WrestleMania 32 – What If Triple H Beats Roman Reigns?

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It seems that Roman Reigns is the overwhelming favourite to win the WWE World Heavyweight title in the main event of WrestleMania 32. It is the story of a man that has been screwed out of the WWE World title over and over again, finally getting his revenge against the evil authority figure and walking out with the championship in Texas. It doesn’t seem that plans are changing this year. There’s no Money in the Bank holder around and there’s very little reason to think that there will be a different solution to this story. Roman Reigns is expected to win the WWE title.
With that being said, this article will look to see the potential consequences for WWE programming should WWE end the show with Roman Reigns NOT winning the title. We’re asking the question of what if Triple H DEFEATS Roman Reigns and retains the title.
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Again, the possibility of this happening seems very slim and it would very much catch me off-guard if it actually happened. As much as people don’t like Roman Reigns, the whole idea of WrestleMania ending with Triple H retaining the title just doesn’t seem like an idea that WWE would want to go with. You also have to take into account that a heel walked out with the championship at last year’s WrestleMania. Deja vu wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing but the whole point of WrestleMania is for the babyface to emerge victorious on the grandest stage of them all.
Also if they were to have Roman Reigns beaten in the main event, then it would basically be WWE’s way of admitting defeat in this quest to get Roman Reigns over as the top babyface in the company. I don’t think that the powers-that-be want to do that as they’ve put so much effort into Roman ahd it would be such a blow if they were forced to put Roman’s big WrestleMania win on hold for a second year in a row.
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On the other hand, it might be best to hold of the “WrestleMania win” until after the pay-per-view where a new babyface can come in and beat Triple H. Whether it’s Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles or whoever, there are other options around IF BUILT RIGHT. You don’t HAVE to put Roman over if you suddenly change their mind. If WWE are fearful about the potential extreme reaction that would follow the big Roman Reigns win, they can hold off if they want to. After all, WWE have made quite a habit of making decisions on the day of the show. They ended THE UNDERTAKER’S STREAK on the day of a WrestleMania so they could easily do the same for Roman.
If Triple H were to retain the championship at WrestleMania, what effects would it have on future programming? Well for starters, it makes things much more difficult for Roman unless WWE turned them heel. That would be my way to go as I’ve discussed a number of times, but WWE might not be up for that. If Roman doesn’t win at WrestleMania, it doesn’t mean that it’s all gloom and doom for him. They’d still be people pushing for him to win the title back EVENTUALLY. However, it’s a huge setback in the sense that he’s missed out on this big WrestleMania opportunity twice. Whether he’ll get a third chance is hard to predict.
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As mentioned, WWE should surely have someone else lined up. Dean Ambrose would be the next top babyface after Roman, so he would probably be next in line. However, it really depends on what happens in his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar. If Brock defeats Dean, how do you get Dean in the position to be WWE World Champion? Especially if he loses clean to Brock, it’d be difficult for Dean to get over as a major star.
Brock Lesnar would probably be your next bet but then you’d have to think about his schedule and how many dates he’s got left for the second year of his contract. If Brock wound up beating Triple H, then I doubt he’d be champion for long.
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It would be a risky decision to have Triple H beat Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32 unless WWE had something REALLY REALLY good up their sleeves. It would make life difficult for Roman but it does open the door for other new top babyfaces.
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Is Dean Ambrose A Better WrestleMania 32 Opponent For Brock Lesnar Than Bray Wyatt?

