The X-Factor: WrestleMania – Nostalgia reigns

Why did they start casting such importance on the part-timers? The numbers could be why.

The buy rate of WrestleMania 25 was 960,000 and XXVI had a buyrate of 885,000. That’s an 7.81% drop from the previous year and the main event was, well you know what. The next year, it jumped up to 1,059,000. That’s a jump of 19.6%. 

The Rock was on the show. He brings in the money. The next two WrestleMania’s broke a million buys apiece.

How did “Once in a Lifetime” do? The highest buyrate of all time at 1,217,000 buys. The next year saw it drop to 1,048,000. It’s still the 6th most bought WrestleMania of all time under the traditional model.

Look at the ‘13 Royal Rumble. A 15.5% rise from the 2012 edition and it was headlined by The Rock.

The IWC love to play “armchair booker” and act like they can do it better than the people who run it. If history and numbers have proven anything, it’s that nostalgia works. Not that it’s stopped them from complaining.

WrestleMania XXVI

HBK was a dad. He chose his family over a few more years of stealing the show. A good father would do that.

The Undertaker refused Michaels’ challenge for a rematch at XXVI. HBK was obsessed with handing the Dead Man his first-ever loss at a WrestleMania. 

‘Taker was the World Heavyweight Champion. Shawn failed to win the Royal Rumble. He failed to qualify for the Elimination Chamber. Michaels snuck into the Chamber and cost ‘Taker the World title. That didn’t fail.

Featuring the best pre-match video ever, HBK and ‘Taker gave us another classic.

Shawn’s obsession meant that ‘Taker would have to dig deeper to keep his Streak alive. By the end, HBK was unwilling to stay down, even slapping him in the face. The Dead Man had to add some extra force to his Tombstone, and that was all she wrote. 

WrestleMania XXVII

Yep, this will never make any top 10 lists.

The challenge was made with no words spoken. The haters often mock the “pointing at the sign” trope, and yet it was used to great effect. The Undertaker and Triple H were fighting for a title: “The Last Outlaw.”

My favorite spot has to be the spinebuster Undertaker took through the Spanish announce table. There was a chokeslam, a Pedigree, the Last Ride, the Tombstone, all near-falls. Triple H delivered a DDT onto a chair, two more Pedigrees, a ton of chair shots – including to the head – and even a Tombstone. Kick-out!! Finally, ‘Taker ended it with Hell’s Gate.

We didn’t need to hear Triple H – in yet another display of insecurity – say he was the only one worthy of being ‘Taker’s opponent. There was someone else being eyed to face the Dead Man.

Oh, what could’ve been?

Those promos, that old cabin in a rainy night, some dude with a trench coat, and the numbers 2.21.11. Check out those middle three numbers. Prophetic, right?

If a situation could suck more, I’d love to see it. At Victory Road ‘11 Jeff Hardy caused TNA and himself a buttload of embarrassment, and it rubbed off on Sting as well. When the fans said it was bullshit, his response was, “I agree”. 

The Stinger could’ve been in the ring with the Undertaker, inducted into the HOF, and in front of his fans in Atlanta. 

Even when he was the Corporate Champion, The Rock was nobody’s bitch. The Miz is a terrific character, but he’s not an alpha. He was the third wheel whether he liked it or not.

WrestleMania XXVIII

It was the end of something that began in 2009, when Shawn Michaels – also the special guest referee in Miami – challenged The Undertaker and put on one of the finest matches of all time. It would end inside Hell in a Cell, the match that defined the three men involved.

There were question marks all over this war. Would Shawn end the Streak to repay ‘Taker for ending his career, or would he stop his best friend from doing what he couldn’t do? 

The story that was told by all three men was legendary. However, not even that would take away from what came at the end of the show.

In the Mt. Rushmore of pro wrestling, both John Cena and Dwayne would be there, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.

It was worth the wait. It was treated like the big deal it was. The match really should’ve been 10 minutes shorter.

WrestleMania 29

Ok, they didn’t need to repeat “Once in a Lifetime”, but come on. It netted them their highest buyrate of all time. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Their first bout felt like it was dragging it’s feet. Cena vs. Rock II felt a bit tighter than their 2012 match. Respect for The Rock for carrying on after being injured.

Anyone on Team Punk will look to the closing match as proof he was right to complain. The Rock claims it was to be a triple threat with Punk and Cena. It didn’t happen. Hence his walking out eight months later.

Yet, what about the match he did have? If people think he was a whiny bitch, they’ll point to that as evidence. Anyone else would give their left arm to face the Undertaker! They had the best contest that night. 

Final thoughts

You know how you’re watching WrestleMania and they advertise the next one? For a moment you think, “what are we gonna see”? In 2019, nobody in their wildest dreams imagined the next Showcase of the Immortals would be pre-taped, much less held with zero fans. A year before the Houston Astrodome, the thought of Stone Cold Steve Austin selling his soul for the WWF title was unthinkable.

When you were sitting on the couch watching WrestleMania 29, you must’ve believed the Undertaker’s streak would never end.

We were not ready.

Don’t mess with the X.