Recreating WrestleMania X-Seven with the Current WWE Roster
The seventeenth annual WrestleMania has been widely considered by wrestling fans to have been the greatest WrestleMania of them all.
There are many disputes about this but the strength of the card and the quality of the matches cannot be denied.
It was the second time that the Rock and Austin had clashed on the grandest stage of them all.
It was the scene of only the second TLC match in wrestling history between the Hardyz, the Dudleys and Edge and Christian.
It took place in front of 67,925 fans in the Astrodome and generated $3.5 million dollars in revenue, according to the WWE's corporate website, making it the highest grossing event in the company's history at that time.
It characterized the spirit of the Attitude-Era.
But what would have happened if the WWE had tried to put on that same show but with a different cast of characters?
What would WrestleMania X-Seven have been like if the current roster was all Vince McMahon had at his disposal?
I am going to attempt to find out in the following slideshow.
Intercontinental Championship Match: William Regal Versus Chris Jericho
This match was the curtain jerker between two talented technical wrestlers who could put on a four star match with ease.
The comparisons between William Regal and Wade Barrett are obvious. They are both from Northern England; they both have a brawling in-ring style and are both natural heels.
Barrett has clearly adopted Regal's style and air of arrogance on the microphone.
It just shows the strength in-depth that the roster had in those days that Chris Jericho was a part of the undercard.
It is true that he had not cemented his main event status in the WWF at that point but he had still had confrontations with the Rock.
The answer to Jericho nowadays is the Miz who admits he has modeled himself on Y2J.
Not as talented in the ring but with similar mic skills, Miz has been labeled the new Chris Jericho.
Today if the Miz was relegated to an Intercontinental title feud as Barrett has been, then people would say that it is the end of his main event push.
This just shows the difference in stature that the IC title held in those days. Main event superstars could drop out of the world title feuds to bring credibility to the mid-card belt as Jericho did on a number of occasions.
2011 Equivalent: Wade Barrett versus Miz
Bradshaw, Faarooq and Tazz Versus Right to Censor
The only possible tag team today that could recreate the chemistry of the Acolytes is a team that only combined on a couple of occasions.
Nexus members Skip Sheffield and David Otunga showed that they had potential as a tag team before Sheffield broke his ankle.
But with the Nexus muscle set to return, a renewed partnership with the A-list could be on the cards.
Otunga has a similar look to Faarooq and a similar in-ring style while Skip Sheffield and Bradshaw have similar movesets. They also share a common finishing move with the Clothesline from Hell.
The WWE's current Tazz figure would either be Brodus Clay or Husky Harris. Harris is more athletic and he has been a part of the Nexus so this team would make sense.
For the Right the Censor, I could not use the Corre as Wade Barrett is already in a match so I had to bring back yet more Nexus members.
Darren Young as the Goodfather, Michael McGillicutty as Bull Buchanan and Mason Ryan as Val Venis.
2011 Equivalent: Ship Sheffield, David Otunga and Husky Harris versus Mason Ryan, Michael McGillicutty and Darren Young.
Triple Threat Match for the Hardcore Championship: Big Show vs Kane vs Raven
The Hardcore title obviously does not exist any more so this would just be a mid-card feud.
Big Show and Kane are still going strong but if I wanted to insert entirely new combatants into the match then Ezekiel Jackson would be the new Big Show.
However it is more difficult to find a replacement for Kane, with Brodus Clay being the only possibility.
So I have decided to keep the World's Largest Athlete and the Big Red Machine in the match-up.
Raven's eerie character has similarities to the newly revamped heel Cody Rhodes. They have similar mannerisms, intense mic skills and perform intelligent promos.
2011 Equivalent: Big Show versus Kane versus "Dashing" Cody Rhodes.
European Championship Match: Eddie Guerrero Versus Test
Rey Mysterio filled Eddie's shoes after his tragic passing and received a main event push almost as a direct result.
Mysterio will have to step into Guerrero's shoes in this scenario as well since no-one in the WWE comes closer to Eddie's wrestling skills as a Cruiserweight and his charisma.
While Rey does not possess Eddie's gift of the gab, he engenders huge fan support and is loved by many.
Test, on the other hand, has similarities to Dolph Ziggler.
They both established themselves as long-term mid-card champions. Both were paired in an on-screen relationship with a non-wrestling personality to gain heat, and each possess diverse move-sets.
As the European Championship is no longer in existence, this match would be for the United States Championship.
This is another potential main event feud for a lower card title that would bring back credibility to those titles.
It is also interesting to consider that both mid-card titles were defended at WrestleMania whereas nowadays it is either one or the other on-the-line at pay-per-views with some champions going for weeks without defending their gold.
2011 Equivalent: Rey Mysterio versus Dolph Ziggler
Kurt Angle Versus Chris Benoit
The only technical wrestler that comes close to Kurt Angle in the WWE today is Jack Swagger.
They both have the amateur wrestling background and possess similar movesets. Swagger has adopted the Ankle Lock since his run as World Champion and his range of suplexes and slams is very Angle-esque.
Chris Benoit's modern day equivalent is Daniel Bryan in that they both got over with the crowd based on wrestling talent and limited charisma.
As much as we hate Michael Cole, Daniel Bryan is not the most exciting wrestler to listen to on the microphone but the fans love him because of his ability to put on a show.
The same was true of Benoit who, like it or not, was loved by the fans.
There is also the fact that they both used the Crossface as a finishing manoeuvre and have both been cited for their purist wrestling style.
