Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Road to Wrestlemania Silver, Part 3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Part II in the Road to Silver is here; that would link you to Part I, which contains links to the 24 previous Counterfactual Wrestlemanias.

So - we're six matches in:

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. The Messiah Shawn Michaels (w/Harry Smith & Tyson Kidd)

Montreal Match: Edge v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy

IC: Mask v. Title: MVP v. Rey Mysterio

Tag Titles: DMW v. LWO v. HHH-M/Miz

Legends Match: Fluorescent Light Tube Death Match: Undertaker (w/ Cody and Dustin Rhodes) v. Bradshaw (w/Yakuza/Henry/Khali)

John Cena (w/AA) v. Ka$h Kingston

3 to go.
There Must Be a Winner: Strong Style Shelton Benjamin v. Johnny Nitro
Fit Finlay v. Randy Orton (w/Malenko and DiBiase)
Ricky the Dragon Steamboat v. CM Punk (w/Maria)
Easy one first - Nitro and Benjamin are in a Best of 7 Series; they've been feuding since the build to XXIV when they met as part of the 3 way title unification TLC Main Event (they lost their belts to Punk).  They've been wrestling ever since, in what is simply just a wrestling feud - Benjamin's a babyface, Nitro a cocky heel - they both think they're better than the other guy.  The series was to end at the Rumble, as that was Match 7 (considering no contests and draws and double disqualifications, they've probably wrestled a dozen times).  Benjamin is now over his knee injury inflicted by Nitro in the series - let's do a TV spot as part of this really simple build where Benjamin is really selling the knee, but it turns out he's lulling Nitro into a false sense of security - as when Nitro taunts him - Benjamin suddenly is at full strength and does some type of super high spot against whomever it is he is working against.  Nitro gets the bug eyes - and here we are - Match 7, two guys trying to prove who the better man is at Wrestlemania Silver. 
Then there's Defiance.  Randy Orton, a couple of years ago, was viewed, despite a previous run as tag champ, as largely a pretty boy without much heart - then he beat Fit Finlay.  That propelled him higher up the card - he became IC Champ and last year, at 24, Orton united with the Juggernaut (RIP) and a heel turning Professor Malenko to destroy Finlay in a falls count anywhere match.  Fit's been gone since - but Defiance spent the year feuding with Regal, a feud that saw the Juggernaut leave the WWF, Orton take out Regal in a parking garage brawl with the help of a mystery man, and then - at the Rumble, the revelation that Ted DiBiase, Jr., from the online developmental reality show WWFU (the Underground) was the new member of Defiance.  Defiance took out Taz (your new trainer in developmental - Mike Rotundo) RVD and Jack Swagger at the Rumble, finishing them off with Orton's punt to the temple (the Golden Goal) from which no one had yet to return - until the reappearance of Fit in the build.
It starts with Defiance proclaiming the death of RVD, Taz - and Swagger - Orton says he promised Defiance would recruit a new man - and they got the right man in the son of the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase, Jr.  DiBiase, who had been sort of a charming heel in developmental, playing off of Swagger's square jawed, straight edged babyface, is now, obviously, full on heel - and they mock the destruction of Taz and Swagger.
Steamboat interrupts - says the problem with DiBiase joining Defiance is he lost his Contract Match at the Rumble to Swagger - so he isn't on the roster.  Defiance is indignant - Steamboat has a compromise - says there's another man from developmental who is ready for the same kind of shot that DiBiase wants - and DiBiase will have a contract match - next week - against that man - Nick Nemeth.
Nemeth was Swagger's friend in developmental, really the only person other than Swagger's sister, Kelly (who began a romance with DiBiase) who could stand him (Swagger's a bit of a teacher's pet, too good to be true sort of a guy).  And Nemeth (that's Dolph Ziggler) will look to find his way into a WWF contract by beating DiBiase.
Which he will.  Kelly, returning for the first time since DiBiase locked her in a dressing room at the Rumble, appears during the match, DiBiase gets distracted - and that leads to the surprise victory for Nemeth.
Nemeth will then spend a few weeks feuding with Defiance - wrestling each of them - when finally he needs a tag partner for a TV match.  That tag partner - Fit Finlay.
There's surprise - Fit has been gone since taking the Golden Goal at 24 - but he does return - all Northern Irish fury - not only looking for revenge against Orton, but revenge against his longtime, I mean, longtime manager now adversary Malenko - the tag match breaks down when Fit's rage against Malenko explodes - Fit going after Dean - Fit busting his best friend Malenko wide open on TV in a torrent of color - Fit merciless in his attack on Malenko until pulled away by front office personnel (of which, Fit and Dean used to be). 
That sets up the match - Fit v. Orton - Fit Finlay, the old veteran, the man who retired Ric Flair at 23 - he lost a year of his career to Defiance - lost his friend Regal who came to his aid - against the upstart Orton - Orton, riding high after the Rumble, but now with his own reason for hatred -as Finlay took out a year of frustration on the man who betrayed him, Malenko. 
Finlay v. Orton at Silver.