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Even weeks before WrestleMania, WWE has a tendency to change plans for their biggest show of the year. We saw it in 2014, with Daniel Bryan being asserted into the main event of WrestleMania 30 and we’ve seen it again this year. It seemed that WWE were planning on having Brock Lesnar go up against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 32, following the Wyatt Family’s attack on Lesnar during the 2016 Royal Rumble. However, now Brock’s WrestleMania opponent has been switched from the Eater of Worlds to the Lunatic Fringe. It’s been announced that Dean Ambrose will take on Brock in a No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania, with Bray Wyatt seemingly having no planned opponent at this point.
It’s worrying for Bray that after his feud with Brock was nixed (for now), there are no plans in place for the character or any indications about who his opponent is. However, is Dean Ambrose a better suit for a big match with Brock at WrestleMania then Bray Wyatt?
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As much as plans changing all the time has been as a result of forces beyond WWE’s control, I don’t think booking the Wyatts to attack Brock was a smart decision in the first place. If there was a single doubt in their mind that Bray would end up in the Mania match with Brock, they should have had Brock eliminated from the Royal Rumble in a different way. They could have found a way to have Brock eliminated and kept strong, without hinting at a potential match down the road.
If they were going all the way with Bray, then having the Wyatt Family eliminate Brock was the better way to lead to Brock and Bray. I’d argue that it’d be better for Bray to eliminate Brock personally but that’s left open for discussion.
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Dean coming in at a last minute does hurt Bray in the long run, with WWE having to book Brock vs Bray for the WWE Network “Roadblock” special instead. Now that match ended up changing as Luke Harper was brought in, but it did really make Bray seem insignificant in the long run as Bray was put in the same boat as every other heel that got beat by Brock in the house shows.
Brock’s house show matches with the like of Big Show, Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and all of those guys are all strange, as it sort of reminds me of Goldberg’s streak at WCW. Everybody that lost to Goldberg never really lost overness as it was against Goldberg of all people. Goldberg ended up beating everyone he faced. It didn’t make the losers look worse in the long run.
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When Bray took on Brock, with Luke Harper, Bray was beaten just like all of those other guys. The likes of Del Rio, Rusev and Big Show never really lost much from it as they were all lost in the mid-card wilderness of WWE but now Bray Wyatt is in the same realm. In a way it hurts Bray, as he was booked as one of the strongest contenders in the Royal Rumble match, but he’s now just like everybody else.
It’ll be difficult for Bray to bounce back from this, considering that Roadblock was aired on the WWE Network. Now granted, it was not a great night for Dean Ambrose either. Dean was essentially beaten cleanly at Roadblock, which wouldn’t put him in a good position to fight Brock Lesnar either.
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The question to ask is really who is in a better shape to fight Brock, a guy that really is in a league of his own in terms of star power and storyline power. Who looks the bigger threat? Dean or Bray? At the moment, I’d go with Dean. After the Royal Rumble, I’d go with Dean. In fact at any time after Survivor Series, I would have went with Dean.
The only time that Bray was booked that strongly in the last couple of months was the Royal Rumble, but he was still dominated by Brock in that match. Then again, so was Dean but Dean did make it to the end of the Rumble match AFTER being in a Last Man Standing match earlier on in the night.
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When making the argument about who should fight Brock, you must consider who would have the better match with the Beast Incarnate. With the exception of his match with Daniel Bryan in the 2014 Royal Rumble, there’s been few big matches that Bray’s had which have been really good. He’s had good Last Man Standing matches and Hell in a Cell matches with John Cena and Roman Reigns respectively, but a lot of that involved mostly weapons and brawling rather than standard wrestling. The chances were that Bray vs Brock would have been No Holds Barred like Dean vs Brock is currently scheduled to be, but Dean has a much better proven track record in those matches. Dean’s had a lot of really good gimmick matches in WWE, which helps his case.
Finally, there’s the question of who is over enough to fight Brock. Unfortunately for Bray Wyatt fans, Dean takes this category as well. Dean has been such a huge star since WWE really started getting behind him again at Survivor Series. On the other hand, Bray’s not really amounted to much in that same time period.
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I feel kind of bad for Bray, as I am a big fan of the Eater of Worlds. I wanted to see Bray get a big match at WrestleMania but I don’t think it should be with Brock. He’s just not over to a great enough level to be a worthy opponent and a credible threat to Brock. That’s mostly on WWE and not Bray. I have no doubt that Bray is now being planned for Brock in some program after WrestleMania but I just don’t see Bray vs Brock being a better choice than Dean vs Brock.

How I Would Book… WrestleMania 32

WrestleMania is the most important wrestling event of the year and this year is no exception. At a place like Dallas, the pressure is on for WWE to perform. With the WWE talent pool reduced significantly due to injuries and other circumstances, WWE have been pushed into a corner with this year’s event. A lot of people have actually given WWE a lot of credit with how they’ve handled it. I’m actually one of those people. However, things can always get better in WWE and here’s my thoughts on how WWE Should Book… WrestleMania 32.

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Let me just state that what we are doing is putting together our own “fantasy card” without going over the top. I must be able to put a show together with the same conditions that WWE have to deal with. We’re not going to throw around absurd ideas like Goldberg vs Undertaker or Sting vs Undertaker for this show. We deal with the stars we’ve got at the moment and use the people that we know for a fact will be able to show up. Therefore, the likes of John Cena and Seth Rollins are ruled out of the equation. We can’t be assuming that certain stars will be able to turn up.

