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2004: A Sports-Entertainment Odyssey

January 2, 2004 – by Brad Dykens

This time of year, every wrestling fan (or mark, let’s face it we’re all marks) has their opinions on what SHOULD happen in the upcoming new year in the wrestling world. Every single fan thinks they have the answer to each and every problem plaguing the industry. I’m not going to say I could fix all the problems, but I have a few suggestions that might lead to a more entertaining 365 days. The dawn of every wrestling new year is flooded with discussions of one event–Wrestlemania! More so this year than any other year in history, because this year’s Wrestlemania is a milestone, the 20th installment of the event where miracles happen, and moments are etched in the annals of time (yeah I pay too much attention to advertisements).

The independent circuit finished 2003 with a massive bang and is hotter than ever with the spectacular Cage of Death V show and possibly the greatest Indy event of all time, Ring of Honor teaming up with All Japan to promote Final Battle 2003.

Agree if you will, disagree if you must, but for the love of God, edit your comments before you send them in!

WRESTLEMANIA XX: There are a few very specific things Vince McMahon has to do to pull of what he proclaims will be the greatest wrestling event of all time. First and foremost, the WWE simply MUST honor its past, and I mean widespread appreciation not just a lame fan-fest confined to those who make the trip to New York City with too much money in their pocket! There also must be a legitimate legends ceremony, with invited guests from early Wrestlemania spectaculars. No doubt the regulars (Moolah, Mae, Patterson, Brisco, Slaughter, Snuka, Hillbilly etc etc) will be there, but how about some fresh faces. I’d like to see Buddy Rose make an appearance! The first man to ever have his shoulder’s pinned at a Wrestlemania! Or Special Delivery Jones! The man who was beaten in 9 seconds at Mania I! What about Paul Orndorff, Wendy Richter, Don Muraco, Bob Orton, Hercules, King Kong Bundy, Harley Race, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, The Rougeau Brothers, Koko B. Ware, The Killer Bees, Ted DiBiase, The Bushwhackers, and ESPECIALLY Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. I have no interest whatsoever in seeing Hulk Hogan or Roddy Piper but I bet at least one of them will be there. There should also be a lengthy segment or video package on wrestlers who have died, like Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Andre the Giant, Adrian Adonis, Uncle Elmer and the list goes on and on.

WRESTLEMANIA XX POSSIBILITIES: Everyone’s been talking about possible matches at the so-called “Biggest Wrestling Event Ever” and there’s one that nobody has suggested that I think would be great. As of right now, they seems to be leading to a Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley showdown at some point, well I say do it at Royal Rumble and have Randy Orton take down Mick Foley and have the Rock come out to save Mick Foley, leading to a battle or third generation superstars at Wrestlemania with Randy Orton against The Rock! Ego vs. Ego! I like it, what about you?

Another special attraction that has been tossed around is a legends match between Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat. It seems the rumor was squashed about 24 hours after it was unleashed on the Internet. I would love to see it, and I think those two guys could work a safe and entertaining match-up with each other if allowed. Another match that has been discussed (by marks) is Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage, which if delivered, could possibly double the buy rate of the pay per view by itself due to the 80s-nostalgia demographic, but could stink up the show with a horrible match. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say my inner child wants to see this match!

