Did WrestleMania 32 Prove WWE Is Out Of Touch With The Fans?
Wheeling Shane out as one of the main-eventers at WrestleMania is indicative of a bigger problem prevalent throughout the company: the inability to create stars.
All of the booking throughout the card failed to reverse that trend. The results were in many cases unpredictable, but only in that they were the least comprehensible outcomes and in most cases made little sense. For example, why was A.J. Styles made to lose cleanly to an out-of-shape and over-the-hill Chris Jericho, a man who has become an embarrassing parody of himself? Styles is over, fans want him to succeed, so naturally the WWE mentality is to pull the rug out from under him before he gets too over. God forbid anyone not on Vinces checklist of what a superstar should be gets popular. It was Even Steven booking at its most glaringly absurd, and worse still, it leads to yet another major match between them.
How many more times can we watch them wrestle? Styles needs to be wowing fans against opponents that can keep up with him, not dragging the ever-sloppy Jericho spot by spot through the modern equivalent of a style he was popularising over twenty years ago.
There were other decisions I didnt understand either. While it might have been a feel-good moment for long-time Zack Ryder fans to see him achieve victory for the Intercontinental Championship no less on the biggest show of the year, it also made absolutely no sense.
Ryder has been portrayed as the geekiest of the geeks and the biggest of the losers for years. Ever since he dared to get over off his own bat with his popular YouTube show and gave himself a groundswell of support resembling a small-time Yes Movement, Ryder has been punished.
We can discuss the obvious problems with that WWE tic at another time, but the fact remains, Ryder had been beaten into the ground with such frequency for so long that nobody even bothered caring about him and trying to take him seriously anymore. His winning the Intercontinental Title a belt WWE were trying to position as on a par with the WWE Championship this time last year, dont forget was the equivalent of Barry Horowitz beating Shawn Michaels for the same belt in 1995, or The Brooklyn Brawer winning the WWE Championship. Sure, it was a nice moment, but it has done more damage to the credibility of the title than it will do good for Ryder. He will be back to jobbing to Tyler Breeze on Superstars before the month is out.
While Ryder winning the Intercontinental Championship was an unexpected choice (unless you followed the betting odds, which had Ryder listed as favourite since Saturday), Sasha Banks not winning the newly created (remind me, what was the name of the title Alundra Blayze, Sable, Trish Stratus et al held again?) WWE Womens Championship was equally perplexing. She had seemed a shoe-in to win the title at Mania since debuting on the main roster as part of Stephanie McMahon Presents: Divas Revolution.
I get their reasons for holding off on the Sasha ascension, though I dont particularly agree with them. Charlotte has been such a good heel champion that she deserves an extended run with the belt; there is value in her being booked as a champion who always pulls it out of the bag when needed, just like her father.
Not every title chase needs to end with an immediate babyface victory, after all. I believe WWE also wanted to have that shot of Charlotte raising the newly re-dubbed Womens Championship, so they can credit her in the future as being part of a business-changing revolution. Sashas moment will come, and it will probably be in a singles match so she can win one-on-one, but it would have meant more at WrestleMania.
The author of the highly acclaimed 'Titan' book series, James Dixon has been involved in the wrestling business for 25 years as a fan, wrestler, promoter, agent, and writer. James spent several years wrestling on the British independent circuit, but now prefers to write about the bumps and bruises rather than take any of them. His past in-ring experience does however give a uniquely more "insider" perspective on things, though he readily admits to still being a "mark" at heart.
James is the Chief Editor and writer at historyofwrestling.co.uk and is responsible for the best-selling titles Titan Sinking, Titan Shattered, and Titan Screwed, as well as the Complete WWF Video Guide series, and the Raw Files series.