This is merely just a fun way at looking at how we would tackle the event and how we would have planned out WrestleMania. Anyone with “dream cards” of there own should post in the comments. However, here’s how I’m booking it.

 

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

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We might as well keep up this tradition as it is a great way to use the stars that’ll just miss the cut for the big matches. With that being said, there should also be a winner that could actually get a lot out of winning the thing. Cesaro and Big Show never really amounted to much after winning the battle royal but hopefully we’ll pick someone that should be able to use this win to their advantage. I have two names in mind for the winner of this one. The first name is Sheamus, who can build himself right back up with a win in the battle royal. The second name is Samoa Joe, who is actually rumoured to be appearing on the main roster some time after Wrestlemania. However, there is always the possibility of having the NXT star debuting on the main roster in a big way. WWE will want to have an NXT star in the battle royal, so the best way to do it is to feature someone that would genuinely get something out of being in it. Nothing against Hideo Itami, but he was never really able to stand out when he was in the battle royal last year.

Winner: Either Sheamus or Samoa Joe

 

The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs The League Of Nations (Rusev, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett)

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I enjoy six man tag team matches greatly and it’d make sense to give these two stables a much great purpose at WrestleMania. Why can’t these two teams just battle each other? A part of me really didn’t want to reduce Alberto Del Rio to a multi-man match but at least he can stand out as the stand-out of his team. If he takes it to these three giants and fights his ass off, he can get over tremendously. We’ve seen it time after time. If you’re up against the odds and you fight and fight and fight, you can get over big time. Look at Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Del Rio would get the hot tag and run wild but in the end, the Wyatts would overwhelm him. Braun Strowman could also choke out Del Rio in the end if you really wanted to get Braun over. At least Del Rio wouldn’t have tapped out.

Winners: The Wyatt Family

 

Kalisto (c) vs Neville vs Sami Zayn for the United States Championship

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Zayn, Neville and Kalisto could put on a tremendous display in a match for the US title. If Sami does get hurt a bit the night before (wrestling Shinesuke Nakamura at NXT TakeOver: Dallas), at least Kalisto and Neville can do some of the heavy lifting during the bulk of the match. Kalisto would be my winner of this match and this could be a very fun Wrestlemania match that would see Kalisto get over. If Sami is too much of an issue, then there’s always Sin Cara.

Winner: Kalisto

 

Dean Ambrose (c) vs AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship

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I’ve actually already covered this match before in a past “How I Would Book”, so there’s not much that needs to be said about how this one. This would have been a great way for AJ to break out on his own as a singles star. The stuff they’re doing with Chris Jericho just doesn’t sit right with me and I feel facing Dean Ambrose would be a much better fit for AJ than facing Jericho once again. AJ wins in what would be one corker of a match.

Winner: AJ Styles

 

“The New Day” Big E (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) w/Xaiver Woods vs Enzo Amore and Big Cass for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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The way I see it, WWE Roadblock is WWE’s way of testing how over Enzo and Big Cass can get on a WWE main roster show. It’s all well and good when they get over in NXT but they want to test and see how they do on the main roster and that’s fine. However, I have no doubt that Enzo and Big Cass winning the tag titles would get an incredible pop in Texas. If anyone should beat the New Day for the tag titles, it should probably be these guys.

Winners: Enzo Amore and Big Cass

 

Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship

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I’m actually very happy with WWE doing this match as it actually makes the whole “divas revolution” angle seem worthwhile. The three women that were brought up from NXT are now fighting for the Divas title at WrestleMania 32. It’s the perfect way for this whole storyline to come full circle. The only winner of this should really be Sasha Banks as she is the most over out of the three women.

Winner: Sasha Banks

 

Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler

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To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t thought of an ideal match for either of these gentlemen. However, it would still be a very decent match to watch. The storyline could revolve around Jericho mocking Ziggler for not living up to his full potential since the last time they feuded. Dolph Ziggler would win this one with Jericho being the heel. Might as well give Ziggler a big WrestleMania win.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

 

Triple H vs Bray Wyatt

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Of course, you’d have to re-work some of the events of the last few months in order for this match to happen. Unless you were to have Bray Wyatt cost Triple H the title at Roadblock, it’d be difficult to get this match to happen this far into the Road to WrestleMania. The funny thing about this one is that it does tie into the events of the Royal Rumble. At that event, Bray went after Triple H after an intense stare down which saw Triple H eliminate Bray. Bray feuding with Triple H would be an exhilarating feud for him and something different for Triple H to work with. There’s a lot of potential to be had with this one. I would personally put Bray over as it’s about time that Bray gets a big win over a top star.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

