Category Archives: WWE

How I would book SummerSlam (part 2) 

In my last post I listed the matches I would book for SummerSlam on August 20th. Here I will explain why I have booked these matches and who should win. 

But first I must say that events have taken over since I wrote my last post. Kevin Owens dropped the United States Championship to AJ Styles at a Madison Square Garden live event on Friday and his planned match with Styles at the Battleground pay per view has been pulled from the card. This suggests that Owens is injured and he probably won’t be the United States Champion at SummerSlam. I had booked Owens to lose the title to Shinskae Nakamura at SummerSlam and had put AJ Styles in a match against Rusev. 

Now if Owens is fit for SummerSlam I would book his rematch against AJ Styles with Owens regaining while putting Nakamura in a match with Rusev. If Owens is not fit the Styles v Rusev match stays but becomes a title match with Styles retaining while Nakamura would get a match with Baron Corbin (which I suspect would be a rematch from Battleground). 

Back to my original booking plans. Roman Reigns booked himself into the Universal Title match at SummerSlam on RAW back in June and I can’t unbook that. But instead of Lesnar v Reigns at SummerSlam which we have seen before I would have Braun Strowman beat Reigns in an Ambulance match at tonight’s Great Balls of Fire (yes really!) pay per view and then go on the rampage with another wrestler (I’ll explain who later) at RAW tomorrow demanding a title shot. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle capitulates and it is Lesnar v Reigns v Strowman at SummerSlam. I would put the Universal Title on Strowman as I think RAW needs a full time wrestler as Champion and Reigns can get the title before Wrestlemania if the company wants Reigns to be defending the title there. Plus Strowman has improved massively in the last year and improvement should be rewarded. 

Over on Smackdown the Jinder Mahal v Randy Orton feud will hopefully be put out of its misery at Battleground. WWE will probably go with the safety first option of having John Cena challenge Mahal at SummerSlam in yet another American v foreign heel yawn fest. But neither man should win. I would have men’s Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin cash in during the match (a la Seth Rollins at Wrestlamania 31).  I would not have Corbin cash in on Cena as when Cena breaks Ric Flair’s record and wins his 17th title he deserves a good reign rather than be used to transition the belt to another heel as his 16th reign  was. My plan is a way to get the belt from Mahal to Corbin without the need for a transitional face champion in between. 

The Intercontinental Title feud between the Miz and Dean Ambrose needs to end. Right now. The problem here is that RAW has no mid card apart from these two so the next challenger has to be either be a low card guy elevated or a top of the card guy being demoted. Since RAW is top heavy at the moment I would combine the Intercontinental Title with an existing feud making it a triple threat match. The feud would be Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt which has been appallingly built and is the least exciting on the Great Balls of Fire card. It will probably go on beyond tonight so why not combine it with the Intercontinental Title and see if we can get fans interested in this feud. I would still have the Miz retain with interference from the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) but NOT Maryse who should be fired. In fact I would keep the title on the Miz for the foreseeable future. 

That is not the only gold the Miz’s stable should have. I would take the tag team titles off Sheamus and Cesaro tonight (if only because Sheamus is taking a break from the WWE so him and Cesaro need to drop the titles). But the Hardys would only be transitional Champions. I would have the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) take the titles off the Hardys. That would (a) make the Miz even more unbearably smug than he usually is with his faction holding two titles and (b) it could lead to Matt Hardy becoming “Broken” if WWE can ever get permission to use the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick.

As for the other tag team titles I would have the New Day take the titles off the Usos at Battleground and that allows the feud to blow off at SummerSlam. New Day would retain the titles. 

Now the women’s titles. I would have Nia Jax wreck tonight’s RAW women’s title match between champion Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks by attacking both women. Then tomorrow in RAW I would have Jax along with Braun Strowman (see above) go on the rampage demanding a title shot.  Kurt Angle would capitulate and the match would be Bliss v Banks v Jax. I would not have Bliss v Jax as it is two heels and the size difference makes it an unrealistic match. Nor would I put the title on Banks tonight and have her v Bayley for the title at SummerSlam. That match should be kept for Wrestlemania. Plus Bayley needs to be built up after her terrible feud with Bliss. Banks should win the title but not until SummerSlam as she deserves a title win on a big stage (all her titles have been won on random RAW episodes). 

