First change I’d make if I could alter the booking of all WWE Champions from 1990 to present day is let The Ultimate Warrior retain his title until WrestleMania so he could clash with the Immortal One Hulk Hogan in a rematch for the ages. Taking the belt off Warrior to kick off a U.S.A vs Iraq storyline was tasteless, foolish and cost the company revenue. ‘Till this day, Vince McMahon and the company brass refuse to acknowledge their poor decision making as the cause for WrestleMania VII moving from 93,000 seated L.A Memorial Coliseum and to the 16,000 seated Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Stating threats of a terrorist attack as reason for the venue change. You don’t have to be a scientist to detect the whiff of bullshit there.
Why WWE gleefully shot themselves in the foot for a desperate attempt to drum up controversy is beyond me. But it isn’t uncommon for the wrestling business to flip out when a boon period comes to a close and the brass are trying desperately to keep the boat afloat.
Hell. If they did Warrior/Hogan 2 they probably run the coliseum.
WrestleMania VII Card:
Hulk Hogan def. The Ultimate Warrior
Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart def. Randy Savage and Sgt. Slaughter For the tag titles
Hulk Hogan – 3/24/91 to 11/27/91
The matches Hogan had with Undertaker aren’t pretty. ‘Taker is greener than grass and stiff as a board. Hogan wasn’t a good partner for the deadman either. Still, at Survivor Series Hogan was dethroned from his perch thanks to shenanigans from Paul Bearer and Ric Flair. This was the first time the championship was defended at the pay-per-view, as Survivor Series was basically a tag team extravaganza between teams of babyfaces and heels.
In times of financial downturn, McMahon figured giving the belt back to Hogan would right the ship. It hadn’t. The era of Rock ‘n Roll Wrestling which catapulted the WWE into the stratosphere had ended. Hulkamania had in fact died. Only it’s death was quiet.
The Undertaker – 11/27/91 to 1/16/92
When the time is right Hogan will job. His greatest talent is knowing when the exit stage left so he can come back to the top spot at a later date. Him putting the rookie ‘Taker over and relinquishing the title in the process, isn’t unlike when Bill Goldberg won the title on Nitro in 1998. When it was time to impress the suits in the network offices Hogan knew what to do.
Which isn’t a bad thing. I’m just aware of when someone so paranoid about their spot in the food chain does something wildly out of character in the form of generosity that they’re ulterior motives.
Hogan would win the title back from “This Tuesday In Texas” a week later. Culminating in a screwy finish that’s genuinely hilarious to look back on. Ric Flair tries to cheat to help ‘Taker, and spite Hogan. His attempt fails. Bearer tried to hit Hogan with the urn, misses and waffles ‘Taker. Hogan takes the ashes from the urn and throws them in ‘Taker’s eyes. Flair revives a knockdown Jack Tunney (Hogan hit Flair with a chair, inadvertently knocking Tunney out) so he could see Hogan cheating. Hogan wins and is later stripped of the title. Setting the stage for the Royal Rumble PPV. The winner being champion.
You get all of that? I know I make it all sound contrived and nonsensical, but this was brilliant work by the WWE. Excellent use of Flair. A wonderful way for Mark Calloway to cut his teeth. Beautifully set up Flair’s historic win at the rumble. Only problem was it didn’t lead to a Hogan-Flair program for WrestleMania. Instead we got Randy Savage vs Flair, and Sid Justice vs Hogan as the main event.
I’d probably alter the booking a bit because my style of writing is blunt and simple. ‘Taker retains via bullshit. Tunney forces the deadman to defend his belt at the rumble, he’ll come in at whatever number and be eliminated by either Hogan, Flair, or maybe Jake Roberts in the process. ‘Taker feuded with Roberts for WrestleMania VIII anyway. Might as well set the stage for their match. In this era of black and white, cartoony wrestling one of them turns Babyface in the process. Since Roberts is leaving after ‘Mania, ‘Taker turns to the light.
Ric Flair – 1/16/92 to 11/25/92
Nobody has had the WWE Championship and made such a strong impact while having the title for a short period of time. Flair held the belt until WrestleMania, a little under three months and didn’t defend it after the Royal Rumble. While I move Randy Savage and could see myself yelling at my friends that he was better than Hogan, Savage was a better chaser than a champion. His first stint with the belt gave him a legitimacy the WWE threw away all too quick. Once Hogan knocked off the Macho Man at ‘Mania IV all his power vanished. Forever casted as the second banana. What could have fixed that was letting him retain and holding off the title change until SummerSlam.
Flair came to the WWE after a contract dispute with WCW (while champion) lead him to walk out with the company’s most prized possession and at the urging of McMahon, the Nature Boy parades the blurred out Big Gold belt, calling himself “The Real Worlds’ Champion.” It as an insanely hot angle that needed to keep going.
Flair ruling the WWE at this time would have made complete sense. Hogan was gone due to the WWE entering a dark period as the steroid trial was underway. With no big dog in the yard it should have been Flair’s territory until Survivor Series when young Bret Hart shocks the world and restores order in the WWE.
Imagine how much better Bret’s first reign would have been if the following was done.
- Bret defeats Flair on PPV. Not at some House Show in Butt Fuck, Nowhere.
- Bret defends his belt versus Jake Roberts and The Ultimate Warrior.
- Has the match of the century versus Randy Savage at WrestleMania IX. A show begging for any sort of spark
Bret Hart – 11/25/92 to 8/30/93
Poor Bret. The Daniel Bryan of his day. Always overlooked because he didn’t look like a ‘roided up freak of nature. Hart would have never been given a chance if WWE was so desperate to squash the notion they are a company filled with aforementioned ‘roided up freaks of nature.
That all being said, he did fine as champion. Having great matches against Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels. He defended his title with pride and honor. People give Bret shit for actually believing there is some legitimacy to wrestling titles, but it’s his conviction which garners a genuine reaction from the fans and their embrace.
Where I won’t side with Bret is him bemoaning the fact he had to lose to Yokozuna at ‘Mania. Would I have booked Yokozuna to win the Royal Rumble in the first place? No. I would have let Savage win. Whomever wins is no skin off my back. They’ll tear the house down one way or another.
I’d give the title to Yokozuna at SummerSlam. Smashing Bret into a zillion pieces.
Yokozuna – 8/30/93 to 3/20/94
Outside of the blatant and shameful bigotry lobbied against Asians, the WWE did a fine job portraying samoan born Yokozuna as an unstoppable monster.
Aboard the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, on the date of July 4th. WWE presented fans with the hokey “Bodyslam Challenge.” One by one the Babyfaces came and were sent packing. Rick & Scott Steiner, Crush, and even the Macho Man. Professional athletes weren’t spared either. Paul Taglianetti of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Scott Burrell of the Charlotte Hornets, Keith Sims of the Miami Dolphins, Gary Baldinger of the Buffalo Bills, and Bill Frallic of the Detroit Lions failed to bodyslam the more than 500-pound monster.
Then came America’s blond savior from the sky in the form of Lex Luger. Gone was “The Narcissist” character he debuted as on WWE television. With the slamming of Yokozuna a new Luger took shape. He was now Mr. American. Driving around the country in a tour dubbed “The Lex Express” as if he was running for president.
Heading into SummerSlam it was expected the WWE found their next Hulk Hogan in Luger. He was going to restore American pride. The balloons were set in the rafters. The Babyfaces were ready to rush the ring in celebration.
