Tag Archives: Shane McMahon

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….

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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…

Better than? Less than? Different than? The WWE’s brand split dilemma

The brand split is back! For those who don’t recall in 2002 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) split its roster between its two weekly shows RAW and Smackdown. For a time it was different and exciting – especially in the era of the “Smackdown Six*” and duelling General Managers Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon – but eventually it fizzled out became less exciting and eventually just dribbled away ending in 2011. Now in a spectacular u turn the brand split is coming back (the draft takes place on July 11th and from the 19th Smackdown will go live – at least in North America). But why?

One difference between 2002 and now is that there is no storyline logic for the split. In 2002 kayfabe owners Vince McMahon and Ric Flair could not stand the sight of each other so the WWE board of directors decided basically to split the roster up so that those two would never have to work together. I thought this storyline reason for a brand split would be repeated when Shane and Stephanie McMahon were arguing over who should run RAW but instead Mr McMahon had them both run RAW and like David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the UK ‘s 2010-15 Coalition government have been working together better than anyone thought they would. So why the split?

To my mind the reason is sinister. The USA Network which televises RAW and Smackdown is unhappy about the latter’s ratings. But Smackdown’s ratings are probably low because the show is taped (in this internet era spoilers are inevitable) so why not have it live with the same roster for a while to see if that would work. What annoys me is that only the USA Network gets a say. Other channels that cover WWE (like Sky in the UK) don’t seem to get a say nor do the WWE fans. That could be a dangerous precedent if the USA Network wants WWE to do something the UK would not accept (say a return to TV14 or intergender matches although I think we are safe from both of  those). The point is the rest of the world deserve a say in WWE’s future. But that said how would I do the draft? Two points first. I’m not doing a draft for every wrestler in the WWE. Secondly this is what I would do not what I think the WWE will do.

1. The World title(s?) If it was up to me there MUST be only one World title in the WWE – the current WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In the last brand split eventually there were two World titles. The problem there was one (the WWE Championship) was regarded as superior to the other (the World Heavyweight Championship**). Another problem was two Championships with split rosters produced long boring reigns (Triple H’s 2002-5 “Reign of Terror” and John Cena ‘s 2006-7 reign come to mind.) Keep one title let the champion float between the two shows and when the title changes hands the deposed champion goes to the show his successor was exclusive to.

2. The mid card titles. Fairly straightforward. There is the US title and the Intercontinental title. One should become exclusive to RAW the other exclusive to Smackdown. I would send the Intercontinental title to RAW and the US title to Smackdown but it could easily go the other way around.

3. Tag Teams. One of the big mistakes WWE made in 2002 was to split up established tag teams like the Dudley Boyz and the APA. This was so unsuccessful the teams were reunited in less than a year. To my mind tag teams should both not be split up or drafted. Instead the Tag Team Title should be allocated to one show and all tag teams should be drafted to that show. If a tag team splits up its members get put into a new draft and can be picked separately or together depending on what creative has planned for them.

4. Women. This is the part I fear the WWE will cock up. The women’s Championship should be like the men’s. It should be one title and the champion should float between the two shows. But I would not put women wrestlers into the draft. The women’s roster in my opinion does not have enough credible wrestlers to be split in two – a relic of WWE’s policy of hiring models rather than wrestlers. With the full women’s roster having only to compete with half the male roster on each show in theory the women might have more than one feud on each show. What I fear WWE will do is either have the women’s title and all the women on one show – which means one show would be all male which is unacceptable in 2016 – or bring back the awful Divas title which they retired only in April. The only women in the draft should be Maryse and Lana who should be drafted with their real life partners the Miz and Rusev respectively.

5. The Cruiserweight title. That would leave one show with four titles and the other three.To balance this another title has to be created. I would not bring back the European title (too similar to the US and Intercontinental titles) nor the Hardcore title (unacceptable in the PG era.) The obvious one to bring back is the Cruiserweight title. I don’t know why they retired it in 2007 or why they buried the title by putting the belt on Hornswoggle. Yes really.

So if I was in charge the title picture would be :

Both Shows : World Heavyweight Title, Women’s Title
RAW : Intercontinental Title, Tag Team Titles
Smackdown: US title, Cruiserweight Title (Or vice versa).

But will the brand split work? I doubt it. And Eric Bischoff supplies the answer why. In his book “Controversy Creates Ca$h” (pages 152-56) he says when he was launching WCW Monday Nitro he had three choices. Be “better than” RAW, “less than” or “different than”. Bischoff did not think he could be “better than” RAW obviously he did not want to be “less than” so he decided to be “different than”. Which at least for the first couple of years he managed. But when he created (against his better judgement) a second WCW show “Thunder” he admitted ” “We didn’t do a good job of making it different, so it became less“. (“Controversy Creates Ca$h, page 271.The italics are Bischoff ‘s.)

And that is WWE ‘s problem. It is easier to make a show different from a competitor’s show than it is to make a spin off from your own show different. Smackdown is struggling just now because it is not different enough from RAW so it becomes less than RAW. WWE can’t afford to have one show be better than the other as the other show will be less than. They must make them different from each other. Different rosters on their own will not do that. Two possible ways of making them different would be to make one TV14 while keeping the other PG or how about relaunching WCW and renaming Smackdown “Tuesday Nitro?”.

I don’t think the WWE will do either of those things. But unless they make the shows different from each other one will inevitably be better than” the other… which means the other will be “less than”. And neither WWE or the USA Network want that…

*The “Smackdown Six” were Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Edge, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. The six were some of the best wresters in the world and their matches in 2002-3 played a part in making Smackdown “different than” RAW. A lot of people said in fact Smackdown was in fact “better than” RAW in this period.

**In my opinion the World Heavyweight Championship was always inferior to the WWE Championship mainly because the World Heavyweight Championship belt was WCW’s “Big Gold Belt” which to me will always be tarnished by the fact that in 2000 both actor David Arquette and useless waste of space Vince Russo held it.