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Shades of Gray: WrestleMania Edition

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Guest TSMAdmin

“No sports, no news, no information. For mindless chatter, we’re your station” - KBBL jingle on The Simpsons


I’m not Bill or Marty, but I thought that quote might be appropriate for this particular edition of Shades of Gray. When I joined TSM, I became very comfortable with the fact that I was asked to write for the site and not the other way around, so I ditched my 411 style of being full of recycled news and created a new template of Ranting / Quote of the Day / Match of the Day / Room for Additional / Closing Rantings + some light news. Well, none of that today, as I’m going to be doing my “PPV Edition” column. Since it’s WrestleMania and not some PPV Come Lately deal, I’ll be looking back at the last 18 Mania’s before doing my preview of this year’s show. Unlike the previews I did for the last site I wrote for (I’m gradually trying to eliminate referencing my past), I discussed the show with a friend of mine. It’s kind of like The Crossface but there’s only two people and we don’t talk about star ratings.




I went out and rented the latest Zelda game, and although I only played it for a few hours (and a lot of that time was spent doing nothing more than running around and looking at how great it all looked), I have to say I really enjoyed it. Specifically, the opening was really well done. In this day and age of FMV openings, I never thought still pictures and text would impress me, but impressed I was. Maybe it was just listening to the classic theme being played while reading the text, but I was marking out for it.


I also have a few suggestions for what to do after you’ve read this column: Go read the Forums (some pretty good threads in there, like “Best Unintentional Comedy Moment in the WWF/E” and of course predicting Mania match outcomes). While there, you can leave me some feedback by sending a private message to DrVenkman or leaving a message in the “Site Feedback” section. You can also WrestleMania predictions over at StableWars. Enough with the cheap plugs...


WrestleMania: The Legacy


Here’s the deal: Brief thoughts, best match, worst match. Got it?


Something I just really noticed recently was how long the older Mania’s were. The first Mania I saw was WM8, a legitimate 3 hour show. I just assumed, due to Coliseum Video, they were all 3 hours, except for WM4 which had 2 tapes. I received “The Collection” for Christmas in 1998 and never really paid attention to the duration of time it took me to watch a tape (and some matches got FF treatment as well), but watching them again recently with the timer on revealed that 3 - 7 are almost 4 hour shows!


WrestleMania: Historically important but pretty bad overall, this is the one that began the tradition. For nostalgic purposes, a fine show and a look at how basic it all looked back in the 80s, but nothing to really see here.


Best Match - Hogan/Mr. T vs. Piper/Orndorf: First ever WrestleMania main event, and considering the participants (Hogan and a celebrity), not a bad way to start. The fact nothing else on the card stands out helps this match be the MOTN as well.


Worst Match - Junkyard Dog vs Greg Valentine, Intercontinental Title Match: The very first IC title match at a WrestleMania gets the title off to a bad start. Not as bad as the next year, though....


WrestleMania 2: Three different arenas. Three main events. One really bad idea. I give Vince props for trying something new and insane, but thankfully the idea was never tried again. The full show itself is also terrible, but Retro Rob’s review of the edited Coliseum Video version indicates it’s not as bad.


Best Match - The British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team, WWF Tag Title Match: Really good tag match on an otherwise blah show.


Worst Match - George Steele vs. Randy Savage, IC Title Match: While WM1’s IC title match sucked, this thing really, really blew. Steele kicks out of Savage’s flying elbow for no good reason and the whole thing is really terrible and boring. Thankfully WrestleMania III made up for the previous IC title matches


WrestleMania III: This show set the template that future ‘great’ Mania’s like 8 and 10 would use - 2 great matches and a dramatic ending to make people forget most of the show was pretty poor. In this case, we had The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis vs. The British Bulldogs and Tito Santana in an excellent 6 man tag and the incredible Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage IC title match along with Hogan slamming Andre and overcoming his biggest challenge to date.


Best Match - Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage, IC Title Match: After two Mania’s of being the worst of show, the IC title manages to steal the show and piss Hogan off.


