Wrestlemania XXX Card Needs a Smackdown

Wrestlemania

The card for World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) signature pay-per-view (PPV), Wrestlemania XXX, needs a major “smackdown.” WWE is counting on the event to draw subscribers for its new streaming service, WWE Network. All of the company’s future PPV events will be included on the WWE Network and Wrestlemania XXX will be the first to debut on the network after its launch this past week. WWE has made a habit over the past few years of relying on part-time and “special attraction” performers to boost interest in Wrestlemania. This has included appearances by characters such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and The Undertaker, who typically only wrestles a single match each year at Wrestlemania itself.

Wrestlemania
The Undertaker, keeper of “The Streak.”

This strategy has started to backfire on WWE somewhat this year as their plans related to some of these part time characters has not gone entirely as planned. When examining the currently projected matches, there is only one that seems to be a surefire hit with fans. The Undertaker returned to WWE television this week and accepted the challenge of and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker is one of the most beloved characters in WWE and the holder of the so-called “Streak” of Wrestlemania victories. Lesnar has been portrayed in WWE as an almost unstoppable physical force and he will be seen as a legitimate threat to The Undertaker. The rest of the Wrestlemania XXX card presents problems for WWE however and is in dire need of a “smackdown.”

The first major problem has been the reception by fans of the returning Batista. Batista has been away from WWE for several years and returned recently, winning the Royal Rumble last month. This victory gave him a match for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania XXX, however fans have not embraced his return. Batista himself has not done much to endear himself to fans since his return, appearing obviously out of shape and winded in matches, as well as delivering poor performances on the mic. Currently Batista is still scheduled to face WWE Champion Randy Orton at Wrestlemania but fan reception towards this match has been lukewarm at best and hostile at worst. It is very likely WWE will have to change this match in some way.

The negative reaction towards Batista is not entirely his fault however. Part of that reaction is likely due to the immense popularity of Daniel Bryan and the fact that he is not in the WWE Title match at Wrestlemania. Bryan’s popularity has been rising for months and WWE has had his character consistently fall short of achieving the final goal of winning the title. WWE is currently pushing Bryan into a match with part-time wrestler and authority figure Triple H. Triple H is a high profile character and the match will almost certainly do well at Wrestlemania, but it is not the match fans want to see. They want to see Bryan triumph and capture the WWE Title and anything short of that is a disappointment.

Wrestlemania
CM Punk, absent without leave.

The absence of fan favorite CM Punk is another major problem with the Wrestlemania card. Rumors persist as to why CM Punk decided to leave WWE approximately one month ago, but it is likely a combination of injuries and his frustration at the prominence given to part-time performers like Batista, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. It is believed that CM Punk was originally going to be scheduled to face Triple H at the event, but like the current match between Triple H and Daniel Bryan, this too would be seen as a disappointment to fans who would want to see CM Punk challenge for the WWE Title.

There are other problems further down the card as well. WWE has spent so little time in recent months with “mid card” characters that there is little depth to the roster beyond the top level of main event characters and part-time performers. Company stalwart John Cena is currently scheduled to face up and coming act Bray Wyatt, a calculated risk on WWE’s part hoping to use Cena to boost Wyatt to the top level. One potential match that may add some intrigue to the event is a breakup of The Shield group. WWE has teased dissention within the faction and has clearly been positioning Roman Reigns as the break out star of the group.

Overall the entire card for Wrestlemania XXX is in need of a “smackdown.” There is still over a month to go until the event and so there is plenty of time for adjustment, especially considering that WWE has been known for a lot of “last second” creative decisions in recent months. The WWE Network adds a new dimension and places even more pressure on WWE to get Wrestlemania XXX right.

Editorial by Christopher V. Spencer

Sources:

Pro Wrestling Torch
ProWrestling.net
WhatCulture.com

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