Thursday, February 18, 2010

Booking Wrestlemania XXVI

A few weeks back I made the prediction that Edge would make a surprise return and win the Royal Rumble. The prediction turned out true so I got a big head and started believing I was a wrestling Nostradamus. I figured a good follow up would be to predict the card for Wrestlemania. Along the way I discovered it wasn't really a whole lot of fun predicting what these morons would do so I started coming up with stuff I wanted them to do. So below is my card, and explanations, for Wrestlemania 26, a mix of predictions and hopes....

1. Drew McIntyre vs Rey Mysterio (Intercontinental Championship)

This is called filler. Personally if neither one of these guys existed I'd be pretty happy, but Mysterio is still really popular for some reason so he has to be on the card to get the kiddies to pop. I figured since I won't be having the US Title defended on my Wrestlemania that one of the mid-card titles needs to be on there so I threw in McIntyre and his Intercontinental title.

Doesn't take a whole lot of set up. Just have Rey beat somebody in a #1 contenders match and throw these two out there for 10 minutes. Rumors say that the WWE is trying to set up a CM Punk vs Mysterio feud and have them fight at Wrestlemania. I can't think of anything I'd want to see less than that. Why not have them fight on Smackdown instead and make it for the #1 contender and have Rey win it and do this? That would free up Punk for....

2. CM Punk and Luke Gallows vs The Miz and The Big Show (Tag Titles)

I was hoping they'd do something to set this feud up during the three way match these teams had with DX last week but of course they didn't, why would they? They seem intent on dragging out this Miz/MVP feud until Wrestlemania and having that match instead but I refused to have it on mine. I really like The Miz and believe he's poised to be the next break out star but I'm completely bored by everything MVP does. He's like Ambien. 3 of the 4 guys in this match really need to be on Wrestlemania so here's a way to get them all on in one match.

I believe CM Punk's group really NEEDS these titles to make them seem legit. They've got a nice little stable started there but I can't think of one meaningful match these guys have won since they were put together. Also, Edge may have won the Rumble but CM Punk was the absolute star of it, he deserves a reward for it too. I'd love to see the Straight Edge society take these titles and run all over the tag division for a few months but Vince McMahon continues to be a fool that doesn't understand how awesome Punk is and has dropped the ball with him at every single turn.

And I'm just about ready to say the same about The Miz. He's becoming one of my favorites as he continues to improve both in and out of the ring. He reminds me a lot of the Rock when he was still in his Nation of Domination days with the way he's going from a guy everybody hated to a guy people cheer for despite his best effort to make everybody boo him. He also seems to be doing what the Rock did and take real world anger and use it to fuel his promos and his character and it's really helping. The promo he did a few weeks back where he started in the locker room and talked all the way to the ring was one of the best promos I've seen anybody on Raw do in years. I think that was the moment he went from being a decent mid-carder to potential headliner. He almost made me care about a MVP match. That's how good he is at selling on the mic. And he's already better than the Rock in the ring who did the exact same match every single time he wrestled. Punch, punch, punch, Irish Whip, punch, punch, punch, Irish Whip, punch, punch, punch, Irish Whip, Rock Bottom, People's Elbow, 1, 2, 3. Go back and watch his matches. The guy did NOTHING but punch and Irish Whip people. It was horrible.

3. Gail Kim vs Maryse vs Mickie James vs Michelle McCool (Women’s title and Diva's title)

I had actually come up with matches for both female champs and feuds to set them up, then I remembered that this is the WWE and the idea that they'd have two real women's matches on a PPV is silly to even think about. They seem to always want to come up with some lame pajama party, tampon on a pole battle royal type of idea every year so they can throw every single whore out there for 5 minutes and then move on. I compromised and suggest taking 4 of their top women and throwing them in a free for all match where both titles are on the line, whoever gets pinned loses their title. And no DQ. Let the women do something for once.

4. Money in the Bank Match - John Morrison vs Christian vs Evan Bourne vs Kofi Kingston vs MVP vs R-Truth vs Mike Knox vs Zach Ryder

The first step in putting together my Money in the Bank Match was figuring out who I think should win. It came down to Morrison, Kofi, Miz or Punk. I eliminated Punk because I think it'll be silly for him to win this again since we all know how that ends. He wins the title, we get excited about somebody different being champ, he loses it to Undertaker, we go back to status quo. Plus he can be in the tag title match so that frees up his spot for somebody else to get on Wrestlemania. The Miz? Same thing. He has other things he can do, defend the tag title, defend the US title, he doesn't need this. Kofi? I'm just not a big fan and I really think he's going to have to evolve his character before he's ready to be a main eventer. See: Hunter Hearst Helmsley evolving into Triple H. I don't even really know what Kofi's gimmick IS. He's been in the WWE since 2007 and up until last month I thought he was supposed to be Jamaican. Now I think he's from Africa? I have no clue what this guy is. I just know he's some goofy black guy going BOOM BOOM BOOM and he's not very good at breaking car windows. Is that his gimmick?