As for the other women’s title it is in a weird place. The Smackdown womens champion Naomi is a baby face but is the third most popular baby face on the roster behind Becky Lynch and Charlotte. One of Lynch or Charlotte has to turn heel and challenge Naomi for the title. I would turn Becky Lynch heel NOT Charlotte. Now I would not have turned Charlotte face to begin with but they can’t undo that so soon or else she would become a female Big Show who is a joke among fans for all the face/heel turns he has had in his career. Besides it kind of makes sense. Lynch has been betrayed by Charlotte and Natalya in the past and was furious about the ending of the Money in the Bank match. It is surely a matter of time before she gets fed up of being secrewed by friends and turns into a “Don’t Trust Anyone” kind of heel. 

I should say I don’t think WWE will turn Lynch – they are more likely to turn Charlotte if anyone – but this is how I would book it. Lynch would win the title and get the long title reign she deserves as I think the WWE have booked her awfully. 

I mentioned in my last post I would say what would happen to the women’s Money in the Bank winner Carmella. Well to make the women’s division different from the men’s I would have Carmella fail in her cash in. It is well known that in the men’s division a Money in the Bank win is virtually a guarantee of winning the title. With the women there is no history so there is a chance of doing something different. I would have Carmella cash in after Naomi defends the title at Battleground (presumably against Tamina). But a couple of minutes into the match I would have Lynch, Charlotte and Natalya attack Carmella throwing out the match. This provides revenge for the women screwed by James Ellsworth in the first Money in the Bank match while protecting Carmella from being pinned. Carmella could if you want turn face by dumping Ellsworth when he comes back from suspension and then have a feud with Lynch for the title later in the year. 

Now the non title matches on the card. Dean Ambrose and Samoa Joe will probably lose their title matches at Great Balls of Fire tonight (both in my booking and WWE’s). I would put them against each other and have Joe win keeping him dominant after he (please) pushes Brock Lesnar to the limit tonight. Ambrose can survive a loss and it has the advantage of being a fresh match up.

The booking of Finn Balor – who became the first ever Universal Champion at last year’s SummerSlam lest we forget – has been baffling. He is not even on the Great Balls of Fire card as of this writing which is quite astonishing. On RAW they have been teaseing a feud with the Drifter Elias Samson but it has not made the Great Balls of Fire card. I would have Balor face Cesaro – who might be without his tag partner Sheamus –  at SummerSlam. You could either have Balor win or have Cesaro win with interference from Samson if you want to continue the Balor/Samson feud.

Finally Mike and Maria Kanellis have joined WWE for some reason going straight to Smackdown and by passing NXT (which only AJ Styles. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have done lately). Suspect Mike will start either against Tye Dillinger or (more likely) Sami Zayn. I would book Zayn to win although WWE have booked themselves into a corner if they go down this route as Mike Kanellis is new and Zayn has lost too many feuds so neither can lose. But someone has to win and Zayn has more growth potential (to be honest Mike and Maria leave me cold and the fact that Maria is on Smackdown while Auska and Nikki Cross are still in NXT proves that (a) WWE is not a meritocracy and (b) valets and intergender angles must be scrapped). 

So that is how I would book SummerSlam. WWE do it better….

How I would book SummerSlam (part 1) 

You may (or may not) remember that earlier this year I did a couple of posts where I wrote how I would have booked Wrestlemania 33. Now I’ve decided to fantasy book WWE’s second biggest event of the year – SummerSlam – which will be held in Brooklyn New York on August 20th. 

First of all this is how I would book SummerSlam. It will probably have little or no resemblance whatsoever to what WWE actually produces on August 20th. I should say that I’ve seen so many rumors about this event that I think either WWE is deliberately leaking rumours to throw fans off the scent or chairman Vince McMahon does not have a clue what he is doing (both are perfectly believable). For example I have seen rumours that men’s Money In the Bank winner Baron Corbin will cash in on Universal Champion Brock Lesnar although Corbin is on Smackdown and Lesnar on RAW. But I’ve also seen rumours that Corbin will lose the Money in the Bank briefcase. I don’t believe either will happen.

