This Sunday is a glorious day for sports and sports entertainment. April 3 is Major League Baseball's Opening Day, but it's also the day when WrestleMania 32 descends upon a record-setting crowd in Texas. Here at SB Nation, we'll be covering both events both leading up to and as they happen. So, why not save a little time while you wait for the big day and read about both sports at the same time?
There are many wrestling feuds that are built on slights, perceived or real, and the two sides take out their differences with each other in the ring to prove who is right. Thanks to unwritten rules and old-school machismo and reporters continually putting microphones in front of Goose Gossage, baseball has no shortage of the same setups -- the difference is we don't get to see the same kind of violent, authoritative payoff that brings the feud to a close. It's all a setup, with no ending unless a slighted hitter happens to hit a dinger off the pitcher who slighted him, or the pitcher breaks the hitter's knees -- figuratively here, we're still talking baseball -- with a curve to get out of a jam.
So, we've taken some of baseball's feuds from recent years, with the idea being these are the guys we want to see toss each around in the squared circle to determine, once and for all, who was in the right.
Jose Bautista vs. Goose Gossage: Passing the torch
A necessary wrestling trope is a match where the torch is passed from a star of the previous generation to a leading star of the current one. It's why The Rock wrestled Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Mania 18 in an "Icon vs. Icon" match. It's why we got The Rock passing that torch to John Cena in a championship match at WrestleMania 29. And it's why Jose Bautista needs to take down Goose Gossage to put a stop to this old-school nonsense.
You don't need any special stipulations for these two: it's just Bautista taking on the man who has been going after him in the media to quiet him once and for all. No, not like, murder him. Jesus, y'all, wrestling isn't that violent.
The hope here is that Gossage tries to cheat by using a baseball bat, but Bautista avoids this devious assault hits a Bautista Bomb for the win.
Pretty convenient there is already a wrestler named Batista and that bomb works for both dingers and powerbombs, huh? That's how you know this is meant to be. Plus, we know Bautista is into wrestling, so it wouldn't take much convincing to get him to agree.
Alfredo Aceves vs. Tyson Gillies in a WBC rematch
You remember the 2013 World Baseball Classic, right? Here, let's jog your memory: that's the one where Canada and Mexico had a legit brawl with legit punches thrown, and Tyson Gillies saw his entire life flash before his eyes. That's because Gillies was dumb enough to attack Alfredo Aceves from behind during this brawl. Yes, the same Alfredo Aceves who Canada's coach, Larry Walker, said he, "I had ahold of him and I think I saw Satan in his eyes."
Gillies realized his mistake immediately before running into the middle of the Canadian horde to escape the wrath of Aceves.
It would take the entire Canadian team to hold Aceves back:
Aceves is considered a villain in baseball for his behavior over the last couple of seasons of his career, but here is an opportunity for his face turn: he was attacked from behind and then the damned numbers game got the better of him. Don't you want to see him give Tyson Gillies what's coming to him?
If Aceves leans into the Satan thing and enters the ring in a Finn Balor-esque demon getup I will mark out so hard.
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Michael Barrett: grudge match
Yeah, yeah, there are all kinds of players who would love to punch baseball's greatest heel in the face, but only one of them has actually done so. Pierzynski deserves the chance to fight back, and Barrett deserves the chance to finish the job he started back in 2006.
It's worth noting that Pierzynski is a major wrestling fan, and has even appeared on both Impact Wrestling and WWE programming, so you know he's up to this challenge. If you put Pierzynski's career on the line in this match, then you've guaranteed everyone is rooting for Barrett to win.
Yordano Ventura vs. the A's, White Sox and Blue Jays: handicap match
The Royals love their underdog angles, so this will be just what Yordano Ventura needs to get that entire fan base in his corner. You might remember that Ventura managed to infuriate the Athletics, the White Sox and the Blue Jays in 2015. It was an impressive run, and before an injury to Jason Vargas changed the shape of the Royals' rotation, there was some thought given to keeping Ventura in the minors until he could figure out how to keep his noticeable temper in check.
In a wrestling match, though, we'll want him to embrace that temper, and he'll need it while he tries to take down representatives from each of these three teams. He might even get a little bit of a hand from teamwork issues on the other side, as you know Brett Lawrie is going to run into the match, upset over the fact he was disqualified from participating since he was on the A's in 2015 but is on the White Sox now. And if nothing else, maybe Eric Hosmer can run in outta nowhere to give his teammate the win.
Roger Clemens vs. Mike Piazza: baseball bat on a pole match
Did you really think we'd come up with a baseball-themed wrestling show without a pole match or two old dudes beating on each other? Why even wrestle at all if you can't get old dudes going at it?
In case you've forgotten this classic angle, Mike Piazza broke his bat on a swing during the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets, and Clemens picked up the broken bat barrel and threw it at Piazza. There were some excuses about how Clemens thought it was the ball he was picking up, but uh, you don't throw baseballs at people to get them out, either, Roger.
So, in a pole match, you put an object of importance at the top of a pole. The first wrestler to get to the object either wins the match or gets to use it as a weapon, and in the latter scenario they have exclusive rights to said object as a legal weapon. In essence, you'd see Clemens and Piazza beating the heck out of each other so that one of them could climb the pole uninterrupted, only to then use the bat -- legally! -- against their opponent. You know, the exact opposite situation Clemens used a bat in back in 2000.
You know, this could also work as the angle for the Yordano Ventura match: Yordano Ventura on a pole, with players from the A's, White Sox and Blue Jays all vying for the opportunity to get to him first. Or we could suspend Ventura above the ring and make those players climb a ladder to retrieve him.
Wrestling is the best, you guys.