The obvious answer to me is John Morrison. This dude has been around so long and had so many cool moments that he already has a compilation DVD out and he's never even been a world champion. I'm not even sure he's ever fought for the title before so I think it's beyond time for this guy to move on up. Winning this match and earning a title shot is as good a time as any. As far as the others I chose....

Christian - He's a guy with a lot of obvious ladder match experience and he's a guy that will be a seen as a legit threat to win the match and not just a throw in.

Evan Bourne - No shot at winning but would love to see him with the ladders. Anybody that came from Wrestling Society X can handle themselves in a ladder match.

MVP - Because he has to be on the card somewhere I guess.

R-Truth - This guy seems to be insanely popular for some unknown reason, so again, he's here because he needs to be on the card somewhere.

Mike Knox - I really like Knox since he left behind the jealous Kelly Kelly boyfriend gimmick and became the crazy guy with the Mastodon beard. WWE seems to always want one of their big men in the Money in the Bank match. I'd much prefer to see a younger big guy in this spot like Knox than yet another waste of time like Kane or Khali. Kane should be continuing his old Wrestlemania feud with Pete Rose while Khali should be at home watching Wrestlemania with Hornswaggle.

Zach Ryder - I don't really like him, but the WWE seems to. He has a terrible gimmick but he seems to try really hard so I'll reward him for his effort here.

The problem here is that I just saw where the WWE announced a new PPV called Money in the Bank. I guess that means this match will no longer be at Wrestlemania and will get its own show. I absolutely HATE that idea. If MITB gets a whole PPV based around it then that means it'll be a main event match. For the past few years this match has been used on the undercard of Wrestlemania in order to get more lower level guys on the show and to help push one of these guys into the main event picture. If MITB becomes the main attraction of a PPV, then it will no longer be doing either one of those things. It'll feature all the usual main event guys fighting over getting a title shot. It'll just be used to set up another Triple H, Cena or Orton match instead of being used to elevate younger, better, fresher talent. The other scary thought is that the PPV will feature multiple MITB matches which would really be a back alley abortion of a great idea.

5. Randy Orton vs Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes

It has been rumored for about 16 years now that Dibiase would turn face and feud with Orton leading to a big match at Wrestlemania. They've been teasing the break up for weeks and, I'll give credit to the WWE, they've handled it in a way that you don't really know WHO is going to turn on who, who is going to be the face, who is going to be the heel.

I really think they'd be fools to turn Dibiase or Rhodes. The fans are begging to cheer for Orton at this point. It seems obvious (which is why they probably won't do it) to have Orton turn face or at least face-ish. I really don't think anybody would really buy it if Dibiase or Rhodes turned and feuding with Orton. They've been lackeys way too long for anybody to believe that either one of them could really be up to the task of beating Orton. I really think it'd be silly and unbelievable. And Orton has been evil for so long, it's time for a change.

What I'd propose is to have Orton face Sheamus for the title on Raw again and just when it seems Orton is going to win, Dibiase and Rhodes turn on him, beat him down and reveal that they've been working with Sheamus for the past few weeks, helping him keep Orton from winning the title. Then you have those three form a new group that gives them some legitimacy in being able to take on Orton due to numbers.  BUT...... WWE..... I beg you..... don't take Orton's turn too far. Go watch videos of Stone Cold Steve Austin from 1996 to 1998 and do that. Don't make him suddenly start slapping hands with fans or running in the ring to save Cena from a beat down. Make him that Rattlesnake type guy who doesn't trust anybody and whoever gets in his way gets a RKO for it. Actually, go ahead, let him run to the ring and save Cena from a beat down by the new Sheamus/Dibiase/Rhodes group. Then as soon as they've run them off, BAM, RKO to Cena. That's what Stone Cold would do. As a matter fact, when you write for the new Randy Orton ask yourself, what would 1997 Stone Cold do right here, then do that.

As a matter of fact, this.  I see it now.  You have Legacy beat Orton at Wrestlemania.  Then you have them beat the crap out of him and do an injury angle.  Keep Orton off TV for a month or so and in the meantime you have the new Sheamus/Legacy group beating up all kinds of people and being a problem.  Then one night, the three of them are beating the snot out of Cena.  People are chanting for Triple H or whoever to come save him but instead out comes Orton running toward the ring.  Crowd goes bananas!  He gets to the ring and stops and looks.  What's he doing Michael Cole screams like a little girl.  We can't tell if he's going to help Cena or join in.  Then....RKO to Sheamus!  RKO to Rhodes!  RKO to Dibiase!  They roll out of the ring leaving Orton and Cena alone.  Cena gets up and looks around like WTF, Orton just helped me?  Is he my friend now?  Nope.  RKO TO CENA!!!!  Randy Orton: The New God of Raw.

