To celebrate the upcoming WrestleMania Weekend, Voices of Wrestling contributors were encouraged to write about a past WrestleMania Weekend match.

The goal of the project was to find, discover and write about matches that resonated with our contributors for whatever reason, whether it be a great match, a memorable live experience, a personal connection or, even frustration. 

Please enjoy this series and all of Voices of Wrestling’s WrestleMania Weekend coverage

-Rich Kraetsch

Wrestling fandom ebbs and flows. For many, those ebbs and flows coincide with factors such as life changes, evolving interests/focuses, and simply getting older. I am certainly no different. As I grew older, as I got more into sports, as I started my coaching career, moved and got new jobs, my fandom would often take a backseat. Even with all these various factors pulling my attention at different points in my life, there was always one day I’d always look forward to and mark on my calendar, WrestleMania. I made sure that every year since Steve Austin beat The Rock for the title at WrestleMania XV, no matter what I was doing in life I would be watching live. The fan would bubble up inside of me and I would be like a kid on Christmas morning on those Sundays in late March/early April.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, these last few years the excitement has gotten less and less about the WrestleMania event itself, and more about the weekend of independent wrestling its spawned. As my fandom has expanded over the last ten years, it’s been exciting to watch the up and comers and foreign stars flood whichever city is hosting WrestleMania, and many years, steal the spotlight off of the “Showcase of the Immortals.” This is why when this project was announced, I immediately thought of one match, my first non-WWE “WrestleMania weekend” match. With my interest in the WWE product at an all-time low, my hope is that looking back at a match that got me excited about this weekend, as opposed to its namesake, will pull that excitement to the surface once more.

Spring of 2012 was quite the time for me. My first season as a small college assistant coach had just wrapped up and the recruiting season was starting. As an unpaid assistant, I substitute taught in the local school district daily to pay the bills. This all made free time very valuable. The weekend prior I was able to carve out time on Sunday night for WrestleMania, as was customary. I found myself unexpectedly free the following weekend, with an empty house no less, as all the assistants I shared the place with went home. I was exhausted and had recently discovered the world of free wrestling online, so I used the weekend to dig for some unknown wrestling as opposed to being social. I was seeing chatter online about a match from Ring of Honor on WrestleMania weekend between Davey Richards and Michael Elgin. I had no idea other shows happened during WrestleMania weekend. At the time, the thought never crossed my mind as I thought the big show would garner all the attention and everyone else would simply steer clear. I had heard of Davey Richards, but only as a tag team wrestler in the American Wolves. I had never heard of Michael Elgin before. I was curious… so I found the full match and fired it up.

If you are reading this column, you’ve likely watched this match (or you can do so above), so I won’t do a long breakdown. If you have not seen this match, take out 25 minutes of your day and do it (it’s above you so watch it!). This was two men trying to commit wrestling murder for our entertainment. The entire match is impeccably worked, but once Davey drops Elgin on his head with a top rope snap german suplex, this match cranks up to 1000. This match made Michael Elgin (before allegations against him made him disappear) and for a while, he became must-see for me. This match blew away anything I watched on WrestleMania the week prior, including the Triple H vs Undertaker cage match refereed by Shawn Michaels, which ruled. The commentary from Kevin Kelley and Nigel McGuinnis gave it the seriousness of a NJPW main event, combined with the sheer excitement of peak NXT. If you are into ratings, I went the full ***** then and I stand by that now. Voices of Wrestling named it Match of the Year. From that day on, I began paying much more attention to the events surrounding WrestleMania once the big weekend came around, making this time of year on the level with the NCAA tournament for me in terms of multiple days’ worth of excitement.

If you’re like me, it may be hard to get excited about WrestleMania weekend this year. WWE is what they are and there isn’t a Davey vs. Elgin match out there on paper. That said, there is enough out there in the coming week that is bound to remind us why we love this silly stuff.

Keep an open mind, explore the shows that sound interesting, and you just might stumble across a new classic that reinvigorates you about the entire wrestling scene.