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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: 11 Years in the Making...Perfect Timing
By The Doc
Nov 26, 2013 - 12:42:59 PM

The WrestleMania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment

Before we get today's column, I want to make a special announcement. Over the past several years, I have been working on a book about pro wrestling's modern era. You may have seen it sporadically mentioned in recent months and years. Well, I am proud to announce that it is finished and is on-sale for my LOP family today (officially, it does not go on-sale until January). It has been one of my life goals to write a book and I think that you will really enjoy it. If you like my columns, then you will love the book. I would very much appreciate your support and feedback of the project, so if you are interested in getting "The WrestleMania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment," click here. For my European readers, simply search for the title on your respective country's Amazon site. For my non-North American, non-European readers, the book should be available to you after the first of the year. Stay tuned!

Thank you!


QUESTION OF THE DAY: At this moment, where do you see the "title for title" storyline heading as we approach Wrestlemania Season?

In September 2002, Brock Lesnar went from Undisputed Champion to WWE Champion as the Raw brand brought back the NWA/WCW World Heavyweight title belt and made it exclusive to the WWE's flagship show, awarding it to Triple H.

In January 2006, newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion, Kurt Angle, was involved in a live TV segment with newly crowned WWE Champion, Edge, when Angle suggested that they renew their rivalry by unifying the titles.

In the fall of 2010, the first set of rumors began circulating that the WWE was planning to end the brand extension and merge the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships.

On November 25, 2013, the WWE set arguably the two most successful champions of the "Brand Split Era" on a collision course for a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, title for title. For the first time since Brock Lesnar was Undisputed Champion, we will have one World/WWE Champion.

Monday morning, I awoke to read the Survivor Series recap and discovered that the show had ended with Cena and Orton in a staredown, holding their respective titles high above their heads. I should have been excited to read that PPV-ending blurb. Yet, I felt apathetic. Orton vs. Cena in the (yet to be officially named but presumed) Undisputed title match and I reacted with disappointment? You see, I have forever and always viewed a title unification match as a Wrestlemania main-event storyline. Even though the WWE proved that not to be the case at the beginning of last decade when they featured the crowning of the first-ever Undisputed Champion at the December 2001 Vengeance PPV, I had always assumed that the next time an Undisputed Champion was chosen, it would take place at a Wrestlemania. Much of my apathy toward Cena vs. Orton had everything to do with my false assumption that we were heading for the renewal of a rivalry not seen in over four years at Wrestlemania XXX. It is not an IWC statement to suggest that there are far more over candidates to be involved in a Wrestlemania WWE/World title match; it is a fact. The people around the world have spoken and, I among them, desire to see new stars in the most prominent positions come next April. However, with Orton vs. Cena taking place at TLC (and not Wrestlemania) for the WWE and World Championships, that is a different ballgame. I can get behind that. I am excited for that.

Timing is everything. There are times when a match or sporting event are more intriguing than others. Take the 2014 World Cup, for instance. I would really enjoy seeing the Ivory Coast play Brazil in the group stage or even the quarterfinals, but all due respect to the African squad, I would rather see teams play in the latter stages that are relevant contenders to win it all. Circumstances shape desires. This weekend's Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama features a berth in the SEC Championship Game up for grabs. I'm far more interested, accordingly.

There is no denying my desire to see a title unification match in the WWE. Symbolically and due to Orton's height advantage, the WWE title was clearly positioned as the top championship as Survivor Series went off the air. The fact that there are multiple World titles, one clearly positioned as superior to the other, has been a logic gap since the WWE effectively ended the brand split with the "Raw Supershow" concept over two years ago. No longer is it necessary to have a World Champion for each show if all competitors "work" for one entity. It is time to make two into one. Though I would love to see two become one at Wrestlemania, I would much rather see Cena vs. Orton at the December PPV. At this point, I cannot honestly tell you if I'm more excited for Orton vs. Cena at TLC or just more relieved that they're getting Orton vs. Cena out of the way at TLC, but I'm no longer apathetic about such a historic occasion as a return (temporarily or permanently) to one World Champion in WWE.

Make no mistake about it, this match is a big deal. You may dislike the chosen competitors to make it happen, but "11 years in the making" is not some hyperbolic, over exaggerated tagline. In wrestling's rich history, the famous WWE title and the symbol of the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling have been bound together with one unified titleholder for just 9 months. The WWE has been around for five decades; the NWA/WCW, as we knew it, for just a shade over five decades (1948 to 2001). We had an Undisputed World Champion for just 1.5% of that time period. And there really are not two better candidates left in the WWE to bring the "duel champion" chapter of the WWE's 50 history to a close. Orton and Cena are two of the defining superstars of their respective era. Batista and Edge would have been the other fitting candidates from the post-Triple H era if they were still around. And again, I reiterate, Cena vs. Orton won't be happening at Wrestlemania XXX. Whew, I don't know what they have planned for Wrestlemania XXX, but Orton vs. Cena was not in any way, shape, or form amongst the matches that I wanted to see. Apparently, last night's crowd very clearly wants someone shorter and more heavily bearded as the WWE Champion. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but any fans of the Flying Goat or the Chicago Made Punk should be thanking their lucky stars that one potential roadblock got cleared away as we prepare to exit off to Interstate 10 for New Orleans.

So, let us all collectively put aside that we're about to see Cena vs. Orton with the title on the line for the 17th time on PPV (stat credit to Triple R) and let us all collectively appreciate the positives.

The segment on Raw that announced TLC's main-event was quite entertaining. I thought it kickstarted a pretty good episode of Raw. It was nothing special, but there was some good work put in by a variety of wrestlers. Titus O'Neil showed why he should be doing something more significant than spot duty at random times. The Shield's attack on CM Punk and The Wyatt Family's abduction of Daniel Bryan piqued my interest in the respective directions of those storylines. I didn't even watch the main-event as I feel as though I've seen that tag team match (or some variation thereof) about a hundred times over the years. The show climaxed in the first minutes. Randy Orton's character has been pushed all over the place since he got back into the title picture, but he seemed impassioned at the prospect of getting back in the ring with his biggest rival. Though Orton is merely Cena's third or fourth biggest rival, the Golden Boy has always maintained a tremendous amount of respect for his OVW 2002 graduating classmate. Expect a late 2013 Match of the Year candidate between them. They have had a knack for telling psychologically stimulating tales over the years, with Orton doing his best work against Cena.

TLC has been a really nice addition to the PPV calendar since its 2009 inception. Much like Money in the Bank, the WWE always seems to get it right with TLC (at least to a degree). They understand how to book all the various acronyms that come with the PPV title, having featured so many of them over the years. Subsequently, TLC has been a hit in my book. I've enjoyed each edition to various degrees. With a historic match as this year's main-event, it really feels to me as though the Road to Wrestlemania XXX is beginning a month earlier than expected. Surely, a "title for title" match will have Wrestlemania implications.


Join The Doc and Super Chrisss tomorrow at 4PM as we end the discussion on the 2013 Survivor Series and open the dialogue on TLC's WWE-World Championship match between John Cena and Randy Orton. Plus, we will discuss the "look" of a WWE Superstar with a special panel guest.

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