(Hello from 2016. This seems to be the only thing that anyone looks at on the old WordPress version of the site, so perhaps you’d like to see the what I thought about Wrestlemania 32? Maybe?)
I haven’t made any overt mentions of it around in here in a while, but I’m a pro wrestling fan, and have been on and off since about 1986 or so. With some notable exceptions, wrestling is a terrible thing; it’s stupid, violent, racist, sexist, and eventually destroys everyone who gets involved with it sooner or later. It’s a Very Bad Thing, and there’s no good reason for anyone to watch it, but after this long, I doubt I’ll ever be able to get the brain-damaged, steroid-addled monkey off my back. The disease is inside of me, so don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.
Anyway, I grew up watching the WWE, (or WWF, as it was back in my day) and for better or worse (spoiler alert: worse) I’ve always been a WWE guy. No matter what cool stuff has been going on in Japan or the U.S. indies or whatever, the WWE has been what I’ve paid the most attention to. And this is the time of year that’s traditionally the Best Time to watch the WWE, the period between January and April that they call the Road to Wrestlemania. There’s no more competition for viewers with football, so things get ramped up to eleven. Storylines that have been slow-burning for a year come to a head, friends betray each other, rivals clash, superstars rise, and all scores get (presumably) settled at Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is the ultimate pro wrestling spectacle; a giant show in a giant stadium, where giant dudes do giant things. The production is a little bigger, the wrestlers try a little harder, and everyone involved will stop at nothing to make it the best show of the year. It’s basically the Super Bowl of sports.
And it’s gonna suck real bad this year.
Wrestlemania 30 last year was amazing, and the buildup to it was what made me actively start paying close attention again after a long layoff induced by various overdoses, suicides, double-homicides, and Diva Searches. Daniel Bryan had become the most universally loved wrestler since Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar actually seemed like a threat to end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak, the Shield was awesome, the Wyatt Family was creepy in really fun ways, I hadn’t yet been back in the loop long enough to be sick of John Cena, Cesaro looked like they were finally on the verge of doing something with him, and none of us yet knew that CM Punk was never coming back, and what better time than Mania? And in the end, the show was awesome, the Streak that was never supposed to end was ended, Cesaro had his Wrestlemania Moment, the nostalgic Hulk Hogan-based parts of the show were fun and didn’t overshadow the present day parts of the show, and Daniel Bryan won the world title in the most awesome Wrestlemania main event since [name redacted] won in eerily similar fashion at Wrestlemania 20. And aside from Undertaker or CM Punk fans, everyone went home happy.
Then, the rest of 2014 happened. The Ultimate Warrior died three days after his Hall of Fame induction. Daniel Bryan was stripped of the title and was gone for close to a year, following career-threatening neck/shoulder surgeries. Brock Lesnar disappeared for most of the year, even after winning the championship. CM Punk’s exit became terrifyingly final after he went on Colt Cabana’s podcast and dropped The Final Pipe Bomb, throwing accusations at the WWE ranging from trying to withhold his merchandise royalties to trying to kill him by refusing to treat a staph infection. Every five minutes, there was another public controversy about racism, sexism, or trainees in the WWE NXT minor league system getting physically or mentally abused. The WWE Network became a financial disaster that burned up a third of Vince McMahon’s fortune in a single day. The WWE fired Alberto Del Rio essentially because someone else had been racist to him, and he reacted like a pro wrestler. For something like the thirtieth year in a row, Kevin Dunn DIDN’T get fired. Storylines got stagnant, championships got more and more devalued, and it started to seem like Vince was actively seeking to punish every wrestler under the age of 39 for the crime of being below the age of 39. Because of all of these factors and more, the WWE now prepares to limp into Wrestlemania as a multi-million dollar dumpster fire that no one wants to see. AND NOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT DUMPSTER FIRE!