Mistakes WWE Must Avoid Making While Booking WrestleMania 37
WWE is on the Road to WrestleMania 37, an event that is finally taking shape from a creative standpoint but still has plenty of mystery surrounding its match card.
Unlike in years past, though, the mistakes WWE Creative must avoid while compiling this year's lineup are less about the individual booking of key stars. Instead, they are grander in scale—overarching, even.
They are decisions that encompass the entire card and mistakes that could prove costly from a fan excitement and interaction perspective.
What are they, and why should WWE's writing team avoid them when putting together the biggest show of 2021?
Find out now.
But first, the one singular star it should not mess with.
Don't Cool Down Bobby Lashley
Other than Roman Reigns, there is no star owning this Road to WrestleMania quite like Bobby Lashley.
The CEO of The Hurt Business has been absolute fire, laying out fools with his Hurt Lock submission and finally being treated like the unstoppable badass he should have been from the moment he returned to WWE in 2018.
His dominance in recent months, as well as the protective booking from WWE Creative, has created a colossus who should bowl over The Miz Monday on Raw and win the WWE Championship to set up a showdown with Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania.
Does that match have glitz and glamour? No. Is it the flashiest option? Absolutely not. But it does feature the workhorse of WWE in McIntyre and the reinvigorated Lashley, who has waited 16 years for this moment and is finally in a position to cash in on his potential.
Given the lack of depth in regard to genuine main event stars, WWE cannot afford to mess this up and cool down Lashley.
Creative Twists for the Sake of Creative Twists
In 1999, WWE recognized that outside of its main event between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock, WrestleMania XV did not have the strongest lineup. Head writer Vince Russo's response? Nonsensical twists and turns for the sake of them, leading to a show that did not reflect the storylines that preceded it.
On the surface, WWE is prepping for a Showcase of the Immortals for which half of the card is not readily apparent. Nor is a clear path to matches obvious.
While the company's writers meet to figure out exactly what they want this year's lineup to look like, they must resist the urge to repeat history and produce television that has illogical and unnecessary creative twists for no other reason than to keep fans off guard.
Yes, fans love unpredictability—but only to a certain extent. Suddenly abandoning everything we know about a character and his or her ongoing storylines just because is not going to sit well. Furthermore, it would only add scrutiny to a writing team that sees its fair share of it on a weekly basis.
Take some chances, sure, but do not lose the traits of the characters and do not fly in the face of their history with their fellow Superstars for no reason than a half-assed attempt to drum up interest in this year's show.
Overusing Celebrities to Spark Mainstream Interest
Speaking of drumming up interesting in this year's show.
Bad Bunny has been phenomenal in his role. He is a fan of professional wrestling, takes what he is doing seriously and the result has been one of the better celebrity guest spots in recent WWE history. Holding the 24/7 Championship does not hurt it or draw unnecessary fan backlash because the title was never intended to be taken seriously
With regard to WrestleMania 37, though, the rapper should be the only celebrity on the show.
It has been a long time since fans entered an arena for a WWE show, let alone WrestleMania.
While Vince McMahon may still believe B- and C-level celebrity appearances help elevate his greatest creation beyond any other wrestling show, the fans who set foot inside Raymond James Stadium on April 10 and 11 are only going to care about seeing the Superstars they have missed so dearly do their thing in the ring.
Bogging down the show with unnecessary celebrity appearances will only dissuade people from watching and would be a mistake. Particularly, again, since this will be the first live audience at a WWE show in more than a year.
Stick to the wrestling side of things, let the fans get drawn into the stories being told between the ropes and let Bad Bunny have his moment in the spotlight.
Leaning on Legends and Part-Timers to Boost the Card's Star Power
WWE is hellbent on telling Edge's story. This much we know.
He won the Royal Rumble in January and is well on his way to inexplicably knocking off Roman Reigns and ending his tyrannical heel run atop SmackDown.
Nothing about that is going to change.
What should, though, is WWE's reliance on legends and part-timers at this year's show.
A year ago, we saw The Undertaker and John Cena emerge from semiretirement to participate in two of WrestleMania 36's highest-profile matches. In January, WWE dusted off Goldberg and brought him back for a WWE Championship match with Drew McIntyre.
None of that should happen this year, including the return of Brock Lesnar.
Again, this is the first time fans will be in attendance at a WWE show since March 2020. It is also the first time so many of the Superstars have had the opportunity to compete in front of those fans. Let the men and women who have worked extremely hard in silence and gimmicked ThunderDomes bask in the adulation of fans just happy to have that live event experience back.
There will be plenty of time for Goldberg, Lesnar, Cena and any other part-timer from the Attitude or Ruthless Aggression Eras later.
The WrestleMania name sells itself anyway.
Focus on the current stars, produce strong stories around them and the fans will tune in.
Continue to overshadow them with the performers of yesteryear, and the term Superstar will become as antiquated as them because there will be no genuine stars of this era left thanks to the company's inability and unwillingness to build new ones in moments like this.