Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic


For the past 21 years, Vince McMahon’s pro wrestling mega-power has promoted the defining event of the year, the granddaddy of them all, the Super Bowl of wrestling, WrestleMania. With such huge matches as Hogan vs. Andre, Austin vs. Hart, Hogan vs. Savage, Austin vs. Rock, Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior, Michaels vs. Hart, and countless others, the card at WrestleMania has always been loaded with important matches and feud-ending showdowns. WrestleMania has been the showcase of the immortals, featuring amazing matches and critical storyline activity.

TODAY’S ISSUE: The WrestleMania 22 dance card

We’re about a month away from the show that WWE is advertising using Peter Gabriel’s song “Big Time”. However, just because a show is promoted in early April under the WrestleMania banner, that doesn’t make it a big time event. In other words, a company can’t just declare a show to be a major event simply because other shows in that series were. In recent years we’ve seen a bit of a decline in the “wow factor” WrestleMania provides, and in many ways that can be attributed to over exposure.

With more than 12 pay-per-view events per year and two weekly prime time television shows, there’s hardly a match we haven’t already witnessed, or a feud that lasts more than 2-4 months. To clarify: if you promote another Angle vs. Michaels match, for example, even though the ring action would be superb it’s not exactly the continuation of a feud, rather it’s more like a reminder of the past. Although Angle vs. Michaels would be a great match, it wouldn’t have that Hogan vs. Andre quality of being a breathtaking moment, or even the must-see feeling of a final showdown between two “giants” in the business.

If you go through the current WrestleMania 22 card (as publicized on on March 6th), there’s not a single match that captures the imagination like some of the classic matches I listed at the top of the column. Let’s take a look:


WWE Championship match, John Cena defending against HHH. Certainly this is a new match-up, but it’s not really fresh. Let’s be honest, HHH has been hovering around the RAW championship since the brand extension began, so him challenging for the title is not only predictable, it’s come to be expected. By the way, the only real heat between these two started just recently, in anticipation of their match in Chicago. This is not the culmination of a feud – it’s the ONLY installment in one.

World Tag Team Championship match, Big Show and Kane defending against “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters and Carlito. Alright, I admit I’ll be on the edge of my seat for this one. As much as I dislike Masters, I’ll become a huge fan of his on April 2nd because I can’t stand Big Kane as tag champs.

Been-There-Done-That challenge match, Mr. McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels. The storyline issue between McMahon and Michaels has been ongoing for a bit, but there’s no way Michaels can drag a ‘Mania-quality match out of the old man. I was hoping all along that the WrestleMania battle in the war between HBK and Vinnie Mac would be a match between Shane-O-Mac, representing his father’s interests, and the He’s Balding Kid. At least that would be an exciting affair for the audience. But now that Vince announced Shane vs. Michaels for the return of Saturday Night’s Main Event on March 18th, we’re all stuck with Vince vs. Michaels on April 2nd. Whoopie.

Street Fight, Edge vs. Mick Foley. I’m sure Vince thinks he’s got a winning combination here: dust of the Hardcore Legend a month or so before the big show, have him lose to a non-hardcore wrestler like Edge, and Edge will gain credibility. Does anyone else see right through this scheme? There’s hardly any heat or build up to this feud whatsoever, and the whole “Foley generously puts over another guy” thing seems really played. Also, from his extra-bulky appearance on RAW this week, I can’t imagine Foley putting on a good match against the Rated R Superstar.


World Heavyweight Championship match, Kurt Angle defending against Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton. I look forward to this match being well-performed, but where’s the storyline? Rey’s victory in the Royal Rumble match was clearly a result of Eddie Guerrero’s death (NOT that I don’t feel Mysterio deserves a push, but I don’t believe he would have gotten this opportunity if not for his longstanding relationship with the late Guerrero). Orton was only recently re-elevated to the main event level. Last time I checked he was substituting for Booker T against Benoit for the United States title. Angle came over from RAW to compete in the battle royal for the World Heavyweight title vacated by the injured Batista, and since that time has feuded with Mark Henry, but more interestingly, with the Undertaker. Angle and ‘Taker were building a compelling feud, and it seemed ‘Taker might actually win the title last week on SmackDown! until Mark Henry interfered. I almost think a more fitting 3-way dance for the big gold belt might be Angle vs. Undertaker vs. Mark Henry, although obviously the in-ring side would suffer.

United States Championship match, Chris Benoit defending against JBL. Blah. Done to death, and just ignited very recently. This one is a real “who cares?” match just waiting to get itself over with.


Money in the Bank ladder match, SmackDown! participants to be determined. I’m very pleased to see MITB make it’s second annual appearance, and I hope it becomes a WrestleMania tradition. It’s an action-packed, unique match that allows several performers a slot on the big show, and an opportunity to showcase their talents. It also creates the opportunity for a long-running storyline, just as Edge’s victory did at WrestleMania XXI. Although Edge won the inaugural version of this event one year ago, it was Shelton Benjamin who wowed the crowd that night and earned a great deal of respect by his performance.

I don’t understand why veteran Ric Flair is in the match, because the MITB ladder match is not exactly an environment conducive to Flair’s particular in-ring strengths. MITB is all about high-flying chaos, and some would even call it a spot-fest. Flair is legendary for his ability to tell a story in the ring, but storytelling isn’t the focus in a match like this. On the other hand, RVD and Benjamin are perfect for the match, and they should put on quite the spectacle for us. Hopefully SmackDown! will send three representatives whose skills are on par with the RAW guys, and if so, this match could steel the show. Still, MITB doesn’t carry with it the tradition and honor of other great WrestleMania matches, especially since Edge’s climactic title reign which capped a nearly year-long build that stemmed from MITB I, was such a disappointment in the eyes of many fans.

The reason the word “WrestleMania” became synonymous with a great wrestling event is that it used to be, well, a great wrestling event. In order to live up to the legacy and add a new chapter, WWE needs to build feuds for more than a few weeks, deliver high quality in-ring action, and make the event something truly special. I fear they’ve become content to simply promote another show in April, expecting the legend of the name “WrestleMania” to infuse the event with magic on its own.

It’s not the name of the event, but the quality, importance, and uniqueness of the matches on the card that makes a great night in professional wrestling.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – The noun form of the adjective that describes “the quality or condition of being humble” is the word humility. Wouldn’t humbility make more sense?

Master Sergeant, United States Air Force