Ring Rust Radio recently continued its run through the history of professional wrestling by conducting the Ruthless Aggression Era fantasy draft. The RRR panel and a special guest were allowed to select any wrestler who competed in a major company from 2002 through 2005.
The draft lasted 30 rounds and was serpentine in nature. Our task was to craft the best fantasy cards we possibly could using the wrestlers that we drafted.
Top stars such as Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, John Cena and so many more were selected, but remember that you'll be grading based on how these Superstars performed during the Ruthless Aggression Era.
Your job is to vote on who did the best job creating a card among all four panelists. While every card looks fantastic on paper, there can only be one winner. Feel free to vote and tune in to Ring Rust Radio on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET to find out who reigned supreme.
|ROH Anniversary Show Card|
|ROH World Championship Match||The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels|
|ROH World Championship No. 1 Contender's Street Fight||Chris Jericho vs. Triple H|
|ROH Tag Team Championship TLC Match||Edge & Christian w/ Lita vs. Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von) vs. Hardy Boyz (Jeff & Matt) vs. World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Paul London & Brian Kendrick|
|ROH Pure Championship Submission Elimination Match||Jamie Noble w/ Nidia vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino vs. Tajiri|
|ROH Television Championship Falls Count Anywhere Match||Kane vs. Rhyno|
|Val Venis & The Godfather vs. Spike Dudley & The Sandman|
|Jeff Jarrett vs. Road Warrior Animal|
|Hurricane vs. Amazing Red|
|Pre-Show Match||Colt Cabana vs. Jay Lethal|
*Note: Winners in italics
Pre-Show: Colt Cabana vs. Jay Lethal
Two highly skilled and charismatic wrestlers battling out to make a name for themselves on the biggest show of the year creates memorable moments more often than not. With nothing to lose, both Cabana and Lethal would go all-out to entertain the fans in the pre-show match. Cabana's Colt .45 would prove to lethal for Jay Lethal.
Hurricane vs. Amazing Red
Hurricane and Amazing Red truly resemble super heroes with their attires and incredible high-flying skills and out-of-the-box signature maneuvers. This battle of green vs. red resembles that of the Green and Red Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In other words, this is simply an instant classic between two of the quickest daredevils in the sport. Amazing Red would attempt his Code Red finisher from the top rope, but Hurricane would halt Red's forward progress and counter with the Vertebreaker to finish a memorable opener.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Road Warrior Animal
Although a tag team specialist, Animal would overpower Jarrett throughout the match. Toward the end, however, Jarrett would have one last trick in his book. He would expose the metal ring on the turnbuckle, which would force the referee to immediately put the padded covering back on. During this time, Jarrett smashes his guitar over Animal's head and clears the debris before the referee turns around. What follows is the 1-2-3 in favor of the sneaky Jarrett.
Val Venis & The Godfather vs. Spike Dudley & The Sandman
This tag team match is nothing more than a battle of pride. Though all four men are known for some rather extreme tendencies for various reasons, each team finds common ground within their respective partnership to form a cohesive unit. As The Godfather and The Sandman battle on the outside, Dudley hits Venis with the Dudley Dog for the win to of course ignite a classic "ECW" chant from the crowd.
ROH Television Championship Falls Count Anywhere Match: Kane vs. Rhyno
A true knock-em-out, drag-em-out bout, Kane and Rhyno match up perfectly because of their immense strength. These two ruthless performers would bring the hard-hitting affair for fans craving to see a test-of-strength battle. Kane had been terrorizing Rhyno for weeks and even stalking him backstage prior to sneak attacks. Finally, Rhyno, who some consider a mentally unstable beast in his own right, would exact revenge for his insane foe's mind games. A gore through the entrance set would ground Kane long enough to secure the pin fall.
ROH Pure Championship Fatal Four-way Submission Elimination Match: Jamie Noble with Nidia vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino vs. Tajiri
A traditional, fatal four-way elimination match wouldn't be enough for these four submission specialists, especially when you take into account that leading up to the match, the focus from each man has been on forcing the rest to tap out to their signature maneuvers. When taking into account the athleticism in this match, the ways each man could force their opponent to tap, even while attempting to submit another opponent, the possibilities here are endless.