Like with Wrestlemania I’ll list the card I would book in this post and in my next post I will explain why I booked the matches and who I would have winning. 

One note. Sheamus and Randy Orton are not on my card as I have read they are taking a break from the WWE and for the purpose of this post I have assumed they will not be available for SummerSlam. Also as WWE had twelve matches (including the pre show) at last year’s SummerSlam that is the number I have decided to book.

Here is the card I would book : 

WWE Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) v Roman Reigns v Braun Strowman.

WWE Championship – Jinder Mahal (c) v John Cena

Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (c) v Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt

United States Championship – Kevin Owens (c) v Shinsuke Nakamura

RAW Tag Team Championship – The Hardys (c) v The Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)

Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The New Day (c) v The Usos

RAW Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss (c) v Nia Jax v Sasha Banks 

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Naomi (c) v Becky Lynch 

Dean Ambrose v Samoa Joe

Finn Balor v Cesaro

AJ Styles v Rusev

Sami Zayn v Mike Kanellis 

(c) = the Champion(s) I would have going into SummerSlam. 

One point : Eagle eyed readers will notice that both of the Money in the Bank winners Baron Corbin and Carmella are not on the card. I will explain what happens to them in my next post as well as why I booked this card and who should win.

WWE do it better…..

Intergender angles in the WWE must go. And very quickly.

To say the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match ended in controversy is like saying this month’s UK General Election did not go to plan for Prime Minister Theresa May. For anyone who didn’t know the match – which is won by the first competitor to climb a ladder and grab a briefcase which guarantees the winner a title match at the time of her choice anytime in the next year – ended when James Ellsworth – a man – grabbed the briefcase and handed it to Carmella making her the winner.

To say the shit hit the fan is an understatement. WWE had hyped up the match as a historic achievement for women and played an impressive video before the match showing some famous women from WWE history – including Mae Young, Wendi Richter, Trish Stratus and Lita – then in effect had a man win it. Then after a couple of days of mayhem Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan announced Carmella would be stripped of the briefcase and the match would be replayed on next Tuesdays Smackdown Live. 

Those are the facts. Now my opinion. The decision to have Ellsworth climb the ladder and grab the briefcase was ludicrous – an example of toxic sexism at its worst. It was like “We will give the women a Money in the Bank match but the poor girlies are too weak to climb a ladder by themselves so we have to have a man to do it for them”. And this is dangerous. I was talking to a friend whose 8 year old cousin (a boy) watched the match and he said to his mother “Girls can’t climb a ladder” Now WWE pride themselves on being a child friendly PG product. How on earth they did not think this ending would not influence young children into thinking that women and girls are inferior. Obviously they don’t even think. The ending was a disgrace and whoever in Creative came up with it needs to join the unemployment line. Ideally he (it must have been a he) should be put in the stocks and have women throw things at him!

Now some people have said we were being “worked” ie WWE always planned to anull Carmella’s victory and have the redo. The hole in that argument is that the ladder match is one of the most dangerous in WWE. I really doubt that this company had planned for women who have never been in a ladder match before to do two in nine days. Other people have said that WWE were shocked by the public backlash and backtracked. The hole in that argument is that WWE never listen to their fans – if they did Roman Reigns would have turned heel two years ago. But WWE do listen to their sponsors (Bryan knows this. He was briefly fired in 2010 when sponsors Mattel were not happy with him strangling ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie). I suspect a WWE sponsor(s) had a word with them and put pressure on the company to sort the mess out. Maybe a sponsor threatened to pull out if they didn’t sort it out. Whatever the reason hopefully we have an exciting match on Tuesday with a woman grabbing the briefcase – which is what should have happened on Sunday anyway. 

But WWE need to take a long hard look at themselves. Why was Ellsworth with Carmella in the first place? People might say it was to interfere in her matches and gain heel heat. The problem is heels are meant to get their comeuppance – but men and women can’t fight each other so Ellsworth will never get his comeuppance . WWE had been circling with disaster with this angle since it started. Trouble was inevitable. 

