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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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WIRTB: WrestleMania 32

Oh, God. This one’s going to be a doozy. I can already tell. But, I’m never the one to back down from a challenge—no matter how asinine it is. So, let’s get things underway and answer the following question: Was WrestleMania Star Power—I mean, WrestleMania 32 really that bad? Well, let’s talk some backstory. WM 32 was in Texas this year to blow the everloving fuck out of the WM 3 records because, you know, new era, new wave and shit. That’s cool. However, to not send your fans into a fizzy tizzy, you’ve got to be able to keep them entertained for seven-to-eight hours. Does WM 32 deliver or does it just make people more pissed off than anything?

Our first match of the evening was Kalisto versus Ryback for the United States Championship. In shades of Daniel Bryan, kind of, this match was effectively a dark match. Why? Well, for starters, a good portion of the crowd wasn’t even in the stadium yet. On top of that, this match, for an actual title was placed on the pre-show while we got The Rock beating Erick Rowan in a “We Did This For the Vine” match (more on that later). The match itself wasn’t that bad, but it was kind of standard “David versus Goliath” booking. Kalisto won by capitalizing on Ryback clocking himself with a turnbuckle. All in all, it’s a fun match and was better than a lot of the main show. Yeah, I said it. As of right now, Kalisto versus Ryback is match of the night. 

I don’t believe it either.

Next up, we got Total Divas versus Team Bad Name and Shown Roots. It was, I’m sorry, your typical multi-Divas match. Lots of missed spots, awkward landings, and “uhhhh” moments. The match was, thankfully, ended by Bria Bella getting Naomi to submit to the Yes! Lock. This match was really less about anyone else who wasn’t named Brie Bella. It was all to get her over in her last match(?). And…it kind of worked. It was a nice moment and we got to see Brie go out on her own terms. Would I've given her a singles match, but...let's look at A.J. Lee's last match. Similar vibe in that both were tag team matches featuring women's wrestlers that WWE obviously love/loved (say what you will about Brie's ability over the years. WWE loved her and they loved A.J.).

My God. I’m being…nice so far. What the hell’s going on? Am I wr—wr—wrong about WM 32? 

Thankfully, my fears subside when I see The Usos and The Dudley Boyz. This match sucked a lot of the air out of the stadium (especially after Lita hyped people up with the Women’s Championship reveal). It was slow, and not in a methodical way. Both the Usos and The Dudleyz looked like they gave no shits about this match. And, to top it all off, The Usos put The Dudleyz through a table because, you know, faces or something. 

I think my main gripe with The Usos is that they’re interchangeable. 

There’s nothing really distinguishing to set them apart. Yes, I know. They’re twins. But, even Tia and Tamera—hell, even MARY-KATE AND FUCKING ASHLEY OLSEN were able to differentiate themselves from each other. Jimmy and Jey Uso are some of the blandest, white meat babyfaces I’ve ever seen. You could probably swap one of them out with Darren Young and no one would notice (except, you know, Darren’s taller. But fuck it all and fuck this match).

Finally, after a few hours, we get our first match of the main card. The IC Championship Ladder Match. The match was, as expected, spotty as fuck. There wasn’t much wrestling as there were carwreck crashes, Sin Cara putting Stardust through a ladder (nice Dusty tribute get-up, though, ‘Dust. Can we see you become Cody again sometime?), and Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens going ass-over-teakettle. It was fun to watch, if you turned your brain off and said “hey. This is going to be shit wrestling. But, it sure as fuck is going to be fun to watch people look like they’re being shot with RPGs for fifteen-plus minutes). On top of that, Zack Ryder finally got his WrestleMania moment. 

The problem with Zack Ryder is that, even when he wins, we all know he’s going to be underutilized and/or treated like shit soon. Lo and behold, the next fucking night, he ends up losing the IC Championship. So, you mean to tell me that, essentially, that entire carcrash of a match was for nothing?! It befuddles me how many shits WWE don’t give about talent such as Ryder. He’s not the best wrestler of all-time. But, years after the Jersey Shore craze died, he’s still been able to maintain a pretty vocal fan base. To have him win, then lose the next night was a cocktease to these fans. Fans, even Zack Ryder fans, deserve better.

Next up, we’ve got Jericho versus Styles in Styles’ first WrestleMania. He loses. While the way he lost was some great chain-event wrestling, to have AJ Styles lose in his WrestleMania debut doesn’t make much sense to me. That’s not me being “smarky.” That’s me being realistic. If you’re going to, the next night, have Styles become the fuckin’ number one contender for the WWE Championship, why the fuck do you have him lose to Jobber to the Stars Jericho? 

