The People’s Column: The Need for Iron Men

In anticipation of the newest iteration of what many consider to be the WWE’s oldest and tired rivalry, I wanted to talk for a little bit about the need for iron men in the major leagues of professional wrestling.

Sixty minutes is a long time.  It is a long time for fans to sit and watch a match.  It is also a long time for wrestlers to be in the ring.  I almost feel for fans who see an Iron Man match live.  To be honest, when at an event, the matches, unless spectacular are often a little boring.  Sure, there is the exciting endings and beginnings.  There may even be a few highlight reel spots in the middle, but it is mostly the same thing over and over for about ten minutes.  Without the commentary, I could see a one hour match being extremely boring.

There has not been a one hour Iron Man match in the WWE since 2004’s Raw match between Triple H and Chris Benoit.  There have only been four one hour Iron Man matches in WWE history.  The last one was perhaps the least famous.  When people think of the Iron Man concept, they think of “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.

These two men, at a time when the wrestling business was droll and unexciting, captivated fans with an amazing display of athleticism.  This was in 1996, before the nWo caught the wrestling world on fire.  In WCW, it was the same old Hulkamania act that most were bored with in 1988.  In WWE it was not much better.  This is a bright spot in an otherwise unspectacular year and a half period (January 1995 to June 1996).

Perhaps that is what the WWE needs now.  Many people (myself not included) feel that the WWE product is droll and unexciting.  Perhaps they feel that everything possible has happened.  There was a creative boom and a new style discovered in the late ‘90s and the beginning of this century.  Now, we are left with the remnant of a style that came and went.  Left in it’s wake were the biggest superstars of the era (DX, The Undertaker and Vince McMahon) and a generation of wrestlers who broke in right as the business was in transition.

These wrestlers have the unenviable task of following a time when creativity was at an all time high and they were allowed to push the boundaries of taste in the name of that creativity.  Now, they do not have that option.

At this point you may be asking what, if anything does this have to do with the Iron Man match.  That is a very good question.  Given the WWE’s new style, an Iron Man match makes perfect sense.  It’s two men competing for the right to be champion when wins and losses between them no longer seem to matter.  It is the ultimate win.

The hour long match, which used to be seen as an essential skill for any wrestler to rise above mid-card status, has become a sort of a lost art.  The WWE has conditioned their fans to accept and appreciate a 20 minute match as grueling and arduous.  This match will be three times longer than what the fans are accustomed to seeing from Randy Orton and John Cena.

Is this rivalry long? Yes, it is quite long.  But remember this, The Rock and Triple H fought through 1998, 1999 and 2000.  They met in major matches over 15 times in that period.  Perhaps this is how we will look back at Cena and Orton.

Could this match potentially be a classic? Of course! You have two of the best wrestlers in the world today fighting over the most prestigious prize in the game.

More importantly, these men have an opportunity to show the advantages of the new WWE style.  They have the opportunity to have a dramatic and amazing match that far surpasses everyone’s expectations.  This will not be brutal, it will be technical.  Yes, there are no disqualifications or count outs.  Yes, a fall will likely be gained with the use of a chair.  But the point is that they have a chance to go out there and tell the entire story of their rivalry.  They can get people excited again.

I am looking forward to this match more than any other in recent memory.  Sixty minutes can be long and boring.  The crowd itself may decide to be quiet (and I could hardly blame them).  However, these two men could have a match that leads to more of these types of contests.  They have an opportunity to be technical and brutal at once, which was not given to them at Breaking Point or Hell in a Cell.

The WWE made the right choice with the match to end this rivalry.  Please leave your thoughts about it in the comments.  I will most likely read them.

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