Welcome back to Wrestling Re-Booking, where I take some popular storylines and put my own spin on them, because it’s always fun to wonder what if.
For this Memorial Day weekend, we venture back to 2003. The WWE came off a very underrated WrestleMania 19, where one of their marquee events featured Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon. Hogan beat McMahon in a No Holds Barred bout.
This led to WWE SmackDown, where McMahon eventually fired Hogan (storyline wise). A few weeks later, we welcomed the debut of Mr. America!
This was clearly Hulk Hogan in disguise. McMahon wasn’t buying it; he futilely tried to unmask Mr. America and prove it was Hogan but to no avail.
Mr. America went on to fight “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and win at Judgment Day. Zach Gowen was introduced, Sean O’Haire was involved and it seemed to gain some steam.
In a puff of smoke, this was cancelled. Hogan left the company, and Gowen went to lose to McMahon at Vengeance.
While this was taking place, Kurt Angle came back after neck surgery from his WrestleMania bout with Brock Lesnar. This led to Angle winning the WWE title at Vengeance against Lesnar and Big Show.
It’s time to put our thinking caps on and rewrite the history books for SmackDown in 2003.
For starters, delay the Mr. America gimmick. Secondly, don’t have Hogan as Mr. America.
Instead, have Hogan and Lesnar join forces to go up against McMahon. See, Lesnar was a babyface at the time. He still didn’t know how to cut a promo; Hogan did. Make Hogan the temporary mouthpiece for Lesnar while serving the Hogan/McMahon feud.
Have Vince ally with Big Show. Let Big Show take out Rey Mysterio earlier from Backlash and instead change the SmackDown main event to Lesnar and Hogan vs. McMahon and Big Show. Hogan beats McMahon again but gets beat up by Show.
This leads to more personal drama as Judgment Day hits, where Lesnar and Big Show fought in a stretcher match.
Keep that match because it was brutality at its finest. It also featured Rey Mysterio interfering, trying to get revenge on Big Show. Only his time, have Mr. America debut.
Mr. America comes out to Hogan’s “Real American” theme! Instead of the corny flag get-up they had Hogan wear, have him wear a full bodysuit with the American flag on it. He gives Big Show Hogan’s routine: three punches, big boot and the leg drop. He helps Lesnar win and celebrates with them!
Here’s the catch: it’s not Hogan!
Have McMahon confront Mr. America the next night on SmackDown. McMahon should be berating him, saying it’s a cheap ploy to come out as someone else and hide his face.
That’s when Hogan appears, coming out to “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix at the time. This eliminates Hogan as our suspect, and we have an impersonator on our hands.
Mr. America goes on to wrestle like Hogan in safe matches. He goes undefeated, defeating the likes of A-Train and Sean O’Haire. He even has time to train Zack Gowen while also helping Lesnar and Hogan against McMahon.
This infuriates McMahon, who decides to challenge him in a match at Vengeance. If McMahon wins, Mr. America must unmask himself.
Vengeance has the last encounter between Lesnar and Big Show in a “Loser Leaves SmackDown” match, which Lesnar wins and retains his title.
McMahon and Mr. America face off in the match before. Tons of interference happens in the bout, including O’Haire and Gowen. McMahon works on the mask and tries to tear the mask off. McMahon gives Mr. America a low blow and tries to get the pin. Mr. America kicks out and rolls McMahon into an ankle lock. McMahon taps, but Mr. America doesn’t let go of the hold.
Mr. America breaks McMahon’s ankle, stands over him and removes the mask. It’s none other than Kurt Angle!
The wrestlers are shocked, as Angle leaves McMahon in the ring cowering in fear.
Angle explains his motivations, saying how McMahon shunned him after his WrestleMania bout. He can state how they were in the same hospital too. He states how no one was there for him except Brock Lesnar.
He wants to fight Lesnar again, this time at SummerSlam one on one. Lesnar accepts and they have their classic encounter, with Angle winning. This makes Lesnar turn heel and attack Angle the next night.
The rest is history, as their feud culminated in a fantastic Ironman match on SmackDown. By doing this, Mr. America serves a purpose while keeping that USA element intact. Having Angle wrestle safe prolongs his health and doesn’t take away Lesnar’s momentum as champion.
Plus, it doesn’t make Hogan’s 2003 run look moronic. That legendary stain is abolished, and it saves a few careers while remaking new ones.
Perhaps if the went this route with the Mr. America gimmick, it wouldn’t have been a missed opportunity in WWE SmackDown history.
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