WWE’s Creative Drought and WrestleMania 38’s Disappointing Lineup
As we approach WWE’s most significant event of the year, WrestleMania 38, anticipation should be at an all-time high. However, the card, headlined by Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar in a Winner Takes All match to unify the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship, exposes a glaring issue with WWE’s creative team and booking. It’s hard not to feel like the company is insulting its fans’ intelligence at times.
WWE’s creative direction has been lackluster for quite some time, with only occasional flashes of brilliance. For instance, Kevin Owens’ recent trolling of the live audience by impersonating Stone Cold Steve Austin was a genuinely entertaining moment. But overall, the product often feels like it’s aimed at young children rather than a diverse audience of wrestling fans.
A recent segment on Raw featuring Akira Tozawa, Tamina Snuka, Dana Brooke, and Reggie exemplified this issue. The painful-to-watch spot had two Superstars on the shoulders of the others, attempting to knock each other off. It was moments like these that made me question my life choices and why I continue to watch “sports entertainment.”
WrestleMania 38: A Showcase of Celebrities and Nostalgia
WrestleMania 38’s lineup feels uninspired, with the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, a star from two decades ago, being the main draw. This year’s event features multiple non-wrestlers in prominent matches, highlighting WWE’s reliance on celebrities and nostalgia.
Jackass star Johnny Knoxville faces former Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn in an Anything Goes match, while sports analyst and former NFL player Pat McAfee takes on Austin Theory. Additionally, YouTube sensation Logan Paul teams up with The Miz to battle Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Although Paul has an amateur wrestling and boxing background, it remains to be seen if his match will be treated seriously or devolve into comedy.
WWE’s dependence on celebrities isn’t new, but having three in high-profile matches, along with Austin’s appearance, underscores the company’s inability to create new stars in 2022. This issue is further highlighted by the return of Cody Rhodes, who left WWE in 2016 and co-founded All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Rhodes has significantly increased his name value since leaving WWE, and his return to the company is yet another example of WWE capitalizing on stars they didn’t create.
Amidst the Gloom, Some WrestleMania 38 Highlights
Despite the overall disappointment, there are a few bright spots on the WrestleMania 38 card. Edge vs. AJ Styles promises to be a fantastic match, showcasing two of the best performers in wrestling history. RK-Bro’s entertaining antics should make their Raw Tag Team Championship defense against The Street Profits and Alpha Academy a fun bout. And the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar main event is likely to be a hard-hitting, intense showdown.
While this will be their third WrestleMania encounter, both Reigns and Lesnar are arguably at their peak in terms of character development and in-ring performance. This match could be more exciting than their previous bouts when Reigns was a babyface.
WWE’s Creative Woes: A Familiar Refrain
In conclusion, this article is yet another critique of WWE’s disappointing creative direction and its failure to listen to its audience. However, millions of fans worldwide have been conditioned to watch WWE since childhood, and despite our criticisms, we’ll continue to tune in every week because it’s what we know. But one can’t help but wonder how long this cycle can continue before fans finally lose patience with the product.
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