Simplicity is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded. That about sums up how wrestling fans view wrestling as a kid. That how the WWE product was when most of us were growing up. You had individuals on WWE television such as Hercules Hernandez, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper and others giving it there all every night. The storylines were simple and complex at the same time. For instance lets look at the Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon build up to WrestleMania X. Shawn Michaels did not defend his title within 30 days which is against WWE policy. However, that didn’t matter to Shawn and he ignored the orders of WWF President Jack Tunney. Therefore, Tunney stripped Michaels of the title and suspended him for 30 days. He ruled that a 30 man over the top rope battle royal would take place on RAW to determine the new IC champion, the final two superstars in the ring would face off in a match the following week and the winner would be crowned champion. The results were that Razor Ramon and Rick Martel were the final two and Razor won the singles match the next week on Raw with the Razors edge. Fast forward to HBK”S return.
When Shawn returned he claimed that he was the true IC champ. He even had a replica of the title that he would carry around. However Razor Ramon and WWE officials declared that Ramon’s title was the one and true IC championship. This didn’t stop Shawn as he continued to claim his IC title was the true Title. Shawn even attacked Razor in his match with I.R.S at the Royal Rumble. So WWF officials finally made the ladder match for WrestleMania in which both titles would be hanged above the ring. The winner would need to get both titles and would then be declared the one and only IC champ. The winner was Razor.
The point of this is that here is one of the most complex storylines in wrestling history. However the simplicity behind it is so compelling. Here were two guys who just wanted to tear each other apart. Although the current WWE product is on the rise, it lacks true storylines that are stretched out over a long period of time. The Batista vs. Triple H rivalry may be the only storyline that even resembles a real Old School storyline. One on One, man against man, like it should be. I don’t see Ric Flair playing a big part in the match for several reasons. I don’t think WWE is going to want to ruin this main event with any outside interference. Some of the best Mania main events have absolutely no interference. Bret Hart vs. HBK, Hogan vs. Warrior, and Hogan vs. Andre all had absolutely no interference and are some of the best matches in wrestling history.
Simplicity in Pro Wrestling died when ECW went up in flames. Truth be told, it may be the last bit of real wrestling we will ever see. The build up to many of their matches were some of the best booked matches in history. For example, the first feud between RVD and Sabu was a rivalry that helped put ECW on the map. In a previous column I wrote called the Extreme revolution I spoke about this feud in detail. “The Sabu vs. RVD feud is a great example of that. Sabu was the established ECW star and ROB was a young cocky rookie. So they had a match and Sabu won. Sabu asked for a hand shake after the match and it was not returned. So they have a hand shake match where RVD comes out on top. Sabu extends his hand and RVD still refuses to shake his hand. After that they have another great war where both men almost kill each other and are both carried out on stretchers. The result becomes the great and classic stretcher match between the two.” It was a classic build up and drew the fans to their product.
Another great ECW storyline was the feud between Raven and Tommy Dreamer. This storyline can be compared to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Hulk Hogan. In the since that it took Tommy Dreamer tons of tries to finally beat Raven. However, it took Hogan 20 years to beat Piper and he finally did it as Mr. America at Judgment Day 2003. Dreamers feud with Raven had many twist and turns. Involving Beulah Mcgillicutty, Stevie Richards, Shane Douglas and more. Tommy finally beat Raven just before he decided to head over to WCW. Maybe the best ECW storyline ever.
The nWo storyline was another example of simplicity at work. It wasn’t to hard to understand. Here was a gang of thugs who were trying to take over the company. So in defense, WCW built up some a great WCW team with the likes of Sting and Lex Lugar. Although the storyline would later be diluted with the WolfPac and such. However the original idea was genius and a great example of the beauty of simplicity.
Nowadays you don’t see any of that. You have Lita sleeping with Kane and winds up being impregnated by him. However she plays it off as being Matt Hardys baby. Kane winds up announcing to the whole world that the baby is his and gets Matt angry. The storyline continued with Kane being announced the father by a doctor, a wedding between Kane and Lita, and Lita losing her baby to the “Baby Killer” Gene Snitsky.
For those of you who weren’t watching wrestling during that time, let me inform you that it was indeed a wrestling storyline and not a recap of the Young and the Restless. The wrestling storyline is currently on the rise with the Batista Vs. Triple H build up but we still have a way to go. I would like to see this go beyond WrestleMania and could develop into a great feud such as Rock vs. Austin, or HBK vs. Bret Hart. Only time will tell though.
Well that’s all for this week. The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day will return next week along with the Talking Points memo. Until next time take care and thanks for reading Old School’s Take.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?