One month away from Wrestlemania and the storylines are taking shape. The Rock has come back into the fold, somewhat and Stone Cold will be appearing on Raw next week. WWE appears to be pulling out all of the stops here and trying to load the card up. More than likely this comes as a result of faltering buyrates on their PPVs and they’re looking to make Wrestlemania something you not only want to buy but feel like you have to buy. Are we, however, losing sight of that which matters and instead just seeing the names and not the impact? It is arguable that the Miz / Cena storyline has taken a backseat to the Cena / Rock storyline. Triple H and the Undertaker have a little something going between them, and though the Undertaker is a favorite and the streak is enjoyed by many, there is a certain sentiment out there that some people have grown tired of seeing him defend his streak and then disappear for months at a time. Did the Sting rumors damage the Undertakers return, did it make a match against Triple H seem less epic? These are important questions and their answers could affect the Wrestlemania buyrate.
The Rock is obviously loved and his return caused shockwaves through WWE. His return promo was amazing and reminded us what WWE promos could be like, although this reminds a lot of people of how poor many of them are today. We saw the beginning of the Rock / Cena angle. Cena comes out and responds the next week, prompting Rock to respond the week after. The ultimate question is, where is this going? It seems highly, highly unlikely we’ll get a Rock vs Cena match at Wrestlemania. It is more likely we’ll get the Mike Tyson style swerve where Rock somehow helps Cena out and raises his hand as champion. It is amazing, though, how easily Rock is able to turn the audience on Cena and his taped promo this past Monday is arguably one of the greatest promos in the past decade.
This could be a hot angle were it to build into a match, but it seems as though we’re being set up for a letdown because no one sees Rock stepping back into the ring. All the while this entire storyline is pushing down the fact that the Miz is the WWE Champion and he’s putting his title on the line against Cena. If you asked the casual wrestling viewer what they though about Wrestemania they’d probably say they’re excited to see the Rock, but couldn’t name a match for you. Love the Rock, have definitely been enjoying the promos, but it absolutely seems like the WWE title is taking a backseat here and that is a poor decision to make going into Wrestlemania. Time will tell, and yes the Rock is bound to draw in numbers and increase the buyrate but after Wrestlemania when he’s gone away again, you’ll need those matches to have meant more than his involvement.
Triple H and the Undertaker setup their storyline in silence. Many people thought this was a wise choice, and probably in comparison to the Rock anything they would have said would have fallen short. However, what with the promos running promoting the Undertaker’s return and all of the rumors regarding Sting and what is arguably one of the most fantasized about matches ever, Undertaker vs Sting, it seems as though it stole a little of the wind from the sails of this storyline. It feels last minute, it feels hotshot. Now Undertaker vs Triple H could turn out to be amazing, though it is very unlikely they can live up to the work Shawn Michaels did with him the past two years. Triple H’s reason for wanting this match seems a little less than interesting. He wants to accomplish everything there is to accomplish. Well, why would the Undertaker be interested in giving him this match and why wouldn’t the Undertaker put his own conditions on it? If Triple H wants to end your streak wouldn’t you have him put something on the line?
Sadly I did catch TNA this week to see their play on the Undertaker promo and what was the return of Sting. Now, I’ll admit, I’m a fan of Sting. I enjoyed his work in the past and he’s had some great matches in his career. I was, though, underwhelmed by his return to TNA last night. First of all, to this day, I don’t understand the point of trying to plan a surprise return on a taped show. Why not save it for a PPV and make some money off of it? It seems like ratings are what matter here, which is basically what they’re telling you when they say “the network” only cares about ratings. Regardless, the Sting return was fun but less than I thought it would be. Hardy seemed to push hard to make it a good match, and Sting was showing off a new look, but the match felt a little rushed. However, it was fun to see Sting hitting Hardy with the scorpion death drop several times. The question is where do they go from here, how will Sting be as defender of the title, and will we get a Sting vs Immortal storyline that lives up to the expectation they are setting. I can’t help but think if Sting had walked out onto the Monday Night Raw set last week the pop, the response and ultimately, the match would have been one thousand times better.
We’re leaving out some key matches here when looking toward Wrestlemania, most notably Edge vs Alberto Del Rio and Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole but perhaps we’ll take next week and examine the development of those storylines and where they’re going. Always curious for your thoughts on this and what you’d like to see happen. You can smell Wrestlemania in the air. Time will tell if this year blows the past few years out of the water or if it is another step on the slumping road of dwindling buyrates.