It will all come down to this. Three men in four corners. Staring at each other. One needs to retain to stay relevant. One needs to regain his relevancy. The final one couldn’t be more relevant but is under-appreciated. He proves how worthless relevancy can sometimes be. Or...the final one has remained relevant for fifteen years and wants to prove it one more time. They will do anything to win and, come the final fireworks, one will have done anything, something, as they stand on the turn-buckle and soak up the reaction, either deafening ‘Yes!’ chants of vicious boos and fans baying for blood.
The four men will, most likely, be knocked down to three come the final half an hour of the epic pay-per-view. One man will fall at the final hurdle. He will see a shadow and jump too early, Devon Lock style. He will confuse a move and will either be on the receiving end of a pedigree or the running high knee. Both devastating and both can either be meticulously planned, almost in slow motion, or can come out of nowhere, capitalising on a mistake. What’s interesting is that the two men who have booked their places have similar planned and reactionary finishers, the spear and the RKO.
First, there will be the long running battle. The Corporation. The Company. The Authority. They run it how they see fit, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The Billion-Dollar Princess holds a control over her husband he perhaps doesn’t want to admit, hence the correction to her husband on commentary this week, but they are the perfect power couple. Intelligent, well-dressed and ruthless. They will suffer no idiots. If someone stands in their way, they will be taken down. Look at the little men who have been taken down. The Rhodes Boys? Fired, battled back to tag-team title glory and then dropped down. Ziggler, Miz and Ryder? Woo-wooing their way to obscurity. CM Punk? Well, there’s two ways to do this. The easy way or the hard way. Either way, you cross the boss and you pay the price. They only have time for the big men. For a seven foot Director of Operations. For a Beast aiming to defeat the streak. For a friend, a Hollywood muscleman who will be a guardian of the galaxy this summer. Stay big, stay close.
Then, well, then there’s the little guy. The Everyman. The man who wanders through the land seeking the proper account of his life. He has asked others to accompany him, the wronged woman who left him at the alter, the Devil’s favourite demon, even that other independent hero who stood tall with him and the Woo-Woo two years ago. He has to take this journey alone for they ‘follow no man in such voyages’. He has grown his beard, he lacks the stature and muscle of the top men but, perhaps more than anything, he doesn’t care. The Everyman is every one of us. You look in the mirror and see them looking back at you. Yes (Yes!) the chants may one day fade but, for now, we need the Everyman to fight to the top. He knows, after the ten minute destruction at the hands of Triple H two weeks ago, that, in a way, he needed that beating, ‘Therefore suffer now strokes and punishing’. If they knock him down, they will only make him, and us, stronger.
When they face off early in the night, The Modern Corporation staring down at the Everyman, we all know the chants that will be deafening and the electricity that will consume the stadium. An old school, management-savvy legend who has done it all. Those who have fallen? Look no further than this Monday. Chris Jericho. Mick Foley. Kurt Angle. Jeff Hardy. Goldberg. All have fallen and none remain with the company. Triple H, by wanting to end the #yesmovement knows he can do it. The Lionheart was silenced with a dart. Mrs Foley’s Baby Boy sits at home berating the beatings the Everyman takes. The Olympic Hero? Missing in action. The Extreme Enigma has disappeared into a fading will-o-the-wisp. The Undefeated. Deflated. All no more. No wonder Triple H thinks, nay, knows, he can destroy The Everyman. He’s done it before.
Is Daniel Bryan simply an Everyman, an ‘anyone’ anymore? By taking him down, from SummerSlam pedigree to hand-cuffed beat-down, The Game might have made a mistake. He might have created a man in his own appearance. A monster. Like the scientist, Triple H looks at the little goat as a man he can control, drop him down to the mid-card and drop into battles with ‘that talented kid’ Fandango. By beating him down, by tying him up, by taking the title, Triple H has created a man in his own image. A man who won’t give up. A man who will not rest until he is at the top. A man who will do anything to stay there.