As for current roster pairings, I’d like to see a battle royal to let the wrestlers who are left off the card work the show. Perhaps do it on Sunday Night Heat with the winner getting a match against a mystery wrestler on the Wrestlemania XX card, and the mystery wrestler would be umm, Edge! They’re likely aiming to put Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit together for the WWE title, the build-up for that match has already begun and it somewhat resembles the build up for Angle/Lesnar last year. It’s not completely obvious yet, but I think they’re starting to build up a showdown between Steve Austin & Chris Jericho, they’ve had multiple classic matches in the past and Jericho can physically take care of Steve Austin in the ring. Jericho WAS the one who got the ball rolling on Steve Austin’s resignation. Triple H was very generous last year when he gave Booker T a World title shot, and I think he’ll do it again this year and finally give Rob Van Dam his shot at a big event, but will bury RVD in the end, just like he did to Booker last year. Shawn Michaels is another wild card, who I would probably put up against Ric Flair, if the Ricky Steamboat thing doesn’t come to fruition, otherwise, put Shawn Michaels up against Matt Hardy, who would be Intercontinental Champion by then, in an action packed Ladder match! Matt Morgan is a breakout star waiting to happen, I’d like to see him going one-on-one with someone his own size, or bigger, like maybe The Big Show, and just to make it interesting, let’s make it a “BodySlam” challenge to pay tribute to Andre The Giant & Big John Studd. Shannon Moore should logically be in line for a Cruiserweight title shot by then and I’d like to see him win the title in an elimination match between Tajiri, Jamie Noble, Rey Mysterio.. Throw another cruiserweight match on the card with Akio & Sakoda battling Spanky & Paul London in a “no limits” match and just let them cut loose.. It looks as though it will be Uncle vs. Nephew at Wrestlemania when Eddie Guerrero takes on his nephew Chavo Guerrero, to enhance the psychological factor in this match, I’m adding chain match stipulations. Considering the participants, these two guys could steal the show with a well-developed storyline. Okay here’s my line-up:

  • HEAT: 30 Man Battle Royal for spot on the WMXX Card against a mystery opponent (returning Edge);
  • ELIMINATION: Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Shannon Moore;
  • WORLD TAG TITLE MATCH: The Dudleyz vs. Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade vs. Lance Storm & Val Venis;
  • BODY SLAM CHALLENGE: Matt Morgan vs. The Big Show;
  • US TITLE 2/3 FALLS MATCH: John Cena (champ) vs. Kurt Angle;
  • UNCLE vs. NEPHEW CHAIN MATCH: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero;
  • WORLD TITLE MATCH: Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam;
  • IC TITLE LADDER MATCH: Matt Hardy (champ) vs. Shawn Michaels;
  • MATCH: The Battle Royal Winner (which would be Christian) vs. Edge;
  • GRUDGE MATCH: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Y2J Chris Jericho;
  • WWE TAG TITLE MATCH: The Basham Brothers vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas;
  • LEGENDS MATCH: “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat;
  • TAG MATCH: Akio & Sakoda vs. Spanky vs. Paul London;
  • WWE TITLE MATCH: Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit;
  • TAG MATCH: Vince McMahon & Kane vs. The Undertaker & Shane McMahon;
  • MAIN EVENT: “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage;

    Okay, there are a lot of long shots in there, but I would like to see any of those matches, I’m sorry I couldn’t find a spot for Booker T but he DOES deserve a spot on the WMXX card. With the era of DVD’s, there’s no reason why this event shouldn’t be in excess of five hours, throw in a legends ceremony and we have a winner.

    NWA: TNA: TNA has to distanced itself from this embarrassing Hulk Hogan fiasco, and definitely do something most federations have trouble doing, and that is learn from its mistakes. Jeff Jarrett IS a powerful champion, but being the boss’ son is an unfortunate coincidence especially in the era of HH-McMahon in the other promotion. 2004 has to be the year of the Raven, they have put WAY too much into this “Destiny” storyline to not give him a decent run as NWA World Champion, and I think he should do it as a heel, and give that man a brainless valet! AJ Styles is the franchise of TNA and he should always be in the title hunt, with breaks to perform in five-star wrestling matches with Jerry Lynn, Chris Sabin, Chris Daniels, Low Ki, and hell ship in some more Ring of Honor stars like B.J. Whitmer, Xavier and Samoa Joe. TNA and ROH should work out a deal to have each others champions defend their titles on each others shows. How cool would it be to see Samoa Joe defending the ROH title on TNA PPV against Dan Maff or some other stiff workers! The absolute most important thing for TNA to achieve in 2004 is to get a good television deal to get their name out there. It’s unfortunate that the WWE is on the rise (quality wise) because TNA’s chances are getting lower by the week. January-April are traditionally the WWE’s hottest months so I’d say start to put a gradual increase in place now and be ready for when the WWE gets stale after Mania.

