The PPV after Wrestlemania is always a difficult one, but how did the WWE follow one of the most fan-friendly events in years. Let’s look at three things I took away from watching.
1- The tag team division isn’t dead yet.
The criminal neglect of tag team wrestling, has been slow and painful. The trend would have continued last night,had Daniel Bryan not been injured. His injury, led to a late switch, allowing Tyson Kidd and Cesaro to defend the belts against The New Day on the main event,instead of the kick-off show. The match itself was a high quality, innovative display by two of the hardest working in ring technicians, that played off against a faction who have stumbled upon a heel gimmick that works. The result was an engaged crowd, that saved the starting half of the event after a couple of missteps in the Ambrose and Ziggler matches. The WWE should use this new found momentum and expertise to re-establish, what once was the highlight of the roster. Teams like Demolition, The Legion of Doom, the Rockers, The Nasty Boys and of course the Hart Foundation, used to be a reason people tuned in. By putting the tag champs on the back burner the WWE are missing out on a vital development phase in some of this talent. Hopefully the crowd reaction will open their eyes to what potential exists.
2-Roman Reigns is slowly getting there.
Predicted to be the match where the vocal Chicago crowd made their feelings felt, this match turned out better than expected. Credit has to go to Reigns. In any match with The Big Show, there are no room for passengers, or the momentum of the match will die. Reigns has turned his Wrestlemania moment into a gimmick, by smiling at adversity in the ring. When Show straddled the ropes and played to the crowd, Reigns did what the rest of us did and laughed. This connection with a hostile crowd, is what he needs to work on most. We all know he has a limited move-set and struggles in promos, but if the crowd love him or even respect him then this will soon pass over. Big Show did the early crowd work and allowed Reigns to show some imagination in setting up his signature moves. The ending was a sensible one to a last man standing match, that allowed both to come out with good buzz moving forward. Wonders will never cease.
3-Rollins can make the crowd forget Daniel Bryan
As unfortunate as Daniel Bryan’s injury is, there is a school of thought around Wrestling, that he is unhealthy for the business. While nothing to do with him, the way the live audiences have adopted him as stick to beat the WWE creative team with is beginning to grate a bit. Before the ascension of Seth Rollins, any heel winning was met with Bryan chants and the yes cries from the crowd. Now Rollins is white-hot people can appreciate the long game again, with a heel who lets a storyline fester to maturity. This is crucial in wrestling, imagine how boring it would be if the fan favourite won everytime? There would be no pay-off and eventually the product would suffer. Any anti Bryan post is risky, but I didn’t miss him in the event. He is an exceptional performer who deserves better, but the way the crowd have taken him over makes me think he will become Cena-like in the years to come. Rollins retained the belt with enough guile and controversy last night, to keep his path moving forward. A meeting with Reigns at Payback is likely and there is the spectre of Brock Lesnar to come. Daniel Bryan just doesn’t fit in this story at the moment and this is something the live crowds are going to have to learn to deal with.
What did you take away from Extreme rules?