Top 10 Unlikely stories in wrestling: 10 - 6
by, 01-14-2012 at 07:35 PM (5116 Views)
I was going to write the 2nd part of my 2002 year in review but I somehow logged out of this website and lost everything I had written about so I decided ah to hell with it. But luckily I have been writing a blog which I think is far superior that I am nearly done with now. As I'll possibly exceed the standard 10,000 word limit I've decided to condense this down into two parts that should see it safely onto the net. I am nearly done this so I will have the 2nd part of this up online tomorrow.
Here is my list of top 10 unlikely stories in wrestling history. You will agree with some, and disagree with some surely, but I'm just going to state that this is related to wrestlers themselves instead of big events/feuds and that I won't list anything that was predicatable in this blog, such as Rey Mysterio winning "against the odds" at WrestleMania 22, when it was obvious he would. Same goes for Triple H and his Royal Rumble win or anything similar, as it was completely expected.
10 John Cena returns to win the Royal Rumble
I'm not a John Cena hater, in fact I've always just been pretty indifferent to him, which I think is pretty much the biggest problem with him. When he debuted against Kurt Angle I didn't absorb the bullshit, he was at his most generic and I wasn't surprised when he quickly became an afterthought. I liked him when he became a heel rapper, I thought that was great, and I liked him as a face until wwe obviously started forcing him down our throats about a year even before he won his first WWE title. I didn't care when he won his first title or all the other titles down the line. As much indifferent as I was to him, his return to win the Royal Rumble in 08 was quite astonishing, as he was expected to be out a long time and won it in a flash.
9 JBL Holds The title for 10 months
Bradshaw's previous pushed solo run in 2002 was a colossal failure. Aiding Stone Cold in his feud with the nWo early in the original Raw brand split was always going to be hard, but it was a sign that WWE had faith in the wrestler. After competing in his biggest solo match to date at Backlash with Scott Hall, things looked bright. It all faded away however, as his cowboy gimmick just didn't fit in with the product. After being lost in the wilderness Bradshaw became relevant again when the APA reformed to fan delight. However, in 2004 Ron Simmons (Faaorooq) was winding his career down when he was storyline "fired" unjustly by Paul Heyman. By shunning Faarooq, Bradshaw was booed for the first time in years. Next week on Smackdown, he debuted as John Bradshaw Layfield, the millionaire entrepreneur douche who came to the ring in a stretch limo. Smackdown was very light on heel characters and he stepped right into the void, and shockingly won the WWE title after a long feud with Eddie Guerrero. More unexpectedly, he defended successfully (through the help of his many canny ways) against Undertaker, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero and Big Show over a 10 month span before relinquishing at Mania 21 to Cena. The reign was at a time when Smackdown was at a lull but the longer he held it the bigger the heel he became. His heel run has since gone down as a big success, whether on commentary or in the ring. Considering that he was only a character for 2 months before winning the strap and having the longest reign for years in that time period, this has to go down as one of the most unlikely reigns ever.
8 Mick Foley flies off the Cell - And comes back to the ring for more punishment
It is well documented that Mick Foley is one crazy son of a bitch. He had been taking parts in outlandish stunts for years but in 1998's King of The Ring he outdid himself. Mick, performing under his Mankind persona, had decided a good way to start the match would be at the top of the cell. It was a risky idea that Mark Calloway (Taker), Vince and the backstage staff were weary about. Undertaker threw Mankind off the top of the cell, and the rest was history. The image of Mankind flying off the cell and crashing through the announce table was one of THE iconic attitude era moments. When Jim Ross screamed "He's dead" it appeared to be match over. Shockingly, Mick came back and not only finished the match which had about another 15 minutes left, but took two more bumps that included a chokeslam through the top of the cell (this really hurt Mick) and chokeslam and tombstone through hundreds of thumb tacks. It is not surprising that this match shortened the career of the one and only Mick Foley.
7 Bob Backlund wins the WWF championship 10 years after his last reign
In 1984 Hulkamania was born. However before that happened the Iron Sheik defeated long time holder Bob Backlund for the world title. Backlund held the title for 6 years and was seen as a capable pair of hands for the company. Surprisingly, Backlund returned in 1993 as a really dorky looking generic face, pretty much the original Daniel Bryan you could say. He was just your typical good guy with no particular edge to his character. That however shockingly changed when he blindsided Bret Hart after losing a title match and locked in the Crossface Chickenwing. The American Hero had snapped. He would be a thorn in Bret Hart's side for the last few months of 1994, and you have to admit it made for compelling television as the very generic do-gooder had suddenly turned psycho. Unbelievably, he became champ at Survivor Series. He was far from the other type of superstar in WWF during his long hiatus and re-debut, he was simply, a wrestler. Backlund lost the title 3 days later to Diesel, pretty much voiding the impact of his title reign. It's in the history books though! In memory of his reign, here are the only 3 recorded videos with Backlund as champ.
6 Hulk Hogan wins the WWF Title for the 6th time
2002 was dominated by nostalgia, and in the first half of the year this nostalgia was brought on by Hulkamania, still alive and still ruling, Brother! The WrestleMania X8 match was the moment Hulk was truly back, and he was once again the biggest thing in WWE. I often wonder if everybody just made a snap decision and took Hogan out of the nWo when they heard the crowd reaction in the SKydome that night. Very unexpectedly and to crowd delerium he was named number 1 contender for Backlash, and two weeks later he was able to end the emotional comeback of Triple H and still be insanely over, as he equalled the young guns Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock who had surpassed his title haul. For all that WWE is criticised about, you can't deny that the rebirth of the Hulkamania era was done incredibly well, and though the reign only lasted a month, he really never was expected to have the title in the first place. I think the whole world marked out!