WrestleMania has been a staple in WWE for over 30 years. It’s WWE’s annual event that many compare to the NFL’s SuperBowl. Mania is WWE’s biggest stage, and it’s also the longest show, and for many fans, the show’s length is the problem.
Over the last few years, WrestleMania has been close to, if not over seven hours – counting the two-hour preshow. While fans will always tune in to see the biggest show on the WWE calendar, Vince asking his fans to sit and watch a seven-hour show is insane.
No one blames fans for checking out half way through the show and then coming back in the final hour to see the main event. In fact, many fans did just that during last years Mania. They stopped watching following the boring Raw Women’s Championship Match, and in doing so, they subsequently missed the return of the Hardy Boys in the following match.
But fans shouldn’t want to tune out of your biggest show. Especially when you have a great timeslot, fans of New Japan have to stay up all night to watch one of their shows, and for the most part, they do. Mostly because New Japan’s shows are all wrestling, they don’t have concerts in the middle, and they don’t have backstage segments that take away from the focus of the action in the ring.
According to an article on Bleacher Report by Kevin Berge, less than half of the run of the recent WrestleMania’s have been spent on match time. In correlation with the length of the show going up, the amount of time being spent on actual matches going down, fans are understandably checking out.
No wrestling fan wants to see a Pitbull concert during WrestleMania. Also, seeing the same recap videos that air on Raw and Smackdown in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania on the show itself is tedious. The least WWE could do is change up the videos that hype the matches.
WWE focuses too much on making WrestleMania a spectacle instead of making it an event about wrestling. This year’s card has thirteen matches on it, with two battle royals, two tag matches one of which is a triple threat tag match, a fatal four way, and a triple threat, a lot of superstars are going to be featured on this year’s show. Another tren WWE has taken to over the last few years, with WrestleMania 33 having 70 superstars on the show.
Mania being longer is partly to blame on WWE’s ever-growing main roster. With more superstars on the roster, WWE needs to find a way to get them on the show. Or, do they?
There really isn’t a good reason to have either of the battle royals WWE has at WrestleMania. Sure, honoring the memory of industry great Andre The Giant, is nice, but the battle royal isn’t necessary. Most fans don’t care if it’s there or not, and the Women’s counterpart has been met with more controversy than praise.
Not having the Battle Royals would, in the long run, save WWE money. They wouldn’t have to pay the wrestlers in the match the payday they do now, and I’m sure most fans would agree with me when I say that I would rather have pyro back, than have two battle royals at WrestleMania.
Obviously, I know that WWE saving that little bit of money from the paying those wrestlers probably wouldn’t be enough to bring back pyro, but it’s also wouldn’t hurt.
Things would be different if winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal meant something. But it does nothing to help the winners. The man who came in second last year, Jinder Mahal, had a better year than the man who won, Mojo Rawley. There were extenuating circumstances to Mahal winning the WWE Championship in 2017, sure, but the fact remains. Winning didn’t help Cesaro the year he won. It didn’t help Big Show the year he won, and it has done nothing to further the career of Baron Corbin.
Simply put, the battle royal is a waste of time, and money for WWE and they would be better off to cancel the thing altogether.
Another thing WWE could do to help WrestleMania’s length be better received by fans is move the start time up. This year the Mania pre-show will start at 5 ET, meaning the main card will begin at 7 ET.
First off, a two-hour pre-show is asinine. No one wants that, and no one needs it either. All they do on the pre-show is retell the stories we’ve already seen on Raw and Smackdown. Granted those pre-show recaps are mostly for the casual fans that only watch WrestleMania, but that’s what the video packages before the matches are for. Plus, if we’re honest, those casual fans probably aren’t watching the pre-show anyways. So once again, a two-hour pre-show is a waste of time and money.
WWE could easily cut the pre-show to an hour, and start the main card at six instead of seven. This could either mean the show ends an hour earlier, or it gives WWE an added hour to put more matches on the main card. Which would eliminate the gripe of matches on the pre-show that many fans have.
One way or another WWE need to fix the issue of WrestleMania because trying to make it through a seven-hour show, with multiple breaks in between is hard to do. Even if WWE kept the show at seven hours but cut down on the breaks, concerts, and backstage segments, and we were able to jump from one great match to another, the show might not seem as long as it is. Because it really is the, sometimes lengthy breaks that make Mania so hard to watch at times.