It’s finally here. It is that time of year again because we are only a few days away from WrestleMania 37. This is the night (or nights in this case) that sets up everything else throughout the course of the year for WWE. You’ll probably see some big title changes and storylines moving forward, if not outright ending, as we hit what is more or less the season finale of the wrestling year. That isn’t even taking into account everything that happens on the ensuing fallout shows. It’s an important time of the year, but there is so much more to it than WrestleMania.
Of course the centerpiece of WrestleMania weekend is, you know, WrestleMania. That is the kind of thing that should have wrestling fans excited as while the quality might not be as strong as it was in years past, it is still the time of year that is going to get people interested. It’s a cross between the last episode, the World Series, the Super Bowl and all points in between. The wrestling world comes together for the one big weekend and there is so much to pick from. That is what we are looking at today: a look at everything there is to do over WrestleMania weekend, even if you can’t actually go to the shows in person.
We’ll start with the big stuff in the WWE. Aside from just WrestleMania, there is a long list of options to watch over the week, starting with the regular television. I know it might not be the most popular idea in the world, but watching Monday Night Raw and SmackDown can be a nice boost to get you ready for WrestleMania. If you aren’t watching every week, you might need to brush up on what is going on with the major storylines and angles on the way to Tampa.
Now yes, I understand that the idea of watching the shows is a near death sentence to some wrestling fans, but there is some good stuff on the regular TV shows. Not only do you get the recaps, but there are people who are not making it to WrestleMania who will be trying a little bit harder than usual to get some attention when they know that people are watching. WWE even gives them a bit more focus as they do not want to risk an injury to some of their bigger stars. There are a lot of talented people in WWE, so giving some of them a shot is hardly the worst idea, either for the company or the fans at home.
In addition to Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, there is always the yellow option of NXT. While NXT will not be taking part in WrestleMania itself, there is this thing called Takeover that you might have heard of at some point in the last several years. This time around NXT is doubling up on the show, with Takeover Stand & Deliver taking place over the course of two nights for the first time in history. How much better can you get than a double shot of maybe the best wrestling going today?
This is where things get a little more interesting for some of the more hardcore fans as NXT is might lighter on storylines and angles and more focused on the in-ring action itself. That is where they thrived, with a long running streak of incredible matches. Takeover is when they bring out the best that they have to offer and this time around there are going to be some stars from NXT UK being added to the mix. The card is absolutely stacked and it would not surprise me to see something from Takeover steal the weekend in quality, as has tended to be the case before.
Now maybe you are not the biggest WWE fan in general, which makes a lot of sense for some people. There is something to be said about the WWE style not being the strongest when it comes to quality so maybe you might need to try your luck with something else. That is where we get to one of the big perks of WrestleMania weekend: the independent wrestling buffet.
Starting on Wednesday, there will be dozens of independent wrestling events airing live over the next five days, featuring a little bit of just about anything you could ever ask for. You have options ranging from the Independent Wrestling.TV Showcase Of The Independents to GCW’s The Collective, both of which offer a collection of shows that have all kinds of interesting action. There are shows starting at noon on Thursday and running all the way until some midnight events each night.
These shows are going to be action packed and all kinds of fun in front of some of the most rabid fans around. The audiences alone are going to make them feel special, as you would be hard pressed to find a group of fans so into a show. Most of the shows are stand alone events where you do not need to have any kind of knowledge or idea of what the promotion is all about to really understand what is going on. Some of the matches might be in a style that you have not seen before, which is what makes the whole thing that much more fun to see.
At the same time, these promotions are going to bring in some guest stars who are in town to work for several different promotions at once. Oftentimes these are the future stars of the big companies, including names like Orange Cassidy, Isaiah Scott, Ricochet, Brian Cage and many others, all of whom have been featured players at the shows in the past. Even with a slightly reduced lineup this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, you are going to be able to see a lot of very talented stars, some of whom you will be seeing on much bigger stages sooner rather than later.
Finally, you have WrestleMania itself, which is of course the main event of the entire weekend (hence the name, more than likely). While WWE might not be at its strongest at the moment, as Bradshaw once said, it’s WrestleMania. This is the show that all kinds of wrestlers hope to make it to one day and the show that has been a constant of WWE for the better part of forty years. Last year the show took place in a tiny studio because there was nowhere else for it to go but it still went down anyway. That isn’t something that would likely happen with any other show but they made it work because it’s WrestleMania.
This year’s show has a pretty stacked card of its own, with Daniel Bryan and Edge both challenging for the Universal Title and Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Title against Drew McIntyre. Throw in some other good stuff like Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley for the Raw Women’s Title, Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Title and a few of those wacky gimmick matches that WWE tends to love and we could be in for a pretty fun two nights on the big stage.
The best part about this is I’m probably forgetting a few things. There is so much to love about WrestleMania weekend that it is hard to fathom. Things can be even bigger when you have the full on experience, but even a stripped down version is better than a lot more. This year’s has the potential to be a great few days and I’m rather excited that things are getting back to normal.
Above all though, the important thing is to have fun. We have been through a lot in the last year plus with the pandemic and now it is nice to be able to have a bit of a better time when things are not as horrible. There is a long way to go, but it is ok to stop and have a little fun along the way. What better way is there to do than than by watching a lot of wrestling?
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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