The Mania Begins
If you've read anything I've ever written, you can probably surmise the following three things: I'm a longtime fan, I like to make lists, and I think my opinion is more important than yours. And while all those things are true, I'm going to add another dubious distinction to that resume. Yes folks, I'm about to become a plagiarist.
Well, not really, more like an idea stealer, I suppose. A long time ago in galaxy far away, there was a time before I was a part of WWE.com, when I was just a fan. In that time, I read a lot of stuff on the internet, and became quite fond of the work of a writer named Scott Keith. I mention him by name because he's an okay guy to talk to about wrestling, and because I need to give him proper credit. You see, I'm about to lift one of his ideas.
A couple years ago, I believe on the eve of WrestleMania XX, he came up with a great idea: The All-Time WrestleMania card. The premise was simple; choose one match from every WrestleMania with two caveats: Superstars could only wrestle once and championships could only be defended once. It's a great idea, and now that I have my own platform, I'm going to steal it…modified to fit my needs of course.
Starting next week, you're going to get my version of the All-Time WrestleMania card. However, I'm going to do it in style. This year is the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania 2, which was held in three different locations, including WrestleMania 22 home Chicago. So, as a result, each segment of my show will come to you from a different WrestleMania location. Also, I'm going to cheat on one of the restrictions; you see, if I used everything I felt absolutely necessary, I'd have to completely omit WrestleMania 13 (ironically, the other WrestleMania held in Chicago). That just doesn't seem right, so there will be one man who appears twice. But when you see who it is, you'll see he's definitely tough enough to handle it.
Now, there are going to be a lot of great matches left out for various reasons. For instance, look at Shawn Michaels' WrestleMania matches. How do you choose between the Ladder Match, the WWE Iron Man Match, the Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania XX and HBK vs. Angle last year? It's a tough call, but only one of those if any will make it. The same goes for Kurt Angle, who has put on classics with Chris Benoit, Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero and HBK.
Also, on the championship front, while all championships can only be defended once, not all the gold will be on the line. The United States Championship has only been defended once at WrestleMania, and the WWE Tag Team Championship has only been on the line twice, so they've been left out. The Cruiserweight Championship also won't be on the line, because I needed Rey Mysterio and Taka Michinoku elsewhere.
Now though, don't think I've forgotten about HEAT, or the Free For All, or whatever you want to call the pre-show. There've been some great matches prior to WrestleMania; hell, the World Tag Team Championship has been defended twice on the WrestleMania pre-show. And last year, there was a huge inter-promotional Battle Royal won by Booker T that you can only see in the WrestleMania 21 3-disc DVD set.
So in my world, if I could find a way to do an All-Time WrestleMania HEAT, I'd have a 20-Man Battle Royal. The location would be the Manhattan Center in New York City, and your hosts would be my favorite "old school" announce trio: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Hey, I know Gorilla has passed away, but this is my fantasy, and damn it, Gorilla is there. If you care, the ring announcer is Justin Roberts, aka that other guy who does HEAT, and there's really no need for backstage announcers.
The participants in your Battle Royal: Booker T, John Cena, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Randy Orton, Batista, Chavo Guerrero, Matt Hardy, Scott Hall, Bad News Brown, William Regal, Ken Shamrock, Davey Boy Smith, George "The Animal" Steele, Goldust, Doink, "Hacksaw: Jim Duggan and Al Snow. I'd say that's a nice mix of old school greats and current Superstars…plus Al Snow. CHEAP FOLEY POP! I don't know who would win that one, but I do know three things: Gorilla would wonder if the ring was specially reinforced, Jesse would call it a miscarriage of justice, and Heenan's comedic material would be off the charts.
With that, I leave you hungry for more. Next week: The All-Time WrestleMania kicks off with a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful. But who will be singing it? You'll just have to wait and see.
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