Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Part Timer Mania

Brock, Triple H, and Undertaker: Part Timer Mania
Photos by WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I’ve been sitting on this mini-rant until Triple H, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker were officially announced as taking part at Wrestlemania. Looking at the last five Wrestlemanias, there are on average 28.4 wrestlers in matches on the actual pay per view. This number is slightly inflated as it includes Money in the Bank matches from Wrestlemania 24, 25 and 26 which had 7, 8 and 10 participants respectively. Wrestlemania 26 also featured an 8-Diva tag match while Wrestlemania 27 featured an 8-man tag featuring the Corre and Wrestlemania 28 had the 12-man tag Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy match. For the sake of my argument I’m not counting the 25-Diva battle royale from Wrestlemania 25. Wrestlemania 29 doesn’t look to feature a MITB or huge multi-person tag match. So if we reduce those matches to simple one on one match, the number of wrestlers in matches on the show drops to an even 20.

We know that The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, and The Undertaker will wrestle at Wrestlemania. I’m going to make the assumption Chris Jericho will also take part in the show. If the 20 participants average holds up, that means 25% of the show will comprise of part time wrestlers. Meanwhile guys who are on the road 50 weeks out of the year, wrestling 3-4 times a week will be reduced to backstage skits or, if they’re lucky, maybe a pre-show battle royale. Maybe I’m in the minority but the over abundance of guys who only show up for big shows is a big reason why I have next to zero interest in Wrestlemania this year. It isn’t just the part timers; it also has to do with how they’re being used on the show.

Rock faces John Cena...again
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Rock is facing John Cena in a rematch from last year. I’ve mentioned several times here and on From the Rafter’s Radio how much I dislike rematches at Wrestlemania. Besides the rematch factor, this match seems to only be happening so John Cena can get his win back from The Rock. For some reason, the biggest name in the company over the last decade can’t have the blemish on his record that he never beat someone. This is a very similar situation to when WCW brought in the Ultimate Warrior for Hulk Hogan to avenge his loss at Wrestlemania 6. It’s pointless and in the end will mean very little. Instead, I would have preferred to see The Rock work with someone else who could have gotten a rub from being in the ring with The Great One. Personally, I would have gone with Daniel Bryan as The Rock’s opponent, as they could have played off The Rock’s insult from Raw 1000. Also, The Rock wouldn’t have been champion.

Triple H wants Brock Lesnar...again
Photo courtesy: WWE
Triple H wanted to fight Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania so they could “finish what they started at SummerSlam.” Again we have another rematch. Granted it wasn’t from a Wrestlemania. Still, the last time both men were on a pay per view they fought each other. As far as finishing what they started, I think Brock finished it by beating Triple H and the fans put the nail in the coffin by chanting, “you tapped out” at Triple H after the match instead of giving him a favorable reception. On a personal note, I was at SummerSlam so again, I don’t like that I’m paying more money to see a match I’ve already seen. If Brock Lesnar is only going to make a handful of appearances a year, why waste them fighting another guy who only shows up every few months? Shouldn’t WWE try and maximize the usage of the part timers and help build the status of their full time wrestlers?

Undertaker returns
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Undertaker finally pulled his Shredder style robe out of the closet and made his return to RAW on the 3/4/13 show after an 8-month hiatus. CM Punk won a Fatal 4-Way match to earn the right to face the Dead Man at Wrestlemania. With both Triple H and Undertaker fighting again, what did WWE mean by billing last year’s Wrestlemania match was “End of an Era?” Unless CM Punk pulls off one of the biggest upsets in Wrestlemania history, the longest reigning champion in the past 20 years will have lost three straight pay per view matches to part time wrestlers. I know I’m being the typical complaining, oversensitive Internet wrestling fan, but something doesn’t sit right with me when I think about Punk’s record in 2013. I would have preferred Undertaker to retire “the streak” at 20-0 and ride off into the sunset.

As I mentioned earlier, I fully expect Chris Jericho to be involved in some fashion but for the life of me I can’t think of whom he’ll face. In fact, we’re less than five weeks away from Wrestlemania and the only other matches that seem to be hinted at are The Shield vs. Randy Orton/Big Show/Sheamus and Ryback/Mark Henry. Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Damian Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Antonio Cessaro, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, and R-Truth have no storylines going which could lead to logical matches. I left off any tag teams from the list (minus Team Hell No) because tag teams much like Divas, don’t matter. It’s hard for WWE to come up with compelling matches for guys who work all year, but can easily find matches for wrestlers who only wrestle once or twice a year. Guess it makes sense. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

WWE has five weeks to get me interested in Wrestlemania. Right now I’m more excited for the Shimmer show the day before and I haven’t watched a Shimmer show in probably six years nor am I familiar with most of their roster. Am I in the minority? Are you excited for Wrestlemania? Do you prefer to see the part time wrestlers or would you rather see other wrestlers get their shot at making history? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Let us know how you feel on our Facebook page.

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