After Corino forces Tajiri to tap out, Lynn would ultimately drive Corino to near madness before he calls it quits. Noble and Lynn would be a tight matchup the rest of the way given their similar build, athleticism and technical prowess. Despite Lynn's experience, Noble used a quick distraction from Nidia to his advantage to catch Lynn in the Trailer Hitch to seal the victory.
ROH Tag Team Championship TLC Match: Edge & Christian with Lita vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. World's Greatest Tag Team vs. Paul London & Brian Kendrick
For the first time ever, five teams would participate in a TLC match to determine who is truly the most unforgiving and breathtaking tag team in the world. The addition of highly skilled and acrobatic wrestlers such as Benjamin, London and Kendrick to the originators of the match in the Hardyz, Dudleyz and Edge and Christian is a fan's dream because of the amount of different and creative spots they could perform.
Some may think five teams would be too many for a match of this magnitude, but it would actually allow the performers to do more in the match because they could shift the focus and better manage the flow of the match.
In the end, the ever-cunning and conniving Edge and Christian would receive some help from Lita's interference to continue their dominance in this stipulation.
ROH Championship No. 1 Contender's Street Fight: Chris Jericho vs. Triple H
Jericho and Triple H's rivalry in 2002 often draws criticism from fans, but there is no denying the chemistry both men had with each other in and out of the ring dating back to 2000. They have put on phenomenal matches in the past, none better than their Last Man Standing match. Back in a hardcore environment, Jericho would prove he is just as cerebral and sadistic as "The Game."
After being in Triple H's shadow for some time, Jericho would force Triple H to tap out to the Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring while lying in a pool of his own blood. In a true battle of redemption, Jericho would stand tall in the spotlight. Following the match, Jericho, now the No. 1 contender for the ROH Champions, treats the fans to a classic scathing, and of course, jovial, promo belittling Triple H and the main-eventers of the evening.
ROH Championship Match: The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels
Ring of Honor boasts one of the top dream matches to never come to fruition in professional wrestling history. As far as overall talent is concerned, very few compete with The Rock and Shawn Michaels. Their abilities to connect with audiences inside and outside the ring, whether heel or face, allows them to transcend the industry and tug at the heart strings of every fan.
This rivalry is simply to prove who is the best wrestler in the world. This main event is less about who is the heel and who is the face and forces fans to make their own decision on who they will support. Many have said that nobody outperforms Michaels on the biggest stages, but others have said that there is no man more captivating than The Rock.
During this time period, The Rock was still in top form, but many could say that this was Michaels' greatest stretch. Two of the cockiest performers in history, each man would attempt to one-up the other. After a string of reversals and even stealing each other's finishers, Michaels would hop to his feet while The Rock went for the People's Elbow to catch Rocky with the Sweet Chin Music to win the ROH Championship.
|Raw WrestleMania Card|
|Raw World Championship Last Man Standing Match||Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin|
|Eddie Guerrero vs. "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson|
|No Holds Barred Match||Randy Orton vs. Vince McMahon|
|Raw Tag Team Championship Match||The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg)|
|Raw Cruiserweight Championship Ladder Match||Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Low Ki|
|Goldust vs. Raven w/ Stevie Richards|
|Raw Intercontinental Championship Match||Lance Storm (c) vs. Mr. Perfect|
|MNM (Johnny Nitro & Joey Mercury) w/ Melina vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark)|
|William Regal vs. Chris Hero|
|No. 1 Contender's Cruiserweight Open||Low Ki vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Billy Kidman w/ Torrie Wilson vs. Sabu vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Petey Williams vs. Eric Young|
*Note: Winners in italics
No. 1 Contender’s Cruiserweight Open: Low Ki vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Billy Kidman with Torrie Wilson vs. Sabu vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Petey Williams vs. Eric Young
Armed with the deepest and most talented roster of all, Raw’s WrestleMania card kicks off with a match that will have a huge impact later in the night. Eight of the Ruthless Aggression Era’s most exciting high flyers take part in a Cruiserweight Open to determine the No. 1 contender for Rey Mysterio’s Cruiserweight Championship.
