Are We There Yet?
I was at Raw this past Monday, and while it wasn’t the greatest show by any means, it did serve its purpose in attempting to clear up the road to WrestleMania which seems to be full of potholes, detour signs, and a bunch of wrong turns. Gone are the days when the WrestleMania card was basically set within 2-3 weeks after Royal Rumble was finished giving some time for the matches to get built up.Instead we are getting some matches that seem to be getting put together on the fly outside of the obvious bouts. Even the Raw ratings for this past show took a bit of a dive compared to last week. Ratings slumps during WrestleMania season is never a good thing. Is there anyone else out there who feels like WrestleMania 29 is just a filler WrestleMania until next year? It sure seems that way, as you saw how much WWE hyped the WrestleMania 30 press conference. When you are already making a big deal and hyping up your big event for 2014, then there is something seriously wrong. Rock vs Cena II is sorely lacking any hype, but to be honest this is a match that has already sold itself. We really don’t need to two guys on TV doing their normal pissing contest promos each and every week. It’s a rematch from last year’s big event, but now it has the WWE Title involved with it. Is there really anything else needed to sell it? CM Punk vs Undertaker has an excellent build to it, but would the build have been so big if it wasn’t for the real life death of The Undertaker’s manager? I expect these two to have a pretty good match in the end. Taker’s undefeated streak sells itself, and CM Punk is doing a great job of selling the streak as nothing more than some type of illusion. Punk is also showing everyone that with the recent events that have transpired, there is some vulnerability there in regards to The Deadman. We may all know what is going to happen in the end, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t work with good execution. It is what it is. We all knew rapper Biggie Smalls was going to die at the end of the movie “Notorious”, but it was still a great film. The other match that was already set in advanced is the Jack Swagger-Alberto Del Rio match for the World Heavyweight Title. Personally, I have enjoyed this particular feud. Zeb Colter is excellent on the mic, and is really helping out a guy who can’t talk which is what a manager is supposed to do. On the other side, Ricardo Rodriguez is doing his part for Del Rio too! This is a match that I feel could be better than expected. Triple H vs Brock Lesnar sort of has me baffled; the stipulation is that if Triple H loses then he has to retire from wrestling. I understand that retirement matches definitely sell, but does it matter at all since Hunter is a part timer anyhow? Imagine if the stipulation was set as “If Brock wins, Heyman gets to take over the COO position”, that would have definitely added some fuel to the fire of this match! Then we have the rest of the card that still may not even be complete yet. Team Hell No vs the Team of Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston should be good, and we can finally see what Langston can do in the ring on the grandest stage of them all. I’m not expecting a Ryback vs Mark Henry to be Savage vs Steamboat, but I think that it can serve its purpose of elevating Ryback to the level of a legit bad ass in the running for one of the titles. The Shield vs The Team of Big Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus should do nothing but continue to elevate The Shield as a threat to anyone in the WWE. Some asks if this means that Big Show is turning face again; I don’t think so. All throughout wrestling’s history, common enemies have made for strange bedfellows. After the six man tag, I am sure that we will start to see The Shield do more singles matches and maybe even get us an answer on exactly who is involved in affiliation with the Shield members. It also is looking like we will possibly get Jericho vs Fandango and a match between The Miz and Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Title, can’t say much on these since it isn’t official yet. Then there is the usual throwaway Diva’s match that will involve some celebrity. I am hearing that WWE is thinking about bringing back Maria Menunos because it sold so many tickets last year! *rolls eyes* Where does this leave the rest of the folks on the roster with less than 3 weeks left? Are they going to stuff them all into the Pre-Show Battle Royal? I guess we will see. On paper, this isn’t really a bad card; but it does leave a whole lot to be desired. Part of the blame for this might go to Vince McMahon who doesn’t seem to know what he wants anymore. There have been rumors of him constantly calling audibles to the creative team which further proves that this megalomaniac lost his mind. Honestly, I am more hyped up about the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony this year than WrestleMania itself, but that probably isn’t going to stop me from paying for the Pay Per View since I host a WrestleMania Party at my place each and every year. I get more excited about WrestleMania Sunday than Super Bowl Sunday, and I hope that in the end this bumpy road to Mania leads to something that my friends and I will talk about for years to come. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @whosantcox or you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good one, wrestling fans!