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   July 22, 2014



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Rise of younger talent an indication that WrestleMania should have less part-timers
By MATTHEW BYER - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania 29. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

For the last couple of years WWEís WrestleMania pay-per-view event has had many of the more prominent spots on the card dominated by wrestlers who only perform part-time. While thereís little doubt that Triple H, The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and others remain popular with fans the amount of time devoted to them on the biggest card of the year may be detrimental to WWE in the long term.

As well, another large part of the problem is how the part-timers are being used. For the most part the majority of their matches have involved them facing either each other or other already established main event stars such as John Cena or CM Punk.

The only exception to that has been Chris Jericho who last year at WrestleMania 29 put over Fandango. Fandangoís win over Jericho at WrestleMania 29 helped to establish him as someone that WWE audiences should watch and since that time while the storylines heís been involved in havenít been the best, WWE audiences still react when he comes to the ring.

In many ways the Jericho/Fandango match is an example of how WWE should be using all of the other part-timers at WrestleMania, particularly when you factor in the fact that in the last year or two, a huge amount of that younger talent has begun to connect to the audience in a big way. What they need now is that rub at WrestleMania to firmly state that they should be considered being at the same stature as previous generations of WWE talent. That can only happen if theyíre put in matches with the part-timers or other main event talent and if some of them win those contests.

World Wrestling Entertainment is in a very unique place that they havenít been since John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista were getting their start in the WWE almost 10 years ago. For the first time since that time, WWE has a huge amount of younger talent that you can picture being part of the main event picture now or in the very near future.


Perhaps the most prominent of these is all three members of The Shield. While many point to Roman Reigns, because of his size and charisma, as being the obvious one to become WWE World Champion in the future -- but you can also picture the same happening with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Each member is able to garner a reaction from the live audience, are strong on the mike, and are definitely great performers in the ring.

Alas, for WrestleMania XXX this year The Shield will be facing Kane and The New Age Outlaws in a six man tag-team match. While this means The Shield will be featured in their own match one-on-one matches for each member likely would have been a better choice and is a clear indication of how the minutes of the PPV are going to be broken down.

An argument can also be made that The Wyatt Family is similarly poised for a similar breakthrough, but from a character point-of-view, itís really only been Bray Wyatt that has been firmly established with the fans. The promos that Bray Wyatt has been doing are something that fans havenít seen since the early Mankind ones when Mick Foley first started with the WWE. However, in the case of Wyatt he has set for WrestleMania XXX a program with John Cena which is one of the best decisions WWE has made. While it is highly likely that Cena will get the win at WrestleMania XXX, just the fact that Bray Wyatt is facing him is significant and the match itself should be given a fair amount of time.

The WWE tag team match with the Usos defending against the Real Americans (Cesaro & Jack Swagger), Ryback and Curtis Axel, and Los Matadores should be a good match, but complicated with so many participants.

Unfortunately, thatís where the good news may have ended for the rest of the younger talent such as Big E, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Dolph Ziggler, Titus OíNeil, Sheamus, and others with the only spot on the card being offered to them being the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Anyone who has seen a battle royal is fairly aware that because all the talent starts the match off together in the ring, typically it is only when the competition is winnowed down to the last four or five performers that they get a chance to shine and that is usually only for a couple of minutes.

Ultimately, the use of the part-time wrestlers from the WWE Attitude Era such at Triple H, The Undertaker, The Rock, and others needs to change because it is becoming increasingly obvious that they will only be wrestling for a little while longer. If thatís the case that time should be spent helping to establish the next generation of stars. Otherwise the amount of time devoted to them should be decreased and more time should be given to the younger talent so they can have their WrestleMania moment.

Doing so would be a smart business move because the longer the WWE waits the harder itíll be to do so. After all it will be that younger talent which the company will build on for the next 10 years not the part-timers.

RELATED LINKS

  • More on WrestleMania 30
  • Previous Mat Matters Editorial columns

    Be sure to check out Matthew's first fictional novel Finding My Way Through Life's Follies along with a free preview here and also Matthew's first collection of poetry Mustard Marinade Poetry along with a free preview here.