WrestleMania 32 Review: Falling Short

The Super Bowl of WWE, naturally held at Jerry World. Photo Courtesy: OTRSCentral
The Super Bowl of WWE, naturally held at Jerry World. Photo Courtesy: OTRSCentral

By Connor Risenhoover

WrestleMania season has come and gone yet again. Weeks and months of build-up culminated in the five plus hour special in front of the record breaking AT&T Stadium crowd. The main event wrapped up and featured the audience cheering the fan favorite as he was able to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The nearly 100,000 fans streamed out of the stadium content having just seen an event with their favorites come out on top and excited about what is to come in the WWE in the upcoming year.

Except, that isn’t what happened, that is a bizarro version of WrestleMania. A look in at what might have been rather than what is. Much like the Superman villain Bizzaro, this event looked like a WrestleMania at first glance but holds wildly different characteristics when viewed critically.

WrestleMania is an event that caps off a year of wrestling for the WWE. It is where feuds are settled, titles changed, and storylines wrapped up. This, for lack of a better term, is the season finale of the WWE. Like any good finale, the product gets wrapped up and comes together to coherently tie the entire season’s plot threads together. Typically, even if the end isn’t happy there is some hope or something more coming in the future done on purpose to keep the audience excited for the product.

Bizarro WrestleMania took the exact opposite approach. For fans of the WWE, there was very little to be excited about. There was great wrestling on the show, dangerous stunts, and fun moments, but in the long run why did the majority of the decisions get made? Why did the New Day need to lose? Why were the Wyatt’s made to look like fools? What was the point of this story line? Many of these questions come to mind as soon as WrestleMania is looked at from a standpoint that is any more critical than a child.

It’s at this point that it is important to take a critical look at some of the most confusing and anti-WrestleMania moments that happened in Dallas.

Feed the Old Guys

There is nothing with embracing nostalgia. WrestleMania runs to a certain extent on nostalgia. The idea that older and retired wrestlers can come back and participate is something that can happen in wrestling that can’t happen in a sport like football. Favorites out of their prime can come back and feel the roar of the crowd and deliver their finishers and be a part of a great moment. Sometimes, they do this at the expense of the current guy on the roster who has to be a part of that action.

This year saw the League of Nations and the New Day get upstaged by the legendary Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. There is nothing wrong with having old and new wrestlers interact but especially this Mania, it felt like one of the genuinely fan favorites, The New Day, were out shined in what should and could have been their moment because the legends had to have theirs. In a moment that could be even more devastating Bray Wyatt, a young guy who is there the whole year, was embarrassed and emasculated by the Rock who only appears at the big events. They used a part-timer legend to destroy an everyday guy to make sure that the fans still loved the Rock.

Back to Normal

Things end at WrestleMania. There is a finality attached to matches and story lines that the WWE in recent years has not been attached at many of its other events. Matches put a cap on the end of stories in the same way that a death or change in status quo does for a television show. This year, however, everything returned back to normal. The storylines ended and nothing changed. Status quo remained. In most cases there is nothing for fans to get excited for going forward. The Authority is still in power, Shane failed, Roman Reigns is still a good guy despite the crowd hatred, booking failed, and there is no new star that WWE can put against its top wrestlers, WWE failed. Everything is back how it was and the things that mattered stayed the same. What is there to be excited about for a fan? Everything they hoped for didn’t happen, definitively. What’s left to cheer about when Mania ends?

Nothing to Cheer for

What were the fans supposed to be excited about Sunday night? All of their heroes and the good guys were defeated. Men who needed to win to get the crowd behind them were exposed as frauds who weren’t able to follow through on their word. The fans cheered and cheered but one by one they saw their heroes fall. AJ Styles in his first WrestleMania was defeated, looking like someone who should have stayed in Japan. The New Day looked to be a fun group who couldn’t get it done against the bottom of the WWE barrel League of Nations. Roman Reigns, the scourge of many wrestling fans appeared to a chorus of boos and was able to defeat Triple H as a sort of cherry on a hopeless sundae. What did the fans have to cheer for? Very little.

It seems hopeless for fans who wanted some sort of change in the monotony that has become the WWE. No more is it a business where anything can happen, it has become anything could happen but it won’t. NXT was amazing and out shined Mania by a mile. Fans who want to be entertained and have a story that is coherent should check that out.

Hope is dead was the theme of WrestleMania. Hope is gone and nothing should be cheered for. For wrestling fans, however, there is always the next night. Raw provides opportunity for story lines to develop in the ashes of Bizarro WrestleMania. Here’s hoping that wrestling gets darkest before a revitalizing dawn.