The Wrestlemania All-Star Challenge

February 23rd, 2014 by | Tags: , , ,

We’re on the eve of what will be a very important date in wrestling history. The WWE Network is about to go live and a good chunk of the WWE’s future relies on its performance. Making huge risks is a major WWE thing and outside of the first Wrestlemania, people mainly remember the bad decisions that lost a ton of money. The bodybuilding federation, the football league, the political campaigns and so on. Unlike those, the WWE Network is looking like a great idea and I can only cross my fingers and hope it’s something that works out for them as they’re really burning some bridges with it.

I’m picking it up. I know many people who are doing the same. Usually a bunch of us would get together to watch a PPV that only one person ordered, so if we’re all paying $10 for the WWE Network, then maybe they have a chance to pull this off.

In honor of this situation, which will be interesting as hell whether they win or lose, I’m going to try something I saw on a forum years ago. I forgot if it had a name, but I’m just going to call it the Wrestlemania All-Star Challenge. If you have your own blog or whatever and you want to try it, by all means. Use the comments too, if that’s your thing.

Here’s the concept: You have to put together a playlist of the ultimate Wrestlemania. It has to be 29 matches with one match from each Wrestlemania. There are two roadblocks, though. One, no wrestler may get double-duty. You can’t have Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy from Wrestlemania 2 as well as Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy from Wrestlemania 11. Not that you’d want to. Non-participant appearances are fine, so you don’t have to worry about managers or run-ins. Similarly, no title belt may get double-duty either. This is going with the idea that the WWF Championship and WWE Championship are the same thing. You can have Steamboat vs. Savage for the Intercontinental Championship or you can have Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Championship. You just can’t have both.

It’s harder than it looks, coming off as a giant puzzle. It’ll lead to some iffy choices and you’re going to have to drop a match or two that you really like. For instance, I was going to include Hogan vs. Rock, but that caused some problems in other shows where there simply wasn’t a viable match to choose from.

Here’s my list. Noticeably absent are Batista, Chris Benoit, Mick Foley and the Big Show.

WM1: Special Delivery Jones vs. King Kong Bundy. The first Wrestlemania is filled with a lot of nothing matches, but at least this one’s kind of memorable. Bundy squashes Jones in a quick match that they insist is quicker.

WM2: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff in a Flag Match. Again, this Wrestlemania has a lot of crap matches and anything passable has somebody I’d rather use for another spot on the list. The Flag Match isn’t that bad. It’s short, but both guys make it watchable enough.

WM3: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship. It’s the match that stole the show and acted as maybe the best singles match in the first ten years of Wrestlemania. How can I not include it?

WM4: “The Rock” Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo. Wrestlemania 4 is problematic. There’s nothing especially good and the Jake Roberts/Rick Rude tournament match completely kills the show. Luckily, the first round meeting between Muraco and Bravo has a bit of pep in its step for such a short match.

WM5: The Brain Busters vs. Strike Force. A fun tag match that gives us one of the more memorable tag team splits of the 80’s. Now that I think of it, it’s kind of weird that they split up one of their big face tag teams while being overshadowed by the company’s top angle that was also about a big face tag team splitting up. Back then, the concept wasn’t as overdone as it is now.

WM6: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase for the Million Dollar Championship. While Hogan vs. Warrior was better than it had any right to be, this undercard match is to me the definite highlight of this PPV. Both guys were in their prime and had wonderful chemistry.

WM7: “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. the Warlord. This is my all-time favorite wrestling match, so I need to include it.

WM8: Big Boss Man, Virgil, Sgt. Slaughter and Jim Duggan vs. the Nasty Boys, Repo Man and the Mountie. Wrestlemania 8 is a really bad PPV that features two fantastic matches and one short-but-fun match. The two fantastic matches are unusable for me because of using Steamboat vs. Savage earlier, meaning the 8-man tag gets the nod.

WM9: Crush vs. Doink the Clown. The underrated Wrestlemania 9 (or should I say “gets more hate than it deserves”?) gave us this grudge match that ended in a delightfully insane moment of there being two Doinks. A simple concept of two guys dressed as the same person was treated as some kind of mind-bending sorcery and I love it.

WM10: Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb. Yeah, I know. I used up the spots for Bret Hart, Savage, Crush and others. No way was I going to use my WWF/E Championship spot on Yokozuna vs. Luger. Despite being a squash, I’ve always been a huge mark for Earthquake and to a lesser extent Adam Bomb, so let’s go with that.

WM11: Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow. The use of celebrities hit overload levels at this Wrestlemania, giving us one of the better celebrity matches as Bam Bam bumps his ass off for LT. It’s far more watchable than it has any right to be.

