Let's talk about the "passing of the torch" match
These thoughts came to my mind after Lesnar's shocking loss to Goldberg. The main reason of complain is that Lesnar's loss was wasted to someone who does not need it and that a younger talent would have benefited from it, by beating Lesnar and turning into a megastar. These were also people's thoughts when Lesnar ended the Streak. But let's take a moment and think:
Is that the way wrestling really works?
I'd like to share some "passing of the torch" matches with you from the past:
Hogan vs Andre, Wrestlemania 3
HBK vs Bret Hart, Wrestlemania 12
Warrior vs Hogan, Wrestlemania 6
Rock vs Hogan, Wrestlemania 18
Cena vs HBK, Wrestlemania 23
Cena vs Rock, Wrestlemania 29
Do you know what I see in those matches? I see wrestlers, who are on equal footing. On equal level. Which brings me to my point: the passing of the torch match is not a match where wrestler a puts over wrestler b, because in reality, there's nobody to put over, they are both on the same level.
Many people have said that Bray should have beaten Taker or a young star should have beaten Brock. Here's the thing, though. That would have been the case, had Lesnar been a heel. However, Lesnar has exceeded that role. He has the qualities of a modern day Andre the Giant. Do you really think that Vince would have fed Andre to Hogan, had Hogan was anybody else? Hogan at the time, was bigger than Andre.
What people are doing, is confusing Lesnar with JBL from WM 21 or the Iron Sheik from 1984. Lesnar is not that.
Also another thing I'd like to mention. People consider Batista/Cena vs HHH or Ausitn vs Michaels to be passing of the torch matches. Well, they're not. They are just matches between the biggest heel vs the biggest face they had at the time.
So, my points are:
From my point of view, wrestling is a bussiness above everything else. How do you decide which young wrestler to push to the moon? That's a big gamble. That's why Vince pushes someone above someone else, when that someone has surpassed the other. That's safe money and safe for your company.
Just check all the big time title changes like Austin/Michaels, Cena/JBL, Batista/HHH, Bryan/Cena, Hogan/Sheik. The new champ is as popular or has surpassed the former.
So until someone reaches Lesnar's level, or Cena's level or at least HHH's level, those guys will only trade losses and victories among themselves, especially when it comes to big title changes and main events of Wrestlemania.
PS: That's also why Roman does not work. He is over, but he's far below the level of having two Mania main events under his belt. What does it matter that he's beaten Triple H if his numbers and popularity hasn't surpassed Triple H's?
And noone is on the level of Cena, Lesnar or Undertaker yet.
The thing with Reigns is that we all knew that he will defeat Triple H at Wrestlemania 32. There weren't big odds stacked against him so that we could feel for him and support him to finally even out all odds. It's not like predictability is too bad but still.
Take Dean Ambrose. Multiple times, it was teased that he's almost won the World Title only to get people swerved after some time. The pop for his title tease was great at those times. He was being cheered against Triple H while Reigns was getting booed.
Apart from the talent itself, storytelling is vital in building someone.
The other thing also is that we're in a completly different era. that when this term was use. Back in the 80's and 90's, you didn'T has much smart fans as you have today. You also didn'T have as much tv as you had today. In the 80's until the mid 90's you had one hour of superstars every, and in the us you had prime time and i think all american, which got change to wwe mania in the mid 90's. Prime time became raw which wasn'T a long show at the time. Then during the attitude era, outside of PPV, you technicly only had Raw every week since everything else had been cancelled so again, not a lot of wrestling. Smackdown came in 1999 .
But again, keyfabe did play a factor in those guys becoming equal or surpassing the other big attraction for the most part. The last great organic push in my opinion was Cena because they still weren't going all scripted at the time, so he was able to take chance which i think nobody want to try anymore. That's why nobody is at the level of a cena or lesnar in my opinion. The closest one to them in today'S environnement is Roman Reigns and A.J. Styles but they're still if they don't loosen the reigns a little bit then they will stay at that level because the only wait to get to that level is for the performer to take chance a not be afraid to fail. they need to grow organicly which is getting harder with today'S fans that are getting smarter everyday.
I used to believe that passing the torch was important. I used to blame Hulk Hogan for not wanting to pass the torch to Bret Hart. How wrong I was. We want to believe that passing the torch is real and it will help make somebody. It's all lies. The truth is that wrestlers need to make themselves. Put themselves in these positions to have money making matches.
Long ago I saw a suggestion that it would have been of great benefit to WWE for Dolph Ziggler to retire Shawn Michaels. "Pass the torch!".