This bout is particularly intriguing due to the fact that a number of the competitors are aligned with each other. Team Canada members Petey Williams and Eric Young pair up, while the electric duo of Sabu and Sonjay Dutt work together as well. In the end, the chaos spills to the outside, which allows Low Ki to hit his Warrior’s Way stomp from the top rope on Chavo Guerrero to pick up the win.
William Regal vs. Chris Hero
This next matchup is a classic case of teacher meets student. Chris Hero recently burst onto the Raw scene, and while he has had a great deal of success, William Regal is interested in knocking him down a peg. Regal trained Hero, but Hero enters WrestleMania believing that he has surpassed his mentor’s skill level.
Hero proves that he has come a long way since being under the tutelage of Regal, as he ties the Englishman in knots for much of the bout. One area in which Regal has Hero beat, however, is experience. Regal outsmarts Hero by placing a chair in the corner of the ring. When the referee turns his back to dispose of it, Regal knocks Hero out with brass knuckles. Regal secures the victory and proves that even though he taught Hero everything Hero knows, he didn’t teach him everything Regal knows.
MNM (Johnny Nitro & Joey Mercury) with Melina vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark)
It can be argued that no two tag teams are less alike than MNM and The Briscoe Brothers. While Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury and Melina enjoy living the high life and walking the red carpet, Jay and Mark Briscoe are just a couple of country boys who live for the simpler things. MNM’s cocky attitude rubbed the Briscoes the wrong way ahead of WrestleMania, which led to a grudge match between them.
Although they are flamboyant outwardly, Nitro and Mercury prove to be very capable hands in the ring. They also have the added advantage of Melina’s hijinks on the outside. The Briscoes are able to overcome the numbers game, though, as they incapacitate Nitro and hit Mercury with the Briscoe Bottom for the win.
Raw Intercontinental Championship Match: Lance Storm (c) vs. Mr. Perfect
Mr. Perfect is viewed as perhaps the greatest Intercontinental Champion in company history, but he has a tough task on his hands if he wants to capture it for a third time, as he must defeat incumbent champion Lance Storm. Although Perfect was getting up there in age during the Ruthless Aggression Era, he was still one of the best in-ring workers in the business. The same could be said for his Canadian counterpart, however.
Perfect and Storm go back and forth in a bout that very well could vie for match of the night honors. Storm appears to have the title all but retained when he locks in the Canadian Maple Leaf, but the savvy Mr. Perfect manages to roll out of it and execute a Perfect Plex. The victory gives Perfect his first IC title run since 1991, and it proves that there is no age limit to perfection.
Goldust vs. Raven with Stevie Richards
Goldust and Raven can both stake claim to the title of most bizarre Superstar in wrestling history, so it should come as no surprise that their feud prior to WrestleMania has left fans disturbed, but wanting more. Raven and Stevie Richards are known as The Gathering as a duo, but Raven is looking to add to the group so that it can resemble his Raven’s Flock stable from WCW.
Naturally, Raven targets Goldust due to his dark personality, but Goldust is resistant. This leads to a match at WrestleMania that Goldust must win or else he will be forced to join The Gathering. Richards does everything in his power to interfere, but Goldust refuses to succumb to their tactics. It ultimately proves to be too much, though, as Raven beats Goldust with an Even Flow DDT. When Goldust regains consciousness, it looks as though he is going to attack Raven. The cult leader walks toward Goldust with outstretched arms, however, and the bizarre one hugs Raven instead, signaling the formation of a strange yet devastating alliance.
Raw Cruiserweight Championship Ladder Match: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Low Ki
After winning the Cruiserweight Open earlier in the night, Low Ki faces Rey Mysterio for the Cruiserweight Championship in a ladder match that can only be described as a dream bout for wrestling fans. Mysterio and Low Ki are two of the best high flyers in the history of professional wrestling, and that is on full display at WrestleMania.
