Time to Ditch The Fiend Character and More WWE WrestleMania Night 2 Hot Takes
Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 kicked off with The Fiend inexplicably losing to Randy Orton, mesmerized as a mysterious black liquid poured down over the face of Alexa Bliss. The booking of the match and the angle left fans underwhelmed and questioning what they had just devoted six months of their time and energy to watching every week on Raw.
That was the start of Sunday’s event, which never really felt as loose and free as Saturday’s show, and, in some ways, underwhelmed in comparison.
The plight of the masked madman, the dichotomy between the nights, and Rhea Ripley’s disappointing moment highlight the hot takes from the second night of WrestleMania 37 action.
WWE Ruins The Fiend Character Beyond Repair
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The Fiend emerging from darkness, defeating Randy Orton and standing tall as cheers for the captivating persona rained down from the fans was the easiest outcome WWE had to book all weekend. It was the one finish that absolutely needed to happen to justify everything that came before it. It was foolproof, really.
Until WWE Creative fooled around and screwed it up.
There was no momentous victory, no defining moment, not even a cool visual that will last forever. Instead, The Fiend irrationally became distracted by an Alexa Bliss covered in black ooze straight out of a 1992 Ultimate Warrior feud and succumbed to the RKO as Orton emerged victoriously.
There was no final payback for Orton setting The Fiend on fire at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. There was no real payoff to the six months of supernatural storytelling fans slogged through to get to Sunday. Instead, their patience and investment was paid off with…more mysterious developments that will demand more time and energy from an audience that has to be burning out on the constant devaluing of anything Wyatt gets over.
He took this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-esque character, created incredible buzz and sold a boatload of merchandise, only for WWE Creative to devalue it to the point that it may be time for a Wyatt to go back to the drawing board.
Yes, we should probably be patient and see where the Bliss story is headed, but why? The last time anyone devoted what little patience they had in regards to the Wyatt character, Sunday happened. Now, with The Fiend devalued further by a loss in the easiest win he should have ever accumulated, it is time to re-evaluate if all the production and parlor tricks are worth it to help a character the company will only manage to find new ways to water down and ruin in the long run.
Rhea Ripley’s Moment Ruined by Lack of Build
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What should have been the crowning moment for Rhea Ripley Sunday night was, instead, an underwhelming coronation that was hampered by WWE’s failure to build her or her Raw Women’s Championship Match against Asuka up in the weeks leading into the event.
The company did not create a story for the match beyond Ripley showing up and challenging The Empress. It was a match that just sort of happened after the Aussie popped back up on television and issued the challenge. The lack of storyline, anything for fans to sink their teeth into, was exposed by the lack of reaction for Ripley’s title win.
Instead of a raucous crowd ready to embrace Ripley the way it did Bianca Belair one night earlier, Ripley’s defining moment was met with relative silence from an audience that never really bought into the feud, nor did they have any reason to care about either woman’s journey to the match.
It also did not help that fans spent all weekend expecting a return from Becky Lynch, only to be left dismayed and disappointed when it did not happen.
It was hugely disappointing for Ripley, who waited a year for her redemption following last year’s loss to Charlotte Flair.
Now, WWE Creative has an uphill battle in front of them in terms of building Ripley into a champion who fans will get behind beyond the obvious “she’s super cool.” If it fails, she will be met with the same sort of reaction, or lack thereof, that her match and victory at WrestleMania generated, and that would be hugely detrimental to her and everyone in the company that believes in her as one of the future faces of women’s wrestling in WWE.
Better Booking Fuels Night 1 Past Night 2
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Night 1 of WrestleMania may not have had quite the buzz about it on paper that Night 2 did, but in hindsight, it outperformed it, and a lot of that can be attributed to better booking throughout.
Saturday’s card didn’t overthink things. Everything that unfolded on that broadcast made sense within the context of the storylines at play and sent fans home happy following the emotional main event victory by Bianca Belair over Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
The next night, things kicked off with the head-scratcher that was The Fiend’s loss to Randy Orton and never really recovered, thanks to decisions that hurt the flow of the match or the reaction to what should have been a huge moment.
Whereas Saturday felt effortless, as though WWE Creative booked the finish and gave those involved the power to tweak things or tell their stories, Sunday felt (at times) like the overproduced, overthought shows WWE is oftentimes accused of presenting.
As a result, Saturday earned the status as the superior of the two nights, even if Sunday’s main event was a Match of the Year candidate and one of the better Triple Threat matches of all time.