Friday, April 8, 2011

One More Match!

The Rock lays the smackdown on John Cena
By Kevin Hunsperger

It seems like a lot of fans were booking a John Cena-Rock match BEFORE Wrestlemania 27.  So many were counting on that contest that the Cena-Miz match was kind of forgotten about, at least that's my 1-2-3 cents on the situation.

So now that it has been confirmed that the Great One will take on John Cena 51 weeks from today, there's more buzz about other WWE alumni getting back into the ring for that "one more match."  I wonder though if this match at Wrestlemania 28 will be the Rock's only match.  I'm under the assumption that he will head back to Hollywood and continue working there before stepping back into the ring with Cena on April 1, 2012.

Austin serving as special guest referee at Wrestlemania 27
I read an interview with WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin this morning.  In it, he says "...I could still get two years out of my carcass on a full-time basis...At about 90, 95% of what I used to do."  He went on to say "But I'm happy where I'm at.  And in ten or twenty years I still want to be doing the things I'm doing with my hunting and fishing.  I want to continue to do that in a pain-free fashion.  And right now I'm living a pretty pain-free lifestyle." (from Xfinity TV)

I think that last part of the interview sums it up.  Austin was taken out of the game early due to his nagging neck problems.  I was sad to see him retire because he is one of my all time favorites.  But in the long run it's going to be better for him to stay out of the ring.  Ten years ago, the "dream match" for many would have been Hulk Hogan vs. Steve Austin.  A battle of two of the all time biggest names in wrestling.  I think Austin should look at Hogan and consider staying out of the ring.  In recent months the Hulkster has had several back surgeries and has had a lot of difficulties with his recovery.  When Austin says he's pretty much living a pain-free lifestyle now, he needs to consider that.

Sure the "WWE Universe" wants a big return to the ring for that "one more match."  But what cost are they willing to pay?  I'm happy to see Austin come back from time to time, do a couple of stunners, and drink some beer.  Of course that in no way helps to put anyone over, but it's all in good fun, right?  I also like his role as the host of Tough Enough.  You can tell he's still truly passionate about the business.

Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon
Other guys have come back after long retirements for one more run.  Most notably, Bret "the Hitman" Hart.  In 2010 he returned to the WWE to seek closure I believe.  He buried the hatchet with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon.  He defeated the CEO in a dismal match at Wrestlemania 26 and then went on to win the U.S. title from the Miz, only to surrender it later.  I'm not sure what the whole point of that was.  For Hart, who has been plagued with health problems through the years, including a major concussion and a stroke, I'm not sure he needed to return to the ring.  Although he never really got the proper sendoff after everything went down in Montreal, and then he was forced to leave the ring in WCW without saying goodbye his way.  I think his run last year gave him that opportunity to go out on his terms.  So I don't begrudge him for wanting to come back, I don't think he overstayed him welcome either.  I still think he'd be great in a trainer/agent role with the company and occasional on air appearances to help put over other guys.

Ricky Steamboat goes for the pin on Chris Jericho
Another Hall of Famer who came back was Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat.  This was quite a shock to me when he stepped back into the ring in 2009 at Wrestlemania 25.  Again, Steamboat was forced out early due to injuries and for the 15 years prior to the big match in Houston, he stayed out of the ring.  His match (a 3 on 1 encounter with Chris Jericho) showed me even in his 50's, "the Dragon" still had a lot of fire.  He went on to face Jericho at the following month's pay per view.  He put Jericho over both times, but I think his brief return helped him gain a sense of closure too and wrap up a storied career in the ring.  I'm glad he's still working backstage with the WWE and look forward to when his son Ritchie gets called up to the main roster from FCW.

Comebacks are great for a bit of nostalgia, but I don't think they should be done to sacrifice the young talent on the roster.  I think back to Hogan's return in the mid-2000's.  He pinned Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton at back to back SummerSlams.  I felt like his time had come and gone and it was time to put over someone else.  Even though Shawn was nearing the end of his career, Hogan was certainly well past his prime.

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