The same can be said the other way round. Most viewers hate Stephanie McMahon shouting at and generally emasculating the male talent. And the men just have to stand there and take it because male on female violence is taboo and quite rightly so. So why put Stephanie and the men in that position? Same with the Miz and his wife Maryse. Miz puts Maryse between him and his opponent effectively using her as a human shield since the men can’t attack her. Terrorists use women and children as a human shield for the same reason. This tactic has NO place in entertainment. 

The solution is so easy that I’m surprised the dumb dumbs in WWE Creative haven’t thought of it. Any male or female superstar that interferes in matches involving the opposite gender is GONE. At once. Also for that reason inter gender factions should be banned. For example Nikki Cross should not be in Sanity. And while we are at it can mixed tags (rubbish) and romantic angles (the current Alica Fox/Noam Dar/Cedric Alexander angle on RAW and 205 Live is hot garbage as most romantic angles are). 

I should say I’m not against interference in the WWE. But if is same gender interference the perpetrators can get their comeuppance. For example the Singh Brothers run interference for WWE Champion Jinder Mahal but get beaten up every time. They are virtually Mahal’s crash test dummies. Meanwhile it looks like the Miz/Maryse partnership is breaking up and instead Miz will have Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to run interference for him. Good. Miz cannot use Dallas and Axel as human shields as his opponents can just beat them up which they could not do with Maryse. 

Another reason to ban intergender angles is that WWE will have to put more effort into the women’s division. According to Kate Foray’s RAW Breakdown only 4% of RAW this past Monday was devoted to the women wrestlers. If you add Maryse’s Miz TV segment with her husband the fugure jumps to a still pathetic 10%. WWE have in effect used intergender angles and mixed tags to artificially inflate female participation in RAW and Smackdown Live. If they are banned they might have to give RAW women more than one segment a week (!) 

WWE like to think they compete against real sport (they always blame Monday Night (American) Football and the NBA play offs when the ratings fall so they must think they compete for the same audience). And real sport is gender segregated – especially combat sport like boxing and MMA. WWE should be the same. Intergender angles in WWE must go. And very quickly. 

One other thought. The women’s cricket World Cup starts on Saturday. Wimbledon starts a week on Monday. The women’s Euro 2017 football tournament starts next month. I can guarantee that no men will run on the pitch and court and interfere in those events….

Ten trades I would make in the Superstar Shake-up 

WWE is unlike most sports in that it doesn’t have an off season. RAW and Smackdown are on 52 weeks a year, every year. That being said Wrestlemania is generally considered the end of the WWE “year” and the RAW after Wrestlemania the start of a new “year”. And on Monday’s RAW after Wrestlemania WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced a “Superstar Shake-up” for next week’s RAW. We don’t really know what that means except that an unspecified number of wrestlers will be traded between the two shows. Needless to say there are a lot of rumours about who will be traded.

I have no idea anymore than anyone else has about who will be traded. What I will do here is list ten trades I would do to shake things up – five from RAW to Smackdown and five in the opposite direction. Some I suspect will happen some are just wishful thinking on my part.

Anyway here are five RAW to Smackdown trades I would make : 

Finn Balor – This is a trade made for the sake of fairness and justice. It must be remembered Finn Balor never lost the Universal Title back in August. He had to relinquish the title the night after SummerSlam because of an injury during his title win over Seth Rollins. Justice says he should get an instant shot at getting it back – but WWE in their infinite (lack of) wisdom have put the belt on part timer Brock Lesnar who probably won’t turn up again until June. Balor deserves better. Switch him to Smackdown where he can challenge whoever has the WWE title once the Randy Orton v Bray Wyatt feud is over. Balor v Wyatt is a match I would like to see. Also it gets Balor away from Rollins. It doesn’t make sense that on Monday Balor was tagging with Rollins who injured him back in August (albeit accidentally). 

