Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mania Memories: Like a Boss

Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Wrestlemania 19 was filled with those so called "Wrestlemania Moments" or at least I thought so.  It featured the last wrestling match for Stone Cold Steve Austin (I don't count some of the gimmicky fights he had with Eric Bischoff as actual matches), the Wrestlemania return of the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, and the near neck breaking of Brock Lesnar after a botched Shooting Star Press against Kurt Angle.

But the mark in me will remember this as the night Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon went head to head.  Certainly it wasn't a pretty match. The two were in a street fight.  And as much as I complain about Hogan these days and my disdain for non wrestler matches, this was on contest that HAD to happen.

I think there's still a debate going on as to who should be credited for the success of wrestling in the mid-1980's.  Was it Hulkamania that took things main stream or Vince's vision and money that did it?  The two tried to settle their differences that night in Seattle, only to have a third factor appear.  Roddy Piper returned to the WWE after a nearly seven year absence to reignite his feud with Hogan.

I'm a mark for old school as I've mentioned, but I also recognized that these two were way past their prime.  But I don't have a problem with the legends coming back and working, as long as their not the entire focus of the company.  I think the WWE played this rekindled feud well.  No one over wore their welcome in my view.

Austin's last hoorah (WWE)
The other big event from Wrestlemania 19 as I mentioned in the beginning of this piece is that it featured the final match for Steve Austin.  I don't know how many people knew that at the time, one would think if they'd known there might have been some more fanfare behind the contest.  This was the third Wrestlemania battle between Austin and the Rock, with Austin winning the previous two.  However, on this particular night, the Rock got his hand raised in victory and Austin kinda faded away into the sunset.  But he wasn't alone.  It was too long after Wrestlemania 19 that the Rock too took a long break from the business.  Sure he'd be back a year later to tag with Mick Foley, but the sake of argument, the Rock was essentially done as well.

So on one hand 19 was about saying goodbye to heroes we loved and hello to returning stars like Shawn Michaels (I know he'd been back for a few months, but you know what I mean)  It was finally time for the WWE to push other talent, which they slowly started to do.  More on that when we talk about Wrestlemania 20.

Post your thoughts here or on Facebook.  Thanks for reading.

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