The following is a recent email conversation between WrestleZone.com writers, Chris Cash and Nick Paglino. It has been formatted into an editorial for exclusive use here on the site.
Nick Paglino: Let’s steal a quick bit from ESPN’s "Pardon The Interruption" and do a fill in the blank. This might help people understand why I think the "2/21/11" promo is not advertising The Undertaker.
The statement is: "I will feel ______ if the promo is advertising The Undertaker."
My response would be "disappointed." How many times has The Undertaker returned? Who honestly still gets really excited and/or surprised when The Undertaker returns to WWE? I’m not taking anything away from the status of The Undertaker, as I respect him as one of the top guys in WWE, but his returns to the company have become about as watered down as Brett Favre’s returns to the NFL, or Dixie Carter’s 7,000 Tweets about how something is going to "change the face of wrestling forever." The viral video thing WWE is doing right now with "2/21/11" is brilliant, much like it was when Jericho returned to WWE after his lengthy hiatus, and WWE needs something bigger than the return of The Undertaker to make it worthwhile and to make us excited the next time they do it.
As for Sting vs The Undertaker at ‘Mania, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Although we’ve reported that it’s almost a lock ‘Taker will be at WrestleMania, I don’t think he’ll be at 100%, and a match between Sting and The Dead Man, for the first time, would need both guys at 100% so they can deliver the classic people would expect. With Wade Barrett, WWE can do the same thing they did with Nexus vs Cena on Raw, and have ‘Taker pretty much bury Wade without having to strain too much in the ring. Is it the way WWE should go? Absolutely not. Undertaker should only compete if he’s 100% ready, and Barrett should be booked strong. But WWE seems to have no problem burying Wade Barrett.
Chris: Agreed that Barrett has been a scapegoat as of late, but if it is Taker/Barrett at ‘Mania, look at what we have lined up. Edge/Del Rio, Miz/Cena, Punk/Orton/, Triple H/Sheamus, Taker/Barrett, and the Money in the Bank. Excuse me for stealing the Miz’s line, but really? I’m all for the youth movement they seem committed to stand behind, but this does absolutely nothing for me. Not yet, anyway.
I guess they could use Sting in another match at the big event, but if and when he does sign with the company, I don’t expect it’s going to be for "years". There will be limited time to allow Sting to work the dream matches one would expect, so kicking it off with the Undertaker at this year’s WrestleMania seems most logical to me. That is, IF he even signs. I’m still not convinced he has.
Nick: I’m not convinced he is either. The funny thing is though, as much as I would like to see Sting vs Taker like everyone else, I’m much more interested in the current youth movement card. I think the best way to get new talents over is to throw them in the deep end, so to speak. And Wrestlemania is the ultimate deep end. I feel like there’s too much pressure put on the ppv each year to have "something huge," but often times what WWE books to be the huge attraction isn’t as meaningful to me as the other matches on the card. I’m excited this year to see what the future of wwe can bring to the Wrestlemania table, and am at least thankful that the current, early line-up for the show isn’t a rehash of the same old matchups.
Chris: Okay…I have to call you out on that. There is absolutely no way you can honestly say (look me in the eye, Kid!) that you’re "much more interested" in the current youth movement than a Sting/Taker matchup at WrestleMania. I concur that WWE needs to be building the stars of the tomorrow, but WrestleMania can’t be built around those stars. Not fully anyway. And if there’s not at least some marquee match on the level or close to the level of Sting and the Undertaker, then it would seem this year’s mega-event is simply not going to be very…mega.
Nick: I’m not saying I’m more interested in the youth movement vs a potential match between Taker and Sting, but on the whole I’m more interested in WWE booking a solid card for Wrestlemania as opposed to dwelling on something "big" like Floyd Mayweather or Donald Trump. To me, an event isn’t "mega" because of the amount of stars it features; it’s mega because of the content quality. And yes, if Taker and Sting are both at 100% then the potential for them to have a quality bout is certainly there, but I’m more impressed right now by the fact that WWE is allowing the future of the company to speak for Wrestlemania, and not so much the past.
Chris: No, an event is mega due to the perception that the stars involved in the matchup are just that…"stars". TNA is a prime example of how "not" to sell a pay per view, yet the quality of matches are typically worth the money you pay in the end. No one knows that though if they aren’t convinced to pay the price of admission.
Bottom line, whether it’s Taker with Sting, Triple H, Barack Obama or Oprah (maybe both Obama AND Oprah?), Vince McMahon can’t – and won’t, when it’s all said and done – rely on the likes of Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and the other "stars of tomorrow" to carry the biggest pay per view of the year. A couple of them should definitely be involved in high-profile matches and they will be, but the entire card can’t be based around them.
Not yet, anyway.
Nick: But I think WWE does have star power booked on one side of each match thus far. Yes, there’s a big rookie presence in the early creative plans for the show right now, but on the other side of each match are your "stars" like Taker, Edge and Triple H. So I don’t think the rookies will have to carry the ppv; it’s gonna be up to the vets to help put the newbies over as stars and then I think the show will end up feeling big. And I agree that mania is still lacking that "big attraction," but here’s to hoping it comes in the form of a great match and not a stunt/gimmick like Oprah vs Obama.
By the way, Oprah’s favored in that match by two cheeseburgers.
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