Sunday Sermon: Recasting WrestleMania III

Jamie Lithgow, John Carbery and Brian Damage

With Wrestlemania XXXIII fast approaching today we pause for breath to reflect on the fact that it has been 30 years since Wrestlemania III; regarded as the pinnacle of the 1980s boom period in wrestling. Mixing new school with old school, in today’s Sunday Sermon we try to recast the performers on this seminal show with modern-day WWE Superstars. Can anyone on the current roster do justice to the roles of Hogan, Andre, Savage and Steamboat? Or, has the product evolved so much that such comparisons are no longer even possible?

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The Big Bang Theory: The PPV That Didn’t Create a New WCW

WCW Big Bang

Jamie Lithgow

Friday 23rd March 2001, WWE announces the purchase of WCW from AOL Time Warner. Monday 26th March 2001, the final episode of WCW Nitro airs on TNT. This was never intended to be WCW’s last show; WWE’s plan was to re-launch the company in June of that year on TNN – the network on which WWE Raw was broadcast at the time. As we all know, this did not happen. However, WCW also had another potential future, not under the WWE umbrella. In fact, this alternate future already had a PPV pencilled-in. WCW’s ‘Big Bang’ never actually happened, but I wonder what it would have been like if it had?
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Dream On: The End Of Wrestling’s Dream Matches


Brian Damage

When Sting finally appeared in a WWE ring at the Survivor Series….it was historic for a couple of reasons. Firstly and obviously, it was something many fans had clamored to see for years. Ever since the demise of WCW in 2001, Sting was the one man who WWE fans wanted to see the most. Despite years of could have beens and near misses, Sting finally appeared in 2014. As great as it was to finally see him in the WWE, it also signaled an end of an era. Continue reading

What If The Ultimate Warrior Had Never Left WWE?

Editor note: Please take the opportunity to check out our tribute piece to The Ultimate Warrior.

Jamie Lithgow

(Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of

One of the most popular posts, especially in recent months, on this blog has been Craig’s article looking at The Ultimate Warrior’s 1996 run with WWE. This was an ill-fated return and the final nail in the coffin of a potential career revival in WWE for the face-painted maniac. However, more recent happenings indicate a willingness to do business from both parties. Warrior appeared in the WWE All-Stars video game a couple of years ago and more recently, and to much fanfare, he was included as a playable character in WWE2K14.

On the back of what appears to be a healing relationship between Jim ‘Ultimate Warrior’ Hellwig and Vince McMahon, today I contemplate the ultimate hypothetical question; what if The Ultimate Warrior never left WWE?

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The Book of Genesis: Chapter 2…The Mid-Card

Brian Damage

The last ‘Book of Genisis’ article I did focused on several wrestlers and TNA and how they all can reboot themselves into something fresh and different. Today I do a chapter 2 and pin point some mid card talent that may or may not need some new ideas. Whether they could be pulled off and work, is a completely different story… Continue reading

Reinventing the Wheel – Ideas That WWE Have Never Explored

Jamie Lithgow

About a year ago I posted some ideas that I thought would improve WWE. Looking back, all my ideas were pretty tried and trusted; nothing too ground breaking to be honest. This time it’s different, I’ve gone big and thought outside the box. The following are not just little tweaks; some of my ideas would require WWE to completely restructure their product. Obviously I am suggesting these ideas hypothetically. Say what you want about WWE, it is an extremely profitable organisation. I mean if I owned WWE I wouldn’t implement many, or even any, of these ideas because as the old saying goes – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, I don’t own WWE and can quite happily entertain the thought of these drastic changes… Continue reading

Fantasy booking Kofi Kingston

Jamie Lithgow

Dependable, popular and hard-working but could Kofi amount to more?

Kofi Kingston? A like-able mid-carder or someone that could accomplish more in the WWE?

Dependable, popular and hard-working but could Kofi amount to more? Jamie thinks so.