And Lex won!!!!!!
Yup. They got cold feet.
Which leads me too…
Lex Luger – 3/20/94 to 8/29/94
It’s jarring when WWE is scared of their own shadow at times they absolutely can not afford to show hesitation. They rode through the many bumps of the Cena-era when they have an embarrassment of riches on the roster. Then when time came to build around Roman Reigns they decided to relegate him as a glorified chaser whose constantly down on his luck.
What did WWE have to lose with going all-in on Luger? The only other wrestler on the roster that was worthy of the prestigious title was Bret and they made it abundantly clear at WrestleMania IX he was an interim champion and nothing more. Kind of like Kofi Kingston.
In my head, I’d book 1993 and 1994 like this:
- Bret wins the title from Ric Flair
- Bret defends until SummerSlam where Yokozuna absolutely destroys him. Bret is out of commission.
- When he returns he is plugged into a feud with his brother.
- Owen beats Bret at ‘Mania.
- Lex wins the Royal Rumble; no screwy finish involving two winners.
- Lex defeats Yokozuna at ‘Mania in the show-closer.
- At SummerSlam, Owen takes down Luger setting up a program between the two brothers that would last until the 1995’s Royal Rumble where Bret would win and the rubber match would take place at ‘Mania, in a triple-threat involving HBK.
Owen Hart – 8/29/94 to 1/22/95
The little brother takes him big gold. With that tennis racket holding doofus Jim Cornett in his corner, Owen wins the championship at SummerSlam.
I always liked Owen a lot more than Bret. Owen could tell the difference between himself and his character. He knew nothing in this business was worth dying over.
He’s one of the many stars never given a fair shake in the WWE. Often overlook, sometimes with malice.
Bret Hart – 1/22/95 to 4/2/95
It was before my time, but I’m willing to bet the 1995 Royal Rumble will be the worst one I ever watched. An absolute shit show of a roster. The best heels (Bob Backlund and the aforementioned Owen) are beaten to a pulp by Bret before they could even make their way into the ring. Forcing us to watch HBK and British Bulldog fend off Crush, Fatu, Dick Murdoch and Steven Dunn. Those names ring any bells? Well they shouldn’t.
Having Michaels win the rumble as the wild card between two warring brothers is dynamite. Imagine if Diesel remained HBK’s bodyguard/partner and was his enforcer at ringside next to Cornett during the main event at ‘Mania. Be better than Diesel trying to make a babyface comeback against Michaels.
Shawn Michaels – 4/2/95 to 3/31/96
HBK as a bad ass heel in this era reigning as champion works ten times better than pigeonholing him as a champion as a babyface.
It’s perplexing WWE made a big deal of Michaels going the distance in the rumble when it wasn’t even 40-minutes and he was a bad guy at the time. Bulldog went exactly the same amount of time and didn’t get anything for his troubles.
You can have Michaels turn babyface by having Diesel turn on him at some point. Begin a feud with them for a year and never have Michaels relinquish the strap in the process.
I’m torn between whether to make the Bret vs Owen vs HBK triple-threat a ladder match or not? Michaels and Bret didn’t hate each other yet. Either Bret or Owen would have a problem doing the job. Just don’t expect The Heart Break Kid to return the favor.
WrestleMania XII Card:
HBK def. Bret Hart
The Undertaker def. Diesel
Sid Justice def. King Kong Bundy
Big Van Vader – 3/31/96 to 8/18/96
It’s baffling the WWE didn’t push Vader. From 1992 to until Hogan showed up at World Championship Wrestling. WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling knew how to bill Vader. As the unstoppable, 440 pound monster. Managed by Harley Race for a time, the legend did so well in the role I’m surprised WWE didn’t try to sign Race when they signed Vader just to have a certified talker.
After abruptly leaving WCW in 1995 when the parties involved in a Vader vs Hogan program couldn’t come to terms over a clear finish, WWE swooped in and snagged the competitions strongest heel. His debut at the Royal Rumble was electric. In his eleven-minutes Vader eliminated four combatants before the eventual winner, Shawn Michaels, threw him over the top rope.
In my opinion, they should have shoved the rocket up Vader’s ass and light it up. Have him win the rumble, destroy Michaels on the main event and go on a tear at least until SummerSlam.
It’s borderline injustice how the WWE gleefully squandered Vader’s potential. They chose to not have him in the title picture until SummerSlam. Michaels threw a fit backstage when he found out he’s jobbing and Vader eats shit for the rest of his tenure. He went from a bad ass monster to calling himself a “Fat Piece of Shit” real quick. That’s what the WWE will do to you. Sometimes purposefully they’ll sabotage you for whatever idiotic reason.
The WrestleMania XII Card:
Big Van Vader def. HBK
The Undertaker def. Bret Hart
The Ultimate Warrior def. Diesel
Triple H def. Steve Austin (w/ Ted DiBiase)
Shawn Michaels – 8/18/96 to 3/23/97
Just like Bret Hart with Yokozuna, the beaten down bastardized former champion reclaims his crown from the Goliath who knocked him off his perch. Michaels is a full fledged babyface now. As Diesel and Razor Ramon have skipped town, The Kliq is no more. HBK is a clean cut white hat. Defending his championship from off the wall challengers like Mankind, Sycho Sid, and Steve Austin.
If I had the ability of 20/20 hindsight, fully aware HBK would blow a gasket if he had to job to Bret I’d either never give him back the title in the first place or simply never float out the possibility of those two ever squaring off.
What’s curious is Michaels likely didn’t even balk at the idea of dropping the title to Bret. Vince was convinced the main event needed to be The Undertaker vs Sycho Sid. The HBK vs Bret match was going to be non-title. So Michaels just didn’t want to put over Bret.
So if HBK never loses his smile – and Bret isn’t slotted to face him at ‘Mania then who is The Showstopper facing?
The Undertaker… Twelve years before they actually lock up on the grandest stage of them all. (Personally, I’d just have Austin vs Michaels at ‘Mania a year sooner. Their match at King of the Ring, before Michaels’ back injury, was far superior to their showing at ‘Mania XIV.)
Would Michaels flip-out if he had to drop the title to Undertaker, or did he have respect for Mark Calloway? The two didn’t like each other very much back then. Prior to ‘Mania 14 Michaels threw another fit about having to lose to Austin. Calloway taped his hands and threatened to beat him to a pulp if he didn’t do what was right for business. Sounds like a friend to me!
The Undertaker – 3/23/97 to 6/8/97
It isn’t talked about enough how nice it was to see ‘Taker win the title after years of poor booking, main eventing WrestleMania in his old grey and tattered mortician getup.
While lost in the shuffle of a drama filled ‘Mania, ‘Taker vs Sid was serviceable as the show closer.
That all being said, imagine how electric the reception would have been if it was ‘Taker vs Michaels. Or Bret. Or Austin….
You might be wondering why I have Undertaker’s title reign ending well before SummerSlam. Reason being, I don’t see him as a long term champion at this time. I also didn’t care for Michaels turning heel because perhaps he meant to deck ‘Taker with a chair during his match against Bret.
- Why would HBK care about ‘Taker. His beef is with Bret.
- This was a clear misunderstanding that could have been cleared up with Michaels explaining himself the next night on Raw, and ‘Taker choke-slamming him through a table.
