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Wrestlemania - Can it make a difference?

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Hi all,

Time for one final pre Mania blog.

I’m not going to give any Wrestlemania predictions, I’ll be honest I’m not a fan of those kind of blogs. Each person has an opinion of how they would like a match to be booked from the simplest endings to the kind that wouldn’t even happen in a million years and I don’t know who’d be interested in hearing mine.

I have found myself quite emotionally invested in this Manias build up as a whole, more so it would seem than in previous years and yet looking at the matches I got to thinking of the possible results and asked myself the question…Great matches aside, do any of the results really matter for the landscape of the WWE?

What I mean by that is does the result of certain matches really make a major difference to the companys direction over the next months. I thought I’d pick what are to me the Mania matches that have made that difference. By that I mean they may not only have exceeded expectations but also defined a star, concept, era etc….. It’s also tough to pick some as the Backlash/Extreme Rules PPV following usually has rematches galore which is why the finishing of some Mania matches suffers somewhat as you know the loser will have another chance the following month. For example Bryan v Sheamus – could be a great match but either way the loser is going to get a rematch at the next PPV.

Its been a tough list to do as there are matches that I simply adore but they didn’t fit the list. The HBK/Taker matches for example…..modern classics and the first one is probably the best mania match ever but neither made the difference that im hoping to illustrate. What I’m looking for is the kind of difference that changes company direction. A great example would be the Cena/Punk MITB match from last year. It was a huge turning point for the company, generated huge buys and media interest for a PPV that wasn’t one of the big 4 and elevated Punk to true Main Event status which has defined the Title booking since. But it wasn’t a Mania match so doesn’t make the list.
Ok so here’s my 5 Mania matches that I felt made the most difference to the WWE landscape (in no particular order):

The First MITB Ladder Match (Mania XXI: Brave to launch a new match concept on the grandest stage of them all. Credit to Jericho who apparently came up with the idea. Not only did it become one of the key match concepts of every WWE year it has now even grown into its very own PPV and has provided us with some of the best shock moments as well as launched the Championship careers of Edge and CM Punk .

Austin v Bret Hart (Mania 13): A classic match that brought out brutality and tenacity in both performers. It made Austin overnight and heralded in the Attitude Era.

JBL v Cena (Mania XXI): Hardly a classic, this match suffered from time constraints that failed to do the legacy of JBLs lengthy title run justice but this match was the moment that we entered the Cena era and love him or hate him the company hasn’t looked back since.

Rock v Hogan (Mania XVIII): There have been quite a few comparisons between this and the Rock/Cena match and it’ll be interesting to see if the one next Sunday meets expectations. For me this one is a classic, the electricity of the crowd, the way the Rock worked through the match to sell an aged Hogan. It was a true Mania moment that turned Hogan face practically before the match had ended, heralded the end of the NWo (again) and resulted in Hogan becoming champion again and having a reasonably successful run in the business.

HBK v Razor Ramon (Mania X): Probably the most obvious choice on this list but it introduced a level of innovation and risk taking that has been replicated more times than I can count. If you watch that match again it had a fluidity that ladder matches these days fail to have. Too much time is taken up in setting up that ladders to create the ‘Big Spot’ that the wrestling becomes secondary. Yes this was a ladder match but it didn’t overshadow the performance of either wrestler.

So there’s my picks. Like I said I was looking for ‘company direction’ changing Mania matches. I look forward to seeing your opinions and other matches that you feel fit the bill.

It’ll be interesting to see if any of the matches on Sunday achieve the same.

Comments, opinions, abuse welcome as always and follow me on Twitter @dmayerl (Im only 13 away from 100 followers now)


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