If you have read any of my previous posts you will have noticed that I am not too keen on WWE’s current crop of babyfaces. The likes of John Cena and Sheamus are certainly not my cup of tea, but to be fair I am the kind of person that appreciates a good villain far more than even the best hero. I watched the first Star Wars and became interested in Darth Vader rather than willing Luke Skywalker to defeat him. My favourite character from my favourite TV show is Mr Burns, the millionaire tyrant from Springfield. Also, it will not have escaped anybody’s attention, based on my previous posts, that CM Punk is my favourite WWE performer. However, this does not mean that I hate all good guys, they just have to work that little bit harder to get into my good books. One such performer that has entered my good books is CM Punk’s old tag team partner, Kofi Kingston.

Dependable, popular, hard-working, mid-carder – that pretty much sums up Kofi Kingston. After being drafted to Raw from ECW he has made the mid-card his home. He is occasionally inserted into multi person main event level matches, such as Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank and has never been in danger of slipping down the card and out of contention for TV time. His list of accomplishments includes multiple Tag Team, Intercontinental and US title reigns. His ring work is hard to fault with his athletic style still impressing years after we were introduced to it. He is also a very popular character, well respected by older fans for the effort he puts in and the quality he produces while remaining a favourite for younger fans. His promos skills are also good, if rarely utilised. With little promotion and relatively limited weekly TV exposure Kofi is still one of WWE’s more popular and successful performers, so I wonder what a push would do for his career?

In late 2009 Kofi received a push to the upper regions of the WWE ladder, but it mysteriously fizzled out almost as soon as it started. His short feud with Randy Orton was very well received by fans, despite the booking leaving a little to be desired.

After an altercation with Orton and his Legacy team mates Kingston interfered during Orton’s WWE title match at Bragging Rights, a match which Orton lost. This kicked off some heated back and forth attacks, in which Kingston more than held his own. In fact Kingston cut what is probably still considered his best promo during this feud when he trashed Orton’s NASCAR car.

Kingston actually went on to win their first PPV encounter by leading his team to victory against Orton’s at the Survivor Series (Kofi was the sole survivor). However from this point on the feud followed a more conventional path. Like a lower league football team in the FA Cup, Kingston came flying out of the traps and got the better of the opening exchanges. However, like a Premier league team taking charge of a match, Orton came out in the second half with a new lease of life and scored several times to run out the convincing winner of the feud. This remains the one and only attempt WWE have made to elevate Kingston, but they appeared to just abandon the idea at the moment it started to take off.

There were and still are rumours of heat between Orton and Kingston which could explain the swift end to their feud, but wrestlers not liking each other is a pretty lame excuse to end what was turning into a good rivalry. Either way, if WWE were to ever consider Kofi for another push they should definitely look to Orton as the man he would face to reach the next level.

The reason I have started theorising about a Kingston push is due to a comment made by Chris Jericho on the Stone Cold Steve Austin box set. He stated that Austin’s character was so effective because “guys wanted to have a beer with him while girls wanted to sleep with him”. The second part of this statement doesn’t strike a chord with me, but the first bit does. So I got thinking about current WWE performers who I would most like to share a beer and some laughs with. There’s CM Punk, but of course we would be drinking Pepsi, William Regal would have some stories to tell and then I thought of Kofi Kingston, purely because he’s such a likable guy. Unlike Cena, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Ryback and the other babyfaces in WWE, Kofi Kingston is far more relatable, he seems like he could just as easily be your mate as he could be World heavyweight Champion.

This leads me to how I would book him, and the answer is just like Stone Cold circa 1996/7. The only exception being that I would keep Kofi as a babyface. Essentially Kofi needs to go on a winning streak before picking a fight with one of the big dogs, in this case Randy Orton. Ideally Orton would be holding the World Heavyweight Championship giving them a reason to fight. With a reason to fight both men could make reference to their original feud, with Kofi stating how far he has come and what he has achieved since. I would hold the match at Survivor Series and make it a war. This would be a personal feud, much like Austin and Bret Hart in 96 and with any luck the use a blade would be allowed to increase the drama. In the end I would have Kofi lose this match in the same way Austin lost his Wrestlemania 13 match to Hart, by refusing to give up before passing out.