- I would have preferred it if it was Hart Foundation feuding with ‘Taker, and Owen interfering on Bret’s behalf every single time. Either leading to Bret retaining via D.Q or dirty pin-falls.
Bret Hart – 6/8/97 to 3/29/98
So here I am butterflying the formation of D-Generation X and altering the Montreal Screwjob to be a purposeful act done by WWE creative as a way to debut the Mr. McMahon heel persona. Instead of Bret getting screwed, it’s the babyface HBK.
Bret’s longest title reign coincides with Owen winning the Intercontinental Championship, Bulldog holding the European championship, and Jim Niedhart and Owen sharing the Tag Titles. Along the way, the Hart Foundation feuds with ‘Taker, Steve Austin, and Ken Shamrock. Austin and HBK form an unlikely alliance and feud with the Hart Foundation for months. Their alliance ending when Austin stuns HBK at the Royal Rumble; of which Austin wins – like in our timeline.
So the ‘Mania XIV card looks like this:
Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs The British Bulldog and Jim Niedhart (c), for the Tag Titles
Owen Hart (c) vs The Rock vs Ken Shamrock, for the Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart (c) vs Steve Austin, for the WWF Championship
HBK, Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude aren’t known as DX. They are merely the second generation of The Kliq.
Hart’s nearly 300 day reign as the champion, sowing chaos and division in the WWE finally comes to an end when the Rattlesnake stuns the motherfucker out of the WWE.
The New Generation is dead. Long live The Attitude Era!!!
Steve Austin – 3/29/98 to 5/31/98
The night after his victory over The Hitman, Austin is wearing a suit on Raw. This is a clear reference to how in the past the WWE would take a character fans rallied around because of their edge, give them the title and drain them of what made them so beloved.
Diesel initially got over as a bad ass bodyguard for Shawn Michaels. He beat Bob Backlund for the belt in ten-seconds. Not a moment after thoroughly demolishing the hall of famer, Diesel is shooting commercials with kids, and singing Christmas Carols on Raw.
Same goes for HBK. Once on top of the wrestling world, WWE saddled him with his mentor José Lothario every single match – including PPV. It was vexing and contradictory to have someone so provocative and promiscuous as Michaels (he plays a male-stripper!) to have such a wholesome partnership with his real life mentor. It makes absolutely zero sense.
But Austin made it clear that night “that this was going to be the last time you see Stone Cold wearing a suit” until his Hall of Fame induction.
Only difference here is, I’d have Austin lose to Dude Love via shenanigans from Mr. McMahon and his cronies. I really enjoyed Mick as the hippie spinoff of the Heartbreak Kid.
In reality, Austin foiled McMahon’s plot and retained. Losing to Kane at the King of the Ring PPV in a first blood match. I have no problems with this. I love Kane. I think he’s cool. I’m just altering the booking because I feel like it. Austin wins the strap back the next night on Raw.
Dude Love – 5/31/98 to 6/1/98
Mick climbs the mountain, even if it’s for little under a whole day.
Steve Austin – 6/1/98 to 11/15/98
Austin beats the hell out of Dude Love, Kane, Undertaker, and whoever else Mr. McMahon has to throw at him en route to Survivor Series.
In this scenario, the world title isn’t stripped from Austin due to a screwy finish during the Austin vs Undertaker vs Kane triple-threat that basically was a handicap match as the only way someone could win the title was pinning Austin.
We enter Survivor Series in November. McMahon is beaten down and reluctantly accepts Austin as the champion. Even going as far to take himself off TV. The Raw before the PPV, Mr. McMahon announces his intentions to vacate his position as chairman of the WWE and taps his underling, Jack Briscoe, as his successor.
The Rock defeats Ken Shamrock for a number one contenders spot for the PPV against Austin. The two babyfaces are set to do battle. Rock has come into his own since joining The Nation of Domination, and his stock increased once he turned on them.
Rock and Austin main event the show, with the two going back-and-forth. Austin gaining the upper-hand. The audiences eyeballs are turned to the ramp way as Mr. McMahon makes his way down and tosses Rock a chair, after blindsiding Austin. McMahon props Austin up so Rock can ram the cold steel into the Rattlesnakes skull. Austin still kicks out. Angered, Rock buries the hilt of the chair into Austin’s gut not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight, not nine, not ten, but ELEVEN times to secure the pin-fall, the win and the world title.
“The Rock has sold his soul to the corporation! My god what the hell is this?!” A distraught J.R calls the action, while his partner Jerry Lawler is elated.
“You don’t get anywhere in this world by playing nice. Austin of all people should know.”
The Rock – 11/15/98 to 3/28/99
Yes. In my infinite well of original content, I have Vince reduplicating the Montreal Screwjob – for the third time in a year. Simply astonishing.
Why aren’t I have The Rock and Mankind playing tug-a-war with the title from Survivor Series until the week before WrestleMania? It was a classic feud, excellently booked and shot both combatants into the stratosphere. Well, because I don’t feel like it. Let The Rock turn away babyface challengers while Austin makes his climb up the mountain.
During the Royal Rumble, Mr. McMahon saddles Austin with the misfortune as entering the event at number one. For sixty-minutes, Austin throws challengers over the top rope until it is just him and McMahon’s crony Mankind. Back and forth they go, Austin nearly eliminated the overweight masked man numerous times. McMahon strolls down the ramp way goading Austin into chasing after him. The Rock shows up too. Both of them barking at Steve causing him to lose his concentration. Mankind throws him over the top rope and secured the win. As McMahon comes in the ring to celebrate, Mankind applies there mandible-claw on the chairman.
The next night on Raw, Austin earns his way into the main event by defeating The Rock and Mr. McMahon in a handicap match.
The main event of ‘Mania XV is a ladder match between the corporations puppet,The Rock, the ultimate rebel, Austin, and recently turned babyface Mankind.
Mankind – 3/28/99 to 4/25/99
It’s a bit of a gamble not giving the title to the most over wrestler in the history of sports entertainment, but fuck it. This is my universe. I can do what I want! Mankind was supposed to main event WrestleMania XV with Austin and Rock. Unfortunately, for him, Michaels convinced McMahon the main event had to be a singles.
Not only did this screw over Mick Foley. This ruined WrestleMania 2000. The main event of a babyface Rock vs the fully realized heel Triple H would have been sufficient enough. Except McMahon was convinced people tuned into to watch Raw because of the family dynamic and there wasn’t enough fan interest in either of the wrestlers. So that’s how Big Show and Mick Foley were inserted into the main event.
Having Mick win here basically butterflies his participation in WrestleMania 2000 as the only reason he came back was to main event the biggest PPV in wrestling history. Since Austin was out with a neck injury, McMahon inserted the fan favorite as a way to drum up more interest. This could have been iconic if Vince simply let Foley win the title and retire the next night.
But as we learned, when The Game is involved, chances are The Game is going over. Hard.
Steve Austin – 4/25/99 to 8/22/99
In a fatal-four-way elimination featuring Rock, Mankind, and Ken Shamrock, Austin eliminates all combatants and wins the title despite interference from McMahon’s newest crony “Big Show” (I’d rather bill him as Paul Wright).
Big Show debuts as “Paul Wright” and since I like that name better, I’ll be referring to him by his real name from now on.
Wright debuts on Raw the night after Backlash. We only see him on TV as McMahon’s muscle. He never speaks. Rarely gets physical with anybody. So we’re basically casting him as 1994 Diesel.
