Warning: Professional Wrestling talk ahead. If you don’t care about pro wrestling at all and/or don’t care to hear my thoughts on it, go do something more productive. I won’t mind, promise.
So, with WWE’s Royal Rumble for 2014 out of the way, we are officially on the “Road to Wrestlemania 30″ as they love to say. And oh dear GOD is it shaping up to be a craptastic show.
I mean, Batista vs Randy Orton for the WWE World heavyweight championship? Yawn. Could they have possibly picked two less interesting guys to main event this show? And does anyone really want to see Triple H insert himself into the spotlight AGAIN by wrestling CM Punk, who deserves better than this crap? John Cena against Bray Wyatt might be interesting, but one match does not a crap card unmake.
Of course, it’s easy to criticize, it’s entirely another to try to do it better. So I considered the WWE landscape as it exists today and tried to book what would, in my opinion, be the best possible Wrestlemania 30 that I think is possible today. With one notable exception, I tried to only use wrestlers currently signed by WWE, and the one exception is one that I believe is a feasible person to sign to a contract. I came up with 10 matches total (a good size card for an event like ‘Mania), and I’ll go through each, why I would want to see it, and who I’d like to see be booked to win. Let’s get started.
1. Air Boom vs. International Airstrike
We start things off with a tag team match that features two high-energy teams with tons of amazing aerial offense on both sides. By all reports, Evan Bourne is ready to return to the ring from his recent injury, and with Kofi Kingston not really booked in any other storylines, reuniting Air Boom to further the WWE’s great tag team division seems like a natural fit. But who to pit them against? A team consisting of two men who are CRIMINALLY under utilized, International Airstrike. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd are fantastic wrestlers, and a ‘Mania match against Air Boom would give them recognition to the WWE fanbase and give them a chance to impress.
As far as who should win, this one’s a tough call. Both teams could benefit from a push, so you’d have to book the match in such a way that no matter who wins, both teams look strong going forward. I’d almost say give it to Air Boom to give the returning Bourne’s some momentum, but only if Airstrike is made to look like they gave a hell of an effort. You can even turn them heel here and have a post-match assault to start up a feud. I only hesitate because Bourne has had two wellness violations and Kofi has been given chance after chance to develop an interesting character, and I’d hate to toss another wasted chance at them when Airstrike could really use it. I’ll go with Air Boom, and give them the benefit of the doubt.
2. Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust
The brothers finally collide. They’ve been teasing a split of this wildly popular tag team for some time now, and I think Mania is the place for the big blowout to happen. Goldust, despite his age and ridiculous character, has proven that he is just as capable in the ring as he used to be, if not moreso, and Cody is still a fantastic performer who has main even potential in him. These two clearly know each other very well, and could give us a fantastic match.
I have to give the win to Cody here, for obvious reasons. Goldust’s final run is almost over, and putting over his brother would be a fantastic way to end his comeback. I don’t think anyone foresaw how good Goldust would be when he returned, and I know he and Cody will give us one to remember.
3. Real Americans vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Steen
Remember that exception I mentioned? Here it is. Kevin Steen isn’t currently signed to WWE, but I think WWE should sign him. He’s a big guy who can brawl well, but has a surprising number of aerial moves he can utilize. He’s a proven commodity on the mic who can be equal parts funny and terrifyingly serious, and he has a substantial fanbase he’d bring with him. Here’s how I envision this going down.
Sami Zayn makes his long overdue WWE debut, and immediately his old rival, Antonio Cesaro, and his Real American partner, Jack Swagger, come after him, fueled by the anti-Canada rants from Zeb Colter. Every match Zayn has, the Real Americans interfere. He has singles matches with both Cesaro (woo NXT rematch!) and Swagger, and interference from the other costs him each time. Finally, he cuts a promo, stating he will not give up, and makes reference to his friendships and wars with Kevin Steen, calling him the toughest man he’s ever fought. He won against him and he will eventually win against the Real Americans.