Charlotte – One of Charlotte and Sasha Banks MUST be traded to Smackdown this coming Monday. Their rivalry made history in the women’s division – including the first women’s Hell in a Cell match which also became the first women’s match to main event a pay-per-view. But their rivalry is all played out now and if Banks turns heel as expected her and Charlotte as allies would seem weird. Either of them could be traded but as I want to see Banks v Bayley – which has only happened once on the main roster – Charlotte gets the nod. 

New Day – This is a no brainer to me. Smackdown’s tag division is such a mess its title was not defended at WrestleMania. The New Day have gone stale since losing the RAW title back in December. The obvious way to kill two birds with one stone is to trade New Day to Smackdown. Champions the Usos get new rivals and New Day get a chance of scenery. As a bonus if Vince McMahon wants to push Big E as a singles competitor in the future the smaller Smackdown roster is the place to do it. 

Rusev – Doubt that this will happen as he is injured but Rusev badly needs a change. Since being fed to Roman Reigns the Bulgarian has been in an awful feud with Enzo and Cass and stuck in a terrible tag team with Jinder Mahal. That broke up at Fastlane last month but injury saved him from being put in the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Rusev would beef up the Smackdown mid card and on his return would be an immediate contender for the Intercontinental Title. 

Sami Zayn – This should be a no brainer. He really should have been drafted to Smackdown back in July he has been little more than cannon fodder for Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe and frankly has been wasted. Also (like Charlotte and Sasha Banks above) him and Kevin Owens need to be split up and as Owens is the US Champion and won’t be traded Zayn is the only option. 

Now here are five that should go in the opposite direction from Smackdown to RAW. This is harder because the Smackdown roster (especially the male singles side) is smaller but here goes : 

Carmella – The RAW women’s division is top heavy. The Smackdown women’s division is bottom heavy. Therefore Smackdown should get an elite woman and RAW a not so elite woman. Carmella fits the bill. Besides sending her to RAW (a) breaks up her awful alliance with useless James Ellsworth and (b) reunites her with Enzo and Cass which was a successful partnership in NXT.

Luke Harper – The purpose of this trade is to get the talented Harper out of Bray Wyatt’s shadow. Haper has potential to be a break out star but I suspect as long as he is on the same show as Wyatt he will be overshadowed. Separating Braun Strowman from the Wyatt Family worked for him. It could also work for Harper. 

Kalisto – As with Sami Zayn (see above) this should have happened at the original draft. Kalisto is a Cruiserweight. The Cruiserweights are on RAW. Unless WWE were going to push him as a giant killer a la Rey Mysterio this made no sense. Kalisto’s job on Smackdown has been as a punchbag for Baron Corbin and then (with Apollo Crews) he was part of a terrible handicap match against Dolph Ziggler at the Elimination Chamber in February. Like Neville a move to the Cruiserweight Division could revitalise his career.

AJ Styles – This has been rumoured for ages and I suspect that the Styles v Shane McMahon angle that led to a better than it had any right to be match between the two at WrestleMania is the storyline reason for sending Styles to RAW. They shook hands on Tuesday night’s Smackdown but do they trust each other? I suspect no and Shane will trade Styles to RAW. 

Dolph Ziggler – It looked like Ziggler’s career had been rescued by his Intercontinental Title feud with the Miz. Then he lost the title back to the Miz and…Oh dear. A heel turn hasn’t really worked ( he had that terrible handicap match mentioned above) and it might be that Ziggler’s career is beyond saving. It might have slightly more chance of happening with a change of scenery.

Others that I would trade but definitely won’t be traded would be Cesaro to Smackdown (but he and Sheamus are the number one contenders for the RAW tag titles so won’t happen) and Dean Ambrose in the opposite direction (but he is still the Intercontinental Champion so presumably it won’t happen). It will be fascinating to see how many trades are done on Monday and how many I get right. One thing is certain. It will be fun to find out…

 

How I would book Wrestlemania 33 (Part 2) 

In my previous post I listed the matches I would have booked for Wrestlemania 33. Now I will explain why I booked them and who should win. 

If you read my previous post you will have noticed that only one match on the real card is unaltered – Triple H v Seth Rollins (Assuming that Rollins knee is all right and he can compete). Hopefully Rollins goes over in this match as it fits into a storyline that I would start at Wrestlemania. 