6. Batista w/Vince McMahon vs John Cena w/Bret Hart

When Bret Hart came back to the WWE my hopes were that the angle would be used to set up a Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon match at Wrestlemania. I kinda realized that was a pipe dream though. Every time I've seen Bret since his stroke I thought he looked one step above Frankenstein. The thought occurred to me that we had a better shot at seeing Owen Hart wrestle against Vince than Bret.

My second hope would be to see Bret manage somebody in a match against somebody Vince was managing. Sort of like that Vince vs Donald Trump thing a while back but less awful. I figured it was logical that since the WWE already has a Hart Foundation group that this was a perfect place to finally do something with them. Bret could take Hart Foundation 2.0 under his wing and manage them as they go up against a team of wrestlers chosen by Vince. When The Miz and The Big Show became a team, that really seemed like a nice Vince-ish team. That made a LOT of sense to me. You've got the one established guy in Big Show that needs a big match at Wrestlemania. You have an upcoming talent in The Miz that could use a nice big time Wrestlemania role with Vince McMahon to help move him up. Then you've got a couple of young kids in the Hart Foundation (Tyson Kidd especially) who would hopefully come out of Wrestlemania a MUCH bigger draw than they went in.

All I know is that I really wanted this Bret Hart return to end up meaning something. It was a big deal in the wrestling world to see Bret come back. Bret vs Vince is the story. The guys in the ring don't have to be the big name stars because the feud is all about Bret and Vince. Use Bret and Vince to raise people up. If you put established stars in the match it's kind of a waste of the rub that Vince and Bret could give to people that need a nice rub.

But then once Bret finally appeared on Raw, he seemed to be in much better shape than I expected. He looked like he's been getting ready for this. I started getting my hopes up yet again. Maybe there WILL be a Vince vs Bret match. But a couple of weeks later, Bret shows up and gets attacked by Batista. A very weak attack though. The way they did it (Bret bent down, put his jacket over his head like a hockey fight, then Batista punched him in the shoulder while the announcers pretended it was his head) showed that no....there ain't no stinking way that Bret is wrestling anybody. They went so far out of their way to protect old stroke head that it made the whole beat down look really stupid and nobody in the world could suspend disbelief long enough to buy it. See, if Vince and Bret have a match, they're not wrestling. Vince ain't a wrestler and Bret can hardly walk. It has to be some crazy hardcore brawl like Vince used to have with Austin back in the day. Seeing Bret not able to even take a fake punch showed that he sure as hell ain't taking a steel chair or anything.

Then something even worse happened. John Cena ran down to save Bret Hart and also took a beat down from Batista. The words "oh no" came out of my mouth a few times. Please don't tell me they brought this old man out of retirement to do nothing but set up a boring match between two awful wrestlers that we've already seen before.

A Cena vs Batista match had been rumored to be on the show for a long time. After Cena eliminated Batista during the Royal Rumble I figured, well, there ya go, there's that match. Never in a million years did I expect them to waste the Bret Hart angle on it. But they did. A complete and total waste of potential. Batista and Cena just don't need to be involved with any of this to have a feud or a Wrestlemania match. Other wrestlers who normally wouldn't have a shot at this card could have been easily substituted and you'd have that match AND Batista/Cena.

The really sad part is I still held on to one last shred of hope that this would at least be a tag team match of Batista/Vince vs Cena/Bret. Then this past week on Raw they did one of the weirdest angles I've ever seen. Bret Hart decides he wants to leave, he gets in his limo and before he gets his leg in, a car backs up (which you could see was sitting there with its reverse lights on, completely giving away exactly what was coming) and slams the door on Bret's leg. The WWE is selling it as if Bret Hart's leg was crushed. So there goes any hope of Bret wrestling in a tag match and it's now pretty much official that this is nothing but another Batista vs Cena match. My first thought about this angle was "wow, after that terrible angle where Vince's limo exploded I can't believe they just did another limo/fake leg gimmick" and my next thought was to expect Batista to jump out of the car. Right? RIGHT?? I mean, beloved hall of famer Bret Hart finally comes back to the WWE only to have Batista drive a car into him and send him back to Canada with a broken leg? People would really despise Batista for that. He'd have TONS of heat. If Batista was really being that savage against Bret that might even get me involved in this match that I'm not too thrilled about.

