Have you ever tried juggling? It’s a lot harder than it looks, but the trick is to always keep things out of your hands. You have to keep things moving to make the trick work while also focusing on everything that is happening at the same time. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do but if you can make it work properly, the whole thing can look rather snazzy. If you don’t make it work though, it’s just dropping a bunch of stuff and making a mess. So what does this have to do with wrestling?
It’s an important time of the year for wrestling fans because of one simple reason: it’s WrestleMania season. We currently sit less than six weeks away from the biggest show of the year and the build is in full swing. There are multiple title matches officially set and you can all but guess several other matches that are going to be taking place on the show. The Hall of Fame class is being set up and you can see Takeover coming together down in NXT. That makes me rather happy as a wrestling fan, but there are a few things going on that are slowing down the process.
In addition to WrestleMania, we are also building towards Super ShowDown. The show is the latest entry in the series of WWE events taking place in Saudi Arabia. These shows have not gone incredibly well and that means, historically at least, that the show is not going to be one of WWE’s better efforts over the course of the year. WWE is still hyping it up though and even has a bunch of big matches set up for the show. Once we get that out of the way though, we should be good to go for Tampa, except for one other thing that is going on.
They’re building towards this:
After Super ShowDown, we have another ten days before Elimination Chamber. That’s the show where we set up a lot of other things for WrestleMania, including three #1 contenders because WWE is hinting at three Elimination Chamber matches on one night (they like that three at once thing), so we need to set that one up as well. Ignoring the fact that a majority of the Elimination Chamber matches this year don’t exactly seem to be the hardest to predict, this isn’t quite the most interesting show in the world.
So that’s where we are today: less than six weeks out from WrestleMania 36, the biggest show of the year, and yet we are building towards three shows at the same time because WWE has to be that packed every single year. The same thing has happened before, as just last fall WWE was building towards Crown Jewel, Takeover: Chicago and Survivor Series at the very same time.
As you might expect, it was a messy build which made it harder than necessary to keep track of things. I lost track of how who was going to be on which team at which show and that became a problem as we moved closer and closer to the big events. The shows wound up being pretty good, but how often can you rely on the shows being that good at the same time? That’s not going to be able to bail out the setup process every single time and it’s a dangerous risk to run.
The problem comes down to a lack of focus. There are too many things going on at the same time and WWE is not exactly known for its strong attention span. This is the same company that often can’t remember details that took place the week before and now they are supposed to be able to focus on three major events at the same time? Do you trust WWE to be able to pull that off?
It’s not like there is any secret as to why WWE is doing something like this. They make a fortune off of the Saudi Arabian shows and Elimination Chamber is going to bring in even more eyes to the Network (assuming they don’t sell off the pay per view rights and ask you to pay $65 extra to find out what is taking place at WrestleMania) but long term, this is going to do damage to WrestleMania itself.
That’s where WWE gets in trouble. There is only so much that you can do with the biggest show of the year and unfortunately WWE seems to think that it makes sense to build towards multiple shows at once. By having the focus on the other two shows at the same time, you aren’t moving those shows up to WrestleMania’s level. Instead, it’s the exact opposite, with WrestleMania being treated as a show on the other’s levels. Now I know that’s what the ad for last year’s Super ShowDown wanted you to believe, but treating anything like Wrestle Mania isn’t a good move.
The biggest problem is that it takes the focus off of WrestleMania. I know it seems like a really simple concept but as soon as that sign comes out, it is time for WrestleMania to take over. When you see the thing hanging there every single week, there is no doubt about what else is coming. You even have running jokes about people pointing at the sign in different ways.
The problem though is that’s not what we’re talking about. Some of the matches for Tampa are getting a focus, but so are matches for Super ShowDown and Elimination Chamber. It waters down the idea of WrestleMania, which is one of the last can’t miss ideas that WWE has. I know WrestleMania isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but you need to treat it with the attention and care that it deserves. Either have the sign up and put the focus on it or wait for everything else and give the wrestlers some extra time to work on their sign pointing techniques.
Don’t forget this one either:
There are several Saudi Arabia shows every year, and given that we are having one so early in the year, it wouldn’t shock me to see even more of them this year. Then you have Elimination Chamber, which is looking like it is going to have three (at least) of the show’s namesake matches this year. It isn’t even all that special of a show, given that it is designed to set up several WrestleMania title matches. In other words, there isn’t much that can’t be done elsewhere on these shows, which is what makes them less special than WrestleMania.
At the end of the day, WrestleMania is the be all and end all of WWE wrestling shows. There is nothing that comes close to it throughout the year and WWE is treating it as something that doesn’t warrant its undivided attention. Does it really matter if fans aren’t all that thrilled with Elimination Chamber? Or if the Saudi Arabia card isn’t all that strong? It’s not like there is much to lose as the Saudi Arabian shows are paid events and the Elimination Chamber structure sells itself. WrestleMania has its own inherent appeal, but a weak showing could cause some widespread problems for WWE over the next several months.
There is a certain mentality in WWE that every show has to be the biggest in recent memory. At the same time, they seem to believe that bigger is always better. The more you do of something, the bigger and better it is supposed to be. That may be the case with some things in wrestling, but it is not the case with the number of shows WWE is promoting at the same time. It’s either focus on WrestleMania or focus on everything else, and doing three at once doesn’t make anything three times better. It just gives WrestleMania one third of the attention, which isn’t a vision that is going to work.
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. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!