WWE

How I’d Book WrestleMania 36 Three Months In Advance

The Road To WrestleMania kicks off on January 26th in Houston, which will be the first time competitors actually expect a trashcan potentially being used for sport in Minute Maid Park. Bad jokes aside, the Royal Rumble pay-per-view is really when we start to see the card for wrestling’s equivalent to the World Series unfold, thus giving us more insight to what show we’ll be seeing.

The 36th annual WrestleMania will be in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and will be the second WrestleMania I’ve attended so I’m rather excited to look at a projected card. Unfortunately being that it’s so early, we don’t have one yet. So, I’ve booked a WrestleMania card based on the current storylines and how I’d progress all of them. Before we begin, I’m only using superstars who have competed within WWE at some point in the recent past, so superstars that may not return despite the rumors (Edge, CM Punk, etc.) will not be included in the card. Furthermore, John Morrison will be despite not being announced a brand just yet. For the sake of the projection, all of the current champions will be presumed to hold their belts until WrestleMania. WrestleMania 33 had 12 matches, WrestleMania 34 had 13 and last years’ spectacle had 16. We will be going up to 18 to try and fit every superstar on the card and keeping in line with the idea that they are adding a match or two each year. NXT, for the most part, is not included as their major show will be Takeover. All of this is assuming there aren’t any injuries or returns from injury.

Enjoy, and, of course, comment what you like and don’t like, and your ideal card. For me, the ideal scenario is leaving WrestleMania with most of your roster looking better than they looked heading in.

MAIN EVENT: The Fiend (c) vs John Cena for the Universal Championship. Winner: The Fiend.

Nobody in Pro Wrestling today is hotter than Bray Wyatt is under his new character “The Fiend.” The heavy rumor right now is that Roman Reigns is currently in line for another Royal Rumble victory and slated to defeat the Fiend, but that’s a mistake, and according to the same reports a lot of members of creative feel the same way. The Fiend is the highest selling act in the company, topping number one merchandise mover Becky Lynch in their latest merchandise update. Roman Reigns has been rejected in large part because of the fact he always goes over on somebody the crowd is vocally behind. So, who does Bray Wyatt defend his championship against?

Bray Wyatt has been going after a figure of his past recently in Daniel Bryan, avenging Bryan’s betrayal of the Wyatt Family in 2014. Let’s rewind again to 2014, when he lost at WrestleMania 30 to John Cena. 6 years later, John Cena for the most part is off in Hollywood. However, seeing as he lives in Tampa, it’s reported that he’ll play a pivotal role in this years’ event. Cena has motive to go after Wyatt because he is one WWE Championship win away from his 17th World Championship, which would be the all-time record. The Fiend cleanly defeating Cena to close the Show of Shows would solidify that he is officially the biggest monster in WWE and tell a rather compelling story, I feel. You can build somebody up to dethrone Wyatt later in the year.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Kevin Owens for the WWE Championship. Winner: Kevin Owens.

Finding an opponent for Brock Lesnar is becoming more difficult by the year. He’s already faced and ran through a number of guys I’d like to see defeat him, Samoa Joe being an example that comes straight to mind. Brock Lesnar shouldn’t be champion to exit WrestleMania, as this is a big moment to create a major star with everybody watching around the world. You don’t have Brock for much longer, seeing as he’s 42 and already a part-time attraction and he doesn’t need the championship to be an attraction. Finding somebody who he hasn’t faced, who’s a babyface over with the mainstream and casual audience and credible enough to defeat Brock Lesnar was challenging. However, I feel that I did just that. “The Prizefighter” Kevin Owens goes for the ultimate prize, as he wins the Royal Rumble to challenge for the one prize he’s never won, and that just happens to be the crown jewel of Pro Wrestling. It’s something fresh and somebody that the audience gravitates towards. Let’s be real, as well, here: we all want those KO-Paul Heyman promos.

Becky Lynch (c) vs Shayna Baszler for the Raw Women’s Championship. Winner: Shayna Baszler.

Becky Lynch legdrops Shayna Baszler through a table following the Survivor Series Triple Threat.