Finally, things come to a head where, in a rematch with Cesaro, the Real Americans double team Zayn again. All of the sudden, Steen’s music from ROH hits and the fans go nuts. Steen comes down to the ring, and looks at Zayn like he’s scum, apparently still full of hate for his old rival. The Americans appear wary, but slowly realize that maybe Steen wants to help them. They give him their “We the People” solute, and Kevin appears to return it…only to sing “OHHHHH CAAAAANADAAAA!” at the top of his lungs and assault the Real Americans, single handedly dismantling them. Zayn recovers and the two longtime best friends are reunited in WWE. They proceed to nail their signature indy spots, and send the Real Americans packing, and setting up this tag team match for Mania.
Steen and Zayn would draw in even more indy fans, and Cesaro is a well known indy wrestler who has battled both Zayn and Steen before. This match is full of talent and not only be spectacular on its own merits, but would also be a subversion on the classic “Face Americans vs Heel Foreigners” trope in wrestling.
Give the fans what they want in a Zayn/Steen victory, but this feud can and should continue past ‘Mania as well.
4. AJ Lee vs. Natalya for the WWE Divas Championship
Natalya deserves infinitely better than her current lot in WWE. She’s a Hart, so she’s a fantastic technical wrestler, and has proven that time and again. But over and over she’s been given crap gimmicks and unfortunately put in with the “Total Divas” crowd. WWE needs to start booking her seriously. With enough time and proper preparation, this feud has the potential to go into Lita/Trish Stratus levels of awesome. Both women are fantastically good in the ring, and deserve to be at the top of the women’s division. With Kaitlyn gone, there really isn’t anyone else in their league.
As for who wins, I would say let AJ retain using underhanded means and keep the feud going a little longer. Natalya should capture the title eventually, but WWE needs to sign some ladies who deserve to be at the top of the wrestling business to challenge her and AJ.
5. Big E Langston vs. Dean Ambrose – Unification match for the Intercontinental and US titles.
With the World titles unified, it’s time to do the same to the mid-card titles. Langston has made for an interesting IC champion, but even now he is barely put on TV. The US title hasn’t fared much better, most of the time people forget Dean Ambrose has it. It’s time to unify them and give the IC title the attention it deserves. Ambrose can take the opportunity to showcase his wrestling style solo of his shield compatriots (as Rollins and Roman Reigns have had the chance to do) and outsmart the powerhouse Langston using tricks and underhanded means. Book him to look like a classic Ric Flair-esque heel here.
I’d give the title to Ambrose. He can use it to further drive a wedge between his Shield brethren by hinting he’s better than them for having a title still, and Big E can move on to taking on bigger challenges. Big E’s got a lot of potential to be a main event superstar pretty soon, and there’s any number of feuds you can take him to from his IC reign to get him there. Ambrose can feud with his soon-to-be ex-stablemate Seth Rollins over the IC title.
6. Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Paticipants: Seth Rollins, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel.
The Money in the Bank Ladder Match needs to be a staple of Wrestlemania, because it’s almost always exciting, full of incredible spots and opportunities for new talent to showcase their chops.
Now, you’re probably thinking, Randy Orton? Why’s he in here, he’s the current World Heavyweight Champ! Well, this is my fantasy booking, and in mine, he lost the title at Elimination Chamber. To whom? We’ll get there.
I think every single man in here can come out looking better in the fan’s eyes than they did coming in. Seth Rollins can showcase that even not being a part of the Shield, he’s still an incredible talent. Damien Sandow has been under utilized, and can take this opportunity to showcase how good he is again. Christianwill be fresh off an injury, and can do the same as Sandow. Sheamus can remind us all that he is a HOSS, and Curtis Axel can take the opportunity to silence his many (deserved) critics. Orton needs to lose here, and he needs to do so because he needs to bring back the cold, merciless personality that earned him the nickname “The Viper” and is echoed in his entrance music, because he’s reverted back to his whiny, entitled personality he’s exhibited one too many times, and no one likes it. His “Viper” persona was widely loved, and if he wants to belong in the main event, he needs to go back to it.
