I would not dare to say that the WWE is entering a new era, but there is certainly a huge turnover that was started two weeks ago with CM Punk's iconic speech on Raw.
Vince McMahon rarely makes on-screen appearances just for the kick of it. In the last years, he only appears on TV to boost the ratings with major events.
John Cena proved he could actually wrestle, and he would suddenly disappear? After Chavo Guerrero talked about John Cena's lack of delivering and with the way he actually delivered, Cena might work on an interesting turnover, for the good of everyone watching WWE.
At the Money In The Bank pay-per-view, CM Punk continued to mesmerize the fans with his impressive win over the Face of WWE. McMahon even tried to pull out another screwjob, but it failed.
Punk accomplished what he told in the last weeks, and he literally left the company with the WWE Championship.
If there was a lot of speculations about CM Punk's future before the pay-per-view, it was nothing compared to the post event. For a lot of the IWC fans, it made no doubt that he was going nowhere out of WWE.
Then came Vince McMahon on Raw to announce an historical eight-man single elimination tournament to crown a new WWE Champion by the end of the night.
By the way, when was the last time such a tournament has been presented? It was in 1998, nearly 13 years ago, at the Survivor Series called "Deadly Game." The Rock emerged victorious, and it led to a major turnover in WWE's history.
And when was the only other time a tournament to crown a new WWE Champion has been held? It was at WrestleMania IV. Randy "Macho Man" Savage made history at the greatest WrestleMania of all times.
Now, allow me to take a step back in time to see what those tournaments were all about and what they have in common.
Survivor Series 1998: Deadly Game
The WWF Championship was vacated 50 days before the 1998 Survivor Series. After a triple-threat match over the WWF Championship at the Breakdown: In Your House pay-per-view, the Title was vacated following an uncommon outcome.
Steve Austin, the reigning Champion, has been pinned by both Kane and The Undertaker at the same moment who technically became co-champions.
On the following PPV, Judgment Day: In Your House, The Phenom and The Big Red Machine battled in a no-contest match, thus making no clear WWF Champion. The Title was still held up and the Deadly Game tournament was eventually announced.
The mythic Attitude Era was going full speed, but a twist was needed to keep the fans' interest. There was a complex storyline involving Mankind with his alter-ego Dude Love, The Undertaker, Kane, Steve Austin and The Rock.
All those plots were more than just a storyline. It was the dawn of two of the greatest factions and of one of the most ingenious angle of all times.
In the semi-finals of the tournament, The Rock defeated The Undertaker and Mankind won against Stone Cold. Then, in finals, The Rock went over Mankind to become the new WWF Champion. As a result, the seeds were planted for historic shocking moments.
On Raw, the night following Survivor Series, The Rock officially turned heel and he was announced by Vince McMahon as the Corporate Champion. In the same breath, The Corporation was born and it led to an epic war against The Ministry of Darkness and a unique twisted conclusion.
It also resulted in a bitter and legendary rivalry between The Rock and Mankind, who exchanged the WWF Title on some occasions, in classic bouts in the next months.
Then, Steve Austin and The Rock clashed at WrestleMania 15 in an epic encounter that confirmed The Rattlesnake in his position of the number one face of the company at the moment.
WrestleMania IV: The First Ever WWF Championship Tournament (1988)
To make a long story short, the WWF Championship was vacated after Andre The Giant illegally handed the Title to Ted DiBiase.
It was then announced that WrestleMania IV would be the battlefield for a tournament to crown the new WWF Champion.
In a fairytale-like evening, Randy Savage managed to go through all his opponents to put the hand on the coveted gold. In four matches and in few hours, the Macho Man's legend was born, and he cemented his legacy.
The whole event was also the stage for the creation of an unstoppable alliance, a tag team known as the Mega Powers. Hulk Hogan and Savage formed a dream duo, but it was only to prepare something bigger.
Beyond their feud against DiBiase and Andre, dubbed as the Mega Bucks, the road to WrestleMania V was subtly opened.
In a classic tag team explosion, Hogan and Savage entered into a feud that culminated at WrestleMania V. The whole angle was huge, very huge. It was like having John Cena teaming with Randy Orton for a whole year to battle together against Christian and CM Punk (or any other big names) then seeing Orton going back to his good old heel character.
The unmatched magnitude of the teaming-then-feuding storyline will always be remembered as the biggest tag team split ever.
Raw (July 18, 2011): The First Ever WWE Championship Tournament On Free TV
Now, let's get back to today.
Following the CM Punk incident, the WWE Championship tournament was underway and the finals match between The Miz and Rey Mysterio was about to start when Vince McMahon abruptly declared that the bout was postponed.
The Chairman of the company was in the middle of a verbal confrontation with John Cena when Triple H came to the ring. McMahon's son in law announced he was now in charge or, in other words, Vince was fired.
This meant John Cena was not fired and it opened the door to potentially great upcoming storylines for SummerSlam.
There will be a new Champion next week so there will be a lot of possibilities. Cena could claim his rematch clause (Miz vs. Cena?). CM Punk could also come back to fight the tournament's winner to determine the real WWE Champion (Miz vs. CM Punk? Miz vs. Punk vs. Cena?).
There's even Alberto Del Rio who could join the mix since he has a number one contendership in his pocket in addition to his Money In The Bank contract (Mysterio vs. Del Rio? Mysterio vs. Del Rio vs. Cena? With CM Punk?).
Correlation Between The Three WWE Championship Tournaments
Such a tournament only happened once every 10 years or so and that shows the importance of such an event. You won't see this regularly and each occurrence was ignited by something big, and it defined three different eras.
So far, those tournament winners became icons and the next one might join their status. I don't say that Mysterio or The Miz have the greatness of Savage or The Rock, but it could cement one's legacy.
Anyway, no matter who will win next week, a mega event took place through the current tournament. It's hard to say if it's legit or not, but it seems Triple H is now in charge of the WWE and that McMahon retired from his position.
Is it the beginning of a new era? Only time will tell. However, it's safe to say that the company is in a major turnover. We will also have to wait and see if all the recent events will lead to even bigger things.
Hopefully, it's only the dawn and not the end of amazing entertainment not seen in years.
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