Think back to 7 April 1986; this writer was a mere 2 years old, while something else also celebrating its second birthday that year was WrestleMania. Now, let’s stop thinking back for a few reasons; one, being you all now know how old I am and also, let’s be honest, WrestleMania 2 sucks. Plain and simple, it was terrible with only really the tag team “main event” being worth a rewatch some 31 years later.
Now, what should stand out to you is the incredibly ballsy decision on Vince McMahon to stage his biggest show of the year in 3 separate cities on the same night. Bear in mind this is before the advent of PPV and a full 30 years before the WWE Network would be available. That night Vince played with fire and I’d go as far as to say he got burnt, because we’ve never again seen a WrestleMania held in anything other than one venue at a time..but is it time to try it again?
Stick with me here, I’ll explain. Using this year’s WrestleMania as a template, the show is now a 7-10 hour experience and that’s just on the Sunday; if you include Axcess, the Hall Of Fame, NXT TakeOver, Raw and Smackdown Live it’s basically an entire week-long event. This past year I reached a breaking point with it, being in the UK the time difference is a killer in itself but to have already watched an outstanding TakeOver on the Saturday and then sat through an almost 4-hour Hall of Fame ceremony, by the time the Hardy Boyz made their shock return I had to tap out and go to bed. We all had lost half the show left at this point before even thinking about 5 hours of Raw and Smackdown Live over the next few days.
Now I’m not suggesting you hold the event in more than one arena and keep the same running time, as it’s the running time that’s the main problem here, but what about you include TakeOver as part of WrestleMania and have it split over two days? Saturday and Sunday would truly be a WrestleMania weekend at this point.
I’ll lay it out for you now…
Saturday – NXT and any WrestleMania matches that aren’t being contested over a title APART from the NXT Women’s title, the title match is your Saturday main event! So that would be 2 NXT matches not for a belt, plus four WrestleMania grudge matches, plus the NXT Women’s title match to round the night off. You could also throw the Intercontinental or United States championship matches on to the Saturday card to give it another boost if needed.
Sunday – NXT Title, plus the main straps on Raw and Smackdown Live, PLUS one showcase exhibition match (think Undertaker’s Streak) and Sunday becomes where Vince gets to give people their WrestleMania moments and also I’m sure you can find time for the now-obligatory Flo Rida concert on this day as well.
Now here’s the kicker and basically how I’m linking this whole article back to WrestleMania 2; you hold them in different cities, hell even different countries! Imagine the Saturday night event being held in Wembley Stadium or the Allianz Arena. It’s a shorter journey for the thousands upon thousands of European wrestling maniacs to make the trip to and WWE could feasibly add 90,000 attendance at Wembley with, say, the 90,000 attendance at Allianz together and – voila! – your new WrestleMania attendance record is set and The Rock can announce it…flamethrower in hand.
I think we can all agree that 7 to 10 hours is too long in one sitting to watch wrestling, but split that over two days – and with the beauty of the Network this could work a treat and be the way forward for the world’s biggest promotion.