* NWA Pro Wrestling (hour long syndicated, aired Sat mornings on local Fox Affilate)
* WWF Superstars (hour long syndicated)
* WWF SupetStars Of Wrestling (2 hours on WWOR Cable, originally aired Sat nights, then moved to Sun mornings)
* NWA Pro (a different syndicated TV program, aired late night Sat)
* NWA "WCW Saturday Night (2 hours prime time Sat night on TBS)
* WWF Prime Time Wrestling (2 hours prime time Mon Night on USA)
* NWA Power Hour (one hour Sun night on TBS)
This doesnt include periodic specials like Sat Night Main Event or Clash of Champions.
There was a ton of wrestling on TV before the advent of The Monday Night Wars
Typically yes "passing the torch" is between two legit, bona fide superstars, the catch is one of them, while at the top of the company, is much older and nearing the end of their run as legit permanent top of the card performer.
That was clearly the case for Hogan with Andre. Realistically it should have been Bob Backlund who put over Hogan and crowned him champ but WWE was reluctant to do a fan fave vs fan fave feud so they went with the double audience shock of Sheik upsetting Backlund, ending his epic 5 year reign, followed by his crushing loss of the title to Hogan a short time later. Andre had a 23 year undefeated streak and was the most recognizable star WWE had other than Hogan, a good choice to "pass the torch" to him and legitimize his run as champ, although realistically Hogan at this point didnt need it, he was nearly 3 years into his title reign and had already main evented two W-Manias.
HBK did give a huge boast to Cena, that win still stands as huge moment, showing Cena try was the #1 guy now. This is a classic "torch" moment. Cena earned a high profile win over a legend who was legitimately one of the top draws in the company at that moment, albeit much older & close to leaving.
I would say HBK-Austin was a "torch" moment because HBK had clearly supplanted Brett Hart as the company's top guy and Austin had never seriously challenged for the title, winning it out right at Mania was the crowning moment when WWE clearly put Austin #1 in the company.
Lesnar doesnt have a "torch". He had a very brief run as a full time star over a decade ago, and has been a guest appearance part timer, he is an attraction, but realistically he isnt now nor has he ever been the top guy in the company. WWE has been building around Reigns & Rollins for the past few years, as well as Ambrose, they have been much more a focal point of programming than Lesnar. If anything Goldberg was a bigger star longer and worked more than Lesnar, especially when you factor in both his WCW & WWE runs. If you're matching two part timers there is no "torch" to speak of. Plus, Lesnar has already lost to Cena, HHH, & Taker so the idea beating him is something more special than say beating those guys is false.
You also forgot in New York we had : WWF Superstars and Challenge Saturdays and Sundays at noon on Fox 5(before Fox won the NFC TV rights in 1993)
NWA /WCW Pro Saturdays 9am on WPIX.
The following programs aired on TBS
NWA/WCW Main Event Sundays 6:05pm
NWA / WCW Saturday Night 6:05 pm
NWA / WCW Power Hour Saturdays 9:05am
And that's not counting the TV from the UWF(Herb Abrams), ICW / IWCCW, USWA, GWF, AWA which also aired only on cable TV in NYC.
You forgot Wrestlemania 19 Austin vs Rock. Although maybe late but its final passing to Rock before Austin left for good.
Anyway, can agree. Except can add that it means not only that you got on equal level, but also surpased opponent. You cant have "passing the torch" except if you are not gona carry that torch as no1 guy or "The Guy". Roman is not there yet. Though if he improves and Cena decides to go or just be someone who will show for 1-2 matches a year, can see that match as "passing".
Austin vs hbk was another passing the torch moment... I'm surprised its not been mentioned yet...
It is definitely the day the the new generation ended.
The WWE is currently facing an identity problem. John Cena is clearly transitioning to a part-time wrestler and thus leaving the door open for the "New Face" of the company. Vince wants it to be Roman Reigns but clearly the fans just aren't buying it. So what to do? You give the fans what they want AJ Styles becomes the Face of Raw!!!
Cena defeats Styles in a great match after The Club's interference accidentally costs Styles the match.
Styles enters the rumble at #30 and wins
Instead of choosing to rematch with Cena he elects for a match with Roman Reigns where if he wins he is going to Monday Night Raw!!!
Mania Card (How I would set it up)
Roman Reigns (Universal Champ) vs. AJ Styles
John Cena vs. The Undertaker (WWE Title)
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg (Cage Match)
HHH & Shane McMahon vs. Ambrose/Rollins
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (US Title)
Wyatt Family vs. New Day (Smackdown Tag Titles)
Charlotte vs. Banks vs. Bailey
Bliss vs. N. Bella vs. Lynch vs. Natalyia
Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Enzo/Cass (Raw Tag Titles)
Andre Battle Royal (Put Shaq & Big Show in this don't have them go 1 on 1)
Cruiserweight Title Ladder Match (Opening Match)
After Mania these roster changes
Styles goes to Raw
Rollins goes to Smackdown where he and Ambrose do a DX type parody
New Day goes to Smackdown as the new tag champs
American Alpha moves to Raw and joins Kurt Angle
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