Professional wrestling’s biggest annual event, Wrestlemania, is under two months away but already looking to be one of the most underwhelming and disappointing Wrestlemanias in years

 

April is always a very exciting month for professional wrestling fans like myself. This is the month when the biggest professional wrestling company in the world today, World Wrestling Entertainment (abbreviated as WWE) put on their biggest pay-per-view show of the year, Wrestlemania. Since 1985, WWE has pulled out all the stops for this event; creating dream matches for the most dedicated followers of the company, bouting fan favourites versus dishonourable antagonists for the casual fans, and even getting mainstream celebrities to appear over the years to attract a non-wrestling audience to the show — notably, Muhammad Ali, Donald Trump and even Jersey Shore’s Snooki.

However, this year’s Wrestlemania event has been showing signs of not being the ‘Show of Shows’ and the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ that it, and its predecessors, are always hyped up to be. Many factors from both inside and outside of the company over the last year or so have heavily affected original plans for the show, which indicate that the 32nd edition of Wrestlemania may divert from an originally monumental Wrestlemania to one of the more forgettable events.

Let’s start with the biggest factor which is affecting Wrestlemania 32’s success: the amount of injuries that have occurred within WWE over the last year. If you were to ask any wrestling fan who had some ounce of an idea of the inner workings of WWE, ‘What is currently the biggest problem in WWE?’, I’d bet you 9/10 times, they’d say the amount of injuries taking down the company’s top stars. Performers like John Cena, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro and Nikki Bella are just a few of the literal tens of WWE’s around 80-person roster that are currently rehabbing from injuries. This is something that is vastly affecting the company’s ability to attract their main audience as the wrestlers that a large percentage of that audience want to see are not competing right now — which puts some fans off from watching the shows altogether.

Some of these injuries are so severe that they are even stopping some performers from competing at all, forcing them into early retirement, as we recently saw with huge fan favourite, Daniel Bryan, who was forced to retire at the early age of 34 due to concussion and brain damage issues caused through injury whilst performing. All of these injuries are drastically causing WWE to run out of options as to who they can use in their Wrestlemania show who will still attract a large audience based on the sole fact that they are performing there.

Another huge factor that will most definitely affect Wrestlemania 32’s success is something entirely down to a single decision in the company: to end the 21-year Wrestlemania streak of the Undertaker. For those unaware, The Undertaker is a wrestler who has worked with WWE for over 26 years and has competed at almost every Wrestlemania event since his signing with the company. Over the many years, he developed a winning streak at the event itself, which saw him achieve 21 victories at every one of his Wrestlemania matches, which in itself became one of the main reasons many fans went to the event; to witness the rare spectacle of seeing the Undertaker wrestle and to see if maybe, just maybe, the streak be broken, something which nobody wanted to actually see.

However, the streak was broken almost 2 years ago at the 30th edition of Wrestlemania by former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar,  in a somewhat disappointing match after delivering his finishing move, the F-5, a third and final time to the Undertaker before finally pinning him. The Superdome crowd of over 75,000 fans went into silent shock as that final … 3-count hit the mat. Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania breaking his Wrestlemania streak, something nobody had done ever. Despite the fact that the streak has been broken, the Undertaker still wrestles annually at Wrestlemania, however due to the streak being broken, the spectacle of the Undertaker wrestling has dissipated, taking away any truly special reason to see, or care, about the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches, and taking away yet another reason why fans should care about the event.

The last and probably most damaging factor that will affect Wrestlemania 32’s success would be the predictable booking. If you’re not already aware, wrestling storylines are written by a team of creative writers, just like many other TV programmes. With WWE, it’s usually very unpredictable as to where storylines will go, keeping fans engaged right up to the culmination of the story at that month’s PPV.

This year’s Wrestlemania’s storylines, however, are very predictable and it seems extremely obvious to fans with even the slightest inside knowledge what matches will happen at the end of a storyline and who will be the winner, killing any momentum building up to the said matches. Let’s take the biggest storyline at the moment: Roman Reigns Vs. The Authority, a group of wrestlers who, for the sake of the story, control all aspects of each of the company’s shows and use their powers for their own benefit. The story is currently leading up to a match at this month’s PPV, Fastlane, between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar to determine who will face Triple H, the leader of The Authority, at this year’s Wrestlemania for the most revered championship in the company. Sadly, it’s too painfully obvious who will win this match — Roman Reigns.

Reigns has been constantly screwed by The Authority since late November. Far more than any other competitor in the Fastlane match and over the last year or so, the company have tried to build up Reigns as a huge character in the company, making him seem like one of the top competitors along with John Cena, Brock Lesnar etc. With the booking being so predictable in the fact that Reigns will go on to face (and defeat) Triple H in the main event of Wrestlemania and win the main championship of the company at the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’, this is killing the interest of many fans in the main storyline of the show, which is supposed to be the spark that attracts everyone!

The world of professional wrestling is an odd one to be a fan of: sometimes WWE hits the nail on the head and these are the moments we, as professional wrestling fans, keep watching for. Sadly, it currently seems that such a moment may not present itself at this year’s Wrestlemania. Will it be as disappointing as we all think it will be? Yes. Will it be a complete flop of a show? Possibly. Nevertheless, the show is still looking to be at least more special than your average PPV, with independent wrestling legend, AJ Styles, practically confirmed to have a match together with many more other special moments.

Regardless of how disappointing Wrestlemania is though, I guarantee it will still be as special to watch as it has been for the last 32 years.