this bout the sleeper hit of the night by the time all is said and done. On a side note, I’m really hoping that tonight is the occasion that Rollins pulls out a Phoenix splash for the first time on WWE television. Tonight is the biggest stage of them all, and Rollins debuting a (for all intents and purposes) new move of that magnitude could be a WrestleMania moment that lives on for a long, long time.
Other new talents are a bit more up in the air. I’m not an avid watcher of NXT, only catching the odd match or two here and there, but are Fandango and Big E really worthy of debuting on the biggest show of the year? I’m hoping that in both cases, being in the ring with much more seasoned opponents will help hide the weaknesses of these guys.
This PPV may have been built on the backs of guys like Lesnar, the Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, Cena, what many people may have considered the old guard. But tonight is the opportunity for many of the younger superstars to step-up. This WrestleMania doesn’t feel loaded up with many ‘Mania-type’ matches, but chalk that up to WWE really needing to ramp up their developmental. What this Mania is loaded up with, is lots of people who HAVE to prove themselves tonight. With so many people on this Mania card who have the potential to be around for a good number of years, new and old (Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, the Shield, even Ryback), this could show where we’re headed.
If tonight is a good show and some of these newer guys are able to prove themselves, and show that they can hang at the highest level, entertaining the biggest crowds, we may have a few great years ahead of us. I know that either way, no matter what the card looks like, no matter what the build, whenever the day gets here it’s hard to shake the excitement and feelings of anticipation. It takes me back to being a little kid and watching Todd Pettengill on the countdown show and running around the room with action figures in hand. It’s exciting, and it’s one of the most fun days of the year to be a wrestling fan.
It’s WrestleMania day.
Are you excited for WrestleMania? Do you think this year is lacking for any major, or minor reason? Sound off in the comments below and let us know if you’re looking forward to WrestleMania tonight!