Worst Match - Hmm.... let’s say Harley Race vs Junkyard Dog: No real reason for that choice, WM3 just happens to have a lot of decent matches or matches that are bad but have entertainment or historical value to them. Hogan vs Andre is probably the worst match on the show, but for historical and mark out reasons shouldn’t receive the “honour”. Piper vs. Adonis had a fan run in and hug Piper and get arrested in the background, so that’s out. A lot of matches probably could have been name WMOTN, I just randomly picked this one.


WrestleMania IV: Really boring Mania. If I was watching in 88, I would probably love this show for nostalgic, Randy Savage mark reasons. I wasn’t watching wrestling until 1991 though, so this show is nothing but a very long, very boring show that has put me to sleep almost every time I put it in the VCR.


Best Match - Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase: Good to see Savage win the title, and it’s good that the last match of the show was also the best.


Worst Match - Hulk Hogan vs Andre: Unlike WM3, this match has no historical value and is just a really bad, worthless match.


WrestleMania V: An interesting mix of things here. You have matches like Jake Roberts vs. Andre the Giant that really suck, matches like Mr. Perfect vs Blue Blazer that are good for the time given, and matches like Brain Busters vs. Strike Force and Hogan vs Savage that freakin rule.


Best Match - Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage, World Title Match: Between this and Strike Force vs. Brain Busters, a tough call to make. I picked Savage vs. Hogan due to the fact it was a surprisingly awesome Hogan match and it had more drama to it.


Worst Match - Jake Roberts vs Andre The Giant: In a word, awful. In a few more words, really freakin awful.


WrestleMania VI: I’m not sure how I feel about this show. When I was younger, I liked it. When I got it for Christmas, I liked it. Now.. I’m not so sure. I tend to use the FF button a lot during the show, but overall I enjoy it from a “Classic 90s Retro WWF” perspective, but not so much as an actual wrestling show.


Best Match - Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan - IC / World Title Match: Generally considered to be an overrated match, I still enjoy it to this day (albeit with some FFing during resting).


Worst Match - Either Duggan vs. Dino Bravo or Earthquake vs Hercules. I don’t think any explanation of why is really necessary.


WrestleMania VII: Ah, WM7. Not my first live Mania, but the first one I saw via Coliseum Video. It was also not too long after this show I became a fan, so I get kinda nostalgic for this show. Like WM 3-6 before it, it has a lot of short or pointless matches tacked on to give it that “big show” feel, and while part of me likes the fact that a WrestleMania would be a big 4 hour super show with 14 matches, the current “4 hour super show with IMPORTANT matches” is much better. The show does feature an epic retirement match and Elizabeth reuniting angle, and for what it was, I thought Slaughter vs. Hogan was ok. The other title matches on this show (Nasty Boys vs Hart Foundation, Mr. Perfect vs. Big Bossman) are also pretty good, and it’s never a bad thing to have good title matches on a PPV.


Best Match - Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage: Awesome match (and 2nd WM in a row for Warrior to get MOTN honours, which is pretty impressive for him) with an awesome angle afterwards.


Worst Match - Texas Tornado vs. Dino Bravo: I can’t name the Blindfold match WMOTN, even if it does end up being rated a negative star match by everyone who uses star ratings. I found it funny when I was a kid and I still find it a bit funny today. Tornado vs Dino was the first match I thought of, even though it’s not terrible or anything.


WrestleMania VIII: As I mentioned in in the WM3 blurb, this show has 2 awesome matches, Piper vs Bret for the IC title and Savage vs Flair for the World title, and surprised a lot of people with the return of the Ultimate Warrior at the end of the show. This seems to negate the fact that Hogan/Sid was a terrible match to end the show with and that other undercard matches sucked too. Hey, what can I say, I love this show too, crappy matches and everything. It was also the first WM I watched live at Riverside Tavern with my cousin and uncle here in Windsor.


Best Match - Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair, WWF Title Match: I LOVE this match. One of the best world title matches in WrestleMania history, IMO.


Worst Match - Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc, WWF Tag Title Match: I HATE this match. One of the worst tag title matches in WrestleMania history, IMO.