The night after Austin reclaims the title, McMahon strolls out to interrupt a defiant Austin. “You are one tough son of a bitch, I’ll admit!” McMahon says. “I’ve done everything to get you out of my life. I’ve been the guest referee. I’ve enlisted the best wrestlers in the world. Yet, here you are with my belt.” He stares at his most prized possession which Austin had just flung to the side of the ring.
“But Stone Cold, people like me don’t give up easily. I have all the money in the world. I can do this until we’re both in the ground. You think you’ve won? Let me introduce you to my gigantic ace in the hole!”
Wright lays absolute waste to the competition. Every week on Raw he’s winning matches in under a minute. When Austin and him connect, Wright no sells everything. Austin retains. Barley. Only through D.Q. Their final match is in a steel cage. Austin winning via escaping the cage, after delivering two consecutive stunners to Wright.
Then, came SummerSlam…
Triple H – 8/22/99 to 4/1/00
The reign of Triple H begins. His relationship with the chairman’s daughter is in full effect. At SummerSlam, in a triple-threat featuring Wright, Triple H pedigrees Austin to win his first world title. Less than three months later, Triple H runs Austin over with a car – because I said so.
(I’m well aware I probably would have booked Austin into the ground. You don’t have to remind me of my ineptitude)
To be honest, I liked the McMahon-Helmsley alliance between Trips and Stephenie. It gave us a chance to see Vince casted unnaturally as a babyface. It was unique and he did a convincing job. On the Raw prior to WrestleMania 2000, Show and Shane are absolutely fucking the Rock over during the main event. If Rock loses he’ll not only not go to ‘Mania – he’ll have to retire. Out comes Vince and the crowd absolutely goes ballistic. Knocks his son out, dawns the referee stripped shirt and evens the playing field for Rock. The Great One pins Show and punches his ticket to ‘Mania.
Of course Vince fucks this up by helping Triple H retain his title versus Rock by joining the McMahon-Helmsley stable. Dirty secret about Vince, he loves being on TV. Only justification of his presence on the screen beyond ‘Mania was him turning back to the dark side.
As for Triple H. It’s a sign of how Vince really did have the midas touch around this time. Crowd absolutely wasn’t digging HHH as a heel. This despite Hunter escaping the shadow as being just HBK’s goon. D-Generation X turned babyface shortly after ‘Mania XIV and rounded into form as a chaotic good the night of January 4th, 1999 by helping Mankind capture his first WWE Championship by beating back The Corporation lead by McMahon and Ken Shamrock.
Trips succumbed to the hate, turning on Chyna and X-Pac, and drugging Stephenie to kidnap her (DIFFERENT TIME). Later revealing the the world the two share mutual affection and are an item. The most powerful item in wrestling pushed Vince out of his company and fired Mick Foley.
His reign of terror was no joke. But it should have ended at ‘Mania. This was the perfect time to cement Rock as the top babyface until Stone Cold returned. For all his accolades, the WWE didn’t give Rock the one thing that alluded him: his WrestleMania moment. Unlike Austin, HBK, ‘Taker, Hogan, Savage, Bret, Rock never won the title at WrestleMania. This was the perfect time to pull the trigger.
Needless change: The Big Show wins the tag titles by himself. His gimmick for the next few months is he’ll defend his titles by plucking a random audience member every week as a makeshift partner.
The Rock – 4/1/00 to 5/21/00
The Rock loses the title in an iron man match against HHH, 6 falls to 5. Michaels is the guest referee and superkicks Rock just as he’s about to capture the critical final fall with a People’s Elbow.
HHH crawls for the cover, HBK performs a fast count for the victory as the clock hits double zero. Biker ‘Taker debuts and wrecks havoc on Triple H and Michaels, setting the stage for the next big show down.
Triple H – 5/21/00 to 8/27/00
Triple H manages to beat ‘Taker, and turn away The Rock one more time. Entering SummerSlam, the unchallenged Triple H sees a potential usurper not to his champion but to his seat next to Stephenie.
Kurt Angle inadvertently elbows his way into the title picture by getting friendly with Stephenie. Steph and Hunter have hit the skids as of late, despite having the title on all the power. Vince put all his eggs in the Biker ‘Taker basket winning the strap at King of the Ring and when that didn’t pan out, McMahon was taken off of TV and knocked off his perch as Chairman of the WWE. His daughter taking over.
Looking to add insult to injury, Triple H orders his wife to handover his sledgehammer so he can pummel an already beaten Chris Jericho. But Y2J isn’t down and out, making a last ditch charge at The Game. The champ sidesteps, but Jericho rams his shoulder into Stephenie knocking her off the apron.
Angle runs out and picks up McMahon like a bride and rushes to the backstage, laying her gently on a couch. The two share a tender moment in front of the audience while Triple H is busy brawling with Jericho. Thus kicking off a love triangle angle between The Cerebral Assassin and an oaf.
Kurt Angle – 8/27/00 to 9/24/00
Angle vanquishes Triple H and wins the heart of Stephenie, altering the balance of power. The Game is fired and isn’t seen for a month. For as long as Angle is champion, Triple H is out of a job. Just like when we saw Austin raising hell in the corporate boardroom when he was CEO, Angle is seated at the head of the table. Except he’s an overmatched dimwit.
“You can’t tell me what to do!” He would occasionally bark at someone mildly critiquing him. “I won a gold medal!”
The Rock – 9/24/00 to 4/1/01
The Rock is back on top. Like in our timeline he loses the belt at WrestleMania, but in this timeline he holds it for longer than just little over a month. Killing time until then, he feuds with X-Pac, Paul Wright, Undertaker, Kane, and despite taking the belt from him, Angle persists he is the champion so Rock also battles the corporate heads of WWE – minus Vince.
Steve Austin – 4/1/01 to 6/24/01
Ah, the end of the Attitude Era. Nobody what people want to say about the ill-fated Austin heel turn, the end of the golden era in wrestling was coming after WrestleMania X-7. The Rock was departing to film movies, the purchase of WCW meant the end of the era where WWE felt they had to push themselves to create greater content. As a result, things became stale real fast.
Perhaps Austin knew this and this served as the reason he pestered Vince about turning heel. The original plans for WrestleMania were for Austin to go over The Rock clean, and for Triple H to defeat the Undertaker, and start a feud with Austin. This makes sense considering Triple H was the one who hit Austin with a car way back in November of 2000 and defeated him in a three-stages of hell match at No Mercy.
When the plan shifted for Austin to turn heel, WWE decided to try and make Hunter a babyface and challenge Austin by losing to The Undertaker. Both Austin and Hunter decided they wanted to work together as opposed to feud so the “Two-Man Power Trip” stable was formed.
It was all Austin’s idea. All of it. He even could have called an audible in that very moment he is shaking hands with Mr. McMahon, delivered a stunner and remained a face. Nobody in the company – not even Vince – would have minded the abrupt change. The crowd in Houston had no clue and didn’t give a fuck when McMahon started helping Austin. Austin could have killed a dog in the center of the ring that night and the rabid fans would still hoot and holler for their hometown hero.
If the turn happened in Rock’s hometown of Miami, you likely get the desired outcome.