Which leaves just one match.
Ricky Steamboat and CM Punk have been feuding for years.  Not just in the WWF, with Steamboat as legendary GM, for very first Wrestlemania main event winner - and Punk as his chief antagonist - Punk, the man who threw down the WWF belt and spat upon it in the defining moment of recent wrestling history. 
But this has spanned three companies - Ring of Honor, TNA - and WWF - the same dynamic, Steamboat as babyface legend - Punk as a man who refuses to tow the line.  They have been each other's chief opponent for years and years and years.
And now they will meet.  For the very first time.  One on one at Wrestlemania Silver.
How do we get there - recall Punk got suspended, so he missed the Rumble - at the Rumble was the debut of Low Ki, who Steamboat has dubbed the most important WWF acquisition in years - Ki didn't wrestle - but he did beat the hell out of Punk's best friend Cabana, in Cabana's last night with the company.
For maybe 3 weeks after the Rumble - Low Ki appears on every WWF program beating whomever is in front of him.  Hunter.  Cena.  Bradshaw.  The Undertaker.  The announce plays up that Low Ki is going to Wrestlemania Silver - that they have never seen Ricky Steamboat get behind a wrestler with this much enthusiasm since he said that Rey Mysterio was the company Ace - Rey went on to be 2 time WWF Champion and hold the Triple Crown.
The assumption is it will be Low Ki vs. CM Punk at Mania, and the announcement is to come the day Punk's suspension is up - Steamboat is said to be as excited as anyone can recall him - giddy, almost. 
The night comes - Low Ki and Steamboat are in the ring for the official announcement - Steamboat talks about how for years, Punk has done whatever he wanted virtually with no consequence (and then gives the list) but that ends at Silver.  As everyone has seen since the Rumble - Low Ki is a wrecking machine - he is a man that CM Punk is afraid of - and at Silver will be Punk's day of reckoning.  Steamboat says - Punk's suspension is now up - and calls him to the ring.
He doesn't come.  Maria comes instead.
Maria is hot (I mean angry, but, well, you know). She says Steamboat's a monster.
Punk is not here tonight.  Punk won't be at Silver.  Punk can't get out of bed.  Steamboat's taken everything from him - took away his WWF title - took away his guaranteed rematch - took away his best friend Colt - Punk's been home for 60 days, not able to wrestle - not able to even attend the Rumble - Wrestlemania Silver - the biggest wrestling show of all time - is just a few weeks away and Punk hasn't been a part of it.  And all these people want is to see Low Ki, who is more machine than man - destroy Punk - Punk is a lamb to the slaughter - that's all Steamboat wants - he doesn't want real competition - he wants a massacre.  Well, Maria says - Punk's not going to be fed to the lions - Punk will not wrestle Low Ki at Silver - if Steamboat and these people want a massacre so badly - then Low Ki can wrestle her at Silver.
An intriguing proposition to be sure.
And with that distracting offer in the air - that's Punk's cue to come out from under the ring and chairshot Low Ki - Maria grabs at Steamboat, swinging wildly at him, enough such that he's distracted for a few seconds as Punk hits the Go to Sleep on Ki - Maria hops on Steamboat's back - clawing at the Dragon's eyes - Punk then takes the chair and Pillmans Ki's ankle - dropping elbows on the chair - Steamboat breaks free from Maria - Punk rolls out of the ring - Steamboat has the fire in his eyes as Punk and Maria back their way up the ramp.
The next show - Steamboat cuts promo. 
Says 24 years ago the WWF rolled the dice on an idea called Wrestlemania - that one night a year the entire wrestling world - hell, the entire world - would stop and watch the very greatest in the sport compete at the highest possible level.
24 years ago - the highest possible level, Steamboat says, was Ricky Steamboat.
They show clip of Steamboat beating Windham in the main at I. 
Now it's Wrestlemania Silver.  "I'm not the man I was a quarter century ago.  I was never one to brag - but I knew, when I held up the WWF Championship belt, in Madison Square Garden, at Wrestlemania, that I was, at least on that day, the very best wrestler in the world."
"I'm not that man anymore."
"But maybe - for one night - at Wrestlemania Silver - I could be that man again."
Steamboat very matter of factly says.  "It has been my great honor to be the general manager of the World Wrestling Federation.  My last official act is to make one more match for Wrestlemania Silver.  CM Punk...against Ricky The Dragon Steamboat.  I quit."
That will lead to a very rare appearance on the next show by Vince McMahon - billed as the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund - Vince, via satellite, will say that Ricky Steamboat has been a valued employee - and he was well aware that as a member of the front office he was ineligible to compete with active wrestlers - but he has accepted Steamboat's resignation - and the match for Silver is official.  At Mania, a replacement for Steamboat will be named. 
The build is Punk acting as if he's found a four leaf clover.  Punk says it's all he's ever wanted - literally, his whole life - all he's ever wanted since the first time he saw wrestling when it was Ric Flair kicking Ricky Steamboat's ass in the NWA and he thought "that's what I want to do - I want to beat the hell out of Ricky the Dragon Steamboat."