Dolph Ziggler, in my mind, needs to win this. Ziggler is deserving of a main event push again. He’s paid the price for not playing with WWE’s stupid politics, it’s time to put that aside and do what’s best for business, and the fans will pay to see Ziggler as a main event player.
7. The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family – WWE Tag Team Championship
Why the heck are the New Age Outlaws, both of whom have been retired from active competition and serving in backstage roles for years now, the tag team champions? They need to lose those titles, and quickly, and I’d say they should lose them to the Usos at Elimination Chamber. Their first serious competition should come at the hands of the Wyatts. Both of these teams are red hot right now, and a win over the Wyatt family would give the Usos some solid credibility after having to win the titles from a team that no one takes seriously.
After the match, I would have the Prime Time Players insert themselves into the title picture by attacking the Uso during their victory celebration. The PTP are long overdue for a serious feud and are talented enough that one with the Usos will be spectacular. The Wyatts, in the meantime, can be reinserted into whatever storyline Bray Wyatt has going next.
8. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns.
Our third member of the Shield! Roman Reigns is being booked like a monster as of late, and it’s very clear that the WWE is impressed with his work. What better way to push him to that next level than a feud with Cena? There’s any number of storylines you can set up to get here, but ultimately Reigns will have to show that he’s wanting to seperate himself from the Shield and wants to go after the biggest target he can.
Cena has shown he can have a fantastic match with a good opponent, and this is an opportunity for Roman to prove he’s in that league. Ultimately, a win for Reigns will do more good for him than a loss for Cena will hurt him, so I’d give the victory to Roman. A rematch would be inevitable, but Reigns needs to get a solid footing in the main event before he can start taking a loss or two.
9. The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt.
It’s the next bout in the Wrestlemania streak, and I can think of no better opponent in terms of story than Bray Wyatt. Wyatt’s cult leader gimmick is an eerie callback to the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness days, and can set up an almost supernaturally creepy storyline. I think these two will mesh styles together very well, and Taker’s veteran experience will help the two of them push this match from really good to possible match of the year level.
Undertaker should win, of course, and keep the streak alive, but because he’s that kind of great guy, will make Wyatt look like a fantastic wrestler despite the loss. Wyatt can then jump to any number of storylines without any loss of his own build up.
10. CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan – WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The fact that this is not being set up as the main event of Wrestlemania XXX is utterly ludicrous, and it proves that WWE has no idea what the fans, who are the source of income for WWE, lest we forget, really want. Daniel Bryan is the hottest thing the WWE has going, and while Punk has not even remotely been utilized correctly in the past few months, he’s still one of the WWE’s biggest commodities. The match these two had during Punk’s recent title reign was spectacular, and it’s time to hand them the main event and let them give us the greatest Mania main event of all time, because you know they can do it.
I would give the title to Punk at Elimination Chamber to set this up, but I think the only way you can cap off a match of the caliber I know this one can be is to give Bryan his “Wrestlemania Moment” and finally, without interference, without controversy, and without any doubt, be the WWE World champion. It shouldn’t be long until Punk gets it back, of course, and the two continue their feud, but ‘Mania is where the fans go to see the big moments, and this one would be huge.
So that’s my Wrestlemana XXX dream event. I know I left out a few superstars like Alberto Del Rio, Ryback, and Brock Lesnar. That was on purpose. Del Rio is boring beyond belief and needs to be released. Ryback was pushed way too hard way too soon because of Vince McMachon’s love of bigger, bulkier wrestlers, even though it’s clear that Ryback wasn’t ready for a main event push. Brock Lesnar, unless he wants to come back full time, needs to go away. The only reason he can get away with his part time schedule and still be a main-event lever superstar is because of his success in UFC and his size, two things that Vince McMahon seems to have a thing about. He loves Brock because to him, Brock brings credibility to the wrestling business. All he brings me is irritation, because I’m bored beyond belief with his shtick. Come back full time or go away, Lesnar.
You a wrestling fan? Think I got it wrong? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear it!