Mysterio and Low Ki showcase a slew of flips, divas, hurricanranas and everything in between. Mysterio is the heavy favorite due to his previous success on the big stage as well as the fact that Low Ki had to wrestle earlier in the night, but Low Ki holds his own. Mysterio proves to be too much, though, after he hits the 619 and drops the dime from atop the ladder. Mysterio then scales the ladder and secures the title to retain.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg)
Wrestling fans have often wondered what would happen if two of the most successful tag teams of all time in The Outsiders and The New Age Outlaws should meet, and they are fortunate enough to find out the answer at WrestleMania. Fittingly, The Outsiders had five reigns with the WCW Tag Team Championships, while the Outlaws won the World Tag Team Championships five times in their own right. With that in mind, tag team wrestling doesn’t get any better than this.
Neither team is averse to utilizing dirty tricks, and that is clear throughout this match as all four combatants routinely ignore the referee’s demands. The official eventually gets knocked out during the melee, and all hell breaks loose. Chairs and tables even get involved as the crowd goes wild. Just before the referee regains consciousness, though, Billy Gunn hits Scott Hall with a Fame-Asser on a chair, and The New Age Outlaws then capture the straps for a sixth time.
No Holds Barred Match: Randy Orton vs. Vince McMahon
Randy Orton had been running roughshod over Raw ahead of WrestleMania, and the brash, young Superstar showed no signs of slowing down. The self-professed “Legend Killer” left many Hall-of-Fame caliber performers in his wake, which prompted him to set his sights higher up the ladder. Orton begins to intimidate WWE chairman Vince McMahon, and he essentially bullies him into accepting a match at ‘Mania. Orton reasons that there is no bigger legend to kill in professional wrestling than the owner of WWE.
McMahon is at a clear disadvantage, but the No Holds Barred stipulation gives him a fighting chance. Vince gets some shots in with steel chairs and kendo sticks, but Orton largely dominates the affair. McMahon is battered and begging for mercy, however, the sadistic Orton shows no signs of stopping. Just when it seems as though Orton is prepared to put an end to McMahon once and for all, glass shatters. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who is scheduled to compete for the world title later in the night, storms the ring. Although he has had well-documented issues with McMahon in the past, he hits Orton with a Stone Cold Stunner and places McMahon on top of him before returning to the locker room.
Eddie Guerrero vs. "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson
Eddie Guerrero and Bryan Danielson are two of the best technical wrestlers ever, but they took fundamentally different routes to get to the apex of the sport. Danielson initially looks up to Guerrero upon joining Raw, but eventually becomes disenchanted with his “lie, cheat, steal” mentality. This leads to Danielson challenging Guerrero to a match to prove that taking shortcuts isn’t the way to get to the top.
Latino Heat and the American Dragon absolutely dazzle the fans in a 30-minute classic that would go down as one of the best-worked matches ever at WrestleMania. Not surprisingly, Guerrero has some tricks up his sleeve. When nephew Chavo Guerrero runs down late in the match to distract the referee, Eddie produces a foreign object from his tights. Bryan eludes it, though, and kicks Eddie in the head. Bryan then locks in the Cattle Mutilation, and Guerrero has no choice but to tap.
Raw World Championship Last Man Standing Match: Brock Lesnar (c) with Paul Heyman vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
After a scintillating night of wrestling, it is all capped off by a dream match for the Raw World Championship between Brock Lesnar and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. It is well known that Austin’s relationship with WWE initially soured due to his refusal to lose to Lesnar in a non-pay-per-view match, so fans never had an opportunity to see this match come to fruition. Austin is ultimately convinced to take part in the match, however, after repeated attacks at the hands of “The Next Big Thing.”
Lesnar enters the match on a huge winning streak, and it simply doesn’t seem possible for anyone to stop him. Austin becomes an even bigger underdog when it is revealed that it will be a Last Man Standing match. Austin seems overmatched against the physical freak, and matters are made worse by the fact that Paul Heyman is in Lesnar’s corner.
Despite taking a beating earlier in the night, McMahon comes to ringside to stand in Austin’s corner and ensures that no funny business occurs. Once Austin starts to gain some momentum, Heyman enters the ring with steel chair in hand. This prompts McMahon to enter the ring with a chair of his own. All four men stare each other down before both McMahon and Heyman begin to batter Lesnar with the chairs.