WrestleMania IX: Everyone hates this show... but I don’t. It was the first Mania I was able to watch in the comfort of my own home, and being a kid who was still kinda new to wrestling, I thought it was “really awesome” that Hogan won the world title again. Give me a break, I was a kid! Marking out for Hogan winning the world title at Backlash though, that’s another story... anyway, I the outdoor environment for this show kicked so much ass, and I would much rather watch this show than WM1 or 2.


Best Match - Shawn Michaels vs Tatanka, IC Title Match: This was a really good opener, and another good IC title match in a string of them started at WM6 (of course, the best of the bunch was at WM3, but WM4 and WM5 had less than stellar IC title matches and therefore broke the string). Weak ending, though.


Worst Match - Giant Gonzalez vs Undertaker: Possibly the worst WWE match ever.


WrestleMania X: Wow, what a show. With classic matches like Doink/Dink vs Bam Bam/Luna and Earthquake vs Adam Bomb and Luger vs Yokozuna, it’s no wonder everyone loves this show. Ok, seriously, I was showing my theory that despite some poor undercard matches, the awesomeness of Owen vs Bret and Shawn vs Razor in a ladder match negates it. Yokozuna vs Bret sucks too (I liked their WM9 match a lot better), but Bret winning the title is awesome and at the time that’s what really mattered. The Quebecers (awesome team!) also manage to carry MOM to a good tag title match, and I always marked out for Savage vs. Crush. A really good show.


Best Match - Owen Hart vs Bret Hart: While WM9 brought us the worst match ever, this show brings us possibly the best match ever. No explanation needed.


Worst Match - Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger. Starts off fast and furious, but gets boring really quick. I did enjoy Mr. Perfect’s heel turn, though.


WrestleMania XI: It happened in 1995 and isn’t called “Survivor Series”, so it’s not that good. Razor vs Jarrett for the IC title and Diesel vs Michaels for the World title are both good, and LT vs Bam Bam was far better than anyone thought it could be, but everything else on this show is average or worse.


Best Match - Diesel vs Shawn Michaels: Really good world title match, it’s a shame it wasn’t on last.


Worst Match - Luger/Bulldog vs. Eli and Jacob Blu (Harris Twins): Even though the Allied Powers had awesome theme music, this match stunk.


WrestleMania XII: You know what? I DON’T LIKE THE MAIN EVENT. Well, ok, I DO like it, but not as much as some people. 60 minutes and zero pinfalls? Yeah, right. That's why I like Rock and HHH’s Iron Man match so much better than this HBK/Hart match. If you can get past the large amount of rest holds, it’s still a good match at heart. There were only 5 other matches on the card and none were that good, but none were that bad, either. I actually think Diesel vs Undertaker was a surprisingly good match, so perhaps this year’s Taker match will surprise us and be good to? Nah, didn’t think so.


Best Match - Ultimate Warrior vs Triple H: If HHH goes over Booker on Sunday, everyone should watch this match to laugh at Warrior no selling the Pedigree and Trips jobbing in a minute.


Worst Match - Piper vs Goldust, Hollywood Backlot Brawl. I do enjoy the actual back lot portion of the brawl, but the end of the match, with Goldust in the lingerie, is just disturbing.


WrestleMania 13: Heat: Heat is a weird subtitle for this show. Perhaps this show should have been called “In Your House: WrestleMania”. Austin vs. Bret is really good, the rest of the show is not.


Best Match - Bret Hart vs Steve Austin, I Quit Match: Really good match, but I like the one at Survivor Series better.


Worst Match - Godwins vs. New Blackjacks vs. Headbangers vs. Furnas and Lafon: Furnas and Lafon get eliminated early (with the Blackjacks in a double count out), so this is about as good as you’d expect (unless you expect “very good”, then you’re very wrong).


WrestleMania XIV: dX-Raided: Top to bottom, a really good show (though the best part of the “top” part would be Sunny’s top... remember, she was still hot then). Every match is good, and Shawn Michaels puts on a great performance despite his “career ending” injury.


