WWE Wrestlemania 32 and the post-Wrestlemania Raw
This is the most exciting time of the year for wrestling fans. It’s got to be said, though, this year Wrestlemania 32 left a lot to be desired, and the following day’s post-Wrestlemania Raw didn’t help.
If you’re not a WWE fan, you can probably stop reading now as I’m about to go off into full-on wrestling fan territory…
I know that WWE are missing a huge amount of top-tier talent right now. Daniel Bryan has retired, Sting has (finally) retired. John Cena and Seth Rollins are missing through injury. Randy Orton is out. With those five alone you have at least two main event matches.
Instead, we got served up Triple H vs Roman Reigns in a match that no-one seemed to care for. It’s a shame. I’m a massive fan of The Game, but like many others, I am fed up with the continued force-feeding of Roman Reigns as the top face in the company.
He hasn’t gelled with the fans, and if you think that WWE don’t know that, watch Wrestlemania back and you’ll notice a very obvious change in the audio level shortly before he comes out as they turned down the audience mics to drown out the boos.
But - spoiler alert - Roman is now champ and looks to be that way until at least Summerslam. Hopefully, by that stage, Rollins will be back and we will see a Rollins - Reigns - Ambrose triple threat that was originally pencilled in for Wrestlemania (and the knowledge of that only makes the biggest stage of them all even more disappointing this year).
Then we had Shane McMahon vs the Undertaker. If I used to watch Raw for HHH taking out everyone with a sledgehammer in the Attitude Era, then I used to tune in to Pay Per Views to see Shane take crazy bumps. To this day, his King of the Ring match with Kurt Angle is one of my favourites.
But the storyline made no sense. Shane is back as he seems to have some kind of deal or dirt on Vince. Rather than use that to his advantage, he simply accepts a match with Taker. Taker who, incidentally, has no part in this angle except that Vince pulled his name from thin air. Odd.
Stipulations were laid down. Hell in a Cell. Excellent, as that appeals to spot monkeys like myself as we know that Shane will throw himself off the top at some stage.
Oh, and also the stipulations that if Shane wins, he gets control of Raw (Or “Monday Night Raw” as it suddenly became referred to again), and The Authority would be no more.
That’s The Authority comprising of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, the latter of whom could well come out of Wrestlemania as champ. Yet he’d be banished from Raw?
Undertaker was told that if he lost, he’d have no more Wrestlemania matches.
So if Shane had won then the controller of Raw - the biggest wrestling show by a mile - would have no say on who could fight at future Wrestlemanias? That doesn’t add up.
Still, we weren’t let down. Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak continued and he is now undefeated two years in a row. (For any Americans reading, that is tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.)
Just 24 hours later we had Shane running Raw and The Authority was nowhere to be seen. In other words, despite losing, Shane got what he would have had if he had won.
Maybe I’m just bitter. As a UK fan, I know that Wade Barett has handed in his notice (and who can blame him), and his exit from the League of Nations merely highlights that.
Not only that, but Paige seems to have fallen way down the pecking order in the women’s division. As one of the natural charismatic stars of the women’s roster I can only assume that WWE know they can pick her up and drop her in a storyline any time they need to, but it sucks to see her not even get a Wrestlemania match. No, the pre-show card doesn’t count.
Fortunately for parts of Wrestlemania 32, the WWE seemed to get a couple of things completely spot on. Having Corbin win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was a plus point, and they hit things out of the park with the women’s match which historically has generally been a let down at PPVs.
Zack Ryder’s Intercontinental Title win was as welcomed as it was unexpected, even if the celebrations with his dad in the ring afterwards seemed odd (especially when his dad popped a hat on Ryder’s head, only for Ryder to whip it off just as swiftly). The ball was dropped as quickly as the title, though, when it changed hands again at Raw.
The inclusion of Shaq in the Battle Royal was odd, as was the Mick Foley / Shawn Michaels / Steve Austin segment.
Overall, Wrestlemania seemed a letdown, and any hope of a rescue by a strong showing on Raw fell through.
So what now for WWE?
Well, the good news is that NXT goes from strength to strength. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady made their debut on Raw, and if you want to see pure talent on the mic, then this pairing bring it. They will be huge if they maintain that level of mic work. Their inclusion at Wrestlemania 32 would have been a huge boost… but there’s always next year.
Sandow was roundly cheered at Wrestlemania, and then roundly ignored again by the powers that be at WWE. Yet another example of them failing to listen to fans.
With all of that said, after months of everyone having the hump with the incessant push of Reigns, Raw gave some hope that they may be looking at a heel turn. Talk from the man himself of “not being the good guy” as well as a number one contender who is far and away a fan favourite all point towards a change in the near future.
If they’ve got any sense at all, then Reigns will turn heel pretty quickly, ready for a feud with Rollins who - on his return - will no doubt be loudly cheered and turn face.
WWE Wrestlemania 32 and the post-Wrestlemania Raw may have been disappointing, but as always, there is hope that things can improve.