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Imp’s WWE Adventure
Who Main Events WrestleMania Now?
AKA WWE Need To Get Their S*** Together (But They Won’t) AKA Get Ready for Rocky & Brocky II
I’ll preface this column with this statement: I am going in to WrestleMania season expecting to be presented with the main event of Brock Lesnar vs The Rock for the Universal Championship.
A match that helps not one single person on that current roster, a match that exemplifies WWE’s current fascination with the past and a match that only provides a fancy short term wealth/viewership gain. Once ‘Mania is done both of those viewers and stars of the past are pissing off again. A big spike with very low retention.
But when I think about it, is there actually anyone who currently feels like a big enough star to fill that main event role?
When I think about it, a Rock/Lesnar main event wouldn’t be something I would have complained about too much, if it were not for the fact that this decade has only held 2 WrestleMania main events featuring more than one full time talent. And of course for the past 4 years the only full time talent that has is Roman Reigns, who is no longer there.
With WrestleMania 35 being the penultimate ‘Mania of the decade, why would WWE change now? You’ve seen how much money they’re making, who cares if arenas are half empty for a large portion of the year when the stock price is good? Ironically the Saudi Arabia show proved how much dire help WWE need with their Future Investment.
So I fully expect WWE to jump completely on board with the stars of the past as they pay the price for putting all of their eggs in the Roman Reigns basket. Not one talent has been allowed to reach that similar level, so now Lesnar is champion again after squashing Strowman there are no contenders. How bad is that?
I give them no sympathies, this is all of their own making after numerous opportunities to change that tide. Be it most recently with Strowman, last year with Samoa Joe, or Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32, Seth Rollins, The Miz, Finn Balor and assumedly it’s only a matter of time until Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles are on that list.
WWE have had opportunity after opportunity to give someone that final push to be on Roman Reigns’ level, but every single time they took the wind out of their sails and now they are paying the price. The circumstance sucks, but the issue they’re now in is all of their own making.
As there are no contenders for Brock Lesnar, I am therefore fully expecting a star of the past to take that spot come WrestleMania. Semi-kind of supported earlier this year when the bookie’s odds for the Royal Rumble suddenly all jumped to being in the favour of a surprise victor in The Rock, a decision that would not surprise me in the slightest. Why would they give that spot to a current gen guy when they’ve actively told us again and again that this generation isn’t as good as the past?
No wonder arenas are having issues selling out WWE shows.
The interesting thing is there is really ever going to be one way to make somebody feel like they’re on that Reigns level, and that’s letting them main event WrestleMania. But WWE aren’t going to do that whilst they’re not on that Reigns level, but they can’t get to that level without main eventing WrestleMania, which they can’t do without them being on that level, which they won’t get to without main eventing WrestleMania, which they- etc, etc.
I’m actually fine with WWE giving the title back to Lesnar as they sort their feet out, but at some point they’re going to have to pass that ball. No chance is successfully taken when no chance is created. At what point does that realisation kick in? How bad do things have to get first?
I didn’t watch Crown Jewel, but the mix of a sprinkle of cannon and a whole load of house show surely can’t be a practice that they’ll continue. So much is taken out of their weekly product to promote these events, then two weeks later it’s like the bloody thing never happened.
After being taught by the Greatest Royal Rumble and Super Show Down that these events are really just big fancy house shows, I wound through those World Cup Qualifiers. Especially on SmackDown where Lynch/Charlotte got pushed out of the main event for multi-mans and… Orton vs Big Show? For a tournament that Shane ‘Best in the World’ McMahon ended up winning?
For a month WWE TV was built around promoting that event like they would any old PPV, but there’s nothing of consequence and the tournament is throw-away… so in the end it’s a waste of the viewer’s time. Never mind the controversy in actually holding the thing.
What I’m getting at by bringing up Crown Jewel, is that with the KSA multi-year deal WWE are pretty much forced to go on a nostalgia trip for 4 or 5 weeks every 6 months. Resulting in their actual main product being hindered by time being taken up by stuff that doesn’t advance anything. How does Shane ‘BITW’ McMahon inserting himself into the final and winning the World Cup move things forward? And how much time on SmackDown Live was dedicated to that tournament this past month?
