Superstars rewrite WWE history
Wondering how Daniel Bryan ended up in the ring with Andre the Giant? Well, WWE Classics asked seven Superstars which classic matches they wish they could have competed in. Then we went a step further and inserted them into the legendary bouts. Join us as we rewrite history.
Let’s face it, every kid who ever laced up a pair of fresh hightops to fire fantasy buzzer beaters in their parents’ backyard had more than a few moments where they pretended to be Michael Jordan in the ’89 Eastern Conference opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, nailing that game winning shot from beyond the paint just as the clock hit zero. But what matches do WWE Superstars look to when they fantasize about that perfect sports-entertainment moment?
WWE Classics asked Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett and five other Superstars which WWE icons they wish they could trade places with in famous bouts. Then we went a step further and inserted them into the encounters. Join us as we rewrite history. ( WATCH VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Wade Barrett has been effusive in his praise for The British Bulldog, the beloved WWE Superstar who inspired the bare-knuckle brawler to pursue a career in sports-entertainment. But that doesn’t mean Barrett wouldn’t have loved to crush Davey Boy Smith’s jaw with the Bull Hammer elbow.
“The British Bulldog was always my favorite wrestler as a kid,” Barrett admitted. “Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago, because I would have loved the opportunity to step in the ring with him and take him on.”
A former tag team standout alongside The Dynamite Kid and an international star in singles competition, Davey Boy Smith had no shortage of classic bouts during his career. But which match would Barrett want to be involved in?
“I would like to switch places with Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart in his SummerSlam 1992 main event against The British Bulldog,” the former Intercontinental Champion said. ( WATCH)
Undoubtedly the biggest WWE match to ever take place in the United Kingdom, the fabled contest saw Hart defend his Intercontinental Championship against his brother-in-law in front of more than 80,000 WWE fans in London’s Wembley Stadium. After nearly half an hour of tireless seesaw action, Bulldog defeated “Hit Man” to win the title by reversing a pinning attempt. Would things have gone differently with the brawler from Preston, England, in the fray?
"It would have been a different kind of match than the match Bret and Davey Boy had,” Barrett said. “But obviously, I’ve got every confidence in myself. British Bulldog was great, but I’d back myself against anybody.”
Cody Rhodes may be the most clinical Superstar in the WWE locker room. Whether it’s the gear he is wearing to the ring that night or the answer to a WWE Classics question, the second-generation Superstar always takes his time before making a decision. So we weren’t at all surprised when Rhodes explained his thought process before rewriting history for us.
“Bret Hart versus Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania XII is my favorite match,” Rhodes said in his deliberate style. “But I wouldn’t want to place myself in that match because it’s almost sacrilege to do so.”
In typical Cody fashion, he sidestepped the vaunted 60-minute Iron Man Match between “Hit Man” and HBK in favor of a more unexpected choice.
“I would put myself at [In Your House 16: Calgary Stampede] and I would be on the team with [Goldust], Ken Shamrock, The Road Warriors and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin against the Canadians,” Rhodes revealed. ( WATCH)
Opting to step into the boots of his bizarre brother, Cody placed himself into a wild scuffle that saw The Texas Rattlesnake captain a team against Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Brian Pillman in front of a Calgary, Alberta, crowd that was absolute bonkers.
“That was one of the most energetic environments,” Cody said. “It was absolute chaos — almost a riot.”
That night in the Saddledome, Austin was pinned by Owen after a ringside brawl with members of the extended Hart family led to mayhem in the ring. Would the showdown have gone any different with Cody in action?
“Absolutely not,” the former Intercontinental Champion admitted. “The Harts still would have gotten involved, people would have been punched that shouldn’t have punched and it still would have been chaos.”
As technically devastating as he is clinically unstable, Daniel Bryan is the type of modern-day mat marvel capable of holding his own against past masters like The Dynamite Kid or Dean Malenko. But the unpredictable WWE Tag Team Champion didn’t choose a technical tour de force when WWE Classics cautiously approached him on the topic of fantasy matchups. Instead, he opted for spectacle.
“I would trade places with Hulk Hogan in the legendary WrestleMania III match against Andre the Giant,” Bryan said. ( WATCH)
It was a curveball choice from a man who was seemingly raised on VHS copies of Ric Flair versus Ricky Steamboat, but not a ridiculous one. After all, what WWE Superstar wouldn’t want to compete in front of 93,173 WWE fans?
“It would have been awesome,” the submission expert said. “It was one of the most monumental moments in WWE history in front of a huge crowd.”
Every WWE fan knows this landmark encounter came to an end after The Hulkster slammed the 540-pound behemoth. So how would WWE history have changed if Bryan went on last against “The Eighth Wonder of the World” at WrestleMania III?
“I would have never been able to bodyslam Andre the Giant,” Bryan said with a cackle. “That would have been the main difference.”
As the last graduate of the Hart family’s renowned Dungeon, Tyson Kidd didn’t venture too far from home when choosing the classic match he wanted to be part of.
