Column O’ Nonsense: The Dream Year

Douglas Nunnally

Looking over the updated card for the next WWE joint PPV, my eyes fell onto a challenge that was recently made that will most likely lead to a match: Hulk Hogan versus Shawn Michaels. Nothing out of the ordinary there, so I went about my merry little way. However, it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend of mine and he made mention of the dream match that was about to occur that I realized what was happening. That phrase got to me. Dream match. It didn’t get to me because of the fact that it was my one and only dream match or that I was repulsed by the idea of the two in the ring. It was just the thought of seeing another dream turned to reality in wrestling this year.

Here we are, seven months into the year that will go down as two thousand and five, and there seems to be a current theme rising in the air; a theme that will most likely make 2005 stand out from any year of the new millennium thus far. A theme that every fan hoped for and every fan prayed for, and bluntly, every fan dreamt for. Yes, this year is none other than the “dream year” of wrestling.

Now, it is no doubt that the overall opinion is that the product of wrestling spanning the world is worse than it was a few years ago and that we have had some “hiccups” this year, so many of you reading this might be scratching your heads as to why this year is “the dream year.” I’m not here to tell whether it is better or worse or to tell you that the hiccups were good or bad; you can form your own opinion on those issues. I’m here to make you realize just what has transpired this year, because like me, you have probably overlooked it all. Forget about the quality for a second and take in account all that has happened this year. Take it all in for a second people.

For years, people have prayed to the wrestling god up there (no, not JBL) to finally make it so WWE and Hulk Hogan have a good working relationship so Hogan can finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame. For years, people have begged for this. This year, they got it. Sure, it was bound to happen sooner or later, but with Hogan and WWE on the outs countless times, you can’t tell me that doubt never entered your mind that it would happen sooner rather than later. This year, the dream came true and Hogan was inducted. Whether you like WWE or Hulk Hogan, you have to admit that Hogan being in the Hall of Fame is a must. It’s a dream that needed to happen, and by the sounds of the crowds that night and at Wrestlemania, it was a dream well received. It wasn’t the first dream this year to be realized, and it wouldn’t be the last.

The spirit of Hulkamania obviously still lives in every fan, but so does that of an old promotion. ECW may have died in 2001, but the spirit still lives on. It lives on in every wrestling fan every time a chair is shot down onto the back of an unsuspecting wrestler. It lives on every time a curse word is uttered on national television. It has lived since 2001 and it will continue to live forever. Since the failed Invasion of 2001, people have been begging for an ECW return. Countless rumors have been floating around since the brand extension that a new, third ECW brand will pop up. That never happened; however, thanks to the ECW spirit, the return of the beloved promotion did. Twice. In June, we saw ECW return twice in one weekend in two completely different cards and atmospheres. ECW fans, new and old, finally got to see their dream of ECW totally demolishing the WWE competition as well as finally getting to see that Terry Funk, Sabu, and Shane Douglas still have it after all these years. This dream was made reality for the fans, and the fans soaked it up with the spirit willing.

Since the brand extension first took place, fans have been devastated not only by the lack of ECW brand, but also of the misuse of Chris Jericho. Often times, he fills in as the last minute main event slot in Elimination Chambers or six man tags, but more often than not, he’s the unwilling mid-carder. In fact, he has been in the mid-card so long, people wondered if he even cared anymore. Last month, Chris Jericho’s push began and here we have him in his first real WWE Championship feud since 2002. Three years the dream has been bouncing through the minds of wrestling fans, and now it is here, like countless others.

The underdog in WWE finally got his push, and the same goes for the underdogs in TNA and ROH. Since Raven and CM Punk both debuted in TNA and ROH respectively, fans cringe at the thought of anyone holding the top title but them. For around two years, the two have been putting over countless stars in their promotions as management is “high” on them, while management looks over the fact that the crowd pays to see these two. Last month, management came to their senses in TNA and ROH. Last month, both finally won the titles. Maybe it wasn’t under the circumstances many wanted, but nevertheless, the dream of Raven and CM Punk both being on top in their company finally came true.