Don’t get me wrong. Chris Jericho, at damn-near 46, can still do things that some twenty­-six-year-olds can only dream of doing. But, he hasn’t been relevant in a way that isn’t just putting someone over for years. It’s like having Bray Wyatt lose to the U…sos. Fuck it. I’m convinced that WWE, while still the leader in pro wrestling, has a smaller idea of how to build up stars than even some of the smarkiest smarks who smark their smarkiness throughout the smarky parts of the IWC.

After a DBZ­ reference, The New Day make their way into the ring to square off against the League of Nations for…what, again? No, seriously. I love The New Day, and having them on the card is greatness. They even made me believe in Kofi Kingston again. But…to have them as your tag team champions and not defend the damn tag team titles is…weird. Then, to have them lose to a team that’s been on the verge of diving asshole-first into WWE purgatory makes even less sense. 

Yeah, I know. We got to see HBK, Mick, and STONE COLD STONE COLD STONE COLD come out and put The New Day over (kind of). But, why have your most-over team catch that L (then see Xavier Woods catch that Stunner from Stone Cold)? That’s like having John Cena lose to John Laurinaitis, even with help. We get what you’re trying to do…actually, no. Fuck this match. I don’t get it. I don’t get what it was “supposed” to accomplish, even if The New Day did, technically, get the rub from HBK and company. Get this shit outta here. At least Brock Lesnar versus Dean Ambrose is next, right?!


The match saw Brock spam a bunch of suplexes and Ambrose, in a No Holds Barred Street Fight, play it low-end-PG safe. This is supposed to be a brutal match between two crazy fucks. I don’t need crimson masks from every No Holds Barred fight. However, a bit more violence probably wouldn’t have hurt anyone. This match is between The Lunatic Fringe and The Guy Who’s the One in 23-1.  Again, I don’t need everyone writhing around like JBL and Eddie. But, for fuck’s sake! Give me something more than this Hulk Hogan chairshots Brutus Beefcake bullshit. Hell, give me something more than Ambrose swinging the not-working chainsaw. Keep the mamby pamby low-end PG shit for RAW, not your biggest PPV.

I was going to save my rants for later. But, no. You’re giving us two loose cannons and all they can muster are spammed suplexes and a couple weapon attacks?! If WWE don’t get all the fuck the way the fuck outta here with this fuckery, I swear people are eventually gonna say “fuck this noise” in more of a drove than they are already. I don’t need motherfuckers dying to put over a match. But, I need something that’s gonna keep my goddamned attention for more than just the couple moments the crowd kind of lost their shit over. Fuck this match.

After the Diva’s Title, thank God, was retired, our next match is for the newly-revealed WWE Women’s Championship. Three of the Four Horsewomen are in this match. Oooh, goodie. This is great. And, aside from the “Daddy Flair Strikes Again” ending, it was pretty dope. An evenly-matched triple threat between Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch, it was my favorite match of the night (spoiler alerts!) that wasn’t just based on some moments. It had all the magic from their NXT matchups and more. 

Was I pissed that "Daddy Flair" stole the show and made it more about the lengths he'd go to in order to protect his "legacy?" Yeah, I was. Flair's interference was unneeded. However, it does set up the use of Bret Hart by Natalya for Payback. Hopefully, we'll get to see Sasha Banks hoist that title soon enough, though. I don't know how long I can wait before she gets it. Sasha is bae. Sasha is love.

Now, Shane versus Undertaker. 

I liked it. However, I really wanted more from both of them. It felt, to me, more like a replay of Shane versus Angle (in that they beat the everloving shit out of each other and there wasn’t much “actual wrestling”). That’s my only real gripe with it. It relied too much on Attitude Era nostalgia (and, in promos, the use of the word “bitch”) to get it over. But, for what it was, it wasn’t exactly horrible. Just…eh.

The Andre the Giant Battle Royal. I liked Baron Corbin winning, even though he looks like Bo Dallas, with an edge. 

I hated Shaq in the thing. Because now we know we’re gonna get Shaq/Show at some point. Also, Tatanka. We already know how I feel about that schmuck. 

Tatanka’s presence alone makes me hate this match. Am I being too hard on Tatanka because I genuinely hate him as a person, or am I trolling you since you know that I despised Tatanka the character back in the day? The latter, mostly. I don’t know Tatanka as a person. I’m sure he’s cool. I salute the fact that he’s repping his Native American heritage proudly. But, as a wrestler, especially with what he meant for the New Generation (and the RA Era), fuck him and his Tomahawk Chop.