Austin eventually joins in and finally puts Lesnar down for the 10 count after three Stone Cold Stunners. After being presented the title by McMahon and Heyman, the three of them engage in a beer bash as the crowd looks on in shock. Not only is Austin the new world champion as the night comes to a close, but a new and unlikely power structure is in place as well.
|SmackDown WrestleMania Card|
|SmackDown World Championship 60-Minute Iron Man Match||Kurt Angle (c) vs. CM Punk|
|Steel Cage Match||Batista vs. Chris Benoit|
|SmackDown European Championship Match||Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs. Douglas Williams|
|Robert Roode vs. Samoa Joe|
|A.J. Styles vs. Austin Aries|
|SmackDown United States Championship Fatal Fourth of July Match||Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters|
|Muhammad Hassan vs. The Boogeyman|
|SmackDown Tag Team Championship Four Corners Match||Booker T & Rob Van Dam (c) vs. James Storm & Christopher Daniels vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash) vs. D'Lo Brown & Ron Killings|
|15 Minutes of Fame Match w/ 15 Minute Time Limit||Heidenreich vs. Sean O'Haire|
|Monster's Ball Match||Abyss vs. Mark Henry|
|Pre-Show Match||Matt Sydal & Jimmy Yang vs. Kid Kash & Kazarian|
*Note: Winners in italics
Matt Sydal & Jimmy Yang vs. Kid Kash & Kazarian (Pre-Show)
Long before he was Evan Bourne in WWE, Matt Sydal toured the indy circuit during the Ruthless Aggression Era and made a name for himself in Ring of Honor. At this time, Jimmy Yang (whose name would later be tweaked to Jimmy Wang Yang) was already fighting for the Cruiserweight Championship in WWE. Two of TNA's most notable X-Division stars, Kid Kash and Kazarian, were never really to given a chance to shine in WWE, but there is no doubt that their styles would have meshed perfectly with those of Sydal and Yang. That being said, Kid Kash and Kazarian could make for an excellent team, which is why they would pick up the victory here.
Abyss vs. Mark Henry (Monster's Ball)
From Jeff Hardy to Rob Van Dam to Mick Foley, Abyss has stood toe-to-toe with some of the most hardcore competitors in the industry in a Monster's Ball match. Although Abyss' track record in said match is less than desirable, he has always put up a strong fight against his opponent and resorted to various treacherous tactics to pull out the victory. Mark Henry has been dominating the WWE scene for quite some time now as well, so what would happen when the industry's two biggest monsters crossed paths for the first time ever, you ask? Mass destruction, that's what. Abyss has been known to be a bit more extreme than the World's Strongest Man, so it is only logical to grant the win to Abyss in this one.
Heidenreich vs. Sean O'Haire (15 Minutes of Fame Match with a 15-minute Time Limit)
Both Heidenreich and O'Haire were seen as the future of sports entertainment during their respective runs in WWE, if only for their intimidating size and unadulterated strength. Unfortunately, these two one-hit wonders fizzled out quite quickly and faded off into obscurity before long. Nearly a decade removed from when they were last seen in the organization, what if they went one-on-one to determine who the bigger star really was? The similar builds might make for a monster mashup, but it would ultimately be O'Haire's mind games that would score him the win. But hey, I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know.
Booker T & Rob Van Dam (c) vs. James Storm & Christopher Daniels vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash) vs. D'Lo Brown & Ron Killings (Four Corners Tag Team Match for SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
One of the biggest things WWE was known for during the Ruthless Aggression Era was its tag team division. The WWE Tag Team Championships were created for the SmackDown brand in late 2002 and have been a cornerstone of the company ever since. Booker T and Rob Van Dam were a dynamic duo for their time, which is why they are former tag team champions together. James Storm and Christopher Daniels also briefly paired up to capture gold around this time in TNA, so they would add an extra layer to this contest. The Holly cousins were an instrumental factor in the division early on in the era, and D'Lo Brown and Ron Killings formed a friendship simply because they share a common interest in head bobbing. Whatever the case, Booker T and Rob Van Dam would be successful here in retaining their tag team titles.
