The programs are printed. The basement is decorated. And my annual WrestleMania party (when I'm not attending in person) is underway.
Before the show begins, I wanted to stop by with some last minute WrestleMania thoughts:
. When it's all said and done it will be interesting ot see how this Mania ranks among the rest. My thought is that it will live up to expectations and deliver four solid hours of entertainment. But what I think will be missing from this year's edition of Mania is the high-quality matches we've gotten used to in recent years. With no Money in The Bank nor Shawn Michaels on the card, the show's best chances for a five-star, match of the year-level bout rest with The Undertaker and Triple-H, and I'm not sure they will be able ot deliver. Putting aside the ring rust both legends may have after being largely inactive for months, the truth is that neither is the level of worker that Michaels was. It will be a classic "WWE style" main event with a slow built and lots of suspenseful nearfalls at the end, but I think it has a good chance of dragging in places, especially considering the slow, deliberate pacing that is Triple-H's signature. I'm expecting a very, very good match, but not a great one.
The other matches on the show with the potential to deliver quality workrate probabaly won't be alotted the time to develop into much. I'd say that's the case with Sheamus vs. Bryan, Mysterio vs. Rhodes and Edge vs. Del Rio. Other bouts on the card will likely be in the 1 star-or less range, including the Snooki mixed tag match, teh Cole-Lawler match, and the 8-man tag featuring the Corre.
And so, even if tonight's show meets expectations, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of fans were somewhat underwhelmed at the end of the night.
. I can't wait to see what the Georgie Dome looks like tonight. WWE always does an amazing job of producing WrestleMania. I'd say the production standards are right up there with the SuperBowl and the Olympics.
. Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting old, but this is the first time I have never heard of the "celebrity" singing America The Beautiful at the top of the show. Kerri who-son? Who?
. I'm glad to see Kofi Kingston added to the 8-man tag. I feel badly for Kozlov, as it's got to sting to be pulled off the Mania line-up (my guess is they were never seriously considering including him in the bout.) But Kingston has more than earned a spot in the biggest match of the year. It's too bad they're not doing a Money in the Bank this year, as I'd think Kingston would be an ideal candidate to win it.
. On that note, I'm not thrilled about WWE pulling the MITB match to feature it exclusively at the MITB pay per view later this year. I get that the MITB is a strong-enough concept to help carry an otherwise "off-month" PPV -- and it's true that WWE probably doesn't need MITB to seel any extra Mania buys. But the MITB match had become something of a Mania tradition, and was a fun "spectacle" at each year's show. It also got a lot of wrestlers on the show who would otherwise be left off.
. Last night's Hall of Fame ceremony looked to a special event, as always. It's a shame that fans have to wait until Monday night to see clips of it on televsion. But it's probably wise of WWE not to try to rush to go on live with the event. Doing so in the past always caused a scramble to get guys off the stage quickly. And, inevitibly, the headline Hall of Famer would always get the least time for his speech. This was, everyone could go as long as they want, and WWE will just edit it down for TV.
. That's all for me. I hope everyone enjoys the show. Calling WrestleMania "the SuperBowl" of pro wrestling has become something of a cliche, but it really does have the feel of a special day.