WM12: Ultimate Warrior vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Heh. I hate this show, but watching Triple H job so thoroughly is always funny.

WM13: Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Submission Match. Another one of the all-time best Wrestlemania matches, it’s one of the few double-turns that worked. Bret’s vendetta causes him to lose his mind while Austin proves to everyone what kind of tough son of a bitch he really is.

WM14: Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila for the Light-Heavyweight Championship. Sure, why not?

WM15: Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean. Wrestlemania 15 is slim pickings for anything worth watching, so you might as well get into the embarrassing follow-up to WWF’s terrible Brawl for All concept. At least we get to see Gorilla Monsoon for one last time.

WM16: The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian vs. the Dudley Boyz in a Ladder Match for the Tag Team Championship. While the rematch a year later is probably better, Wrestlemania 2000’s ladder match is one of the few standouts of that year’s show. If you’re going to represent the tag belts, you’d kind of have to choose one of them anyway.

WM17: Tazz and the APA vs. the Right to Censor. Yeah, that’s weird. Wrestlemania X7 is considered by many to be the best Wrestlemania of all time and this is what I go with? That’s the pitfall of doing this list. That said, there’s nothing really wrong with the match, even if it isn’t in the top half of best matches on the card. It’s a cathartic payoff against one of the most annoying heel stables in the company’s history and maybe the last time we could ever take Tazz seriously.

WM18: Kane vs. Kurt Angle. They’ve had better matches and the ending sucks like nothing else, but I’ve always loved the chemistry between these two. *shrug*

WM19: Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon in a Street Fight. In the most stacked Wrestlemania card of all time, Hogan vs. McMahon was surprisingly one of the more solid matches in there. Hogan’s final Wrestlemania match gave us both a random Roddy Piper appearance and the creepy-as-fuck shot of a bloody Vince McMahon peering over the ring apron with pipe in hand.

WM20: Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. Listen, this match is so bad, but the only other choice was that Divas match where they wrestled in their underwear. Goldberg vs. Lesnar is still worth watching just for the sake of what a car wreck it is and is one of the very few things WWE wants us to remember about this show ever since Benoit happened.

WM21: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero. Poor Eddie went from holding his title belt high at the end of Wrestlemania XX to jobbing in the opening match at the following year’s Wrestlemania. Still a great opener.

WM22: Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James for the WWE Women’s Championship. While the ending was botched, I still remember it being kind of shocking at the time that a women’s match was not only one of the best matches of the night, but also had some of the best heat. Creepy lesbian stalker Mickie was the best.

WM23: The ECW Originals vs. the New Breed. Like at Wrestlemania VIII, we have another quick 8-man tag that’s pretty fun. The New Breed didn’t really amount to much, did they? The most successful members were a guy who almost became a big deal in TNA and a guy who got fired as a commentator for enjoying his job too much.

WM24: Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. John Morrison in a Money in the Bank Match. Kind of surprised I was able to fit any of these onto the list. Having it be the one that’s one of Punk’s first steps in being taken seriously all because Jeff Hardy is a massive fuckup makes it better.

WM25: Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker. In a terrible Wrestlemania, it’s this match that redeems it. If I had to choose any match from the Streak, it would have to be this one.

WM26: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase. Eh, nothing major. It’s at least a match that helped springboard Orton into a top face spot in the company.

WM27: Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole. Ugh. I’m sorry. Wrestlemania 27 is such a bad show and it really says something that this is the best choice I could make. To its credit, it was the most over angle going into the show by a mile and there was some decent payoff in Lawler finally getting his hands on Cole until that stupid reverse decision at the end. Did you know Dean Malenko was the agent on this match? When Cole went way too long beating down on Lawler? That was Dean’s idea. What the hell?

WM28: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship. There aren’t many memorable World Heavyweight Championship defenses in Wrestlemania history outside of Benoit’s win. This comedy match raised the ire of the smarks and made the following Raw super entertaining, so maybe we should celebrate one of the many creative misfires that caused the fans to accidentally get behind Daniel Bryan.

WM29: John Cena vs. the Rock for the WWE Championship. Before dropping Hogan vs. Rock from this list, I was going to be left with no choice but to include Ryback vs. Mark Henry. Cena vs. Rock may not be the best match ever, but at least it’s better than that. Besides, it wouldn’t feel right to omit Cena.

So what say you, 4thletter Universe?

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

2 comments to “The Wrestlemania All-Star Challenge”

  1. “WM20: Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. Listen, this match is so bad, but the only other choice was that Divas match”

    what about the Cruiserweight match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship?

  2. @H: Rey Mysterio’s in that match and I used him for Wrestlemania 21.