WrestleMania is no mere destination event. It's more than an iconic spectacle, more, even, than a piece of legitimate Americana. It's bigger, in fact, than the sum of its pieces.
WrestleMania isn't just a wrestling show—it's a state of mind. Everything is bigger as the event approaches. Lights shine a little brighter on the Road to WrestleMania, powered not by fluorescent lights but by the stars of days gone by.
This year, in place of the Rock, we get Hulk Hogan and Batista. The Undertaker, too, makes an all-too-rare appearance for his annual epic match.
This year, however, unlike The Rock's star turns, the part-time players are almost afterthoughts. No matter who is on the poster or where the match ends up on the card, fans have made themselves heard.
They will tolerate Hulk Hogan. They will give The Undertaker his due.
But they want Daniel Bryan. In Memphis, WWE finally bit the bullet and gave the crowd what they craved. I don't know how it will play out in the long run. In the moment? It was a piece of wrestling history.
This, in fact, was a strong episode of Raw top to bottom. I've graded every segment from A-F, but I'm certainly not the definitive word. Disagree? Let's talk it out in the comments.