The Wrestling Genius: Old vs New Dream Matches
Well I decided to forego my normal article this week and write my “Old vs. New” column, and when I mentioned last week that I wanted some ideas, I had no idea I would get as much input as I did. Thanks to everyone who emailed and there were many great matchups sent to me. However, there really was not a consensus match, of all the emails I got only a two had the same match. Therefore, I had to come up with an idea to incorporate all of your guys’ choices, take the names sent to me, and decide what the match ups would be. In addition, I decided that I would mix things up and tell you what match it would be, and why I picked that match up. I played around with the idea of a tournament but I just did not think that would be as entertaining as what I came up with in this column. In addition, I had to stretch the “Old vs. New” dynamic a bit to incorporate matches I wish I had seen by guys who never crossed paths in their primes. I am also putting down the year I feel they were at their best, not just in ring talent but on the mic as well. So think of Shawn Michael’s early solo career, sure he was more athletic than late 90’s Shawn was but he was more dynamic performer in the late 90’s so I would consider the late 90’s his prime. Also just, imagine every single one of these matches being called by King and JR because there was never a better duo. Ok without further ado, let us get this party started.
The Greatest Promos Dream Match: Cactus Jack (1995) vs. Jake the Snake Roberts (1992): Falls Count Anywhere Match
I know I am not the only one who thinks this would be the most intense rivalry of the 90’s. When I ran this idea by my friend Tom, he just about lost his mind with excitement. 1995 Cactus Jack was an emotional heel and was putting out some of the best emotional promos anyone had ever seen. This was around the same time he put out the Cane Dewey promo and his Uncle Willie promo. I also feel that he was physically at or near his peak as an in ring performer. Jake the Snake Roberts was the best promo guy in 1992 and if you don’t believe me check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJeOy2DnGo
Jake the Snake was an amazing in ring performer as well and to those young fans who don’t know he was arguably the greatest in ring performer to never win a world title. I think this dream match would have been better as a dream rivalry because these two would not have ended after just one epic match. Their promo skills would have made this the best rivalry of the early 90’s. Putting these two together in a hardcore falls count anywhere match would have been as entertaining as it was intense. I think I would have been more excited for the promos than the match itself would, but it is hard to say considering both were willing get very violent and put together they may have put on the greatest hardcore match ever seen.
Winner: Cactus Jack with a flying elbow off the apron onto the concrete.
The Arrested Development Underappreciated by Fans but Loved by Critics Dream Match:
Mr. Perfect (1990) vs. Shelton Benjamin (2007) Ladder Match:
If you do not know what Arrested Development is, and you enjoy laughing your ass off check it out on Hulu. They have all three seasons there and you will not be disappointed.
Mr. Perfect was a person that I was surprised so many of you had in your dream matches. I mean I am a huge Mr. Prefect fan but I did not know there were so many people who held him in such high regard. Mr. Perfect was just as his named implied perfect in the ring. He had very good mic skills, could work circles around people, and often did. Mr. Perfect’s suplexes were a thing of beauty and very few can say they ever delivered a better perfect plex (fisherman suplex).
Shelton Benjamin is no longer on an active roster of a major company but he is still one of the most awe-inspiring performers in the game today. He has the amateur wrestling background to back up his aerial assault, and pure athleticism. Shelton never caught on with fans or the WWE management but I still think he was one of the top big show performers of the last decade, and if you do not believe me watch any of the Money In The Bank matches with him.
This would have been a clash of contrasting styles but in a good way. Mr. Perfect would have had a pure power edge over Shelton but Shelton would have been able to counter that with his unique use of the ladder. Shelton in a ladder match would have been very difficult for Mr. Perfect to overcome, but if there is one thing, you need to know it is that you never count out Mr. Perfect’s ability to outsmart his opponent. He was great at using any mistake his opponent made to his advantage.
Winner: Mr. Perfect, by way of Shelton missing on a high-risk move and ascending the ladder to victory.
The Jack-Of-All-Trades Dream Match: John Morrison (2011) vs. Randy Macho Man Savage (1987): 2 out of 3 falls match
John Morrison has shown us that he can be in any type of match and deliver a heck of a show. If you need him to brawl with a giant like Sheamus he will do it, if you need him to be a high flyer he will do it. John Morrison is capable of anything in the ring. He truly is coming into his own as a top performer in not just the WWE but also all of wrestling today. His match against The Miz on Raw and his ladder match against Sheamus were two of the best matches he has ever had and prove that he is only getting better and better. They also proved that he could take an insane amount of punishment and continue to get up and wrestle.
The 1987 version of Randy Savage was his most athletic and complete version. He had not ballooned into a monster with huge arms yet. He could still fly and put on incredible matches. This was the year he and Ricky Steamboat stole Wrestlemania 3, and if you have not had the privilege of seeing that match yet then stop reading this and go buy Wrestlemania 3. I will wait… okay good. See it is Macho Man at his best, and he was capable of anything in the ring. The older version of Savage just did not have that raw athleticism and while they may have brought a bowl and fork to the table, those versions did not bring a spoon, a glass or a plate like the 1987 version did.
This matchup would have been great to see because they are two people who could change the match from a slugfest to a high risk free for all in a heartbeat. That is also, why I made it a two out of three falls match. These two people could wrestle for hours and hours and it would never get dull. Not to mention both have their own unique look and style so the in ring attire and interviews certainly would look entertaining. Although Macho Man could talk circles around Morrison this matchup would still be entertaining in the ring.
Winner: 1st fall goes to John Morrison after Macho missed his big elbow and was prone for the Starship Pain. Second fall goes to Macho Man via big elbow. Third fall and the match goes to…Macho Man via Miss Elizabeth’s interference.
