With the Royal Rumble approaching, and the granddaddy of 'em all just around the corner, we're on The Road To WrestleMania!
The past few years have been such a disappointment by the WWE, but I hope this year will be better for die-hard fans.
Not so long ago, The Road to WrestleMania wasn't just a showcase of the biggest draws in the company but a utility for pushing that one young, talented superstar who has been able to out-shine his peers, and prove himself worthy to be playing with the "big boys."
And so as a thank-you for all the magnificent transcendence we have witnessed from a mid-carder to a main-eventer in the past years, I have decided to make a list of the 10 best pushes!
I figured we'd start off our countdown with a very recent and brilliant push.
When I heard CM Punk's theme music after Jeff Hardy had just grabbed the World's title, I thought, "Oh, no! What is Punk doing?"
Insane, right? I'm talking about the "Oh, yes! This is going to be "interesting" insane.
Followed by a brilliant transition from a babyface to a heel, I was very thrilled with what transpired. And CM Punk played his role perfectly: "I'm straight edge, so I'm better than you!"
That was golden. And I cherished every single minute of it.
Of course, Vince just had to screw that one up. And so after Jeff decided to leave, CM Punk has not been heard of in the main event scene.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words...now I know why.
Just looking at this picture brings a smile to my face. That was at the very end of the "Attitude Era," when Chris Jericho won the star-studded four-man tournament for the "Undisputed Championship." Sounds awesome, right?
Everyone was certain that either The Rock or Austin would walk out of San Diego in December 2001 as the first "Undisputed Champion," but it was none other than Y2J. Chris Jericho emerged triumphant.
He had a very impressive title reign until—you guessed it—HHH came back and won the title. Lame!
As we all know, Randy Orton's first push was a mega fail. He defeated Chris Benoit at Summer Slam 2004 to become the youngest World Champion in the history of the WWE. But that push was not impressive to say the least.
The push I'm talking about is the one that began during the summer of 2007, during The Age of Orton! Now I must admit, he didn't look as cool back then as he does know what with all the awesome tattoo sleeve, the cool shaved head, the insane slow walk,and the amazing theme song.
No. This was his when his second title reign took place. He still had that lame theme song, his lame haircut, and he was still on the verge of coming out of the insane closet.
Nonetheless, the build up was worth it because his strong seven-month title, one man dynasty reign was what solidified him as a main eventer. His career has sky-rocketed since then.
Now, just to make this clear: If you are the type of person who will get upset because I have added some extremely bad wrestlers to the list, then go away.
This list is the greatest "push," meaning good storylines have been used in order to elevate someone. While I know that The Ultimate Warrior can't wrestle worth a nickel, but the way he was pushed was awesome!
Come on! He was the first person to ever beat Hogan clean! That's impressive. It was a title vs. title match, where if Hogan won, he would walk away with his WWE title, and Warrior's Intercontinental title. And if Warrior were to win, he would walk out with his very first WWE title, continuing to be the Intercontinental champion.
So, who do you think won?
Right here, Bret Hart proved that you don't have to be as charismatic and buff as Hulk Hogan to be in the very top of the company. This right here shows how hard work, love for the business,and passion pays off.
This is best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Wrestlemania IX, Bret Hart defeated Yokozuna to become WWE champion.
This was Bret's second title reign; however, it's just that this one had much more emotional value to it. That's why I picked this second push as the "cementing" one for The Hitman.
God, I loved this guy. I remember watching Eddie Guerrero win his first WWE title; it was the first time I cried while watching a wrestling program.
I added this because I am emotionally biased towards Eddie Guerrero. I mean his push wasn't that great of a build-up but I bet that each and every one of you were dancing in your living rooms out of joy. May his soul rest in peace.
Just as everything has it's first, I found out that one's second would usually come a month later.
One month after I cried for the very first time from an emotional roller-coaster that a wrestling program has put me through, watching these two technical masters embracing in the ring after their respective victories against the promotion's elite opponents.
Chris Benoit defeated HHH and HBK at Madison Square Garden at WrestleMania XX, while Eddie Guerrero defeated Kurt Angle to retain his WWE title.
Every time I look at this picture, I remember that little kid inside of me who cried at the finale of WM XX. That made me realize the true value of friendship (well, that, and 1986's Stand By Me).
Both have had a very rough road as Benoit had to win the Rumble even though his draw was at the first entry, while Eddie Guerrero..well Eddie's explanation was just shown in the previous slide.
Now I know that this may create a bit of controversy due to Benoit's double murder/suicide, I would just like to appreciate the endless wrestling efforts that they gave us throughout the years.
Just to make things clear: when a push's duration takes exactly one year, you've got to admit that it's good.
Jeff Hardy's push began in November 2007 when he was finally able to capture the gold all the way in December 2008. With countless Hardy-HHH matches, a 60-day suspension, and everything else, Jeff Hardy finally reached that brass ring that he's been desiring his entire career.
It was a great moment for wrestling at Armageddon 2008, even though Jeff Hardy isn't one of the wrestlers I like (and that's an understatement).
I can still hear it to this very day: Vince McMahon screaming "The boyhood dream has come true for Shawn Michaels!"
The Showstopper. Mr. Wrestle Mania. The Heart-Break-Kid. Shawn Michaels. Although none of this was possible without the legendary 60-minute Iron Man match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XII.
It was your classic veteran vs. hungry young challenger, and Shawn has valiantly fought his way to the top, and proved to be one of (if not the) greatest wrestler in WWE history.
God, this push was legendary!
I mean seriously, who other than Austin?
His brilliant push began when he won the 1996 King of The Ring, which ironically was originally planned for Triple H.
It then became more serious during his feud with Bret Hart and began blowing full-steam during his submission match with Bret at Wrestlemania XIII, when he miraculously switched roles with Bret Hart during the match as the fans began booing Bret and cheering Austin. This marked the beginning of the infamous Attitude Era.
One year later, he was due to challenge Shawn Michaels for the WWE title after winning the Royal Rumble in 1998 and went on to defeat Shawn at Wrestlemania XIV.
This was not only the greatest push, or the greatest era in wrestling history, but it also made the greatest superstar (I can't say wrestler) what he is.
So here's a note to any official working at the WWE: The way you utilize your talent—especially the way you push them—plays a huge factor on their persona, their career, and the industry.
I hope everybody enjoyed this article. Any feedback will be welcomed.