With nobody credible for Austin to feud with, the WWE was forced to give undercard talents like the Hardy’s and the tag team of Chris Benoit and Y2J shots are the brass ring. While Jeff Hardy got royally fucked by Hunter during their feud, Benoit and Jericho benefited greatly from their program with Austin and laid the groundwork for their runs as champion in the near future.
Chris Jericho – 6/24/01 to 11/3/01
And here we go. The invasion angle. God how it sucked. But what-if… what-if the invading WCW faction wasn’t booked to look like some overpaid jobbers?
Simple: have Jericho win the title, make him and his partner Benoit the leaders of the invading force. This makes sense considering they began their professional careers in WCW. You can say the same for Austin, except that was stupid. Since April of 2001, Austin’s psyche deteriorated to the point where it didn’t matter which side he was on. He could have been anywhere.
The underlying subplot of the triple-threat at King of the Ring, was it was rumored Benoit was a turncoat for WCW and was going to defect from the WWE the next night. This is a better way to kick off the invasion angle, and set the tone that anyone in the WWE locker room could be a turncoat.
Inadvertently, this time Vince face, and more importantly Austin. Perhaps this’ll butterfly Hunter tearing his squads as this raps up the Power Trips’ feud with Jericho and Benoit.
Benoit and Jericho hold on to the tag titles until Survivor Series. Booker T holds on to the WCW Championship. Diamond Dallas Page captures the Intercontinental Championship from Triple H – if we could convince him to job.
All roads point to a payoff at Survivor Series…
Benoit & Jericho def. The Rock & Jeff Hardy (Tag Titles)
Edge def. DDP (I.C Title)
Booker T def. Steve Austin via DQ (WCW Title)
The Rock def. Chris Jericho (WWE Title)
The Rock def. Booker T (Title Unification)
The Rock – 11/3/01 to 3/17/02
The Rock and Austin save the WWE’s bacon, a program takes place a month later where the two face off where the two titles will be merged into the Undisputed Championship.
At Vengeance, Austin repays Rock for putting him over at ‘Manias fifteen and seventeen by putting the People’s Champ over clean as whistle.
On the next month’s PPV, Rock defends his title versus Jericho and out comes the New World Order and proceed to lay waste to everyone. Spraying NwO on their unconscious backs, and on the WWE Title.
Which leads us too…
Hollywood Hulk Hogan – 3/17/02 to 3/30/03
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall (or X-Pac if Hall still relapses), rule the tag title scene, as Hogan defeats The Rock thanks to interference from former NwO members Paul Wright, Curt Hennig, and their newest toy Brock Lesnar.
There’s no reason why Hogan shouldn’t have won at ‘Mania and gone on one last run as heel. The NwO grew stale in WCW, but in the WWE it was the freshest coat of paint giving them more avenues to go down and people to plug into programs.
Like how Batista turned on Triple H and destroyed Evolution, Brock does the same to Hogan and buries the NwO at WrestleMania XIX.
WrestleMania XIX Card:
Brock Lesnar def. Hulk Hogan
The Undertaker def. Kurt Angle
The Rock def. Steve Austin
Triple H vs Kevin Nash
Eddie Guerrero def. Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels (I.C Title)
Brock Lesnar – 3/30/03 to 8/24/03
The Next Big Thing arrives on the scene dispatching Hogan in his WrestleMania swan song.
Only difference here is Lesnar is still a Paul Heyman client. The injury he suffered a Survivor Series doesn’t lead to a brief run as a babyface as he isn’t champion. Lesnar shreds through the NwO starting in January making his way to Hollywood Hogan in the main event of ‘Mania.
Kurt Angle – 8/24/03 to 1/25/04
After suffering a neck injury where his career was in jeopardy, it seemed the seeds were planted for Angle to hang it up. But Angle not only keeps his wrestling career alive, he maintains main event status and defeats Brock Lesnar in the process.
Angle drops the belt to Guerrero at No Way Out, and wrestles Undertaker at WrestleMania (bumping out Kane) and Lesnar, in his last match in the WWE until 2013 puts Latino Heat over.
Eddie Guerrero – 1/25/04 to 8/15/04
Why couldn’t Triple H just go to Smackdown? “Didn’t want to work Tuesdays!” Heyman responds. Right. But you think how WWE maneuvered the chess pieces the night after WrestleMania XXI, moving Cena to Raw and Batista to Smackdown, elevating one of their new stars and devaluing the other. They knew where their bread was buttered.
Why couldn’t Hunter go and feud with Eddie when Smackdown was clearly bleeding for top heels? Raw could perfectly set up Randy Orton to become World Heavyweight Champion, have him and Batista main event back when neither of them main eventing ‘Mania made everyone wanted to howl in frustration.
I would have rather had Guerrero have a two month feud with Undertaker than John Layfield.
Fantasy ‘Mania XX card:
The Undertaker def John Cena (W/ Nas)
Eddie Guerrero def. Brock Lesnar
Kurt Angle def. Goldberg
Chris Benoit def. HBK, HHH
The Undertaker – 8/15/04 to 1/30/05
Do yourself a favor, go watch The Undertaker vs Kurt Angle at 2006 No Way Out. Easily one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. It makes me lust for a collision at WrestleMania. ‘Taker was in the sweet spot of his career where he knew his way around the ring and his body hadn’t yet betrayed him.
Kurt was at his apex. A complete badass. So much so, he didn’t want a count out victory over ‘Taker in their matchup. He rather face the deadman and take his chances.
Kurt Angle 1/30/05 to 4/3/05
Angle keeps the strap warm for Cena at WrestleMania. Which leaves us with the question, who does Shawn Michaels wrestle? Either Shelton Benjamin if WWE felt daring. Or Eddie Guerrero. Man… I would have loved it if Eddie and HBK locked up.
Put Rey in the Money in the Bank ladder match or put him versus Flair. They only met once in the ring in 1999 while at WCW.
WrestleMania XXI Card:
The Undertaker def. Randy Orton
John Cena def. Kurt Angle
Shelton Benjamin def. Shawn Michaels
Chris Benoit wins MITB, cashes in on Batista in June at Vengeance
John Cena – 4/3/05 to 4/2/06
Ah, we made it to the Cena era. Damnit. Imma bout to give this dude the belt so many times it’ll seem redundant.
While the Cena feud vs JBL was excellent; all the grief I’ll give JBL for being an asshole in real life and being the beneficiary of WWE taking the belt off a charismatic champion for no reason other than they were bored, he did his job well. It was a bummer to see Cena lose his rebellious rapper gimmick which suited the nature of the feud better than Cena being a cooker cutter babyface.
I just wish Angle christened him as the champion. I want a five-star classic in my ‘Mania matches. I want Cena put through the ringer and to come out bruised on the opposite side.
A fun change I’d make is book Rickey Steamboat vs Ric Flair. A much Steamboat lobbied to Vince to have. But McMahon believed nobody cared about those old farts so he turned it down.
Triple H – 4/2/06 to 6/11/06
Yeah, Triple H defeats Cena at ‘Mania 22. The Chicago crowd wanted the champs blood that night (a running theme). So much they begged Triple H to end his reign. Amazing.
And you know what else, they should have pulled the trigger. One loss on the big stage would have made the fans happy. Either versus Triple H, HBK, Undertaker, ANYONE could beat Cena and take a huge weight off his shoulders. Fans probably calm down and are happy Cena isn’t an indestructible, bland babyface champion. It’s the same problem with Roman Reigns. Actually, there’s a lot of problems with Reigns…
So Triple H takes him down and drops the belt to RVD at One Night Stand. You may disagree with me saying Triple H needed to go over at ‘Mania, but there’s no way you can tell me having Van Dam beat Triple H isn’t now satisfying than him beating Cena.