Punk says he's gonna get in trouble for not saying the first time he saw wrestling was WWF - say Wrestlemania I - but the thing is he was 2 years old.  And obviously that becomes part of the build too - Punk talking about how the only thing he and Steamboat have in common is neither one of them remember the last time Steamboat wrestled at Wrestlemania, back in WM 4 - 21 years ago - Punk doesn't remember it because he was a toddler - and Steamboat because it was so long ago he forgot.  He maybe used to be Ricky The Dragon  - the main who won the main event at the very first Wrestlemania - but now he's another guy in a suit.  He's Ricky the Suit Steamboat. 

That tag line will be referenced by Steamboat during a "I'm taking off my suit" promo that will serve to metaphorically transform him into the Dragon - or at least, enough that we can buy it. 

There's some concern by the announce - JR has a sitdown interview where they show some clips of Steamboat's career, emphasizing his historic role in the creation of Wrestlemania and now in putting the WWF back together after Punk tore the company apart - but the truth is that Steamboat is 30 years older than Punk and hasn't been a full time wrestler in nearly two decades - this seems like a suicide mission.

Steamboat says maybe it is. 

Maybe he is going to Wrestlemania Silver to die. 

But it'll be dying for a good cause.  Punk's a cancer - he eats away at a company - Steamboat's seen it over and over and over again.  And he's done all he can do wearing a suit to stop him.  Suspended him, taken away title shots - even fired his best friend - but Punk still keeps coming, corrosive, vile.  He's a cancer.

So Ricky the Suit Steamboat can't stop him.

But maybe Ricky the Dragon can.  Steamboat says he's spilled plenty of Wrestlemania blood - and he's willing to spill the rest at Silver. 

Steamboat, as you know if you've looked at the title for the blog - is a Hogan-like figure in this world - once this match is made - it essentially becomes the main event - it's the primary focus of all of programming - Ricky Steamboat returns to Wrestlemania - CM Punk won the main event at 24 - he's been the top heel in the company really for the past two years - his feud with Steamboat really has driven much of the storyline - it's sort of like if Austin wrestled Vince at Mania at the height of their real world feud - but Vince wasn't Vince, instead Vince was Hogan. 

So, that's our show.  Hopefully, I put it up Mania weekend, but it's more likely to be the following week. 

Wrestlemania Silver
1. WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels
-It's Harts v. Clique; will the Messiah, with the aid of the young Hart kids, regain the WWF title for the first time in over a decade - or will Jericho solidify his hold at the top of the sport?  It's got to be Harts/Clique in the main event at WM25.

2. Montreal Match: Matt v. Jeff v. Edge v. Christian
-One man will submit and leave the WWF; one man will get that submission and win a title shot to be granted anytime in the next year; it's brother vs. brother, 4 men feuding literally their whole adult lives - and now, one will be leaving the WWF.

3. Mask v. ICTitle: Montel Porter v. Rey Mysterio
MVP has held the IC Title for a year and a half - Rey, for the first time ever - puts up his very identity in an attempt to take it from him.

4. CM Punk v. Ricky Steamboat
One of the greatest legends in WWF history - he wrestled in the first 4 Wrestlemania main events - returns to the ring - his first Wrestlemania in 21 years - against his longtime rival, his chief antagonist - the man who spat on the WWF Title belt - CM Punk.  This match is the effective main event - but all 4 of these matches have a real significance historically - and I also think they're all good workrate matches.  Wrestlemania Silver!

5. There Must Be a Winner: Shelton Benjamin v. Johnny Nitro
6. Fit Finlay v. Randy Orton
7. John Cena v. Ka$h Kingston
8. Legend's Match: Glass Light Tube Death Match: The Undertaker v. Bradshaw
9. Tag Titles: LWO v. DMW v. HHH-M/Miz

Plus - the announcement of the new WWF General Manager and surprise WWF legendary guests!

It's Wrestlemania Silver.  Call your local cable company.  Don't just download the torrent.  Come on!


Road to Wrestlemania Silver - Part 2

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

In Part One, the Double Main Event for Wrestlemania Silver in Houston was set up:

WWF Title: Chris Jericho v. The Messiah Shawn Michaels (w/Harry Smith & Tyson Kidd)

Montreal Match: Edge v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy

Also, Part One has the links to each of the first 24 Wrestlemanias - so, when I do the historical recaps of the IC, Tag, Legends Matches and the Mania careers of Rey Mysterio and the Undertaker - you can go to Part One to click right to those matches. I don't know if I'd recommend, for any of you who are new readers - just reading each Wrestlemania as a shorthand way to catch up - but there are worse ideas. Sometimes, in thinking about real world WWE it strikes me that if I ever stopped watching, I'd use Manias to get a sense of the throughline, but I don't know how effective that would be.

Here - we'll set up the 2 additional title matches - the IC and the Tag, also our quarter century long Mania tradition - the Legends Match. That will leave the 4 singles matches in the middle of the card for Part 3, probably 2 weeks from now. We'll set up one of the other singles matches to, just to do.

