Last night, history was made with the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match. However, the match will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. It was an amazing, breath-taking match that would have gotten my vote for best match on the card – until the end. James Ellsworth unclipping the briefcase and handing it to Carmella was so, so, so cheap. Why are there rules, if the rules can be broken without punishment? The commentators tried to say, “Well, it isn’t technically against the rules…” But it is. Your friend can’t come down the ramp while you have a match against someone, pin your opponent, and try to declare you the winner of the match. A fan can’t hop over the barricade and pin someone and call themselves the winner. You can’t join a match that you were not scheduled for, just because you feel like it, and walk out the winner. That’s not how it works. Sure, it was a no-disqualification match, but there has to be some kind of law and order. WWE fans (I think) believe in fairness. This storyline – although annoying – would have been fine in a regular match, even a pay-per-view match, but the fact that it happened in this first-time-ever match is sad. What fans will remember is the ending, not Charlotte’s corkscrew off the top rope or any of the other equally impressive moves by the women in this match. The controversial ending downplays the rest of the match. Just like making Jinder Mahal champion, I think WWE made this decision for shock-value, and to gain viewers through this method. However, I think more than anything, it makes fans unhappy with the company. We don’t like to be duped. James Ellsworth won the match despite being in the match. If he can do this, doesn’t that mean that superstars can do anything they want? Where does it end?
I can’t be the only one who’s annoyed that they see ads for the WWE Network, while they’re watching something ON THE WWE NETWORK! Especially when those commercials happen in the middle of matches. If you’re creating matches that you don’t mind interrupting with an ad (the Hype Bros vs the Colons at Money in the Bank) there’s something wrong with the matches you’re making.
Every week, it seems like, WWE hits a new record for low ratings. Both Raw and Smackdown’s ratings are poor and continue to decline week by week. There are even talks of NBC terminating their contract with WWE, to take Raw and Smackdown off the air in 2019, when the contract is up for renewal.
So what can WWE do to improve their ratings and keep their spot on cable TV?
Here are some ideas:
Listen to the people.
We – as a majority – do not want Jinder as champion, and we want the company to stop pushing Roman. These two “athletes” do not belong in the Universal/WWE championship running. The title does not carry the same amount of respect when it is given to just anyone. Roman has about three moves: punches, spears, and clotheslines. I want to see WWE favor superstars with actual talent. AJ Styles, in my opinion, is the most talented wrestler in the business right now. He is not my favorite (character-wise) but he has some serious talent. I think that the WWE needs to reward those with actual athletic ability and wrestling skills by giving them long title runs until there is someone worthy of holding the title. I feel the same way about Charlotte in the Women’s Division. She is clearly the most athletically gifted female wrestler on the roster. So to give the title to someone like Bayley – who has a good amount of fans, no doubt, but struggles with wrestling and talking – isn’t right. Ultimately, superstars that can wrestle should have a place in the business, even if their mic skills need improvement. Generally, the fans will accept superstars that are impressive wrestlers, even if they can’t talk well. If you can speak naturally and believably, that’s great, and you can gain acceptance from viewers in that way. But there are only so many places on the roster for people that are only good on the mic. This isn’t a talk show. And for some reason, there are superstars on the roster that can’t talk OR wrestle (aka Roman & Jinder). This isn’t right.
Expand the roster.
I don’t care whether this means bringing back former WWE superstars, stealing superstars from TNA, recruiting Indy wrestlers, sending up more superstars from NXT, or going to high schools and scouting graduating kids. WWE needs more variety. We are tired of seeing the same matches week after week, and being able to predict what is going to happen based on storyline patterns. There are almost no surprises on Raw or Smackdown. They rarely have superstar returns, or championship matches on the two main shows. Rather, they save everything good for the pay-per-views. And yes, you want your jaw to drop for the PPVs, but I remember ten years ago when I had this reaction every Monday night when I watched Raw. It was pure excitement.
I have to believe it’s possible to recreate the atmosphere of what wrestling used to be.
Randy Orton had no sympathy for Jinder Mahal at Backlash, but the opposite is true for JBL’s hat. We see Orton handle the hat carefully, moving it out of harm’s way, on two separate occasions (2:20 & 17:50).
We could all use a little humor to lighten the mood after Jinder’s title win last night. Fast forward to 52:30 and listen to Booker tell Rowan that he’s “looking real jacked, baby,” 7 times.
