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Sidelines: It’s official, World Wrestling Leisure must cut back WrestleMania



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Brock Lesnar is about to carry out in the primary occasion of WWE’s WrestleMania 38 this weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Don Feria/Related Press file picture

Nicely professional wrestling followers, it’s that point of the 12 months once more.

It’s WrestleMania weekend, World Wrestling Leisure’s annual extravaganza that’s to us what the Tremendous Bowl is to followers of the Nationwide Soccer League. It carries quite a lot of nicknames, the “Present of Exhibits,” the “Showcase of the Immortals.” Decide one, you’ll be proper.

And in what has seemingly grow to be custom now, it’s time for my annual column to gripe that it has grow to be too large for its personal britches.

In earlier years and former columns, I questioned if I used to be the one who had the issue. I flip 37 in September. Maybe I’m on a quick observe to succeed in that “Get off my garden” mentality made well-liked within the movie “Gran Torino.”

However this 12 months, greater than every other 12 months, I’m sure of it. It’s time to scale down WrestleMania. Stroll with me for a second.

Look again, for a second, in your favourite WrestleMania moments. Perhaps it was WrestleMania III, when Hulk Hogan bodyslammed Andre the Big and made the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit explode. Perhaps it was WrestleMania X, when Bret “The Hitman” Hart took on his brother, Owen, within the opening match, placed on a clinic for the ages, just for Bret to go on and win the WWE title later within the night over Yokozuna. Perhaps your favourite is, like mine, WrestleMania XVII on the Astrodome in Houston, when the Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian and the Dudley Boyz had the best tables, ladders and chairs match of all time. It additionally noticed the one, and solely, heel flip of some of the beloved characters in wrestling historical past, “Stone Chilly” Steve Austin. Allow us to not neglect, in fact, WrestleMania XXV, when Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker put collectively what’s arguably the best match of the occasion’s historical past.

Take into consideration all these occasions for a second. Did you discover that NONE of them have occurred within the final 5 years? And even 10?

And by the best way, this isn’t me saying WrestleMania 38 can be horrible. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns is with out query a worthy WrestleMania fundamental occasion. I simply hope followers are nonetheless awake when the match occurs.

What I’m attempting to let you know is WWE and Vince McMahon, the corporate’s chairman and chief govt officer, as soon as had an ideal system to make WrestleMania work. Have a at some point occasion, in an enclosed stadium or enviornment. Put collectively a 3-4 hour present, and blow the roof off the place. And virtually with out fail, it labored practically yearly.

However beginning with WrestleMania 36 — the pandemic-cut occasion held on the WWE Efficiency Heart in Orlando — McMahon noticed a possibility, the place his eyes acquired greater, within the hopes of creating his pockets fatter.

Since 2020, WrestleMania has grow to be a two-night occasion. Simply that reality alone makes it tough for a household — which seemingly has plans on a standard weekend — to sit down by way of roughly eight hours (or extra) of professional wrestling in entrance of their televisions over two days. For those who truly make the pilgrimage to wherever WrestleMania is held — I had the pleasure of doing so for WrestleMania 27 on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 2011 — you now should purchase tickets for not one, however two nights of wrestling. You then have to be within the midst of the chaos that could be a wrestling occasion for eight (or extra) hours. Belief me, one night time of WrestleMania is tiring for a fan. Two nights in a row can be exhausting.

McMahon has actually gone off the deep finish this 12 months. WrestleMania 38 is at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the house of the Dallas Cowboys. The constructing can maintain greater than 105,000 followers, which means McMahon is hoping for not less than 210,000 followers over the course of the weekend. I’ll allow you to do the maths on how a lot cash that may rack in for the WWE.

It’s merely an excessive amount of, even for essentially the most ardent WWE fan. There’s a easy system, that may work, that followers will recognize for WrestleMania weekend and get excited for.

Friday: The annual WWE Corridor of Fame ceremony. It’s one among my private favorites yearly. Friday night time’s induction, headlined by Mark Calaway — identified by a number of generations of WWE followers for his character The Undertaker — was an all-timer.

Saturday: NXT — WWE’s feeder program of younger stars — can run their annual WrestleMania weekend present on this night time.

Sunday: WrestleMania. A 4-hour present, with the most effective matches the corporate can probably put collectively. Ideally in an enclosed stadium, however I’m keen to be versatile.

I may rant about different areas of want, equivalent to title unifications, constructing younger stars as an alternative of regularly leaning on stars of yesterday. I may go on for hours. I merely don’t have sufficient area on this column.

However this can be a begin. It’s not the cash seize McMahon hopes for, but it surely’s a powerful system that may preserve followers completely satisfied, coming again and wanting extra 12 months after 12 months.

The previous saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.” WrestleMania wasn’t damaged. It was excellent. McMahon and his govt staff at WWE broke it when their eyes for the occasion acquired too large.

Beginning this upcoming 12 months, it’s time for McMahon and the WWE to repair it.

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