This match obviously writes itself, doesn’t it? Becky Lynch is on her way to completing a year-long odyssey following her pinfall over Ronda Rousey in the first ever women’s WrestleMania Main Event last year. Shayna Baszler has dominated NXT for the better part of 3 years and just lost her championship to Rhea Ripley, just in time to enter and win the Royal Rumble match next month. Not only did Becky hand Shayna’s best friend and Horsewoman cohort her first WWE loss, but Becky has attacked Shayna. Shayna and Becky competed in a champions triple threat with Bayley at Survivor Series, in which Shayna defeated Bayley and was promptly put through a table by Lynch. In this scenario, Shayna chooses to face Becky to seek revenge on Becky. Becky, who’s taken on all-comers, does not back down from the dominant force and looks to avenge the loss in a match where she was never defeated.

As much as I love Becky Lynch, her title run is starting to run its course as she’s defeated everybody in Raw’s Women’s division. This gives the division new blood and Shayna an enormous victory. Not only that, Shayna Baszler needs to submit Becky Lynch when Becky passes out to the Kurifida Clutch. This gives Lynch a lot of sympathy as she never gave up, but also tells the casual viewer that the “Submission Magician” is more than just a fancy nickname.

The Undertaker vs Drew McIntyre. Winner: Drew McIntyre.

The Undertaker drops his patented leg drop on Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules 2019.

The idea of the Undertaker losing yet another WrestleMania match may upset some readers, but I think Drew McIntyre has to go over here. The aura of “The Streak” died when he lost his second match to Reigns in Orlando, and Drew McIntyre is a guy who believably can face the Undertaker fearlessly and destroy him. Drew McIntyre also hasn’t had a major win since he submitted Kurt Angle over a year ago and could use it.

I feel the story is kind of already set up despite the two never having a major one on one match (random SmackDown in 2010 aside), because the Undertaker faced off against Drew and Shane McMahon in a tag team match earlier this year. You can draw from those issues, and Drew McIntyre can be the guy who puts the Undertaker down for good.

Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. Winner: Sasha Banks.

Every wrestling fan knows the history: 2/4ths of the NXT Four Horsewomen who are best friends and just so happened to part on arguably the two greatest matches in the history of Women’s Wrestling at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and NXT Takeover: Respect. This time, it’s a bit different as Sasha Banks is the one coming from the shadows. Since her return to Raw earlier this year, Sasha Banks has been WWEs top female heel, alongside a suddenly heel Bayley who for some reason gives me major ’90s Demi Moore vibes. Currently in a program with Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke, SmackDown is getting a lot of mileage out of Bayley and Banks, but there isn’t much more divisional depth to go. As a character, Sasha Banks has a history of screwing her friends over to get what she wants, and right now her character isn’t after Bayley’s championship, which is her end goal in theory. Bayley, the heel, has shown signs of being somewhat jealous that Sasha gets more attention, despite Bayley being the champion. Obviously, they’re going to have issues at some point, and Sasha Banks is still relatively over. It’s time to give these two exceptional, generational talents a 20-minute spotlight to steal the show.

Triple H vs “King” Corbin. Winner: Triple H.

This really isn’t a match that does much for me on paper, but I needed something new for Baron that wasn’t Roman as they obviously have marquee plans for him. I also figured Triple H will be working this show, and be working as a face. Baron Corbin can say something along the lines of “I’m the greatest king of all-time” and then the 1997 King of the Ring comes out goes “well, I’m the King of Kings” and it’s an easy last minute program that doesn’t take much effort. It puts Baron in there again against another Hall of Famer in the process. For this match, I figured at least one veteran needs to go over and the loss wouldn’t hurt Baron as much as the loss would hurt Owens or McIntyre.

Interpromotional Match: Seth Rollins and The Authors of Pain vs The Bloodline. Winners: The Bloodline.

Seth Rollins returns and hits Roman Reigns with a pedigree at Extreme Rules 2016.

This could be something different and interesting. Roman Reigns obviously is going to be in a big spot, there’s not many top names on SmackDown heel wise, and the title match is not the best option. Seth Rollins is in a similar spot, as he’s a top heel that doesn’t have a top babyface to really work with after Kevin Owens. The Usos are about to make their return and have no beef with anybody. The AOP is Seth’s muscle. Raw and SmackDown normally do an interpromotional match, and this could be a fun one. Roman takes offense to how Seth has become, and gets attacked by the AOP. One eliminates the other from the Rumble, something to reignite the flame between these two top superstars who seemingly intertwine at every stage in their career. This match also gives the Usos and AOP a big WrestleMania match, keeping us from having a Seth/Roman showdown that we’ve seen quite a bit since the Shield implosion. The Bloodline picks up the victory because obviously they’re giving Roman the win, and the show is heel heavy win wise the way I currently have it at the top of the card.

