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Posted in: Requesting Flyby
REQUESTING FLYBY: Repetition, Repetition, Repetition (This Wrestlemania Build Is Lamentable)
By Maverick
Mar 11, 2015 - 4:12:29 PM

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Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
(This Wrestlemania Build Is Lamentable)

Monday night's edition of Raw confirmed for me a suspicion I had held ever since Fast Lane: the writing staff have seemingly forgotten how to progress storylines. With three whole hours to play with, plus another two coming on Thursday evening, we somehow have a situation where we are watching the same thing we did last week, and the week before that. For any story to work, from a fundamental point of view, it needs to be moving from one point to the next. It cannot be stuck in stasis. That, however, is precisely what we have in the majority of cases heading into the grandest show in the wrestling year.

Take the interminable situation with the Intercontinental Championship. Not only were WWE lazy enough to simply throw almost all of their premier midcarders and their most popular main eventer into a transparent replacement for the Money In The Bank ladder match, they also decided at a very early stage in its development to base its story around the belt constantly being stolen by the challengers, while the frustrated champion Wade Barrett continually loses matches. For the past three weeks all we have seen is endless lukewarm TV matches with the other participants getting involved in some way. At no point has that formula been adapted or moved on. We have heard very little about the motivations of the men involved other than the usual vague clich├ęs about bringing the second strap back to its former position of prominence. It all seemed so different when Dean Ambrose was trekking through the snow to Stamford to announce his intentions to go for Wrestlemania glory. It is downright sad that this obvious and compelling story was derailed. The frustrating thing is that it would've been so easy to write and write well. The match still seems to me to be a vehicle for Ambrose but it is not going to have the same impact as it would've done if The Lunatic Fringe had had ample time and space to use his storytelling abilities in a feature midcard singles bout.

Next, let's look at the main event of the whole damned show, which is currently looking depressingly stagnant and shows few signs of sparking into something resembling life. Regular readers will know that I was unenthusiastic about the prospective Reigns vs. Lesnar match following the Rumble, but my cynicism was arrested almost completely by the quality of the match Roman had with Daniel Bryan at Fast Lane and the subsequent endorsement of the former Shield man by the submission specialist. "You'd better kick his ass!" was the rallying cry, and it got me pumped about the Wrestlemania main event for the first time since it was mooted. That enthusiasm lasted barely a week, and again, poor and repetitive writing is the root cause. The decision to have the feud be a non-physical one so far makes little sense given the strengths of the two men concerned, and makes little use of Brock's comparatively rare appearances; can anyone tell me what purpose he serves just standing behind Heyman looking monstrous? Not much value for money there. Moreover, the entire Heyman act feels monstrously over exposed to me of late. I know it's tantamount to sacrilege to criticise Paul E on the Internet, but I'm sorry, I just can't sit there listening to him shout "Brock Lesnar" over and over again in lieu of an actual promo. And it's every week. Heyman. Microphone. "MY CLIENT BRRRROCK LESNAR." I'm sick of it. Meanwhile, Reigns is spending most of his time with Seth Rollins and having little to do with the man he actually wants to dethrone. Given the way a portion of the fanbase felt about the match, WWE needed to go at the build to this one all guns blazing. The fact that they didn't is mystifying, and the result is a top Wrestlemania match that feels about as heated as a bedsit in Northumbria.

I feel that a similar situation is presented by Sting and Triple H. I was excited by the Survivor Series angle that kicked things off, but since then, rather than go with the idea of the veteran as a lone gunman dispensing vigilante justice, the writers switched gears and decided to go with this bizarre "Invasion fourteen years on" direction, whereby Triple H promos interminably about his two decades in WWE, a legacy he is determined to protect. Trouble is, he has told us this week after week after week. And my God, has it got boring. Rolling out all these ex-WCW guys to talk about Sting, having Trips tell us how much better he is than his 'Mania opponent because he was on the winning side...it's static writing of the worst kind, and the whole Stinger vs. The Game match up, which was interesting on paper, now fails to excite. The truly galling thing is that WWE have shown the way for the rest of the feuds in the way that they have written the Rollins/Orton interaction. The story moved sensibly from signpost to signpost, and even if the payoff on Monday night was predictable, because there was a proper progression and escalation of events, the crowd, and all of us sat at home, loved it. That ending to Raw felt like Wrestlemania. Nothing else on Monday night did. Of course, it helps that both sides of the feud are actually present, unlike with Triple H and Sting, but nevertheless, the Rollins and Orton feud has been written with care and attention, and WWE have reaped the rewards. Even with the problem of part timers, they should should be able to write plots that move from A to B.

My colleague The Doc asked on his Facebook page on Tuesday if we could remember a Wrestlemania build that felt this flat and if we could discern why it was that it felt lacklustre. My response is essentially this column. Yes, the Show of Shows is being built to in an inadequate manner, and the reason it feels that way is the repetitive, dull, static storylines infecting the product. A three hour Raw at this time of year should fly by, no pun intended, but instead, I've barely been able to get through it. That is a bad sign. WWE have just under three weeks to fix this. Let's hope they can.

This is Maverick, requesting flyby.