I’ve always been the type of guy who prefers calling it the way I see it instead of telling people what they want to hear, and at times that’s gotten me some backlash, but I’m okay with that. I don’t do the Emperor’s new clothes thing, and if that ruffles some feathers, then so be it.
I think today’s going to be one of those days, because I keep hearing WWE proudly proclaim that Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks are the first black women to main event Wrestlemania. Problem with that is that they didn’t, and please spare me the social justice lecture, it’s got nothing to do with that, and grow up if you think it does.
My opinion, going back to when I began watching wrestling, is that there’s one main event of Wrestlemania, and that’s the last match on the show. This goes back to the early 90s when they would promote “double” main events: Wrestlemania 8 had Flair vs Savage and Hogan vs Sid, Wrestlemania 9 was Hogan/Beefcake vs Money Inc and Bret vs Yokozuna, 10 had the two World Title matches, 11 had Shawn vs Diesel and LT vs Bam Bam.
It all sounds great from a promotional standpoint, but the most important match, aka the main event, is the one that closes the show. Flair and Savage didn’t main event Wrestlemania 8, Hogan and Sid did. Bret vs Yoko was the true main event of 9 (and I guess we can tie in Hogan’s impromptu title match afterward as part of that). Bret and Yoko main evented 10 again, and LT vs Bam Bam main evented 11. The other “main events” were anywhere from midcard matches to semi-main, but they weren’t main events, or they would have gone on last.
This continued into the post-Attitude Era and the brand split, after which each show’s top title was supposedly a “main event” match, except that we all know the real top, main eventing title was usually the Raw title match. The Smackdown title match was almost always further down the card, and in some cases was the opening match of the show. I’m sorry, if you’re opening the show, you’re literally the furthest thing from a main event.
There were also matches that were very heavily featured, probably more than what closed that particular show, but they weren’t main events. Triple H vs Jericho main evented Wrestlemania 18, not Hogan vs Rock. Brock vs Angle main evented 19, not Hogan vs Vince. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker, possibly the best match ever at Wrestlemania, didn’t main event Wrestlemania 25 because Triple H vs Randy Orton did.
This brings us to the modern day where Wrestlemania is now split over two days. This was originally done for the pandemic obviously, but they kept doing it afterward because, in the years prior to the pandemic, Wrestlemania just got WAAAAAAAY too long. As grand as it seemed on paper, having a 5+ hour main show following a 2 hour preshow just got to be too much, so the only way to make it palatable was to split it over two nights, which is something I had said for years they should have done.
What we were left with were two shows that, while meant to be equal in stature on paper, aren’t truly equal because, at the end of the day, it’s one really long show split in half to make the whole thing watchable. So no, AJ Styles and the Undertaker didn’t main event Wrestlemania, Drew and Brock did. Bianca and Sasha didn’t main event Wrestlemania, Roman vs Edge vs Daniel Bryan did. Austin vs Owens didn’t main event Wrestlemania, Brock vs Roman did.
Now, if any of those matches closed the second night of Wrestlemania, then they would have been Wrestlemania main events. But they didn’t, and they weren’t. Bianca vs Sasha and Owens vs Austin were both terrific matches, but they weren’t main events. At best, they main evented the now much longer Wrestlemania preshow that runs the day before the main show. And can anyone honestly tell me with a straight face that AJ and the Undertaker in a bullshit movie match in any way resembled a Wrestlemania main event to you?
I know there are people who will disagree with me, and that’s fine, but that’s my opinion and my rationale.