With WrestleMania right around the corner, it’s fun to take a look back at the results and play arm-chair booker. It’s also fun to look at the cards and think “Holy crap, why did the book that match?” and most of all looking at guys who in the previous year were relevant to the company, but were now just filling the card. We’ll be going in order of WrestleMania’s for this article. Today, were looking at the fates of those wrestlers and there are some rules to follow:
- It has to be from consecutive WrestleMania’s, while a guy not being booked is considered a fall from grace, were looking at guys who went from a high level match to just filling the card.
- Injuries, managerial role (Jack Swagger just sighed a sigh of relief), or leaving the company does not count.
- The Jericho Rule: If the feud is well built despite being a mid-level feud and the match (vs. Fandango, vs. Christian) is good, then it will not make the list.
Paul Orndorff vs Don Muraco at WrestleMania II (Orndorff and Piper vs Hogan and Mr. T)
King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Littlebrook vs Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver and The Haiti Kid at WrestleMania III (Bundy vs Hogan at WrestleMania II)
This might be the HOLY CRAP WHAT HAPPENED award for this post, just how did Bundy go from headlining to this? Well, I presume that Vince saw Bundy talking to Little Mr. T and the same lightbulb that went off when he thought of IcoPro some years later went off. Bad enough Bundy is stuck in a feud with Hillbilly Jim, but the midgets too? I presume that he was supposed to face Big John Studd, but the only highlight of this is Bundy killing Little Beaver.
Ted DiBiase vs Brutus Beefcake at WrestleMania V (DiBiase vs Savage at WrestleMania IV)
A trend is starting to set in as former headliners are pushed down into filler matches. Unfortunately, DiBiase was tasked with carrying Brutus Beefcake to a watchable bout, a task he could not complete. There wasn’t really much build to the match itself; it was just an excuse to get both guys on the card. DiBiase is in a weird spot, he’s just working with random guys (Beefcake, Snuka) in this period until the Roberts feud.
Randy Savage and Queen Sherri vs Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire at WrestleMania VI (MEGA POWERS EXPLODE at WrestleMania V)
Yep, this might be rock bottom for Savage at this point in his career, going from Hogan’s punching bag to Dusty’s Bionic Elbow’ing bag. A match with Piper would have been better, but I can understand the idea of king against common man but this is a pretty big drop for Savage. I can see why Savage was starting to get pissed off about his position on the card and blow up at Vince a few months later. Savage would get the last laugh when the company would look to him to salvage Warrior’s reign on top.
Rick Rude vs Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania VI (Rude vs The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania V)
Rude was on an interesting path after the Warrior feud, he went into a pretty decent feud against Piper to a match with Snuka. Much like DiBiase/Beefcake, this could be classified as another match created to just to get guys on the card. I’m not complaining, but in both cases neither match was good. Rude would become the next big challenger for Warrior and we all know how that ended.
The Tito Santana Achievement Award: Tito Santana at WrestleMania VI, VII, VIII, IX (Strikeforce vs Brain Busters at WrestleMania V)
It’s pretty much a downward spiral for Tito after The Strikeforce break-up, and it seemed like Santana became a guy to put over heels. Matches against The Barbarian and Mountie had little to no build up, but the Michaels bout was built up from the Rumble. Worst of all, he ended up in the dark match of WrestleMania IX and didn’t even win that match! Tito went 1-9 at WrestleMania, a streak of awfulness that could never be matched.
Demolition vs Koji Kitao and Genichiro Tenryu at WrestleMania VII (Demolition vs Colossal Connection at WrestleMania VI)
When the Legion of Doom arrived, it seemed inevitable that both teams would meet up, and WrestleMania VII would be the logical event. When Demolition dropped the belts to the Hart Foundation at Summerslam, it seemed like we would get a long feud with a big blow-off at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, the LOD ran through Demoltiion with ease and coupled with the heavy push of the Nasties and Ax’s heart problems, Demolition was pretty much done. They got fed to the Tenryu and Kitao team since the WWE was pairing up with Tenyu’s group and a big tour was coming up.
Sgt. Slaughter, Boss Man, Duggan, and Virgil vs The Nasty Boys, Mountie, and The Repo Man (Slaughter vs Hogan at WrestleMania VII)
Another mighty has fallen moment and Slaughter was outliving his usefulness at this point and became mere cannon fodder for an eight man tag. While it made sense for Slaughter to become a patriot again and to beat up Adnan and Mustafa with Duggan for a few weeks, Slaughter was just another body for an eight man tag. I’m not surprised that the Sarge wasn’t kept around to be a victim for Yokozuna at some point.
