On April 20, 1988, the wrestling world met its newest and possibly most feared heel at the time – Barry Windham. In a World Tag Team Title match, the second generation wrestler, betrayed his good friend Lex Luger to join the greatest stable of wrestlers in the business back then (and possibly today). After years of being touted as the greatest “pure athlete” in any promotion at the time, Windham realized he could not beat Ric Flair, so it was better to join him in his fight against, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Luger and the rest of the NWA.
[adinserter block=”1″]This set the stage for new feuds and a new culture in the NWA/WCW that remains one of the greatest times in wrestling history. Fortunately, on that night in Jacksonville, I witnessed history.
On January 13, 2014 on television, we all saw the start of history.
CM Punk, in a six-man tag team match with the New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield, was betrayed by his infamous partners.
Oh you didn’t know? Well then, your ass better tell somebody about the double cross that will lead to a Randy Orton/CM Punk match at WrestleMania XXX.
What happens now with Punk and Triple H and Orton is anyone’s guess, but the culmination of it all must end in April in New Orleans. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton is must see television and if in fact it happens to be the main event of the night, how brilliant of the WWE (you do not hear me say that often) to string this along for a few months. Punk’s character was dead weight after Paul Heyman left and the battle with The Shield was enticing – more so to give Roman Reigns the push he needed, but it as not a long-term program. Punk and Orton can carry the feud for a few months and make it sing.
I am intrigued by this kind of feud and “deceit” by the New Age Outlaws because it is so like them, takes a page from their days with Degeneration X and makes the entire angle with Punk and The Shield look masterful. It is like the old school tag team passed the torch of sorts and allowed for the Authority’s keep player to pray on his opponent without having to lift an elbow or use a drop kick to get his attention.
Should we call this feud by association?
The idea of a Punk/Orton match at WrestleMania XXX does a few things to help balance the impending card. It eliminates any talk of a Hulk Hogan/John Cena vs. Punk/Roddy Piper tag team match. It eliminates the chance of Piper or Hogan wrestling that night (unless Chris Jericho returns and then on the off chance, could a Jericho/Piper match happen?). It also means Cena is taken out of the main event where he could face Undertaker. It also means we will slowly see Cena become the “Sting or AJ Styles” of the WWE – fighting the good fight for the company instead of himself.
It also means The Authority remains relevant long into the middle of the year.
[adinserter block=”2″]The WWE did the right thing in taking an old school plan and working it to perfection. The road to WrestleMania XXX is starting to become paved. CM Punk looks to be headed toward a showdown with Randy Orton, and he should win the Royal Rumble match. All things right this moment look pretty good for the company. If you base the future success of the WWE on one night, then all that glitters is gold.
We can only hope the path is still shining bright as the seasons change and WrestleMania XXX gets closer to a start, rather a beginning of a potential gold mine.
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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