The “This is awesome” Dream Match: AJ Styles (2010) vs. Daniel Bryan (2010) vs.. Ricky Steamboat (1987): Triple Threat Elimination Match
AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan are two of the best in ring performers of today. Both are capable of putting on a five star match every single match. However, both have unique styles that complement each other beautifully. Styles’ in ring pure athleticism is the best in the game today and his ability is second to none. He can hit almost any move you ask of him and against these two, he would be able to use his full repertoire. Daniel Bryan is not quite as athletic but he makes up for it with his kicks and amazing submissions. His Labell Lock is a game changer and he could lock it in at any time.
Ricky Steamboat is a combination of both AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. He is capable of any move at any time and that includes submissions. Steamboat is arguably the most underrated wrestler of all time and that is saying something because he is a hall of famer. I just feel he does not get the credit he deserves for the quality of matches he puts on. His battles with Flair and Randy Savage are some of the greatest matches of all time; all of them not just a select few but all of them could be considered the greatest of all time.
These three guys would put on a show that would leave the crowd chanting “This is Awesome” just about every two minutes. They would take turns flying and hitting big moves not just in the ring but to the outside of the ring as well. This match could also go on for a good forty minutes and the crowd would be on the edge of their seats the whole time.
The Winner: First person eliminated Daniel Bryan via Styles Clash while attempting to lock in the Labell Lock. Winner of the match is AJ Styles via roller over of Steamboat’s patented Flying Cross body. (Yes, I am aware Rick Flair beat Steamboat several times this way but I always found it to leave the crowd in a state of shock and then realization that was a great reversal.)
The Tag Team Dream Match: The Rockers (1990) vs. Motor City Machine Guns (2010) vs. Road Warriors (1990) vs. Beer Money (2010): TLC Match
Two similar teams in MCMG and The Rockers and it go for Road Warriors and Beer Money. Four teams that would lend themselves to one amazing match. The highflying amazement of the Rockers and MCMG would have to face the pure power and physicality of Beer Money and Warriors. Add in the fact that it’s a TLC match and all hell breaks loose. I could see the Rockers and MCMG working together at the start of the match and they would use the ladders very early to their advantage. The other two teams would eventually ground the match after MCMG went for the belts while the Rockers were busy ending their partnership. The Warriors and Beer Money would use the tables and chairs to decimate not just the other two teams but each other. In what would surely be a bloody match and would undoubtedly surpass all other tag team TLC matches the team with the most cohesion would win.
The Winner: Beer Money via the Road Warriors hitting the Doomsday Device on MCMG’s Alex Shelly onto Chris Sabin. While setting up The Rockers for the same fate Storm would spit beer into Hawk’s eyes while Robert hit Animal with a steel chair. Beer Money climbs the ladder and wins a bloody high flying match that leaves no one disappointed (except me as a kid I was the biggest Road Warriors fan; I would have literally cried at seeing Beer Money climb the ladder and win, but this isn’t about who I want to win but who I think would win)
The Dream Match To End All Dream Matches: Shawn Michaels (1997 or 2009) vs. Sting (1991 or 1997): Street Fight
There it is the resounding winner. This was not only my pick but a few other people emailed me with the same idea. My good friend Tom agreed that this was the dream match to end all dream matches when I ran the idea by him. Now I am going under the same pretense that technically Sting like Mick Foley is a signed under contract wrestler therefore he is still part of the ‘new’ generation. When in reality I am grasping at straws on this one in terms of old vs. new. In all actuality, I just wanted to tell you guys what my dream match would be.
Shawn Michaels is arguably the greatest in ring performer of all time. No one raised their game for big matches quite like Shawn. I would go with 1997 Shawn because he was at his most dynamic, controversial, and his back had not hobbled him to the point he could not go on. However, I also picked 2009 Shawn because he showed us in the match with The Undertaker that his in ring psychology could still cultivate a tremendous match even if his physical skills had diminished slightly. In addition, he was still physically gifted enough to carry Flair through his best match in over a decade at Wrestlemania the year before. Shawn understands the big match on a completely different level of everyone else except maybe Sting.
Sting, like Shawn, is also arguably the greatest the business has ever seen. Sting, like Shawn, understands in ring psychology and how to make a match bigger and more impressive than others. His battles with Ric Flair were tremendous and some would say it was the greatest rivalry of all time. I picked 1991 Sting because he was at his most physically gifted, and very few people could match his in athleticism. Sting was amazing on the mic and was one of the most dynamic characters in the business. However, the 1997 Sting was not only gifted physically, but also had the psychology down perfect. Not just his in ring psychology but also his character as the dark brooding Sting was spot on. 1997 Sting had a lot left in the tank, and coupled that with a veteran’s moxy to make the perfect mix of athleticism and big match instinct.
I think I will take 1997 Sting vs. 2009 Shawn Michaels because both veterans just got ‘it’ more than their younger counterparts did. These two match up perfectly for a compelling match. Put this match at Wrestlemania and the two biggest big match guys in history would shine through. I put it as a street fight so they could take the fight to the outside without worrying about count outs, also so Shawn could do a moonsault through a table.
Winner: Shawn Michaels with a third and final Super Kick. I see this match having several false finishes and ending with Shawn moving out of the way of a Stinger Splash and connecting with a third and final Super Kick.
Well that is all I have for this column. While I know I left out many dream matches, and people you guys would have loved to have seen lock up. It just is not possible to cover all of them but I hope I hit on a few you had not thought of but like, or a few you did think of and were happy they were included. People I really thought hard about but just couldn’t find a compelling match for, Ric Flair, Undertaker, HHH, Harley Race, and many others I can’t think of right now.
Thanks again to everyone for reading the article and if you wish to email me you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely The Wrestling Genius,