Now, if anyone remembers six years ago at Wrestlemania 12, there was a match between Roddy Piper and Goldust. It was labeled as Hollywood Backlot Brawl. There was no winner. As a matter of fact, there was no ref, either. Now, back to the present. The reason I bring that bit of history up is because of the storyline involving Ric Flair and the Undertaker. Does anyone seem to think this angle is going where the Piper-Goldust saga is going as well? If it does, what's it going to be like this time around? Are they going to start the fight at like Planet Hollywood or the Hard Rock Cafe and continue until the two of them get to the SkyDome? Who knows? We might see Taker do to Flair what Goldust did to Piper, and try to run him down with a car. I really hope it does end up like that. I really hope we see that kind of match again at Wrestlemania.
I remember that match. I've also got the book on the history of WrestleMania. It talks about that match in its specifics. Here is what the author, Basil V. DeVito Jr., writes:
"Shawn Michaels against Bret Hart was the centerpiece of WrestleMania XII, and indeed it had all the elements necessary for a truly dramatic match. But if you look at any WrestleMania in its entirety--if you think of it as a three-hour roller-coaster ride--then you realize that the undercard matches and varius comedic interludes all play vital roles as well. In this case, when celebrity interaction probably wouldn't work, something else had to be devised to take the crowd through the emotional highs and lows expected of a WrestleMania experience. The answer was a Hollywood Back-Lot Brawl between Goldust and Roddy Piper.
The encounter, which was displayed on a giant screen for the audience at the Pond, began with Goldust arriving at a movie studio in a gold Cadillac and running down Roddy Piper. After recovering, Roddy responded by taking a baseball bat to Goldust's Caddy. Much mayhem ensued, of course, with each man utilizing as weapons the myriad props available on a back lot. After beating each other senseless for a while, the two engaged in a low-speed chase across the freeways of Los Angeles, Goldust in his Cadillac and Roddy in--what else?--a white Ford Bronco. This obviously evoked memories of O. J. Simpson's most famous run--his flight from police in 1994 after his wife was found murdered.
Helicopters followed Roddy and Goldust as they cruised toward Anaheim, capturing the chase on camera for millions of fans at home, as well as for the live audience. Although the World Wrestling Federation now routinely broadcasts action from outside the ring on the Titantron, it was a relatively new technique in 1996. And in fact, this was the match that proved to us that it not only could work, but could work brilliantly. The Back-Lot Brawl provided a break from the intense nature of the overall event, and although it was hardly a comedy skit, it did make people laugh. It really had all the ingredients of a mini action-adventure movie.
After a while, the combatants arrived at the Pond, and the brawl reached its climax in the ring. The match ended with Roddy humiliating Goldust by stripping the flamboyant wrestler of his clothing and exposing his garters and nylons. Afterward, anyone who saw Roddy could tell he was completely spent. Near collapse, he had given one of the most difficult performances of his career. In truth, few people could hagve pulled it off. Roddy had an ability to maintain a high level of intensity that was marched by very few wrestlers. Physically, emotionally, athletically, he had a knack for performing at a peak for an extended period of time. He was better at that than perhaps anyone I've ever seen."
Another thing I remember about that match was Piper using a car phone to call Vince McMahon. As far as I'm concerned, if they make Flair-Taker look like that match, it might end up being the most talked about WrestleMania match on the card this year.
I think John Cena's really earned himself a run at the top of the card with his excellent work these past few months. I think the Smackdown! crew realizes that it's time to stop playing games and start elevating new guys.