by Craig Higham - December 10, 2013
Way back at Vengeance 2001, we had a similar situation where the WWE was unifying two major titles. At that time we had the 2 major stars of the WWE in The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, along with main event superstar Kurt Angle and up and coming main event superstar Chris Jericho.
Leading up to the undisputed mini tournament we had The Rock and Chris Jericho in the middle of a great feud, with the World Heavyweight Championship being swapped between them over the past months. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle were also settling their difference based on the outcome of the Alliance match which Kurt Angle cost Stone Cold the win.
While at the time of watching I was disappointed Chris Jericho became the undisputed champion that night (as I was a Rock fan), now that I am wiser to the ways of how wrestling should work, it was the perfect choice. Both The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin were big enough stars already, so didn’t need the title of first Undisputed Champion to appease fans. Kurt Angle while not being the face of the company like The Rock and Stone Cold, was a well-established main event player who already had a unique title, that of the only Olympic gold medallist in WWE history.
This left Chris Jericho as the one wrestler who could gain the most from winning this tournament and title of undisputed champion. Throughout the rest of his career he would offer refer to himself as the first ever Undisputed Champion, and the only man to beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in one night. This PPV elevated Chris Jericho to main event superstar, a position he remained until the end of his full time career.
Fast forward 12 years to this week’s TLC pay per view and we have another match to determine 1 champion of the company. I am not thrilled about the two men involved in the match, as I do not thing either man needs the prestige of first unified champion as both have had outstanding careers, however I am holding my judgement until after TLC as I am hoping a swerve or something to happen that will make this match seem more important.
Now if the WWE was to replicate their Vengeance2001 situation with a mini tournament, then here is my 2013 replacements for The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho:
The Rock / John Cena, this is an easy swap as both are ‘the face of the WWE’ and have face persona’s so John Cena will be the young and casual fans pick to win the title. John Cena should be involved in a major title unification match due to his popularity and years at the top of the WWE. He is the current title holder of the World Heavyweight Championship, just like The Rock was in 2001 and would be the favourite in the mini tournament just like The Rock was in 2001.
Stone Cold Steve Austin / Randy Orton, both being the number 1 heels, and both holding the WWE title leading into the event, this also is an easy swap. While Randy Orton will never reach the heights of Stone Cold Steve Austin, he is at least number 2 in the pecking order of the WWE. His longevity at the main event level, numerous major title wins cements his spot in a replica of Vengeance 2001. Both wrestlers are or have been associated with a authority storyline which adds to the drama of will the authority help them win.
Kurt Angle / Cm Punk, Kurt Angle the ‘only Olympic gold medallist in the WWE’, CM Punk the ‘longest running WWE champion in the modern era’. Both while never reaching ‘face of the company’ level were/are major main event superstars of their era. Kurt Angle was just re-establishing himself as a face wrestler after being a ‘spy’ in the Alliance, While CM Punk is current establishing himself as the number 2 face in the company after just removing himself from the services of Paul Heyman. Due to CM Punk’s rein as WWE champion, then he should be an automatic choice for our Vengeance 2001 redo.
Chris Jericho / Daniel Bryan, are our two up and coming main event wrestlers, both coming off short reins as champions, and both trying to prove that they deserve the position at the top of the WWE. Daniel Bryan could, for the rest of his career, be able to gloat that he was the only wrestler to beat Cena and Orton in one night, just like Chris Jericho had with The Rock and Austin. Out of our 4 combatants, the win would do more for Bryan’s career then it would for the other three, and give this generation of WWE fans 1 more major player at the top of the WWE tree.
They could have had the following matches to make use of the TLC Pay Per View:
John Cena vs. CM Punk in a Chair match
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a table match
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan in a ladder match
Personally if I was a WWE writer, this is the unfied champion story I would be pitching to Vince McMahon……I would have a draw or no contest result at TLC. Then the next night on RAW, Triple H to make the announcement that at this year’s Royal Rumble match, rather the prize being a main event spot for Wrestlemania, it is for the WWE undisputed Champion. Then for my big swerve at The Royal Rumble match, at the start Triple H with Stephanie, walk down to the ring with both titles to watch the Royal Rumble match up close. At some point in the Royal Rumble, let’s say number 27 (as it is the number that has won the most), no-one comes to the ring. We end up with CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan as our last two and after a great back and forth battle CM Punk emerging as our victor. As he is celebrating Triple H comes into the ring with the two titles, drops them and eliminates Punk, as Triple H was entrant 27. Triple H becomes our Undisputed Champion setting up a perfect story for his proposed match with Punk at Wrestlemania!!!
How would you like the unified titles to play out?
Hooroo and see you next week.
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