 

Undertaker w/Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens w/Mr McMahon. If Undertaker wins, Shane McMahon wins control. If Kevin Owens wins, Shane will be banned from the WWE forever

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I feel that the idea of Shane McMahon battling the Undertaker for control of WWE is quite bonkers! I do want to involve that stipulation in a match but the idea of Shane fighting himself doesn’t sound very appealing to me. Also, it would make a lot more sense for Undertaker to fight for Shane rather than for Vince. He should be up against a top heel, who’d be given the chance to be involved in a match with huge implications for WWE programming. Enter Kevin Owens. Owens has often mentioned his desire to wrestle the Undertaker at WrestleMania so why not let him do it? Kevin Owens’ motivation to get involved would be a guaranteed WWE World Title shot in the near future. This is not like Money In The Bank. It’d be more like “Gift of the Gods” from Lucha Underground, with Owens having to announce it beforehand. I feel that prize would be enough to entice Owens to fight Vince’s battles.

Winner: Undertaker

 

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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I believe that this is the only way WrestleMania this year should have ended, with Roman Reigns challenging Brock Lesnar once again in a rematch from last year’s fantastic main event. Lesnar vs Reigns II is easy enough promotion for this match and it would be a main event that the fans would more invested in then Triple H vs Reigns. No matter who the winner is, this would be a fantastic way to end the show.

Winner: Either Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns

 

That’s about it. A lot of the storylines would need tweaking in order to make this work but at the end of the day, I feel that this could be a great way for WWE to prepare itself for the remainder of the year. In my opinion, that should really be the point of WrestleMania.

Have any suggestions for a future How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking gameExtreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

Top Five Worst Swerves In Season One Of Lucha Underground

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Let me just state before I get a lot of angry comments that I LOVE Lucha Underground. It is by far the most exciting product in wrestling today. It’s developed an incredible television program with a great mix of wrestling and drama. HOWEVER, it is not totally in-excusable. There were a lot of questionable writing decisions that took place in season one. I’m going to take you through the five worst swerves in season one of Lucha Underground and recap each of them in depth.

Blue Demon Jr Heel Turn

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One of the more frustrating angles for me to watch was the one featuring Chavo Guerrero and how “Mexico” was coming for him. It was revealed that “Mexico” turned out to be Texano Jr., who had turned face to get revenge against Chavo. Chavo berated Blue Demon Jr. (who he turned on at the start of the season) and got at Blue Demon for letting Texano fight the battles for “Mexico” instead of him. Blue Demon’s response was to attack TEXANO and to turn heel, declaring himself to be “Mexico.” All it took was one jab by Chavo Guerrero and Blue Demon was turned to the dark side. Wow.

Blue Demon Joins Forces With Chavo Guerrero
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Unfortunately, things got worse in this storyline. So after Blue Demon Jr. turned on Texano, a match was made for Ultima Lucha. This was no disqualification, so the Crew got involved on behalf of Blue Demon. Chavo Guerrero then came out and it was teased as if he was going to hit Blue Demon with a chair. There was a few problems with this. Firstly, there was no reason to believe that Chavo would act as a babyface to save Texano. Secondly, you already knew where this was going if you’ve ever seen a Chavo Guerrero heel turn. Chavo hit Texano with the chair and it was revealed that Chavo had formed an alliance with Blue Demon Jr. The reason that this is a problem was that Chavo ALWAYS hits someone with a chair whenever he turns heel! Ask Rey Mysterio and well… BLUE DEMON JR! After an entire season of promises for revenge from “Mexico” and Blue Demon Jr, Chavo and Blue Demon joined forces. This was a swerve just for the sake of swerves. And it wasn’t the only swerve at Ultima Lucha
Vampiro Revealed As Pentagon Jr’s Master
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As of me writing this list, season two of Lucha Underground has already started. At the moment in the series, I’m not too bothered by Vampiro being Pentagon Jr’s master. After watching Ultima Lucha and the literal blood feud that Vampiro and Pentagon were having, I thought this swerve was so dumb. The idea that Vampiro was pulling the strings the whole time just seems like a waste of a legitimately interesting angle. You could have brought up an enemy of Vampiro’s past or somebody new. Even Konnan would sort of be OK if you consider Konnan’s feud with Vampiro. But VAMPIRO just seemed like such a downer of a swerve. Maybe I’ll completely changed my mind later on in season two and I’ve sort of accepted it at the moment.
Davari Turns On Big Ryck
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This was swerve THREE at Ultima Lucha. If this were to have happened on any other episode of Lucha Underground, I wouldn’t have been too bothered. But this took place in the middle of THREE swerves during the show and it was a struggle to just care when Davari attacked Big Ryck. I don’t think it matters anymore, as Big Ryck was killed off in the Lucha Underground COMIC BOOK! Yes, a wrestling character was killed off in a comic book. Let that sink in. However when looking back, I just struggled to see the point of it.
The Black Lotus Season Finale Swerve
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The only reason why I was mad at this was because of all of the build that went into building up this angle. The angle of Black Lotus, who was training to take out Dario Cueto and his brother. All of this build and all the scenes filmed outside of the Temple. After ALL OF THIS… Black Lotus turned on her master. They had better make all of this worth it in season two. I would be so mad if nothing exciting happens with this.
A lot of these swerves actually took place in the last half of the season so maybe it could be put down to the writers losing their steam towards the end of the series. If that’s the case, then it’s probably a good thing that season two is expected to feature less episodes. I’ve always talked about the fatigue issues with writers in WWE and I really hope there’s not similar problems in Lucha Underground. Please guys, keep the swerves to a minimum!