Rob Van Dam – 6/11/06 to 8/20/06
RVD cashes in his MITB briefcase for a match versus the champion Triple H at One Night Stand, in the grand Hammerstein Ballroom. My favorite venue for wrestling.
I say the word “poor” a lot referring to someone I believe wasn’t given a proper shake. That applies to RVD too. He was caught smoking weed by the police during his title run and vacated the strap soon after. Never getting close to another run.
Edge – 8/20/06 to 1/7/07
Edge is more than ready for a long title reign. He battled through countless injuries and returned to form every time. WWE never took him seriously. Sure, he’d cash-in on Cena, but in two-weeks that belt was returned to its rightful owner. You can do more when your champion is a heel and have the babyfaces chase him, as opposed to the other way around.
John Cena – 1/7/07 to 4/1/07
Cena reclaims the strap after being without it for seven-months. For the third straight WrestleMania he is entering the champion.
Minor change: Shawn Michaels wins the Royal Rumble, last eliminating Undertaker. The winner of the Royal Rumble should always main event WrestleMania no matter how stale and cold.
I wouldn’t have minded ‘Taker main eventing with Batista. That was probably ‘Taker’s best match up until that point. Very underrated.
Shawn Michaels – 4/1/07 to 4/22/07
Michaels connects with Sweet Chin Music on a distracted Cena and clinches his fifth WWE Championship (counting his lone World Heavyweight Championship win in 2002).
“Way to build up your new star. Every year you have him job to legends on the biggest stage.” You say. I mean, yeah. But why not? It be fun to see Michaels get one more WrestleMania moment. Where’s the harm in that in regards to Cena? He’ll reclaim the belt in three weeks.
John Cena – 4/22/07 to 3/30/08
In the sixty-minute classic in London, Cena reclaims the strap from HBK on an episode of Raw to set up a four-way bout between himself, Michaels, Edge and Orton (honestly, should have been the ‘Mania main event) – which Cena will retain.
Cena vs Michaels at WrestleMania 23, and their marathon showing on Raw are one of my favorite matches. It’s the perfect blend of new blood and old. It’s a formula I wish current day WWE could utilize, but all the legends are now all gone.
WrestleMania XXIV Card:
Ric Flair def. John Cena
Batista def. Edge for World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker def. Rey Mysterio
Floyd Mayweather, Big Show and Randy Orton def. HBK and Triple H
Ric Flair – 3/30/08 to 3/31/08
A retiring Ric Flair asks for one more shot the gold. While Cena is all for giving the Nature Boy his match at WrestleMania, Vince McMahon tells Flair he’ll have to win it at the Royal Rumble as the number one entrant.
Pushing sixty-years old, Flair survives a grueling royal rumble and earns himself the sendoff he’s lusted after.
I prefer this booking because Flair never wrestled Cena. I figure it be another excellent clashing of young and old. Who better to face than the face of the company?
The main event is a ten-minute affair, solid in its own right ending in Flair getting Cena to fall unconscious in the figure-four leglock (like how Flair beat Savage for the title in ‘92).
On the Raw after ‘Mania, Flair relinquished his title and gave a proud, tearful goodbye address to the faithful not wanting to let him go off into that night. A battle royal is announced to take place that night, and to everyone’s chagrin, Randy Orton is the winner. Triple H comes down to the ring and tells Flair not to give the title to Orton, knowing The Viper will gladly beat the old man to a pulp. But Flair isn’t scared and hands Orton his belt. Orton RKO’s Flair on the belt and the “Age of Orton” has begun.
Randy Orton – 3/31/08 to 4/5/09
The Age of Orton, as it should have been. A year long running through it the roster. A decimation of faces and heels alike. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, JBL, Cena, Jericho, all turned away by The Viper.
The most crucial years of Orton that shaped his legacy are 2005, 2008 and 2009. Three years where he was shafted by Triple H and screwed out of a spot at the main event of WrestleMania. Orton was a transition champ from fan-favorite Benoit and treated as such. In ‘08, despite winning the title from Trips, Orton would lose the title to him the next month at Backlash, rendering the whole Age of Orton storyline mute. In ‘09, when a psychotic valve in Orton’s mind had been released, again Triple H was their to put him down like a sick puppy.
Orton was on a tear despite the horrid booking. He demolished the McMahon family, attacked an elder Vince, his son Shane, and made out with an unconscious Stephenie in front of a handcuffed Triple H. In retaliation, Hunter broke into Orton’s home and almost killed him. The feud between the two was hot. The finishes were not. WrestleMania 25’s main event will go down as the blandest, if not the worst in WWE’s history. The crowd was so dead and apathetic towards both combatants because they knew Orton was basically neutered. A no d.q match to end a feud that’s supposed to be this confrontational made no sense.
While I believe 2005 Orton wasn’t ready for the task of carrying the company, the Orton of 2008-9 certainly was. This was supposed to be his banner year.
WrestleMania XXV Card:
HBK def. Ricky Steamboat
The Undertaker def. John Cena
C.M Punk def. Jeff Hardy, and Matt Hardy in Triple-threat for The World Heavyweight Championship
Edge def. Triple H
Big Show def. JBL for I.C Title
So who beats Orton?…
Rey Mysterio – 4/5/09 to 11/22/09
Yup. I’m picking ole, Rey-Rey.
The little engine that could musters up enough gumption to bring the curtain down on the Age of Orton and bring the WWE Universe back from the darkness.
Shawn Michaels – 11/22/09 to 3/28/10
One last run for the Heartbreak Kid. As it should have always been. Why Vince treats the title like a piece of tin on a regular basis, but doesn’t allow wrestlers to go on a farewell tour as champion is beyond me.
Michaels captures the title at Survivor Series, defends for a month or two before he goads Undertaker into a match at ‘Mania. Initially pitching it as a title unification. When the deadman declines, HBK doesn’t want to relinquish his title so he can enter the Royal Rumble as Undertaker is the Heavyweight Champion. Instead, Michaels crashes ‘Taker’s Elimination Chamber match and superkicks him, inadvertently delivering his nemesis Jericho the win and title. The next night, Michaels offers Undertaker his chance at revenge and the gold in a winner-takes-all proposition. ‘Taker accepts, only if it’ll mean if Michaels loses his career is over. HBK agrees.
It’s so easy… so why didn’t WWE do it?!
The Undertaker – 3/28/10 to 4/25/10
You’re probably wondering, if HBK vs ‘Taker is the championship match, then what’s Cena vs Batista? WrestleMania 26 was sort of a goodbye to The Animal also. One last run before he transitioned to part-time status shortly after ‘Mania. The match in this timeline still happens, except it’s a number one contenders’ stipulation for the next PPV.
Undertaker’s body is betraying him. He isn’t a long term champion anymore. This is his send off just as much as it is Michaels’. ‘Taker falling pray to his rival Batista less than a mont after capturing the WWE Championship.
Batista – 4/25/10 to 5/23/10
One last cheap run for Batista. Eventually, Cena knocks him off and walks off into the sunset… crying like a little bitch in an “I Quit” match.
