One of the great things about Wrestlemania – usually! – is that no matter your interest in wrestling this Big Event delivers. Not so this year, I’m afraid. I found Wrestlemania 32 to be something of a snooze-fest. Okay, there were one or two great moments. But for the most part it felt like the longest episode (and one of the laziest) of normal TV/bottom-rung-PPV programming.
Perhaps it was the desperation around assembling a main event – which then just dragged on.
But there was something else missing. No real Wrestlemania Moments.
Even the cameos felt forced. The celebrity element dialled back. The pageantry not there.
So let’s discuss the good. Well, the opening seven man ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental title – essentially the Money In The Bank match – was amazing. These opening ladder contests have regularly been the highlight across the last half-decade and this was no exception. Tight work, great spots, actual thrills, storytelling, athleticism – it was close to perfect.
So that’s the good stuff pretty much all discussed…
Well, not quite.
Also the Shane McMahon/Undertaker match – this card’s other really big moment, Hell in A Cell – was about as good as you could hope from two old guys. Particularly when Shane-O-Mac was never anything great as a wrestler, and has been out of the ring for longer than he was ever in it. He was mad enough to take the big bump.
Good as that was – in that it gave you something to watch, something to try to be excited about, it’s hard to care about the Undertaker at Wrestlemania now that his streak was ruined (and all for nothing, in the scheme of things) and he really is slow-slow-slow…looking old, tired and, er, dead…
That’s honestly about it. The rest of the card was a snooze, with one or two okay moments. And The Rock’s big talk was laboured and far too long. It felt like a space-filler, because by the time they made it to the Main Event they realised it was tanking.
The “Legends” Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Mick Foley had the other almost-fun spot. I say ‘almost’ because these guys looked a bit old and silly too and the context was non-existent. Worrying about context in wrestling is of course a bit like worrying about whether it’s real or fake. But I like there to be a reason for things to happen – and a flow, a logic. Much as there can be. This just felt like a clusterfuck. Never more so than the Andre The Giant Battle Royal featuring Shaquille O’Neal. He and The Big Show went at and eliminated one another. It was so absurd. And not in the god-that’s-stupid/wonderful way you sometimes expect with pro-wrestling.
The Hall of Fame was long and laboured too. And they’re running out of people that truly deserve a place there now…
You might have to go all the way back to Wrestlemania IX to find more disappointment. At least that was head-scratchingly bonkers-bad. Almost so bad it’s kitsch-classic good now. This was just slow, forced, lazy, boring, bad.