Best Match - Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels, World Title Match: Tyson as the ref and Shawn bumping like a madman despite his back condition make this one the best of show. Austin winning his first world title is also a pretty great moment.


Worst Match - Tag Team Battle Royale: Not even that bad, but worst on the show. Sunny was hot though.


WrestleMania XV: The Ragin’ Climax (nice subtitle, Russo): Not a good 15th Anniversary for Mania. Russo’s finger prints were all over this show, and that’s a bad thing naturally. On the plus side, only one of the matches is hideously bad (Bossman vs Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell) while the rest are just bad (Tori vs Sable), decent (the 4 way IC title match) or good, but had no time (and in this case, no sensible story - Owen/JJ vs the made up team of D`Lo and Test for the tag titles) with Rock vs Austin being a good main event.


Best Match - Steve Austin vs. The Rock, World Title Match: A good match that would become even better in 2 years. A bit overbooked with all the ref bumps, leading to Foley making the 3 count (he had won a match against Big Show to be the ref, but was sent to the hospital after being chokeslamed through two chairs).


Worst Match - Undertaker vs Big Bossman, Hell in a Cell: Nothing to say here.


WrestleMania 2000: A mix of good (Benoit vs Jericho vs Angle, Triple Threat Tag Team Ladder match a.k.a. TLC 0), bad (Godfather/D`Lo vs Bossman/Buchanan, Terri vs Kat) and ugly (Test/Albert vs Blackman/Snow). The main event (HHH vs Rock vs Foley vs Show with a McMahon in every corner) has mixed reviews and the Hardcore Time Limit Battle Royal is pretty hard to rate, but overall this show has more positive than negative.


Best Match - Angle vs Jericho vs. Benoit, 2 Falls IC / European Title Match - An interesting idea and a good match. If it happened today (minus Angle’s injury) it would probably be incredible, but for the time frame it happened it was good enough.


Worst Match - T&A vs. Head Cheese: When Jim Ross calls your match bad live on PPV, you know it’s bad.


WrestleMania X-7: The show returns to 4 hours and manages to be awesome. Like other Mania’s, matches like TLC2, Benoit vs. Angle, and Rock vs Austin cause people to call this one of the greatest PPV’s ever, despite the fact Ivory vs Chyna and APA/Tazz vs RTC are also on the show. Still, even the short midcard matches are decent enough, and the good stuff is great, making this one of the best Mania’s.


Best Match - Steve Austin vs. The Rock, World Title Match: Several times better than the WM15 match yet still overbooked. Too bad this year’s match probably won’t be as good as this one.


Worst Match - Chyna vs Ivory, Women’s Title Match: Never come back, Chyna.


WrestleMania X-8: A show with nothing that stands out, it had an overall “aura” to it. A 4 hour show with nothing really bad and a match that some people loved and some people hated, this is a show that people have many different views on.


Best Match - Rock vs Hogan: Ok, so it’s not a technical marvel, but this is probably the match I marked out the most for. My friend Dave, a casual wrestling fan at best, was quite amused with the match when I dragged him to the bar for the show. The biggest let down for us was not hearing Real American when Hogan and Rock posed. My friend Drew was there live and tells me what I heard on TV was nothing compared to being in the arena.


Worst Match - Billy and Chuck vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz vs. APA: A long and boring tag match, all there is to it. They did this to get out of doing APA vs Chuck and Billy, but I think they would have been better off doing that match as a 5 minute special, just as they did DDP vs Christian for the European title.


Shades of Gray - WrestleMania XIX Discussion!


Speaking of WMXIX, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the information about the upcoming video game of the same name IGN reported.


One's wrestler is promptly kicked out of the WWE, and the goal of the game is to seek revenge and regain his or her dignity. Wrestlers will fight in many different backstage areas on a mission to destroy McMahon's commercial assets and bring honor back to their name.


