Wednesday, December 01, 2010

American History K: Wrestlemania VII

He is one of the most feared entities in professional wrestling, whose impact included winning the WWF Heavyweight Championship away from Hulk Hogan just one year after his debut, during the height of Hulkamania in 1991. Since, The Undertaker has forged a legacy of two decades of destruction, winning various major championships, and setting record firsts as a character unmatch in theatricality and spectacle. His history in Casket matches, Hell in a Cell cages, Inferno matches, and the Buried Alive stipulation that recently ended his current tenure as a World title contender, is legendary, but no accolade is greater than the unprecedented success he has enjoyed once every year.

The Undertaker debuted at Wrestlemania in the year of his first championship, facing "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka in the mid-card of May's Wrestlemania VII. Victory was assured for the gloomy heel, who dispatched the Superfly in under five minutes. It was a significant victory even for it's time, but nobody could've imagined that it would be but the first in a sequence of a staggering eighteen unanswered victories at Wrestlemania!

What if things hadn't been so easy for the Deadman, though? What if events unfolded in a very different way, and The Undertaker's incredible pageantry was rivalled by a force so awesome, no destiny could steer him towards victory?...

In 1991, he was twenty-two, and in five years he would be writing his own name in the history books by winning an Olympic Gold Medal for America in grecco-roman wrestling. He is Kurt Angle, one of the most decorated superstars in the history of professional wrestling, whose accomplishments came faster and thicker than anything The Undertaker could handle.

At Wrestlemania VII, The Undertaker certainly would've cut an imposing figure opposite the relatively diminutive grecco-roman grappler, but with youth in his corner and an intensity that cannot be matched, Kurt Angle's American History K would have changed the expectations of wrestling overnight. I mean, The Undertaker was already a hundred freaking years old in 1991, any way, wearing that stupid hat. He won matches because he avoided taking moves. If Vince McMahon told Koko B Ware he could act like nothing could hurt him, then he would've been undefeated at Wrestlemania too. But he didn't. He told him he was an idiot with a bird.

Sure, Undertaker had size and power on his size, and maybe even the support of the crowd. In 1991 things were simpler. It's true, it's true. But once the audience witnessed a seven foot man being overhead german suplexed with a release, then the tide would've turned. The stupor of a man as excellent in the field of catch as catch can delivering a perfect moonsault would've been broken as the crowd listened to a grown man's cries be silence by the snapping of an ankle.

WCW, in it's infancy after beginning in 1988, would've collapsed instantly. Kurt Angle would've been elevated to unquestioned main event status, facing Hulk Hogan as a babyface against the heel faker. Kurt Angle would have arisen to the absolute heights of professional wrestling glory in 1991, yet still competed for and won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996. It is only during this period that the WWF recovers, having collapsed under the weight of a lack of competition for Kurt Angle's phenomenal style of wrestling. This is American History K, and you thank me for this education experience.

Epilogue: Crippled and embarassed beyond repair, The Undertaker was forced into an early retirement by this version of Wrestlemania history. Summoning the dark arts, he travelled backward through time, preventing Kurt Angle's premature rise through the ranks of the World Wrestling Federation by occult means. Undeterred, Kurt Angle went on to become the NCAA Division I competition runner-up, after interference from Paul Bearer prevented him claiming ultimate victory. With Angle out of the picture, Undertaker went on to win the hardcore championship as a cyclist, and punched Scotty 2 Hotty at the Royal Rumble.

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