Top Five Best Storylines In Season One Of Lucha Underground

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One area where Lucha Underground succeeds is its storylines. Here’s the Armbar Express’ top five storylines in season one of Lucha Underground.

The Rise Of Mil Muertes
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If any professional wrestling booker wants to know how to book a big monster heel properly, take notes from Lucha Underground. I hate WWE’s treatment of heel monsters and the aftermath of these pushes for the likes of Ryback, Braun Strowman, Umaga and Rusev. They’ll go on some great unbeaten run, they’ll get beat and then there’s no recovery attempt made in order to keep them strong. Lucha Underground did a tremendous job with the rise of Mil Muetres. It was not like Mil beat every wrestler that stepped in his way. He’s been beaten and Fenix even beat him in the Grave Consequences match they had in the middle of the season. Rather than hurting Mil, the defeat only made him stronger as he came back and killed Fenix in a rematch. He became stronger than ever as he won the Lucha Underground title at the end of the season. Just perfect booking of a monster heel. Every time a monster should get beat, he should come back stronger than ever and look more of a threat each time. This was well done by Lucha.
Prince Puma As Lucha Underground Champion
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Prince Puma was such a star during season one of Lucha. He lived up to the promotion of being the “heart and soul” of Lucha Underground. He’s put on tremendous matches over and over and was really well booked as champion. Every challenger seemed like a legitimate challenge but Puma fought them off. Each challenger presented something new for Puma to deal with. Cage was just a force to be reckoned with that Puma had to overcome. Hernandez had the psychological warfare that Puma had to deal with. Johnny Mundo was someone that had beaten Prince Puma in the first episode of the season and forced Puma to try and put away his past demons. Drago was a rival luchador in terms of style that Puma had to overcome. Chavo Guerrero had the Crew to back him up. King Cuerno was someone that was cold and calculating. Every challenger was unique in the way that they presented a challenge to Puma and Puma had to overcome the odds. This is how a babyface builds momentum.
Pentagon Jr’s Path Of Destruction
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I’ll admit right now that I am such a huge fan of Pentagon Jr. Initially, this guy was really shown to be just another midcard heel on the show. However after Pentagon was double-crossed by Chavo at Aztec Warfare I think, Pentagon began being booked more seriously. He developed a mean streak which saw him break the arms of all his opponents after he beat them. It was a slow but well planned build for Pentagon. He went after the lower card talent, worked his way to the mid-carders and then started going after stars like Sexy Star. He wasn’t thrown against a top guy right off the bat. He built a reputation. What’s that lead too? Why Pentagon Jr is now a top guy in the second season of the show. All the little victories add up.
Son Of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico’s Trios Turmoil
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Teams put together that don’t get along are a common thing in wrestling, especially when developing rivalries. The way Son Of Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico were put together and presented though was pulled off so well. It started with a number of weeks with angles between the three of them as singles stars, with Angelico causing issues between Ivelisse and Son of Havoc. All of this tension led to Dario Cueto making them a trios team for the tag team titles, which really told a good story. They had to work together in order to succeed and defied the odds to win the trios titles. It’s the simple case of a team that really shouldn’t work that you’re cheering on to get on the same page. Plus, the chemistry between Havoc, Ivelisse and Angelico was really good as well.
Drago Banished From The Temple
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Drago’s another favourite of mine and I’ve always enjoyed his work on the show. He’s got a cool look and a great gimmick that just grabs your attention. He was actually given a decent story arc which started off with a really well put together best of five series against Aero Star. The winner would earn a “unique opportunity” and as the series progressed, things intensified between the two luchadors. Drago won, which led to Dario Cueto announcing that Drago would get a Lucha Underground title shot. If he lost, he would be banned from the temple. Drago did lose and was banned from the temple until he found a loophole in one of Dario’s number one contendership matches. Drago was given one last chance to return to the temple and fight for the title but would unmask if he lost. Drago won in a great storyline which really put him over as a babyface.
The development of stars is the thing that really impresses me when I watch this show. These stars are developed through the storylines and it’s the little things that made all the difference. The impact of all the rivalries and events that happen in these luchadors’ lives matter. Nothing is a waste and it’s really a testament of the writers. Good job guys!

