Hustle Is Posting Right Now - My WrestleMania XXX Card
Apr 14, 2013 - 10:48:01 PM
"Looking at the future.."
With WrestleMania 29 still fresh on the minds of wrestling fans all across the world, what better time to look ahead at next year, when the historic WrestleMania 30 (hilariously stylised as WrestleMania XXX) comes to us from New Orleans, Louisiana. Looking at WrestleMania a full year in advance is one of the more difficult columns one can write. You don't know who will be champion. You don't know who will be injured. You don't know who will be feuding with who. You don't know who will be called up to the main roster. You don't know who will be released. There are just so many variables to take into account.
That's why I'm not going to predict the card.
Instead, I'm going to put my own card together. What I'd like to see. Yes, it's a fantasy booking column. Deal with it.
I won't be going the month-by-month route with my booking, but I'll try to give some back story to each match, just so you can see what I'd want on the card and how I'd put it together, so it's more than just "Wrestler A VS Wrestler B because that would be a good match". Let's go ahead and get down with the get down..
I'm going to start off by saying that I'm not a fan of the Divas matches where random celebrities participate, or where we'll get like ten Divas wrestling. I do get the point in having them. I'm just not a fan of them. Since this is my WrestleMania card, I'll do what I want, and I'm going to put a Divas Title match on the show.
Layla VS AJ Lee for the Divas Title
How We Got Here: It doesn't matter what you think of AJ Lee. Some of you think she's adorable, while some of you think she's sexy, and others think she's ugly. Some of you think she has a lot of potential in the ring, while others think she can't wrestle. No matter your opinion, there is no denying that she has been the female on the WWE roster for well over a year. She has done so while having a combined 11 televised singles matches as a member of the main roster, with zero matches on pay-per-view. She deserves a reward, if for no other reason than becoming a major star without having to do much at all. Giving her a Divas Title match, at WrestleMania, of all places, sounds like a good reward to me. As for her opponent, I had to take off the "100% fantasy booking" hat and put on the "75% fantasy booking, 25% logical booking" hat. A better "story" would be to have AJ, who I fully believe will be a face again by this time, going up against a more dominant Diva in an underdog role. Someone like Beth Phoenix would have worked out here. Kharma, as well. Of the current crop of Divas, Natalya or Tamina could have done the job. Hell, to really make some of the IWC mark out, Sara Del Rey could have been brought up from training the NXT Divas to do it. However, I do want things to be somewhat realistic, and it's already enough of a stretch to have a one-on-one Divas match, so instead, I added Layla, since WWE is clearly higher on her work than that of the someone like a Natalya. It wouldn't even be difficult to paint AJ as the major underdog against Layla, anyway. Layla has been in nearly as many Divas Title matches over the last year as AJ has had matches, period. Watching these two wrestle each other.. man.. I'm having hot flashes right now. I think I need to sit down. Oh, Lord, I am sitting down. Let's move on.
Remember that "75% fantasy booking, 25% logical booking" hat that I had on? I'm going to keep it on for the next match. It's one that will make a lot of people roll their eyes when they see it, but we all know WWE wants to have this match for more than one reason, and since I couldn't find any other spot for them on my card, I figured I might as well go with this option.
Rey Mysterio VS Sin Cara
How We Got Here: Look, we all know this match isn't going to be at WrestleMania because it will be a five-star classic, although I'm sure the match would be entertaining. It would be there for another chance at setting a world record. The company wanted to set the record for most masked people in one place at the same time by handing out Mysterio and Sin Cara masks to everyone in attendance, but injuries derailed that match. If both men can stay healthy (and that's quite the if), I'd be surprised if this match wasn't looked at again. The easy way of putting it together would be a heel turn. Rey gets jealous that Sin Cara is the younger, quicker him, so he attacks him. Sin Cara gets jealous that Rey is stealing his spotlight, so he attacks him. Easy to write, but come on.. nobody is going to buy Rey Mysterio as a heel, and nobody is going to care about Sin Cara as a heel. That means this has to be more about respect than anything else. After teaming together and doing their thing, it needs to be said that Sin Cara has looked up to Rey like an idol, and even like a big brother, and it would be a dream come true if they could face each other on a stage such as WrestleMania, to see who is the better man. Man, if Sin Cara hasn't learned enough English to be able to cut a simple promo by that point, Zeb Coulter is going to be so mad.
