WWE Wrestlemania XX Honoring The Past
September 5, 2003 by Joseph Huber
Hi. This is my first column for this site. I just want to tell a little about myself before I continue on to the column. I consider myself to be a new fan to the WWE even though I grew up watching WWF during the 80's and early 90's. I tuned out not long after the departure of the Ultimate Warrior. I guess I left wrestling at the same time as a lot of the "mainstream audience" did. It seems a lot of the superstars in the WW(F) left around the same time as well.
I knew wrestling was fake but it was getting a bit out of hand around this time. They stopped trying to fool us into thinking wrestling was real. On the down side of that they also stopped trying to be realistic in their approach. Thus we had ladder matches, casket matches, buried alive matches, street fights and all kinds of silly things taking place. I believe this is part of what hurts wrestling today but that is a whole other column by itself.
I tuned in to WWE a few months ago thanks to a close personal friend of mine. He has been a lifelong fan and got me interested after showing me matches with people like Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle (both of whom are among my favorite wrestlers in the WWE today). I still see glaring problems in the WWE (a bit too over the top with batteries being hooked up to testicles like Kane/Shane on RAW). Kids can't tune in like they used to back when I was watching the original WWF over a decade ago. This is part of their ratings problems. They need to turn the notch down on the sex/violence and unrealistic angles and just get back to wrestling in most cases.
Now on to the column: As the WWE slowly marches it's way towards Wrestlemania XX we keep hearing about rumors of superstars of the past coming back. From Ultimate Warrior to Hulk Hogan to Sting, the rumors persist. I am all for honoring the superstars of the past. After all, these men paved the way for stars like Brock, Angle, Mysterio and others to shine as they do today.
I find nothing wrong with this. Honoring the stars of the past is a good thing to do, if done right. Some stars like Ultimate Warrior can come back and wrestle every week on shows like RAW & Smackdown. Warrior can make a run at several championships in the WWE today. He can make interesting feuds with people like Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, HHH, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Gurrero or others.
Other stars, like Hulk Hogan, would have to be used on occasion. I think Hogan's time as a weekly wrestler is over. He can be used in big events and now and then to add fire, or interest, to a storyline. Hogan would be better used in a tag team situation (like Ric Flair with Evolution). Pairing him up with Goldberg and someone like Ultimo Dragon would be a great team situation to take on Evolution in a series of singles/tag-team or 3 meb team matches.
Still there are other stars out there who's name is constantly mentioned, like Bret "the Hitman" Hart. I think Bret's health problems have ended his singles career as a wrestler. A stroke is not something you can easily come back from. If he does make a comeback as a wrestler I would like it to be as 1/2 of the Hart Foundation with Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart. The WWE could use a great tag-team and these two could still bring it while allowing Bret to wrestle but not carry matches completely by himself.
I would like to see the WWE honor all it's fallen stars who have passed on through the years from Owen Hart to Mr Perfect to Andre The Giant and many others. These are guys who sacrificed their bodies and lives and helped bring the WWE up to it's greatest heights. There should be segments on each of these stars at Wrestlemania XX.
Men like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair should have special segments as well. They helped bring wrestling to it's all-time high and helped bring in a mainstream audience while crossing over into the pop world. To not honor them and their long careers would be an injustice to both.
All that being said I think the spotlight should be on the current WWE superstars. Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar/Undertaker/Big Show/Rey Mysterio/Eddie Gurrero/Goldberg/HHH and many others. There should be a passing of the torch from the older superstars to the newer generation, much like Michael Jordan's last year in the NBA. It helps bring validation to the current crop of wrestlers while honoring those of the past.
I'd also like to see other stars from the past join the WWE in various forms, from trainers to managers. Could you imagine someone like Superfly Jimmy Snuka managing someone like Rey Mysterio or Ultimo Dragon or Chris Benoit. Hulk Hogan managing Kurt Angle or Goldberg (that would be an interesting combination) or teaming with Goldberg and maybe Ultimo Dragon to oppose Evolution. I'd like to see a return to tv for guys like Bobby "the brain" Heenan & Paul Bearer.
For Wrestlemania XX I would like to see a big honor of the past, a celebration of the present and a return to where it all started: wrestling. No sledgehammers, no steel chairs, no interferences in matches, no women parading around half naked (ok well I guess I lie about that part but no bikini contests).
I'd like to see everyone put aside their differences in celebration of wrestlings greatest sporting event. There are those you will love or hate, no in-between, like Goldberg and Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man Randy Savage, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, HHH (he has some fans even though I can't stand him I must admit that) Bret The Hitman Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley. Current superstars like Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, John Cena, Eddie Gurrero, Rey Mysterio, Hurricane, and many others should have matches at Wrestlemania XX.
If done right Vince could have a goldmine on his hands. Wrestlemania XX could be a launching pad to return for a lot of old fans (or mainstream or pop however you prefer to call them) who are either disinterested or turned off by the current product in the WWE. Anniversaries are at the very least interesting. Hopefully those in charge at WWE realize this and take advantage. At the very least Wrestlemania XX should be spectacular and be history in the making......
by Joseph Huber
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