John Cena – 5/23/10 to 8/15/10
A brief two-in-half month reign for Cena in the doldrums of WWE. The legends are gone or on part-time schedules.
Randy Orton – 8/15/10 to 10/24/10
Orton wins the title from Cena at SummerSlam. The Nexus invades and lays waste to the WWE roster. Leader Wade Barrett defeats Cena to forcibly enlist him into the Nexus ranks and referees a title bout versus Orton to his favor to win the title, granting Cena his freedom.
Wade Barrett – 10/24/10 to 2/20/11
King Barrett rules Monday Night Raw with an iron fist. A depleted WWE roster searches high and low for a hero and find him… from the commentary desk.
Jerry Lawler – 2/20/11 to 4/3/11
The King dethrones King Barrett and secures himself a place at WrestleMania against John Cena.
There wasn’t a reason to try out Lawler as champion. Is a Lawler vs Cena main event worse than Miz vs Cena???
Punk was ready for a run, but they WWE had their heads in the sand.
John Cena – 4/3/11 to 5/22/11
Cena defeats Lawler for the title, they shake hands and go on their separate ways.
The Miz – 4/11/11 to 6/19/11
The Miz cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase and goes on a two-month reign alongside his running buddy Alex Riley.
Miz was a fine champion. When booked seriously, Miz was a formidable talent.
R-Truth – 6/19/11 to 7/3/11
R-Truth’s “Little Jimmy” gimmick wins him a chance at the gold. Truth becomes WWE’s fourth weird, out of place champion since October.
John Cena – 7/3/11 to 7/11/11
Cena recaptures the title solely to lose it to C.M Punk.
C.M Punk – 7/11/11 to 7/12/11
Why did WWE bring Punk back so soon? Of course you could expect they had nothing to fill in the time he was gone. As I’ve said before, their roster was so underwhelming. But to have Punk return just eight days after his monumental and historic win over John Cena at Money In The Bank significantly deflates the impact of his accomplishment.
It’s even worse when you realize the initial plan for Punk upon his return was for Triple H to deck Punk out cold and Alberto Del Rio to cash-in his MITB contract and main event SummerSlam vs Cena in a one-on-one.
The WWE should have scrubbed Punk’s name from the record books and scarcely mention his name on commentary. The very utterance of his name causing the nearest WWE authority figure to spazz out.
But we will soon learn WWE cannot move on. Even if it’s for the sake of a storyline and if the separation isn’t forever.
Rey Mysterio – 7/18/11 to 8/14/11
Why… oh why, couldn’t WWE let Rey main event SummerSlam and be the champion – let alone let him keep the title for more than an hour. Cena is a real douche bag for taking advantage of Mysterio who came off a grueling tournament, culminating in a victory of The Miz, forcing the crowd favorited to defend his newly won title that very night.
It’s idiotic WWE did this from a money perspective also. Rey and Cena only locked up once way back in 2003. Eight-years prior to their most recent and final clash. Why give away this sneaky seldom seen match on free TV and not hype and use it for PPV? Because we have to rush Punk back so we can crown Del Rio. Ugh.
John Cena – 8/14/11 to 8/14/1
Anyways, Cena is your champion… again. Del Rio cashes in on a vulnerable Cena after Triple H pedigrees him.
Alberto Del Rio – 8/14/11 to 11/20/11
Del Rio sucks. Hard. I hate him.
C.M Punk – (7/11/11) 11/20/11 to 4/7/13
Punk comes back to reclaim the throne he’s never lost, on the same night Rock wrestles since 2004. How poetic. Survivor Series sets off story WWE would be telling for nearly two-years.
It’s a bummer Cena’s “worst year” wasn’t even close to being as described. It was his best year. He main events PPVs despite not having the gold, won the Royal Rumble and rarely losing. The story began promising enough. The night after losing to The Rock at ‘Mania, a good sportsman, Cena offered Rock to come out and shake his hand. What he receives is Brock Lesnar making his eagerly awaited return and emasculating an already downtrodden Cena. What should have followed is Lesnar beating Cena within an inch of his life. We shouldn’t see Cena for months when Brock is done with him.
What we got is Cena winning and cutting a promo in the ring shortly after. This began the clunky, of not vindictive booking if Lesnar. Smitten by the fact Brock spurred him in 2004, Vince wanted to add a couple of loses to Lesnar’s record. His first match back, he jobs to Cena. Second loss coming at the hands of Triple H at WrestleMania.
In my eyes, Lesnar should have beaten Cena. Retired Triple H at SummerSlam and be well on his way to elbowing his way back into the title picture.
In the Royal Rumble, Lesnar is laying waste to all entrants, showing little signs of letting you. Nobody can stop him. Then “IF YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING” and out comes the Brahma Bull. Rock and Lesnar go back-and-forth, The Rock ultimately eliminating Lesnar.
But that’s not the only curveball… Cena is back. Him and Rock are the only ones still standing in the ring. Cena performed an Attitude Adjustment and paralyzed The Rock long enough to throw him over the top rope. Cena is going to WrestleMania.
Meanwhile, Punk retains his title versus Randy Orton and is on his way to entering WrestleMania the champion for the second straight year.
At Elimination Chamber, The Rock enters versus Orton, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Lesnar and Rey Mysterio.
Rock pins Lesnar last and wins a title shot at ‘Mania, making the main event a triple-threat.
Furious, Lesnar demands a title shot versus Punk on the go-home edition of Raw. Ever the more arrogant, Punk agrees to a match. But not to a title, but for spot at WrestleMania. Punk’s cornerman Paul Heyman betrays him and assists his former client in securing the win.
WrestleMania XXIX Card:
C.M Punk vs Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs John Cena vs The Rock
The Undertaker def. Ryback
Daniel Bryan def. Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar – 4/7/13 to 4/6/14
In the fatale-four elimination match the casualty goes as the following…
The Rock eliminates C.M Punk
John Cena eliminates The Rock
Brock Lesnar eliminates John Cena
Lesnar’s reign of terror commences…
Daniel Bryan – 4/6/14 to 6/9/14
Everything remains the same, except Orton is bumped out of the main event. The title match is still a triple-threat with Batista. Only with Lesnar involved. Bryan wins by making Lesnar submit to the “Yes Lock” and transitions to a feud with Batista, until he has to relinquish the title due to a legit neck injury.
Who wrestles The Undertaker? Roman Reigns. Does he conquer The Steak?
The WWE insisted on shoving Roman down our throats, but whenever they get to the finish line there’s some bullshit preventing them from going all-in. Whether it’s pulling the parachute at WrestleMania 31, or the maligned Shaemus successfully cashing on him, or his long, uninspiring feud with Lesnar. WWE wasn’t gonna turn themselves off to Roman, but they were never gonna get the whole thing over with.
They turned what should have been their next John Cena into Mike Conley. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Except Conley is cool because what he does is real. His shortcomings are more understandable.
Lastly, I believe it’s appropriate to have a three-man tag match with Kane and The New Aged Outlaws vs Rollins, Ambrose, Orton.
Roman Reigns – 6/29/14 to 2/22/15
Why not go the unorthodox route and anoint Reigns the leader of the next generation by christening him at Money in the Bank in a ladder match featuring the face of the outgoing generation?
Daniel Bryan – 2/22/15 to 3/31/15
Upon his return Bryan was giving voice to the fact he never lost his championship, giving fans ideas of a possible triple-threat between Reigns and Bryan challenging for Lesnar’s title. Except sadly, Roman beat Bryan fairly and ended any dreams of redemption. Bryan was shoehorned into the intercontinental championship ladder match as a consolation prize.
