BY Ayyaz Malik
For wrestling fans it is that time of year again where WWE season begins to hot up, and last weekend was time for Wrestlemania! ‘Mania’, as it’s also known, as is seen as many in the wrestling world as the flagship event of WWE.
Originally on the card were matches such as Kalisto vs. Ryback for the United States title, Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar, UnderTaker vs. Shane, the seven-way Intercontinental title match, and Roman Reigns vs. Triple H for the world heavyweight title. Other matches included The League of Nations vs. The New Day, and the Diva’s title match. The matches that the WWE were able to muster up looked great on paper, but there was no real ‘jaw-dropping moments’. It is possible that the WWE creative team played the booking a little too ‘safe’ this time around.
There were however, flashes of brilliance throughout. The match between Ambrose and Lesnar was well fought and very well received by the crowd, and the match between Undertaker and Shane McMahon had some brilliant stunts in it, however both results were a little predictable with not many surprises thrown in.
The fact that Kalisto kept his title against Ryback was a surprise however, and raises the question of Ryback’s ‘heel turn’ and what has this has been leading up to. When a good guy ‘turns heel’, one would naturally think it’s because plans are being made to bring that particular character up the booking card.
The ‘face turn’ happened to Seth Rollins and really helped the Rollins character. Perhaps the same will apply here and WWE will put a title on Ryback, however the fact WWE didn’t decide to have a change of title here exemplifies the ‘sitting on the fence’ attitude lingering over the night.
On the flip side, matches between The League Of Nations and The New Day were a great example of WWE thinking outside the box. After the match between these two factions, wrestling legends such as ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ and Mick Foley emerged to give a beat down to the League of Nations, which nobody saw coming.
Last year’s Wrestlemania, in my opinion, saw one of the best title matches ever as Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank Contract and against all odds went on to win the WWE world heavyweight title. Creative thinking like that was brilliant and deserves to be applauded, so it’s a shame that WWE failed to raise the bar quite as high this time around. This year’s WrestleMania title match between Triple H and Roman Reigns went as many expected, with a Reigns title win.
WWE could easily have introduced more excitement into this match with, for example, a form of backstabbing by somebody such as Dean Ambrose, to ruin his best friend’s chance for world supremacy on the biggest wrestling stage of them all. This didn’t happen and the fans voiced their displeasure loudly and often by booing Reigns.
A spear to principal owner Stephanie McMahon during the title match was designed to drive some excitement from the crowd, but I think that was bad judgement there from creative – this isn’t the ‘attitude era’, after all.
Guaranteed crowd pleaser The Rock did a promo and even wrestled Eric Rowan, which eventually lead to John Cena saving The Brahma Bull from The Wyatt Family. The People’s Champ wrestling was very well received by all, and a fantastic addition to the evening.
Another good idea was to name a new Intercontinental champion, but Zack Ryder? Well, his promise in this role remains to be seen, but at least WWE are clearly trying something different. Similarly, the retention of the newly renamed Women’s World Title by Charlotte was a controversial as many fans felt that Sasha Banks would be sure to gain victory, but the WWE again played it safe!
This year’s Wrestlemania wasn’t bad overall, but failed to live up to the standards of last year’s, struggling with a lack of creativity and some predictability throughout. Overall though, matches were well fought and the night was a solid seven out of ten – there’s room for improvement for sure.
We must also remember that a lot of top WWE talent is currently benched on the treatment table. Here’s hoping that Summer Slam will be an improvement on Wrestlemania, once the big guns return to the ring.