These are very uncertain times. Whatever you think about WrestleMania going ahead, we have to get used to the idea that it is. It’s a decision that has divided the Cultured Vultures wrestling team as much as it has split the larger viewing public as a whole. With that being said, WWE has a long history of finding a way to ensure the show will go on. Not only that, they have a knack of tapping into the public consciousness when the chips are down.
They were proudly the first mass gathering after the 9/11 tragedy. They put out some of their better shows in times of adversity, from coping with volcanic ash by giving us an hour long Shawn Michaels match to JBL giving weather reports on the roof during Storm Juno.
WrestleMania is going ahead and WWE will do the very best they can to provide as much entertainment as possible. So much entertainment in fact, that it’s too big for just one night! Now where have I heard that before?For the first time ever, WrestleMania will be taking place over two nights. Yes, the last few editions of The Showcase of the Immortals might have felt like they lasted roughly 48 hours, but this is a historic announcement for many reasons.
Is it an early midlife crisis for the 36 year old event or is it a much needed rebirth? Here are our pros and cons for running two nights of WrestleMania 36.
PRO: It gives a bigger spotlight to more matches.
In recent years, WWE have moved away from using the term the WrestleMania main event towards the term a WrestleMania main event. Whatever we as fans think, WWE no longer consider the last match on the WrestleMania card as the biggest selling point of the show. They call every major title match and every attraction match a main event.
By spreading the show over two nights, they can promote two main events in the traditional sense of the words. Not only that, but the matches lower on the card all move up in importance as well. It’s a bit like when PPV’s became brand specific. Although the results were often mixed, it allowed for new superstars to rise to more prominent positions, opening up more spots on the card. Okay, it gave us Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion, but it also made Smackdown genuinely feel like the land of opportunity.
CON: It dilutes the talent pool
As stated above, splitting the roster has the benefit of potentially raising talent, but it also lessens the impact. One of the big appeals of WrestleMania is the fact that it is so indulgent, so jam packed with talent from top to bottom. The WrestleMania name itself is bigger than any one talent that performs on it. The excessiveness of the event is a big draw, and splitting that over two nights has the potential to make each night feel lesser than the sum of their parts.
Despite the shows occurring on consecutive nights, each show will be viewed and critiqued as its own entity. Each night is now half a WrestleMania and that may have an impact on how the weekend is viewed as a whole. WWE seem intent on making each night a lengthy affair, adding matches to the cards at an alarming rate. This has led to matches like Bobby Lashley vs Aleister Black, a thrown together encounter that doesn’t feel like a worthy WrestleMania programme for either man.
PRO: It Avoids WrestleMania Fan Fatigue
The excessiveness of WrestleMania is a big part of its appeal, but in recent years we have seen how you can have too much of a good thing. As WrestleMania run times have dramatically ballooned, it has become harder to maintain the level of enthusiasm that the event deserves. It leads to matches not getting the recognition they deserve due to the stacked nature of the card.
By limiting the number of matches on each night, the chances of fans burning out is reduced. It’s much easier to maintain the hype of an eight match card than it is a sixteen one. While they obviously don’t have to worry about live fan reactions, social media reactions have become just as important to the company. By making WrestleMania easier to digest, they increase the levels of goodwill from us watching along at home.
CON: It increases the time commitment for fans
Every household is different, but in mine, I am the only wrestling fan. My partner tolerates my obsession rather than embracing it. At a time when we are all spending a lot more time with the members of our households, demanding full control of the TV for two full nights becomes tricky. In a sense, although it can sometimes become a bit of a slog, getting WrestleMania done in one night is the best way to make things more palatable for the non wrestling fans around us.
Also, International fans like myself now have to justify messing up their sleep patterns for two nights in a row. Staying awake all the way through one WrestleMania is hard enough, I really don’t think I can manage two. We don’t yet know the run time of each night but it’s safe to assume that each will be at least three hours, meaning they will end at 3am GMT at the earliest.
PRO: It takes pressure off the skeleton production staff.
WrestleMania 35’s run time, including the two hour pre-show, was a staggering 7 hours 20 minutes. A live event of that length must require incredible amounts of concentration to produce. Considering WWE will be operating with a below full strength team due to current restrictions, it makes sense that they would want to take off as much pressure as possible.
Splitting the mammoth show length into two sizable chunks not only makes it more manageable for the smaller production team but also, potentially, allows for different production members to work on each night. Either way, at a time when resources are understandably stretched, there is no point in making things more difficult than needed.
CON: The card doesn’t warrant two nights
Let’s be honest, this year’s WrestleMania card is a little on the underwhelming side. While nobody can deny the talent involved, very few of the feuds are gripping the audience.
Outside of Brock vs Drew, Edge vs Orton and maybe Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley, there isn’t really that much to be excited about. All the other matches have had very little build, if any. Matches like Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits vs Andrade and Angel Garza have come out of nowhere, seemingly thrown onto the card to fill out each night.
They keep repeating the line that WrestleMania 36 is too big for just one night, when in reality, it’s barely big enough for one. While I think going forward WrestleMania could work very well as a two night event, this WrestleMania at this time does not. They could have put on a stacked 3- 3 ½ hour show and fans would have been more than happy. Instead, they’ve doubled down on a half baked card, which admittedly has been incredibly hampered by the current global situation.
PRO: It’s more WrestleMania
When I was nine, I begged and pleaded for a wrestling VHS for Christmas. I didn’t know or care what it was, I just wanted wrestling. It turned out to be WrestleMania 7, a show which critically wasn’t the best but still managed to make me a lifelong wrestling fan.
That nine year old boy would be absolutely disgusted to hear me complaining about too much wrestling. At the end of the day, we’re all fans. (If you’ve read this far and you’re not, what the hell are you doing with your life?) We all fell in love with this unexplainable pantomime exactly because of the larger than life excessiveness of it all.
Forget all the logical pros and cons above. Think with your heart, think like a fan. It’s WrestleMania! One night, two nights, a whole month of Sundays: there’s no such thing as too much WrestleMania.
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