WrestleMania season is upon us.
It’s a strange one this year. With one sweaty exception in the form of Shane McMahon, and maybe a po-faced one in Edge, Vince McMahon has refused to parachute in the legends of yore. Finally, after almost a decade of short-term thinking that has undermined the careers of various full-time talents, we have received an answer to the question that defined a generation: What would happen, if WWE didn’t rely on Attitude Era part-timers?
That answer is this: WWE will promote a really mid-feeling WrestleMania that doesn’t much feel like one.
The idea, when that question was posed with this feeling once referred to as “hope,” was that the current, fresh crop of stars would show WWE just how good they were. And yet, much of WrestleMania 37 feels like it could’ve been the WrestleMania XXVII undercard. The women are no longer treated as objects over which Kevin Dunn enjoys masturbating, so there is that.
There’s no one match that feels like a true, unmissable contest fought between the best and most relevant names dominating the industry. It’s not a life-affirming card, nor is it a terrible one. It’s just sort of there.
Can the same be said of WrestleMania itself…?
WrestleMania is WWE’s oldest and biggest show of the year, and is undoubtedly the most important. Everything builds towards ‘Mania; it is the Grandest Stage on which legends are made and the most revenue is generated.
The myth exposed:
For years, because this is wrestling, Shawn Michaels was asked when he was coming out of retirement and specifically, who he was going to work at WrestleMania. WrestleMania was implied; he was hardly going to wrestle AJ Styles at Stomping Grounds.
But, in the wake of the rivers of blood money WWE allowed to pour in upon striking an agreement with the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, Shawn Michaels was hardly going to work WrestleMania.
The Saudi shows are the big earners now, and moreover, a typical episode of SmackDown was as (if not more) valuable to WWE ahead of the Peacock deal. This era of exorbitant TV rights fees has mutated the industry to such a seismic extent that the positioning of WrestleMania as the biggest show of the year is now fiction: a myth.
The Peacock deal feels like a bad investment, and even if it succeeds, its worth is reportedly equal to that of the deal WWE made with FOX in 2018.