Pittsburgh is known for the Pirates, the Steelers and the Penguins these days when it comes to sports stars. But back in the 70s and 80s there was one man that really stood above them all. That man was the multitime champion, a Living Legend and a 2013 Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino.

This Italian immigrant was the biggest draw for the company for many years. Bruno was the epitome of the Northeast having more Madison Square Garden sellouts than anyone in history. He held the title for almost a decade at the time. Sammartino was the hero of the Italian immigrant. Signs saying “Bruno is Uno” would be peppered in the ravenous crowds as fans felt the bumps and bruises of the hero. Looking at him from modern standards he was not a marvel on the microphone or technical marvel in the ring. But he made a connection with the audience that will never be forgotten by those who saw him in the ring. The company would try to recapture this formula with ethnic heroes throughout the years but nobody had the same aura as Bruno.

Now, in 2016 just weeks before Wrestlemania 32, WWE seems to be trying to find that connection with their babyfaces. This Monday’s Raw from Pittsburgh seem to be trying to establish some Bit of interest and dynamic in their proposed matches. Last week, I talked about their defrosting of certain talents just for Wrestlemania season. And It definitely felt like the the thawing continued as we get closer to Dallas Texas and AT&T Stadium.

The night started with WWE making The New Day sympathetic figures in their feud with League of Nations. Even though, the unicorn trio has been the antagonist in the situation between the factions with YouTube videos. The company seems to understand the popularity and is willing to try to see where that goes. Hopefully, WWE will not have these three lose the magic by making them play to the crowd, slapping hands and kissing babies. That’s what the original plan was for the group. And it was generally, as the New Day would put it, “booty”.

The Road to KOMania continued through The Steel City and did not lead to any more clarity regarding the title picture. Although it did establish Sami Zayn as a player for the title. It’ll be interesting to see what multi-man match this turned into as Neville and the Miz have stake in a title shot. I honestly think having Sami versus Kevin will create a better story but I understand why they want to do this as the company once reward talents for their hard work all throughout the year. But it’s really hard to get that Wrestlemania moments in a multi-man match without doing something crazy. Sami much like Bruno in his generation gets fans to feel his pain in a way that no one else does on the roster. He is the everyman and while he has still to get himself over with the casual WWE fan, he has the tools to get the job done. All those years under the mask as El Generico has caused him to use his emotions and his body language to connect. Something that a lot of the WWE main roster cannot do.

Ryback continued his assault on the US Champion Kalisto on this past Monday’s Raw. While I don’t like the ramshackle nature of this match. It will be interesting to see how these two can work together to make their styles mesh. I’m still not sure if it’s going to be the Wrestlemania moment both men deserve. But we will see what happens.

And speaking of deserve, this moves me in the talking about The Brie Bella-Lana storyline. In my previous Raw column, I spoke about how this seemed like a bad idea. Not just for the fact that the match would have to compete with Sasha Banks versus Charlotte versus Becky Lynch but It would be Lana’s first match. However, WWE looks to be planning a six man tag with Brie teaming with Alicia Fox, Paige against Lana, Naomi and Tamina. While I think that’s a better match than a Brie Bella-Lana one-on-one showdown, Paige deserves something a little better than this. Last year she competed in a divas tag and the same will happen this year. However I understand getting as many women on the show as you can. If I’m Natalya I’ve got to be really sad here. Once again it looks like she is on the outside looking in.

And as normal with The Divas there are no real babyfaces in this situation. I guess you consider Brie as a Babyface due to the Daniel Bryan connection but it’s very underplayed.

AJ Styles and Chris Jericho are definitely trying to drum up interest in a fourth contest in their rivalry. WWE has done well establishing Jericho who is been really laying it on the last few appearances as a heel to counterbalance the popularity of AJ. Overall, while I liked Jericho’s promo the segment itself but a little lackluster would just a little lackluster with AJ just nailing Chris with no real battle. Is the match Wrestlemania worthy? Sure. But it definitely needs a stipulation. Maybe an ultimate submission match. I would love to see those to go back and forth with counters.

Dolph seem to be once again the whipping boy of The Authority. But The Show Off attempted to show some backbone saying he wasn’t going to quit getting himself in a match with the COO. And while the former World Heavyweight Champion looked good against Triple H, it felt a little too late to have any interest in the Ziggler. Just listening to the promo before the the two clashed was all the more telling. Hunter asked fans that they like Dolph and it was a lackluster response. This is a course due to the push pull stop start nature of WWE booking over the years. The company’s trying to make Dolph the new Daniel Bryan and it’s not working. The segment seem to be a backdrop for the return of Roman Reigns so the match and angle for the last few weeks not that important.

I don’t know if it’s being a Pennsylvania but the Samoan clan seem to be on a different level almost savage you will. In a state that saw many of their kin achieve greatness, the Usos and Roman Reigns rock and aggressiveness that was very refreshing to all their characters. Reigns definitely gave the impression that a heel turn could be possible if you did not come out on top in Dallas. As for the Usos themselves, they seem to have stepped up their game to match the intensity of the Dudleys. It’s a shame that this feud has not been focused on for a few weeks but I imagine this will be a good match.

Dean Ambrose once again stood toe to toe with The Beast in a great segment. Heyman once again was great as the barker selling a Street fight at Mania. Ambrose definitely received some gifts from Roadblock and Triple H making him a legitimate main event star. I don’t know how I feel about the gift Mick Foley gave him in the form of a barbed wire baseball bat. That just felt like a segment that was a necessary. And it makes the impression that he’s the next next Foley and that should not be the message you want to send the audience. It seemed that The Beast was frightened enough of Dean swinging a crowbar why do you need a barbed wire baseball bat. Seemed to be a forced way to get Mick Foley on the show.

I believe that Foley could have been added to the final segment of the show and been more effective. Imagine if Foley could’ve mediated between Vince, Shane and the Undertaker in the home of the 1998 King of the Ring match that changed his career. I think it would’ve been a much more compelling than what we actually got.

Don’t get me wrong at least they brought up some questions that we all wanted to ask regarding The Undertaker working with Vince. They didn’t give us a real answer. The segment really fell flat in a lot of ways. Even though it was cool to see those personalities together in the ring it really didn’t add anything push the storyline forward. There’s no real Babyface in the situation at all. Shane is getting cheered but he is also blackmailing his father. Undertaker is destroying everyone and Vince is himself.

I know the modern-day fan is going to go the modern-day heel/face dynamic doesn’t really matter anymore. The lines are blurred. And I get that argument. I agree there are nuances from the traditional roles.

But there are still characters that the company want you to get behind for storyline purposes. Remember, that wrestling at its core is still a storytelling medium. You need a protagonist just like you need an antagonist to make a story work. Why would WWE have been trying so hard for the last few years to get Roman Reigns over it that didn’t matter the casual fan. And it does. Sure, it’s not going to be like it was back in the days with Bruno. But it sure seems like WWE is trying to create new heroes for their fans.

The Road to Wrestlemania continues on and quite the road it really is. I’ve got a feeling that this will be one of the most talked about Wrestlemania events of all time.