Every school has three types of kids that everyone wants to beat up.
The first two are dependent on what group you belong to and they’ll trade blows back and forth essentially because each will have something the other doesn’t. There are tons of these groups that hate each other in every school, or so teen movies tell me. But then, there’s also another type of kid in every school that everyone wants to beat up, even if it’s secretly – the kid at the very top of the pile.
Doesn’t matter whether top of the pile means they’re a quarterback, star cricket bowler, track and field athlete, fly half or striker, they’re usually sporty and they’re usually resplendent with the best girls the school has to offer and are the ones passing out the invites to the best parties. Could be that kid comes from the best or wealthiest family or he’s the school’s biggest opportunity to get one of its pupils on the map, but either way they push resources at them. Could be they’re living off the past glories of their brothers and sisters and none of the teachers wants to be the first one to fail the family.
Hell, could be anything – but there’s always one kid who’s indisputably at the top.
The first two types of kid will get beaten up all the time. Some of them will blossom in later years and live to have their revenge, restoring the karmic balance to the world.
But who beats up the kid at the top of the pile?
The school bully? Nah, he only picks on the weak. He doesn’t want any part of the ones who could pose him a real challenge and given that the kid at the top of the pile is usually at least a bit sporty he’s likely to be enough to worry the bully. The unsung hero then? Perhaps…but real life is rarely a rom-com.
No – the person to challenge the kid at the top of the pile is one of the other kids everyone wants to beat up.
That’s the gold dust, right? When the most popular kid in school rumbles with the mouthiest kid in school who happens to have learned a thing or two in the past summer holidays about how to fight?
That’s basically the plot of Karate Kid.
It’s also the epitome of when things get interesting because should the mouthy kid win that fight, then there isn’t one kid at the top of the pile any more, there’s two. Inevitably, should this happen, all the kids in school start looking for round two of the same match, but it’s unlikely that such a match up would live up to the billing of the original because there just aren’t the same consequences.
Apart from in wrestling.
I remember I was friends with most of the tough guys in my school. It made sense, being small and all. One of the biggest moments that stands out to me was when one of my best friends had a fight outside the dingy form portakabin form room. It was the toughest guy in our year, my friend, against the toughest guy in the year above. It was a dream match-up by any standards – and the teachers broke it up after one punch.
A punch that split my friend’s head open.
Now, you can’t help but draw parallels there, as a wrestling fan, to how the match between Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar went down. Okay, it was a series of elbows rather than one punch, but I can’t help but draw the conclusion that, even all these years later, seeing the guy’s head get cracked open at school was infinitely more dramatic than what WWE offered us there.
I’ve seen it said that this somehow protects Randy Orton, that it wasn’t a clean loss against the guy who is definitely at the top of the WWE pile – but I don’t agree with that at all. If the match had been all Randy up until that point and he’d either got cocky and sloppy, or a momentary lapse of concentration led to the Beast taking all he needs – just one chance – then I could see that point, but I felt the match was one glorious squash interrupted with an RKO. If anything, it showed that all Randy Orton (nearly) needs is just one chance. Randy is also another guy at the top of the pile – a top guy you might say – but this match never felt like it had the clash of titans running through it.
So the impact of the match’s big moment was somewhat lost on me. And I couldn’t help but think back to a moment with Lesnar, or rather with his advocate Paul Heyman, which really did make an impact on me all the way back in January. It was when Chris Jericho asked Paul Heyman what would happen if Brock found himself in a match with the best in the world at what he does…then promptly disappeared off screen when Brock came down the ramp to attack Roman Reigns.
It was such a curious thing that it’s stuck with me. Why claim one minute that Brock should be careful because he could find himself in the ring with Jericho, then get out of that same ring when Brock enters it? Out of respect for Roman (Jericho was a face at the time) fighting the fight on his own? That’s never stopped Jericho pursuing his own goals before and doesn’t fit even the nicest of his face personas.
WWE clearly had other plans for Jericho by putting him in a dreary feud with Dean Ambrose that was less about breaking heads than it was about breaking plant pots and jackets but it was something I thought they could have progressed even a little.
For a while though, Jericho started winning matches that some of us thought he would be nailed on to lose and had a good deal of momentum behind him, and still probably does and if there’s one guy who could bring some much needed fun to a Brock Lesnar feud, something I don’t think Orton did at all (not his fault) then it’s Jericho.
Of course, he’d have to choose whether to punch him or kiss him first, something I still don’t think he’s done since their ‘altercation’ after Summerslam, but once he’s made his decision to punch him, I reckon they could have a stellar, brutal back and forth match without the need for a worked shoot ending or anyone’s head splitting open.
I’ve gone on record on this site before about Brock Lesnar more than once, the latest of which being when I specifically requested Shane McMahon not be the next one to get his head busted – but I’d happily watch Jericho get his head busted by Brock, because I don’t think there’s anyone on the roster, even with an honourable mention to Sami Zayn, who could do the underdog getting in more than his fair share of knocks on the big guy like Jericho can. It’s been brewing since 2014, when Brock returned to ruin Jericho going after Heyman but Jericho has the momentum now of being as near to his best as he’s been for years – now is the only time to really do this.
I wouldn’t turn Jericho face for the match, either. I think Brock Lesnar is the ultimate ‘tweener – it doesn’t matter whether he goes up against heels or faces, he’s going to get a similar reaction. Brock is not a heel or a face – he’s a star attraction. Jericho as a heel could just as easily weasel and connive his way into contention in such a match as a heel as if he were a face.
Maybe I’m mistaken – maybe there are a million better ideas out there for Jericho and Brock than facing each other and maybe I’m just reading too much into their backstage altercation, but there’s always an extra edge to matches when they come with some real life needle.
More than anything else, I think Jericho would carry Brock to his most fun WWE match since his return.
Or, you know, he could just bust Shane’s head open and WWE could make that Brock’s new ‘thing’.
What do you guys think? Is it a match you want to see?