Okay - here are the new matches:

IC: Mask v. Title: MVP v. Rey Mysterio

Tag Titles: DMW v. LWO v. HHH-M/Miz

Legends Match: Fluorescent Light Tube Death Match: Undertaker (w/ Cody and Dustin Rhodes) v. Bradshaw (w/Yakuza/Henry/Khali)

John Cena (w/AA) v. Ka$h Kingston

Porter is on one of the great title runs in WWF history - IC champ for a year and a half - the longest IC run in two decades. He calls himself the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all Time and the announce does not disagree. He's been in a feud with Mysterio now since August when he eliminated Rey from the Number One Contender Battle Royal. In fact - it was back in the summer of 2007 that MVP attacked a returning Mysterio before Rey's WWF Title match against Booker T - that led to MVP turning on Book and Elijah Burke, which would lead to both of them leaving the company - and that would propel MVP into this historic title run.

MVP beat Rey at both the Survivor Series and then again in a 2 of 3 falls match at the Royal Rumble - a match that saw Rey's mask get jarred nearly from his head in a tide turning spot.

That's the impetus for this - the first Mask match in WWF history. It's Porter who ups the ante - Porter says he has taken Mysterio's spot as the Ace of the WWF - and now he wants to take his identity - he wants to take the mask of the Legendary Triple Crown Winning Mysterio.

Rey is hesitant to accept - it goes for a few weeks - MVP goading Mysterio - it really is true, Rey's injuries, Rey's surgeries - have finally taken a toll from which he can't recover - Rey's missed the past 2 Manias, and here he is with a chance to win his 3rd IC Title - at Silver - at the biggest show ever - the biggest stage of them all - a spot that others would kill for - MVP does a spot where he asks who in the back would be willing to give up anything for a chance to wrestle for the IC Title at Silver - and the entire back unloads into the arena - Rey is shamed - it's pushed as far as it can go.

The design is to push the importance of the mask - which the babyface announcers stress - and eventually there are videotaped packaged from Mexico to get over the idea of the mask being at the heart of the identity of lucha libre - that to lose a Mask match for Mysterio would be even worse than losing a retirement match - that it would undo all of his accomplishments - that what the WWF is asking Rey to put up is an enormous risk.

The acceptance comes when MVP unmasks Dos Caras, Jr. Caras, nephew of Mil Mascaras, is positioned as a star when GDI goes on the road to Mexico, Caras beats Yakuza - and then is able to fight off Mark Henry who tries to bear hug him postmatch.

That leads to Caras coming unannounced to Fight Night to aid Cody and Dustin in a tag match against Yakuza and Henry - and the masked Caras then joins the Fight Night roster in that program. Caras is a masked wrestler - and without any provocation - there's a spot where he is coming to the ring for a match and he is attacked in the aisle by Porter, who smashes Caras up and takes his mask. In humiliation - Caras leaves the company.

That pushes Rey's buttons - he furiously accepts MVP's challenge on the following RAW. Porter starts wearing Caras's mask around his neck from a chain - and that's our match. Mask v. Title.

The tag titles are vacant - that happened in the set up for the Montreal Match back in Part One.

On a subsequent RAW, Steamboat says at Silver there will only be one tag team match, for the first time in Mania history - it will be for the vacant tag team titles and it will be a three way elimination match.

The first contenders are the men who won the right to challenge for the title at the Rumble - a challenge that never took place - Santino and the Miz.

The Miz, full of awesomeness, enters - Santino - timid as he walks down the ramp - then full of swagger once he gets inside the ring, follows. Steamboat says, to be fair - this title shot doesn't belong to both of only belongs to the Miz.

And they show the clip from the Rumble - Matt Hardy telling Santino and the Miz to get out of the ring - Santino running away in terror and the Miz standing firm and eating a Twist of Fate. Steamboat says Santino gave up the shot - so it solely belongs to the Miz and a partner of his choo----

And that's when Hunter's music hits.

Hunter comes to the ring - kicks Santino in the stomach and pedigrees him flat.

Hunter tells the Miz that he just found a new partner. Miz says hell yeah - and they shake hands.
Steamboat then says their opponents will be two former tag team titleholders - who both made an impact at the Rumble - Dead Men Walking and the Latino World Order!

Kane and PAUL, who attacked Cody and Dustin at the Rumble, earning a long staredown from their longtime ally and a member of DNW himself, the Undertaker - come to the ring. They go nose to nose with Hunter and the Miz - PAUL laughing at the size disparity with the former Real Worlder who has been positioned as a comedy job guy. On the Road to Silver, Hunter and the Miz will do some comedy spots as mismatched partners - but with the eye on giving the Miz some legimacy - as in the go home Fight Night he and Hunter waffle DMW with chairs - just brutally beating them down in a way that draws out the Undertaker for a babyface save - but he's cut off by a light tube shot by Bradshaw - Rhodes, BIG, and the LWO all wind up entering for the full on go home brawl.

That Taker save will be a surprise - as part of the build is the split between DMW and the Taker - Undertaker's pissed that they doublechokeslammed young Cody - DMW says they'll chokeslam the dead man too if he gets in their way - they are about to become two time tag champs at Silver - they'll do what they have to do and he needs to respect that - he says maybe down the road - they'll have to settle this in the ring, but he has Bradshaw to prepare for. So it's left as tense.