There are five environments in all, and each is broken down into six missions. Players will fight in a McMahon's construction site (where they must destroy his operations), a shipping port (where they duke it out on his multi-million dollar yacht and eventually detonate it with a bomb), a shopping mall, a parking lot, and a fire station. Near the end of the story mode, gamers will work their way back into the ring and even participate in a few cage matches. In the final showdown, wrestlers must confront and defeat Vince McMahon himself in the ring


That sounds absolutely insane. Does THQ hold meetings and discuss the WORST POSSIBLE WAY to do a story mode in a wrestling game?


“Let’s make the next game’s story mode like Twisted Metal”

“No, we already released Crush Hour”

“Ok.. how about Grand Theft Auto?”

“No! No cars!”

“That’s the beauty! We can take GTA missions like destroying a construction site without using a vehicles at all! That makes sense, right?”

“No.. but since it’s a game based on WWE, I guess it doesn’t need to be logical. It’s decided, that will be our new story mode.”


Moving on...


Long time readers of mine may be familiar with an "Andrew" or "Drew" I kept bringing up... well, LIVE!* from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, ladies and gentlemen, you know him from the TSM Forums as Drew_K... Drew Kelk!


*Previously Recorded on Tuesday


Steve Gray: Well Drew, before I start going over the matches can I ask what your thoughts on the overall show are going in?


Drew Kelk: Well, I'd certainly have to say that the build-up has been lacking in some places, but a lot of the scheduled matches do help portray that special feeling of WrestleMania's past. This is still the big one, and, if booked properly it could be a fantastic show, lead to a lot of good things. It's just a shame that so many of these matches include people who will be inactive after the event, leaving the company with nowhere to go from a lot of their angles.


Me: Booking properly is something the WWE is certainly known for these days...


Drew Kelk: Trying to sound like a reporter, huh, Steve? While I agree there's been a lot of stupidity, the WWE has the pieces in place to get the right people to the top of the company for a new start, if they can bring themselves to do it and stop the idiotic angles on the top of the card that have often taken away from very good midcard booking in the last few months.


Me: Well I myself have to echo your thoughts. In particular, the Shawn Michaels / Chris Jericho build up has been very strange, seemingly being dropped off the radar leading up to No Way Out.


Drew Kelk: I think that is a crime they're guilty of, but then again, overbooking is a worry for a lot of things, and it's Shawn Michael's and Chris Jericho at a WrestleMania. How much more needs to be said?


Me: Well, we'll talk more about that match when we get there. First off, The World Tag Title match, pitting RVD and Kane against Lance Storm and Will.. sorry, Chief Morley.


Drew Kelk: Ah, yes, the amazing disappearing tag partner. Hey, RVD's exciting, and for a big man, Kane can be very impressive in the ring. Still, I would be remiss if I didn't note that they don't seem to have fantastic chemistry, outside of a few funny moments. If this were still William and Lance, I'd say this is a no brainer for a heel turn or an unmasking from one of the faces, (I'll leave which is which up to you) to keep the champs strong. But it's not, so you get the joy of an entirely untested tag team going into the biggest show of the year as champs. Hey, they've got a lot of talent between them, and you know personally that I think William Regal didn't do much for this team, but there needs to be a choice made. Storm/Morley as long term, strong heel champs, or a switch to something new. I think the heels will go over here, and I don't think there's much of a choice, either.


Me: I like Storm. I like Morley. Do I like them as a team? Well, they can't be any more dull than the Un-American's Part II....


Drew: I think Morley's the most talented guy to not get over in the WWE in the past couple of years, and I hope they find a way, so we're not talking about him as a talent that never made the main event in three years. Frankly, I always thought William Regal has clashed with his opponents in the WWE. Almost all of them, which is a shame, cause I know what he did with the right people in WCW. Morley is a great replacement. As or a better team? I say yes, but we'll have to wait and see.


Me: I have to wonder if doing a rematch from No Way Out was always in the cards if Regal wasn't injured. I wanted RVD and Kane to go ever then, but they didn't. The general consensus on the IWC was "Kane vs RVD" for WrestleMania, but outside of Rob trying to act upset, nothing came out of their NWO loss. Now, I like the "comedy" dynamic Kane and Rob have, but is that enough to give them the titles? Probably not, but it wouldn't be the worst decision ever made. I'll go with the challengers.


