Posted by Ilyass Garara
Hello and welcome back to another installment of the Pro Wrestling Culture Cloud (PW2C)! Throughout this blog, you will be introduced to several aspects of the wrestling business, ranging from mainstream topics to the trivial, little known facts. Our only goal is to help you discover and refine your knowledge in pro wrestling while having fun and sharing your passion with other fans… You’re welcome!!!
Note: here is a nice Wikipedia pro wrestling glossary that I recommend everybody to read so that you get more familiar with the pro wrestling jargon.
Following some unpopular years of corny PG programming, WWE looks to be getting back to where it should be wrestling-wise. While several -new- stars like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler should be thanked for their huge efforts, one cannot deny the impact of the recent returns. Just look at all the rumors going around; Wrestlemania XXIX is 4 months away and we have already skipped the talk about the Royal Rumble winner to speculate on a possible CM Punk vs Stone Cold, The Rock vs Cena 2, the challenger for the Undertaker’s streak (if any), and who Brock Lesnar will feud with. That pretty much sets up the basis for this topic.
Let me clear up any possible confusion first. The following list is not meant to include fantasy matches such as the ones WWE and THQ promoted for their WWE All Stars video game release (e.g. André the Giant vs Big Show). These matches have been selected under the condition that both competitors were active at the same time, regardless if they were at their prime. That being said, let’s get it started!
1. The Rock vs Shawn Michaels
This must be one of WWE’s biggest misses ever, yet we have to admit that the circumstances did not help. While The Rock and Shawn Michaels were both active during the Attitude Era, The Great One (then a member of the Nation of Domination) was not in HBK’s league yet. Early 1998, Shawn Michaels injured his back and was forced to hang up the boots between WrestleMania XIV and 2002. By that time, the program could have been setup after Vengeance 2002 when The Rock won the WWE Championship for the 7th time, but Shawn Michaels had already been booked for what would become a successful long-term storyline with Triple H. Less than a year afterwards, The Rock decided to pursue his acting career and left the WWE.
To our own disappointment, I believe it is as unlikely for HBK to step out of retirement to take on a part-timer Brahma Bull as it is for the WWE to book two (semi)retired -albeit legendary- wrestlers instead of using their names to elevate current talent. However, my overly optimistic side will stick to the “never say never” phrase and hope for a miracle in the near future. After all, didn’t Rock come back to fight Cena? Yeah I know, it doesn’t matter!
2. Chris Benoit vs Daniel Bryan (Bonus: Iron Man Match, Submission Match)
Picture that: The Rabid Wolverine vs The American Dragon! They may not be the biggest superstars ever, but I am definitely considering them as two of the most complete and ruthless wrestlers to ever set foot in the ring, and part of me wants to see a contrast of their similar feats in a match. We all know why it cannot happen though. Fortunately, we got a similar taste of technical explosion with a series of matches between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit that started at WrestleMania X8.
As for the bonus stipulation, I think it is obvious that Iron Man matches showcase the competitors’ endurance, which Benoit and Bryan both had numerous occasions to prove in WCW/Japan and ROH respectively. With their technical arsenal of suplexes and countless submission holds added to the mix, fans would definitely be on the edge of their seats to know which of the German Suplex-Crippler Crossface and the Dragon Suplex-Lebell/Yes/No Lock teams would prevail.
3. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage vs Triple H (Bonus: Cage Match)
Rumors about Vince McMahon’s hate for Randy Savage have been going around for years, but the most common allegations are that he and an underage Stephanie McMahon had a sexual relationship. On a personal note, I would never encourage such delicate topics to be played with on TV, but knowing Vince’s appetite for turning real life stories into “personal” storylines, we could have easily witnessed a historic rivalry had it involved someone other than his own daughter. In that case, the Cage match would have been a decent fit as it generally adds more aggressiveness.
All personal issues aside, though, this would still be a match that few would want to skip. Imagine the Triple H that established himself as The Game back in 2000 booked in a program with a returning Macho Man; my initial reaction would have been a loud, clear “Ooooh Yeah!”
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Brock Lesnar (Bonus: No DQ Match)
Where do I start here… Oh right: 2002. Brock Lesnar, then looked at as the next big thing (no pun intended), was supposed to beat Steve Austin in a match. The Rattlesnake, however, was upset at the way he was booked and refused to lose against Lesnar, claiming that the loss wouldn’t establish the rookie without a proper storyline. This pushed The Rattlesnake to no-show and break kayfabe in an interview before quitting. Apparently, Brock Lesnar considered this as a sign of disrespect as he buried Austin in a 2011 interview when promoting WWE ’12.
But hey, do we really need such a story to enjoy confrontations, brawls and a match between Austin and Lesnar? Hell No! Their 2004 storyline is here to testify. Despite Brock’s match against Goldberg being one of the biggest flops in WrestleMania history, the build-up certainly delivered and had many fans thinking the match would be the show-stealer. A No DQ stipulation would add even more drama to an already intense encounter. However, knowing the solid performances these two can put on, an old school singles match would be just as fine.
5. Bruno Sammartino vs André the Giant
I can only speculate on the reason why such a bout was never booked, but judging by their legacy, it seems that the match would have had at least the same potential as André vs Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III. Which wrestler would apply their Bearhug submission first? Would the Italian Superman have carried André for his signature Backbreaker? Could André’s mythical endurance make Sammartino resort to an epic shoulder block from the top rope? Sadly, such questions will remain unanswered.
For those who do not know much about these two legends, the late André the Giant was a French wrestler of formidable size, being billed as a 7 feet 4, 550 to 600 pounds giant. Even though his championship reigns were not that memorable, his legacy in pro wrestling is still huge, having set the tone for super-heavyweights in later generations, most notably The Big Show (Paul Wight). Bruno Sammartino, on the other hand, forged his legacy back in the 60s and 70s. He is mostly recognized as the wrestler with the longest -and 5th longest- WWE Championship reign in history, which lasted from 1963 to 1971. I also recommend this shortened video of Bruno Sammartino vs “Superstar” Billy Graham. This bout was a rematch of what would be selected as the 1977 PWI Match of the Year.
I would love to go on and list another five dream matches, but I would rather go try these combinations in a video game since they are (almost) impossible to book today. I also thought about including a Tag Team match but later decided to make it a separate entry. I am curious to know if you have any other interesting suggestion, so do not hesitate to share your own list in the comments section below or even discuss their outcomes. Last but not least, make sure you come back in the next couple of days to check out the 2nd part of PW2C’s “Calling the Moves” where you get to know more about the origins of several pro wrestling holds.
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