Look at WWE’s official poster for WrestleMania 29 on the right. Notice that two of the three performers haven't appeared on WWE television since August.
Similarly, on the DVD cover art for WrestleMania 28, one of the five wrestlers featured perform on a full-time basis. Neither promotional artwork features a superstar who was a world champion at the time of its publication.
This highlights what may become a serious problem in WWE; WrestleMania cards stacked with part-time performers.
Seeing The Rock and Brock Lesnar perform in special exhibition matches at the grandest stage of them all is a tremendously exciting prospect, as is watching legends like Triple H and The Undertaker return to the ring.
These megastars will surely draw impressive buyrates and plenty of buzz, but having a WrestleMania card stacked with them is a bad idea, for two main reasons.
The prestige of both world championships diminishes exponentially with each part-time megastar being added to the card, as their match often supersedes the importance of the WWE and world heavyweight championships.
This point is encapsulated in WrestleMania 29’s poster, which doesn’t feature the guy who's held the WWE championship for the entire 2012 calendar year.
This was seen when The Rock and Brock Lesnar’s return matches were the main event of WrestleMania and Extreme Rules respectively, as was Triple H’s match with Lesnar at Summerslam.
How many part-time stars is too many for one WrestleMania?
It may be argued that this problem is quelled by simply having one of the returning stars compete in a match for the WWE or world heavyweight championship. The problem is, no matter what title they compete for, the interest will always be on the stars.
If WrestleMania 29 was headlined by The Rock vs. John Cena (or anyone, for that matter), because The Rock is such a special attraction, you would still think about it as “the match The Rock is in,” not “the WWE championship match.” To a large extent, the same thing can be said about Brock Lesnar.
For instance, when you think back to WrestleMania 27, you think of The Rock’s involvement and interaction with Cena, not The Miz or the WWE championship.
Triple H is too busy with backstage business to commit to a full-time role as a performer, and Undertaker is at the “suffer a debilitating injury almost every match” point of his career, so a world championship feud/run is probably not the best idea for either of them.
Secondly, each part-time star that’s added to a card takes a spot away from a full-time star. I’m not suggesting WWE shouldn’t use any of these megastars so as to give an opportunity to an up-and-coming star, but there needs to be a balance.
Four spots is simply too much. Lesnar vs Triple H = 30 minutes gone. Undertaker’s match = 40 minutes gone (that damn entrance!). Rock’s match = another 30 minutes gone. How much time is left for the world championship matches and the undercard?
The undercard is filled with talent who work hard throughout the year to get a spot at WrestleMania. Not only is it not fair for them to have half of the show devoted to performers who probably won’t even be on Raw the next day, but a star can be made by a WrestleMania moment. It’s a matter of building for the future.
Make no mistake, WWE are in a predicament here. Fans clamor for the return of these legends, and they’re just giving them what they want (and what they’ll pay to see). However, having the card stacked with part-time (at best) megastars is counter-productive in the long run.
Achieving a balance between utilizing existing drawing power and building future drawing power is hard.
With WrestleMania 28, WWE was pushing the limits of 'balance,' and in this regard, it seems that WrestleMania 29 may be a step in the wrong direction.