WWE needs to avoid the WrestleMania hangover on the morning of April 8th.
I'm referring to the hangover on Monday morning, realizing WrestleMania Sunday was a great night, but all the fun and stars are gone. The Undertaker, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Triple H and who knows who else will all come in for a WrestleMania feud, but be gone from regular appearances the next day.
How does WWE avoid the hangover? Make new stars.
Big names coming in for a WrestleMania payday is just as consistent as the trend of those big names winning. If you keep letting the established names of yesterday get their feelgood win, eventually they won't be able to work WrestleMania anymore, and you're left with names who haven't been made.
The tradition of pro wrestling is putting over someone as you leave. Passing the torch. Doing business.
This is why I've always said The Undertaker probably wants someone to end his streak, because he's old school. He knows you pass the torch on your way out. A lot of fans and those in WWE probably don't want him to lose, myself included, but that's how it goes.
WWE gets a lot of critique for the product today. Critique for the PG nature, their craze with social media and the length of programming. One thing they are able to hang their hat on during this time period in their history is the amount of names who made a lot of money in the past who come back as novelty acts.
WWE had its hottest period over the last 15 years and now get to capitalize on guys like The Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Triple H, Chris Jericho and others returning for brief appearances or even matches.
15 years ago, in the late 90s, WWE didn't have this luxury. The stars from the past back then, which would have been the 80s, were either dead, working for the competition or weren't compatible with the style into which the genre of pro wrestling had evolved.
If you have these talents who are still viewed as legitimate stars, you need to take advantage of that and make new stars.
This is a quality that helped propel WWE in the war with WCW. In the 90s, WCW would use the recycled stars of WWE's past. WWE would just make new stars, all of them stars who are now the nostalgia acts returning for one night.
The Shield, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett, Ryback, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. These are the guys who need to be put over.
There won't be room or booking room to get them all over at WrestleMania, but this list of guys needs to be the focus from WrestleMania onward. It's WWE's job to find the best creative ways to make them all look strong, get the best rubs possible and for the audience to care about their characters when WrestleMania is over.
Working WrestleMania isn't a guarantee, but rather a spot you have to earn. The guys I named have been working around the year and around the clock to get better. Respect for your elders and appreciation for those who came before you is great―but it can't be an unlimited credit card to cash in at WrestleMania.
I'm not suggesting The Rock, The Undertaker or any other names from the past don't care about the future and the young guys. I'm just saying we need to see it.
The Undertaker doesn't have to lose, or The Rock and John Cena can still take place―but that doesn't mean a group like The Shield can't be given an opportunity to have a shining moment with one of those future Hall of Famers on the grandest stage.
Chris Jericho can win at WrestleMania, but let's make sure he helps make a young star who is going to be around the next day (and whenever Jericho returns again) matter for the long term. I like the thought of Jericho as a heel versus Ryback.
Brock Lesnar can battle Triple H, but let's find a creative way to have someone benefit for the future. Perhaps Brad Maddox is still tied in with Paul Heyman at WrestleMania and involved in the outcome. This doesn't mean Lesnar has to win. Maddox can be involved in the outcome that ultimately leads to a Triple H win. It's the fact he was involved in the scenario on this grand stage that helps get him over.
Rubs don't have to be wins. Rubs are opportunities to not look weak. Stone Cold's greatest rub, the one that launched his career as one of the biggest faces ever, was a loss to Bret Hart at WrestleMania XIII.
Shawn Michaels' first WrestleMania co-main event and world title match was a loss at WrestleMania XI.
Creative booking will be the Gatorade to get us all through the morning after WrestleMania.