WrestleMania 36 Is Must See Submitted by Justin Watry on 03/31/2020 at 12:30 PM
WWE just may do it.
Of all the ridiculous and impossible feats this company has pulled off in their existence, we are seeing yet another in front of our very eyes. I mean, not in the actual buildings or arenas but through our television sets staying at home, and it is nothing short of spectacular. Facing a for sure dumpster fire leading into their biggest event of the year, WWE has made chicken salad out of chicken crap. How did Vince McMahon do it this time?
Two Night WrestleMania - I will be the first to admit I do not watch New Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, it was on my BOLD predictions list last year (point me) that I wouldn't pay attention to the company. However, I am aware enough to know that their big event is spread out over two nights. I am also aware of the fact that the company has been expanding more into the United States and has been very profitable. You can argue opinions, but you can't argue the bottom line. With WrestleMania being more and more bloated and time consuming over the years, this was one idea that felt like fair game to experiment with eventually. Well, this is the best year to experiment. The live crowd and 'fan interactive' part is already out of the picture. You may as well tinker with the format a bit. Nothing left to lose at this point. As usual, there are a whole bunch of matches set for the card, so why not run on Saturday and Sunday night? I like it and am willing to give it a shot.
The Gronk - Quick history lesson: Rob Gronkowski is a future Hall of Famer and an absolute STAR football player. If you don't follow the NFL and think this is just some washed up has been or semi-popular guy, you are so way off base it isn't even funny. Even on the hated New England Patriots, people loved The Gronk on and off the field. He is great for fantasy football players, great for the media, great for the fans, and mostly importantly for us WWE fans, he is great at channeling his love of wrestling into a persona to bank on after retirement. Well, since retiring, it was only a matter of time before making the jump. When he signed on with FOX as an analyst, the clock was definitely ticking then. WWE, FOX, Gronk? Yeah. Welcome to WrestleMania! His last major appearance was in 2017; I know because I was there live in Orlando. Even without an audience, you can bet The Gronk will do something memorable this weekend. Then we can think ahead to Boston for Summerslam.
Empty Arenas For Raw And Smackdown - We can debate the old saying 'The show must go on!' all day long. Triple H says WWE should push forward. Edge says the world needs entertainment right now. Drew McIntyre echoes the same sentiment. Bully Ray (who I usually don't acre for) also compares it to WWE hosting Smackdown right after 9/11. Who cares what I say, right? If you don't want to listen to me, I will listen to those veterans who know the business inside and out. With every single sport and entertainment entity being postponed, the company made a decision to keep going. Right or wrong, the next step was determining the best way to do that. Limiting the matches was a good first step. We all love our wrestling, but doing that weekly in front of silence would get boring real quick. Go watch The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X-8 on mute and get back to me. Next was inserting old classic footage that tied into current story lines. While a bit jarring at first, it has been alright. Not perfect by at means but fills time and makes logical sense. Finally, in case you haven't noticed, the promos have been AWESOME the past few weeks. Most have actually been a plus without fans reacting. The verbal sparring building up WM36 has been top notch. While television ratings will surely take a bit of a hit, the actual product has improved since the initial week one shock and scrambling.
Unpredictability - Fun fact: I know two casual wrestling fans in the past week that have asked me about WrestleMania this year and how it will take place. To their surprise, I told them it has already been recorded and air as usual - just with the two night format. They had no idea it was taped. Seeing as how they are casual fans and not online all day, then is a given. Now broaden that to the larger audience who only tune in once a year for Mania. They will check it out like normal this weekend and besides the presentation being different, the same event will air. Best of all? It is still all as unpredictable as if it were still live. I LOVE the fact that spoilers have not leaked. Outside of a few rumors and the big news that Roman Reigns won't be competing, not much has been altered. My only hope is to make it these next few days without results being leaked. Come on! We can do it. Just this once, let's not post spoilers!
Business Deals - You know that big pay-per-view streaming deal that folks thought was dead in the water? Announced on Tuesday morning, WWE made the deal with FOX (not ESPN) and will have a whole butt load of content across their stations going forward. Included in that is the FOX Sports App offering WrestleMania. Is this the beginning of the end for big PPV events on the WWE Network? Are we headed to a point where Royal Rumble, WM, Summerslam, and Survivor Series will be exclusive to FOX? Time will tell but for now, they got their deal. Airing Royal Rumble 2020 on FS1 tonight is quite the opener to this agreement. Then word dropped that the TV rights in India were renewed. One of their big hotspots and a growing fanbase. Check that off the list. Oh, and Fite TV too. I have never used it but read enough on the internet about the service. Plus, thus little channel named ESPN has been airing past WrestleMania events. Wow. Firing on all cylinders. Doing this specific deal with FOX will open up new rumors about Disney I am sure. Never doubt Vince McMahon.
WM36 Card - I think the card is stacked and as noted, we are in for an unpredictable weekend. AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker, Randy Orton vs. Edge, The Fiend vs. John Cena, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler, Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair, Bill Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns (due to be replaced), Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins, The Stud vs. Brock Lesnar, a ladder match, Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler, and THE GRONK! I know there are other matches advertised, but I could only list so many to prove my point. Taking away all the outside noise for a second, this thing is loaded. Will we get two new champions at the top of the card? Do Edge and Orton kill each other? Do the two women title matches steal the show? Does Otis get his peach in the end? A Boneyard Match? Any surprise cameos or appearances from the WWE Hall of Fame 2020 class? What the heck is a FIREFLY FUNHOUSE MATCH? Do Rollins/Owens or Zayn/Bryan tear the house down in the under card? How exactly will Wrestle FREAKIN' Mania come across at the WWE Performance with no fans? Must see TV ladies and gentlemen...
SUMMARY: Somehow, someway WWE has given fans an interesting WrestleMania buildup, a very good card, two nights of actions to enjoy, and a whole bunch of unpredictability mixed in between. The phrase "Once In A Lifetime" has never meant so much. See you this weekend, an event too big for just one night!