There he was, the Chief Operating Officer, goading on his two rivals to beat the hell out of each other mere days before the WrestleMania Main Event. Cheering on the chair shots, the kendo hits, the power moves. Those two former stable members were softening each other up for The Game to move on in this Sunday and press the button on his finishing move. Then there was a cheer. A shout. And Daniel Bryan pounced. He took out The Boss. He stamped on The Viper. Eradicated The Animal. Triple H has created a monster and, just like Victor before him, it might be a monster that he will pursue forever and never take down.
On Sunday evening, Triple H and Daniel Bryan will stare at each other as the bell rings. Triple H knows he can win. He knows he can walk out with the title. He knows it. It’s not arrogance. It’s a fact. What he hasn’t bargained on though is that Daniel Bryan is out for something more than a pinfall or a submission or to end the night in the main event. Bryan is out for revenge and that is a far more dangerous thing to deal with than mere pursuit of success. Daniel Bryan is The Everyman who has the chance to take down the bully and reign supreme. The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.
Then, waiting for the winner of The Authority versus The Everyman is, perhaps, an even greater hurdle. Two men await. Two men who know each other inside out. Two men who, along with The Game and Naitch, formed one of the most dominant, and violent, stables yet seen. They know everything about each other, every move, every thought, and they, too will stare each other down on Sunday night, albeit with an eye on that third corner where another man will stand.
For Randy and Dave, former friends, it is a battle for dominance. For The Viper and The Animal it’s something more. It’s a battle for relevancy. Randy knows that if he loses this he becomes a snake with no poison, he’ll no longer be the ‘face’ and will have fallen at that shadowy hurdle. Where next for The Viper? A fall down the rungs, desperately holding on but slipping down. He knows this will happen because The Authority are ruthless. Again, ask The Rhodes Boys, Ziggler and Punk. In a world of social-media, of Network transmissions and worldwide trends, fall from the top and the drop becomes a silent fall to nothing.
For Batista, the returning hero, the landscape has changed but he didn’t realise it. He was cheered in every building when he took down The Game originally. An animal who will smell blood and rip someone apart. In a way, Batista was Triple H’s first monster. After the 2005 Royal Rumble win, Triple H pushed Dave to take on JBL, even tried to run him over in a bull-horn laden limo, but Batista saw through the tricks. Yes, The Game had created The Animal but he’d left the cage door open and, on April 3rd Triple H was taken down. Looking on that night was Randy Orton, whose vanity had taken him to the brink against The Deadman only for the cocksure tombstone to be reversed. Time would change.
From there, Randy became the second monster of Triple H’s career. A man who would punt Vince and Shane. A man who would attack a woman. A man who would handcuff The Game to the ring-post as he kissed his wife. Triple H, for all his power and all his strength, had one talent that he didn’t really want. Those that turned on him became more powerful than he’d ever want. Batista, ally, took him out and ripped the title from him. The Viper took everything closest from Triple H and left him lying unconscious. In the back of his mind, he knows The Everyman can do this because he has made him in his own image.
Would there be a surprise if Triple H and Daniel Bryan found their way into the main event this Sunday? No. In a way, it would be the conclusion to a nine year story that started when Batista won the Royal Rumble. Since then, Triple H has created three monsters, three men who are as dangerous as him and on Sunday night there is a chance he will be in the ring with all three of them. He will look at The Viper, The Animal and The Everyman and suddenly realise, this might be ‘game over’. However, if anyone can wriggle away from a snake, take down an animal and finish off the hopes of the Everyman, it is The Game.
The flipside to all of this though is that there are two men who need this win. One needs to cement his legacy, his relevancy, his place at the top table. The other needs this to confirm his return. To show the crowds who boo him, it doesn’t matter what you think, he will always rise to the top. Two men who will take down anyone to stand tall on Sunday and walk into Raw on Monday, amidst the deafening boos and smile and hold the title aloft.
There is a final part of the story though. The man from Aberdeen, Washington. The man who is 5ft 10in and weighs 210lb. The man you could walk past in the street and not even look at because, in truth, we walk past these people all of the time. The Everyman. The common person. Us. He has a chance to do for us what we often can’t do in our own lives. Take down the bully, gain revenge on the owner and, finally, finally, look us in the eyes, hold the title aloft and, along with everyone of us, chant ‘Yes!’ to see the night out and we smile and applaud alongside him.
‘Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized’.
Happy WrestleMania week everyone!!!
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