Greetings from Philly, good people. Sorry I didn’t get the chance to write for you last week, unfortunately life gets in the way of important things like wrestling blogs. However, I digress and fill your belly with the writing equivalent of rotgut…my weekly column! (insert your applause here)
Let me start with a joke. Did you hear the one about the overweight, almost 50 year old phenom that made his grand reappearance at…wait for it…a house show in Waco, Texas? No? Okay, let’s try this one. Did you see the guy who traded in his suit and booker’s tablet for a t-shirt and jeans and turned another three time a year guy into a bloody mess?
You’ve probably figured out by now that these aren’t jokes at all. These are references to The Undertaker and Triple H, living out their mid and late 40’s glory in a wrestling ring near you, a few dates a year, to give Wrestlemania a little extra push.
People, I am here to tell you that Wrestlemania is the biggest event in all of wrestling, and it shouldn’t need a push from anyone. The event has become a spectacle so massive in size, it covers up the fact that WWE has no idea how to properly market it’s talent and get them over.
It’s been the same story for several years now. Guys come back for a few months, a show here and there, to draw in more fans for the big event. Could you imagine if, in an effort to garner ratings and fans, the NFL brought back Emmitt Smith and Michael Strahan, just for the playoffs, in a big leadup to the Super Bowl? Or if the Philadelphia Flyers have Bobby Clarke strap his pads back on for one last run when they make the conference finals? It would never happen, obviously, because the sport has it’s stars and has it’s fans and doesn’t need to raise gimmicks from the dead to push the ratings over 3.5.
This year, at Wrestlemania 29, there will be, at minimum, four matches on the card that will prominently feature wrestlers that appear at part-time workers (and I use that term loosely), none of which need to be there. Let’s look at what we’re having for dinner here.
Chris Jericho will wrestle someone. That’s the best I can do for you right now. Maybe Ryback, maybe Ziggler and friends, we just don’t know yet. Now, to Jericho’s credit, his returns do not necessarily center around Wrestlemania every year, it’s simply a matter of when his schedule allows him to compete. In addition, here’s a guy that works house shows and multiple TV shows. I guess with that being said, Y2J gets a pass here. At least his heart’s in it, and it’s not strictly for a quick buck, or to promote himself.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H has the potential to be a fun match to watch, but at the same time, you have a guy so full of himself that he nixed one of the greatest factions in the history of the business entering the hall of fame this year because he didn’t get the solo nod yet pitted against a guy that tells you point blank he doesn’t give a damn about wrestling, he just wants a check. I wanna fork down my money to see that.
The Dwayne Johnson thing gets beat to death, so i’m not even gonna touch that, but honestly the return that bothers me the most is the one most people want to see more than any other, Undertaker.
Guys listen, I like to hold on to the past also. The 90’s were rad for wrestling. They were fun, exciting, and cool. Undertaker was a big part of that. But call it for what it is. He’s almost 50, he’s in God awful shape, he wrestles one match a year to preserve this silly streak now does nothing more than push down good talent on a grand stage for a number.
If creative knew what they were doing, they would work harder to cultivate the stars they have in house to make Wrestlemania special. CM Punk doesn’t need a one-off with a once a year phenom. He needs the belt that sits around the waist of another part-time guy! What he’s going to get is the chance to be another notch carved into the learning tree. Love him or hate him, Punk has carried the company on his back for almost an entire year, he deserves better.
There are other guys who deserve better as well. Guys like Zack Ryder and Santino Marella won’t be on the card. And honestly, they deserve to be. They are both good hands that bust their asses all year, but alas, when the big payday comes all the work they put in all year goes to hell.
Proper development of characters would also prevent the “Wrestlemania hangover” as well. All these big super names come, do their thing, and leave. Now you’re left with nothing. Understanding that the day after Mania is like the season opener, in a sense, it still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I’ll watch the show, just like the rest of you will on April 7th. I’ll also, just like the rest of you, watch the big talent vaccum that is created on April 8th.
Jimmy Duncan is the host of the Hookers and Shooters wrestling podcast, available exclusively at facebook.com/hookersandshooters. Generally, the show is ready for downloading on Monday morning. Taking a break this week, but we’ll be back next Monday, hopefully with a big announcement. Whoo-hoo, cliffhanger!