Welcome to the seventh post of a series here at Blade Jobs of Steel. In the countdown to Wrestlemania XXVIII, we’ll be looking back at a few different topics related to the big event, and giving it more analysis than most sane people would give to a worked sport.
In this post, we’ll be exploring an idea first presented in 2009 by a former writer at 411mania.com, Jake Chambers, Wrestlemania Themes. He postulated that hidden in every trilogy of events there is a theme. We’ll expand this a little bit more and look at some different themes and stories that have been present in the different trilogies. In this post, we’ll look at the themes in the seventh trilogy, spanning from the 19th to 21st editions of the event.
STAR SEARCH PART II
The year 2002 was one of the most transitionary years in the companies history. A full year after being the only game in town, things were changing drastically. The company lost a long standing legal battle with the World Wildlife Foundation, and had to be renamed WWE, their formerly unified titles were split in two, and most shocking, the rosters were split in two, one exclusively for Raw, one exclusively for Smackdown.
Add in the fact that the two biggest stars of the previous era, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock both left as full-time performers, leaving a huge void at the top. This new era, clearly needed some new stars.
Like the search to replace Hogan fifteen years earlier, this wouldn’t be easy.
The night after Wrestlemania X-8 saw a phenomenal talent show up. Brock Lesnar rolled through the roster en route to being crowned King of the Ring, and WWE Champion by August. He would lose the title shortly later and chasing new WWF Champion Kurt Angle in an amateur wrestling dream match.
Wrestlemania XIX ended with Brock Lesnar celebrating and it seemed like a new star was crowned, the Lesnar trilogy was all set to begin. A year later he was set to face Bill Goldberg in a true dream match to really solidify his place in wrestling history. But as usual it wasn’t that simple.
Not long before Wrestlemania XX it was revealed that Brock Lesnar was going to leave professional wrestling. All of the company’s hard work would be for nothing. There was a need to find a new star.
The company seemed to try to look to ten years before for inspiration. Wretlemania X ended with Bret Hart as the top dog in the company. The company went with a well respected veteran who could work a great match with anyone then, and they would do it again.
Wrestlemania XX ended with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit holding the two titles, two veterans, two friends, two phenomenal wrestlers, two world champions. The company seemed poised to try to have a workhorse at the top of the card.
But for a variety of reasons, neither men set the world on fire as world champion. A different option was needed.
They wanted Randy Orton to be the guy, but that was botched. Instead, a fellow stable mate was placed in this high-profile spot. Batista won the Royal Rumble and instead of challenging WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield, he went after his menton Triple H.
Wrestlemania XXI ended with Batista holding the World Heavyweight Title after Triple H suffered his second straight Main Event loss.
But Batista wasn’t to be their guy. Earlier on the card there was another World Title match that didn’t get the same treatment. In a very short, borderline squash match there was a new WWE Champion crowned.
Unbeknownst to everyone else, their time was up, his time was now.