Did he pop out? No. Of course not. Why would he? That would take logical thinking from the current WWE writing staff. Who does pop out? I don't know. Just some random blonde lady. It was completely sold as being some random freak accident where some random woman ran into him. In an instant this thing went from being something crazy that might make me get interested in the feud to yet more reason to hate it. Granted this could very well, and likely will, turn out to be some plot where Vince hired this woman to back into Bret. But what would be the point of that? We don't need more heat between Vince and Bret, the whole Montreal issue is enough to begin with. We need more heat between Batista and Cena now, the guys who will actually be wrestling, to care about this. I can't stand Batista and wish I never had to see him on my TV, but I was actually excited to see him step out of the car because I knew the crowd would've went bananas and this whole thing would've went up a notch. Instead it just went into WTF zone. The only positive thing that came out of it was the nice big belly laugh that announcer Michael Cole gave me when he actually claimed that this was the worst night of Bret Hart's life. I can think of some that are probably worse than his fake leg getting hit by a car.....

4 - Montreal Screwjob? You know, the thing this whole feud is about?

3 - The night of his stroke that left him paralyzed.

2 - The night his brother died after falling from the roof of the arena and landing on his head in the middle of the ring while wearing a Blue Blazer costume. I can honestly say that watching that PPV was one of the worst nights of MY life. I bet it ranks pretty far up for Bret.

1 - The match against against Bob Backlund on Superstars where Backlund snapped and wouldn't let him out of the crossface chickenwing.

I've given up all hope in seeing anything good come from this angle. So my putting this match on the card is certainly one of the predictions and not one of my hopes. At this point I'm almost hoping that this all ends up to be some sort of swerve where Bret is really a heel, working with Vince and Batista to take out Cena. I don't know why. It makes no sense. But at least it'd be something unexpected.

7. Triple H vs Sheamus (WWE Championship)

Well, everybody else is busy so that leaves Triple H as the only guy that you would consider for a world title match from Raw. They've already had a little bit of a setup with Sheamus laying Triple H out on Raw this week. I figure it'd make a lot of sense for the Elimination chamber to come down to these two and Sheamus does some of that cheating stuff he does and Triple H gets screwed over, setting it up the big one on one match here.

By the way, this whole Sheamus title run is exactly what is wrong with the WWE. I applaud that they tried to give us something different at the top of the card and finally get out of this Cena/Orton/Triple H mess we've been stuck in for years, but the way they've handled Sheamus has turned him into a complete joke. Why build this guy up by having him end careers and crap, but then have him win the title on a fluke and every single title defense end in a DQ or count out? He's never beaten anybody. They had this big wacky looking dude they could have made into an unstoppable monster. Now we have this match at Wrestlemania where nobody in the world thinks he has any shot. Triple H is a million to one favorite. It could have been totally different. Triple H could come into this looking like a complete underdog and be the David vs the Goliath but instead he's the Goliath. It's no fun for the good guy to be the Goliath. Nobody wants to cheer for Goliath. We want to cheer for David.  Quit trying to reinvent wrestling and just do what has always worked.

8. Edge vs Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship)

9. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels (Retirement Match)

A lot of people think this whole Shawn/Taker thing is a big swerve that will lead to a Triple H/Shawn match. I don't buy it. They've put too much effort into the Undertaker thing for it not to happen. If it instead turns into Triple H vs Shawn and Undertaker vs Edge, they'd be decent matches, but they'd be looked at as let downs after everybody gets excited for the Shawn/Taker rematch. We've seen all three of these matches before. But only the Shawn/Taker match was a match of the year type deal that deserves a rematch.

Yes, Undertaker says he won't fight Shawn. But what happens if he costs him the title in the Elimination Chamber match? I'd have the match come down to Undertaker and Jericho and then all of a sudden, Undertaker gets superkicked, Jericho pins him and wins the title. Everybody goes nuts. Where did Shawn come from!?!? Then replays show that Shawn had been under the ring and cut his way through the mat to get inside the cage and cost Undertaker the title.

1 - This puts the title on Jericho so we can get the Edge vs Jericho match they've basically been building toward for the past year or so.

2 - Now the Undertaker is mad and willing to fight Shawn, but he still won't fight him at Wrestlemania, because that's giving him what he wants. He repeats his desire to fight him on Raw or Smackdown. Shawn refuses and in order to goad Undertaker into the Wrestlemania match he puts his career on the line. Undertaker would like to end Shawn's career so he says allllllllllllllllllllllllllll right!  Shawn Michaels has one last amazing Wrestlemania main event match with Undertaker, loses and retires. We get about 10 minutes of hoopla and "thank you Shawn" chants, Shawn walks to the back and exits the arena as we cut to credits......theeeeeeee end.

Then 6 months later Shawn Michaels returns to Raw and everybody forgets this happened.

And that's my Wrestlemania. I'm sure some of this will happen, I'm sure a lot of it won't, I'm also sure that my Wrestlemania would be a LOT better than the one we get.

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