Professional wrestling has a very vocal fanbase, so it comes as no surprise each year’s WrestleMania is the most polarizing event of the year. Best ever, worst ever, best world title match, worst celebrity appearance, and who Roman Reigns will face in next year’s Mania main event are topics that are immediately discussed. This year’s Showcase of the Immortals brought the same arguments, but there was one thing that everyone agreed on: This year’s WrestleMania was too long.
This year’s WrestleMania clocked in at a whopping five hours. If you were brave enough to watch the two hour pre show, that brings it to seven hours of professional wrestling. (To put this in perspective, you can watch the entire Star Wars original trilogy and still have time to make the Kessel run four times in the same amount of time.) There is no doubt about it: it’s time to make WrestleMania two days.
For years now, WrestleMania has been as much about the festivities as the day itself. Fan Axxess, the Hall of Fame ceremony, and Takeover are held during the week. Making the card a two day event would not put any additional burden on fans since the majority do not go for one day.
TakeOver is an easy fix. Past TakeOver events have been held during the middle of the week. During a two day Mania weekend, holding TakeOver on Friday is a no-brainer. It’s also a great way to start off the best weekend of the year for wrestling fans.
The Hall of Fame is a little more difficult. WWE loves paying homage to its illustrious history but there is definitely a problem when Hillbilly Jim speaks for over thirty minutes while Stone Cold Steve Austin speaks for fifteen. The first step is to put a time limit on acceptance speeches. This not only prevents the show from dragging, it also doesn’t force the main inductee to cut their speech short. One of the most telling images of this year’s HOF is Goldberg speaking to an almost empty room since the early part of the show went long.
As much as I loved the hall of fame, even the wrestlers in attendance were in agreement that it went on too long. Found myself itching for Goldberg to wrap up so i could head home. Here's the wrestlers at the half way point and the final speech #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/Kemo5p3WbE
— Andrew Fisher (@AndyF1069) April 7, 2018
The second step is to move the Hall of Fame. The WWE has previously referred to SummerSlam as the “WrestleMania of the Summer.” SummerSlam is already considered one of the WWE’s big PPV’s and moving the HOF seems like a natural move. Wrestling fans have shown they are willing to travel for events and having the HOF take place during SummerSlam weekend instantly makes the the entire three days a must see event (HOF on Friday, Takeover on Saturday, SummerSlam on Sunday.)
(And if the WWE is interested in making the HOF more palatable, have fewer inductees. Having three a year makes the occasional oddball choice more entertaining.)
How would this year’s Mania look? Get rid of the two hour pre show to begin with and have one battle royal each day. This year’s Mania seemed to peak during the Rousey/Angle vs. Steph/Hunter match so naturally that would be Sunday’s main event and the end of the entire weekend. Brock vs Roman would be Saturday’s main event. AJ vs. Nakamura would be on Sunday, while Daniel Bryan’s return would be on Saturday. AJ/Nak was disappointing, but played in front of a tired card and deserved a better reaction. Bryan’s match got off to a hot start, but died a death once Shane went on offense. Both matches may have gotten better reactions if the crowd had not watched six hours of wrestling beforehand.
The rest of the card could be made as necessary. Mania becomes two much more digestible three and a half hour cards instead of one ridiculous seven hour one. This leads to audiences being less tired and theoretically more invested in the match. There is definitely a problem when people are falling asleep during AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.
WrestleMania was great this year, but it was simply too long. Having fewer matches seems the obvious answer, but the roster is too big for this to be realistic. However, a two day Mania not only makes sense, it seems silly not to do it.