Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow
Crossfire returns today as part of our countdown to Wrestlemania 31. Today Craig, Brian and Jamie discuss whether Wrestlemania is a truly great event or an over-hyped and overblown spectacle.
Craig: It’s certainly very difficult to argue against it being overblown, that’s for sure. But that’s always been the case. Even Wrestlemania 1 had the sort of glitz and glamour not commonly associated with a wrestling event. It’s a spectacle, it is the biggest night of the wrestling calendar. But is it the best?
No, I don’t think that it is. But I don’t think that it’s really ever been. Bar the odd exception, the best wrestling show of the year is rarely Wrestlemania even when you only take into consideration WWE events but it always had an air of magic about it that no other show came close to replicating.
Wrestlemania 31, though, doesn’t have that.
Brian: The answer is simple…it is completely over hyped and overblown. Wrestlemania is hardly the greatest show in the world…mainly because it is a time when WWE management tries to sell a pro wrestling show to outsiders who normally aren’t fans. While cosmetically Wrestlemania is beautiful with the elaborate sets, entrances, pyro and stadium settings….it usually lacks the key ingredient….WRESTLING. Oh yeah sure…Wrestlemania in the past have had some classic matches like Steamboat/Savage…Money in the Bank matches…TLC matches etc. Overall though…it is more a circus than a must see wrestling show. For a show with higher quality wrestling action…may I suggest New Japan’s annual Wrestle Kingdom show at the Tokyo Dome. It is their version of Wrestlemania and a much better product overall.
Craig: We have to go back a long time until the last truly great Wrestlemania card as well. Would it be 2001 and Wrestlemania 17? There have been some classic matches since but the last, if not the only, great Wrestlemaia was 17, right?
There is no denying the spectacle of Wrestlemania. It is, and really always has been, the wrestling show of the year, whether the wrestling has been great or not is a different question.
It’s maybe a topic worthy of a separate discussion but has the Network killed the buzz around Wrestlemania? The go home Raw before this year’s featured Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns having a tug-of-war over the WWE title… It’s like the WWE have stopped trying.
Jamie: In the ideal world Wrestlemania would be the premier wrestling show of the year. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, we live in the WWE Universe. Putting the actual match quality to one side, I would have thought that Wrestlemania should be the creative climax in WWE, but in recent years that has not been the case. In fact, looking back there’s fewer Wrestlemanias that have fulfilled this role than you might think.
Wrestlemania has this odd juxtaposition of being the show that by far attracts the most pairs of eyes to the product, but routinely delivers predictable, stand-alone shows. Craig, you mention Wrestlemania 17. What happened at the end of that show? A Stone Cold heel turn. The big stage for a big angle to encourage all those casual fans to tune in for Raw.
More often than not Wrestlemania does not accurately reflect WWE and thus the events of the show are not of much significance. Up until this week we didn’t know how long Brock Lesnar would be working for WWE, Undertaker is unlikely to work a rematch with Bray Wyatt, Sting vs Triple H II is also unlikely. These are the top matches, but they have no future so why would I tune in to see what happens? Further down the card guys are just being crammed into matches for the hell of it. I can honestly say that the only match I am actually interested in seeing, and thus anticipating the future of each competitor, is Rusev vs. Cena. It’s no coincidence that this is the one match you could see happening six months ago. It’s natural, everything else is contrived and thus pointless in regards to selling punters on a product that does not match what they see at Wrestlemania.
You can read all previous ‘Crossfire’ pieces here.