Drew Kelk: Hey, more power to you. This one could easily go either way, and I wouldn't fault the booking


Me: Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio for the Cruiserweight title. Will this match work? Do you think giving the title back to Kidman and having a 'real' CW match would have been better?


Drew Kelk: Not at all. Frankly, I think it's a silly question. Matt Hardy has a fantastic character, and a running angle. And anyone who saw Rey Mysterio's matches with Kurt Angle will know that with a good worker (Okay, Hardy's NOT Angle) he can put on a hell of a match, partially BECAUSE of the dichotomy of the larger, stronger, more mat based individual. It makes Rey's flight more impressive. I think this will be fast paced, and exciting, with THREE guys I want to see in the ring, all involved in this match. If Shannon Moore's half as entertaining as he was at the rumble, and Hardy and Rey both pull out the big guns, this one could steal the show. I think Rey should win, Shannon should turn, and feud with Matt. It'd mean a fantastic cruiserweight champion, and a much better feud then when Matt and Jeff fought each other. Nevertheless, I have a strange feeling that Matt's gonna take this one.


Me: Perhaps Kendrick will become another MFer and help Matt when Shannon fails?


Drew Kelk: Perhaps. Matt makes a good berating teacher. Either way, I hope this helps show off Matt's skills and gets Shannon Moore moving up the card, one way or another.


Me: I really enjoyed the interaction between Rey and Matt on SmackDown a few weeks back (Rey pinned Matt in a tag match) and I think this match should be pretty good as well. I hope it's given a good amount of time to boot, but that may be hoping for too much. I think Kendrick will be involved in the match, but I don't think he'll turn. He's one of the few cruiserweights that's a face. I see Rey winning the CW Title we all thought he'd win in September.


Me: Next - Smarks Dream Match! You know what match I mean, right Drew?


Drew Kelk: Could it be Nathan Jones and the Undertaker versus Big show and A-Train? Oh, please, could it? *GAG*


Me: Correct!


Drew Kelk: Woo-hoo. Time to throw a party.


Me: How do you see this one ending up? Will A-Train use his Animality to defeat Shao Kahn...er, Nathan Jones?


Drew Kelk: Wait... animality? I thought he was already a bear.


Me: Zing! Seriously though, do you figure a short squash for the faces or a long bathroom break for the fans?


Drew Kelk: You know, in any other match, I'd say it's time for Undertaker to lose at WrestleMania for the ultimate rub, but not this time. If they're smart, it'll be short, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) Albert and Nathan Jones will do most of the ring work. Big Show impresses the casual fans, and Undertaker deserves his spot. But A-Train isn't great in the ring, and Nathan Jones is completely unknown. The winner of this match is the rest of the card, cause these four guys all get just ONE match to mess up, and it's a tag team, so it'll be harder for them to get winded. But hey, Undertaker and Jones win. I'm almost sure of this one.


Me: If one were to think about this match, they might remember Jones said he was gunning for the Big Dog. Maybe he meant "so I can learn from him", but myself and other figured he meant to feud with him I don't think the faces should lose and I don't think they will, but there is a lingering smell of a heel turn by Nathan Jones, setting up A-Train or Big Show to end Taker's streak.


Drew Kelk: God, I'm amazed I'm saying this, but if it's either of them, let it be A-Train.


Me: From one tag match to another... WWE Tag Title Match: Team Angle vs Rhyno/Benoit vs. Los Guerreros.


Drew Kelk: Let's see... Promising young tag team, thrown together, or tweeners for life. What's amazing is that I can say that, and yet still marvel at the talent packed into this tag team match up. This will be tough to book, but if done right, it could be a very impressive match. I'm hoping Benoit and Rhyno don't win this, cause they both have so much ahead of them as singles. The Guerrero's make good opposition for any heel tag team, and have the same possible advantage. Frankly, this one is Team Angle's to win, and the rest of the guys are in there to make them look good.