Andrade (c) vs AJ Styles vs Ricochet vs Humberto Carillo vs Buddy Murphy vs Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio vs Aleister Black in a Ladder Match for the United States Championship. Winner: Buddy Murphy.

Andrade won the US Championship from Rey Mysterio this past week at Madison Square Garden.

There isn’t much of a story here, moreso to get a lot of wrestlers on the card in one shot. I’m not overly fond of matches with that intention, but it seems to be WWE’s go-to for WrestleMania and it’s a really fun showcase for everybody involved. Andrade has had a lot of issues with upstart Humberto Carillo, but also just won the US Championship from Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles have had issues, and Mysterio had issues earlier on with Samoa Joe over the belt. Ricochet can be worked in somehow. Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy have been killing it and just put on one hell of a battle at the TLC pay-per-view. Putting all 8 could be a recipe for something phenomenal (AJ pun intended), and Buddy Murphy can continue the US Championship being the workhorse belt on Raw. Nobody in WWE right now is outworking Buddy Murphy, and he’s getting a groundswell. This is a really sound start to building him up to be a main event level player.

Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship. Winner: Sami Zayn.

Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas.

In 2016, Shinsuke Nakamura made his NXT debut against a departing “Mr. NXT” Sami Zayn in what many consider to be the greatest match in NXT history. For just over 20 minutes, these two had a bout that commanded your undivided attention and built so much drama out of pure passion. To close 2019, Sami Zayn is “the great liberator” for a heel Shinsuke Nakamura. Sami Zayn recently returned from his injury on last weeks’ SmackDown, and just to serve as your reminder: he’s arguably the best wrestler on the planet when healthy. In NXT, Sami Zayn was one of the most beloved faces in wrestling history, and it’s time we get back to that and make Sami Zayn a top guy. A great start would be Shinesuke turning on him, garnering him sympathy and building to a marquee WrestleMania contest that sees them tear it down again. The Intercontinental Championship is a major part of WrestleMania lore, often serving as its best match and most emotional title change. Steamboat vs Savage (III), Piper vs Bret (VIII), Sami vs Shinsuke? I’d say it could match those.

The New Day (c) vs Heavy Machinery vs The Revival vs The Miz and John Morrison for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Winners: The Miz and John Morrison.

The Miz and John Morrison during their first run as Tag Team Champions. 2007.

For some unbeknownst reason, the New Day are yet again tag champions. WWE has put Heavy Machinery in a big spot on FOX and they’ve done great. The Revival are still and will continue to be the best tag team on the planet. For this match, though, none of those 3 teams leave with the gold. John Morrison was recently announced to be returning, and fans are still craving for more of his parternship with the Miz, nearly 11 years after their split. The Miz’s character, however, is in a lull with nothing to do. Putting The Miz back in a tag team could do a lot for him, especially returning to the more Hollywood character to go with Morrison. Morrison also can get back in the groove of things with WWE before going solo again. The Revival would be my winners, but I still think they leave for AEW 2 months after WrestleMania when their contracts expire.

Randy Orton vs Rusev. Winner: Rusev.

I thought about having Rusev win the Rumble and defeat Brock Lesnar, but decided to go the route with KO. Thus, I needed something for the Bulgarian Brute. The entire point of this horrendous Lashley storyline is to get Rusev sympathy, and judging by the online interaction and the crowd response, it’s working. I had nothing for Randy Orton, but at the beginning of this storyline when Lashley played a video on screen, Rusev snapped and attacked Orton and King Corbin. You can go back to this with Randy looking for a receipt, and Rusev getting a win at WrestleMania over arguably the biggest superstar of this generation is a big deal.

The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs Fire’N’Desire vs Charlotte Flair and Natalya Neidhart vs Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Winners: Fire’N’Desire.

Deonna Purrazzo kicks Asuka’s head off on Raw 2 weeks ago.

This is another match to get quite a few women on the card, but it also a tri-branded interpromotional match. Seeing as the Tag Champions jump to all 3 brands, I figured it makes sense to have their biggest title defense be against a tag team from Raw, SmackDown and NXT. For SmackDown, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose are the most notable team on the show, and for Raw I had to find something for Charlotte. Charlotte has had a lot of issues with Asuka and Kairi Sane and just challenged for the titles earlier this month at the TLC PPV. To find a partner, she’ll look to somebody she’s friends with which would insert Natalya. NXT was a little more difficult to find a team, but Deonna Purrazzo appeared on Raw and took the challenge to Asuka 2 weeks ago. Last week, her best friend and fellow NXT stalwart Chelsea Green gave Charlotte Flair a decent fight. It makes sense that they’d team up to take on both. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville finally get their tag championship.