Muhammad Hassan vs. The Boogeyman
What would a pay-per-view without its filler match to bring the crowd down after a hot tag team title bout? Muhammad Hassan, at this point in time, was still getting his groove and was well on his way to super stardom. Therefore, he was still taking part in squash matches, and who better to decimate on the grandest stage of them all than The Boogeyman? Boogeyman would come close to putting worms down the throat of Hassan, but the foreigner would eventually lock in his deathly submission hold to (camel) clutch the win.
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters (Fatal Fourth of July Match for the SmackDown United States Championship)
The United States Championship was one of the most prestigious prizes on the SmackDown brand during the Ruthless Aggression Era. It elevated the likes of John Cena, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T and others to the main event scene. Bobby Lashley won the title from JBL in early 2006 and went on to have an impressive run with the star-spangled strap. Of course, it is only fitting to put the belt up for grabs in a Fatal Fourth of July match featuring the blue brand's up-and-coming Superstars. Former (or future?) tag team partners Carlito and Masters would be too busy brawling on the outside to notice Kennedy outsmarting Lashley in the ring that led to the Green Bay Loudmouth capturing the strap.
AJ Styles vs. Austin Aries
Before recently, Austin Aries and AJ Styles had never faced off. Styles was already at the end of his run in Ring of Honor before Aries joined the organization, so the two were never given the opportunity to lock up. They have proved in the past that they are capable of having a great match, and one would imagine that they would both bring their A-game to the show of shows. There isn't much more to say than that, as this dream match essentially speaks for itself. While both competitors were at their peak during the Ruthless Aggression Era, Aries would just barely score the hard fought victory over the TNA original.
Robert Roode vs. Samoa Joe
Prior to being renamed Bobby and becoming the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion in company history, Robert Roode wasn't much more than a tag team wrestler. However, he showed a tremendous amount of potential during early on in his tenure that would set the stage would what was to come down the line. Samoa Joe was on his way out of Ring of Honor at the time, but he was still having five star classics, regardless. Putting these two in-ring warriors against one another would truly be a test of who the future face of Friday nights would be, but Joe would manage to walk away with the win with his patented rear naked choke, forcing the Canada native to tap out.
Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs. Douglas Williams (SmackDown European Championship)
You may remember Douglas Williams from his time in TNA, but he was already an established veteran of the business during the Ruthless Aggression Era in Ring of Honor. Although he never once worked for WWE, one would imagine that Williams would have made for the perfect candidate for the European Championship. He wouldn't have been the only one, though, as Claudio Castagnoli would have given him a run for his money. These two mat technicians would have had one heck of a bout against each other, especially if the European title was on the line. Castagnoli would fittingly put Williams away with the European uppercut to take the title, but make no mistake about it: Williams would go down swinging.
Batista vs. Chris Benoit (The Animal vs. The Rabid Wolverine—Steel Cage Match)
Chris Benoit was a Superstar on the rise during the Ruthless Aggression Era, as he quickly ascended the WWE ladder and captured his first (and only) World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 20. He would go on to overcome the odds against the likes of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kane and others. It wasn't until a year later that Batista would break away from the Evolution faction and make a name for himself by winning the world title from Triple H at WrestleMania 21.
Batista and Benoit have clashed in the past, but never at the peak of their respective careers. So, what exactly would have happened had The Animal faced off against the The Rabid Wolverine at WrestleMania? A Steel Cage would be used to contain these two, but no two animals stay caged for long, so expect Batista to edge out the win against Benoit by just barely escaping the steel structure.
Kurt Angle (c) vs. CM Punk (60 Minute Iron Man Match for the SmackDown World Championship)
One match that fans of professional wrestling have been clamoring for for years now has been Kurt Angle and CM Punk, and I still hold out hope that there is a chance of it happening. However, think about how different the landscape of the wrestling world was a decade ago, and just how different these two individuals were at the time. Punk was scratching and clawing to get into WWE yet still dominating Ring of Honor and all of its talent, while Angle was at his best as the face of SmackDown and elevating up-and-comers left and right.
