MR. TITO: My Non-Review of WWE Wrestlemania 39
So, there is a new WWE Wrestlemania coming out and for something related to one of my favorite Pay Per View or Premium Live Event series, it may be expected that I review it. But, instead of a review, for once, I’m going to do something different… A non-review, because I refuse to watch it.
I’ll tell you why. Prior to Wrestlemania 39, most Wrestlemania shows were timeless classics and many were some of the best booked shows ever made. But for this year, judging by the early cards, the show looks office. Instead of doing what everyone else is going to do, pay for Peacock and then talk about how “bad it is”, I’m going to do something different, something unheard of: I’m not going to see it. Wow, what a novel concept, right? If you know that you’re going to hate it, why give them your money?
If Wrestlemania 39 is the Wrestlemania show that nobody wanted, then the gate and WWE Network subscriptions should reflect that. But, I don’t think it is… Maybe Wrestlemania 39 will actually be better than the initial hype, maybe it’s good? It’s a possibility. I know that I’m biased and Wrestlemania was the annual show that a lot of us grew up with and were hoping to see wrestling legends while introducing us to newer wrestlers for this younger generation. Yet, many of the legends we were expecting won’t be appearing (the Rock & Steve Austin), while they were still alive, and then put over a younger generation to fully pass on the WWE torch.
The path to Wrestlemania 39 had so many detours and it got kicked so badly that its hype eventually died out completely. To me, personally, the hype officially died out with the Vince McMahon drama of “retiring”, Triple H resuming his older failed duties, and then Vince returning once again. They had all of this time, years in fact, to obtain the Rock to give WWE fans the match-up that they were begging the WWE to do for years: Roman Reigns vs. the Rock.
But the Wrestlemania 39 card looks bad, regardless if Roman vs. Rock was going to headline it. WWE has a confliction of bad ideas, one from a stale and senile Vince McMahon and another from Triple H who is weak at assessing talent and struggles to do creative in a live environment (not bad in a taped environment, though). Neither guy, who knew the Rock for DECADES, could convince him to headline Wrestlemania 39 in Los Angeles, of all places, where the Rock mostly works as a Hollywood actor. Plus, he’s related to Roman Reigns. WWE, as a company, made $196 million last year in pure profits from $1.3 billion in total revenues. If Rock wanted $25 million, you cough it up!
Having no Rock vs. Roman is part of it… WWE has been proven to be bankrupt with morals and intelligence, as proven by Vince McMahon‘s behavior on display and Vince’s replacements, Triple H & friends’ bad philosophy on wrestling, and not being able to intelligently book any wrestling shows. Vince McMahon hid almost $20 million in payouts due to sexual harassment or inappropriate workplace relationships or behavior. Those were just the ones we knew about! He has been an admitted cheater, for years… And who knows if he allegedly passed along any sloppy seconds to anyone other than John Laurinaitis? Then, during late 2022, he forced his way back onto the WWE board, forcibly replaced members, and is already infiltrating the Creative side of things (hello Omos vs. Brock Lesnar).
Vince’s replacement was a guy we’ve seen fail before in the WWE named Triple H. He was Talent Relations EVP from mid-2012 through early 2020 and what did his NXT or Performance Center have to show for it as MALE WWE World Champions? Finn Balor, Braun Strowman (released later, brought back), and Kevin Owens? Before you start attacking me, go look up who signed Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and Drew McIntyre to their initial WWE contracts. Then, on the Creative Team side, Triple H ran the WWE Creative team from late 2013 through the Fall of 2019. RAW lost over 2 million viewers under his tenure as EVP of Creative! Between late 2000 when Stephanie McMahon took control and through the Fall of 2019 when Triple H had control, they seriously lost 4-5 million loyal viewers in just 20 years.
And as I addressed in one of my recent columns, all of Triple H’s re-signings have been complete failures. Not one of them has shown any value just weeks after they returned to the WWE. In fact, you’re looking at just a few appearances by his many re-signed talents on this Wrestlemania 39 show. Even Bray Wyatt failed under Triple H’s protection, reverting back to his playhouse and puppets while, once again, being unavailable to perform.
