WrestleMania 36 will be different, but it can also be great. Here are 5 steps WWE can take to elevate this year’s event.
Let me start in the most important way: I hope you and yours are happy and healthy. Wash your hands. Make good choices. Love one another. We’re going through some crazy times, and for many that’s just piling on with whatever they already had going on. Be smart, and be good.
As we all know, not only is WWE WrestleMania happening, it’s going to be a two-night affair, and Rob Gronkowski will be the host. Outside of salvaging what’s left of Mojo Rawley’s career, Gronk will add an air of uniqueness on top of this already really really unique event.
So with two nights to enjoy, and Rob Gronkowski hosting, it’s time to make this weekend of events one to truly remember. How do we do that? Well, I have a few ideas…
#1 – Put Xavier Woods In The Crowd or On Commentary
Seriously, Xavier Woods is one of the most entertaining members of the entire WWE—hell, possibly in the entire world! Put him in the crowd, maybe have him be an additional commentator, maybe let him watch the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 style!
In fact, sign me up for The New Day doing that as a whole. Yes, we love to see them wrestle, but this is a unique time for the business, and Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E (not Langston) provide alternate commentary (or THE commentary) would make this the most memorable WrestleMania ever.
Side note: Who knew TNA’s Consequences Creed would go on to be so damn entertaining? Man, keep that stuff coming brother!
#2 – Don’t Pretend There’s A Crowd There!
This one should be obvious, but it isn’t. Wrestlers don’t need to work the crowd, they don’t need to pretend that there’s even a crowd there for this WrestleMania. To me, that’ll make it 100x worse. Go out there and do your thing, but have it make sense for the environment.
#2a – Don’t Focus On The Fact That There’s No Crowd!
This goes with #2, so it’s #2a. Look, we all know there’s no crowd for WrestleMania 36. In most forms of sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment, there’s not even a show. But unless you’re making it part of the story of your match, don’t even focus on it. We know the seats are empty (why are there even seats at all?), don’t remind us.
#3 – Use Unique Match Environments
On this week’s edition of The #Miranda Show, Miranda Morales pointed out that the Halftime Heat Empty Arena Match between The Rock and Mankind is a match she still treasures to this day. And it deserves to be treasured!
But it was one match—not an entire card of matches, spread over two nights! It’s going to get old, and as I pointed out on that same podcast: it’s already getting old! I can’t imagine how excited we’ll be for 16 empty arena matches come April 4th and 5th.
So what’s WWE to do? Put matches in unique environments! It’s been widely reported that the matches will emanate from multiple locations, citing other “closed sets,” but let’s make them fun and unique.
Here are some examples:
- Shayna Baszler is being pushed on Raw as a “cage fighter?” Let her fight Becky Lynch in a cage! Similar to the Lion’s Den (pictured above), we can give them a unique place to work.
- Edge vs. Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match? Sounds like the perfect set-up for an empty warehouse with plenty of plunder lying around.
- John Cena is back and is fighting Bray Wyatt, right? Let’s put them IN THE FIREFLY FUNHOUSE! Let’s really make the most of this thing.
- It was just announced that The Street Profits are defending the Raw Tag Team Championship against United States Champion Andrade and Hector Garza. Why not put them in an empty club?
- Put Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Miz and John Morrison on a TV set, and kick their match off with another edition of The Dirt Sheet. Then have the fight on the set!
- Daniel Bryan will likely end up challenging Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship. I vote we throw them in a dojo, or MMA inspired training center. Head to Undisputed Tucson and give them some free pub for when they reopen!
You know, it’s sad that Jinder Mahal hasn’t returned yet. Because I would really be down to see him fight someone in an ACTUAL Punjabi Prison…
#4 – We Need A Surprise Return
We’re probably not going to see this WrestleMania plastered all over WWE highlight packages, but we still need a “moment” or two. Something that the fans—watching at home, that is—can really get behind.
And that’s a surprise return! Perfect candidate? Well that guy is Rusev! Work out a deal, and have him get the last word on Bobby Lashley in or around The Dominator’s newly announced showdown with Aleister Black.
#5 – Don’t Hold Back
As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t expect to see this WrestleMania plastered all over highlight packages in the future. And that sucks for the performers busting their asses. But you’re not going have an empty scene being shown in conjunction with full football stadiums, or packed arenas with crazy flashbulbs going off.
But don’t let that stop the booking process. If Drew McIntyre is going to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship—then let him win! Don’t make him wait, and definitely make him eat a loss on the way. Same for Roman Reigns and Goldberg. We don’t need to see Goldberg holding that Universal Championship longer than necessary (which many would say is never), so just have Roman Reigns go over in front of no one. Drum up some excitement for the coming weeks and months.
Don’t hold back, and make this WrestleMania one for the memory books.
Or the scrapbooks. Do people even scrapbook anymore?