Being that this show is in the Buccaneers stadium that has a giant pirate ship rate with a canon that fires every time Mike Evans reaches the end zone, if they do not utilize said ship for Kairi Sane’s entrance, it’s a missed opportunity.

Cesaro vs Braun Strowman. Winner: Braun Strowman.

Cesaro nails Braun with an uppercut on an episode of Raw.

Believe it or not, these two could probably put on a really fun WrestleMania worthy match that doesn’t involve John Cone’s pre-teen son. Braun is currently having issues with the trio of Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Cesaro can cost Braun the Intercontinental Championship, causing Braun to shift his focus. Cesaro, who’s pound for pound the strongest man in WWE, can do a lot of different things with a bigger opponent. Braun in battle royals has ran its course, and this gives Braun somebody he can work with.

Daniel Bryan vs Mustafa Ali. Winner: Daniel Bryan.

Ali hits Bryan with a facebuster in a triple threat that also featured Kevin Owens at the 2019 Fastlane event.

This match is by far the simplest on the card. These two have a lot of respect for each other and fight to see who the better superstar is. Bryan has lost most of his big matches lately (including to Ali), so he’d have to go over. But, giving these 2 tremendous athletes 15 to 20 minutes could be one of the most memorable WrestleMania matches on the card, and a great opener to set the tone for the rest of the show. I have zero doubt that Daniel Bryan will make Ali look like a million bucks despite the loss.

Kickoff Show

As if these shows aren’t painfully long enough, there’s also a pre-show that also airs on the Network and will be at least 2 hours long. Last year, there were 4 matches on the kickoff show, so we’ll stick with that.

30-Man Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Winner: Pete Dunne.

There’s not much to say here. It’s a match to get 30 men on the card like every other year. NXT has a history of having at least one entrant (Corbin, Killian Dain come to mind), so I think this year it should be Pete Dunne. I originally had Keith Lee penciled in here, but I think he wins the NXT Championship at Takeover. Pete Dunne is still only 26 and should be on the roster soon, so this gives him a major accolade since he dropped the NXT UK Championship. The runner up should be Erick Rowan.

Other participants: Sheamus, Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy, Elias, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, Cedric Alexander, Erick Rowan, Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Drew Gulak, Kalisto, Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik, Mark Andrews, Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable, Apollo Crews, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Akira Tozawa, Lio Rush and Ariya Daivari.

Angel Garza (c) vs The Brian Kendrick for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Winner: Angel Garza.

The Cruiserweight Championship is probably going to be defended at Takeover, but I feel like 205 Live should have a WrestleMania showcase. So far, the three 205 matches on the Pre-Shows in the past (Aries/Neville, Cedric/Ali and Nese/Murphy) have been fantastic. Brian Kendrick has done excellent as a mentor to the Cruiserweight division, so giving him a ‘Mania match as a thank you works. Garza can showcase his talent in front of a wider audience.

The Viking Raiders (c) vs The Street Profits for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Winners: The Viking Raiders.

Montez Ford of the Street Profits goes for a crossbody on both members of the Viking Raiders.

It’s a shame that this match is both filler and on the kickoff, but not everybody can get time on the main card. This gives both teams a decent ‘Mania match, and the Viking Raiders finally get more of a challenge for the tag titles. Street Profits can look strong and not go over here.

Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal. Winner: Liv Morgan.

For this battle royal, it will feature all four brands, mainly because I struggled to find 20 women between just Raw and SmackDown that weren’t already featured on the show. Liv Morgan is currently slated to return, and has had a lot of fanfare, so slowly putting some feathers in her cap will do a lot for one of the most talented and underutilized women the WWE currently has on payroll. Lacey Evans winning could also be a big spot.

Other participants: Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Carmella, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross, Tamina, Zelina Vega, Sarah Logan, Naomi, Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Io Shirai, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, Toni Storm, Jazzy Gabbert, Piper Niven.

*If all 4 get healthy and return in time, it will become a 25 woman that also features Ruby Riott, Mickie James, Ember Moon and Nia Jax. NXTs Taynara Conti would be the 25th woman.

What do you think of this fantasy booking? Where do you think it would go after? What does your ideal show look like, and how does it compare to how you think the actual show will go? Make sure to comment, share and tweet your opinions at us!

Follow me on Twitter: @TheJameus

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