The Pros and Cons of Wrestling Rematches | Smark Out Moment

The Pros and Cons of Wrestling Rematches

Posted by Joshua Jones Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Every wrestling fan has witnessed an excellent wrestling feud at some point. The feud often revolves around championship gold or something personal that binds two wrestlers together. Sometimes, a rivalry evolves so much that it suddenly goes from having two wrestlers to four. But the trick to enrapturing the minds of wrestling fans is giving them a reason to be invested with what they are seeing. A long feud can sometimes be built on just the strength of a promo. However, more often than not, rivalries are made by the power of the matches between everyone involved. 

Becky vs. Charlotte Rematch
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair rematch at Survivor Series

This brings up the concept of rematches in wrestling. If you speak to a hardcore wrestling fan today, they might tell you rematches are designed to stretch feuds out. While there may be some merit in that sentiment, there are also some benefits to having a handful of rematches in a feud. 

For instance,  just look at the triple threat rematch from WrestleMania 20 featuring Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Chris Benoit. Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, submitting Triple H, but the rematch at Backlash the following month allowed Benoit to beat Michaels instead of the King of Kings. This gave Benoit a win over both men in two consecutive months in the same match type, boosting his credibility as the newly crowned champion on Raw. While there is an argument about leaving Triple H out from the Backlash main event, the rematch did give fans a bit of a treat as they witnessed the main event of WrestleMania 20 again a month later. 

But while the Backlash 2004 rematch is an example of giving a champion a boost of credibility after a huge win, the WrestleMania 29 rematch between The Rock and John Cena did no such thing. After suffering a loss to The People's Champion the year prior, Cena spent the rest of the year on a downward slope losing matches to CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, and even Lord Tensai. The rematch at WrestleMania 29 was designed to give Cena his win back. Still, critics complained that Cena didn't need to beat The Rock in the main event as his credibility had already been built throughout the near-decade on top. 

Rock vs Cena rematch at WrestleMania 29 image
The Rock vs. John Cena rematch at WrestleMania 29

Cena's so-called redemption story leading into WrestleMania 29 may've upset a lot of fans. However, the rematch between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 did no such thing. After a classic battle at the previous WrestleMania, Michaels was dead set on avenging his loss to the Phenom. The rematch added another aspect to their legendary rivalry, as Michael's obsession with ending the streak would eventually lead to him putting his career on the line.  Unfortunately for the Heartbreak Kid, Michaels lost again to Undertaker and was forced to retire the next night on Raw. 

Unlike the rematch between The Rock and Cena, Michaels and Undertaker evolved into something that changed the WWE landscape forever. The loss of Shawn Michaels on the roster meant so much more than Cena winning another WWE championship, even if it was against the People's Champion. After retiring Michaels, Undertaker would have two consecutive matches against Michael's best friend, Triple H. As WWE obsessively marketed, the matches between both men really felt like the end of an era. The Hell in a Cell war at WrestleMania 28 saw two men ripping each other apart for the sake of a win but also giving fans one last go-around inside satin's structure. Many still argue that the Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 was one of the last great ones of its kind. 

Undetaker Triple H Shawn Michaels WrestleMania
Undertaker's rivalry against  DX ended at WrestleMania 28

At the core of the Undertaker vs. DX rivalry is a story about legacy and defending what you have built throughout your career. Some feuds revolve around someone trying to establish their legacy. The Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar rivalry established Reigns as the next top guy in the company.  The issue though that it took 7 years and multiple matches. While some of the matches were great, others suffered due to Reigns' lack of positive support from the crowd. The Reigns/Lesnar rivalry is an example of sometimes having to forgo rematches when the crowd isn't into a particular wrestler playing a specific role. 

Still, it's hard to argue that the announcement of a rematch between two prominent event-caliber wrestlers doesn't at least grab the fan's attention. A prime example is The Rock vs. Stone Cold 2 at WrestleMania 17. When it's between two people that fans just can't get enough of, rematches can generate a significant amount of buzz. The trick, as always, is to give fans a reason to care and keep watching. 

What are your favorite WWE rematches of the last 2 decades? Comment below and stay tuned for more Smark Remarks.

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