Pro Sports Column: WWE popularity rising post-WrestleMania

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Now that WrestleMania has ended, it is time for the WWE to start a new chapter.

Feuds have ended and begun, moments were created, and stars were born, but a star has also left the company. WrestleMania ended with three new champions and the company has shown how and why they have kept professional wrestling relevant.

With Seth Rollins being the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the WWE can now have its most prestigious title on Raw and Smackdown. The title can be defended every pay-per-view now, unlike when Brock Lesnar was the champion where he only defended the title on select dates.

However, the storylines have made it obvious that Lesnar will not be available to compete year round. In the Raw after Mania, he was “suspended indefinitely” by Stephanie McMahon for attacking commentators and a cameraman. This saves Lesnar’s image as a “good guy” for the company since he had no choice in the amount of appearances he makes in the next few months.

Fans have turned “The Beast” into a “babyface” (wrestling term for good guy) after the performer has shown in every pay-per-view he is well worth the money and the wait.

Another smart move that the company has been seemingly able to make was let Roman Reigns be the guy pinned by Seth Rollins. After this year’s Royal Rumble, Reigns seemed destined to be the next most hated babyface since John Cena. Letting him lose the title match allows him time to develop for when the company inevitably gives him the title.

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An interesting turn is letting Sheamus return as a “heel” (wrestling term for bad guy). His attack on fan favorites Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler brings instant hatred from fans who never like seeing those two guys lose, let alone be seen being beaten up by the man many consider to be John Cena, Jr.

His involvement in the Intercontinental title picture has allowed the WWE to put him in an intriguing storyline. Unfortunately, it cheats the fans from the singles matchup between Ziggler and Bryan, especially since many consider those two the best performers in the company today and the two wrestlers would most likely put on a classic match.

Their match on Raw after WrestleMania was indicative of how much fans love the two when they gave the two a standing ovation in the middle of the match, something that has never been seen in the WWE.

John Cena winning the United States Championship was seen as WWE’s attempt to bring back legitimacy to the title. However, many believe that it could mean the end of Rusev’s success in the company. Oftentimes, monsters with undefeated streaks have very short life spans after they are defeated cleanly. Umaga is a perfect example of this. Like Rusev, he was an explosive figure in the ring but had no voice and had a manager speak for him.

AJ Lee has retired from in-ring competition a few months after launching a social media campaign “#GiveDivasAChance.” This campaign was pushed to ask WWE to give its female competitors more time in the ring to showcase their skills. Lee has been one of the most popular female wrestlers of all time and permanent departure will leave a huge gap in the Divas division.

There seems to be a lot of potential coming out of WrestleMania. Unfortunately, there are so many times when WWE has dropped the ball when they choose to go back to the predictable route much to the dismay of fans. There’s no telling where a dynamic company like WWE will go but hopefully they can build on the momentum. WrestleMania and the Raw after has shown that Max Landis was right, when wrestling is good, it’s great.

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