Random Thoughts: WrestleMania 29 Edition

WrestleMania 29, the WWE’s biggest production of the year, airs on pay-per-view this Sunday from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.  I know fairly well that this event has been subject to endless debate and discussion just about everywhere else on the Internet already, but I wanted to contribute a few thoughts of my own.  I’m not going to make any predictions about who’s going to win, lose, or draw here.  Instead, I’d like to talk about a few details about this year’s show that are just a little bit unsettling to me.

For instance, I thought it was unusual this past Monday night when it was announced on WWE Raw that the Intercontinental Championship match between Wade Barrett and The Miz, a match between two athletically gifted wrestlers that had been continuously hyped on WWE programming and which I was looking forward to with enthusiasm, has been scheduled to appear not on the pay-per-view card itself as one might expect, but instead as part of the hour-long pre-show which will air online prior to the big event.  Even though it is typical for at least one match to be included in the pre-show, I thought a different kind of match or two, perhaps a couple of matches with some lesser-known wrestlers, would be placed in that spot instead of this one. 

The part that irks me, though, is that this particular match will be contested for the Intercontinental Title, which, in my opinion, is not exactly a great honor in itself anymore (having your champion, Wade Barrett, lose important matches right and left on your TV shows for months on end doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in me that the belt really matters in the long run), but still holds enough interest that it could warrant a fairly exciting match if it were presented on the WrestleMania card itself.  Barrett and Miz have been debating on television for months about who among them is the bigger movie star; their rivalry has become so heated that they were bound to compete for the title on the “Grandest Stage of Them All,” which I believe they rightly should.  However, now that the match is part of the pre-show, it will only be seen by people watching on YouTube, Facebook, the WWE’s mobile app, and a few other places online.  That leaves a lot of people without Internet access who won’t be able to see what I believe will be a fantastic match, unless WWE decides to air highlights of it during the pay-per-view show.  I’m glad that the match will be featured somewhere, but why not do it on the main show?  WWE has hyped this contest to the moon and the main show is four hours long.  Surely, they could’ve devoted a little bit of that time to the Barrett/Miz match for the entire viewing audience to enjoy.

In fact, I think Barrett/Miz would be a better fit for ‘Mania than the musical performance from Diddy (also known as Sean Combs, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, etc.) that is scheduled for the show.  Musical acts have been regularly featured at ‘Mania alongside wrestling matches.  They usually come in the form of someone like Aretha Franklin singing “America the Beautiful” to start the show or bands such as Motorhead playing live entrance music for the wrestlers to walk out to.  I have seen and heard most of these performances and appreciated the talent of the artists who performed them.  I liked it even more that they usually did not distract from the main attraction of WrestleMania, the wrestling matches.  I’m not sure why Diddy is on the card for this year, though.  The song he will be performing, “Coming Home,” has been a regularly featured part of WWE programming for most of this past year, and I do think it is a very nice song.  However, I don’t see any reason why it should be performed live on pay-per-view.  For me, on a ten-match wrestling show, Diddy sticks out like a sore thumb.

Despite my disappointment in the slight given to Barrett/Miz, I do feel that this year’s ‘Mania show will still be a fun one.  I’m most looking forward to seeing two of my absolute favorite wrestlers, the Undertaker and C.M. Punk, face off against each other in what I think will be the best match of the night.  The Rock and John Cena rematch should be nice as well, and I hope the undercard will have some standout moments.  I’ll hope for the best and have a good time regardless of what happens.

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