The Path to ‘Mania

Nick Paglino

Steve AustinWWE will likely cajole Stone Cold Steve Austin into one more match at some point. Austinwill obviously have opponent approval, and I doubt he’d want to put himself at risk working against someone as physical as Brock Lesnar. Consider what Lesnar did to John Cena in their PPV bout. Brutal.

That said, I believe the real money gets made if Lesnar dominates WWE between now and ‘Mania, then Austin shows up as Wyatt Earp to save the town from the outlaw. If, indeed, that is the plan – and I doubt it; it makes too much sense – here’s how to get from Point A to Point B while taking into account Lesnar’s limited dates and Austin’s limited availability.

It involves Zack Ryder. That’s right. Woo, woo, woo.

You got Paul Heyman representing Lesnar. Use Ryder to pave the path to Austin. Ryder serves as Lesnar’s verbal tormentor. Lesnar cuts an in-ring promo; Ryder follows up on the Jumbotron. Lesnar destroys an opponent on RAW or PPV; Ryder follows up on the Jumbotron. Ryder taunts Lesnar, coloring his “Are you serious, bro?” rap with a bit of insanity. With a touch of Brian Pillman.

“You’re tough, bro…but you’re not the toughest. You’re bad, bro…but you’re not the baddest. You can beat up almost everybody…but there’s somebody you can’t beat. You scare almost everybody…but there’s somebody you’re scared of.”

Lesnar, of course, goes ballistic. EVERY TIME. His eyes bulge, his veins pop, Lesnar goes CRAZY. But he can never get his hands on Ryder. NEVER. Ryder is always one step ahead, just a little too slick. Ryder wrestles a match. Lesnar hits the ring. But Ryder leaves through the crowd and Lesnar can’t quite catch him. Ryder is “live” backstage. Brock finds a video machine on play. It’s a Benny Hill chase scene. It’s the roadrunner and coyote. John Laurinaitis “fires” Ryder. That makes him impossible to control. Who’s the mole that keeps sneaking Ryder’s promos on TV?

You could tape a lot of this in advance. You could maximize Lesnar’s presence on Raw despite his limited dates.

Lesnar can never, ever lay his hands on Ryder. That’s why Ryder getting “fired” is necessary. Laurinaitis can’t force a match. Ryder returns as a masked guy: The Midnight Ryder. Everybody knows who it is. Lesnar destroys him. Lesnar rips off the mask, and it’s not Ryder. More torture.

Everyone would fear Lesnar. He’d keep destroying every opponent while all this goes on. But Ryder’s ridicule would give fans a method of ridicule. That’s part of a heel’s dynamic, too.

Finally, Ryder asks for his job back. Laurinaitis, anxious to finally feed Ryder to Lesnar, hires him. Ryder is in the ring, ready to face Lesnar. Lesnar comes out onstage. He’s champing at the bit, jumping up and down, his adrenaline in overdrive. Lesnar charges the ring but, when he’s partway down the aisle, the lights go out.

Continued on Page 2…

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