I have no doubt in my mind that among the rising stars that Angle would have put over was Punk, who would have made for the perfect opponent for the Olympic Gold Medalist. Throw 60 minutes on a clock, and you have yourself an instant classic featuring these two, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone. Angle may walk into WrestleMania with gold around his waist, but Punk would reign supreme with the title in tow, allowing Angle to pass the torch to Punk in the process.
|TNA Bound for Glory Card|
|TNA World Championship Match||John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan (c)|
|Hell in a Cell Match||The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. Sting|
|TNA Tag Team Championship Match||The Steiner Brothers (Scott & Rick) vs. The APA (Faarooq & Bradshaw)|
|Goldberg vs. Ken Shamrock|
|TNA Television Championship Match||Test (c) w/ Stacy Keibler vs. Diamond Dallas Page|
|Hell in a Cell Match||Big Show vs. Tommy Dreamer|
|TNA X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match||X-Pac (c) vs. Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin vs. Nigel McGuinness|
|I Quit Match||Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley|
|Pre-Show Match||Ultimo Dragon, La Parka & Psicosis vs. Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay|
*Note: Winners in italics
To understand TNA’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view, the fans must digest the back story leading into the company’s biggest show. As the son of Raw owner Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon bought TNA and led an invasion of Superstars representing WWE. Shane O’Mac's oppressive reign of terror has lasted long enough, and Team TNA stood against the new owner by unionizing and challenging for power of the company. With the fate of the TNA in jeopardy, Bound for Glory is Team TNA's last chance at salvation. McMahon has setup BFG as a best-of-nine series with each match scoring the winner’s respective team a point. The first team to five points would gain control of the day-to-day operations of the company moving forward.
Pre-Show: Ultimo Dragon, La Parka and Psicosis vs. Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay
The opening pre-show match would feature WWE staples Too Cool—comprised of Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay—representing the invading company against the talented TNA trio of Ultimo Dragon, La Parka and Psicosis. With plenty of exciting in-ring action, Team WWE would steal the first win of the night as Too Cool would use heel tactics to take the victory.
Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley
In the same vein that Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart opened WrestleMania 10 with a classic bout, legend Ric Flair would represent McMahon against TNA’s resident wild man Mick Foley. The duo’s feud would be based on Flair’s hatred of Foley’s hardcore style, but it’s a last-second contract stipulation that forces this to become an "I Quit" match. In what would undoubtedly be the bloodiest bout of the night due to each man’s willingness to wear the crimson mask, Flair would force Foley to verbally submit to give Team WWE two wins in a row.
TNA X-Division Championship Match: X-Pac (c) vs. Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin vs. Nigel McGuinness
The next match is an Ultimate X match for the TNA X-Division Championship. Defending champion X-Pac would square off against Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Nigel McGuinness in what would be the best worked match on the card. With a great mixture of high flying and classic chain wrestling, this would be the closest thing to an Indy wrestling superfight. After a brutal match, X-Pac would climb the structure and win the title to take Team WWE to a 3-0 lead on the PPV card.
Big Show vs. Tommy Dreamer
Team TNA is facing a three-point disadvantage heading into the fourth match, and the road ahead is bleak. Perennial underdog and martyr Tommy Dreamer would be scheduled to face Big Show in a lopsided matchup on paper. Shane McMahon comes out before the match and orders the Hell in a Cell structure to be lowered for the bout. The night’s co-main event between The Undertaker and Sting will be contested inside the structure, and the last-second change would be a perfect twist to stack the odds against Dreamer even more. After watching Big Show decimate Dreamer for most of the bout, the TNA original would find the kendo stick under the ring. Team TNA’s most underrated star would destroy Big Show with the Singapore cane and handcuff him to the cell. With a chair shot heard around the world, Dreamer would leave Big Show knocked out cold and force the referee to stop the match. Team TNA would take its first victory of the night in an unlikely fashion.
