The word “mania” derives from the Greek verb μαίνομαι "to be mad, to rage, to be furious". This is quite a good summary of my feelings towards WrestleMania after this week’s Raw.
Not even two weeks ago I wrote an article where I said that this year’s WrestleMania had the potential to be a classic. I now retract these comments and am growing increasingly concerned at the lack of direction in the programming. It says it all when the current MVP (Heyman) is not even an in-ring performer.
The current situation is verging on disastrous, let’s summarize;
1) We have a main event where there has hardly been any interaction between champion Brock Lesnar and number one contender Roman Reigns, a brief encounter during “the blizzard edition” of Raw where the two shook hands is pretty much the start and end of it. Paul Heyman is single-handedly keeping any sort of interest in the match alive with his captivating promos.
2) We have a “legends” match scheduled but again there has been hardly any interaction between Sting and Triple H, and in two of the handful of appearances from Sting since his Survivor Series debut there has been a stunt or voice double used in place of “The Icon”. Triple H has been pretty much single-handedly generating the heat for this one.
3) It is master vs apprentice with Wyatt vs Undertaker but again it has been left to one person to generate all the heat and as good as he is, the eerie monologue promotion is starting to lose its initial effect. There has been no interaction between the pair apart from a pre-recorded sentence from “the Phenom”.
Now considering these are for most people the most anticipated matches alarm bells should be ringing. The fact that the problems don’t end there mean there should probably be sirens blaring and lasers flashing at WWE HQ.
4) We had a Rocky-esque story-line in place with patriotic American veteran John Cena playing Rocky and trying to win the United States title from the younger, undefeated Russian beast Rusev. However this week on Raw it was decided that Cena would make this tremendous competitor that has been built up over the last year not only pass out, but then also wake him up and make him tap out just in case anyone missed it.
5) An entertaining family feud that was nicely building to a WrestleMania climax involving Goldust, Stardust and father Dusty Rhodes has been seemingly dropped without any explanation (not the first time or even second time in the last year this has happened). A few twists and turns ending with a family reconciliation could have made for a textbook emotional WrestleMania moment.
6) The Intercontinental title has become a joke with a champion in Bad News Barrett that has lost every match since 10,000 BC. If that wasn't bad enough the last few weeks have seen a pointless story-line where a number of superstars play pass the parcel with the belt and chase each other around with no real explanation as to why.
7) The Tag Team champions also lost in a non-title match this week on Raw as it seems that WWE is all about making champions look weak these days and they are obligated to lose on TV in return for being allowed to carry the belts around.
Vince, or Triple H, or the writers, whoever is responsible for the fuzzy thinking and lack of cohesion in the broadcasts need to get a grip of the situation and fast. It is WrestleMania in a couple of weeks so hardly the time for people to be making things up as they go along and hoping for the best.
The Rusev pass-out and follow up tap-out to Cena wasn't dropping the ball, it was the ball slipping out of someone’s hands and flying through the neighbours' window in front of ten witnesses. Since 26 January 2014 WWE have been building the Rusev character, an unstoppable force rising through the company. Who thought it was a good idea to have this monster heel passing out in seconds with no resistance, then tapping out in seconds like some worthless jobber before his biggest match to date, his showdown with Cena at WrestleMania?
It was an idiotic moment reminiscent of Bischoff giving away Goldberg vs Hogan for the WCW title on free TV. Was it too much for Vince to see the golden boy lose at Fast Lane and couldn't wait until WrestleMania to give him back the upper hand in the feud? Forgotten man Daniel Bryan was flattened twice by Bull Hammer's from the IC "champion" Wade Barrett who is on a Gillberg-esque losing streak, so at least Rusev, Cesaro and Kidd can rest assured they aren't the only stars being buried. Insult to injury for the man who headlined last year's WrestleMania.
The hottest guy in the company right now Seth Rollins hasn't been booked in a match yet but that is probably for the best judging by how all the other feuds have been handled. Hopefully he can save the event along with a Randy Orton fresh with momentum from a much needed face-turn.
Despite all the above I am a WWE fan, I have booked a day off work to stay up until 5am watching it live and sincerely I hope I am proved wrong. Sadly at the moment this seems very unlikely.