A record crowd of 101,763 fans from all 50 states and 35 countries at WWE WrestleMania 32 at AT&T … [+]
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon is looking to make drastic changes to WrestleMania 37.
According to a report from Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestleTalk), McMahon wants WWE’s flagship pay-per-view to be “bigger” than it is currently shaping up to be: “Meltzer writes that McMahon decided this week that the show needs to be ‘bigger’ and to change plans accordingly. Nothing specific in regards to what could change was outlined.”
McMahon reportedly had gotten upset over recent internal leaks that spilled the beans regarding plans for The Miz to battle Bad Bunny and for Roman Reigns to wrestle Edge for the Universal title at what is typically the company’s most hyped event of the year. As a result, McMahon and WWE have reportedly been “restricting information” from its superstars themselves in an effort to prevent more news about planned WrestleMania matches from leaking out. The WWE boss is notorious for changing creative plans that leak and for changing the company’s TV scripts at the last minute, so this comes as no surprise to diehard WWE fans.
On that same note, McMahon is now apparently unhappy not just with leaked plans but also with the planned direction of some previously-penciled-in matches at WrestleMania 37. Only two matches—Reigns vs. Edge for the Universal Championship and Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship—have been officially announced for the pay-per-view thus far, but WWE has clearly laid the framework for numerous other key matches, including Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt, Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship and Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins, among others.
As WWE’s TV viewership, especially for Monday Night Raw, remains underwhelming even despite the presence of mainstream stars like Bad Bunny and part-time attractions like Edge, however, there is reason to be concerned about overall interest in this year’s WrestleMania card being lower than usual. WWE, in a rare twist, is focusing largely on full-time talent in route to its biggest PPV of the year, which is a welcome change from recent years but stagnant TV viewership may be taken by McMahon as a sign that more part-timers are needed.
Especially over the past decade, McMahon has typically relied heavily on part-time stars at this time of the year, so the natural expectation among many fans is that he wants to make WrestleMania “bigger” by bringing in more of his plug-and-play part-time stars. Meltzer also notes that McMahon wants to “blow up” the planned PPV card and change “the original lineup and direction,” whatever that may have been, so it’s possible that not even the announced matches are safe from being axed.
Unlike throughout much of WWE’s history when the WrestleMania card was planned out well in advance, that hasn’t been true in recent years—or this year, either—when WWE’s on-the-fly booking has even translated to its most pivotal PPV. That’s something that WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle recently criticized when he took aim at the creative team’s “chaotic” nature during his recent retirement run with the company.
WWE, quite simply, has made a habit out of changing plans on a whim, and given that McMahon is still responsible for the company’s creative process, much of the blame for that has fallen on him. And once again, here we are roughly a month out from WWE’s flagship event—one that will be its first show with fans in attendance in more than a year—and numerous marquee stars and titleholders have no clear path to the pay-per-view.
While WWE fans have grown accustomed to that reality, it also speaks to one of WWE’s biggest problems: Its shortsightedness. Even though WrestleMania 37 should be a marquee event that is memorable for all the right reasons, it may go down as a forgettable one if McMahon’s attempt to “blow up” the card instead prevents the show from reaching its true potential.
I specialize in the analysis of WWE, AEW and pro wrestling, having done so since 2010. I’m an LSU grad with a degree in journalism and a minor in English, and I have a