After the dust settled at WrestleMania 21, it seemed as though WWE would voyage into new frontiers with two new flag-bearers in John Cena and Batista. Certainly, the two were kept strong throughout the remainder of 2005 as the alpha dogs of each brand, but the company itself didn't exactly steer into uncharted terrain. In fact, they took more than just a frolic in the green grass of familiarity.
First, 52-year-old Hulk Hogan headlined SummerSlam in a match with Shawn Michaels that set new standards for absurdist performance art. Then WWE brought Monday Night Raw back to their ancestral home of the USA Network after five years away. Their return "home" coincided with the revival of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC, after more than 13 years dormant. DVD releases of classic heroes filled retail shelves, including anthologies for Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, The Legion of Doom, and others. There was even a DVD devoted to top stars of the eighties.
When the ad campaign for WrestleMania 22 rolled around, what song did we hear? "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel, a funky ditty that's older than all but two WrestleManias.
For Cena and his youthful ilk, the time may have been "now", but WWE was content on turning back the hands of The Boogeyman's broken clock. Everything old was new again.
Justin has been a wrestling fan since 1989, and has been writing about it since 2009. Since 2014, Justin has been a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine. Justin also writes for History of Wrestling, and is a contributing author to James Dixon's Titan series.