It’s an old saying: in order to catch flies, you have a better chance of drawing them in and capturing them when you give them something sweet. When you attempt to draw them in using something sour like vinegar, it doesn’t have the same effect. What you’re probably asking is, what am I getting at? It all comes down to the events of April 3rd, 2016. A week or so later, fans have had time to think about what took place and whether or not anything was really worth it. So while there was great anticipation for the event, there was disappointment based on booking that didn’t sit well with a number of fans. I sat that night with friends and family watching in anticipation of each match and thought a number of times, why? Why was this decision made or that decision made? It came to me because it’s probably what they want us to do.
Let’s think for a moment about each match that took place and try to understand the rationale of the booking. I’m not saying agree with it or necessarily support it, but rather understand it. On the preshow, we had Kalisto facing off against Ryback. I wasn’t sure of what the Vegas odds on this match may have been, and even in our household the votes were split, but I was under the impression that they would want Ryback as the flagbearer for the US title. In the end, Ryback didn’t end up on top, but rather Kalisto was the preferred choice to retain the title and continue as the United States Champion. The question we are left with is why? It makes for a good story that the good little guy was able to get the better of the big guy. Perhaps because Kalisto resonates with younger fans, having him as champion moving forward does make sense to an extent.
One of the most hotly contested matches of the evening was the Intercontinental Title Ladder match. DolphZiggler,Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, SamiZayn, Kevin Owens, The Miz and Stardust were all a part of the match up. The inclusion of a number of different names also meant that there were a number of possibilities to win. Fans may have leaned towards Kevin Owens, SamiZayn or possibly DolphZiggler to win. As much as it was a good story to have Zack Ryder walk away with the win, there was nothing to lead fans to believe that it could possibly happen. So when Ryder stood atop of the ladder and claimed the Intercontinental championship, fans were probably left thinking why? The reason is, probably, why not?
At a time where we predict things because the story seems to leads us in a certain way, we didn’t see a Ryder win coming. Our access to so much information often clouds our judgment; recently, Zack Ryder has been teaming up with MojoRawley in NXT to make up the tag team of the Hype Bros. The team has seen a moderate amount of success and was intended to put Ryder in the position of mentor to Mojo. Even though Ryder lost the title the next night, being swerved is sometimes probably done for our own good.
As the show went on there were other surprises that fans probably see coming. One of the biggest had to be the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. There were sixteen advertised participants, and we knew there were going to be surprize entrants. Baron Corbin,Tatanka, Diamond Dallas Page and ShaquilleO’Neal, all big surprises, rounded out the group to an even twenty participants. The inclusion of Shaq certainly filled the celebrity involvement on the show, but did it make sense to have him involved, filling a spot that could have been given to someone that is part of the roster? As a fan, I couldn’t see the fairness of having him included, even though some may have enjoyed seeing him in the ring face-to-face with The Big Show. The same however, could be said about the inclusion of Tatanka and Diamond Dallas Page. The critical side of us says, why have wrestlers that are past their prime taking up spots that could be better allocated towards those on the roster that deserve it? However, in some cases, nostalgia is unquestionably something that makes sense. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to rekindle memories of stars by having them compete in such a way that they aren’t made to look bad and embarrass themselves.
If there was a match that didn’t really hurt a tag team regardless of the result, it was the League of Nations/New Day match up. It was fun to see New Day walk out of a giant box of Booty O’s and have them spill across the entranceway. It was the best kind of pageantry. By comparison, the League of Nations came across as heels that fans want to jeer. They made themselves unlikeable in every sense of the word. They had the advantage with the extra participant in the match, so they essentially had every reason to go over. Despite fans opinions, the League of Nations going over in the end was exactly what they needed. This was an instance that regardless of who got the pin, it became more pressing that League of Nations walked away with the victory.
Another match that could have easily gone either way in terms of booking was the Dean Ambrose/Brock Lesnar one. It is fair to say that a squash in favor of Lesnar was something that many fans could imagine. Lesnar on innumerable occasions has beaten up and beaten down his opposition, and this wouldn’t have been any different. So to no one’s surprise that is exactly what we witnessed. What was interesting, however, was the fact that, despite it being an anything goes type match, weapons were not something Lesnar needed to inflict pain on Ambrose. Whereas Ambrose was willing to use everything but the kitchen sink to beat down the Beast, Lesnar simply beat Ambrose down. This was in fact one of those matches where very little criticism came up. However, if there is a concern, it is how this will affect Ambrose in the future, a concern that often comes up when he loses. It is safe to say that an Ambrose loss won’t be the end of him. Indeed, he may be held in a higher regard with fans. In hindsight, there really was no other way to finish because if Lesnar lost cleanly would fans believe it?
It will be interesting what the future holds for both these characters, as it has been speculated that Lesnar will be involved in a program against Bray Wyatt.
One of the bigger spectacles of the night was Shane McMahon and The Undertaker. The build to the match indicated there was just two possible outcomes: Either Shane is winning or The Undertaker is walking away the winner. The end result was a match that was filled with staged bumps and extraordinary falls. The match was certainly set up in such a fashion that it didn’t allow for much wrestling to happen, and that could have very well been the point of having it. Without question, the near fifty foot drop that Shane McMahon did was comparable to that of Mick Foley’s huge bump years ago. The concern, however, was would it all be worth it? Would having Shane fall some near fifty feet result in a pay off? Could outside interference be what results in a Shane McMahon victory? The answer was no. There was no one that came to his aid to ensure that Raw would go in a different direction. It ultimately resulted in a loss for Shane McMahon and The Undertaker being off of television.
As many saw the next night on Raw, Vince decided to give Shane a chance because he believed the show will be a failure. While I would have thought the chances he took during his match against the Undertaker would have convinced Vince to change his mind and let him run Raw, that wasn’t the rationale. This was always a battle I remained critical of because, regardless of the fallout, it just didn’t make sense. We can understand that the idea was to simply use the shock factor, it really had to leave fans somewhat dejected knowing that the result meant that they weren’t going to see changes on Raw.
If there was something that was peculiar, it was the Wyatt family/Rock/Cena altercation. It certainly got a reaction from the fans, but leading up to the event we had no idea what The Rock’s role would be. While he initially came out and stated that the attendance record was broken, it is strange that it somehow translated into an impromptu match. On the whole, the company is better off drawing their fans in by enticing them with sweetness rather than leaving them with a sour taste in their mouth.
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