Kevin Owens v Chris Jericho and Goldberg v Brock Lesnar would both still take place if I were booking but Owens v Jericho NOT Goldberg v Lesnar would be for the Universal Title. This is because in my mind Goldberg v Lesnar is one of those matches (like Rock v Hogan and the first Rock v Cena match) that is big enough not to need the title. Plus Owens and Jericho deserve the title slot for carrying RAW through the winter. Lesnar and Goldberg would not be the main event either. It would be in the middle of the card, lasting ten minutes at the very most with Brock getting revenge for his humiliation at Survivor Series. As for Owens v Jericho I’ll mention the winner later as it reveals the new storyline I mentioned earlier. 

So if Jericho and Owens are not fighting for the US title who would be? I don’t understand why they took the US title off Roman Reigns if the plan was not to give him the Universal title (it wasn’t). I’d have kept the US title on Reigns and have him defend it against Braun Strowman – a match that WWE in their infinite (lack of) wisdom wasted at Fastlane. And I would have Strowman win. To my mind the mid card titles should be used to promote new stars and Strowman should be one of them. Plus for his improvement in the last year he deserves a title. 

On the Smackdown side two matches I would get rid of – at once – would be AJ Styles v Shane McMahon and the awful mixed tag between John Cena and Nikki Bella and the Miz and Maryse. Mixed tags and Shane McMahon have no place at Wrestlemania. Instead John Cena would face the Undertaker – a match everybody but Vince McMahon wants it seems – with Taker winning. AJ Styles meanwhile would be added to the real life Randy Orton v Bray Wyatt title match. I would have booked this triple threat this way. Bray Wyatt wins the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles loses the title to Randy Orton at Elimination Chamber and Styles uses his rematch clause to get a title shot at Wrestlemania. Bray Wyatt would get his title winning moment at Wrestlemania but Styles would get his title match at Wrestlemania which he deserves for the matches he has provided in the last year. As for the Miz he should get an Intercontinental title match having made that title relevant again. A disappointing feature of Wrestlemania this year is the lack of a multi man ladder match so I would have had champion Dean Ambrose, the Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, Kalisto and Luke Harper in an intercontinental ladder match which Corbin would win (I suspect he will win the Intercontinental title for real at Wrestlemania).

Next the women’s titles. Amazingly there has not been a women’s singles match at Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania 23 (the one Donald Trump was in) and there won’t be one this year as there have been two clusterfuck matches announced for both women’s titles. That’s not how I would have booked it. Instead for the RAW women’s title it would be heel Sasha Banks (she would have turned heel at Hell in A Cell last year by defending her title with help from Nia Max and Stephanie McMahon and her and Jax would have formed a female version of the Austin/Triple H two man power trip of 2001) against Bayley in a no disqualification match. Jax and Stephanie would try to interfere but Bayley would overcome the odds to gain a fairytale win and win the title at Wrestlemania (NOT on a random episode of RAW for god sake). 

But what about Charlotte? Well if I’d been booking the Sasha v Charlotte Hell In a Cell match back in October would have been a loser leaves RAW match. Therefore Charlotte having lost the match would be on Smackdown and she would be challenging Becky Lynch (I would not have taken the title off her) for the Smackdown women’s title. Charlotte would win and make history as the first woman to hold both the RAW and Smackdown women’s titles.  

As for the other women they would be put into a pre show Battle Royal – but unlike past women’s Battle Royals at Wrestlemania this one would mean something. The winner would be the number one contender for her brand’s women’s title. I would give the win to Mickie James who has just turned face. Mickie v Charlotte is a potentially good fantasy match we have not seen yet.

That leaves the Cruiserweights the tag teams and the rest. The Cruiserweight title match would be Neville v Jack Gallagher – which again WWE wasted at Fastlane. I’m biased but I want to see two UK wrestlers fight each other at Wrestlemania. Neville would retain. Sadly one of the tag team title matches probably has to go on the preshow – probably the Smackdown title as it has barely featured even on Smackdown (assuming both titles are on the show). The RAW title match would be the same as at Wrestlemania except I would add the New Day to make it a fatal four way (Why the New Day are hosting Wrestlemania instead of wrestling in it I don’t know). I would book Champions American Alpha v the Usos for the Smackdown titles. Both champions would retain. The rest of the male wrestlers would go into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which I would have Sami Zayn win last eliminating Samoa Joe. 

