April 6, 2009
Gary Mehaffy

The Real WrestleMania Winners and Losers

Well, WrestleMania has been and gone – and I’m exhausted!

It didn’t finish until 4a.m. U.K. time, and I’ve been up since just after 9a.m. this morning, so you do the math!

I want to break it down (not DX style obviously) piece by piece and see what difference, if any, all of the matches might make in the short/long term.

Carlito/Primo v Miz/Morrison – now, I’m not saying that I bought WM just to see this match, but man was I not happy that it got bubbled off the main card. Much like John Cena’s battle rap from a few years ago, I was actually looking forward to watching this tag team unification match. I’m pleasantly surprised that the Colon’s won, as I’m a big mark for Miz/Morrison, as many of you will know. I’m hoping that with only one set of champions that the tag team division will pick up a little steam from here on in (although I’d like to see them carry all four belts around as it makes the team carrying them seem more important). Well, maybe it’ll last as far as Backlash…………

Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton’s main squeeze opened the show proper – she wasn’t as bad as I expected. Hey, it wasn’t Christina, but what can you expect?

MITB – I had picked MVP for this one, although in my heart of hearts I wanted Punk to win again. Truthfully, I had no belief that they would go with him again, but remember that anything can happen in the WWE! I had this feeling from before WM that whoever won this year wouldn’t go on and win the title when they cashed the briefcase in, and I stand by that belief. That not withstanding, I CAN see Punk being elevated properly this year and staying there. Oh, and if Vince doesn’t see how the hardcore WWE fan takes to Christian after last night then he never will. And props to Shelton – you may have the charisma of a walnut, but you are more athletic that ¾ of the roster combined.

KIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDD RRRRROOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCCKKKKK. Now, remind me why the tag match got shafted for this (much as I don’t mind Kid Rock)? And was he only there because ACDC double booked?

Miss WM – I feel bad for the returning divas, because after all the hype they didn’t even get an introduction. Even the Gobbledygooker got an introduction a few years ago! It would have been nice to see Sunny, Molly, Torrie et al get their 5 minutes back in the spotlight, but I figure some of them will get that tonight on Raw. Santino winning was hardly rocket science, but I still hope they pair him with Rosa and ditch the pseudo gay/camp character he’s currently playing, naturally funny as he is.

Jericho v Piper/Snuka/Steamboat – this could have been worse. I think. I would much have preferred Rourke/Y2J actually, but that’s just me (the angle kind of fell away a little when Rourke pulled out of the actual match). It was nice to see Steamboat get a good reaction, and I can see Y2J boasting on Raw how he defeated the legends with hopefully one of the younger generation of guys fighting for their honour, with, say, Flair giving the new guy his seal of approval.

Matt v Jeff – this may not have been the best match they could have done, but I liked it and I thought the ending looked pretty cool. I have to say that I was pleased that Matt won, as it obviously means there will be at least one rematch. Had Jeff won, as my brother so rightly pointed out, then Matt would have been dead in the water, but with things swinging his way then we at least get the opportunity to see his character develop more over the coming weeks. This could (and should) be the impetus for them both to break through the (oft mentioned) glass ceiling, especially if Edge and Cena might not be around a lot in the next few months due to (apparent) injury and a new movie, respectively.

JBL v Rey – what? Are you kidding me? Ok, so it was obvious what would happen after JBL booted him in the head in the pre match, but this? Way to bury Rey again. At least he will have a better quality of matches than JBL could. Does anyone have the number of the former Low Ki, now residing in FCW? The IC belt could use a new feud, and if he was (supposedly) brought in to feud with Rey, then why not over the belt and why not now?

HBK v Undertaker – need I say anymore? This had masterclass written all over it before we even saw them lock up. They had the crowd in the palms of their hands, but as soon as the match was finished we wondered how ANYONE was supposed to follow it. Long term, what happens from here? Well, they’ll both take time off shortly, no doubt, and they’ll both be (rightly) applauded and lauded for this match, but did it help the future of the company? Did it make anyone that can sell tickets for the next 5 years? Did it set the foundations for someone else breaking through the aforementioned glass ceiling? No, no and no, but you know what? Right now, I don’t care, because it was simply stunning. Congrats guys.