The Rock’s out next to be The Rock and kill Erick Rowan in six seconds. Yep. This is an official match on the WM 32 card because why-the-fuck-not?! And, of course, The Wyatt Family (sans Luke Harper) went on the attack. And, of course, this marked the “return” of JAWWWNNNNNCEEEENAAAAA!!! Cue the motherfucking theme song and the fucking memes! Our savior has returned! 

His time (to return) is (almost) now. Shit…I never thought I’d see the day where I’d prefer Cena Hulking Up and getting the WWE WHC back. But, after the main event we’re about to close this one out to, I’d take anything over Roman Reigns. Spoiler alert? Anywho, after an entrance that was longer than, seemingly, half of the matches on the goddamned card (this match didn’t really even start until after 11PM EST), we got to see the event everyone didn’t want but we got anyway. Fuck this match too. My God. How many times have I said that thus far? Three, four times? I’ll say it again. Fuck this match! 

It was boring and the result was obvious from the jump (remember: people with long-ass entrances tend to lose). Now, I don’t have a problem with Roman Reigns winning in some ways. Hear me out. I think he’s worse than Lex Luger in a lot of ways. I feel that Hulk Hogan today, even with his racist/prejudiced mindset, would be a better choice to lead WWE than Reigns. However, he does show some signs of change. I thought that, with Reigns winning, we would get to see a more vicious, more “fuck you. I’m the Chosen One” side of Roman. Essentially, I thought we’d get the second coming of The Rock that the WWE has been shoving down our throats as a thing that could happen.

So far, even with his “I’m THE GUY” gimmick he’s taken on recently, he’s been even more boring than usual. That’s my main gripe about this shit. If you’re gonna spend all this time, this energy, these many IWC tears to try and put the guy over…at least make him into someone we can kind of want to be put over! If you can’t, move the fuck on! To top it all off, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, after shitting on the fans in kayfabe over the past couple months, were cheered as FACES DURING A FUCKING DARK SEGMENT AFTER THE CAMERAS WENT OFF. That’s a problem. It wasn’t even like a “thank you Hunter” sort of thing. It was a legit, from many sources, applause from the crowd that turned Trips face. 

Maybe that was the plan all along, for WWE to push Roman so hard that he’d have to become the jerkoff heel that we couldn’t help but hate to love by default. Maybe we’re supposed to hate Roman Reigns and his push? Maybe we’re supposed to cheer for Gallows and Anderson to murderize him during RAW? Maybe we’re supposed to hate the guys fucking guts as a character to the point that it sometimes spills over, for some of these fans, into his personal life? Maybe Roman Reigns—and the hatred towards him—is an example of the New New Kayfabe working wonders. 
Now, I don’t know Joe Anoa’i. I won’t pretend to. Like many wrestling fans, I only know Roman Reigns (and will, you know, apologize for saying his real name since, even though I don’t like his character, I respect the business enough to not just rattle off real names). So, Roman Reigns, in real life, may be a pretty chill guy. He may be someone you want to pop some tops with and drink a brew or two with. He may have some dope-ass training tips. His wife is beautiful, his daughter is cute as a friggin’ button, and his hair makes me wish for a Head and Shoulders commercial where he and Troy Polamalu team up to fight dandruff. 

So, again, he’s probably not a bad guy in real life to want to root for. However, I can see why people have a hard time separating real life and WWE. I can see why it’s so easy to hate the guy’s character to the point you’re like “fuck Roman Reigns, in and out the ring.” It’s the way WWE has made him. Do I agree with people saying they hate the guy on a personal level? Eh. But, I get it. It’s kind of WWE’s fault that people hate this guy…but that may be, in some ways, in this New New Kayfabe era, the point…

Back to WrestleMania 32, though. Fuck this shit. It started at, like, 5 and ended around midnight. Roman Reigns’ win was the urine-soaked icing to top this shit cake. Yes, we got some moments that were cool. But, a few good moments don’t help make a PPV great—especially one that, essentially, spans two days. It was too long, devoid of any surprises, devoid of any real standout matches, and devoid of any real soul. The best match was the Women’s Championship match. The worst match was…just about everything else. So, was WrestleMania 32 really that bad? 
Does Roman Reigns need to ditch his Shield gear and Embrace the Hate? Does Shaq need to never get close to a WWE ring again? Do The Usos need to not be interchangeable action figures? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK!?! There were redeeming qualities to it...but overall? It was kind of shit for it to be the biggest WM ever and the biggest show of the year. Sorry. If you like it, that's cool. But me? Even before we got to Reigns/HHH, I was like "fuck this shit."


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