That leaves the Owens v Jericho match. Owens would win – but not cleanly. Owens would distract the referee and while that is going on Triple H, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns would attack Jericho. When that is finished Owens hits Jericho with the pop up powerbomb wins – and then Owens, Triple H, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns celebrate over the prone Jericho. It has been long rumoured that Triple H is planning a new version of Evolution with Owens Joe and others. I reckon it should (a) start at Wrestlemania and (b) be the vehicle for the long overdue Roman Reigns heel turn.

I’m convinced that this Wrestlemania card would be far better than the one we will get on April 2nd. It would still have the part timers but it would also push new champions Strowman, Corbin and Bray Wyatt. It would have no rubbish mixed tags and no Shane McMahon match. I’m convinced it would be a successful show. But let’s hope Wrestlemania 33 is better in the ring than it looks on paper….

How I would book Wrestlemania 33 (Part 1) 

On Sunday April 2nd the WWE’s annual showpiece Wrestlemania will take place in Orlando….And to be honest it does not look good. There are at least three matches on the card that no one wants namely AJ Styles v Shane McMahon, Roman Reigns v the Undertaker and the appalling mixed tag between John Cena and Nikki Bella and the Miz and Maryse. Add to that the fact that Goldberg v Brock Lesnar is for the Universal Title thus ensuring that there will be a part time Universal Champion after WrestleMania. While there are good matches on the card – Kevin Owens v Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt v Randy Orton and Triple H v Seth Rollins – assuming that Rollins is fit – the show could be another flop like last year’s Wrestlemania without the appalling injury list which was a big excuse for the average (at best) Wrestlemania last year. The card this year – with hardly any injuries – does not look good. And I can do it better!

First of all here is the card that I would have booked and then in my next post I’ll explain why I’ve booked it this way and how I’d have win.

WWE Universal Championship : Kevin Owens (c) v Chris Jericho

WWE Championship : Randy Orton (c) v AJ Styles v Bray Wyatt (Triple Threat).

John Cena v The Undertaker

Brock Lesnar v Goldberg

Triple H v Seth Rollins

United States Championship : Roman Reigns (c) v Braun Strowman.

Intercontinental Championship Six Man Ladder Match : Dean Ambrose (c) v the Miz v Dolph Ziggler v Baron Corbin v Kalisto v Luke Harper.

RAW Women’s Championship : Sasha Banks (c) v Bayley.

Smackdown Women’s Championship : Becky Lynch (c) v Charlotte.

Cruiserweight Championship : Neville (c) v Jack Gallagher.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Women’s Battle Royal (Winner to get a title shot against the champion of her choice).

RAW tag team Championship :  The Club (c) v Sheamus and Cesaro v Enzo and Cass .v The New Day.

Smackdown tag team Championship : American Alpha (c) v the Usos.

(c) = the champion(s) I would have before Wrestlemania.

So there is my card. My reasons for it (plus my winners) in my next post…

Recalling a historic British wrestling programme 

Today on Independent Television (ITV) is the return (for one night only) of a popular British institution World of Sport. This programme lasted twenty years (from January 2 1965 to September 28 1985) and it popularised professional wrestling in the UK long before the WWE came anywhere near Britain. The wrestling on World of Sport was the starting point for UK wrestlers who would become WWE stars – the British Bulldog, Dave “Fit” Finlay as well as current NXT Commissioner William Regal. As World of Sport returns to ITV today with current UK wrestlers I thought I would look at the history of World of Sport.

Wrestling on ITV actually pre dated World of Sport by ten years. When commercial TV in the UK started in September 1955 British wrestling was an early part of its schedule (the first bout was broadcast in November 1955). There was a joke doing the rounds in the UK at the time that the BBC was going through the alphabet buying up each sport but had run out of money before they got to wrestling which is why ITV got it! Whether or not it was true the wrestling became a key part of the ITV schedule – usually on Wednesday nights – before it became part of World of Sport. 

