Till My Head Falls Off: Finally, The Rock Comes BACK To WrestleMANIA!


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I ain’t no rasslin’ writer. That’s my brother’s forte. But it’s almost time for Wrestlemania, and just because I’m a “music guy”, that doesn’t mean I can’t use my stroke to submit my one wrestling column of the year (Don’t believe me? Check out the archives!).

I still can’t figure out how I got into this wrestling thing so late in the game. I mean, by gawd, I’m in my mid-twenties! Okay, fine, some would even say I’m in my LATE twenties, but still, I think you get the point. I mean, I was a Hulkamaniac back during the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” era, but as the 1980s came and went, so did my interest in the WWF or anything that took place inside the squared circle. What got me back into wrestling then? Pretty simple. My brother never stopped watching. And while I laughed at him for watching shows that featured dentists and “repo men”, whatever they are, all of a sudden I started seeing familiar faces back on TV. Hogan? Macho Man? They all started showing up on WCW, and all of a sudden it was 1999 and I found myself watching WCW with Chris, because while Hogan and the nWo sucked me in, younger talents like Chris Jericho kept me coming back for more

Then one day Chris Jericho showed up in the WWF, and cut an awesome promo with some guy named The Rock, and I was hooked.

Fast-forward to today, and even though there have been plenty of ups and downs in the WWF/E since August 1999, I’ve been lucky enough to go to a few live shows, from TV tapings to PPVs, and I’ll be attending my first Wrestlemania this March at Madison Square Garden. One of the most memorable of these events was a non-televised house show at MSG this past December, which featured a classic, fun, and exciting “Legend vs. Legend” match-up: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair.

This is one of those matches that I could watch over and over again, and I’m not your stereotypical “workrate” mark – while I appreciate a great in-ring performance (both technique as well as psychology), if a wrestler doesn’t have charisma, or isn’t perceived to have a solid, interesting, entertaining character/backstory, I’m not as apt to pay complete attention to what’s going on in the ring. That doesn’t mean I don’t try; it’s simply a fact of life. It’s also a fact that Michaels and Flair are two of the special ones, with both the charisma and in-ring abilities that command attention. And whenever I “fantasy-book” Wrestlemania XX, I keep coming back to how badly I want to see this rematch.

That being said, it looks like Shawn Michaels is still engrained in his feud with HHH, and might possibly end up in a 3-way fight for the World Heavyweight Championship, challenging Hunter along with Chris Benoit at Mania. I suppose it’s possible to have Flair and Michaels rekindle a feud in time for Mania by having Flair cut one of his classic promos on Michaels, distracting him from his fellow Evolution member for the time being, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

You know what wouldn’t be a bad substitute for Flair/Michaels, if not for in-ring work, than for “special, big-match” value?

Ric Flair vs. The Rock

Laugh all you want, but it’s completely possible, and I’d love to see these two legends face off.

With Rocky’s buddy Mick Foley in the midst of a drawn out feud with Evolution member Randy Orton, a common rumor circulating the Internet and dirt sheets is that The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection will reunite to face Randy Orton and another Evolution member (either Batista or Flair) at Mania. Of course, on the other side of the coin, there are quite a few fans clamoring for a Foley/Orton solo match, with the Hardcore Legend putting the Legend Killer over, therefore helping to create a new top-tier star. If anyone can do this successfully, it’s Mick, and truth be told, if Foley feels he’s in good enough shape for a solo bout, then more power to him.

So where does that leave The Rock? It’s quite simple, really. Assuming he’s able to show up at RAW a few times before Mania, it wouldn’t be that difficult to have him come out to the ring, offering to be in Foley’s corner at Mania, when Evolution comes out to confront him. Flair gets on the mic, talks about how The Rock “thinks he’s Mr. Hollywood now, riding in limos, flying in private jets, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous but you’ll never be in the same class as the Nature Boy – woo!”, and poof – we have ourselves a match for the Superbowl of Wrestling. It’s not like Batista and Flair are in the midst of a big feud over the Tag Team Titles* right now, so this gives both Rock and Ric a marquis match at Mania, and the fans a heck of a bout to get excited for.

(*If you’re a huge fan of tag-team wrestling, then feel free to substitute “Flair/Batista vs. Rock/A Partner Of His Choosing for the titles” into your fantasy booking with Rock’s partner of course being Hulk Hogan hehe.)

The rumored Wrestlemania XX card right now looks like this, according to 411’s best sources:

HHH vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels
Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley
Chris Jericho vs. Christian

Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero
John Cena vs. The Big Show
Cruiserweight Battle Royal

Kane vs. The Undertaker
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

By adding The Rock vs. Ric Flair to the RAW side of this card, WWE has a very impressive core of matches to build Wrestlemania around (and that’s assuming Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Randy Savage, or any other “legends” won’t have an in-ring role at the show). THIS is the type of feud that is virtually guaranteed to be entertaining, and could really get casual fans talking about Wrestlemania while keeping hardcore fans interested, and who knows – maybe the combination of these “legendary” names along with some solid, young superstars performing their asses off at this event can bring a few fans back.

Hey, it worked on me in 1999, so as they say “anything’s possible in professional wrestling.”

Enjoy the Road to Wrestlemania!

peace. love. moe.

– Matt

Matthew Michaels’s Till My Head Falls Off can be found weekly on 411 Music (old columns are archived in the pull-down menu below each column). More from Matt can be found on 411 Black, moodspins and 1-42.

Matthew Michaels is editor emeritus of Pulse Wrestling, and has been since the site launched.