And so now we are less than one week away from the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania. In the past 30 years, however, one could argue that the entire card for the yearly Showcase has never felt as insignificant as it does this year. And one would think that with the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania upon us this year, the return of The Immortal Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker’s Streak still holding true and so on, that this event would feel monumental…momentous….special. But it doesn’t.
For this WWE fan, it feels like the WWE has thrown all they’ve got against the wall, and whatever would find a way to stick is what they decided to go with.
With the final RAW broadcast prior to the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania finally in the books, we are now headed into the downward spiral towards this Sunday’s annual Grandaddy Of Them All. And while the event itself doesn’t feel as important as it should, here are the 5 things we learned as we leave RAW behind for another year, and head into Wrestlemania:
The Phenom Opens The Show – And Takes The F-5
To open the WWE RAW broadcast this week, The Undertaker cut a promo reminding everyone of his history at Wrestlemania. At the end, he was interrupted by Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman who took exception to The Phenom’s claims to remain undefeated at Wrestlemania this coming Sunday. What ensued next was a 15 minute cat-and-mouse game where Lesnar toyed with The Undertaker, and the fans, by feigning getting into the ring on multiple attempts. And then Lesnar made his move – and the entire segment paid off.
And The Undertaker fell victim to the F-5.
An epic moment for the final RAW before Wrestlemania XXX. But it was the only way to find success with finally putting heat on this feud that until now no one had a reason to care about. And it’s still questionable if the match will now deliver come this Sunday, but Brock Lesnar executed the F-5 on The Undertaker to kick off RAW, and the WWE instantly sold more subscriptions to the WWE Network for the upcoming weekend.Daniel Bryan Attacks Triple H To Close The Show
If ever there was a time for Daniel Bryan to finally get his hands on Triple H, it would have been this week on RAW just prior to Wrestlemania XXX. For weeks, even months now, Bryan has been laid to waste time and again by The Authority, only to be held back and beaten down again and again and again, hand over fist. Of course it has all been a huge setup for Wrestlemania XXX, especially in recent weeks, but Bryan surprised us all this week by finally getting at Triple H by coming through the crowd and taking him down.
This was the big setup that their Wrestlemania XXX match needed. For too long it really has felt like Triple H has been holding Bryan back, and with Bryan not getting any type of forward progress coming into Wrestlemania, it would have made for a certain victory over Triple H. Now we have a somewhat leveled playing field, and the seeds of doubt are now planted that possibly either man could win their contest come this Sunday. However, look for Daniel Bryan to have his Wrestlemania moment win he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in Wrestlemania’s main event this weekend.Summer Rae Pinned Natalya
In a play coming off the Total Divas episode from this past Sunday night, WWE had Summer Rae and Natalya square off against each other on RAW this week. And surprisingly, Summer Rae won the match via a pinfall on Natalya, all while the announcers reminded us that anything can happen in The Vicki Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational this Sunday at Wrestlemania. Truer words haven’t been spoken in RAW in a long time.
What the hell has happened to the Divas Division? It’s all very confusing, being where it’s at now as opposed to nearly a year ago: even 6 months ago you had Brie Bella with the huge push to become popular and the main Diva, while sister Nikki was sidelined, and during that time Natalya was really impressive in the ring nearly every week with tag matches and so on. Then it appeared recently that this would finally be Natalya’s year, and she would win the Divas Championship at Wrestlemania. But for the past several weeks, Natalya has been MIA from RAW, and when she returned this week, she takes a loss to Summer Rae. It simply does not make much sense.
The WWE has invested in two big pushes prior to Wrestlemania XXX for the Divas Division and also to make a contender for champion AJ Lee, and those have both been abandoned and the new girl from Total Divas gets a win on RAW. I never thought I couldn’t care any less for this Divas Invitational, but man was I wrong. Wow.The WWE Tag Team Championship Match Moves To The Pre-Show
In another questionable move, WWE has moved the one match that has the significant potential to steal the show at Wrestlemania this year – the Fatal4Way tag match – to the online Wrestlemania Pre-Show. Now the WWE World Tag Team Championship will be defended before Wrestlemania even starts.
I understand needing to get more people subscribed to the WWE Network, but this move is still highly questionable. The WWE has spent nearly a year working hard to revamp the tag team division, and over the past 3 or 4 months, the division has been interesting and entertaining. The Uso’s have been deserving, and worthy, champions thus far, but relegating them, and the entire tag team division, to the ‘Mania Pre-Show is a huge misstep…backwards. I still hope all the men involved will work hard to still have a memorable match, but the opportunity for them to “steal the show” has just been taken from them.
Wrestlemania XXX: For Me, The Road Less Traveled
With the conclusion of the final RAW before Wrestlemania XXX now behind us, the 2014 Road To Wrestlemania has been a monumental letdown, and for this WWE fan, it should have been the Road less traveled. Each and every year I look forward to the coming of The Royal Rumble and the time we spend afterwards getting to Wrestlemania, but this year has been nothing short of a total letdown. As fans we deserve better, as talent the performers certainly deserve better, and as a business the WWE knows better.
Hulk Hogans return has been a total waste of time. John Cena and Bray Wyatt should feel bigger than it does. Kane teaming with the New Age Outlaws on any Wrestlemania card is laughable. The Divas will certainly try hard but someone will miss at least one spot while the crowd watches in veritable silence. The Andre The Giant Battle Royal is nice in principal – but what’s the endgame? And the bigger, more main event style matches that will headline this year’s show have been thrown at the wall in an effort to see what will stick. Aside from Daniel Bryan finally getting in the ring with Triple H, there is nothing on this card worth getting excited for.
The WWE can do better – and if this is the future of the WWE business with Triple H and Stephanie in charge, for real and behind the scenes, then this is not what is best for business. Period.
Fans, I would love to hear from you! Let’s talk all week about the coming Showcase Of The Immortals! Sound off in the COMMENTS section, and find me on Twitter: @davyshrader.