It should be said that the old school UK wrestling on World of Sport has little or nothing in common with the current WWE product and differs in many ways. In fact World of Sport wrestling had more in common with boxing and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) than it does with the current WWE product. To start with the matches were under a round system. Rounds lasted either three or five minutes and there were breaks between the rounds. The shortest bouts comprised of six three minute rounds while title matches could last as long as fifteen five minute rounds. The vast majority of matches were two out of three falls (a rarity in current WWE). The rules were different too. Punches, not breaking the hold when the wrestlers got to the ropes and attacking a man while he was down were all illegal and there was a warning system that resembles football. Wrestlers who broke the rules were given public warnings by the referee. Three public warnings meant instant disqualification – just like the three strikes and you’re out rule in baseball.

Another resemblance with boxing and the UFC – and difference with WWE – were the weight classes. There were seven different weight classes in old school UK wrestling – lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, heavy middleweight, light heavyweight, mid heavyweight and heavyweight (interesting that the heavyweight limit in old school UK wrestling was 209 pounds, not dissimilar to the current WWE 205 pounds upper limit for their Cruiserweight division.) Each weight had their own British title but there were also catch-weight contests between wrestlers in different weight classes. 

Another difference between the two types of wrestling was the role of women. While women have not (to put it mildly) always been treated well in WWE at least they have usually wrestled. There was NEVER women’s wrestling on World of Sport. Repeat never. In fact until the 1980s they weren’t on the shows at all. When they did appear they were as managers – the most famous woman was Fit Finlay’s then wife Princess Paula who would be at ringside but unlike Maryse and Lana today never interfered in his matches – even though Finlay was a heel. What Sasha Banks and Charlotte would make of this is anybody’s guess (Women’s wrestling did exist by the 1980s but only in non televised events). One thing World of Sport has in common with current WWE was no blood – in the case of the UK wrestling hardly surprising when it was on at four in the afternoon. 

The key difference between World of Sport wrestling and WWE is that the British wrestling was regarded more as a ligitimate sport than the WWE which is seen by owner Vince McMahon as “sports entertainment”. That is hardly a surprise because wrestling was part of a sports programme. World of Sport was on between 12 and 5 on Saturdays and also featured real sports like football, horse racing, cycling and golf among others. Wrestling was broadcast between 4 and 4.50 pm – during the second half of football matches. I suspect subconsciously the influence of World of Sport is responsible for me and most UK people thinking that WWE should at least pretend to be a legitimate sport (even today WWE in the UK is on the Sky Sports channels – not entertainment). And again the influence of World of Sport probably explains the UK hostility to intergender wrestling which I don’t think will ever be accepted by UK TV companies (Lucha Underground still does not have a UK TV contract). 

Still there is no denying the popularity of UK professional wrestling. At its peak the wrestling attracted ten million viewers – far more than RAW does in the US now despite America’s far higher population. It made superstars of Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Jim Breaks, Mark “Rollerball” Rocco, Pat Roach – who ended up acting in films and TV series long before the Rock did – and above all Big Daddy – the UK’s equivalent of Hulk Hogan just as popular and as bad a wrestler and his arch rival Giant Haystacks who that idiot Vince Russo said couldn’t be a star but was the biggest heel in the UK. 

Ironically having compared the UK scene to WWE its decline had more in common with WCW. Big Daddy’s continued dominance in the 1980s made UK wrestling stale and the industry like WCW failed to push new stars. It also had a nemisis in the TV industry – just like WCW. While WCW lost its TV contract (and its existence) when Jamie Kellner axed it from TNT and TBS the decline in UK wrestling began when then head of ITV Sport Greg Dyke axed World of Sport. Although wrestling survived as a stand alone show Dyke kept moving it in the schedule and as a result ratings fell – since people did not know when to find it! – giving Dyke the excuse to axe UK wrestling in November 1988. It has not been on ITV since – until today. 

Initially planned as a one off it will be fascinating to see how well it is received by critics and viewers. But the mere fact that UK wrestling is back on ITV after 28 years is a remarkable achievement in itself…