Wrestlemania 24 will go down as a newsworthy event – maybe even the most newsworthy Wrestlemania ever. That is, of course, a double-edged sword. Because, not all of the news was good.
First, the easy analysis. The show, as a wrestling show, was simply awesome. As a spectacle, as a bang (*snicker*) for your entertainment buck – it delivered and then some. The booking, while not flawless (â<80><9c>Here he is, ECW fans! Your NEW champion – Kane! Hello? Fans?â<80>) was top notch. An objective review of the finishes, winners and losers leads to only one conclusion – it would have been difficult to come up with a more entertaining show. But (and isnâ<80><99>t there always a big â<80><9c>but?â<80> Umaga notwithstanding…) where do they go from here? Again an objective look at the WWE in the sobering light of Monday morning leads us to….
Second, the more difficult analysis. There are a number of givens when it comes to Wrestlemania: 1) it is the WWEâ<80><99>s Super Bowl and everything builds toward this event and 2) business usually takes a slight downturn after Wrestlemania. That being said, where does the WWE stand now?
Look at the list of winners: Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, C. M. Punk, Kane, JBL and Batista. Look at the current champions (as if THAT meant anything): World: The Undertaker. WWE: Randy Orton. Intercontinental: Chris Jericho. World Tag: Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly. United States: MVP. WWE Tag: John Morrison & The Miz. Not exactly a list that screams ratings and buy rates is it?
Please do not misunderstand. This was aWrestlemania that was uber-successful beyond anyoneâ<80><99>s comprehension. As a one-off show and mega-event this was a roaring supernova. Unfortunately, this was not a one-off show. They have to build to the April 27th Backlash in Baltimore. With that list of champions and Wrestlemania winners. If history holds, Backlash will have more than a couple of Wrestlemania rematches. Will fans want to see Batista vs. Umaga again? Probably not.
And therein lies the problem. The WWE has successed itself into a corner. There is no long-term retirement angle, no one chasing the singles titles (who exactly is left for Orton? Jericho? Been done and done badly. HHH? Ditto Cena? Ditto. Seriously, who is out there?) Same goes for Undertaker and both sets of tag titles (Highlanders? Hello?). Do they do a Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather re-match? Honestly, that is one I would love to see. Mayweatherâ<80><99>s performance was, for my money, the highlight of the show. While the build up was ham-handed – the execution was flawless.
The next 3 weeks of Raw and Smackdown will be telling. Who do they build around? What storyline can start from scratch and garner a PPV audience in 4 weeks? And what other ones can do the same because they need a few?
As an epilogue, imagine how many times Vince McMahon has run his skull into the wall of the dressing room at the Amway Arena in Orlando today. Not only is Wrestlemania getting precious little mainstream media coverage (with the exception of sports media covering Mayweatherâ<80><99>s victory and that will end just in time for todayâ<80><99>s baseball games), what coverage it is getting is centered around the injuries suffered by approximately 40 fans during the closing ceremony pyro and ballyhoo. The good news for the WWE is palpable: Over 74,000 fans paying $5,850,000 plus to see the live show; a huge buyrate that will shatter all existing wrestling records; and crossover rub from the best active boxer in the world. But that is all being ignored for the most part all because 40 people were pelted and burned by an out-of-control pyro contraption that McMahon had to pay for. It would be one thing if some nut showed up and started raising hell with a bottle rocket (or worse). Thatâ<80><99>s just bad publicity. This bad publicity was ten times worse and it cost Vince $300,000 to get it.
I would not want to be Howard Finkel on Monday afternoon.
(What did you think about Wrestlemania and, more importantly, where do you think the WWE should go now? Join me in the Exclusive section of the forum!)