The first annual NHL Wrestlemania card
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll tend to come across a few wrestling tweets on my timeline. At times, you may even see a wrestling and hockey package in 140 characters or less.
With Wrestlemania just around the corner, I’m going to expand the wrestling/hockey beyond the 140 character limit on Twitter here on Bruins Daily with a Supercard featuring the NHL’s best past and present characters. So without further adieu, here is the first annual all-NHL Wrestlemania card.
Hosts: Don Cherry and Ron McLean
Announcers: Doc Emerick, Eddie Olczyk, Bob McKenzie
Backstage interviewers: Jack Edwards, Jeremy Roenick, Pierre McGuire
Jack Edwards would fit the perfect mold of a heel announcer. For those unfamiliar, a heel is a wrestling terminology for a villain or bad guy. Unfortunately, Edwards was the victim of backstage politics after voicing his recent opinions about recent video reviews that went against the Bruins, so he’s stuck in a backstage role.
Rather than have McGuire at ringside with his usual NBC Sports partners in Emerick and Olczyk, the former scout and coach is better served in this capacity. He loves getting information from teams between the glass, so why not have him play the role of “Mean” Gene Okerlund and interview players between matches.
The always entertaining Jeremy Roenick rounds out our backstage announce team. He may even get a cameo in a vignette later on in the show.
Pre-show match: Colton Orr vs. Matt Carkner
Every event has to have at least one pre-show match. So, we have Colton Orr and Matt Carkner continuing their endless war in a spirited contest before the crowd settles in for the main show. Orr goes over Carkner in a quick bout.
(Match request courtesy of Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy)
Anthems: Rene Rancourt (O’Canada), Jim Cornelison (Star Spangled Banner)
A standing ovation throughout one anthem and a fist pump after another. That will get the crowd going in anticipation of the night’s festivities.
Match No. 1: Ladder match for the Calder Trophy – Artemi Panarin vs. Connor McDavid vs. Shayne Gostisbehere vs. Jack Eichel vs. Dylan Larkin
The first match of the card is used to set the bar for the night. So what better way to show off the NHL’s future with a ladder match with the Calder Trophy up for grabs.
In a match full of twists, turns and high-risk maneuvers, the 24-year-old Panarin staves off the tough competition from the rest of the rookies and unhooks the Calder Trophy for the hard-fought win.
Match No. 2: 3-on-2 handicap match – Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist and Henrik Sedin vs. Claude Julien and Brad Marchand
Vigneault’s bad blood with Julien and Marchand has been well documented. When he was faced with trying to recruit some backup, he found a current and former player of his to help intensify this feud.
Marchand and Julien get some offense in early, but the numbers game is too much for the pesky Bruins winger and coach. That is until Mark Recchi came to even the odds with a steel chair in hand.
As Lundqvist and Sedin go outside, Marchand joins Recchi and the Swedes go at it with the former Bruins linemates. That leads Claude all alone with Vigneault and he hits his finisher on the current Rangers and former Canucks bench boss to secure the pinfall victory. I wonder who Vigneualt would rather have as a son after this match.
Match No. 3: Norris Trophy match – Drew Doughty vs. Erik Karlsson
The two Norris Trophy favorites for best defenseman duke it out. Doughty takes some shots from Karlsson early, but bounces buck with a flurry of moves. The Sens blueliner, however, has a few tricks up his sleeve and finally puts the sharpshooter on Doughty for the submission victory.
Match No. 4: ‘Hell in a Cell’ – Milan Lucic vs. Dale Weise
The tensions boiled over during the infamous handshake line where Lucic allegedly said that he was going to “kill” Weise after the Habs’ Game 7 win over the Bruins in 2014. It continued the very next year when he got ejected in the first Bruins-Canadiens meeting of the regular season.
Both Lucic (now in LA) and Weise (Chicago) have moved on to new homes since. But they have some unfinished business to take care of. What better way to settle the score between these two inside Hell in a Cell.
An angered Lucic takes control for most of the match. But interference from Alexi Emelin helps Weise late in the match. The help from his former teammate helps Weise escape with the victory.
Match No. 5: Legends battle royale
After a grueling ‘Hell in a Cell’ match, the crowd gets a little breather before the top of the card with the 20-man over the top rope legends battle royale. Current and future Hall of Famers are present, as are a few notable names from past rivalries, including Claude Lemieux and Dino Ciccarelli.
Ciccarelli, who infamously did not like shaking Lemieux’s hand following the Avs-Red Wings series in ’96 — where Lemieux cheap shotted Detroit forward Kris Draper — gets eliminated from behind by the former enforcer. In a surprise, he offers his hand to Lemieux in a gesture we thought we’d never see. Lemieux accepts only for Ciccarelli to take his hand and throw him over the top rope en route to elimination.
Other highlights from the event include Recchi being eliminated thanks to interference from Sedin and Lundqvist in a measure of revenge from losing their handicap match, and Mario Lemieux being knocked over the top rope from…Jaromir Jagr? Wait I thought this was a legends battle royale? Oh, wait, Jagr is a living legend and was a late entry to the match (another swerve).
The winner of the match is Steve Yzerman having thrown Joe Sakic over the top rope for the final elimination.
Other participants (to name a few): Lyndon Byers, Mike Milbury, Terry O’Reilly, Dave Schultz, Denis Potvin, Bobby Clarke, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour, Mark Messier, Marty McSorley, Derek Sanderson, Tie Domi, Chris Nilan, Scott Stevens, Bobby Hull and Brian Leeth
Match No. 6: Selke Trophy triple threat match – Patrice Bergeron vs. Anze Kopitar vs. Jonathan Toews
The first of back to back triple threat matches pits the Selke Award finalists from the past two years. Whether or not Bergeron is joined by Kopitar and Toews for this year’s top three is anyone’s guess, but given their past history, we decided to throw the trio into a match.
Bergeron does everything nearly to perfection. He’ll get the pinfall over Toews with the perfect plex avenging a loss to the 2013 Selke winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion.
Match No. 7: Hart Trophy triple threat match – Patrick Kane vs. Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin
Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin one-on-one could main event any NHL Wrestlemania. But we can save that for another year. Both Crosby and Ovechkin are candidates to take home the Hart on any given season, but this year’s favorite is Patrick Kane, who is having his best statistical season of his career.
Like another Kane who dresses in red, Patrick Kane gets the victory as he somehow lands a double chokeslam on Crosby and Ovechkin.
Match No. 8: Grudge match – Roberto Luongo vs. Tim Thomas
Luongo calling out Thomas in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final lives in Bruins lore. Since then, the two haven’t really exchanged pleasantries all that much. But one guy is looking for one last hurrah before he rides off
back to his bunker into the sunset for good.
All Thomas needed was to relive the moment where Luongo stated he was ‘pumping his tires.’ The former Bruin answers the call by dropping the leg — ala Hulk Hogan — on Luongo for the pinfall victory.
Main Event to determine the greatest hockey player of all time: Bobby Orr vs. Wayne Gretzky
Once and for all, the argument as to who is the greatest hockey player of all time will be closed.
One guy changed the game. The other took it to new heights by shattering the record books.
The dream match: Orr vs. Gretzky is here. The crowd is on the edge of their seat with every last move. Midway through the match, the chants of ‘this is awesome’ are echoing through the arena.
After 30-35 minutes of intense drama, near pinfalls and multiple finishers, the former Bruin hits his patented ‘Flying Orr’ for the third time on Gretzky. He finally gets the three-count and is declared the greatest hockey player of all time.
Afterward, the ‘Great One’ extends his hand. Orr accepts and the two close out the first NHL Wrestlemania with a bang.