April 1. WrestleMania 28. The end of an era. The clash of eras. WWE has banked a lot of its resources in order to ensure the festival in Miami becomes a resounding success. Big names of the past—The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H—feature prominently on the card.
The Hell in a Cell match is advertised as the end of an era. Neither of the three legends involved are likely to be on regular TV for a while after WrestleMania. While Triple H may return in his role as COO of the company, he is unlikely to be very active in the ring, barring a few pay-per-view outings.
The Rock’s epic encounter with John Cena, while certain to be a grand encounter, will not lead to Dwayne Johnson staying on in the WWE. He might appear once more on the Raw after, but that is likely to be it from him for a while.
CM Punk taking on Chris Jericho is the most balanced in the whole card. But Jericho’s own fate after WrestleMania is far from certain. If he becomes the champion, he might stay a while. However, with his interests in other fields of entertainment, he is unlikely to be on WWE programming for a continuous and prolonged basis.
Daniel Bryan defending his World Heavyweight Title against Sheamus is an exciting prospect. Somehow, WWE has failed to give this match enough momentum and hype heading into Miami. While it will probably be a technical and entertaining affair, the fact that it is not given its fair share of hype will probably hurt its ability to generate enough interest.
The Intercontinental Title match is a mismatch. It is a good enough match for SmackDown or a regular PPV, but it just doesn’t feel like a WrestleMania match. The Intercontinental Title has historically been the symbol of the best worker in the company. Big Show might be a decent worker, but he lacks the finesse to give a match worthy of this prestigious strap.
The General Manager feud would be enjoyable—had the ground work been laid in advance. Now, it just looks like a battle royale that has been pushed up the card. There are way too many people in the match. And neither Long nor Laurinaitis appears good enough to run both shows on his own.
The lesser said about the Divas match the better. Many fans already see Divas competition as a bathroom break. Having a non-title tag team match with a “celebrity” that no one knows will only reinforce that sentiment.
The problem is that WrestleMania is all about the wrong people. The Rock, The Undertaker and Maria from Extra TV will all disappear soon after. Shawn Michaels will probably do the same and Triple H might return to his suit and tie. Even Chris Jericho might end up in another musical tour or reality show before SummerSlam. And neither Kane nor Big Show is in his prime, so they are unlikely to be carrying any great load for the company.
WrestleMania 28 should have become a platform for the WWE to create alternatives to John Cena, Randy Orton and CM Punk. They are great draws, but they cannot be the only ones the company banks upon. While Wade Barrett’s unfortunate injury might have prevented one potential choice, others—notably Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler—have been put into matches that do nothing for their future.
WrestleMania 28 might be a financial success, but it risks becoming a disaster for the company. The rebuilding phase starts April 2. Unless the WWE starts building new stars, the whole talent landscape will suddenly look barren and unappealing to the fans.