2 years ago an angle played out on Raw where a very popular young wrestler took on a monster heel for the WWF title. Against all odds the young face pulled out a victory for the belt. The face had been lambasted behind the scenes by the old guard for not working the WWF style properly despite being well-regarded by fans and aficianados of the industry. The crowd exploded at this victory, believing that they finally were seeing a shakeup of the old order and the ascendancy of a new superstar. Sadly, the victory was reversed moments later, and rarely spoken of again. The face in question, Chris Jericho, took 18 months and a concerted effort by the biggest star in wrestling, The Rock, to get him over enough to where he was even a semi-viable champion again. Even at that, his title reign was plagued by the sense he was not worthy of his belt and by the fact that he continually jobbed over the years in high profile matches to that aforementioned monster heel, HHH.
Fast forward to this evening. The crowd explodes as Rob Van Dam seemingly makes the final step into superstar status with a victory over the Undertaker. The old order seems to finally have a new star amongst it for a few glorious moments as the arena rocks with excitement over his victory, a victory over a man who has dominated him in 2 previous high-profile matches over the last year. However moments later his victory is reversed and he is squashed by the old-guard heel who has previously dominated him. We look forward to SD! when the inevitable HHH (either one) UT showdown will occur this thursday. I know that determined WWF apologists and people who love to say that net people bitch too much will complain this is jumping to conclusions, but I think we just saw Rob Van Dam become Chris Jericho this evening. And no, after the last 2 years, I have NO faith whatsoever in the WWF making this the start of something which will actually elevate anyone who hasn't been a main eventer for years already. Once again they had the moment, the chance to push someone into the next level. And they decided to again go with the old tried and true folks who have been slowly tanking the ratings the last two years. Oh well, Vince knows best I guess, and sees the excitement in the UT title reign that I must be missing.
"You used it to shove your miserable daughter down our throats week in and week out...not anymore!" - Ric Flair gives me hope, Raw 3/18/02
"I thought it was cool how HHH just tossed Jericho out of the ring and made him vanish, possibly into another dimension, at the end of the match." - Dr. Unlikely says the funniest thing I've ever read on Wienerville
However, I think that the popularity of RVD of 02 is even higher than the popularity of Y2J of 00.
Plus, look at this end of things. The last time RVD and Undertaker wrestled, UT only won because of Eddie interfering. Undertaker has been willing to sell all of Van Dam's moves. Something it took Hunter months to do. Plus, I'll bet Hunter was never willing to let Jericho get the better of him in an interview segment. Taker did...tonight.
And...UT jobbed to Maven. That's show give you some hope.
I don't buy this Jericho/RVD thing, but I would like to point out that Jericho only won by fast count, and he could barely keep Triple H down for that. So not so different in that the heels were screwed, but way different in that if UT wasn't close to the ropes he would've been beat, but Triple H was in no way going down to Jericho right then.
Bring on UT/RVD! Forget about HHH!
"You gotta hate somebody before this is over. Them, me, it doesn't matter."
"Hate, who do I hate? You tell me."
"Who do you love?"
-Wintermute to Case in William Gibson's Neuromancer
We're always joking about how Ambrose never defends the US title (at least on those rare occasions when we remember he actually is champion) but it's kind of surprising to think just how long he's held this belt.