Welcome to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with a column that you will all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s get right to…
– In a recent interview, HHH stated that he is playing the long game with AEW. According to him, he is not concerned with the week-to-week numbers. He even made a comparison to the Monday Night Wars. Well, I guess that’s as good as any excuse to explain getting your asses beat every week by a rival promotion. It doesn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things because AEW are still a long way off from competing with WWE’s main programming – if ever. But because NXT is HHH’s baby, you have to think that he’s feeling some type of way about losing to AEW every week. Excuses can’t be made. It’s up to HHH and his creative to find a way to defeat AEW in the ratings.
– Speaking of which, according to a story I read, Charlotte was given the NXT Womens Championship so that she could potentially bring in viewers for NXT. This should be a great test for her. WWE, most fans and even Charlotte herself believes that Ms Flair is the top star of the Womens Division (No Becky, you know WWE believes that), so it would be interesting to see if she actually succeeds. Although if she does, I feel sorry for Becky Lynch and the Womens Division. If she proves to be a draw WWE will undoubtedly push her harder than they’ve ever pushed her before. And as great as she is I still shudder at the thought of that.
– Edge and Orton got heat for that weight cable spot in their LMS match. This affected some people in WWE because that’s how Chris Benoit commited suicide. Watching the match, I actually thought that was a semi-cool spot and I didn’t relate that to Benoit at all. Neither did WWE’s highest ranking officials apparently, which is why it was allowed to be in the final edit. Fact of the matter is that WWE can’t avoid that Benoit situation forever, even if it comes up in matches like this. Perhaps the people that were affected were close to Benoit. But at the end of the day a terrible thing happened, but WWE should no longer feel accountable for that, if they ever did.
And now, onto…
THE MAIN EVENT
So, “Wrestlemania” has come and gone and I have to say: there was wrestling, but there was definitely no mania. I feel like it was the wrong choice to make as it would have been known beforehand that the empty arena would not give off that Wrestlemania feel. Wrestlemania, by its very nature, is a spectacle, a grand endeavour. The self-proclaimed Show of Shows. Yet this year it was the Show of Woes.
I can understand that with no live sports around due to this global pandemic a strong case can be made as to why Wrestlemania should have continued. From what I’ve read on Twitter, message boards and the like, quite a few people stood with Vince McMahon’s decision to let Wrestlemania proceed as normal. I’m not one of them.
Look, I can totally give credit where credit is due. Vince took the risk to carry on with the show with the possibility of failure. I wouldn’t call it a failure, but in my view it was far from a success either. We all have our own opinions on this matter and yours might differ from mine, and that’s fine. But this is Wrestlemania and a certain expectation arises when thinking of the annual spectacle. Unfortunately, WWE didn’t meet those expectations. How could they? The lockdown prevented that. Which is why Wrestlemania should never have happened.
Everyone planning to watch Wrestlemania arguably went into this feeling like it was risky. A risk to allow their biggest show to become nothing more than a session of training matches. That’s how it felt to me at times. Matches suffered severely because of the lack of crowd participation. Matches that were good could have been great if they had the energy of the crowd. And what’s a Wrestlemania without that energy? It’s not.
Like I mentioned above, many applauded Vince for having the balls to go ahead with such a big show during this troubling time. But how big was his cajones really? Yes, he went forth with the show, but he didn’t have the “grapefruits” to truly be unique and try something completely different. Sure, the Boneyard and the Firefly Funhouse matches were very unique and entertaining, but that’s as far as his creativity went.
So much more could have been done with this year’s edition of Wrestlemania to truly set it apart from all others. So tell me, did Vince really take a risk? I think not. Wrestlemania was always going to be underwhelming in this current situation. So the onus was on Vince to finally explore other avenues as a means of making this Wrestlemania feel like one.
I do wish that Vince explored the cinematic wrestling before this past weekend. Perhaps then he would have incorporated more of that element into the show. Its probably the mostly negative reactions to the House of Horrors match that dissuaded Vince from fully exploring that avenue. With what I deem a successful venture into cinematic wrestling now in the books, the future looks bright for more of those matches to occur. Nevertheless, Vince had an opportunity to grab the bull by the horns but he didn’t.
That opportunity would have allowed for a truly unforgettable Wrestlemania experience without the need for energy and excitement from a live crowd. Imagine most of the matches were in a cinematic setting. Sure, not all of them would have worked but at least Wrestlemania would have an overall concept to work with. And you know full well the Wrestlemania marketing machine would have had a field day with such an idea. Couple that with exciting matches like Ladder Matches and using the entire PC to their advantage with LMS and FCA matches and we could have had something special on our hands.
Alas, those missed opportunities can only be spoken about in hindsight. Its when you realise that something could have been so much more that you start kicking yourself. Then again, that’s the essence of who WWE are. Which is why I stand by what I said: Wrestlemania shouldn’t have happened. It felt cold. It felt bare. I even felt sorry for guys like Strowman, McIntyre and Edge for not having a live crowd to be with them in their big moments. Throughout the night the commentators were harping on about Wrestlemania moments. But without the spectacle, without the grandeur and without a crowd of tens of thousands of people fully immersed in that big moment, can it really be called a Wrestlemania moment?
Vince McMahon lives by the motto of “the show must go on”, and good, bad or unspectacular it most certainly did. Yes, he made lemonade out of the lemons this pandemic through at him. Yet it was so unnecessary. All other sporting events/leagues were postponed, so why couldn’t they do the same with Wrestlemania? In fact, they could have combined ‘Mania and Summerslam. Wrestleslam? Summermania? I don’t know, but as good as WWE’s producers and marketing team are I’m sure they would have thought of something cool. But no, the show must go on I guess.
At the end of the day Wrestlemania has passed us by. And although it was not as bad as I thought it would be, it was not as good as it potentially could have been. Hopefully this was an eye opener for Vince McMahon who has to realise that his creativity is stagnant, and that he has to put off that “show must go on attitude”. Patience could have equalled a greater degree of success. But this Wrestlemania proves – as the title suggests – there’s no wrestling with no mania.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. Do you think Wrestlemania should have been postponed or cancelled? Could Vince have done more creatively? Please let me know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can pop me an email on [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @donfranclop. But until next time folks…
This is Don Franc signing out.
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