The one area where I’ll give Triple H credit was adding Sami Zayn and pushing his storyline hard in the Bloodline… But the Bloodline was already drawing and has been drawing since the last 4 months of 2020. That’s a Vince McMahon idea and HHH just added to it. Now, however, Sami is out of the group and whatcha gonna do with him? Oh yeah, he’s wrestling for the tag team titles already in the midcard. The other might be Logan Paul, but at the same time, him being this good as a non-wrestler and part-timer only proves how BAD the WWE Performance Center has been under Triple H’s rule. How on earth does Pat McAfee and Logan Paul look 100 times better than the rest of the developmental talent?
Look, I like Cody Rhodes. Always have, always will. I also believe that his wife, Brandi Rhodes, has been seriously undervalued by wrestling promotions. Besides her obvious stunning good looks, she’s a trained wrestler, has personality, and is incredibly smart. At the very least, why isn’t she acting like Maryse does for Miz? Miz’s career was in the dumps and then real life wife re-appeared and saved it. For Cody, there is a reason why the WWE didn’t want to push him and kept him in the Stardust gimmick. He’s good, but is he exceptional? I just don’t know…
I have a 2019 through early 2022 sample size on Cody Rhodes within All Elite Wrestling. Aside from his 5-star match with Dustin Rhodes at the 2019 All In Pay Per View, I was never impressed with Cody’s work both in the ring and as a character. Between his initial WWE run and AEW, I thought highly of Cody and felt he was improving just like AJ Styles did between TNA/Impact and WWE on the indy circuit, New Japan, or Ring of Honor. When AJ Styles joined the WWE, he was a complete stud and won over fans quickly with his newfound experience. Cody Rhodes looked great during 2022, but when is Seth Rollins going to get credit for selling like a champ for him? Beyond Seth, can you name a great Cody performance in the WWE for the recent Cody run?
These intangibles are killing me with Cody… While he can intelligently speak, he’s coming off as scripted against Paul Heyman, who is a natural, and Roman Reigns, who has figured out how to talk with his heel character. Paul and Roman have completely DOGGED him, as both have erased that “I’m doing this for my Dad” stuff and Roman just mocked Cody for not succeeding in AEW during his last promo. It goes to show you that while Cody was treated as second-rate during his initial run, he was also not great in the next biggest promotion in AEW. Nobody saw his indy, RoH, or New Japan stuff but the true recency bias is his weak work in AEW and that’s hard to erase from your memory.
I just don’t know about this Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes match. I get the feeling that the Los Angeles WWE fans, who have enjoyed the Bloodline making the WWE somewhat interesting for almost 3 years now, are going to TURN on Cody Rhodes and chant for Roman Reigns. This will get very uncomfortable if Cody is booked to defeat Roman Reigns for the WWE Titles.
The one match that I want to watch, Usos vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens, won’t be main eventing Night #1. No, Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley will get that reported honor. How? Neither wrestler is as good as they were during 2020 when they wrestled at Wrestlemania 36. Both have lost focus on their in-ring abilities and care more about their looks or outside stuff. Rhea Ripley’s focus has been on the Mysterio family and not inside the ring, too. Charlotte is passed her prime and has been in a funk since Andrade was released from WWE. I just don’t see what is so appealing about having them as a Main Event of the first night. As an undercard match, Usos and Sami/Kevin loses its appeal and the tag titles are being robbed of the spotlight.
I kind of like Asuka vs. Bianca Belair as a match-up, but I have no hype or energy to see it based on their WWE television work together. Who is writing this stuff and why can’t anybody be taught how to speak well in the WWE these days?
The thought of Brock Lesnar giving the F5 to Omos seems interesting, but getting to that point will be a chore. Omos is a product of POOR TRAINING by Prince Albert and company at the WWE Performance Center.
Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus… Lazy booking multi-person match.