Like many of you, I have mixed feelings about Wrestlemania. I had some high expectations for WWE’s biggest show of the year due to recently following Wrestling Rumors on Facebook. I realize that predictions posted on Wrestling Rumors are just speculation, and it would have been very difficult for them to meet all of my expectations. However, I wanted all of the rumors to be true so badly. The origin of WWE rumors remains unclear. At times, it seems that fan sites latch onto niblets of a looming WWE storyline. They follow other wrestling companies’ story lines, habits of former and current superstars, they use context from WWE history, and they over-analyze diction and syntax. Maybe they even have someone in the WWE leaking information. Other times, I think WWE searches fan sites, like Wrestling Rumors, looking for an idea of what the people want to see happen. To my delight, some of those rumors came to fruition.
The Hardy Boyz return made my heart stop. The New Day’s announcement that a fourth tag team would enter the ladder match for the Raw tag team titles was beautiful. I love how WWE knows the rumors that are spinning, and caters to them (occasionally). The New Day so clearly knew that fans were on the edge of their seats, expecting, or at least hoping for, the Hardy Boyz. I’m not sure if this is a quality of the New Day themselves (they’ve done it on numerous occasions, including recently addressing Xavier’s sex tape), or WWE script writers, but the group always seems to address reality, breaking the fourth wall that can sometimes feel like a thick, impenetrable barrier between the WWE and the WWE Universe. The New Day’s delivery of the announcement left us suspended for a few moments. They teased us. Dressed in their wrestling gear, doubt seeped into the minds of the people that were so sure that the Hardys would return in the match that they’re most famous for. It was a terrifying few moments as we wondered, “WWE knows what we want. Would they really not give it to us?” Thankfully, I think the New Day knows that we’ve seen enough of them for now.
John Cena proposed to Nikki Bella last night at Wrestlemania, even though he said he never would. Even though I’m a romantic, I’m not satisfied with this turn in events. It feels like a lie to me. The lie isn’t that John Cena is pretend-marrying Nikki Bella. I’m sure that they’re getting married for real, and they’re in love, and they’ll live a happy life together. The lie is that John Cena swore to us, countless times over the last few years, that he did not want to ever get married again. He was adamant. If there was one thing we knew about John Cena, it was that he was not the marrying type. Now, all of a sudden, he is? What changed? The other thing that bothers me is that there was no reasoning behind this change of heart. He stated that he knew he wanted to marry Nikki a year ago when she went into surgery for her injured neck. He apparently asked her to marry him when she was drugged up. That story does not ring true to me. Why would he ask her to marry him when she was loopy? He knew she would say yes. She has made her intentions more than clear – unless her feelings about marriage are a total lie, too. I’m sure that they will get more into this on the next season of Total Bellas, but they should not have had this segment unless they were going to do it right. You cannot un-do what he’s said for the last two years (?) in like ten minutes. I understand that there was a time constraint (don’t know how – the show was like 7 hours), but if they didn’t have time to do it the way they should have done it, with John Cena explaining why he changed his mind about marriage and declaring his love for Nikki, they shouldn’t have done it at all. Some people are claiming that he actually proposed to her months ago, and they’ve just kept it under wraps, which I can understand and respect, but they needed to have some respect for the WWE Universe, too. They owe us more than what they gave us.
Now onto my disappointments. Finn was nowhere to be found. He has been performing at house shows over the last few weeks, so I was sure he was going to be at Wrestlemania. I didn’t care if he didn’t compete, I just wanted him to make an appearance, to announce his intentions for his future.
The Smackdown Live’s women’s championship match did not have any returns. It was speculated that Kelly Kelly, Maria, or Lita would enter the match for the women’s title. This rumor felt increasingly hopeful when the night was nearly over, as WWE usually places their best content at the end of the show. Also, the way that the match stipulation was worded. “All available women on the Smackdown Live roster,” were scheduled to compete. It would have been too easy to have one of the above-mentioned women come out at the very end of the entrances, and say, “I’m now part of the Smackdown Live roster,” and then join the match and win the belt.
While I did face some disappointments last night, according to gossip, some surprises are in store for us the week after Wrestlemania. I can only hope that this will mean more returns, and some call-ups from NXT.
What did you all think of Wrestlemania? What was your favorite match? What are your storyline predictions?