Greg DeMarco is back and he is legit on fire! Why? WrestleMania, that’s why!
Every wrestling year features two time periods that I just love. I dread them because I know how you’re going to react, but in the end I honestly can’t get enough of them.
As we approach November 9, memories of the Montreal Screwjob come about. You know the Screwjob… the night Vince McMahon brilliantly booked himself out of a painted-in corner by staging a “worked-shoot” that was actually 100% work, allowing Bret Hart to drop the WWF Championship on the day Vince demanded it happen, in the city Bret refused to lose. And to the guy Bret refused to lose to. And in the end, Bret thought it was the right thing to do.
Wait, that’s not what happened? HA! Keep telling yourself that.
The other is the Road To WrestleMania, when the Internet Wrestling Community boos whoever wins the Royal Rumble because they wanted it to be someone else, then complains for two months, finally shitting on the greatest sports entertainment show of the year because they didn’t get what they wanted.
And then they keep coming back for more.
That, my friends, is WrestleMania!
Every year the fans don’t get what they want. WrestleMania 27 featured The Miz versus John Cena with The Rock as “guest host,” in a match that saw their dearly be-hated John Cena actually lose to a heel in the WrestleMania main event. WrestleMania 28 saw CM Punk defeat Chris Jericho to continue his historic WWE Championship reign in a classic match that the IWC hated simply because it didn’t close the show. Apparently match order determines how great a match is? Ok, sure.
Then we have WrestleMania 29, that once again featured CM Punk in a marquee match—this time against The Undertaker. And Punk worked his ass off in what was a largely underrated build, followed by a great match where The Undertaker continued his streak. And everyone complained because Punk lost his title to The Rock, who lost it to John Cena. Basically, a match that had nothing to do with Punk vs. Taker soured people on the card that featured a great Punk vs. Taker match.
Ok so fast forward to WrestleMania 30, an event so expertly booked from SummerSlam 2013 through WrestleMania 30 itself that fans insisted WWE can’t possibly be that smart, so the fans obviously booked the main event for Vince. Despite there being sign after sign after sign after sign that this was happening going back to the build to SummerSlam.
Seriously, the WWE gave you EXACTLY what you wanted and you assumed they didn’t actually give it to you—you took it. Proving how “smart” you truly are.
The same WrestleMania, by the way, that was preceded by a Royal Rumble during which you were practically BEGGING for Roman Reigns to eliminate Batista and get the win.
The same WrestleMania, by the way, that gave you Cesaro winning the inaugural Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, a dominant Shield win, AJ Lee overcoming the entire Divas roster, the greatest opening promo ever, and of course Daniel Bryan not only leaving as champion (as was already mentioned) but doing so by beating every non-retired member of Evolution.
Had enough yet? Because I have more.
This brings us to WrestleMania 31, an event that had an ending telegraphed a full month further in advance than the WrestleMania before it, when Seth Rollins grabbed the Money In The Bank briefcase.
The best part of WrestleMania 31 is that is featured a terrible preshow, a bad women’s match, a horrible legends match, a dull Undertaker match, two great undercard matches (the Ladder Match and Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton), and a red-hot main event that actually told an amazing story in the ring and was capped off with the greatest Money In The Bank cash-in since The Miz, and what do you say?
“The fans did it again!”
You cannot be serious!
Anyone with a mind for the business knew Seth Rollins was cashing in and knew that he’d be making history on that night. The Samoans weren’t mad because Roman Reigns didn’t win, they were mad because The Rock took too fucking long and Roman didn’t win BEFORE Seth Rollins cashed in.
The fact is, that for WrestleMania 30 and 31, the WWE expertly toyed with your emotions. You bought it 100%, and the moment you realized something worked you couldn’t possibly give them credit for it. Because you as a fanbase are smarter than the leadership that took wrestling global and keeps that train moving today.
This brings me to WrestleMania 32, an event in front of over 100,000 fans in the greatest modern American sports venue ever imagined. An event that featured, get this, ZACK RYDER winning the Intercontinental Championship in a match that also confirms Sami Zayn is a major star in the making, the WrestleMania debut of AJ Freaking Styles, The New Day chumming it up with WWE Hall Of Famers, the return of the Women’s Championship in a moment that proved the Divas Revolution worked, Brock Lesnar being Brock Lesnar’s awesome self, Shane McMahon diving off of a 20-foot high structure, the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal being used to put someone new over, over 100,000 cell phones lit up bright for Bray Wyatt’s entrance, and Stephanie McMahon straight up preaching in Triple H’s entrance.
And when the predictable thing happened (just like the two WrestleManias before it that featured endings you loved), you bitched. Why? Because you don’t like Roman Reigns.
But here’s the thing: You’re reacting. You’re emotionally involved. The crowd reacted. And they didn’t universally boo Roman Reigns, no matter what you want to believe. And don’t tell me they were silent. They were silent when The Undertaker lost at WrestleMania 30, not here.
If you can learn anything from the past three years of WWE programming, it’s the philosophy of booking: you book for emotion, not for elation. Elation is one emotion, but it’s not the only emotion that equates to success.
WrestleMania 30 provided you with elation that built from the first match to the list. WrestleMania 31 provided you with elation that was completely unexpected. WrestleMania 32 took you on a roller coaster ride that saw the WWE finally achieve that “Showcase Of The Immortals” feel they’ve been going after, a night where John Cena crossed over into Immortal status and Roman Reigns fully took over as the face of the company, and you don’t like it because you weren’t elated.
Guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re elated. The fans are still buying the product. The fans are still reacting to what happens.
But let’s talk about what you DO want. Oh yeah, that’s right—they gave it to you at NXT Takeover: Dallas. You know NXT, right? The brand created to pander to the IWC? The brand that keeps the IWC members subscribed to the WWE Network so they might as well also watch WrestleMania? The brand that made your Friday night awesome?
Oh and then there’s the great series of event put on by the WWN Live family, including two kick ass Evolve shows, a great Shimmer tournament, and the WWN Supershow that was top notch as well. Not to mention two amazing Ring Of Honor cards. You also had the NWA Parade Of Champions, WrestleCon and countless other amazing aspects to WrestleMania weekend.
And you know what the best part is? At least 90% of the talent working on or appearing at the above listed events would give it all up to perform at WrestleMania 32, which happens the only thing you’re talking about on Sunday night (while completely ignoring all the awesome stuff you received all weekend and think is the, like, most amazing thingz ever).
Listen, the idea here is simple: 90% of this weekend was created for you. Or more accurately, created to take money from you. Something you willingly do without reservation. The weekend wouldn’t be there without WrestleMania, an event so spectacular it keeps everything else around it moving for twelve months.
But you don’t care because AJ Styles lost, Dean Ambrose lost and Roman Reigns won.
Well I hate to inform you, but WrestleMania isn’t booked for you. It’s booked for the other 75% of the fanbase, without whom you wouldn’t have all these other events to enjoy.
So shut up.