Before that though is the spot being discussed where the tag title match is made - the LWO, now Carlito and Primo Colon, come to the ring. The LWO turned heel at the Rumble with an attack on Young Money that injured Truth Killings. Primo took Chavo's place in the LWO prior to the Rumble when Jericho told Chavo that there would be a title shot for him if he could get his singles legs back. Primo is the half crazy younger brother, the Baby Faced Assassin - and he pushes Carlito to return to his heelish roots. So, the LWO hits the ring - vicious and angry - and Steamboat says this is the Tag Team Title match for Silver - Hunter and the Miz, DMW, and the LWO.

But that brings out an angry Ka$h Kingston - the normally happy go lucky babyface, with the autotune - is hot at the LWO and at Steamboat - he says his partner, Truth Killings, is out - injured at the hands of the LWO - and they wind up with a spot at Silver and Kingston will be staying home.

And before Steamboat can answer, John Cena and his manager, Arn Anderson, enter. Cena says HHH-M took out his partner, Leviathan - and now Hunter's maneuvered his way into a new tag team and Cena will be at home for Silver. Cena says no offense to Young Money - but WMD were tag team champs - and keeping Cena out of Silver is a bigger crime. Kingston says no offense to WMD - but they're yesterday - Young Money rolls with the new - Young Money is the choice of the people - and if John Cena thinks his punk white boy ass can hang with Ka$h Kingston - then maybe they oughta find out.

So, Steamboat makes that match.

Leaving just the Legends Match for Part 2 - the Undertaker and Bradshaw have been feuding since summer - BIG took out Dusty Rhodes, who was the head of the NWA, then kept on to briefly run Fight Night - that prompted a response from the extra green but gutty Cody - Cody got beaten up pretty good until being saved by the Undertaker - and that kicked off a feud with culminates here at Mania - it's a fluorescent light tube death match; that's been Bradshaw's weapon of choice since BIG elminated the ECW crew in the immediate aftermatch of 24. They've been used very judiciously in the program - with one light tube shot being played up as a big deal.

But at Mania - at Mania it's a Death Match - two sides of the ring ropes covered in fluorescent tubes. It's the Legends Match - the Undertaker's specialty - and it's gonna be a bloodbath.

That's 6 matches set up now - the three big singles matches will be set up in Part 3 - below is the history of the IC Title, the tag title, the legend's match - and the career Mania histories of Mysterio and the Undertaker. No links - you can find all the links to the first 24 Manias in Part One.

I: IC Title: Dog Collar Match: Roddy Piper d. Greg Valentine
-both men heels, Piper was also in Orndorff's corner in his win over Hogan - here, Piper took Valentine's IC title in a match that borrowed liberally from Starrcade '83.

Tag Title: Tito Santana/Brutus Beefcake d. Nikolai Volkoff/Iron Sheik
-Tito and Brutus were white meat babyface, they too the straps at I.

Legends: Andre the Giant d. David Sammartino
-Bruno was given an award at War to Settle the Score as the "WWF Legend" - Andre took exception, and that led to the creation of this annual Legends match. Bruno and Andre went nose to nose postmatch.

II. IC Title: Randy Savage d. Roddy Piper
 -the fans turned Piper face over the course of the year, Savage did his full heel act with Liz and went over at II to take the strap
Tag Title: Hart Foundation (Bret Hart/Davey Boy Smith w/Anvil) d. Tito/Brutus
-with Dynamite as the world champ - that freed Davey Boy to be Bret's tag partner with Neidhart as their manager - their heel act wins the straps at II.

  Legends: Andre the Giant d. Bruno Sammartino
-an all time match, really why the legends match exists - just for the fans to see it happen, Andre goes over for his second legends win in Bruno's final match.

III. IC Title: Randy Savage d. Jake Roberts
-Randy turned face during the year, Jake was pure evil heel tormenting Liz with his giant snake - but Savage keeps here and his IC run continues
Tag Title: Hart Foundation d. Rougeau Brothers
-the Harts also turned babyface in the run up to Mania, and they also kept their belts in the Silverdome

   Legends: Andre the Giant d. Harley Race
-Race was a 7 time NWA Champion, and this match became babyface Andre v. the NWA man Race - Andre won his 3rd Legends match.

IV. IC Title: Bret Hart d. Randy Savage
 -full babyface match, with Bret taking on the person he most respected (other than Dynamite and Stu)

   Tag Title: Rougeau Brothers d. Strike Force (Martel/Santana)
-the Rougeaus had taken from the Harts over the course of the year when Neidhart turned and became their manager - they keep the belts over the babyface Strike Force here

     Legends: Andre the Giant d. Hulk Hogan
-Hogan had ended the WWF runs of Orndorff and Piper and now, in a babyface match, took on Andre - but the Giant won his 4th Legends match.

V. IC Title: Rick Rude d. Curt Hennig
    -friends since high school, Rude and Hennig were half of the Heenan Family, both heels - Bobby desperately tried to keep the faction together when Rude challenged Perfect for his IC strap - and beat him - at V.

