Wrestlemania 29: The ‘Mania of Debuts
This year’s Wrestlemania, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, signals a focused youth movement in the WWE. By letting their young talent shine as anchors of the “biggest stage of them all”, they are taking an active approach towards building familiarity and character development among their newest stars.
The idea that the WWE doesn’t care for or push young talent has long been a relic of the past, and this year’s Wrestlemania card continues to drive that point home. At Wrestlemania 29, the current and previous NXT Champions make their Wrestlemania debuts, along with the man who won the competition in Season 4.
Here’s a list of the wrestlers confirmed to make their in-ring Wrestlemania debut this year:
- Dean Ambrose
- Seth Rollins
- Roman Reigns
- Big E Langston
- Brodus Clay
- Damien Sandow
Ten debuts in a year is impressive. Beyond impressive; it’s crazy. However, the card is not yet complete. Let’s take a look at who could conceivably join these 10 in making their in-ring debuts at Wrestlemania this year (based on angles that have developed on television over the past few months):
- Antonio Cesaro
- Sin Cara
Those four could possibly bring the count up to 14.
Finally, Wade Barrett (winner of NXT Season 1) will be making his second Wrestlemania appearance, but his first ever in a singles contest.
This is huge, and brings to mind the fact that we need to accept some growing pains if we want the veterans to step aside and help build the young talent into future headliners of Wrestlemania. The haphazard and experimental nature of this year’s Wrestlemania booking is an example of those growing pains.
Sheamus was trolling Wade Barrett’s movie hard…only to face The Shield instead, while Ryback (who has feuded with The Shield since their debut) got pulled out of that same match to face Mark Henry.
Kaitlyn’s Wrestlemania opponent, if any, is a tossup between AJ and Layla.
Team Rhodes Scholars disbanded only to get back together to first take on Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, but will now face Brodus Clay and Tensai.
Chris Jericho went from a possible singles encounter with Dolph Ziggler to Ziggler being tossed in this year’s tag team title match, with Jericho facing Fandango.
The WWE has clearly been doing a lot of experimentation this entire Wrestlemania season, and as one would expect, we got some legitimately exciting things out of it… and some total clunkers, too.
However, I think this year’s Wrestlemania card is fantastic. It’s touching on the majority of my personal tastes and includes all of my favorite wrestlers, and I’m deeply invested in both World Title angles this year. It’s not perfect by any means (can I see Kofi Kingston and/or Antonio Cesaro somewhere on the card this year please?!), but with all the growing pains such a focused youth movement entails, a card this good is damn near miraculous.
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