WrestleMania 32 has come and gone. I went back on my promise to post predictions before the show — a wise move on my part since most of the show was booked around swerving the audience. That was all fine and good when Zach Ryder — a perennial jobber buried by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) despite his ability to get over with the fans — finally had his big moment and walked out Intercontinental Champion in the show’s opening bout (an overstuffed seven-way ladder match), but it got a bit old by the time A.J. Styles lost clean as a sheet to Chris Jericho and Sasha Banks was denied her big moment when Charlotte inexplicably retained the newly christened Women’s Championship. And then the show just dragged on, and on, and on, blowing past the 11 o’clock hour for the sole purpose of delivering one of the most underwhelming main events in WrestleMania history. A number of “old timers” showed up, including Shawn Michaels, Cactus Jack, and Steve Austin, and all for the purpose of overshadowing the company’s younger talent. The Rock had another “WrestleMania” moment, this time squashing Eric Rowan of the Wyatt Family in six seconds flat. Oh, and John Cena returned to help his good buddy The Rock drive the final nails into the coffin of the Wyatt Family gimmick, thus bringing to an apparent end one of the best ideas the company has had in years. Oh, and Shane McMahon fell off a 15-foot high steel cage to cap off a match where all 46 years of his non-wrestling self fared better in the ring against the legendary Undertaker than most of the established talent.
Granted, when watching the show this year I was entertained, largely because I was in the company of my brother and close friends, all of whom love wrestling as much as I do. But now that the buzz of WrestleMania is over, I am left feeling confused and disappointed. Where does WWE go from here, now that its world champion — Roman Reigns — is one of the most despised stars in the company? Will WWE use tonight’s post-Mania Monday Night RAW to hit “reset” by introducing new and returning talent or will it “stay the course,” cramming unimaginative content down the audience’s throat and expecting them to like it? Were it not for the NXT Takeover special that aired on Friday, this entire wrestling-packed weekend would have been a bust. But NXT is a niche product, and it is clear WWE has no plans to transfer the basic booking formulas that work so well in that environment to its flagship shows. Shame.