WWE has a great show coming up, that has a well-built title match and a solid undercard that I’m very much looking forward to seeing. Unfortunately, that show is called NXT Takeover: Dallas, not WrestleMania. WrestleMania itself is a mess of a card, with feuds that have hardly any build up, and matches that people actively do not want to see. My interest is low, and it may just be that the main event WWE product is just not meant for me anymore.
Let’s look at the WrestleMania card that’s announced so far and try to figure out what’s going on. The title match is HHH vs Roman Reigns. I feel like I talk about Roman Reigns at least once a month on this blog, and I don’t really have the motivation to repeat myself. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to this match, and the build for it since the Royal Rumble has been a colossal failure. WWE is aware of this, why else would Roman be completely absent from Raw for two weeks? Can anyone ever remember a time when the supposed Number 1 guy has been non-existent in the shows leading up to WrestleMania? He came back for a middling at best reception on Raw, and I’m going to laugh if he gets suspended until WrestleMania for his beatdown of HHH.
We have Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker, which is just bizarre. Expect an overbooked car crash like HHH vs Sting from last year. And the build up has just been… bizarre. There’s no other word for it. Between Shane getting lost in his promos to the motivations of everyone involved not making any sense, it’s just weird. The Diva’s Triple Threat is cool, and well deserved for all involved (except Daddy Flair), but is anyone actually excited about it, or think that it will lead the way into an actual Diva’s Revolution? WWE has burned that bridge too many times. We’ll probably get AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho, and that’s a cool match that should be good. Except we’ve seen it three times in the past month, so what are they going to do at Mania that’s new? And while their matches have been good, they haven’t been great, so expectations aren’t super high.
Kalisto vs Ryback? Really? I really like Kalisto, and don’t hate Ryback, but I’m going to be extremely disappointed if this recent Kalisto push was just to be squashed by the Big Guy. Kevin Owens deserves a singles match at Mania, certainly more then Ryback, but it looks like the Intercontinental Title will be a clusterfuck multi-man match. The WWE injury bug will be really felt there, as this match would really benefit from Cesaro and Neville. League of Nations vs The New Day is fine, and a smart way to make the New Day faces, and probably my second most anticipated match after Ambrose vs Lesnar.
Compare it to Takeover. Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe. Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura. The Revival vs American Alphas. Bailey vs Asuka. Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries. Those are all AWESOME matches. Those are all new matches, or nearly enough. Balor vs. Joe will be a rematch, but their first match took place months ago. Two debuts, including the goddamn King of Strong Style himself. Each of the three champions have been made to look impressive, and their challengers as well. Joe, Asuka, Gable, and Jordon have all earned title matches through their many impressive matches. These matches don’t have a long build, but that’s not needed when everyone’s character is consistent.
Look at Baron Corbin for instance. He feels screwed out of the NXT Title shot, and has a history for fighting the “Indy” guys who have been coming into NXT. It makes perfect sense that he would attack William Regal’s newest indy darling signing. Asuka has been a buzzsaw through the Women’s division, defeating everyone in her path while Bailey has been defending her belt against all comers. It makes sense they’re colliding.
And that’s the real difference. Everything at Takeover makes sense. Almost nothing on the WrestleMania card make sense. Random matches with random people in the undercard, and a main event no one wants. They have two weeks to try and fix it.