This is gonna be epic

Posted: March 29, 2011 in events, wrestling

With last night being the final episode of Raw before the Granddaddy of ’em All, every wrestling fan is salivating at the reality that’s facing us – WrestleMania is merely days away.

The WWE put their best foot forward on Raw, which was the go-home show before this Sunday’s huge extravaganza, and the show was jampacked with as much hype and promotion as they could do in two hours. When it comes to the Road to WrestleMania, it’s a time in which I’ll forgive WWE for showcasing as little actual wrestling as they care to in favor of hyping the biggest matches and hottest feuds going into the event. Last night was a classic example of that, as two of this year’s main events – The Undertaker vs Triple H and The Miz vs John Cena – got some major last-minute hype and the segments were something that we’re gonna see on highlight reels for years to come.

I love WrestleMania. It’s my Super Bowl. Well, it’s OUR Super Bowl (wrestling fans around the world) and the one night of the year where it feels like “the end of the season” when it comes to the WWE – except nothing ever stops in this company. Regardless, all the feuds, storylines and rivalries lead up to this very show and everything year-round is built around it, which is kinda why it feels like a 4-hour “season finale” of sorts.

I take great pride in being born the year WrestleMania was first unleashed on the world: 1985. And there have been an endless amount of legendary matches and moments in its 26-year history. Among the biggest:

– The match between Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and the Macho Man Randy Savage as well as Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant at Mania 3
– Savage winning a one-night tournament for the vacant WWF Title at Mania 4
– The epic Ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon at Mania 10
– The one-hour Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Michaels at Mania 12
– Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart’s brutal and bloody Submission match at Mania 13 that kickstarted Austin’s rise to the top, as well as laying the foundation for the infamous Attitude Era
– Austin and The Rock battling for the WWF Title in the main event of what many call the best WrestleMania ever, 17
– The match pitting wrestling’s past against wrestling’s present, Hulk Hogan vs The Rock at Mania 18

Those are only some of the biggest matches and moments in WrestleMania history. And every hardcore fan has their own personal favorites.

When it comes to this year’s show, there’s a lot of hype surrounding not

FINALLY...

only the big matches, but the man hosting the entire event – The Rock. WWE is banking on the fact that The Great One can help draw a huge buyrate for Mania 27 and do much better than last year, when Mania 26 produced about 885,000 PPV purchases. And if the ratings for Raw the last few weeks is any indication, WWE may just get their wish and then some, as the return of The Rock has resulted in higher numbers of viewers week in and week out on TV. He was one of the top stars in the Attitude Era, so I think a lot of people who grew up watching him and then tuned out are getting back into the WWE product. I think that’s awesome. Of course, the key will be how WWE capitalizes on the success of WrestleMania and KEEPS those people tuning in when it’s over.

And of course, one of the biggest things that gets debated heading into every WrestleMania is the match order. It’s a tricky formula because you’re playing with the emotions of the crowd. Twenty years ago it was pretty basic; it simply went from low card matches all the way up to the biggest main events to close the show. Today’s audience is different though, I’m sad to say. They need to be taken on a ride that lets them rest for a few minutes in between and near the end. WWE needs to figure out a good balance that will accomplish two things – appease the egos of the wrestlers involved and ensure the crowd is just as excited for the main event as they were for the opening match. There have been several notable victims of bad match placement where one match that should’ve been the show closer ended up in the middle of the PPV: Mania 8, where the WWF Title match between Ric Flair and Randy Savage was the 5th match out of 9 and a terrible match between Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice ended the show and Mania 18, where many felt the epic showdown between Hulk Hogan and The Rock should’ve ended the event, including Chris Jericho, who defended his WWF Undisputed Title against Triple H in the last match.

Many people also said after the fact that the match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25 should’ve ended the show after WWE gave viewers a pretty lackluster main event in the form of Triple H vs Randy Orton. It wasn’t that the match was bad, but rather it was booked poorly and there was a largely shared feeling of “That’s it?” among fans and critics.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my analysis of each match and my predictions of who will come out on top in each of them. I have some theories on a couple of them that may raise some eyebrows, but it’s WrestleMania – everything’s open to speculation.

I’m out,
DR

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