Editor's Note: This FanPost has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page and various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders!
Hello again, my Cageside brethren. Oh how I have missed waxing intelligently on the topic of wrestling. A topic mind you, that is so very close to my heart. Lately, family life has been dragging me away from the joys of headlocks and dropkicks. However, I'm back now! (No matter how loud my kid cries about watching the CM Punk-Cena match from Monday's (Feb. 25) Raw for the 17th time.)
I have been feeling a little fatigued on the product lately, but I'm also really up on WWE in general, which is a bit of a strange place to be. On the one hand, I have been waiting for WrestleMania season all year long -- just waiting for that magical feeling I get when the grand-daddy of em' all swings into full gear and captures my imagination.
That hasn't really happened this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the show will be great, but it's just missing something this time. After thinking about it for a while, I think I know what it is...
Before last year's WrestleMania I wasn't in on the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) very much. Everything that happened felt more exciting. I didn't know the rumors, or the people back-stage as well, so I never was really sure what was going to happen. This year it's different. Every match that has been announced, I've already known about, from 'Cena vs The Rock' to 'HHH & Brock'.
Last year also had a very long-running feud between Cena and Rocky, and while some of it was stale, the build made me really invested. I found myself rooting for Cena for the first time in five years. This year, everything was really predictable. Despite WWE knowing where it was going for the most part, all the angles seem short and thrown together. Now, I find that I'm missing that feeling of excitement and investment that comes from long-term building, and that's a shame really.
Interestingly enough, I have to point out that the match between CM Punk and Cena should really have main-evented 'Mania. It had all the history and story telling needed to headline a major show. The feud the two men have built is possibly the longest running and most interesting one WWE has had in some time. There is no way in hell that Cena and Rock can come close to that. No way.
All of this has led to a sense of fatigue and disappointment. I'm sure 'Mania will be great, but this is just the state of mind I am in right now.
WrestleMania just so happens to fall on my birthday every year. I will be 29 this spring and as usual, my birthday party is always a 'Mania themed party. Even when I was a toddler my grandfather would order WrestleMania. 29 years of 'Mania and counting.
Now that I have explained why I'm a bit down on the product, let me explain why I'm so happy about WWE and the direction it's going...
I stopped watching wrestling for several years outside of 'Mania. I missed some really great stuff and I will always regret that. In 2009, I started to want to watch wrestling again and I tuned into Raw.
It. Was. Terrible.
This was during the era with weekly celebrity hosts and super-PG shows. It was just an abortion of what I used to love, and I simply could not watch it. Instead of watching WWE, I started watching old stuff on YouTube. That went on for several months. During this time I would occasionally try to watch Raw again, but it just kept being really bad.
Eventually, I found out that Hulk Hogan was going to join TNA. Why this made me start watching TNA, I will never know. I was never a fan of Hogan. I hated the nWo, I hated his whole gimmick -- but I tuned into TNA anyway.
I watched TNA for about a month before Hogan joined and I watched the show get better. The show was a bit trashy, but it was offering more of what I wanted to see, so I became a huge fan of TNA and its tag teams. But as we all know, TNA got really bad over time and now that I was invested in wrestling again I was forced to try WWE. This time it was starting to get a little better.
Since then, I have watched WWE get a little better every year. Since HHH has started to get more power and control, the show has kept improving. There is more talent on the WWE roster than they know what to do with right now. So much so, that there will always be workers who the IWC will complain are not getting enough support. This is a great place to be.
The shows themselves are getting more edgy; we actually get to see blood every once in a while, and they don't stop the match. We are getting major names to return, like The Rock and Brock Lesnar. Even Jericho comes back every once in a while to put over new talent.
Yes, I know a lot of people hate the new part-time era, but I don't. In fact, I hope it becomes more company wide so that the workers who put their bodies through hell night-after-night can get time to rest through "injury angles" in order to explain their "vacation time".
Say what you want about guys like The Rock, but there is no way you can convince me that he does not bring new eyes to the product. While he may be winning on the main card, the young, hungry lions are getting more exposure, and that's an amazing thing. The Rock is putting people over without ever interacting with them -- that is the kind of star-power he has.
Personally, I know several people that are watching wrestling for the first time in close to a decade. With the new NXT developmental system, the extra TV time, and the talent-packed roster, we are getting to a place that we as wrestling fans have not seen in a very long time.
Enjoy it friends, we have certainly earned it.