My next match might upset a particular fan base, but that's alright. I think the match would be good, and it makes sense, so na nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo.
Chris Jericho VS Bray Wyatt
How We Got Here: With as often as Jericho has to dig out to go and tour with Fozzy or handle his other non-wrestling activities, I think he's perfectly suited for roles like this, where he damn near becomes a "trainer", of sorts, and helps to build new stars. We've seen him in this role on several occasions over the last few years, most recently with Fandango at WrestleMania, and I'd like to see him do it again next year with another newcomer to the roster. It's only a matter of time before Wyatt is called up from NXT, and with his third generation roots combined with his insanely awesome gimmick, don't be surprised if he gets a nice push. It will be difficult for him not to get over with the Bray Wyatt gimmick, which is a lot more complex than the "hey, I'm a big guy and my family has a lot of wrestlers in it" gimmick that he had when he was Husky Harris. Anyway, it really doesn't even matter how these two begin feuding. Just let them get in the ring together, and it will be Wyatt's real "test" to see if he can handle a upper-tier spot on the card, because if you can "go" in the ring with Chris Jericho, you can "go" in the ring with just about anyone.
Let me go ahead and put on my "100% fantasy booking" hat again for this one. It's a match that would make many an IWC member excited beyond belief, but it isn't even all that far fetched.
Antonio Cesaro & Kassius Ohno VS Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins for the WWE Tag Team Titles
How We Got Here: Back-to-back WrestleManias with regular, no-gimmicks-added two-team tag matches for the Tag Team Titles that actually made it on air? That hasn't happened since WrestleManias 10 and 11. Think about that for a moment. Since then, it's been nothing but three or four-team matches, matches on the pre-show, matches that involved gimmicks, or years where the Tag Titles weren't even defended. It's time to change that. Remember back in the days of the original Smackdown Six, when there was a whole bunch of focus on the tag division without there being any real focus on the tag division? They didn't have to create elaborate storylines for anybody. They just took some good teams, then created others using good wrestlers, and they let them go out and wrestle. It worked. That's all you need. That way, you can boost a division while saving that oh-so-precious mental capacity for other divisions that you want to focus on. With the team formerly known as The Kings Of Wrestling, and with the team of Ambrose & Rollins, that's all you'd need to do. If you gave these guys time, they could give you magic. I would like to see Ohno called up as a face at some point this year, just because making him a heel is the easy thing to do. He could work as a singles wrestler for a while, and you could even have him face Cesaro once or twice. Just moving along.. moving along.. moving along.. until, at some point after the beginning of the year, Ohno is on the receiving end of a beating from multiple people. For the sake of this argument, let's say it's The Shield. It doesn't even have to be the full group, as many believe they'll split up between now and WrestleMania. I know that many would prefer to see Ambrose or Rollins as the solo members of the group, but honestly, I think if anyone in the group goes solo, it will be Roman Reigns, based on what the company likes and their track record. If Ambrose and Rollins are attacking Ohno, Cesaro can make the save, and boom.. you have your tag match. The seeds can be planted during the mini-feud that Ohno and Cesaro had, as it can be mentioned on commentary that they used to be a very successful tag team all over the world before making it to WWE. That way, it doesn't come across as a completely random face turn for no real reason, in the eyes of the more casual viewer. Simple, right?
In previous columns, I've talked about how WrestleMania is usually the home of a match that is seen as a "spectacle" above all else. It isn't there to blow anybody away with the in-ring action. Instead, it's there for the amazement that comes from watching people that are truly larger-than-life try to mollywhop each other. Sorry, haters of this type of match, but I'm putting one of the card.