Me: I'm going to have to agree on all accounts. Hopefully Angle's year (or possible forever) absence from the ring doesn't kill off Team Angle. For tag team champions, they've sure done a lot of jobs, and I think it's time they win one, and there is not bigger one to win than the WrestleMania title defense (in theory). About the match itself, do you think the triple threat rules will help it or hurt it? Some people think it would be better as an elimination but they run the risk of repeating a problem from Survivor Series: Eliminating a team most of the crowd was rooting for first, killing the 2nd half of the match. I think it will be solid either way.


Drew Kelk: Normally, I'd agree with elimination, and actually, some part of me still does. But in this case, if Team Angle is going to win, that puts two VERY strong face teams out in a row. That's why this one can't be elimination, and at least they've got the in-ring skills to work through any difficulty and still bring the house down.


Me: Raw World Title Match: Booker T vs. HHH. I have to say, this match really pisses me off. I was happy when I thought Booker was going to win, but the fact he's pinned HHH twice cleanly leading up to the show makes me and everyone else think Trips is going over yet another opponent. I'm all for a strong heel champion who eventually gets his comeuppance, but the promo HHH cut on Booker T about him not being worthy and the stuff Evolution did to Goldust really warranted Hunter getting his at WrestleMania with Booker T winning the world title, not to mention the fact I'm beginning to wonder if HHH will ever get his from ANYONE who wasn't in the clique.


Drew Kelk: I'll be brief. There's only three ways this match could make me happy. One, Triple H loses to Booker. Two, Triple H returns to the form he was in when he was facing Mick Foley. (Not Likely) Three, Triple H tears his quad, thus allowing me to laugh for an hour straight. I'll settle for just the first two, though.


Me: Well, I'll be happy if the match itself is good (and I think it can be), but I'd be happier if he lost. Speaking of the clique, Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Your thoughts?


Drew Kelk: Yee-haw. Rock on. This match can be improved only by the possible pre-match promos. Sure, Shawn's not QUITE the man he once was, but he's still better than most people, and he goes all out for the big shows. Chris Jericho is still Chris Jericho, and that's enough for me. However, there is one thing I must say. Shawn. LOSE THIS MATCH. Now, I'm not saying I'd hate it if he won, but this could be that defining moment that makes Jericho the all time main event player, and one day lets him do the same job for someone else.


Me: Couldn't have said it better, so I won't try. The build up for the match was kinda all over the place, but overall, I think making it a major Mania match instead of a Royal Rumble undercard match was the right move, even if it did lead to a month of building a Test/Jericho PPV match that never happened. With Angle injured, this will probably be the match of the night.


Drew Kelk: I agree. And I do hope they p ick up the test Jericho program next month, cause I could see it going places, now that Test is actually catching on as a face with the crowd.


Me: Well I think you might be in the minority on that one.. Out of All The Things I've Said, nothing has been said about the Triple Threat women's title match at WrestleMania. Just like last year, I expect this one to be sabotaged and placed between two big matches. I'm a fan of the work of all 3 ladies involved, and technically it should be a fine match, but the placement and/or crowd apathy might take a lot away. This could be the best ladies match in months or a big train wreck.


Drew Kelk: This is going to be a heatsink/bathroom break between big matches for the crowd to get a rest, and that's a shame, cause it is, as you said, possibly the best women's match we've seen in some time. Again, Triple threat may hurt this match, but crowd apathy and an unfortunate disinterest in women's wrestling will hurt it more. I think Victoria will retain, and then all three will proceed to be misbooked for months, just like the women's division always is.


Me: Something I've noticed about the women's division is that if the champion goes for months without defending on PPV, her next PPV defense will be a loss, so there is a good chance Victoria drops the strap. Call me crazy, but I think this lunatic stuff with Victoria could get her over as a face to feud with Jazz, the new champion, post WrestleMania.


Me: One of the matches the women's title match might be sandwiched between is Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon. This match is getting a lot of crap from the IWC, and the fact it might actually be the last match upsets me as well. However, I don't think it will be the last match, even if it is being booked as a focal point. The kid in me who used to mark out for Hogan is looking forward to seeing Hogan kick Vince's ass, but the smart in me knows it will suck. Bottom line, Hogan wins, crowd cheers, smarks call the match shit, and everyone goes home happy (after all, a smark is at their happiest complaining).


