With less than two weeks away from the two-night Wrestlemania 37 event, the biggest showcase of the calendar year appears to be set with half a dozen matches on each night. While I think the concept of two WM shows any particular year only dilutes the importance of the event, I’d rather watch two shows during the weekend than a ridiculous seven-hour marathon show where you can barely remember the first four matches by the time the show goes off the air.
That said, the road map that got the WWE to these particular bouts and more specifically, how they were booked has been rather lackluster. A brief discussion about the matches will reveal why WM 37 lacks the traditional sizzle.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins might steal night one, but that becomes moot when you realize that the quality of the bout will be irrelevant to management since they’ve already typecast Cesaro as just a mid-card guy. Sure, promos aren’t Cesaro’s strong suite, but the guy has everything else, and at times has been paired with good talkers throughout his career, but the office still didn’t move him beyond the same level. It’s tough to be enthusiastic for a contest when you know that no progress will truly be made from it. Just for the discussion, let’s assume that Cesaro/Rollins is the match of the night on night one. A few weeks later, Cesaro will still be a mid-carder without any direction to progress his character, and Seth Rollins will still have the same monotonous persona with the same stale scripted promos. All things considered, Rollins has been swimming against the stream for the past few years in the company because the writing team has done him no favors with the presentation of his character, regardless of if he was cast as a heel or a baby face.
Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon…enough said
The New Day vs. AJ Styles and Omos could be solid, depending on how the match is structured. I hope that Omos does well because he has the look to be a giant of this generation, but as we know, that role requires more than just the height. Hopefully, Omos’ spot is kept simple and he’s not put in a position to look clumsy in his official debut match. Kofi, Woods, and AJ are all polished pros, but how that gels with a giant athlete remains to be seen. Basically, the established three have already proven themselves so the focus will be to see what Omos can really bring to the table.
There’s not much to say about the Bad Bunny vs. Miz match other than Bad Bunny’s popularity has done good business for WWE. That said, the segments to hype this angle, including from Raw this past week, have been absolutely horrendous. At a time when ratings are sluggish, the cringe worthy Miz segments almost ask viewers to change the channel. The best case scenario here is that Bad Bunny wins in roughly two minutes so that the company can get the publicity from it, but the actual match doesn’t bring the entire show to a halt.
The two world title matches are both lacking any sizzle, but for very different reasons. Bianca Belair delivered one of the best baby face promos of the modern era after her emotional win at The Royal Rumble. The WWE had a top level baby face ready for the WM moment that could make her a legitimate star. I don’t know if it was because there were two pay-per-views between the Rumble and Wrestlemania so the writing team needed something to keep the angle going or if what was presented on television just didn’t translate as the writing team planned. After Bianca had such an incredible baby face promo, the decision to portray Sasha as the heel is easy. The tag team stuff might’ve just been filler to get the angle to WM, but how the post-match segment was booked at Fastlane really hindered Bianca’s momentum as a baby face. Sasha slapped her in the face and then left the ring without any repercussions. Instead of throwing a punch, Bianca pointed to the Wrestlemania sign instead. How is posing more important when you’ve been slapped in the face? If someone slapped Stone Cold Steve Austin, would he just stand there and then point to the Wrestlemania sign? A top baby face can’t be made to look foolish or weak, which is exactly how Belair was presented. Hopefully, these two talented athletes can have a stellar match, and Bianca will get over as a new star, despite the terrible scripting of this storyline.
Based on the results of Raw, Wrestlemania 37 will be used to give Drew McIntyre another moment, this time under better circumstances in front of a live audience, which makes sense if the office sees him as the future. In truth, we really don’t know how Drew does in the role of champion because he hasn’t been put in a scenario where the audience can react to him as champion. Granted, that’s not his fault, but it is the reality of the situation. As I’ve written previously, and I don’t want to be too repetitive here, the stop/start aspect of his title reigns only halted his momentum as champion, and I think the overall booking of his time as a main eventer, including when he said he “didn’t want to fight” on a few occasions early in his tenure as champion, haven’t helped the situation. It almost appears that WWE brass considered a change in direction with Bobby Lashley as champion because I’m not sure how a one-month title reign justifies his status as one of the most protected stars on Raw within the past year. However, it was clear from the split with The Hurt Business and the bounty angle that Lashley is going to drop the title at Wrestlemania. This is where Drew dropping the title twice ahead of this match ruined some of the shine because if McIntyre went undefeated for a year and was challenged by the dominate Lashley, not only the championship, but also the winning streak is on the line so in many ways the story writes itself. Instead, the main event match at Wrestlemania has a one month build up without much of a story behind it.
Thankfully, night two looks better on paper, but there’s also a lot of variables for if it will actually be a quality show.
Riddle vs. Sheamus should be a solid bout, but does anyone actually care about it? That’s not meant as a jab against the competitors, but the office has managed to make Riddle’s character so foolish and annoying that his segments are just cringe worthy.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn might steal the show, but there’s literally a “been there, done that” atmosphere to it. Owens and Sami are such tremendous performers and they should be used in better roles on TV. This match just seems like lazy booking because the writing team didn’t have anything better for them so they recycled an angle they know worked in the past.
On paper, Big E vs. Apollo should be a very good match, but for whatever reason, their match at Fastlane was less-than-stellar so there’s not much of a reason to look forward to the rematch. A side note, Apollo’s sudden fake accent is ridiculous and it insults the audience’s intelligence. On a better note, Big E should be the world champion this year, he has all the talent and the skills to be a top star.
The Fiend vs. Randy Orton…next
Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka is one I’m looking forward too, and let’s hope management doesn’t make the same mistake this year that they did at WM 36. Yes, I will still say that Ripley should’ve pinned Charlotte, which is actually meant as a compliment to the second generation Flair. Charlotte is already an established star and the win at WM 36 did nothing to improve on that status, while a defeat would’ve done nothing to diminish it. On the flip side, a win for Rhea Ripley could’ve put her career on another level. The circumstances are very similar this year because a defeat doesn’t harm Asuka, especially because she’s the MVP of the pandemic era, but a victory for Ripley might put her on the map.
The main event is too convoluted, and I have to be honest, I don’t have much of an opinion on it one way or the other. As happy as fans were to see Edge return at the Rumble again, it’s another “been there, done that” aspect of the product. The story has already been told and it just doesn’t have the same effectiveness as it did previously. I understand that Edge cost Daniel Bryan the championship at Fastlane to set up the triple threat at WM, but how is Edge supposed to be considered a baby face when he attacked one of the most over stars on the roster with a chair? Furthermore, Roman Reigns is on the best run of his career and shouldn’t drop the title under there’s another major baby face ready to win it. At 47, is Edge the one to dethrone Roman after he finally gets over with the heel persona? In recent months, Daniel Bryan has been defeated in most of his matches to help put over other stars so he’s not exactly in the spot to claim the title. Reigns retains seems to be the most logical option and there’s just not a lot of intrigue around this match.
So, why is there a lack of hype for Wrestlemania 37?
Essentially, the card of Wrestlemania 37 is a product of WWE programming, shows that have lacked the intrigue or the angles to retain viewers throughout most of the show. Let’s be honest here, some of the main angles on television, including The Fiend’s goofy return where he looks like a toasted marshmallow, makes the audience shake their head so a portion of that will be represented on the WM card. Obviously, the pandemic has an effect on the product, which is understandable, but the second half of the year will require some type of jump start for the product because even Wrestlemania doesn’t seem like a major event.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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