Every show and pay-per-view you watch has one goal in mind - to keep you watching. The more invested you are the more likely you’ll keep watching. The WWE needs you to keep watching. Unlike other promotions, the WWE has to hook you into their streaming service and their separate weekly shows. Then there’s WrestleMania. One show where all bets are off and stories can finally come to a conclusion. After months, sometimes years, of stringing us all along WrestleMania is supposed to be the payoff. A final moment when you are rewarded for loyal viewing and devotion towards one company. Then there’s WrestleMania 34.
Despite having the kind of matchup card that most promotions would kill for, WWE headed into the year’s biggest show with very little momentum. Even with the debut of Ronda Rousey and the return of Daniel Bryan, the entire show felt inconsequential. Championships were at stake in matches built entirely in the previous month rather than the months long planning matches usually try and get. Three different belts were competed by more than the typical two entrants either to spice up the matches or just due to indecision on WWE’s part. Proximity to story made more sense than actually telling one. Match after match, even with talent inside the ring, we were all left feeling flat and deflated. Somehow the WWE had managed to turn the biggest night of the year into one long advertisement for another show.
It hasn’t been a secret that the WWE were having another major event in April. Only weeks after WrestleMania, the WWE will head to Saudi Arabia and put on the Greatest Royal Rumble. What started off as an easy gimmick in another country to help build support has quickly morphed into a show rivaling WrestleMania. We already knew about the 50 man Royal Rumble match, and the WWE was promising to defend all seven of their titles (that don't involve the women), but it seemed more like a dog and pony show rather than a real impactful event. Then WrestleMania happened.
The Undertaker seemed to be retiring, again, in a match against John Cena. Instead it was over all too quickly and now Taker is back only weeks later facing Rusev for some reason. The IC title match once again features Seth Rollins, The Miz, and Finn Balor but now they’ve added Samoa Joe who’s actually waiting for Roman Reigns’ story to end. Speaking Reigns his match with Lesnar was a pitstop in what many believe is the real ending at the Greatest Royal Rumble show. Despite years of big show matches you won’t get to see Reigns finally prevail at WrestleMania, instead you have to wait another few weeks.
I hope most fans understand that WWE always plans to keep stringing us along. All wrestling promotions do it. But there should also be a payoff. An ending. A reward for the months, even years, of loyalty, curiosity, and support. Instead fans were given an IOU and told to return back in a few weeks for the results they crave. After decades of calling WrestleMania the event to wait for and watch, WWE pitched a tent down the road and called that the real circus to go see. Using your expectations and hopes against you the WWE swindled you for another few week’s worth of attention. I haven’t watched much WWE programming as of late, and now I think I’m almost done with them entirely.