 Tag Title: Brainbusters (Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard) d. Rockers (Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty)
-20 years ago, Shawn Michaels was bleeding buckets as his babyface team was on the losing end of their challenge to the Busters tag belts - at Silver, Michaels is in the main event, wrestling Jericho for the strap - and Arn is managing Cena against Kingston (and maybe doing something else as well...that's a tease..)

   Legends: Hulk Hogan d. Ultimate Warrior
-Hogan had beaten Andre in the year after IV, giving him this slot in the Legends Match - the Warrior was a bizarre heel with an out of control ego doing a white power gimmick, and he got that legdrop here.

VI. IC Title: Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels
-Bret and Shawn in Toronto 19 years ago - it was Bret's belt, Shawn had tossed Marty through a plate glass window and turned heel - Neidhart returned postmatch in a babyface role.
 Tags: Rick Rude/Marty Jannetty d. Roddy Piper/Jake Roberts
-Piper and Roberts were the veteran heel dirty tricks tag team, they took the strap from the Rockers which resulted in Shawn giving up on Marty - Marty, with a Mania rematch in his pocket was able to get Rude, now a babyface, to team with him - and that led to this switch.

     Legends: Hulk Hogan d. Dusty Rhodes
-Dusty and Hulk were a veteran tag team during the year, but Dusty turned on Hogan, like Race, making the case for the NWA - and Hogan got his second straight legends win.

VII. IC Title: Bret Hart d. Genichiro Tenryu
-18 years ago it was Bret with a year and a half long run as IC Champ, he went over Tenryu here, and Piper turned face in a postmatch angle.

   Tags: Road Warriors d. Demolition
-Which was the real monster no selling tag team was the angle - and Hawk and Animal got the nod

       Legends: Hulk Hogan/Jimmy Snuka d. Sgt. Slaughter/Ultimate Warrior
                     Undertaker d. Jake Roberts
-Two legends matches at VII, which was probably error, Hogan wins his 3rd, with his partner the Superfly - it was Jake claiming he was the real WWF legend and would prove it against the unbeaten phenom - it didn't go his way; 18 years later the Undertaker is still the WWF Legend.

VIII. IC Title Streetfight: Randy Savage d. Roddy Piper
-Fight goes into the crowd, into the parking lot - Piper was in a bloody IC brawl at I and 7 years later has one that matches it.
    Tags: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase/Mike Rotundo) d. Strike Force
-Strike Force had been broken up for years, Martel turning heel on Tito - but they reunited as babyfaces and climbed the ladder for this storybook Mania title shot - but they fell short. 17 years later, Ted, Jr. will be in the corner of Randy Orton in a match yet to be made - and Mike Rotundo, as we will find out in Part 3, is the new head trainer for WWFU - the Underground.

        Legends: Hulk Hogan d. Jake Roberts
-Hogan gets his 4th legends win, matching Andre's total.

 The Undertaker won again in his second Mania - beating Sid Vicious.

IX: IC Title: Shawn Michaels d. Mr. Perfect
-Shawn was the heel IC Champ and kept here

  Tags: Steiner Brothers d. Money Inc
-Rick and Scott were the babyface champs and kept here

     Legends: Bob Backlund d. Hulk Hogan
-Hogan failed in his attempt to pass Andre - Backlund, in his heel, near crazy Mr. Backlund character, got the win.

    Undertaker won his 3rd Mania match, going over Yokozuna

X: IC Title Ladder Match: Razor Ramon d. Shawn Michaels
-We take the IC title match up a couple of levels at Mania - this was the match you remember

   Tags: Lex Luger/Bam Bam Bigelow d. Rougeaus
-Luger and Bam Bam were a babyface team - and they took their only WWF straps here.

   Legends Texas Death Match: Randy Savage d. Crush
-Savage was one of the few guys who didn't leave the company on his back - this was the match you remember.

XI IC: Razor Ramon d. Owen Hart (Piper as guest ref)
-Razor/Owen do their part in the Hart v. Clique Mania, Piper goes heel again

     Tags: Smoking Gunns (Billy/Bart) d. British Empire (Davey Boy/Backlund)
-Backlund turned crazy babyface, he and Davey were a mismatched comedy tag team, they came in as the champs, but Diesel interference, furthering the Clique/Harts storyline, cost them the straps.  14 years later, Davey's son Harry joined Michaels in the go home RAW before Silver.

    Legends: Undertaker d. Lawrence Taylor
-LT claimed that no wrestlers could ever be legends, certainly not in his backyard (Hartford, a bit of a stretch) the Dead Man won his second Legends and went to 4-0 at Mania.

XII  IC: Vader (w/Hennig) d. Undertaker
-Undertaker's first loss at Mania was his challenge to Vader's IC Title - but the man from the Rockies proved too much.  No streak for the Dead Man. 

        Tags: Steve Austin/Dustin Rhodes d. Chris Candido/Savio Vega
-Austin/Dustin were a swaggering NWA tag act, Dustin essentially filling Pillman's slot in a Blonds'ish tag - Candido/Savio were a white meat team unable to take the straps.

