Wrestlemania 32 fails to connect with avid fans

wrestle Wrestlemania 32 took place at AT&T stadium in Dallas, Texas on April 3 with WWE reporting an attendance record of 101,763, breaking not only its own attendance records, but numerous records in both attendance and revenue in the building. Wrestlemania is a yearly event that features a culmination of multiple wrestling feuds that get settled in nearly a dozen wrestling matches, oftentimes with numerous of the companies championships on the line. The draw of Wrestlemania, and professional wrestling itself has always been the suspension of disbelief that accompanies the atmosphere and feeling of watching larger than life characters take center stage. At wrestling’s perfection, it combines elements of storytelling, athleticism, and an in-ring psychology that can be one of the best displays of performance art. Wrestlemania 32 provides an interesting look of the state of WWE today, with an obvious irony attached to its success. The irony of Wrestlemania 32 is that for such a high attendance record, mainstream acceptance and interest has hit a period where it has reached a noticeable low. Coming back from Texas, I was often approached with questions such as “how was your wrestling thing,” or felt I was basically asked “How was that carnival show you went to see”. Wrestlemania 32, in its attempts to become the largest Wrestlemania and sell out AT&T stadium, focused more on making Wrestlemania an entertaining spectacle in order to appeal to a larger mainstream audience thereby sacrificing many elements of what makes wrestling great to the fans who recognize this. Based on the attendance records that was set it’s assumed thatfocuinsg on making Wrestlemania as more of a spectacle WWE worked, and as a show, can be rated as one of the best Wrestlemanias and not just the biggest. The crueler irony was a surprising disconnect WWE had with its viewers and what to provide them with, as the building was filled with the more passionate of wrestling fans, the type of fans who came to watch more than over-the-top violence and qualities that wrestling had at its peak of its popularity. Wrestlemania was met with scathing criticisms by the majority of people who reviewed the event, namely, wrestling journalists, sporting websites, and wrestling critics who have a notable voice in the industry. The mainstream media and audiences did not clamor over the appearance and victory of wrestling veteran Chris Jericho, the return of The Rock disposing easily of promising talent, a world title reign of another wrestling veteran Triple H, and the unnanounced appearnce of Shaquille O’ Neil in a battle royale. There was even backlash with the more violent matches that most in the industry praise such as the easy disposal of fan favorite Dean Ambrose by Brock Lesnar or Shane McMahon’s attempt at jumping off a 20 ft cage on The Undertaker (an attempt, because Undertaker rolled out of the way in the last second). Let it not be mistaken, though, that everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves. Wrestlemania 32 featured a seven man ladder match that paved a path for a rivalry that will captivate viewers in future years between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. The match also included it’s the victor of the match, Zack Ryder, providing fans with a happy underdog story. Audiences saw the Wrestlemania debut of “The Phenomenal One”, AJ Styles, an industry legend who wrestled all over the world. Styles made his WWE debut last January and made an impact that cemented his place on the Wrestlemania card with a quality match. The greatest upside to Wrestlemania 32 and, in professional wrestling in general, was the death of the term “divas” and the “divas championship” as a result of an almost yearlong effort in revolutionizing women’s wrestling. As a result the women’s match for the “WWE Women’s Championship” between Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte stole the show. It was this match that brought together everything that both a passionate wrestling fan and casual viewer can enjoy with the entrances of each wrestler being a spectacle that let everyone know that this match had larger stakes, arguably the best display of athleticism displayed that night, and an atmosphere and in-ring psychology that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat as the referee counts to three to signal a victory. Overall, however, Wrestlemania may have drawn a 100k attendance but this was done because of the explosion of interest by wrestling fans with a never before seen explosion of independent wrestling promotions, and the rise of wrestling show Lucha Underground. Wrestling the night after Wrestlemania was as popular as it was the night before making WWE’s efforts a wasted one, sacrificing the quality of what makes wrestling objectively good. Overall, Wrestlemania 32 is an enjoyable Wrestlemania to any casual fan or even someone who has never watched it, which is the underlying problem, it’s not going to be watched by a casual or uninterested fan. Wrestlemania 33 in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando, Florida next year on April 2, 2017 better be WWE’s new wakeup call if they still care about increasing its mainstream relevancy. For this to happen they will need to create a new formula for success as its old formula has become outdated.