TNA Television Championship Match: Test (c) w/ Stacy Keibler vs. Diamond Dallas Page
With momentum beginning to shift in Team TNA’s favor, the next bout would be for the Television Championship. Defending titleholder Test and his valet Stacy Keibler would have been in-fighting for weeks leading into this match, including her openly questioning his masculinity on Impact Wrestling. In a fit of rage, Test would issue an open challenge at BFG. Diamond Dallas Page would return early from his back injury (with the help of DDP Yoga, of course) and stun the TNA Universe to answer Test’s challenge. After being refused a kiss by Keibler on the ring apron, DDP spins the muscle-bound star around, hits the Diamond Cutter to perfection and pins the champion to win the title. As the crowd is going crazy for Team TNA’s second win, Keibler enters the ring, looks at the limp Test and embraces the new champion as the duo leaves together.
Goldberg vs. Ken Shamrock
Team TNA is now riding a two-win streak coming into the sixth match of the night. Team TNA’s muscle Goldberg would be locked in a bitter feud with the World’s Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock after McMahon hired the MMA legend to eliminate Goldberg from the Bound for Glory Series. After successfully costing him a first-round bout (the BFG Series would be a No. 1 contender King of the King event), the battle between Goldberg and Shamrock would lead to a violent match at the company’s biggest PPV. While this battle wouldn’t feature great in-ring work, the power and strength of each man and the addition of the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation would make this an incredible midcard bout. Goldberg would hit his patented spear and jackhammer, and the Team TNA would collect another point as Shamrock is handed a loss.
TNA Tag Team Championship Match: The Steiner Brothers (Scott & Rick) (c) vs. The APA (Faarooq & Bradshaw)
Now with the score tied 3-3, the TNA Tag Team Championships will be on the line as the Steiner Brothers would be forced to defend the titles against McMahon’s lackeys, The APA. The Steiners dominated all of the competition Shane O’Mac had put in front of them in the months leading into BFG, but they had lost clean to The APA weeks before. While JBL and Farooq would prove to be stiff competition, the Big Bad Booty Daddy and the Dog-Faced Gremlin would steal the fourth-straight victory for the home team.
The Undertaker with Paul Bearer vs. Sting
The co-main event of the night is McMahon’s key to force a ninth and deciding match. Trailing 4-3, Team WWE would still boast The Undertaker with Paul Bearer. Team TNA would counter with a legend of its own, the icon known as Sting. The Hell in a Cell stipulation would add even more intrigue to this match, but the aura of these two legends going toe-to-toe for the first and only time in history would be a dream come true for any true wrestling fan. As much as Sting would prove to be Undertaker’s equal in this five-star match, the help of Bearer and his urn would ensure Undertaker’s win and that this PPV saw a ninth and deciding bout.
This is where things get crazy. As if it wasn’t already.
TNA World Championship Match: John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan (c)
After vacating the world title upon purchasing TNA, McMahon awarded the World Championship to Hulk Hogan. Team WWE’s John Cena had cashed in his Television Championship for a world title shot, but he was cast aside by his teammates. McMahon and Hogan would continue ignoring Cena’s questions about his future but would eventually call upon the No. 1 contender to take a dive for the team and give Hogan the easy win in the main event. Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect wouldn’t accept that fate but instead would cut a scathing promo and reveal he had joined Team TNA. After Shane McMahon infuses himself into the match as the special guest referee, Hogan would go one-on-one with Cena for the first time in history with the title being on the line as the ultimate caveat.
The match would not be a technical wonder, but the story told in the ring would evoke enough emotion to get even the most casual wrestling fans to take a vested interest in Cena’s struggle against Team WWE. With McMahon and Hogan doing everything they can to stop the No. 1 contender from taking the title at BFG during the PPV main event, the locker room would empty. As the ring is surrounded by both teams, McMahon would be forced to call the match down the middle. Cena would finally hit Hogan with the Attitude Adjustment, and in the most reluctant way possible, Shane O’Mac would be forced to give up control of the company. The competing teams would break into a full-blown war outside the ring, but Cena would sneak through the crowd with his new championship.
Team TNA would win the Bound for Glory PPV, 5-4.
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