The Mega Powers explode at World Cup 2010

The Mega Powers were, for those of you who weren’t alive in 1988 or are pretending to have not been watching pro wrestling back then, the WWF’s most formidable tag team ever, comprised of Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. They were the two biggest names in the “sport”, and together, they were unstoppable. That is, of course, until the lovely Miss Elizabeth became a point of contention between them and the Mega Powers, as the saying goes, exploded! The budding rivalry culminated in an epic clash between Hogan and Savage at the year’s biggest event, WrestleMania 5, in 1989. (If you care, Hogan beat his former friend with his patented leg drop to win the WWF championship.)

Well, the MLS has its own version of the Mega Powers in Landon Donovan and David Beckham. It’s not a direct analogy, as there’s no Miss Elizabeth to come between them (Alexi Lalas? I dunno) but it’s pretty close. And much like Hogan and Savage, we will get to see these two titans of the game square off on the grandest stage of them all, at the World Cup next summer.

Could MLS have possibly asked for anything more?

Prompted by a random, shouted-into-the-Twitterverse question from someone, I checked into whether two MLS players had ever met head-to-head in the World Cup before. As it turns out, the answer is no. Sure, Beckham will be out on loan to AC Milan at the time the tournament gets underway, but he’s still MLS property. And Don Garber must be licking his chops at the prospects.

No MLS regular-season games in the way, and the full force (yeah, just go with it) of the MLS marketing machine can be thrown behind promoting USA v. England not just as a marquee match for the States, but as a showcase of MLS talent (of which there is, of course, an abundance on the American squad, above and beyond Landycakes).

Just think of the millions of eyeballs that will be on this game. Just think, for a moment, about what could happen if, after 15 years of MLS laying the groundwork, after all the good results turned in by the US squad in 2009, after all of the hard work put in by countless diehard soccer supporters in the States for so many years, after all of this, if Landon Donovan could be the one to score the goal that helps the United States of America defeat England at the World Cup.

Ladies and gentleman, that would be your long-hypothesized and long-anticipated definitive “breakthrough” moment for the sport of soccer in the USA.

Of course, it won’t happen. The US will grind out a crappy 0-0 draw or they’ll get swept away 3-1 or some other similarly useless result. And the Tony Kornheisers and Jim Romes of the world will continue harping away about how soccer will never truly make it over here, and how it’s all a bunch of bunk for communist weirdos. That’s the tried-and-true cynic in me talking.

But as I reflect on being a youngster, being swept up in the pure, visceral excitement of watching superstars like Hogan and Savage go at it, I’m almost tempted to let myself believe that more is possible… that this truly could be the time for those of us on this continent fighting to get soccer the respect it deserves. And as much as we, as Canadians, are legally obligated to loathe Landon Donovan, I think that if he fulfills his manifest destiny and does pot a winning tally against England… well, to borrow some wrasslin’ terminology, that would be a bona fide “mark out” moment for us all.

6 Responses to “The Mega Powers explode at World Cup 2010”

  1. You know what? Big ego. Bad hair. A refusal to admit time has passed him by and step gracefully into the limelight. An insistence that everything has to revolve around him. Considerable and inexplicable levels of popularity from the masses based entirely on his past glories, while those who pay attention to the sport see him as a washed-up glory hog oblivious to the sport around him.

    This David Beckham-Hulk Hogan analogy works better and better the more I think about it.

    • You could take that even further, to include Landycakes. Don’t forget WrestleMania 3, mostly remembered for the main event moment when the Hulkster bodyslammed Andre the Giant. That match, of course, was slow, dull and plodding (as most events involving an essentially-immobile 600-pound Frenchman probably are) but it’s one of the few moments that even non-wrestling fans know of…

      Of course, earlier on during that same event, Savage took on Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental title in a match widely considered by in-the-know fans to have been one of the best-executed matches of all-time… but, mostly unknown to the casual fan.

      And, in the weirdest twist of all, the Silverdome (where WM3 was held) is now, allegedly, going to be used for soccer.

      It all comes full circle.

      • The problem with comparing Landycakes to Randy Savage is that, well, one of them got the name “Macho Man” and it wasn’t Landon Donovan. Also, people like Randy Savage.

        (I mean, I like Landon Donovan, but mostly as a butt for comedy.)

        (I can’t decide whether one or both of us is thinking about this too hard.)

      • Both, Bobbo. Definitely both.

  2. If only there was a way that both teams could lose.

    Heck, I’d cheer for Honduras against either of these teams.

    • Jono, for some reason, your comments always end up in our spam folder. I always dutifully rescue them.

      Though after this one, that may have to change…

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