Cena v Show v Edge – honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about this match, I really couldn’t. We will now have some HILARIOUS interplay between Cena and Vickie as Mr. Thug Life has won not just the title, but Vickie’s heart too. Yes, the last word in capitals was designed to be said sarcastically. Oh, I notice Austin passed Cena the torch at the Hall of Fame ceremony (cunningly designed as a beer). No matter how many times they try, Cena will not become this generations Austin, but he does provoke a reaction which is why he is still at the top of the card, cause heaven knows there isn’t any other reason. Cena needs to think long and hard of his goals in wrestling, as he (still) needs to improve a few flaws in his act. Come back soon Edge! And, please Vince, keep Show out of ANY main events in the future, he just doesn’t justify being there.

Nice to see Terry Funk again at WM – thankfully his horses all appear to be keeping better (inside joke).

HHH v Orton – was that HHH symbolically breaking the glass ceiling (or in this case, wall) for everyone to pass through to the promised land? Let’s be realistic here. The match was only so-so, with less reaction than most of the matches all night (I thought it was a nice touch, actually, not having Legacy run in, even if it made no sense for them to stay in the back). It’s not necessarily that people didn’t care, they were just spent by the time it came out and, again, how could ANY match with HHH on this night come close to matching the Taker/Michaels match? HHH had to win, but surely he should have celebrated with his family after it? I guess that will be saved for Raw tonight too. I would have preferred to see Orton win, but HHH was the obvious winner. Does it do much for the WWE’s short or long term future? Not that I can see, and that’s a disappointment.

So, match results aside, who were the big winners and losers of the night?

The winners – CM Punk, Shelton (for his big ladder spot), Matt, Jeff, Taker, HBK and, eh, that’s it (assuming that we look at things with a clear head).

The losers – Miz, Morrison, Primo, Carlito, most of the divas, Rey, JBL, Edge, HHH and Orton.

Don’t get me wrong, other than the divas match and the (almost non) match between JBL and Rey, I didn’t think any of them were bad – they ranged from acceptable (Y2J/legends) to good (HHH/Orton) to superb (need I name it?), but in the grand scheme of things I think it left more WWE guys thinking ‘What if?’ than thinking ‘Now what?’

Well it at least left me thinking that way.

PPV’s should end feuds and leave you seeing the possibilities for new ones. Did it achieve the former? Yes. The latter? Well, not really.

And that, for me, will be the problem from this WM.

Where was the long term planning? Where were the twists and turns that left you guessing for WM matches fro, say Survivor Series time onwards? Where were the new generation of superstars climbing the ladder to success by getting a rub (even in defeat) from one of the more cemented main eventers?

They weren’t anywhere.

Please don’t misunderstand this – I’m not knocking the WWE as a whole, or being too down on things. I gave WM a definite thumbs up, no doubt about it, but I just wanted to sit back and look objectively to see how it helped long term.

The answer is, it didn’t, and that will be left to the draft on the 13th – that’s just lazy booking, in my opinion.

Again, as with all of my work, I ask the question – did I say a lot or just sound like I did? That’s not for me to say, but what I will say is that I write to get people thinking. I love wrestling and I love the WWE, but I’m not blind to it’s’ faults and failings.

As good as WM was, I’m hoping that things will be shaken up a little, and we will see some new wrestlers break through to the promised land in the next several months, and carry the WWE through the next several years. I think the possibilities are there, but it will take some soul searching and brave decision from the powers that be to do so.

And that, to coin a phrase, could be Vince’s parting legacy to WWE.

Should you wish to pat me on my back, correct me or just plain vent your own frustrations, then email me – garymehaffy@hotmail.co.uk – and I’ll drop you a line back asap.

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