If anything the investment versus reward is in the negative, it’s like the product actively regressed somehow. All this whilst SD Live has got arguably their hottest star and best thing going in Becky Lynch. She’s the most over person on that roster yet for some reason isn’t anywhere near that main event? Who cares if she’s a women, she’s the most over act, get her in that main event.
The point I’m getting at is WWE has the talent to truly create those stars, to give us that final match at WrestleMania that elevates an era. Hogan vs Warrior, Austin vs Rock, Okada vs Naito, a huge main event that defines a generation. When was the last WrestleMania main event that actually featured two stars of that generation? John Cena vs The Miz from 2011? Does WrestleMania 30 count when the plan was Orton vs Batista before Punk’s sudden exit shook everything up?
Personally, I’d close out the decade with a statement of looking to the future. Be it something gigantic like the women closing out WrestleMania, or having Lesnar lose the belt to someone like Rollins. That’s IF we simply have to have Lesnar as champion, my preferred choice would be Ambrose vs Rollins, but in all likelihood that’ll end up in the special attraction slot in the middle of the card.
Man, this topic’s turned me into a right negative numpty.
As long as WWE keep relying on the past they’re going to continue to struggle as the current generation is not given the opportunity to establish themselves. But that is the bar I’ve got set in my mind, what I’m going in to WrestleMania season expecting to happen. With Roman gone, WWE will rely on their past just like they have for the rest of this decade.
Which isn’t the end of the world if the event is used to give the current generation some kind of platform to launch, but Seth Rollins got that ‘Mania rub 2 years ago from Triple H and he feels just as far away now as he did back then. On the verge of the main event not quite breaking through.
Now Roman’s been forced to take time off, WWE are somewhat pushed into a situation where their most consistently booked guy has been held off from breaking through. The same with Strowman, if anything they almost broke the camel’s back with the manor of his loss in Saudi Arabia. So they’ve got to dedicate time to getting both him and Rollins back up to that level, but in the meantime who the hell main events WrestleMania?
SirSam wrote a great column on who should take the belt off of Lesnar (click here to read it), but my question is ‘when’? When should Lesnar lose the strap? Given that no one currently on that roster has been allowed on his level? Do you build those characters back up and strike later? Or just get that title off of the beast and let the current gen run wild in the main event?
So even my low bar of expectation has a caveat of hope for those lower down the card. If this WrestleMania is used to build character, what does that mean for next year’s? Look at it as Bret Hart vs Steve Austin the year before Shawn Michaels vs Steve Austin. One built character, the other gave us the rocket.
So I ask again, once we’ve figured out who to strap to the rocket, when do we launch? Because would leaving that till ‘Mania 2020 be too late? You don’t want to strike when the iron is luke warm, but would striking this year be too early?
If it is too early to main event with Rollins/Ambrose after years of ceilings, should I moan if Brock Lesnar vs The Rock main events WrestleMania? Yes, I’m writing about wrestling on the internet without Optimist in my name (hey, Dave) of course I’m going to moan. They placed those ceilings in the first place, so I’m not going to feel sorry when they keep bumping their head.
Build a bigger roof, dickhead.
Email Imp – firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your thoughts on what WWE should do? Should they get a modern star into that spot opposite Lesnar immediately? Or spend a year building the characters before giving them that main event opportunity?
Imp’s on LOP Radio every Thursday with Perfect 10 Wrestling covering Network Wednesdays: NXT UK, NXT itself and 205 Live! Listen here:
Links to Imp’s latest columns:
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – Power Struggle and Concerns on the Road to Wrestle Kingdom
Imp’s WWE Adventure – WWE Evolution Just Defined The Future
Imp’s WWE Adventure – Saudi Arabia: Should WWE Leave The Deal?
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – King of Pro Wrestling: The Road to Wrestle Kingdom Has Officially Begun!
Imp’s WWE Adventure – I Couldn’t Give Less Of A S*** About WWE Super Show-Down
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – Tanahashi vs Okada Episode VIII: The Last Rainmaker
Imp’s Adventure: ALL IN and the List of Pointless Comparisons
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