        Legends Parking Lot Brawl: Jake Roberts d. Roddy Piper
-Former tag team champs now past their primes - they do that backlot brawl Piper did in real world XII, save for the car chase. 

XIII IC: Cactus Jack d. Vader (guest ref - Ken Shamrock)
-this was a no garbage match, when it came to Foley, I sometimes did that to blow off feuds, I'm not sure why, really. 

       Tags: Hart Foundation 2.0 (Owen/Davey Boy) d. Furnas/LaFon
-just cause I wanted to see it. 

       Legends: Chicago Street Fight: Undertaker d. Ron Simmons d. Ahmed Johnson
-The Taker wins his 3rd Legends Match in the first 3 way dance in Mania history - Simmons and Ahmed were feuding over leadership of the Nation of Domination - and they both wound up getting taken out postmatch by Rock/DLo/Mark Henry who would become the new NOD.

XIV IC: Octagon Match: Ken Shamrock draw Steve Austin (special ref - Mike Tyson)
-Shamrock was positioned entirely as an MMA wrestler, he worked in whatever contraption could stand in for the Octagon without violating intellectual property (or a deal would have been worked out).  It was a hot angle - Shamrock the shoot style specialist, Tyson was Tyson - and Austin was Stone Cold - full on chaos postmatch with everyone taking Stunners.

       Tag: Falls Count Anywhere: New Age Outlaws (Billy/Dogg) d. Cactus Jack/Terry Funk
-Funk and Foley were champs - but broke down during the match and went to war against each other, the Outlaws were part of the Clique at this time (with Hunter and Waltman).

      Legends: Undertaker d. Kane (w/Don Callis)
-Dead Man won his 4th Legends Match to tie Andre and Hogan.

XV IC: Falls Count Anywhere: Al Snow (w/Head) d. Steve Austin
-It was Philly; Al's entire WWF goal was to one day be IC Champ and he achieved it at Mania (with a little help from Foley, who was feuding with Austin)

      Tags: Ladder Match: Hardys d. Nation of Domination (Rock/DLo)
-This was covered in Part One - it's the Hardys first title win and their friends Edge and Christian turn on them postmatch to join the Clique - it's one of the biggest moments in WWF history and has propelled much of the past ten years. 

      Legends: Octagon: Undertaker draw Ken Shamrock
-No 5th win for the Dead Man, PAUL debuted postmatch as a heel managed by Skip (Shane) McMahon.

XVI IC: Eddy Guerrero (w/Malenko and Saturn) d. Chris Jericho
-9 years ago, Jericho walked into Mania a babyface champion and left without gold - will it happen again at Silver? 

       Tags: TLC: Hardys (w/Lita) d. Dudleys (w/Richards) d. Edge/Christian (w/Trish)
-Hardys win their second tag belt here - that Montreal Match at Silver will find one man submitting away his WWF career and one man with a full year to claim a WWF title shot. 

      Legends: Rock d. DLo
-Sometimes I call it a legends match, sometimes not - but now, forever and in perpetuity - we'll consider this a firm historical rewrite - the NOD explodes in a Legends Match. 

XVII: IC: Falls Count Anywhere: Steve Austin d. Steve Regal
-Austin was all babyface now; Regal was all heel - this was the proverbial all over the building brawl. 

         Tags: Dudleys d. Raven/Taz d. Hardys d. Edge/Christian
-Dudleys, now babyfaces, retook the tag straps in an elimination match.

         Legends: Rock d. Undertaker (w/PAUL and Kane)
-Taker again thwarted in his bid for number five, this time giving the Rock his second legends win - Dead Men Walking were heels - and they readied a triple chokeslam for the Rock postmatch, but he was saved by Mick Foley.

XVIII IC: ECW Rules: Rob Van Dam (w/Heyman) d. Steve Austin
-RVD was a heel, all of his matches were ECW rules and he went over in Toronto.

         Tags: TLC: Hart Foundation 4.0 Chris Jericho/Lance Storm (w/Stacy...mmmmm) d. Hardys d. Dudleys (Bubba and Spike).
-Jericho won a strap 7 years ago, and he's in the main at Silver

         Legends: Ric Flair (w/Leviathan) d. Hulk Hogan d. Undertaker (w/DMW)
-Hogan and the Taker go for their 5th win against each other - but it's Flair, with young Batista in his corner, who gets the win - Hogan eats a triple chokeslam postmatch. 

XIX IC: Rey Mysterio d. Chavo Guerrero (w/Horsemen)
-Rey is challenging for the IC, putting his mask on the line, at Silver - 6 years ago, he was the champ, defending against Chavo who was a Horseman (w/ Eddy, Flair, Leviathan).  Eddy beat Benoit, incidentally, earlier in the evening.  Rey's first Mania goes into the win column.

      Tags: Shawn Michaels/Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Diesel) d. Team Lesnar (Benjamin and Haas)
-The Clique were the babyface challengers - this was Shawn's 3rd tag win and Hunter's first - Hunter is challenging again for the tags 6 years later with the Miz as his partner, while Shawn is challenging for the big strap.  Shelton is now a babyface and will also be working Mania, in a match to be announced in Part 3 (but you could probably guess, based on every other match he's wrestled all year).