    The Independent Circuit: In my opinion, the Indy circuit in the United States has never been hotter than it is right now. Perhaps that’s because during 2003 I took the time and energy to research many Indy feds to become more aware of what is going on. Also with TNA’s open door policy, as well as my increased tape collection, I have been exposed to more and more wrestling events around the world. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say the Indy scene is on fire right now and will only get hotter in 2004. I can tell you one thing, I wouldn’t change very much about Indy wrestling, but I would eliminate all the slice & dice gore stuff that happens in CZW and other blood thirsty promotions, I don’t personally enjoy that stuff, and I would probably purchase more CZW shows if the gore was left out.

    A Few More Things: I would be surprised if 10% of my suggestions come to reality but it’s just the way I feel, and since I am “Obsessed With Wrestling” I will continue to watch it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly. So I hope everybody is ready for 2004 because on-paper, it looks like it could be the most turbulent year in wrestling history, with Wrestlemania XX, the rise AND/OR fall of TNA, and the continued momentum of North American Independent organizations. I can’t guarantee very much, but I can guarantee OnlineWorldofWrestling.com will be right there cheering and booing like a big smelly MARK!

    by Brad Dykens

    Musicdesign wrote::
    Wazzup! I’m an obsessed wrestling fan from Denmark. Here is what the danes would like to see happen in the WWE in the upcoming time. At Royal Rumble, Triple H and Shawn Michaels will square off. HHH finds his sledgehammer and misses a shot at Michaels. Then Flair and Batista runs in and chops HBK. They holds HBK so that HHH can hit him with the hammer, but then… Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat runs down the aisle and attacks Evolution. He tells Ric Flair that it’s time to find out, who’s the better man of them. “And why not do it at Wrestlemania 20… the grand stage of them all… Mr. Nature Boy… Wooooo!” That would be so great. The Michaels/HHH macth ends in no contest. At the Royal Rumble. Mick Foley, Kane, Goldberg and Lesnar is the last four men. Lesnar has knocked Goldberg down and he’s bleeding. Then Kane and Lesnar doubleteams poor Foley, put then, the light goes out and “The Dead Man” Undertaker comes out and tombstones Kane. He then chokeslams Lesnar. Foley eliminates Kane, but then Lesnar eliminates Foley. Taker and Kane brawls out of their way. Then Goldbegr and Lesnar has a staredown. They get eliminated at the same time which means that there will be a WWE Title match at Wrestlemania. Next night on RAW, Michaels and Steamboat will have a tag match against Flair and HHH. Goldberg shows up at SmackDown! to surprise Lesnar, and the next Monday on RAW, Lesnar surprises Goldberg. What also will happen the same night on RAW, Orton messes with Foley in the ring, but then, Rock comes down and saves his buddy. But then, Evolution attacks Rock and Foley, but they fends them off. At No Way Out, Benoit defeats Lesnar to become WWE champion. So here’s my matchlist for Wrestlemania XX:

    Sgt. Slaughter, Hillbilly Jim, George Steele, Faboulous Moohlah, Mae Young, Jimmy Snuka, Randy Savage says welcome in the ring.

    1. Cruiserweight Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Ultimo Dragon – Loser has to unmask. Rey wins and as Ultimo is about to unmask, Rey puts his mask back on to help his friend.

    2. Womens Title: Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly
    Faboulous Moolah will be the special referee. Trish wins the title in the end.

    Backstage, Hillbilly Jim wants to talk with Foley, but there’s nobody in the room. Jim snaps the Hardcore title!

    A clip is shown of all the dead wrestlers.

    3. Tag Team: Rock ‘n’ Socko Connection vs. Batista and Orton – Rock ‘n’ Socko wins and celebrates. Foley holds a very sad speech about leaving wrestling.

    Backstage, Jim tries to escape the arena, but Sgt. Slaughter finds him and pins him to become Hardcore champion.

    4. Rap contest: John Cena vs. Eminem – Cena comes to the ring. He says he is the best rapper. Then Eminem, a Wrestlemania XX celebrity comes out and challenges him for a rap contest which ends in a match.

    5. Kane vs. Undertaker – Undertaker wins.

    6. World Heavyweight Title: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels – Michaels wins the title.

    Backstage, George Steele slams a trashcan over Sgt. Slaughter to become Hardcore champion.