Whereas Angle versus Benoit is a match worthy of the main event at WrestleMania, Swagger versus Bryan is often given away on free TV.
This is because Swagger and Bryan have not been given the chance to establish themselves as viable main event talent.
In the case of Daniel Bryan, he is paying his dues in the mid-card but Jack Swagger was given a run as World Champion without getting over as a heel.
The top WWE and WWF stars including Austin, Rock, HBK, Bret Hart, Mr Perfect, Randy Savage were given the chance to shape the mid-card before receiving a push.
Because Swagger missed that crucial step, he became irrelevant once he lost the title as evidenced by his recent role as Michael Cole's trainer.
The 2011 equivalent could be a great match but it would not mean as much to the fans.
2011 Equivalent: Jack Swagger versus Daniel Bryan
Chyna Versus Ivory
Before Kharma debuted, Beth Phoenix was billed as the next Chyna with a Royal Rumble entry to boast of.
But the monstrous woman formerly known as Awesome Kong has usurped her position as the most dominant Diva.
Like Chyna, Kharma could be taken seriously in the Men's division. She also has the ability to strike fear into her opponents' hearts.
It is arguable that Kharma could even surpass what the "Ninth Wonder of the World" achieved in the WWE as she is only 33 years of age.
Ivory had a similar aggressive moveset to Natalya Neidhart which is unconventional for a diva.
They both showed their strength with a series of lifts and slams. Ivory was a believable opponent for the monster of the Women's Division.
In just the same way, Nattie Neidhart is a credible opponent for Kharma and it is a match that many would like to see.
Arguably the present-day version of this match would be more highly anticipated.
2011 Equivalent: Kharma versus Natalya
The Iron Sheik Wins 20 Man Battle Royal
This gimmick battle royal was a mood-lightener ahead of the series of emotionally invested main events.
Nowadays this would be the WrestleMania dark match with the likes of Mark Henry, Great Khali, Zack Ryder and Yoshi Tatsu involved.
At this point in his career, the Iron Sheik was a comedy character with a foreign accent so the only 2011 equivalent can be Santino Marella.
2011 Equivalent: Santino wins dark match Battle Royal
Shane McMahon Versus Vince McMahon with Mick Foley as Special Guest Referee
This match is difficult to quantify nowadays as there are no more general manager figures and Vince is taking a break from television.
It is undeniable that Shane McMahon added something to the company as a talented in-ring competitor.
We have seen the disastrous television that ensues when Teddy Long gets involved in a feud—Drew McIntyre is still feeling the consequences.
The only option is for Mr McMahon to have a match with the mystery Raw GM.
This just shows the necessity to dump the laptop and have an actual face as General Manager who could actually add something meaningful to feuds.
The Mick Foley equivalent would be Stone Cold Steve Austin; the former legend that often comes back for refereeing gigs.
2011 Equivalent: Mr McMahon versus Mystery Raw GM
Edge and Christian Versus the Hardy Boyz Versus Dudley Boys in TLC Match
Can you imagine the Usos, Santino and Kozlov, Down with Zack and Primo or the Great Khali and Jinder Mahal competing in this match?
Some of the wrestlers mentioned here have talent, but the pathetic lack of emphasis on the tag team division means that no one would care.
The WWE would no longer have such a high profile tag team match at WrestleMania because the company no longer builds teams and feuds over.
This match did become Money in the Bank, but that no longer appears at WrestleMania.
2011 Equivalent: N/A due to lack of credible tag team division
The Undertaker Versus Triple H
It was built up as a dream match when the two legends clashed once again on the grandest stage of them all, and it is set to become a trilogy.
With fans desperately stabbing in the dark to find the next WrestleMania opponent for the Phenom, Triple H is the only obvious candidate.
It would once again sell tickets and keep the fans guessing as to whether the Taker's undefeated WrestleMania streak will continue.
However this time, retirement stipulations will probably be on the cards with this likely to be both men's final stands.
2011 Equivalent: Undertaker versus Triple H (Streak versus Career) with HBK as the Special Guest Referee
WWE Championship Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin Versus the Rock
Unfortunately the only modern-day feud that even comes close to the legendary rivalry between Austin and the Rock, is John Cena versus Randy Orton.
Cena possess charisma to match the Rock and, although he symbolises the PG-era, there are character similarities.
The Rock was the People's Champion which is very similar to Cena's gimmick of winning championship after championship for the "Cenation".
Both wrestler's have reasonably successful acting careers, are both ultra-popular and sell merchandise.
This is why the Rock-Cena feud has been and has the potential to be extremely entertaining.
It has been clear for some time now that the WWE have been attempting to build Randy Orton as the new Stone Cold: the new anti-hero.
They both have finishing moves that can materialise from nowhere and that the crowd pop wildly for.
Austin's trademark was showing heel characteristics in his role as a face which was typical of the Attitude-Era.
Ever since Orton's face turn, he has continued to show a sadistic side and mean streak that has included punting Nexus members in the head.
However this character does not work as well in the tamer, more family-friendly PG-era.
Unlike the Rock-Austin feud which always appeared fresh and new, the PG equivalent has become stale and boring.
2011 equivalent: Randy Orton versus John Cena
The Final Word...
It is obvious which match card is better and the difference in quality can, I think, be easily qualified:
- There is a lack of strength in depth of talent in 2011
- There are no credible tag teams left
- Mid-card superstars are not given enough time to grow
- Rivalries were better written and given more time to develop
- Mid-card championships were more prestigious and regularly defended