The metaphors for this week in wrestling are aplenty; the Superbowl of Wrestling, the FA Cup Final of wrestling etc. basically it’s the pinnacle and most important weekend of the wrestling calendar. It’s a weekend for us fans, and there is plenty to get our teeth into. There’s the NXT Takeover in New Orleans; a card filled with talent. Takeovers have become such a big deal over the years that they’re highlights of any big WWE event for lots of fans. They’re something different to the main roster and feature stars and story-lines that have a life of their own, away from the more ‘traditional’ WWE programming.
I rarely get to see much NXT and it’s a shame. I enjoy reading Kurt Zamora’s NXT write-ups on TJRWrestling, and I try to keep abreast of what’s been going on down in Florida. I’ll definitely be checking out the Takeover show on the WWE Network to see what all the fuss is about. I want to see the NXT stars in their own environment rather than wait until they come up to the main roster. Sometimes their move to the big shows dampens their star power and some are left wondering why they were regarded as such a big deal in the first place. That’s a shame, as not everyone will come into Raw or Smackdown Live with the momentum they had on NXT. Many of the women have transcended well in recent years such as Asuka, Charlotte and Sasha Banks, but for every successful transition, there are those who just didn’t click for one reason or another. The Revival haven’t got going with any sort of momentum (largely due to injury), nor has Bayley ever hit the heights she did on NXT.
The WWE Annual Hall of Fame is another grandiose spectacle that comes around but once a year. I try to catch it over the weekend as I enjoy seeing the more human side of the stars and their tributes to the fans, their colleagues and mentors. I’m not keen on the rowdiness of the crowds however, and I dislike the excessive chanting that sometimes goes on throughout. That’s my personal take, and seeing as the fans have paid their money to be there, I suppose they can behave however they want, as long as they feel it isn’t too over the top.
Then there’s Wrestlemania itself; a spectacle, an epic, a show-stopping event that rightly should be the brightest, biggest, loudest and best show of the year. Huge arenas filled to the rafters with fans from across the globe, all there to have their very own Wrestlemania moment. The show is almost as long as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, possibly longer, but I don’t care. It’s a one-off. It’s special. Come the final matches, will I be tired and wavering? No, because I want to see them. Do boxing fans become more bored the closer to the main bouts the night gets? No, they build the anticipation and excitement in the stadium. They begin to feel the passion and spark in the air. Everyone is there because they love what they’re seeing, and that’s no different for us wrestling fans. I can’t wait to see AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. I want to see if Undertaker will show up. Hell, I want to see Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns slug it out in the last hour of the show.
Then there’s the plethora of side-shows and events around Wrestlemania itself; the Axxess Events, signings, photographs and indie shows (that sometimes pop up) that are on at the same time. It’s been a dream of mine to attend a Wrestlemania, but if I were to do it, I’d go all in. I’m talking the signings, photo ops, queue-jumping wristbands and everything. I’d want to meet everyone and anyone. I’d take in the Hall of Fame, Takeover, Wrestlemania itself and, if I had any energy left, the Raw after Wrestlemania too. Is that too much wrestling? Would I be burnt out and wouldn’t want to see a Bullet Club shirt ever again? Perhaps, but you have to remember, these are special events that happen together once a year. I personally don’t see them as ‘too much’ if they happen once every twelve months.
Is it better that we, the fans, have too much to watch, attend and enjoy or nothing at all? After all, this is our weekend. It’s when we can take time off work, cancel plans, grab some popcorn and enjoy hours upon hours of what we like to watch. Whether it’s in person, live on TV or the next day on the WWE Network (which I will be doing for most of Wrestlemania – damn having to work on Monday mornings), I sincerely hope each and every one of you enjoy this weekend. I hope you enjoy whatever your favorite show is and I hope it’s something we can talk about for years to come.
Happy Wrestlemania weekend everyone!