Why so much apathy towards Bryan and the fans he brings in? Is it that Vince can’t see himself as a thin, liberal vegan? Probably. Vince’s decision making process is insanely simplistic and superficial. You can’t put it past him to think this way. He and Donald Trump are cut from the cloth in many ways.
Bryan versus Brock Lesnar in a rematch of last year’s main event. Roman Reigns is facing Triple H in the penultimate event, once victorious, The Authority is done with for good.
Lesnar comes out and demolishes Bryan to start. A team of medics rush down the alleyway with a stretcher, but Bryan was waves them off. At some point, the champion reverses the momentum and proceeds to deconstruct the behemoth and compromise his balance. Lesnar’s right leg crumbling like a tower of cards. Just as Bryan is about to put the finishing touches on his masterpiece, “Burn it Down!” blares over the loudspeakers and Seth Rollins, holding a stainless silver Money in the Bank briefcase rushes down the ramp way as if trying to save a small child.
Lesnar takes advantage of the momentary confusion and hits Bryan with an F-5. It cost Lesnar his balance, as he doubled over making him perfect prey for Rollins’ curbstomp on the back of The Beasts’ neck. One. Two. No! Lesnar kicks out. Panicking. Rollins is worried Lesnar will get up. Hastily, he hooks Bryan’s legs, Rollins using his feet for leverage on the ropes. One. Two. Three.
“Seth Rollins has stolen the WWE Championship!”
Seth Rollins – 3/31/15 to 10/25/15
Rollins defends versus Bryan, Lesnar, Wyatt, and even Cena.
The only person who could have stopped Rollins is the stupidest person imaginable…
Kane – 10/25/15 to 11/22/15
Don’t judge me…
Roman Reigns – 11/22/15 to 1/24/16
“All right, lets get this over with.” Roman punches Mayor Kane in the face. He went “ow.”
Chris Jericho – 1/24/16 to 4/3/16
Triple H doesn’t win the Royal Rumble. Which is a shame. His frantic crotch-chops after eliminating Reigns is worthy of Hall of Fame status when you see it in a gif.
Jericho makes stars and was constantly overlooked in WWE. Triple H puts down his opponents to the point where it doesn’t matter even if he puts them over.
Dean Ambrose wins a number one contenders match versus Lesnar, and Reigns is challenged by The Undertaker in a rematch of WrestleMania XXX.
WrestleMania 32 Card:
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose
Brock Lesnar def. Bray Wyatt
The Rock and John Cena def. Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman
A.J Styles def. Kevin Owens for I.C Title
The Undertaker def. Roman Reigns
Shane McMahon def. Kane (For Control of Raw; Shane debuts the Universal Championship the next night)
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch for the Inaugural Women’s Title
Brock vs Bray. Monster vs Beast. Sure to be a Dave Meltzer one-star match. But fun nonetheless. It’s one of those matches you are sure will be ugly upon viewing. Nonetheless, you have to see it.
A.J Styles was about to challenge Reigns OTL. Having him lose to Jericho before his title match made no sense. Here, he wins the I.C belt and chases Ambrose.
Shane should have won control of Raw. It would have made more sense because the brands would be split once again shortly after ‘Mania. Either the brand re-split was haphazard or planned ahead of time. If the latter, WWE’s booking makes zero sense to have Shane lose. Just goes to show you, Vince really hates his actual son. Hey, I’d hate Shane too if I was him.
Undertaker gets his revenge on Roman. Setting up the rubber match for WrestleMania XXXIII…
It’s a damn shame Sasha didn’t go over in her ‘Mania match. The women’s triple-threat was the second best match on the card (first being Styles-Jericho). Flair was already a star. Not saying she could have jobbed every now and then. But tonight was the night to capitalize on the skyrocketing popularity of a new talent. The night was set beautifully for Banks. Snoop Dogg is in her corner. The fans love her. Banks is paying tribute to Eddie Guerrero wearing Latino Heat tights and performing the FrogSplash. Having Flair retain/win the new title made zero sense. Let Sasha go on a six-month run, then rip her heart out in her hometown of Boston at Hell in a Cell.
Dean Ambrose – 4/3/16 to 2/12/17
All three members of The Shield have carried WWE gold around their waist and enjoyed long, heavily consequential reigns.
Why WWE never believed Ambrose was worthy a main event push is, once again, beyond me. Fans responded the best to him out of all Shield members. He was the one most prepared to be pushed as a babyface. Ambrose is basically a more athletic Mick Foley.
Roman Reigns – 2/12/17 to 5/21/17
And he gets his ass kicked by Roman Reigns. I mean.. we gotta set up that rubber match between him and ‘Taker. Makes sense in my opinion.
The Undertaker wins the Royal Rumble and while the match isn’t pretty, ‘Taker is given one last shot at the gold in his WrestleMania swan song.
A.J Styles – 5/21/17 to 4/8/18
A.J wins the title on the same day he did OTL. Only it’s over Reigns and not Jinder Mahal.
Shinsuke Nakamura – 4/8/18 to 4/7/19
With Roman moving to Raw and now chasing the Universal Championship, Nakamura is the number one contender for the WWE Championship after winning the Royal Rumble like in OTL.
The more you think about how Styles’ reign abruptly ends on the go-home edition of Smackdown before Survivor Series, you understand how WWE simply pulled the trigger out of random impulse. “He has to lose because he’s been champ for too long, dammit!”
Nakamura had heat. Was making a big impact and fans wanted him to win the title. Nakamura should have won.
Kofi Kingston – 4/7/19 to 11/24/19
Kofi wins the Royal Rumble, and Kurt challenges Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship as his own swan song. Daniel Bryan puts Bobby Lashley over in his match for the Intercontinental Championship and Finn Balor is shoved into the Battle Royal.
It’s a bummer Kofi’s reign couldn’t have ended on PPV. Even at this past rumble he received the biggest pop. But to WWE, Kingston is a big nerd and tells us repeatedly to not take him seriously. Just like with Bryan.
Brock Lesnar – 11/24/19 to 4/3/20
Brock decimates Kofi.
I wouldn’t have minded giving Rey one more title program except they didn’t have him go over. If you’re not going to have Rey go over, what’s the point of giving him a shot at the gold?
Drew McIntyre – 4/4-5/20 to present day…
Ironic. McIntyre and Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley) are in the midst of their most important pushes of their respected career in a time where there is no fan participation. And these are two guys worth their salt.
Imagine what wrestling could have gotten away with having no fans ever? Hulk Hogan never turns heel because nobody would be able to show how disgusted they were with the same act. Certainly his ill-fated face turn in ‘99 goes on unabated if no one is around to boo him out the building.
How much does Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Undertaker, Steve Austin, and all the other greats suffer without a crowd to play to? For wrestlers, playing to them is almost second nature. Talent still can’t help themselves but to play to people who aren’t in attendance. It’s ingrained in their psyches to milk the cheers, maximize the impact of high spots and hot tags.
That all being said, give me an empty arena over NXT people (who aren’t allowed to wear masks because Vince McMahon is the devil) following the orders given to them, cheering the good guys, booing the bad ones, because if they don’t, they’ll get fired.
Don’t you just love wrestling, kids??