WrestleMania is, without a doubt, the largest professional wrestling event on the planet and in recent years the show has continued to grow with the introduction of the WWE Network. Since the network’s inception, the ‘Show of Shows’ has routinely extended in length with each passing year.
However, with the announcement that WrestleMania 34 will be approximately seven hours long, it is a testament to just how far WWE‘s version of the Super Bowl has come.
That is why it is time to expand WrestleMania into a two-day event.
WrestleMania 29, for example, ran three hours and 48 minutes with a pre-show and marked the final pre-network broadcast before the launch of the streaming service in February 2014. With the event continuously getting longer (and it becoming more and more difficult to keep the live audience engaged for an entire afternoon, let alone for the show itself), it makes sense to introduce this scheduling change to the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’.
Expanding the event to two days will allow WWE to explore new possibilities in terms of marketing and storytelling. While there would be drawbacks to having WrestleMania take up a whole weekend – such as changing potential schedules involving NXT TakeOver and the Hall of Fame ceremony – the benefits would greatly outweigh the negatives.
If WrestleMania consisted of two four-hour shows instead of one seven-hour show it would give WWE the chance to have even more airtime for the matches on the card. Gone would be the days of feuds like Bayley vs. Sasha Banks having to pause in order for both women to get their paydays by participating in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal due to a lack of space on the card – or announced matches being cut during the show itself.
Furthermore, if WWE had the luxury of WrestleMania being spread across two days, it would allow them to advertise and promote the show with two headlining fights. Both closing matches would take place at the end of each day and would have a legitimate claim of being the main event of WrestleMania. Look at this year’s card, for example. Image how satisfied their hardcore fanbase would be if Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles was the main event of the first night of matches and then, to satisfy their casual fanbase, closing the second day’s show with Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar.
From strictly a financial standpoint, more shows mean greater ticket sales, greater profit for the venue in concession stands and more merchandise sales on site. While it may decrease the chance of selling out WrestleMania, with how much WWE loves branding, they can re-christen the extravaganza as “The Biggest Two Day Sporting Event in History.”
Finally, having one seven-hour show is a burden for a live audience trying to keep engaged for the entire event. The main event must feel like the biggest and most important match of the year and it is difficult to view it as such when it is being performed in front of an exhausted crowd. Splitting WrestleMania into two shows allows the audience to rest after a shorter first show and return the next day rejuvenated to see the rest.
With a more excited crowd, especially one invested in what takes place over the two-day event, the results of each headlining bout would carry more weight… especially if WWE insisted Roman Reigns is involved with at least one of them.
What are your thoughts on WrestleMania’s ever-extending runtime? Would you prefer a two-day event? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter here.
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