Big Show VS Ryback VS Batista
How We Got Here: Looks weird, doesn't it? Let me explain a little bit, for those of you who are unaware. Word is that WWE and Batista have been in contact recently about an in-ring return for "The Animal". Batista has expressed interest in a return, and with The Rock's injury/"injury", combined with CM Punk supposedly getting a lesser in-ring schedule moving forward, added on to the occasional breaks that Chris Jericho will need, mixed in with WrestleMania 29 part-timers like The Undertaker and Triple H returning to their usual schedules, there's an opening for a big name or two to make their return. The early rumor is that Batista could be facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, but if the man returns for SummerSlam, does anyone expect him to just leave without a WrestleMania pay day? I don't. If you told me Batista was returning for WrestleMania, the first opponent that would come to my mind is Lesnar, but if he's going to face him at SummerSlam, throw that out the window. Enough with the formula of having rematches be months apart, if not an entire year. I have to say.. originally, I had these three split up a bit, with Big Show VS Batista, and Ryback VS Goldberg, just for shits and giggles, but the more I thought about it, the less likely a Goldberg return seemed. For one, Goldberg will be 47 by the time WrestleMania 30 rolls around, and it would be a full decade since the last time he wrestled. Batista is a couple years younger (he'll be 45 when WrestleMania 30 arrives), and even if he doesn't return at SummerSlam, it would only be four years since his last match. Throw in the fact that Batista will probably be cheaper than Goldberg, and would get a bigger crowd reaction, and I had to kick Goldberg to the curb, giving us the Triple Threat that you see here. These kinds of matches don't require any sort of great story, either. You have three of the biggest, baddest men on the roster, and they're out to prove that they're the biggest and the baddest. Give them a portion of the Royal Rumble to fight, and have them all responsible for eliminating each other, and that gives us a match at WrestleMania.
It's time to put together a match that, in my opinion, should always be at WrestleMania, but hasn't been since WrestleMania 26. It's a match that involves a bunch of people, some ladders, and a very special briefcase. To celebrate its return to the WrestleMania stage, and because there are so many people who belong on the card, I've added some spots and gone to the "maximum" names allowed for this match.
Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Rob Van Dam, Big E Langston, Kane, Sheamus, Adrian Neville, Alberto Del Rio - Money In The Bank
How We Got Here: Let's take a look at what every Money In The Bank match needs, shall we? High-fliers and daredevils? Check. Big men, to keep things mixed up nicely? Check. Main event level guys, looking to get back to the WWE/World Title picture? Check. Upper midcard level guys, looking for that one extra boost to reach the WWE/World Title picture? Check. These matches get put together through qualifying matches, and it wouldn't change here. Now, to what everyone is thinking as they read the names.. yes, Rob Van Dam.. yes, Adrian Neville. Rob Van Dam is currently a free agent, as his TNA contract has recently expired. We know how that goes sometimes, but RVD himself has said his contract is up, so this isn't just "dirt sheet" guessing and speculating. TNA hasn't had anything for RVD in a while, so it's probably best that he make his way back to WWE for another run and make some good money before he retires. Adrian Neville, on the other hand, has been blowing people away during his brief stint in NXT. Many call him the best high-flier in all of wrestling right now. Putting him in this kind of showcase, even if he doesn't win, can do wonders for him. Look at Shelton Benjamin, for example. He's a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a two-time Tag Team Champion and a one-time United States Champion, but chances are, most people remember him for the things he did during his appearances in Money In The Bank matches. Now that I'm discussing Benjamin.. if RVD returns to TNA, replace him with Benjamin in this prediction.
Now, we enter the "quadruple main event" stage, even though WWE's promotional team are the only ones that look at World Title matches as "main events" at this stage.