The clean nature of the win would mean an end to the feud for the time being, but due to his guts Kofi would be received like never before. He could ride this wave of momentum into the Royal Rumble as a real contender, and win it. This victory would set up a rematch between him and Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. On this occasion I would book Kofi to win in another war to lift his first world title and become a bona fide main eventer at the grandest stage of the all.

Years in the mid-card has allowed Kingston to build a rapport with the fans and gain respect. This means that if he ever receives a push fans will be right behind him because they know his story and will urge him to succeed. Also, he may have several WWE years under his belt but Kingston is still a relatively young man in WWE at just 32 years of age. So if he reaches the summit he could spend several years up there.

If Ryback doesn’t work out then WWE should consider pushing Kofi. Good luck to Ryback but the fans don’t really know him or his story, he’s just a guy with big muscles and a catchphrase. Kofi Kingston on the other hand could follow the likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero and Steve Austin as the dependable, popular, hard-working, mid-carder who fans want to see climb the ladder and achieve his goals.

Fantasy booking by Craig

Craig Wilson

Sunday’s Sermon saw Jamie and I living the dream by booking superstars for a fantasy show we’d put on based on the unlikely event of Ted Turner fancying another pop at taking over the wrestling world and for some reason putting us in charge… Yesterday, Jamie picked his card and it, on paper, looked like a great show. Let’s see how I do…

First of all, let’s list the roster:

Divas: Beth Phoenix & Kharma

Tag teams: Briscoe Brothers, Young Bucks, Kendrick & London and the Kings of Wrestling.

Single stars: CM Punk, Austin Aries, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Brodus Clay, John Morrison and Shelton Benjamin.

Jamie also added a couple of singles guys and I will do likewise with Rhyno and Matt Hardy being late call-ups to the roster.

Your hosts are Jim Cornette, Tony Schiavone and JBL.

They announce that tonight will see new tag team champions, a new TV champion and a new World Champion crowned.

Opening match Young Bucks v Kendrick & London: What better way to start of the card than with this spot filled tag team match that goes back and forth, with the fans on the edge of their seats, for near fifteen minutes until The Young Bucks snatch victory and progress to the final of the tag team championship tournament where they face the victors of the next match.

Match two: Briscoe Brothers v Kings of Wrestling: Kings of Wrestling are of course Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero better known to WWE fans as Antonio Cesaro and Kassius Ohno. Tonight they face Indy sensations The Briscoe Brothers. A different kind of tag match to the first one with more matt based wrestling on show. Kings of Wrestling have this one sewn up until botched interference from The Young Bucks gets the victory for The Briscoe Brothers.

Battle of the behemoths anything goes match: Brodus Clay v Rhyno: A hard hitting brawl that see’s blood spilled as the two fight through the crowd until a gore fells Clay and allows Rhyno to pick up the win.

Ladder match to be number 1 contender for the TV title: Matt Hardy v John Morrison v Kofi Kingston v Shelton Benjamin: If you thought the opening bout was spot filled then wait till you see this one. The four trade ladder spots and huge bumps but it is Morrison that is able to pick up the win meaning he will face the winner of Christian v Christopher Daniels later in the show.

Beth Phoenix v Amazing Kong (Kharma): The match that many wrestling fans wanted to see take place in the WWE but never did. Like Jamie, the anticipation makes this a bigger draw than the in-ring skills would be the two go back and forth before Amazing Kong finally overpowers her opponent to win this one.

TV title match: Christian v Christopher Daniels: A very solid match between these two, as you would expect, but it is Christian this is able to reign supreme and pick up the win.

Tag team title match: The Young Bucks v The Briscoes: Two of the best teams on the independent scene in America are the contestants to crown our first tag team champions and it is the Briscoes that win thanks to interference from Kings of Wrestling which results in a three team brawl at the end of this one.

Main event for the World Championship: CM Punk v Daniel Bryan v Colt Cabana: This is a dream match for independent wrestling fans. This 30 minute brawl leaves the crowd desperate for more as they three trade near falls, attempted finishers and reversals until Punk picks up the win after a GTS on Cabana.

