It’s WrestleMania Sunday, so let’s get in the New Day-lorean and take a look at WrestleManias past, from the perspective of the creative teams behind Boom! Studio’s WrestleMania 2017 Special.
WWE WrestleMania 2017 Special #1
Written By Andy Belanger, Box Brown, Dennis Hopeless, Aubrey Sitterson, Andrew Stott and Ross Thibodeaux
Art by Jorge Corona, Dan Mora, Rob Guillory, Kendall Goode, Andy Belanger, Gabriel Cassata, Joana LaFuente, Taylor Wells and Dee Cunniffe
The WWE comic put out by Boom! Studios has probably been one of the best-written wrestling-themed comics I’ve ever read, with a focus on telling stories within the canon of WWE television. So taking stories from several past WrestleManias and expanding on what happened in the matches was a great way to celebrate WrestleMania week in comic book form.
The best story in the book was easily the kick-off, “LADDER MATCH,” written by Box Brown with art by Jorge Corona and Gabriel Cassata. The story takes us back to WrestleMania X and the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, who had Big Daddy Cool Diesel as his bodyguard.
The story has a lot of fun with the what went on not just in the match (like Michaels realizing he forgot to wear underwear right before Ramon pulls his tights down) and what would come to pass between the other participants in the match (like the interaction between Ramon and Diesel above, who would go on to become the Outsiders, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, the founders of the nWo in WCW).
But the BEST part of the story is the inclusion of one of Michaels’ biggest rivals in the WWF, Bret “Hitman” Hart. While Hart was preparing for the second of his two matches at WrestleMania X, he’s included here as watching the ladder match intently, because, as Michaels points out, he brought the ladder match to the WWF from his father’s company, Stampede Wrestling up in Calgary.
The story cuts to the backstage area a few times to get the Hitman’s take on the ladder match, and he’s not at all pleased with the way Michaels and Ramon are using the ladder. It is, after all, meant for climbing. Although, the first pay-per-view ladder match doesn’t get nearly as reliant on the ladder as matches from the modern era would. While the match was revolutionary in 1994, it looks restrained compared to ladder matches in 2017.
We also get a look at another side of the main event of WrestleMania X-8, WWF Champion Chris Jericho defending against Triple H. The story takes an alternate look at history, where instead of being on opposite sides of the match, Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, they’re plotting their eventual takeover of the company from Stephanie’s father Vince (as seen in the image at the top of the column).
Aside from an interlude with the New Day traveling through time to make WWF/E history less Booty, the book also focuses on two recent WrestleMania moments – Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top of the company and into the main event of WrestleMania XXX and the Intercontinental Title ladder match at WrestleMania 32, with a focus on Champion Kevin Owens and his relationship with long-time friend Sami Zayn. The story goes all the way back to the duo’s time on the independents and through Zayn getting called up to NXT – WWE’s developmental brand – before Owens and how it opened the door for their most recent feud. The story in the book, though, ignores the other competitors in the ladder match and the fact that neither man won the match.
The WrestleMania special was a fun trip down memory lane, with several engaging stories that unfortunately focused on what I would call the usual suspects. Despite going with stories that have been told several times, the writers found some interesting angles to take with the action. I’m just not sure they were worth the $7.99 price tag.