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. - Lee Herbert
Today, I've the distinct pleasure of addressing one of my colleagues directly with regard to his current state of mind.
Firstly, let me commend him for his boldness in stating his feelings directly, and by backing his feelings about this main event with a decent argument as to why this Wrestlemania feels as though it's lost touch with what the big event is supposed to be about: namely putting on the show we hope to see as fans.
But sadly here's where I must leave Lee with another side of the picture and undermine feeling manic with understanding the logic at play here.
I'm going to start with my own retraction, Fast Lane did not yield. Now I can hear people who've followed my column and subsequent criticisms in uproar at this supposed retraction, but wait for it. It's not the same retraction as my fellow writer; more I understand why Fast Lane was named as such and had an "light bulb" moment as to its real implications.
As an event, Fast Lane itself met with mixed reviews from many; including myself. And I'll even concede one point before I calm the mania: I'm tired of the Rocky storyline too...If I wanted to watch that I'd just do marathon of Sly Stallone at his best, end of story.
Now for my real argument.
1) America versus Russia is what's best for business: Yeah okay, seems like I just contradicted myself – I didn't. In a previous column, As The Pay-Per-View Turns, I highlighted the fact that John Cena is now beginning to look beyond the WWE, and to add to my argument, what did he advise Nikki when she expressed concerns over her contract renewal? Fairly certain he implied looking beyond the WWE wasn't a bad thing, and this America versus Russia may be John Cena's exit and thus what's good for business.
2) The Intercontinental Ladder Botch – Yes, it's not the line up we like or agree with at present, because it feels too unsteady as a idea, but surprises are a cornerstone of any entertaining product and while I don't know what is in store, I know this much the #GiveTruthAChance spawned a much bigger trend for the Divas and it shows follow through. Does that mean Truth is ready anymore than Bad News Barrett?
Honestly, I don't know, but they wouldn't push R-Truth if they didn't have there reasons otherwise why give him a chance-at all?
Stardust – being involved may reignite the spark of this gimmick which has stalled.
That being said, look at all the other roles Cody played with decent effect: The Legacy, The Bag Man, The Rhodes Scholar with Damien Sandow, and now this part which pays homage to his brother and brought a Legend back to the forefront in their father, Dusty Rhodes. Where is Dusty now? Perhaps waiting for a moment to truly help both sons reunite after WM when Cody takes the belt? Am I saying he deserves it? No. I'm saying it's a way to make the gimmick succeed because clearly once the younger brother catches a role he can follow through.
Dolph Ziggler – Clearly an undersold and completely under appreciated sportsman, but he sided with Cena; scripted, undoubtedly, but they still have to follow through on the direction they created, if they don't? They'll lose momentum which cost Vincent McMahon even more money in the bank. And last I recall you had a two part plan to keep VKM in fat stacks, my good man.
Bad News Barrett – Honestly the only true botch to myself in this match. Yes, he's a good in ring talent, but like Flair said to Triple H, he hasn't been in the ring in a while until recently, and if it weren't for Dean Ambrose, I wish they'd had let him call commentary on this instead, and then challenge the winner, but clearly it's just a way for Ambrose to find his stride and be more known to the fan base in much the same way his former brothers in the Shield are.
The others involved here I won't bother getting into for the sheer fact that this ladder match is a way to open the road to possible futures and give the WWE a chance to look ahead.
Wyatt and Taker – Two of the hottest names in the business: Bray being the Eater of Worlds (and possibly souls), and the Phenom himself, whose stagecraft and legacy have wowed us for years. Have they overplayed the idea? I'm sorry, but no. With the casket match Daniel Bryan participated on to get credibility and a shot at the title overall, to the Druids that Bray played around with, to the casket Wyatt made to bury the Deadman in...And finally the lighting and gong...This is how they will build Bray and end the Taker's reign respectively, in short? A redemption for how poorly they treated The Streak. Drawn out? Maybe, but when I heard the gong and saw the lightning I was excited...And that's what is best for business.
The Heyman Shuffle – Yes, it is somewhat embarrassing that Paul Heyman is the quote MVP of both himself and who he represents, BROCK LESNAR!!! But Lee my good and mad man? Why do you think they've been cutting his mic? Because they know we hate him, but until Lesnar is defeated and he stops blocking the way of so many rising talents that even Cena pointed out. It's just something we have to tolerate and move on from, one way or another, the Beast's carcass will be presented; if not by Roman Reigns? Then maybe that'll be Bray's next soul to take? Here's hoping, because how the Streak ended is now being mended. Although I stand by my last piece, I think Reigns is up to task.
The Tag Team Fallout – I actually agree here, except for one footnote, another writer and commentator, Joshua Michael Tucker, pointed out they were clearing out the field. At first I didn't get it, but then thought of all the Tag Teams in development on NXT and the main brands. Lot of potential that is yet to be tapped, wouldn't you agree?
Speak softly (or not at all), and bring a bat -The last point my dear enthusiast is this...Sting hasn't spoken, save a promo cut by a modified voice, because he intends to let his actions speak louder than any words, while HHH Plans to kill the last vestige of a threat to his authority. You can see that demonstrated by his lack of regard for Flair, how easily Rusev beat Axelmania, and even demonstrating how easy it was to dismiss the Five-Time WCW Champion, Booker T. Can you dig that Lee?
Point and conclusion is this: you're looking at one WM that has been rushed to keep us guessing about the future in store. Does the Main Event set a tone? Yes, but it doesn't dictate the entirety of the next road to Wrestlemania 32, and you know how I know that? The announcement. Be honest? How quickly did that change the pace? To myself seemed rather quick, so don't count out this WM 31 just yet, because Fast Lane wasn't an event by itself; it's the mantra The Authority and creative are using to keep us on the edge of our collective seats. Walk out now and you may miss a new generation of talent and reasons to cheer or boo, because ultimately we love someone worth our anger, because we certainly can't punch our bosses and not get future endeavored.