Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Wrestlemania Super Bowl

It is Super Bowl week. If you watch ESPN you know that. About half of SportsCenter for the last week has been Patriots/Giants talk. My Super Bowl Preview is up so take a look at it.

Often, people say that Wrestlemania is the Super Bowl of the WWE and Sports Entertainment. There is no denying that fact. Wrestlemania is held in large stadiums every year and they either sell-out the stadium or come very close to it. The fact that the WWE can still get that many people into one place with wrestling not as popular as it once was says a couple things. It says that WWE still has a ton of loyal fans willing to come out to Wrestlemania no matter what. I went to Atlanta for Wrestlemania last year and it was a great experience. Once in a lifetime. I really wanted to go this year, but the monetary funds were not there for me. Selling out a large stadium also shows that people will travel out to Wrestlemania if the card looks like a "big time" card, like this year's certainly does. We are getting Rock/Cena, HHH/Taker, Punk/Jericho and possibly Shaq/Big Show. That looks like a mega card certainly worthy of a Super Bowl like title.

So that got me thinking. If Wrestlemania is the Super Bowl of Sports Entertainment, then what would be the ultimate Wrestlemania card? If you could take matches from any Wrestlemania to make one big super card, what would those matches be? So I decided to play a little game with this week's piece. Here's the game:

-Choose a total of 8 matches to fill out your Wrestlemania Card. They can be from any era. But there are a few other rules you have to follow.
-You can only use a wrestler once. No duplicates.
-You can only choose 1 match from each Wrestlemania.
-You can only use each Title once. That means only one WWE, World, Intercontinental and Tag Title match. It is not necessary to use all, or any of the Titles however.

When you really start thinking about it like I did, it is tough to come up with one card. Do you want wrestling quality or a match that had a big time feel to it? Basically, when making this list, think of 8 matches from Wrestlemania that you could sit down and watch and make it feel like 3-4 hours worth watching. This sounds easier than it actually is, but here is my Wrestlemania card:

Wrestlemania XVII: The Dudleyz vs The Hardys vs Edge & Chrisitan: Tables, Ladders and Chairs for the WWE Tag Team Titles
-This was actually the easiest match for me to pick. I know many people consider Rock/Austin from this Wrestlemania to be one of the better matches in WWE history, but I wanted to get the tag team titles on here and this was the best choice possible. The high spots in this match were incredible and they still are breath taking to this day. These three teams revolutionized the ladder match concept and brought the crowd in Houston to their feet with every single move they pulled off. Edge's spear on Jeff Hardy is still amazing to me this day. I don't know how they pulled that off. There wasn't a down moment in the match and when one big spot happened, another big spot was ready to take place.

Wrestlemania XIII: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin
-Yeah, this match was a no brainer. Some people call it their favorite match of all time. It was in my top 10 when I did my rankings last year, and it definitely deserves to be there. This is the match that made Steve Austin in the WWE. Austin was on the rise at this time, but this match showed that he was more than capable of being the guy in the WWE. This was also when the crowd started turning on Bret Hart and favoring Steve Austin even more. Austin screaming in pain while in the Sharpshooter with blood running down his face is one of the most iconic images in WWE history. The match itself was just a great one-on-one brawl and did wonders for both men's careers.

Wrestlemania VII: "Macho King" Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior: Career Ending Match
-Yes I know. I'm sure the first thing most of you thought when reading this match choice was "You aren't choosing Savage/Steamboat from Wrestlemania 3?" I enjoyed that match, but I enjoyed this Warrior/Savage match even more. Even before the stuff after the match with Savage and Elizabeth, the match was full of great near falls and emotional sequences. Macho Man hit I believe 7 elbow drops in a row and Warrior kicked out. Savage kicked out of Warrior's powerslam. It was was easily the best match of Warrior's career. Savage was a master in the ring and I could have chosen almost any Savage match and been happy, but this one is my favorite Warrior, and at the top of my list of Savage matches.

Wrestlemania XXV: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker
-People ask me what was the best wrestling match I have seen  in the last five years, and this is the one that always is my answer. Everyone was hyped up for this match before it was even official, but these two blew everyone's expectations out of the water and tore the house down in Houston. You had to feel bad for the two Title matches that followed this, because the crowd was dead for them and there was no way that those two matches could top this one. HBK and Undertaker put on an absolute clinic in the ring and a match that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. I thought about including the Mania 26 match, but this one was better from an in ring standpoint. Even I didn't think Shawn was going to kick out of the first tombstone. That's what made this match better. All of the high spots were unexpected, while you were expecting them in the Mania 26 rematch.

Wrestlemania XIII: The Rock vs Hulk Hogan
-With a Steve Austin match already on the list, this one takes up both The Rock and Hulk Hogan in one match. When the nWo returned, people debated whether we would get Hogan/Rock or Austin/Hogan at Mania. We ended up getting The Rock, and in the end, I think it was the right decision. While either Rock or Austin could have put on a good match with Hogan, the Rock is more of a showman and a tad bit better promo guy than Austin. Rock also plays to the crowd better than Austin. The crowd started turning on Rock during the match and siding with Hogan, and he played it off perfectly. The wresting was ok, but the drama and crowd made the match that much better.

Wrestlemania XXII: John Cena vs Triple H: WWE Championship
-With so many other top stars gone my WWE Championship match was up in the air. It was between this match and Eddie/Angle from Mania XX, but I decided to go with this one. Part of it was because the match felt like a bigger deal than Eddie/Angle, and it was. This match happened at the height of the hate for John Cena. The crowd was heavily on the side of Triple H even though he was the heel in the match. Many people hate Cena because he isn't the best worker in the ring, but I always defend him when it comes to the big time match. Cena ALWAYS brings his A game to the big show, and this match was no different. Cena hung with Triple H the whole time, and the near falls in it were well done. You really didn't know who was winning going in, and that made it even more intriguing.

Wrestlemania XXI: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio
-Despite Rey and Eddie being tag team Champions, you could tell that there was a growing sense of one-upsmanship between these two from a storyline perspective heading into this match. It was the beginning of Eddie Guerrero's heel turn which wound up being good. From an in ring type of match, it was just two friends going out there and having fun in the ring. You could tell Rey and Eddie were having fun out there and they brought a lot of lucha libre style into the match with them. Despite Rey constantly fixing his mask, it was still a good showcase of both men's skills in the ring.

Wrestlemania XXIV: C.M. Punk vs Chris Jericho vs MVP vs Carlito vs John Morrison vs Shelton Benjamin vs Mr. Kennedy: Money in the Bank Ladder Match
-I wanted to include a MITB match in here, and this one gets included kind of by default. I had already used matches from Mania 20, 21, 22, and 25. And I could use 26. So this one gets the calling. There were no other Mania matches that stood out to me, so this one gets the calling. MITB matches are always fun and this one included some cool spots from John Morrison, as well as Shleton Benjamin. I'm glad it appears MITB is returning this year at Mania. While the PPVs are fun, having one MITB match makes the predictability even better and gets more guys on the Mania card.

So, agree? Disagree? Give me your thoughts and opinions.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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