Former WWE Writer Brian Gewirtz on WrestleMania Being Two Nights Long, Future Cinematic Matches

While promoting the first season of NBC's Young Rock executive producer and former WWE writer [...]

While promoting the first season of NBC's Young Rock executive producer and former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz talked with bout two new trends that have popped up in WWE in recent years — Cinematic Matches and expanding WrestleMania out to two nights. While the idea had been played with in other companies for a few years, WWE showed its first Cinematic Matches at WrestleMania 36 with the Boneyard Match (The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles) and the Firefly Fun House Match (Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena). Both were widely praised, but future installments like the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WWE HQ, One Final Beat, The Wyatt Swamp Fight, the Haunted House of Terror and the "Greatest Wrestling Match Ever" were met with mixed results.

Gewirtz argued that while they should be used sparingly, they could still have a place on WWE programming even after live fans are allowed back inside arenas.

"I think they're pretty cool," Gewirtz said. "That's the issue with wrestling in terms of working on a creative team. I remember as a kid watching Saturday nights and Monday nights and being like, 'Wow, I wish this could be on every single week.' And then it became 'be careful what you wish for' because not only is it on every single week, it's on now basically twice every single week and two hours instead of 90 minutes. And then ultimately three hours and two hours instead of 90 minutes. At a certain point, you do ultimately get new fans coming to see and stuff, but for a lot of fans, you've seen it. You've seen this particular story or this particular personality. So, there's always a challenge to innovate and create something that you've never seen before.

"That shift from essentially just jobber matches and an angle on Piper's Pit or something like that in the Saturday morning syndicated era that ultimately shifted to having matches with non-jobbers and then ultimately storylines and bringing forward Vince as not only the friendly announcer, but the owner of [of WWE]," he added. "There is always this need to innovate and do something never seen before. And you know, cinematic matches are uncharted territory for the most part."

He continued — "I've enjoyed it and I think it gives both the talent and people behind the camera a chance to get very super creative, super visual. And you have to be judicious about it. You don't want to do it too much to the point where you overexpose it and it becomes too common. You got to keep them special, but I think they've done a good job with it. I'd like to see it continue."

As for WrestleMania, Gewirtz feels the show is best served as a one-night event. WrestleMania 36 was stretched to two nights last year and was taped inside the WWE Performance Center, while this year's WrestleMania 37 marks the first time a major WWE event will have a live crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As of right now WrestleMania 38 (Dallas) and WrestleMania 39 (Los Angeles) are listed as just one night.

"I'm sure there's a lot of factors that go into deciding whether it should be one night or two. As the fan, I like it as one night. I like to keep it special and I don't like it one night at seven hours long either," Gewirtz said. "I know there's a tendency, and a very understandable tendency, to want to have everybody on the card and want to reward everyone for their hard work. And I get all that. That makes a ton of sense. But at a certain point as a fan, it's not necessarily about getting everybody on the card. It's unfortunate that the chips fall that way. That's how it has to do that. I think the lead-up, the stadiums and matches and everything, it should be representative of WrestleMania. And I like it over one night. That's just my personal preference. I'm sure there are people and lots of reasons why two nights are great too, but I like keeping it one and kind of just having the best of the best represented."

WrestleMania 37 takes place on April 10-11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Young Rock airs new episodes on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.