“I would trade places with Shawn Michaels against Bret Hart in the WrestleMania XII Iron Man Match,” Kidd said. ( WATCH)
A favorite of many in the WWE locker room — both Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler mentioned it during interviews for this feature — the grueling war over the WWE Title between two bitter rivals went for more than an hour in March 1996. HBK won his first WWE Championship that night, defeating Hart in overtime with Sweet Chin Music, but Kidd was more interested in the opportunity to face “Hit Man” than winning the WWE Title.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to compete against Shawn Michaels, which was an absolute dream come true, but I’ve never competed against Bret Hart for obvious reasons,” he said. “What better environment than a one-hour match where it all comes down to conditioning and technical ability?”
It’s a stipulation that would perfectly suit the tireless Calgary, Alberta, native who has been competing actively since his teenage years. And the wrestling abilities of both Hart and Kidd would make for a bona fide classic.
“We both have that same Dungeon style,” Kidd said. “That whole style is based off technical ability. I think it’d be a lot of different counters that no one has really seen — very technical with a lot of my strikes and a lot of my high-flying.”
As for the outcome?
“We’d go for a little more than an hour and maybe I’d beat him — in a dream world!”
Still a relative newcomer to the squared circle, David Otunga made an impressive first appearance on The Grandest Stage of Them All at WrestleMania XXVIII when he led Team Johnny to victory over Team Teddy to give John Laurinaitis complete control over both Raw and SmackDown. But like any true Superstar, the Harvard-educated lawyer wasn’t satisfied with his spot on the card — he wanted to go on last.
“I’d like to trade places with John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII against The Rock,” Otunga admitted. “That was one of the biggest matches of all time and I’d like to see myself in the main event on The Grandest Stage of Them All.” ( WATCH)
A bout one year in the making, the epic showdown between the Cenation leader and The People’s Champion drew 78,000 WWE fans to Miami’s Sun Life Stadium and shattered pay-per-view records. The “Once in a Lifetime” encounter between two of WWE’s biggest icons ended with Cena succumbing to a Rock Bottom. Would things have gone differently with Otunga going against The Great One?
“Oh, I definitely would have won,” the smug Superstar said. “I would have taken John Cena’s place, but not his outcome. I clearly would have won.”
As a Diva who was brought up around the sports-entertainment industry, Natalya has a keen knowledge of WWE history. No surprise then that the daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart selected an often overlooked classic when called upon to pick a match she wished to compete in.
“I would switch places with Alundra Blayze at SummerSlam 1994 and wrestle Bull Nakano,” Natalya said.
Perhaps the greatest Divas bout at The Biggest Party of the Summer, the Women’s Championship Match occurred a year into the title’s resurgence. Handpicked to be the face of WWE’s revamped women’s division, Alundra Blayze was a toned, tanned blonde who fought a series of uphill battles against dangerous Japanese females like Aja Kong and her opponent on this night, Bull Nakano.
“The beauty of that match was that Alundra Blayze took the beating of a lifetime,” Natalya explained. “Bull Nakano was just relentless and basically dominated the entire match, but Alundra Blayze kept on fighting.” ( WATCH)
Although Blayze ultimately won the battle against the demented Nakano, the thrashing she took at the hands of her intimidating 200-pound rival made WWE Classics wonder why Natalya would want to face such destruction.
“I’ve always had a love for Bull Nakano,” the Hart Dungeon Diva said. “I’m actually the only Diva in WWE to have ever wrestled in Japan, so I obviously respect the Japanese lady wrestling culture. It’s kind of a hidden underground world.”
So would Natalya’s unique training allow her to stop Bull Nakano the same way Alundra Blayze did 18 years ago?
“I think I would be the ultimate underdog against her,” the former Divas Champion admitted. “But I would finish her off with a Sharpshooter and she would definitely tap out, because there would be no escaping it.”
Unlike the other Superstars who opted to place themselves into matches they witnessed in their youths, Zack Ryder picked a bout he was actually involved in.
“I would like to trade places with The Undertaker in his match against Edge at WrestleMania XXIV,” Ryder said.
The final bout at the 2008 Show of Shows, the World Heavyweight Championship Match holds the distinction of being The Rated-R Superstar’s only WrestleMania main event. Aligned with Edge at the time, Long Island Iced-Z injected himself into the match to help The Ultimate Opportunist and ended up getting chokeslammed off the apron by The Deadman. Still, Ryder wished he had the opportunity to face Edge one-on-one on The Grandest Stage of Them All. ( WATCH)
“Edge was my mentor. He basically saved my career and helped me get my start along with Curt Hawkins,” the Long Island, N.Y., native revealed. “As a little kid, I always wanted to wrestle Edge in the main event of WrestleMania. We never even got the chance to wrestle because of his injury.”
The Rated-R Superstar lost his World Heavyweight Title to The Phenom in Orlando, Fla.’s Citrus Bowl and became No. 16 on Undertaker’s Streak. But would Ryder have also conquered Edge at The Show of Shows?
“I’m not going to sit here and say definitely, but there’s a good chance,” a humble broski said. “Either way, it would have been the match of the night. No doubt.”