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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Jeff Jarrett vs. John Cena
May 14, 2005 by Jacob Kuhn


Where it all started, I can't say for sure. In the latter half of the 20th century, there were three major wrestling promotions. Each of them had a 'recognized' World Heavyweight Championship. There was the WWWF (Later WWF), the AWA and the NWA. While I can't determine exactly when it started, I can say when it ended: October 2, 1985 in Tokyo, Japan.

The National Wrestling Alliance worked very differently from the WWWF or the AWA. The latter two were regional promotions owned by one or several men; depending on the time period. The NWA, however, was an alliance of regional promotions. Whichever regional had the NWA World Champion would have to loan the champion to other organizations. The AWA and WWWF both removed themselves from the NWA, whereupon their wrestlers were no longer able to compete for that organization's World Championship.

So, who was the World Champion" Much like in the boxing world, there were three different wrestlers. Unlike boxing, the titles never would unify and then split up again. This was true until Chris Jericho unified the WCW and WWF championships in 2001. Still, there were instances when the NWA Champion would face off against either the WWF or AWA World Champion.

Such a thing today would be unheard of. In fact, even as early as the late 1980's, the thought was deemed absurd. Dream matches between champions were common wishes among the sport's many fans. In the 1980's a match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan would have exceeded the later matches they had when both were past their prime. In the early 1990's many hoped for a match between WWF's Bret Hart and WCW's dominant heel, Big Van Vader. Much like the Flair/Hogan match up, this did not occur until both grapplers were past their prime.

In 19--, Verne Gagne squared off against Harley Race. Like most of these matches, the end result was a draw. Still, it was a face off between two of the most dominant wrestlers of their time. In 1982, Bob Backlund wrestled Ric Flair to a one-hour draw. Although no one won these matches, the fans had an opportunity to see their dream matches come to fruition. What could beat a World Champion taking on another man of the same stature"

Nowadays, the comparison would have to be drawn between John Cena and Jeff Jarrett. I say this mainly because the NWA and WWE Championships have long histories and prestige. Although the wrestlers on RAW are a talented bunch, the World Heavyweight Championship does not have the same recognition. The belt was created and handed over to HHH. There was no tournament or decision from a board of directors to name a champion. Also, since WWE has two heavyweight championships, a match between the RAW and SmackDown! champions, respectively, would not be anything to jump up and down over. It could simply be the will of Vince McMahon to try and sign another match between wrestlers who are truthfully from the same promotion.

Jeff Jarrett vs. John Cena would probably not be a dream match. In fact, I can't think of one person (myself included) would get too excited about seeing these two go at it. But since it would be the first meeting of the NWA and WWE champions since 1982, that in itself would bring in an amazing number of viewers. The enticement would be the possibility of having one man hold both of the belts at the same time; something that has never occurred in the history of the sport.

In reality, if such a match were ever to happen, we all know it would end in a draw. Much like these matches earlier years, no promotion wants to see their champion lose to one of another organization. The losing promotion would likely be put on their deathbed after such a defeat. With both TNA and the WWE struggling as they are nowadays, a loss of this magnitude could be the nail in the coffin.

I am not old enough to have ever seen any of these inter-promotional matches. Wrestling did not become a part of my life until the late 1980's. By this time, the AWA was on its last breath, losing its entire roster to the dominant WWF. Vince McMahon's eventual refusal to acknowledge the existence of other promotions kept the chances of future champion VS. champion matches after the Flair/Backlund match down. By the time we eventually saw WCW take on WWF, it wasn't anything spectacular, as the McMahon's owned both organizations.

The very last of these matches was an hour-long draw between AWA Champion Rick Martel and NWA Champion Ric Flair. It was the end of any teamwork between battling promotions, and the goals of destroying each other became predominant among the promoters.

Wrestling is a sport that claims to be for the fans. At times in the past, the organizations have been able to put aside their differences and put on a dream match for their spectators. We were able to forget all the politics that plagued the sport and believe that our best interests were taken to heart. If such concern for fans still existed, then seeing John Cena take on Jeff Jarrett for their respective titles would be something in the near future. Not only would it add some suspense to the sport, but also it would be a show of appreciation towards those loyal to wrestling. It might even revitalize the industry because it is something that we have not seen. Instead of witnessing the same matches over and over, it would be a breath of fresh air.

That is a pipe dream though. As I said in the first line, it all ended in Tokyo, Japan. We'll likely never see the NWA World Champion take on the WWE one. And that's just too bad.

by Jacob Kuhn ..


Johnny Morgan (Birmingham, Al.) wrote:
Being 42 yaers old, I also remember the "Territory" days, in which the NWA champion would visit our region about once, maybe twice a month. And those cards would have every regional title on the line, including the NWA Jr. Heavyweight title, and I even remember the U.S.Tag Team title being defended. It was not unheard of to pick up a wrestling magazine, either Inside Wrestling, or The Wrestler, and look in the rankings to see a few wrestlers in all three federations. "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd is one who comes to mind. One report in the day concerned a unfication series between the AWA, WWWF, and NWA, and where such a series could take place. I do remember picking up one of the rags, and reading about WWWF Champion Bob Backlund vs NWA Champion Harley Race, which, of course, ended in a one hour draw. Nick Bockwinkel, then AWA Champion took on the NWA Champion of that time, and every mag was reporting on that matchup as well. Those were the dream matches, where the promoters put aside their greedy ways, and gave the fans what they wanted.

Now, in the cutthroat world that wrestling has become, we can't even get the Smackdown champion to face off with the Raw champion, and they are under the same umbrella! So the idea of a Jeff Jarrett/John Cena matchup is, at best, a mute point. The argument should be who is the better champion under the circumstances, and I have to say that Jeff Jarrett holds the edge, baised on the fact that he is the NWA champion, and they have stuck with what works, a touring champion. Neither John Cena, nor Bastista take their titles out of the WWE and defend in a regional area, where as Jeff Jarrett has defended here in Birmingham in April, has made trips to South Korea, Japan, all over the U.S., and in Europe. And Jarrett runs into a number of different styles of wrestling, where as Cena and Bastista face the same type of styles. We may never get the chance to see Jeff Jarrett/John Cena, but we can debate who is better.
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