Lex Luger and The British Bulldog vs The Blu Brothers (Luger vs Yokozuna at WrestleMania X)
As I talked about in my previous article about Lex Luger, the Lex Express pretty much died at The Royal Rumble. When the fans lost it for Bret while mild cheers and boo’s starting when Luger’s theme hit, the Express stalled out. Luger got his match with Yoko, but his push died at that point. The Tatanka feud didn’t help and Luger should have been turned at the end. Instead, we got Luger in an opening tag match. I think if they turned Luger and put him DiBiase, Bret vs Luger would have been a possible main event for this card.
Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund (Hart vs Yokozuna at WrestleMania X)
This would probably go down as the weirdest year for Bret Hart, as Hart would go from co-main event of the Rumble to a series of mid-card feuds. Despite a reasonable build (Hart wanting revenge on Backlund for losing the belt and costing him the belt at the Rumble), this was seen as a major step down for Hart. I’ll just save you the time and tell you to not watch this match at all. Backlund/Piper and Hart/Owen would have been better in my opinion. Just another reason in my mind to forget that WrestleMania XI never happened and that was a benefit show or something.
The Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan vs D-Lo Brown and The Godfather (Boss Man vs Undertaker at WrestleMania XV)
Yes, the Hell in a Cell match was awful, but it was the co-main event and probably the match with the most promotion next to Austin/Rock. It’s sad because they had a good thing with Boss Man as a shit-stirring heel, a man who in one year: Killed and fed Al Snow’s dog to Al Snow, raised the briefcase, and everything he did to Big Show. So you go from being pretty high up on the heel list to random tag team match on the card. It was not a great way to start WrestleMania 2000. Yeesh, not good. Well, at least he has his illegitimate children to watch from the heavens: Seth, Roman, and Dean make him proud.
The Big Show vs Raven vs Kane at WrestleMania X7 (Big Show vs Rock vs Haitch vs Foley at WrestleMania 2000)
This almost circumvented the Jericho rule since it’s a pretty fun garbage bout but Show went from being a part of the main event to being sent to fat camp. It might not be the biggest fall from grace, but it was a pretty clear message to Show. It would be a start of a weird period where Show was pretty much a mid-card guy until Survivor Series and then down to the mid-card until the Lesnar feud. Still, don’t fast forward through this one if you ever watch it on the network. Also watch it for Show’s weird one piece bathing suit like attire.
Kane and Rob Van Dam vs Lance Storm and Chief Morley at WreslteMania XIX (Kane vs Angle and RVD vs Regal at WrestleMania X8)
A rare double punch as both guys went from being on the main card to the pre-show match. This was supposed to be Regal and Storm but this was when he suffered his heart condition. Considering this would go down as one of the best Mania’s of the 2000’s, this match at-least deserved a spot. Plus, this is the one Mania in-which my cable company messed up and we accessed the PPV about halfway through. Luckily, we got it for free but missed Michaels/Jericho. Cut the Miller Lite girls stuff and some minutes of Triple H/Booker and give them a spot on the card.
Booker T and RVD vs The Dudleys vs Jindrak and Cade vs La Resistance at WrestleMania XX (Booker T vs Triple H at WrestleMania XIX)
For RVD, this was actually a step up from the dark match to second match on the show, for Booker however this was a step down. Sure, his career wasn’t the same after an entire match dedicated to the Indian Deathlock and being pinned after thirty seconds. I’m trying to find a positive in that but so far no dice. This WrestleMania was the last “LET’S THROW EVERYBODY ON THE CARD” Mania for quite some time, so everybody has to play a role. Still from world champ contender to tag team champion is a steep fall. Big Show would also fall into this category for ShowMiz vs Truth and Morrison but I actually enjoyed that match, so boo me. Don’t care.
Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXVVII (Sheamus vs Triple H at WreslteMania XXVI)
The Rise and fall of The Miz: Miz vs Wade Barrett in the WrestleMania XXIX Pre-Show
The Miz is an interesting case when you look at his WrestleMania matches. He went from being pre-show fodder in a lumberjack match followed by battle royals and a title unification bout. He finally makes it to the main card in the opening bout and the next year he main events. Sure, he got knocked down to the twelve man tag, but at-least he got the victory in the end. Then, the ax fell on the Miz thanks to a face turn and he hasn’t been the same since. Hey, he gets to home at night to Maryse, something I can’t say I do so more power to him.
There you have it, this list was interesting since there were matches that almost made the cut but didn’t. While some may disagree with me, I think I’ve covered most of the big ones with some you may not have thought of. With WrestleMania week coming up, I presume you’ll be reading a ton of WrestleMania related content on the site. I’m Robert Goeman playing Robert Goeman, have a good day.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
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