WWE WrestleMania 29: Will It Be Worth Forking out For?
WWE WrestleMania 29 is taking shape, and with just over six weeks until the "Showcase of the Immortals," it is hard not to feel underwhelmed at the prospective matches being finalised.
John Cena and The Rock will square off once more with the WWE Championship penned into the mix, but there are already several issues heading into the event that threaten to derail the appeal of the pay-per-view.
One key factor is the current absence of The Undertaker.
Undertaker has become the face of WrestleMania in the modern era, with the defence of his remarkable streak at the event, which stands at 20-0, becoming the focal point of the showcase in recent years.
Also considering that three of Undertaker's last four matches have been Pro Wrestling Illustrated's match of the year, viewers are essentially guaranteed a spectacle when he performs, which becomes more significant as the 47 year old now only wrestles one match a year.
With Undertaker's presence at the event severely in doubt, fans may already have lost one main event that few offerings from WWE would be able to replace.
Fortunately, there may be a silver lining to this outcome.
With CM Punk — the man reportedly penciled-in to face Undertaker — his continued involvement in the WWE title picture suggests that thoughts of a Triple Threat match for the gold may be developing.
Cena and Rock clashing for the WWE title is as thrilling a prospect as jury duty, but Punk's involvement not only freshens-up the main event picture, it prevents "Twice in a Lifetime" from occurring after the Rock vs. Cena main event at WrestleMania 28.
The WWE Championship picture is uncertain, but it is as clear as a blissful view of the blue sky from a mountain top in comparison to the World Heavyweight title equation.
Jack Swagger's arrest on Tuesday night throws a spanner of the bluntest kind into his planned match with champion Alberto Del Rio, and it remains to be seen whether WWE will stick with the bout.
Swagger's rise to prominence has been shocking to say the least since his return on Feb. 1, and due to his immediate push from a jobber to a main-eventer, it is hard to feel enamoured with the prospect of him facing Del Rio.
The current title holder, a man who was staggeringly stale before his recent face turn, would arguably have struggled to find time even on pay-per-view outside of the big four, had this match occurred six months ago.
Both of the aforementioned clashes for the gold will inevitably take several twists and turns as developments regarding Swagger and Undertaker occur, but the nagging feeling of indifference toward WrestleMania also runs a little deeper.
With part-time superstars flooding the main event scene, casual fans will note the likes of Rock, Brock Lesnar and Triple H scheduled to appear and have a nostalgic incentive to purchase the event.
With The Rock as WWE Champion, buy-rates are unlikely to be an issue for WWE, especially if WrestleMania 28 is anything to go by.
However, for devoted fans who watch the product on a regular basis, witnessing beloved superstars who perform full-time be demoted to a meaningless WrestleMania match can be excruciating to watch.
Talented workers such as Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz will struggle to make an impact at the event in likelihood, bar the possible exception of Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but when the part-timers disappear, it will be these names required to pick up the company's slack.
Should Triple H return to avenge Brock Lesnar's attack on Vince McMahon, we will be presented with the rematch that failed to deliver on its initial hype at SummerSlam 2012.
If both legends were instead facing superstars closing on a main-event push, two fresh matches would be created where new stars could be born on the grandest stage of them all.
Blindly loyal fans are in too deep to afford the luxury of not needing to spend their hard-earned cash, but is WWE doing enough to encourage viewers to purchase the event?
Admittedly, there are several elements of WWE programming that are tremendously exciting right now with the booking of The Shield, a highlight of the company's recent efforts.
The trio of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have become a prominent force heading into WrestleMania, especially after their victory at Elimination Chamber, and it is feasible to envisage them interfering in virtually any match on the card.
That alone is a thrilling thought, especially if the threesome interfere in the WWE title match on behalf of either Rock or Cena, with a potential heel turn destined to instantly create a moment of history.
Another key ingredient in generating WrestleMania buzz has been Paul Heyman's relentlessly impressive acting performances of late.
Alongside either Punk or Lesnar, Heyman has shone and provided. He stays relevant heading into April; his shaky moral stance leaves the possibility of a new allegiance being born with another wrestler or the betrayal of one of his current clients.
The road to WrestleMania has seen its fair share of bumps so far, but there are numerous ways WWE can salvage its showcase presentation, and here's hoping they make spending our money on the event worthwhile.
Thanks for reading, and if you'd care for further ramblings, I can be followed on Twitter @JWoodfield365
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