WWE WrestleMania 29: Mishandling of Undercard Will Mar Wrestling's Biggest Event

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

WrestleMania is unquestionably the WWE's biggest show of the year, so it should receive the most thorough and logical build possible. While the writers have done a nice job with the main event scene, the undercard has been neglected, and it will ultimately prevent WrestleMania XXIX from being elite.

Although I'm sure that every fan isn't enamored with WrestleMania's triple main event, there is no denying the fact that the main event matches make sense and have plenty of star power. The Rock vs. John Cena, The Undertaker vs. CM Punk and Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar are headliners on any show, so the WWE doesn't have a lot to worry about in that regard.

The true issue is the undercard as there are far too many matches in the works that have been clumsily put together at the last minute. In a perfect world, the build for most WrestleMania matches should begin at the Royal Rumble or at Elimination Chamber at worst. A handful of the supporting feuds on the 'Mania card weren't conceptualized until recently and that clearly isn't a recipe for success.

If all of the main event matches live up to their advanced billing and then some, maybe WrestleMania XXIX will be viewed as a great one. The odds of all three top matches being carried out to perfection aren't very good, though. At least one of them is bound to fall flat to some degree, but the WWE doesn't have the necessary undercard depth to make up for something like that.

In the interest of fairness, the WWE has done well with Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger as Swagger won at Elimination Chamber to become No. 1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Their rivalry has existed since then, has a true basis and has been developed properly over time. Also, the feud between The Shield and the team of Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show has been decent, although Big Show was thrown into the fray seemingly out of nowhere a few weeks ago.

Aside from those bouts, the undercard has felt rushed and even nonsensical in some ways. A prime example is the Tag Team Championship match which will pit Team Hell No against Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. I realize that A.J. has history with both Kane and Daniel Bryan, but this feud has come to fruition out of nowhere and it involves a guy in Ziggler who should be featured in a singles match of some importance.

Ziggler is Mr. Money in the Bank, yet he has been treated like a nondescript, midcard heel with little to no direction. Throwing him in a tag team match at WrestleMania only confirms that train of thought. If he wins the match then he is stuck as Tag Team Champion despite being on the verge of winning the world title, and if he loses, then the WWE effectively wastes an opportunity to put him over on the big stage.

The misuse of Ziggler is directly linked to the WWE's mismanagement of Chris Jericho. Most wrestling fans probably agree that even though Jericho is getting up there in years, he is still among the best in the business at the age of 42. With that in mind, Y2J should either be in a main event-level match or at the very least in a marquee midcard match against somebody of Ziggler's ilk.

Jericho and Ziggler appeared to be en route to a 'Mania match as Jericho returned at the Royal Rumble and basically stole Ziggler's spotlight. The angle was dropped seemingly out of nowhere, though, and Jericho has acted as a midcard rover ever since. Based on what happened on Raw with Fandango interrupting Jericho during a promo, the two of them will do battle at WrestleMania.

As intrigued as I am by Fandango and as hopeful as I am that he'll be a success, this isn't the best way to use Y2J. Fandango hasn't even had a match yet, and even if he does wrestle prior to WrestleMania it'll be a match between an established superstar and a guy who probably shouldn't even be included on the card.

The WWE's botching of the undercard has essentially been a chain reaction as Jericho's movement outside the Intercontinental Championship scene sets the stage for a match between Wade Barrett and The Miz. While Barrett and Miz are two wrestlers who I really enjoy, there is no reason for them to be feuding. Their rivalry didn't start until last week and the reason behind is apparently that they are both in WWE-produced movies that are currently in circulation.

That is an extremely weak reason for two superstars to feud and it really speaks to the creative team's lack of imagination. The same can be said about the angle between Ryback and Mark Henry. Again, the thought of a Ryback vs. Henry feud isn't bad at all, but the execution has been subpar to say the least. The rivalry seemingly started out of nowhere a couple weeks ago and the build has been questionable since then.

Ryback was originally announced as a member of Orton and Sheamus' team to take on The Shield at WrestleMania, and while that was obviously a ploy from the start, the manner in which Ryback was transitioned away from that was awful. It amounted to Teddy Long and Vickie Guerrero cutting an incoherent promo and making the Ryback vs. Henry match for WrestleMania without any real discussion.

The WrestleMania XXIX undercard looks good on paper in some respects, but there is very little heat behind any of the feuds aside from Del Rio vs. Swagger. Also, there are several guys who are being used incorrectly. On top of that, there are plenty of deserving wrestlers who will almost certainly be left off the card because the writers have dragged their feet for so long.

As a wrestling fan I'm excited for WrestleMania regardless, but I know that not everyone feels that way. The show will probably be enjoyable to a certain extent; however, I can't help but think that the WWE has shot itself in the foot with the undercard as it could have been so much more sensible and better as a whole.


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