By Jeffrey Lutz
Quick, name the hottest current WWE rivalry.
There's a good chance you named John Cena and The Rock. These two have been verbally sparring for nearly two years and nearly everyone has picked a side. Except much of their feud has been carried out on Twitter, not in a WWE ring. Neither man appeared on Raw last week and interest in their program has peaked, possibly two years ago when The Rock was named guest host for WrestleMania 27.
OK, then, that gets us to Triple H and Brock Lesnar. Not as hot, surely, as The Rock and Cena over the past two years, but it's the ultimate WWE company man against the ultimate fighter. If anything can drum up fan enthusiasm, it's a storyline built around the two most prominent fighting organizations (real or simulated) in the United States, WWE and UFC.
Except much of their feud has been carried out with only one of them present. Will these two even have a WrestleMania match, or will the event pass them by as they continue to answer each other's challenges?
These two hate each other so much that it has taken them three weeks going back and forth to decide to finally fight. Three weeks so far, I should say. Maybe Triple H accepts the challenge this week only for Lesnar to finally reveal the match stipulation next week. Nothing sells big fights quite like hesitancy.
So those feuds aren't exactly lighting it up. There's still the recently announced match between C.M. Punk and Undertaker, and this one isn't even a rematch from a year ago or less. Nothing is as fresh as WrestleMania's biggest star against the longest-reigning champion of the last 25 years, right?
Except much of their feud has been carried out based on the real-life death of Paul Bearer, which happened after the match was announced but before a reason for it was determined. How convenient. Nothing like falling back on tragedy to get over the importance of a physical confrontation.
Speaking of physical confrontations, do any of the stars involved in WrestleMania's top three matches even know what those are? Of those six, only one -- Punk -- had a match on Raw last week, and he lost. Four don't wrestle at all on television.
It's not like these performers are having great verbal altercations, either. Since the day after the Royal Rumble, there has been one promo in which a wrestler and his WrestleMania opponent shared the same ring and sparred verbally.
It gets worse farther down the card. Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger should be the WrestleMania opener, but the first match at the biggest event is supposed to set the tone. All this match is setting is the alarm -- wake me when it's over, because these two have nothing going for them.
Is Ryback wrestling The Shield or Mark Henry? Maybe both. Is Dolph Ziggler wrestling Chris Jericho or is Jericho wrestling Fandango while Ziggler teams with Big E Langston to chase the tag titles? Are Wade Barrett and The Miz going to wrestle Ebert and Roeper, where a win gets them a positive movie review? Actually, that's not a bad idea.
Where do Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow fit in? Antonio Cesaro?
WWE, with recent shakeups in the front office, is a creative mess currently. WrestleMania isn't the best time to make it painfully obvious that the company's storytelling abilities are lacking, but these are the consequences for filling the writing staff with television and movie writers. When it's time to build a wrestling storyline, they're stuck in Hollywood, trying to entertain.
WWE will probably pull itself out of its rut. It usually does. With three weeks until the biggest event of the year, though, it can't wait any longer.
Jeff Lutz has written for the Wichita Eagle newspaper in Kansas for over a decade and debuted with Prowrestling.net on November 4, 2012. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lutz's Blog: Directionless characters and storylines leading to disjointed WrestleMania 29 hype
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:49 AM
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:49 AM
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