Both Showcases of mult-person team tag matches… Lazy booking again!
Andre the Giant Battle Royal… MORE lazy booking. Not everyone deserves a Wrestlemania payoff. That should be earned by those who did great work during the year, not a participation trophy.
Edge vs. Finn Balor… Eh. I like Edge and I respect the heck out of his 2000s career. But his recent return has highly scripted promos and the same usual work inside the ring. Finn Balor can’t cut promos to save his life and is undersized against most opponents, including Edge.
Austin Theory tried to cash-in his Money in the Bank briefcase for the US Title. Thanks Triple H! Ever since then, along with losing cleanly to Pat McAfee, I struggle to take him seriously. Now, he gets to wrestle John Cena? Really? We’re wasting John Cena wrestling once a year on an undercard talent?
I’m always happy to see Lita and Trish Stratus, while thinking highly of Becky Lynch. But what is up with Damage CTRL? It’s Bayley, who I usually like, and 2 NXT level flunkies (one of which is returning from being released). And thanks, WWE, for releasing the “Trish Stratus heel turn” as a leak so that everyone knows what is now likely to come. Most corporations don’t just have their closed door discussions leaked as much as WWE does.
This Wrestlemania 39 just doesn’t have the excitement that it should and missing the Rock, after years of hyping that this could be the place he locks horns with Roman has been disappointing. Knowing that you’d be missing the Rock, the WWE didn’t formulate a good card anyway. WWE is in complete dysfunction thanks to Vince McMahon‘s scandals and it’s very clear that Triple H isn’t “the guy” to fully replace Vince. Instead of placing all of your chips on one guy, like Vince or Triple H, why not build a strong management team to surround those guys. No, I don’t mean their usual flunkies (Bruce Prichard, Kevin Dunn for Vince, Road Dogg & William Regal for Triple H), but real wrestling veterans or promoters who have done this before. Look at what Paul Heyman is doing for Roman Reigns and the Bloodline, for example, with having some input there.
I don’t need to waste a Saturday and Sunday evening of my precious time on 2 shows that I’ll hate anyway. If you are reading this and still want to watch Wrestlemania 39, have at it and enjoy the show. But I’m not in the mood to support the bad actions of Vince McMahon and Triple H and refuse to reward them with my money & time. If the show is good, I can simply watch it later. In chess, the pawns go first and I’ll catch it if I hear good things.
But likely not. WWE is an eroding company and they aren’t churning out new stars like they used to. Vince McMahon forcing himself back onto the Board and trying to sell places this company in limbo and AEW falling apart probably has many wrestlers sad and upset backstage. They can’t be pleased with the hype or booking of this show, either.
If you want to enjoy Wrestlemania 39, have at it. Enjoy the show.
But I won’t. I refuse to support and watch this nonsense this year.
I refuse to support a WWE company that lets Vince McMahon return while ignoring the toxic workplace he created and the financial statement legal pain he may have created.
I refuse to support Triple H’s failing policies on Creative and Talent. He is not as good as many younger fans think that he is, as it’s easy to make TAPED shows look great but much harder to make weekly 2 hour live shows have strong energy throughout. His Talent Developmental work is a big step behind not just Jim Ross, but John Laurinaitis as well. Give me OVW and FCW all day over the NXT promotion that puts over Impact, Indy, or brooding hosses any day of the week. Without the OVW/FCW veterans, WWE would be truly sinking right now. Both Cody and Roman Reigns were signed and developed by the system before Triple H and they are headlining this show.
If you want to enjoy Wrestlemania 39, that’s on YOU. But my decision is to refuse to watch a show for 4-5 hours each night that I’ll likely hate anyway. I have better things to do with my time.
By the way, I have to give credit where it’s due. The inspiration for this column along with much of the first 4-5 paragraphs of this column were structured using James Rolfe’s Ghostbusters 2016 non-review. James is also known as the “Angry Video Game Nerd” and is from Cinemassacre.com.
So just chill… till the next episode!