Dolph Ziggler VS Christian for the World Title
How We Got Here: If the company is smart (I know, I know..), they will capitalize on Dolph Ziggler's momentum. The crowd went nuts for him winning the World Title on Raw, and the Smackdown crowd went nuts for him, too. They've turned him into a star, because they're actually cheering for him, and not wanting to sing and dance during his matches. I'm not saying he should have a year-long reign or anything, but he can't be pushed back down to the depths of nothingness. By giving him the right opponents, where he can show off (no pun intended) his abilities and perfect the give-and-take that he's done so well thus far in his career, he can only get better. Christian is that right opponent. Christian is great at that give-and-take, too, and it's that kind of balance that would make for a really good match. A bonus about this match is that you can reach it in different ways. As we've seen, Christian can easily work as a face or as a heel. Ziggler has been a really good heel, but rumors have said the company has been thinking of turning him face, and his crowd reactions might help that along. I know a lot of you don't want him to turn face, and I don't necessarily want it, either, but it could happen, and that's the level of diversity that makes these matches fun to put together.
I've said it time and time again.. when somebody deserves a reward, you reward them. It's as simple as that. I've mentioned that a particular someone deserves a reward, so I'm going to reward him with his placement on my WrestleMania card.
CM Punk VS Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title
How We Got Here: By now, we all know their history, both on the independent scene and within the realm of WWE action. However, they've never faced each other on this type of stage before. Putting it together will be simple, at least in my column. I'll make this official prediction right here and now.. Daniel Bryan wins the 2014 Royal Rumble. That's my actual prediction, not just a "I need it to happen for this match to happen" prediction. When you look at the people who could be his opponent at WrestleMania, you have to make a strong case for CM Punk. Punk VS Bryan. For the WWE Title. At WrestleMania. If you've been following them since their indy days, that's something you never thought you'd see. Because it's WrestleMania, with so much else going on, you can't really give them 30+ minutes to work with, like they'd get at just about any other event, but they've proven they can work together and deliver something special in half that time, so I wouldn't be concerned at all. Building Bryan for the rest of 2013, followed by a Rumble victory, makes him legit in the eyes of just about everybody. It adds a different feel to the match than what we got from the Punk VS Bryan feud last year, when Bryan went from losing a bunch on television to competing for the WWE Title on pay-per-view seemingly overnight. I like the way this match plays out. Of course I like it. I put it together. You'd hope I would at least kiiiiinda like it.
What's WrestleMania without some part-time performers at or near the top of the card? Over The Limit or No Way Out, that's what.
The Rock VS Brock Lesnar
How We Got Here: By seeing if Rock is afraid of Lesnar (in the eyes of some) or not (in the eyes of others). We were supposedly going to get the build for this match this past week on Raw, setting it up a year in advance, but The Rock got injured. Some people feel it's a legit injury. Some feel it's a complete load of shit. Others feel it's a minor injury that has been greatly exaggerated by Rock to make himself look better. Either way, this is the direction the company was going in for WrestleMania 30, so, unless Rock or Brock decide to change their minds, it's what we'll get. We've seen them wrestle before, with Rock putting Lesnar over in 2002, giving Lesnar his first WWE Title reign. Obviously, they're both much bigger stars now, and this match would be treated as such. If Brock stays a heel, the build for this is pretty simple, if you ask me. "You think you're the biggest star in the business, but I'm a bigger star than you." Yes, Rock is a major movie star, but Lesnar can argue that he was a Junior College National Champion amateur wrestler, an NCAA National Champion amateur wrestler, a UFC Heavyweight Champion (and their biggest pay-per-view draw of all-time), and has held gold everywhere he's been in the world of pro wrestling, not to mention the fact that he was in the NFL for a while. Yes, I realize he was cut from the Minnesota Vikings roster and never played a down in the regular season, but this is WWE we're talking about. He's going to be labeled as a "former NFL player", not a "near NFL player, but got cut before he had a chance to play in a meaningful game". This will be another huge match, promoted to no end, getting mainstream publicity, which is what Vince McMahon seems to live for these days.
We've covered the rest, and now, it's time for the last realistic "dream match" that we can get with WWE programming, and a very fitting main event to a historic card, if you ask me, which you didn't, but I told you, anyway, because this is my column and you're reading it. That was a lengthy sentence. Plenty of commas.