Titles, inductions, pushes, and reunion dreams are all good, but what about the matches? Ever since Kurt Angle stepped into a wrestling ring, people have been looking for that one match that will define his career. Kurt Angle has been compared to Shawn Michaels in every aspect. He steals the show with such moments as his Moonsault off the cage, his countless German Suplexes to Shane McMahon, and so many more memories. He matches up with the comical nature of Shawn Michaels in DX by dressing up in a child’s cowboy hat in the Invasion. It was only natural that in the year of the dreams, we get to see arguably two of the best ever compete in the ring. The dream was realized here, and so much more. Angle skeptics loved it; Michaels skeptics praised it; and fans of both? They cried. Maybe not out loud, but deep inside, their heart wept as they had seen a once in a lifetime event. They saw their dream exceed anything they ever thought it could be.

Perhaps the biggest dream made reality this year is not an obvious one, but a one everyone has begged for. Triple H has held a monopoly on Raw since 2002. Like him or not, you can’t deny this. He is the focus of WWE TV every Monday night. To the biggest extreme, Triple H has been the reason most cite for leaving the channel that holds WWE programming. Triple H has been the center of all the criticism of the past three years, and this year, what happens? We see Triple H defeated in the middle of the ring, not once, not twice, but thrice! In a row, no less. Even in Hell in a Cell, which has been his match since the Game first stepped into it in 2000. Now, Triple H is taking time off TV to re-vitalize his character. Finally, someone takes him down and doesn’t need outside help. Finally, he is pinned one-two-three in a completely fair way. Finally, the program isn’t about Triple H. Finally, the fans’ dream has come true.

It is not like this dream year is over people; it is still happening every week. Just a few days ago, we saw the return of Matt Hardy to the delight of everyone. Though most were upset at being worked over by WWE and Hardy, Matt Hardy is back and the WWE finally fooled us. Like it or not, you are happy for that. Like it or not, it was a dream that this would happen. Kayfabe is finally back in a new way, and admit it or not, you enjoy it. Otherwise, why watch wrestling? As I mentioned in the start, Shawn Michaels is going toe to toe with Hulk Hogan, another dream match. Even if you dislike the two, the significance of this match is crucial, especially for the heel turn that Shawn Michaels has finally gone through. These are dreams coming true people.

Look at all those events that were once dreams, people, and look what else we have seen this year. Hurricane & Daniels finally having gold, Jarrett & Triple H finally not. WWE moving back to USA, TNA probably getting on Spike.

Dream after dream is being realized in 2005. There has not been a PPV that has happened yet that hasn’t had one dream, big or small, realized. Never before in this decade have we seen so many dreams occur. Hell, I will go as far as to say no year ever has had this many happen. Sure, some of these dreams listed may not be ones you harbored, but you know that many other fans did. Just realize how many were delivered on TV, PPV, or in a bingo hall this year. Now, yes, wrestling does have its problems this year; I am not going to act like it doesn’t. WWE just royally pissed off half of its fans with its releases; TNA hasn’t been on TV in forever and it may be twice as long before they get back on; and ROH is set to lose its hottest commodity. Wrestling is having problems this year, same as always. But weigh the things occurring this year fairly.

Would you rather have Angle-Michaels or Billy Kidman and Shannon Moore still on WWE TV? Would you rather have Impact on FSN, a channel most don’t even get, or Raven champion? And would you rather have CM Punk just sign with WWE and leave or go out on a high note?

Answer those questions and you will see what this year has done so far. Answer those questions and you’ll see why this year is the “dream year.”

Now just imagine what is in store for us next.

We have around five months left people. For all we know, Ric Flair and Triple H could go at it at Survivor Series. Undertaker will finally put over Kane. TNA will finally wise up with their bookings. Ring of Honor could get a TV deal and demolish WWE. Or finally, we could actually see ECW come back as a brand.

Who knows? Not me. Not you. Not anyone. I had no idea in June that I would see so many misused wrestlers become champion. I had no idea that in January, WWE would start to put together a match for the ages. I had no idea, and I still have no idea. You don’t either. This dream year isn’t over, not by a long shot. I, for one, am going to be hooked to my DVD player, my TV, and my computer looking to see what unfolds next. Eventually, the year will end, but the dreams that occur? They will last forever in our hearts knowing they happened.

Dreams come true, people. 2005 is proof.

AIM – Douglas Nunnally

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