Daniel Bryan won. Shield squashed. Wyatt felt important. Cesaro lifted everything there was to lift. The Streak fell without any advanced warning and to everyone’s surprise. And we even got Hogan, Rock and Austin in the ring at the same time.
As the always-high-quality video package announces Wrestlemania’s arrival on my screen, I can’t shake off my frustration and “Here we go again” feeling. Bad booking incoming.
As a die-hard fan, I elected the Bryans, Punks, Cesaros and Zigglers of this world as my chosen ones, but have always been careful not to get too caught up in Midcard Heaven: for the most part, these pro wrestling marvels don’t seem bound to be main event marquee players or, at the very least, don’t find themselves at the top of the card as expeditiously as WE… (go to the image)
In short, the last few months have given me the natural instinct of expecting to be disappointed in the WWE product.
After what felt like a long period of denying these men their unequivocal moment in the spotlight, was last night the perfect moment of vindication for the wrestlers and for the fans?
While I was very quick to note the brilliance behind the booking of the Summerslam finish, what came next was head-scratching, to put it mildly. For months, flat, over-booked finishes rained down on Daniel Bryan’s push.
Inevitably, one starts checking the pulse on the amazing wave of enthusiasm in his character:
1. He defeats the champion countless times, but never with the title on the line.
2. A referee faux-confesses to a screwjob orchestrated by Bryan.
3. And my personal kill-all-momentum favorite: Big Show gets involved.
At any moment, I expected the audience to dial it down and look elsewhere. How much can you suffer? If this was someone you were romantically interested in, pulling numerous baits-and-switches on you, would you not be looking at greener pastures by now? As my heel mother likes to say: “Suffer. But only a little.”
The camel’s back is about to break when Bryan has his “hero shot” (as DDP called it in an interview with the good people at WrestleTalk TV) in his face-turned-heel-turned-face moment with Bray Wyatt.
It was a moment reminiscent of the Austin Era, where the crowd response is so powerful, ignoring it is no longer an option. Maybe you can ignore the favorable pops of a Dolph Ziggler, but Bryan’s reactions were on par with Hogan and Au$tin.
And so, I convinced myself that Bryan had to be one of the unannounced entrants into the Rumble. What better way to capitalize on Bryan’s unflinching momentum that to put him over at the Royal Rumble?
At the end of the night, there was no Bryan. And I racked my brain for a while, trying to frame the booking of the Rumble as a sound decision. I was left with no answers, a lot of frustration with the product and a heel Rey Mysterio.
In a good way, I’m still a bit shocked about what happened at Wrestlemania 30. At face value (no pun intended), the card wasn’t that inspired. My jaded self kept telling me to not get hyped up because, as a consumer, disappointments have been hurled my way before.
And yet, at Wrestlemania, you can’t help but absorb it all and feel that, genuinely, this card legitimately highlighted what the true wrestling fan values: the workers, the surprises… without the insult.
As I process the event as a whole and scramble to write, make a video and photoshop some memes about it, I wonder how I’ll
feel a few days from now, when the elation dies down, the first Raw has passed and we get an idea of what’s next.
Did Wrestlemania 30 erase those painstaking moments of unbecoming booking that haunted WWE PPVs since last summer?
For me, personally, and at least for now, I don’t think I’m over my hesitance and lack of confidence in the product. But I can’t picture that card, on that night, with improvements that go beyond the detail.
And now, I really want to hear from you. What are your thoughts? Comment below, tear me to pieces here or on Facebook, tweet me, email me, go nuts! You can use the buttons below to get started on your peaceful comment or crazy heel rant. Most importantly, speak your mind!