      Legends: Dead Men Walking d. Hulk Hogan
                    Rock d. Steve Austin
2 legends matches at 19 - the first was the Taker and Hogan, once again, each trying for that 5th legends win - all 3 members of DMW wrestled here - Hogan's tag partner was scheduled to be Piper - but he turned heel and refused to wrestle with him - so Hogan got squashed and the Taker won #5.  In the second legends match, it was the Rock getting his 3rd legends win.

XX IC: 2 out of 3 Belt Ladder Match: Eddy Guerrero d. Chavo Guerrero
-It all began again 5 years ago at MSG, Eddy was a babyface, Chavo a Horseman heel - this ladder match explicitly referenced (and looked to top) Shawn/Razor from a decade earlier.  The IC was part of the Worldwide Titles then, meaning there were 3 belts up for grabs - hence the 2 of 3 belt stip, for maximum madness. 

     Tags: Horsemen (Flair/Leviathan) d. Haas/Benjamin
-Benjamin was half of the babyface tag champs 5 years ago - but they lost the straps to Flair and Big Dave.

    Legends: Weapons Match: Rock/Mick Foley d. Brock Lesnar/Bill Goldberg (special ref - Steve Austin)
-Rock's 4th legends win ties him with Hogan and Andre, it ends the WWF runs for the heels on the losing side here. 

The Taker didn't work XX, but Rey did, winning a midcard 3 way over Tajiri and Ultimo Dragon.

XXI IC: Edge d. Steve Regal
-Edge was a babyface member of the Clique - and he kept his strap here; will he lose his career at Silver?

       Tags: Orton/Cena d. Haas/Benjamin d. Spreekillers (Helms/Rhyno)
-4 years later, Orton, Cena, and Benjamin are each in singles matches at Silver (two of them yet to be announced) and Shane Helms, who has just started to appear via satellite on TV, after a couple of years shut down with injury, may never walk again. 

       Legends: Rey Mysterio d. Undertaker d. PAUL
-Rey and the Taker, whose careers we are recapping here, met 4 years ago - it was Rey who got the Legends win - which saw Hulk Hogan turn heel postmatch for the first time in his career - coming from the back to spit on the Dead Man. 

That wasn't Rey's only match - in a Mania first, he wrestled twice - also defeating Paul London.  Rey moving to 4-0 in his Mania career.

XXII IC: Fit Finlay (w/Malenko) d. Steve Regal
               Hunter Hearst Helmsley-McMahon d. Fit Finlay
-Fit came in with the strap - went over his frenemy Regal in a brutal match - but then had to immediately put it up in an unnanounced match against HHH-M using his newly found stroke as a part owner of the company.

        Tags: DMW (Kane/Paul w/Undertaker) d. Bradshaw/Booker (w/Conway) d. LWO (Crazy/Psychosys w/ Carlito)
-3 years ago Kane and Paul wrestled what was then the LWO for the tag belts in a 3 way and will be doing it again at Silver - Bradshaw and Undertaker were each involved in that match - and will meet in the Legends at Silver. 

       Hardcore Legends Match: Cactus Jack (w/Heyman) d. RVD
-Foley, now a heel, got his second legends win with the full ECW contingent behind him - Sabu debuted postmatch, bringing with him the debut of the fluorescent tube - 3 years later the ropes will be filled with them at Silver. 

Rey went to 5-0 at Mania, the last one he's worked until Silver - when he kept the WWF Title in the Main Event over Benoit.

XXIII IC: Randy Orton d. Shane Helms d. Jeff Hardy
-Jeff's had many chances to win a singles belt - all failed - this was Helms's last match, he has not appeared in a WWF ring since. 

         Tags Weapons Match: LWO (Carlito and Chavo w/Crazy) d. Sandman/Tommy Dreamer
-Carlito won the straps 2 years ago and is challenging for them again - glass tubes all over the place in this match. 

        Legends: Undertaker d. Shawn Michaels (special ref - Austin)
It's the match they'd do in real world Mania at 25 - we did it at 23, Shawn, a babyface since his return from back surgery, turns heel during the match but still can't overcome the Taker, winning his 6th legends match.

XXIV IC: MVP d. Brian Kendrick d. Jamie Noble
-Porter walked into Mania with the IC - and walked out with the IC - he defends that title a year later once again, this time against Mysterio in the Mask v Title match.

          Tags: WMD (Cena/Leviathan) d. Clique (HBK/HHH-M) (special ref - Flair)
-Cena and Batista each were repeat tag winners a year ago, going over Hunter and Shawn when Flair hit Michaels low. 

         Legends: Undertaker d. Sean Morley
-The Dead Man won his 7th Legends title a year ago.

That's 24 years - we have 6 matches set up:

Jericho v. Michaels
Edge v. Christian v. Matt v. Jeff
MVP v. Rey
DMW v. LWO v. Hunter/Miz
Undertaker v. Bradshaw
Cena v. Kingston

That's 6 matches - 3 singles left to set up in Part 3 on the Road to WM Silver...

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