    7. Legends match: Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – Long and great match. Ric Flair wins and then he celebrates with Ricky. HHH, Batista and Orton who all has gotten their asses kicked comes out and beats down Flair and Steamboat. Then Sting (Flair’s long time rival) runs out and brains the Evolution. Then Sting, Steamboat and Flair celebrates.

    Backstage, Mick Foley wins the Hardcore title back.

    8. Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg – both men fights to no contest. Then they shakes hands and Goldberg leaves the WWE.

    9. WWE Title: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle – This is the end of the longest feud in the latest years in WWE. Benoit wins.

    Savage comes to the ring, he says that this night has been so perfect. “No Hulk Hogan!” he makes fun of Hogan until his music plays!

    10. Hogan vs. Randy Savage – Savage wins with the flying elbow. Then they shakes hands.

    Vince comes to the ring with all the legends. He says that he hoped the people enjoyed the night. Then Austin drives to the ring and sprays them with beer. He then gets in and gives McMahon a stunner. Austin says he wants a match.

    11. Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin – the match ends as all the SmackDown! and RAW superstars gets in the ring. Foley then says “What is this shit! Why are all the stars splitted. I remember when we all were friends and together, but now, everything is changed. RAW General manager Austin and Chairman McMahon looks at each other. Stephanie then shakes hands with Bischoff at the ramp and all the stars gets united again.

    Brad Dykens wrote::
    Some of that is pretty cool, but that last part was really REALLY gay! hah You’re idea for getting Ricky Steamboat into a storyline would be great if Ric Flair sold it like he’d seen a ghost or something.. I guess I’m the only one on the planet that has no interest in seeing Golberg vs. Lesnar.. Your Hardcore title fiasco is humourous, but it’s a nice touch having Mick Foley finish the night with the title. The downfall of your line-up is that we’ve already seen Angle/Benoit, Kane/Taker, Trish/Molly, HHH/HBK, Vince/Austin, we need something fresh for the “Granddaddy of them all”..

    David Diaz wrote::
    Hey, man I really liked your WMXX arena it sounds great! I agree with your TNA Opinion that it will either rise or fall I got the feeling at around March, Raven will become the NWA World Champion then lose it to a heel Dusty Rhodes or a heel AJ Styles. X-Division Title I see Low-Ki winning it this year unless he doesnt win it this Wednesday on the Ultimate X Match. Also Christopher Daniels should win the NWA World Title this year along with Abyss, Abyss made a really big impact in 2003 ever since he debuted and he would be great as the NWA World Champion. I see America’s Most Wanted winning the NWA Tag Titles, I got this feeling Konnan will turn on Killings & James and become the manager of a heel team of America’s Most Wanted but surely I will like to see The SATs to come back to TNA and win the NWA Tag Titles. Do you think Hulk Hogan will win the NWA World Title when he comes back? I pretty much doubt it I dont see it, it wont make sense because we’re going to think in our heads “who is he going to lose it to? It will be very hard who to make Hulk Hogan lose the title against. Now with WWE, I see Holly winning the title at Royal Rumble then losing at No Way Out to Chris Benoit. John Cena could perhaps become U.S Champion at the Royal Rumble or at No Way Out it would be perfect for him, I also agree with your Rock/Orton match for WMXX that will be really good! I say at Wrestlemania what they should do is Intercontinental Champion vs. U.S Champion, World Tag Champions vs. WWE Tag Champions & WWE Champion vs. World Champion. If Matt Hardy were to win the Intercontinental Title who do you think he will win it from? I think RVD will win his 6th IC Title next week on RAW and he will win it at Royal Rumble, or some RAW Shows leading to No Way Out as it is a only Smackdown PPV it would be good to see him win it he definitely needs a push dude. I think Jeff Hardy is going to come back at around May and feud with Matt for the Intercontinental Title and to end the feud it should be in a Ladder Match!

    Paul Nemer (Owner/Webmaster of www.wrestleview.com) wrote:
    I agree with many things you said, but you are forgetting something..someone big here. If Vince McMahon wants this to be the best WM of all-time… He has to deliver the greatest WWF champion of all-time, Bret Hart. (Voted by the fans in RAW magazine). You made valid points but left out the most important one. Now I am not saying Bret would agree to return.. the ball is in his court and it’s his decision.