Drew Kelk: Spot on. But hey, these two ARE both legends in the business, and while they may have as much combined wrestling talent as the left cheek of my ass, they have more charisma than most wrestling stars have ever dreamed of. If we're lucky, this'll be the last time either of them are on TV or PPV, Hogan will go over, and everyone will cheer. But if it goes 30 minutes, I'm rioting.


Me: Well, I find Rock's songs, and current heel act in general, to be a riot (aren't my segues awesome?). A lot of people aren't really looking forward to Rock vs Austin as much as they were 4 or even 2 years ago, and while I can't say I blame them, I still think it will be a good match. I think there will be a lot more "entertainment" than "sports" (Rock heeling it up, Austin doing something 'funny', etc.), but the overall package should still be something entertaining and worth watching, even if is just a shell of matches past.


Drew Kelk: You want to talk about Talent and Charisma, in the history of Pro Wrestling? These two guys are near the top of that list. They could sing Margariteville for twenty minutes, or have HALF of their last WrestleMania match, which had me enraptured, and I'll be happy. This will get ripped to shreds, but let's face it, one day, we'll look back and know how lucky we were to have Rock/Austin at all. This may not be like the first time, and it won't be the best time, but does that really matter if it's still fun to watch?


Me: In the grand scheme of history, this may be the match that "tarnishes the legacy of Rock vs Austin", but as long as I'm entertained on March 30th, no, IT DOESN'T MATTER what the legacy is, and that's the Bottom Line (apologies for the lameness of that).


Me: But maybe that's just me being selfish. However, if there's one man who isn't selfish, it's Kurt Angle. He should be in operating room, but instead he wants to put his career and possibly life on the line to entertain at WrestleMania. Is it worth it Drew? And, injury or not, will this match still be good, albeit not the ***** clinic everyone was hoping for?


Drew Kelk: Well, I heard maybe this injury meant Angle was done anyway. I think it's incredibly classy of him to go for that one, big, last match. And I find myself looking forward to it, injury or not, cause Angle will make it worth my time. I wish him a great match to go out, and I pray he doesn't get injured in the process, cause if so, then no, it wouldn't be worth it. This is going to be a great match, and it's a BRUTAL shame that Angle hasn't headlined every WrestleMania since he arrived. But here's the one he gets. And Good luck, Kurt, not that you need it.


Me: I think they may keep the match on the ground, and while I have no problem with that, it may cause some poor crowd reaction. Hopefully the overness of both men keeps the match hot no matter what. I also wish Kurt luck, and it would be a shame if WrestleMania ends with Angle getting paralysed in the ring, but I don't think that will happen. Looking back, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin managed to blow the roof off WM14 even though Shawn had a (at the time) career ending injury and probably shouldn't have been there. I hope for a similar situation this Sunday.


Drew Kelk: Amen.


Me: Overall, I think a lot of people are a bit too down on the card. The Undertaker tag match will stink for sure, and Vince/Hogan won't win any MOTY awards, but outside of those 2 matches (on a 10 match show), I'm looking forward to spending 4 hours watching wrestling this Sunday.


Drew Kelk: I agree. I can't say I would ever have told someone not to watch a WrestleMania, and this year is certainly shaping up to be one of the better ones. I'm looking forward to this one, too. And besides, it may be your last chance to see Kurt Angle in action.


Me: Well Drew, I appreciate your time, and I had a blast doing this. Even though most of the readers probably have no idea who you are, I think your insight more than made up for that. Thank you.


Drew Kelk: My pleasure Steve. Viva Wrestling, and I hope I haven't bored any of your readers with my long-winded ways.




Hopefully WrestleMania is a good show this Sunday and I hope y’all enjoy it if you watch it. Feel free to give me feedback on the forum (as mentioned above), or message me via AIM at SmartMarkSteve or e-mail me at [email protected]



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