It’s time for night two of my inter-promotional PPV featuring the stars of the Attitude Era and the matches we never got. If you haven’t looked over the card for night one, you can do so here. Let’s not waste any more time; we’re diving into the latter half of these hypothetical bouts.
Gangrel vs. Vampiro – Inferno Match
These aren’t two of the most historically significant names in the history of the business or even of the era, however, gimmick matches have always had tons of appeal to fans. What better gimmick match than an Inferno Match pitting the two vampire characters of the era against each other?
Gangrel appeared on the scene in 1998 as a member of The Brood with Edge and Christian. His entrance was one of the best in the business, as he rose from underneath a ring of fire on the entrance ramp. He would complete this by sipping and spitting “blood” from his mysterious chalice in true vampire fashion. Vampiro rose to prominence wrestling in Mexico and the indy scene in the early ’90s. However, he came to WCW in 1998 and went through multiple gimmicks, but his best work was as a dark demon character during his feud with Sting.
This match could be a little rough on the eyes with the two combatants, so that’s why adding the gimmick element of a ring surrounded by flames would be needed.
Owen Hart vs. Rob Van Dam
The late Owen Hart was truly a unique talent despite being in the constant shadow of his brother, Bret. Owen had a unique blend of technical prowess with high-flying aerial ability, especially during his days as “The Rocket”.
Rob Van Dam is my personal favorite of all ECW performers. Van Dam’s uncanny ability to blend precision martial arts tactics with death-defying stunts was one of a kind. The fluidity of his movements meant that if you blinked you would run the risk of missing something amazing. These two would have the opportunity to be the talk of night number two on this legendary card. Could Owen’s missile dropkick be the deciding factor or would the Five Star Frog Splash seal the deal?
Bret Hart vs. Kurt Angle – I Quit Match
You would not find a better old school technical match featuring two competitors than in this match-up. As long as the match wasn’t held in Canada (because we all know if it were one of the contestants would complain about the finish… I can’t resist), you could make a case for either of these technicians taking the match.
You have Bret Hart, the prized pupil of the Hart Family Dynasty against the Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle. The Sharpshooter versus the Ankle Lock — this match would be an absolute clinic. You would see flawless execution of holds and grappling techniques that would be shown for generations for future stars of the industry.
I’ve been critical of both individuals in this match feeling that both characters were rather vanilla, aside from Bret’s anti-American character in 1997. But there is no doubt that this match would be an instant classic.
The Rock vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Who is the true People’s Champ? The Rock anointed himself with this moniker during his days in the Nation of Domination, while DDP’s story of a valet turned jobber that worked his way to the top resonated with fans of the era. Both were able to generate fantastic crowd reactions and the promos leading up to the match would be legendary.
In the ring, this would be a crisp match featuring two talents that are extremely versatile for their size. Both featured electrifying finishing maneuvers that would bring fans to their feet at a moment’s notice and blow the roof off any arena. We all know the Rock is the bigger star of the two and is on the Mount Rushmore of greats to ever lace up the boots, but this match would be fun as hell.
n.W.o (Hall & Nash) vs. Degeneration-X (HBK & HHH) w/ Sean Waltman as Special Referee
It’s been talked about for two decades how the n.W.o. changed wrestling forever. Two decades later, they are still one of the most talked-about factions and angles in the history of the business. It all started when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash famously jumped ship from WWF to WCW in the spring of 1996. What followed couldn’t have been predicted by anyone.
The Outsiders would form the greatest faction in the history of the sport with Hollywood Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1996, and the rest was history. The n.W.o. made cheering for heels truly acceptable for the first time. They were cool, edgy, and dominating all at the same time. They were the first step in an industry evolution that looked to capitalize on elements of realism in the scripting.
Degeneration-X was Vince McMahon’s response to the n.W.o. in 1997. DX would dial up the crude attitude and was truly the first example of the “Attitude Era” under Vince’s direction. HBK and HHH played their heel personas perfectly, antagonizing fans and opponents at the same time with their juvenile tactics and promos.
DX famously tried to invade Nitro in May of 1998 when the two shows were being held less than an hour away from each other in Virginia, although HBK was on hiatus at the time and the faction had been remade. Both groups used signature crotch chops and pushed the envelope in ways that made teenagers like me laugh on a weekly basis.
The true wild card of this match would be Sean Waltman, who was a member of both factions serving as Syxx in the n.W.o. and X-Pac in DX. The overwhelming likelihood is he will screw one team of his buddies to gain favor with the other, but who? All five participants are real-life best friends and charter members of “The Kliq.” This would be my favorite match of the night.
Undertaker vs. Sting
This is perhaps the most highly anticipated match that we never got in the history of the business. Once Sting abandoned his surfer character in 1996 and embraced his dark “Crow” gimmick following the formation of the n.W.o., fans salivated over the idea of this match. The two most enigmatic characters of the era, and perhaps ever, squaring off against one another would surely get everyone talking.
Sting served as the face of WCW having never left the promotion, while the Undertaker served as the standard-bearer of the WWF (despite appearing in WCW briefly in the early ’90s). The two men of darkness and mystery would be able to give the crowd chills if they ever locked up in the ring. Both men could blend high impact moves with speed and agility to make for a truly entertaining match.
The entrances to this match would possibly be the most entertaining of all participants in this two-night extravaganza, filled with plenty of darkenss, smoke, and chilling effects. Which dark character would be able to execute their finisher to get a victory? Could the Tombstone keep the enigma down? Would a Scorpion Death Drop be enough to subdue the deadman?
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
It is time for the main course: the one match of the era that would’ve set the world of wrestling on fire if it ever happened. Two members of the industry’s Mount Rushmore going one-on-one. This would likely be the greatest drawing match in the history of wrestling.
Hogan is the greatest star the business has ever created and a legend of legends. Steve Austin emerged from stints in WCW and ECW before taking on his Stone Cold persona that would result in the proverbial rocket ship of stardom being strapped to him. No two performers personify the peak of the industry’s greatest era more than Hogan and Austin.
Hogan’s heel turn gave him a late-career rebirth that allowed him to again soar to new heights, while Austin finally found a character that allowed his natural in-ring ability and in-your-face promo style to take center stage. You could take all the anticipation for the two wrestlers’ greatest matches and combine them and it still would fall short of what it would be had these two ever went at it.
You wouldn’t see much grappling in this match. You wouldn’t see any submission holds. You would see a ton of closed fists, elbow drops, and body slams. For what the match would lack in aesthetics, it would more than make up for with the personalities of the two wrestlers and their ability to capitalize on crowd energy and employ ring psychology that made them two of the all-time legends. What could have been…
There you have it, a two-night mega-event featuring matches I wish we had from wrestling’s greatest era. I’m sure there are some legendary pairings that I missed, but after watching WWE Network during the pandemic I couldn’t help but wish we got these classic battles. Hit me up on Twitter if there are further matches that you’d love to see.