As the final pay per view prior to WrestleMania, the February pay per view, be it Elimination Chamber, No Way Out, or Even St. Valentine's Day Massacre, it is one that must be approached much differently than any other.
Like any other pay per view, they must try to make it an appealing one to buy and put together a quality show (something they fail a lot nowadays, but still their objective), but for this one, it's the No. 2 priority.
For this one, it's primary focus is one thing: to try to set everything up for WrestleMania.
At times, they have failed. Last year, No Way Out was a great pay per view, but in trying to focus more on the actual show than the WrestleMania buildup, WrestleMania suffered as a result.
In 2008, while a solid pay per view, it was lacking compared to 2009, but did a good job in regards to building up for WrestleMania, which resulted in a pretty damn good Mania.
The Road to Wrestlemania begins at the Royal Rumble. From that point forward, nothing really else matters. Quality of shows must sometimes be sacrificed for a better WrestleMania.
Regard for building guys up strong, crucial at any other point in the year, is meaningless at this time.
After last year's WrestleMania, that was saved by the Undertaker- Michaels match from being considered one of the worst ever, but was still lackluster at best, it was imperiative that WWE did better.
Last year, it had a feeling that they were making everything up as they went along. Only two matches really had an extended buildup, Triple H vs. Randy Orton; and Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy, and those were both epic disappointments, the former because of the way the match itself was booked, the latter because of the performance by the Hardys (by comparison, their rematch at Backlash was much better).
Cena and Edge were thrown into the World Heavyweight Championship match by default, and when it was decided that they had faced off too many times in recent years, they threw in the Big Show.
It was obvious they had no clue which legend to put in the ring with Chris Jericho, so they decided to throw three out there. Rey Mysterio and JBL were two top guys who they had nothing for, so they randomly threw them in the ring together.
While that is typical to have a match or two like that every WrestleMania, which is fine, it just makes things worse when everything is made up as it went along.
This year, by comparison, is much different. Edge and Jericho has been built up since Edge got injured nearly eight months ago.
Cena and Batista started their feud at the Royal Rumble when Cena eliminated Batista and Batista beat down Cena the next night, and if Bret Hart and Vince McMahon get involved as expected, it will be epic.
The buildup for Michaels and Taker started at the Slammys, rather than a couple weeks following No Way Out like last year (which is what made it a 4.5 star match instead of five stars).
The Legacy breakup has been building up since Randy Orton was feuding with Triple H for the WWE title last spring, and finally came to a head this past week on Raw, inevitably leading to a WrestleMania match.
With the Money in the Bank match, and the wheels in motion for CM Punk-Rey Mysterio and a tag team title match between Shomiz and Team Kool-Aid, they already have seven matches.
With the typical piss break match (also known as the Diva's match), and a likely Triple H-Sheamus match, you got an entire WrestleMania card set already.
Now, granted, buildup isn't everything, as last year that wasn't the only problem. The Money in the Bank match was a complete botchfest, both Matt and Jeff Hardy gave lackluster performances (resulting in Matt Hardy once again blowing an opportunity), Rey Mysterio-JBL was a squash match, Big Show-Edge-Cena would've sucked no matter how much buildup, and the main event was ruined by the booking of the actual match and not the buildup, but what they've done so far is a great start, and is necessary for a great WrestleMania.
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