Fantasy Booking by Jamie

Jamie Lithgow

Following on from this Sunday’s Sermon I have given thought to a fantasy card of 9 matches. On the card are a couple of tournaments to crown World and Tag champions which soaks up 6 of the matches, with the other 3 bouts just for fun.

To set the scene I have decided to use Madison Square Garden as the venue, and of course it is sold out. On commentary I’ve got Tony Schiavone leading JBL and Dusty Rhodes. Ring announcing duties fall to the legend that is Howard Finkel with the even bigger legend Todd Pettengill handling the backstage interviews.

Tag Team Title Tournament – Semi Final #1
The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Young Bucks
Naturally you want tournament matches out of the way first to allow competitors time to recover. I’ve placed The Young Bucks in the first match purely to get pulses racing and open the show with a bang. The more experienced and battle scarred Briscoes will outlast them in this short but fast paced opener.

Tag Team Title Tournament – Semi Final #2
Brain Kendrick & Paul London vs. The Kings of Wrestling
A much closer and slightly more scientific affair than the previous match; I see Kendrick and London as the babyface squad trying to teach the heels a lesson in respect. This one will have its high spots but The Kings should win this by using a distraction tactic. Yes, in other words cheating, but the clever kind of cheating that actually enhances a wrestler’s reputation.

World Title Tournament – Semi Final #1
Daniel Bryan vs. Austin Aries
Babyface Bryan and heel Aries would put on a clinic in this one. I see lots of submissions and counters in a Benoit/Angle style match. I see this being hard fought with Bryan possibly having to apply the Yes/No Lock for some time before Aries taps.

World Title Tournament – Semi Final #2
Colt Cabana vs. CM Punk
I would bill this as a grudge match with Colt Cabana representing the people that CM Punk turned his back on. A little like The Rock actually, just with a more personal touch because this would be a proper grudge match. The polar opposite from Semi Final #1, this match would be hard hitting and spill out onto the floor. I would have Punk win by knock out to protect Cabana. Punk could nail him with some brass knucks before applying the Anaconda Vice, with Cabana offering no resistance due to being KO’d.

Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix
So far we’ve seen a lot of reruns from ROH shows on the card but this match would offer something people had anticipated to see in WWE, but for multiple reasons were denied. I wouldn’t expect this to be a fantastic match; the spectacle of finally booking these two women in a match together is the attraction.

4 Way Dance
Christopher Daniels vs. Christian vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Morrison
This has the makings of a cracker. The women’s match would have given spectators a chance to catch their breath but this match is designed to get them right back into the action. In order to establish him as the promotions veteran I would have a babyface Christian use his experience to find a way to win under difficult circumstances.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Kofi Kingston
A dream match, or at least this could be the beginnings of a dream match. I would like these guys to have a short match, but left open for a sequel. My grand plan would be to have these guys eventually compete against each other in a ladder match. I see both men as babyfaces in this particular match with Kofi going over clean. This would build to Benjamin turning heel on Kofi and creating the need for a series between the two ending with a gimmick match.

Tag Team Title Tournament – Final
The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Kings of Wrestling
I see this as a war, not unlike the Punk/Cabana match. I would expect to see those relaxed rules that appear whenever Triple H has a match and of course a few drops of blood. The tag team division would be important in our promotion so it is vital that the teams competing in this match show what it takes and the sacrifices needed to be a champion. Just outlasting The Kings I would have the bloodied and battered Briscoes win the titles.

World Title Tournament – Final
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
These guys competed in the best WWE Title matches of last year so it is only natural that I would want to book this bout again. Coming into the match Punk would be more banged up so Bryan could target an injured body part and go to work on it. I see this being a long-ish match so introducing this psychology helps. Bryan would also be carrying a few knocks himself which Punk could exploit after gaining the advantage with a low blow. Building towards the finish I would have both men survive submission attempts and kick out of near falls. In the end I would actually quite like Punk to steal a cheap win by rolling Bryan up as he talks to the referee and even hold onto his tights.

I would hope that fans would be sold on the quality of the action so much that the cheap nature of Punk’s win after such a good match, and event as a whole, would drive fans to hate him even more and want to come back to see the next show.