WrestleMania 28: Returning Tradition to Raw and Smackdown
WrestleMania 28 has a list of matches that most fans are very excited for.
But the fact of the matter is that outside of Undertaker and Triple H's Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania this year, there are essentially only two other matches besides that one that wrestling fans should be concerned with.
The Team Long vs. Team Laurinaitis match is going to be very important to the type of programming that the fans will get to see on Raw and Smackdown moving forward.
And of course there is the main event.
John Cena will face The Rock in one of the most hyped matches we've seen in years. Tons of speculation has been thrown around as to who the fans think will actually win. But in this article, I'll point out some factors as to why I think Cena will win.
Whether we like it or not.
'Brand Extension' Begins
In 2001, the WWE became the ultimate superpower in the wrestling world, acquiring both of their competitors of WCW and ECW.
After the company found themselves with virtually all of the best wrestling talent in the world, they had to find a way to manage that talent, and more importantly, a place to put them.
So how did they handle the issue? Brand extension.
The WWE made its wrestlers "show exclusive" and made separate storylines and titles for Raw and Smackdown.
At first, the idea captivated and was celebrated by wrestling fans everywhere.
But good things only last so long.
When the brand extension honeymoon wore off, and the WWE started losing veteran talent rapidly, whether is was from retirement or other means, the idea resulted in some of the worst ratings the company had ever seen.
These poor ratings have lingered over the company for some time now, and are only getting worse.
But it makes the Team Long vs. Team Laurinaitis match at Wrestlemania 28 only that much more genius, and possibly, good for the shows.
Returning Tradition to Raw and Smackdown
In August of last year, we were exposed to yet another new style of programming for Monday Night Raw.
The debut of the Raw Smackdown Super Show hit the air on Monday nights and gave viewers a healthy balance of matches featuring the Raw and Smackdown talent.
The WWE still hasn't seen the ratings jump it would like to for its shows. Personally, I feel the biggest reason is because Smackdown is a taped show.
There's no point for fans to wait until the end of the week to see what's happened on Friday Night Smackdown, when they can just get on their computers Wednesday morning and read a full recap of the Tuesday taped matches.
Every couple of months, the WWE has a special live Smackdown event, and they've seen much higher ratings for the show.
The biggest issue of all might be one that most wrestling fans are overlooking. The fact that both Raw and Smackdown have separate general managers.
Fast forward to the present, and the match that looms upon us at WrestleMania 28: Team Long vs. Team Laurinaitis. The winner of the match will gain full control of both Raw and Smackdown.
Most fans of the WWE Universe are sure to be cheering for Team Long, and I'm sure most of the talent backstage will be hoping for the same.
Regardless of who wins, having one general manager for both Raw and Smackdown will make the cheesy feud between Long and Laurinaitis a thought of the past, and hopefully spell good things for the production value of the shows.
The Doctor of Thuganomics
Everyone remembers John Cena's debut match against Kurt Angle.
When the veteran Kurt Angle returned backstage, he was furious that Cena, who was still green in terms of his mat game, almost broke his leg.
Cena became a fan favorite at that point, and began his first feud, with Chris Jericho.
For the next two years, we were exposed to a parade of battle raps, thuganomics, and Cena acting a role only comparable to Jamie Kennedy in Malibu's Most Wanted.
But it worked for Cena. And the fans ate it up.
It seems like most wrestling fans "hate" John Cena now because it's the thing to do. Given, his wrestling abilities have dropped dramatically to what we first saw, but there's really no justification for the incessant scrutiny Cena faces on a weekly basis.
The Match of the Century
At WrestleMania 28, John Cena will face The Rock in a match that the WWE has been plugging since last year.
And it isn't a matter of why John Cena defeats The Rock at Wrestlemania 28, it's a matter of Cena needing to defeat Rocky.
The last scenario I can think of that relates to this would be The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8.
I've had loads of wrestling fans tell me it doesn't relate because The Rock was already over the top when he faced Hogan at X8, but I completely disagree.
Whether the fans like it or not, John Cena is the face of the WWE. He's almost a modern-day Bret Hart to me in the way he carries himself and what he thinks of his character.
And since Cena is the face of the company, and he garners so much animosity from the fans of the WWE Universe, it's left the creative staff nothing but to think of a way to make Cena popular, again.
I feel that Cena vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 28 will actually be quite a boring match, since neither one of them can really wrestle. The Rock has tons of ring rust and frankly, Cena appears to have forgotten the fundamentals of wrestling years ago.
The key will be the pops of the match and how well The Rock can sell Cena into a true face role for all of the WWE Universe.