Wrestling fans love to contemplate WWE dream matches.
Hell, dream match-ups are something fans of all sports love to think about. What would happen if Jordan and LeBron actually played one-on-one? Could Babe Ruth hang in a home run derby against Barry Bonds?
Pro wrestling is one of those rare athletic activities where we’ve actually had a few of those dream matches come true. But sometimes dreams are best left unrealized.
Wrestling matches hinge on compatible styles and mindsets. And most of the individuals we all think we want to see duke it out would probably put on complete stinkers in the ring.
Here’s our look at WWE dream matches fans only think they want to see.
Sting vs. The Undertaker
I swear, I don’t know where the demand for this one comes from. But this is at the top of everyone’s list of WWE dream matches.
The Stinger’s late 90s Crow-inspired gimmick ignited fans’ imaginations, as it was the closest thing WCW had to the “prince of darkness” Undertaker during the Attitude Era.
Now, there’s no doubt in my mind that crowds and audiences would pop huge for the entrances. An opponent like Sting would probably result in the Deadman taking a 45-minute walk to the ring. But here’s where the dream comes crashing down.
At some point, the bell has to ring.
Sting, while fondly remembered, was not the world’s greatest worker. In fact, all of his truly great matches were against opponents who could carry a broomstick to a four-star match. Ric Flair, Vader, the Great Muta, these were guys that could make Sting look like a million bucks.
Y’know, there was a time when Sting vs. Hulk Hogan was a dream match. That match happened, and it was, you know, bad.
Then there’s the Undertaker. Think of his greatest matches. Man, you loved those matches, didn’t you? They were great! Who were his opponents?
Odds are the opponents you pictured in your mind were Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
When you put two guys who need to be carried by their opponent in the ring with one another, you get a crap sandwich.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan
We talked about compatible mindsets earlier. You know what happens when you get two gigantic egos in the same ring?
You get one guy stroking a fu manchu and the other one rubbing his bald head, two voices saying “that doesn’t work for me” at the same time, and the space-time continuum would collapse on itself.
Hogan’s continual use of the “creative control” clauses promoters kept giving him for reasons passing understanding make him notorious for being hard to work with. And although Austin never had such a clause in his favor, he did have the stroke to veto opponents and finishes.
And he was famous for using it.
Austin has always been a guy, though, who would do any match if the timing, the creative, and the money was right. But these guys were both in WWE at the same time in 2002. The fire of the Attitude Era hadn’t quite gone out, and there was still money to be made.
But even if it had happened, let’s be honest. You’ve got a walking cripple in Austin, and Hogan has the moveset of a drunken pile of dirt. I don’t even know what that means.
They did wind up in the ring at the same time in a tag team match, and we at least got a tease of what a one-on-one might be like. It was quite bad.
I’m sure the build would be exciting, but again … there’s gotta be a match at some point, and I don’t think nostalgia alone would’ve carried it.
NWO vs. The Shield
This is one of those WWE dream matches that really only work if you’re booking it by comic book rules.
As in, the Shield from 2014 battles the nWo from 1997. Wrestling doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.
The Shield is still held in fond regard because of a span of about eight months when they were at the center of every story. And then they broke up without warning, and it was never really resolved. But the short span they were together left a big impression.
The nWo was kept on top of WCW for years. We look back on it with great fondness now, but we have the prism of time to look through. Everyone seems to want those days back, but 20 years later, we forget that those three years with the nWo on top felt like 20 years.
And really, what’s going to happen when the bell rings? Nash vs. Reigns? I’m lost on where the excitement is in that match-up. I mean, I guess we could all take bets on how many minutes into the match Nash will tear his quad.
How exciting would it really be to see Scott Hall mix it up with Seth Rollins? Or Dean Ambrose (or is it Jon Moxley now? I’m confused) against Hogan?
Actually, if we’re booking this via comic book/time machine logic, it might be fun to see drunk Scott Hall botch some spots against the current crop of superstars.
Honestly, though, it’s hard to see the appeal of this one beyond the fact that they were both well-remembered factions.
Of course, this is all subjective. Wrestling isn’t entirely about match quality. Hogan and Warrior didn’t have a great match, but they had a legendary one.
But sometimes the combination of two iconic figures mixed together just yields hard-to-watch results. If you think that isn’t true, I would remind you that WWE is going to headline its next Saudi Arabia disaster with Undertaker vs. Goldberg.
Be careful what you wish for.
All images courtesy of WWE.