BY ALBERT ALBANESE
April 7, 2013 marks World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania 29. To be held in Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, fans from around the world will descend upon the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets for the hard-hitting, fast-paced, exciting action the WWE is known to deliver.
The main event of Wrestlemania has started to cause some controversy with fans. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will defend his title against number one contender and WWE’s biggest draw, John Cena. While this seems like the biggest marquee match-up in the WWE right now, fans are upset about the main event. The match is a re-match from last year’s Wrestlemania 28, and some fans are upset about seeing it again after it was promoted last year as a “Once in a Lifetime” match. Robert Williams, a life-long wrestling fan said, “If it wasn’t a rematch main event or that predictable as to who’s going to win I would be more excited.”
There is a general feeling that since The Rock is a part-time WWE superstar, John Cena is a lock to leave Wrestlemania 29 with the WWE Championship. This near certainty has other fans upset that they have tickets for WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw, the next night. Nick Finocchio, 20, said, “If Cena wins, I will resent myself for physically going to the Izod center to see RAW.” However, avid Cena supporters are excited at the possibility of seeing him as WWE champion after not having the championship for well over a year.
Other members of the WWE universe feel that the WWE has let down its biggest fans when they created the matches for this year’s Wrestlemania. Avid wrestling fan and writer of the Cosblog, an on-line blog that discusses music, movies and wrestling, Marcos Cosme said “If [WWE] had created a great card with fresh matches then I might be thinking differently. But I feel that they are simply catering to their WrestleMania audience and not the wrestling fan base that they have the other 365 days.”
The Rock, known for his wrestling career and more notable film career, starring in such movies as GI Joe- Retaliation, Fast 5 and The Other Guys, returned to wrestling last year at Wrestlemania 28 to face John Cena in his second match since his return. The Rock was one of the biggest stars in the WWE from 1998-2003. He then became a part-time wrestler as he pursued his film career. He returned to the WWE as the host of Wrestlemania 27 in 2011, starting a yearlong rivalry with John Cena that culminated with the Rock defeating Cena at Wrestlemania 28.
John Cena has become the WWE’s main draw since his first WWE Championship victory at Wrestlemania 21 in 2005. Since then, Cena has become one of the most controversial superstars in WWE history. Due to his character being generally unchanged in 8 years, the WWE universe is often split when seeing Cena as he receives a reaction heavily mixed with cheers and jeers when he appears in front of the audience. Many people are upset that Cena will be in the main-event of Wrestlemania for the fifth time in the past eight years.
Despite the negativity, Cena’s merchandise sells more than any other WWE Superstar. He was also voted by the WWE universe as the 2012 Superstar of the Year, even though he had his worst year since his inaugural title run and former WWE champion CM Punk held the WWE Championship the entire calendar year. Also, Cena’s actions outside the wrestling ring, most notably granting over 200 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the most in the foundation’s history, keep him a focal point of the WWE’s programming.
While many fans seem as if that they are uninterested in the main-event of Wrestlemania 29, other fans aren’t letting one match dictate their future of watching WWE programming. Rob Cossentino, a wrestling fan since 2000, said “If Cena wins, I’ll quit watching WWE… say so many people, but the next night on Raw all is forgotten and we tune in to the next new angles.” While The Rock and John Cena are the main attraction of Wrestlemania, the WWE has other stars like The Undertaker, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, Triple H and Alberto Del Rio that attract other members of the WWE Universe to its programming.
While there are some detractors, many fans are looking forward to attending Wrestlemania 29 and seeing the future of the WWE after the big event. While some fans feel that in order to keep a fresh product, the WWE needs to turn John Cena against his legions of fans and into a “bad guy” or heel, others believe that by having great, entertaining matches and interesting storylines, the WWE will always do great business.
Despite some hardcore wrestling fans being upset about The Rock and John Cena’s spot in the main event of the biggest wrestling event of the year, the past has shown that with one blockbuster storyline, those fans can be drawn right back in. Jesse James Jobin, who at 27 is a life-long wrestling fan that has become increasingly frustrated by the direction of the WWE as of late, said “Cena as champ again would bother me. For the last 15 years we’ve had the same 5 or 6 guys trading the belt. Enough is enough.”
The only question now is what will the WWE have in store for its fans to keep them coming back for more? Looking at its past, the WWE always seems to come up with something.