The Undertaker VS John Cena
How We Got Here: I've said it before (I know I've said it on Twitter and on episodes of LoPR, but I'm not 100% sure if I've ever said it in a column), but it's worth repeating here.. with as long as The Undertaker and John Cena have been kept apart, it makes me think that they dislike each other. Not the characters. The real men.. Mark William Calaway and John Felix Anthony Cena. With as many jokes as everyone makes about WWE and their lack of long-term booking, who thinks the plan, all along, has been to keep them apart for a match at WrestleMania 30? I sure don't. Especially with The Undertaker being 49 years old by the time the event arrives. I could almost understand if you took two younger names.. say, John Cena and Randy Orton when they were first starting to rise up the ranks.. and purposely kept them apart for years so that their eventual WrestleMania main event was as large as possible, but with a man of Taker's age, you can't count on him being available to wrestle year after year after year. Unless Taker's secret plan is to retire after WrestleMania 31, when he has just turned 50, I have to think that next year will be it for Taker, if he decides to wrestle at all. If it's going to be his final match, at the biggest event of all-time, it has to be against the only person that people can legitimately see ending The Streak, whether they want it to happen or not. There are a few ways you can put this one together. One would be a way I've pitched in the past, where the Royal Rumble winner passes up a WWE/World Title shot for a chance at immortality, but I've already pegged Daniel Bryan as the Rumble winner, so there goes that. Another way is to put four people in a match, with the winner getting to face Taker at Mania, but that's fucking stupid and should never happen again. Another is to go the Shawn Michaels route, and have Cena (at some point after the Royal Rumble) say that he has accomplished almost everything in this business, but without the cherry on top that ending The Streak would provide, everything he's done means nothing. Yet another way would be to turn the tables a bit and have Taker return to TV (at some point after the Royal Rumble) and say that he can't fade away without having beaten the undisputed "top guy" of this generation at WrestleMania. With Cena's character, there's no chance in hell that he'd turn down a chance to face Taker, and with as much as commentators have pushed how much "pride" Taker has, it wouldn't surprise anyone if he wanted a chance to face Cena. It works, either way. WWE, I can't say this enough.. Taker.. Cena.. WrestleMania 30.. it needs to happen.
Now, just because I'm sure everyone would be curious as to how I'd play everything out, here are the match results for this card..
- AJ pins Layla to win the Divas Title
- Mysterio pins Sin Cara
- Wyatt pins Jericho
- Ambrose & Rollins defeat Cesaro & Ohno to retain the Tag Titles (Cesaro & Ohno win them at Extreme Rules)
- Ryback pins Big Show
- Kofi wins Money In The Bank (shut up and let me have my moment)
- Dolph pins Christian to retain the World Title
- Bryan forces Punk to tap out to win the WWE Title
- Rock pins Lesnar
- Taker pins Cena (if Cena stays face), Cena pins Taker (if Cena turns heel)
Yeah, I said it. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?
I would like to point out that I have a total of 31 people wrestling on this card, and of those 31, 13 of them did not wrestle at WrestleMania 29 for one reason for another. That's 42% of the entire card being different from this year. I don't know if I should be proud of that or not. For those wondering, I purposely didn't include people like Jack Swagger (I think he gets de-pushed again and doesn't make the Mania card), Mark Henry (I think he'll have retired by then), Wade Barrett (same as Swagger), Zack Ryder (lololololol) and Triple H (stop coming back to put your career on the line every year).
To wrap things up, let's say the Raw after Mania is another madhouse, and we get treated to the rise of JTG through random chants where everyone then talks about how they've been fans of his from the very beginning. Oh, and if TNA declines the final year on his contract, the return of Kurt Angle. Otherwise, the return of Matt Morgan. I'd like to say AJ Styles or Samoa Joe make their debuts, but AJ seems too loyal to leave (unless TNA just dumps him completely) and WWE doesn't seem to have much interest in Joe.
Alright.. let the disagreements begin, but remember, this is what I'd do, not necessarily what I'm saying will happen..
Add Me As A Friend