How I Would Book… CM Punk As Nexus Leader [Part Two]

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Welcome to Part TWO of my newest “How I Would Book” series. This follows CM Punk’s reign as Nexus leader and where I think the angle should have been heading.
Last time, we established the new Nexus under Punk’s rule and we’ve seen Punk set his sights on the Royal Rumble. In an eventful Rumble event, CM Punk emerged as the winner and will headline Wrestlemania.
The road to Wrestlemania is now starting to become a little more clear but there’s still more business to take care of before we get there. If CM Punk will be going to Wrestlemania, who will be the champion that he’ll be facing?
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I’ll just state for the record right now that CM Punk will not be challenging for SmackDown!’s World title. He’ll challenge for the WWE Championship on RAW but who’ll be the champion? Will it be The Miz? Will it be Randy Orton? Will it be Sheamus? We’ll settle this with an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship that will feature the following…
  • The Miz (the WWE Champion)
  • Randy Orton
  • Sheamus
  • John Morrison
  • Heath Slater
  • John Cena

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My plan is for at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Chamber match while CM Punk will take on Justin Gabriel. Now I’m sure the big question is why Gabriel is fighting Punk and not taking on his traitor friend Slater? I’ve done this for three reasons…
  1. The bigger picture is CM Punk’s road to WrestleMania. For CM Punk, it’s best for him to take on someone that is relevant and a part of the story. Punk orchestrated and took part in the beating of Gabriel as the South African was kicked out of Nexus. Gabriel would want revenge on Punk as well as Slater.
  2. It’s better for Gabriel to be involved in a high-profile match after being in the final two of the Royal Rumble. Taking on the guy that eliminated him is a logic step and it can help get Gabriel over to an upper-midcard level… possibly as a main eventer.
  3. You need at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Elimination Chamber. You could make arguments for Michael McGillicutty, David Otunga or Husky Harris but none of those men have played a major part of the “New Nexus” so far. Mason Ryan getting a shot at the title after a month in the company is a bit extreme, especially after he LOST to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. The best way to go is for Slater to be in the match. After his performance in the Rumble, there’s also a fair amount of reasons to back up his claim for a title shot.
I would have Punk beat Gabriel after interference from the Nexus. If it were to be presented in a way where Slater is orchestrating the attack when Punk is down, that would be better. A means to switch gears to Slater vs Gabriel for a match at Mania. He could set Mason Ryan on Gabriel if you want to keep pushing Ryan. Either way, Punk is the winner.
The chamber match won’t need a lot of notes, except for the finish. The final four men are Miz, Orton, Cena and Slater. The Miz is able to eliminate Orton after Alex Riley throws Miz a lead pipe or something to take him down. Randy responds with an RKO before he leaves. Slater gets the pin, eliminating the champion. This gives Slater some serious cred and also leads towards a potential match between Orton and Miz at Mania while you’re at it. In the final two between Cena and Slater, Cena wins the title and it’s set for Wrestlemania. CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Championship.
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There’s one elephant in the room that we haven’t addressed yet and that is The Rock. Remember, The Rock was at Wrestlemania 27 as the guest host of the show. How do we incorporate that into Cena vs Punk?
Vince McMahon would return on RAW to tell CM Punk that a special referee will be assigned to make sure that the Nexus won’t be getting involved. It is revealed to be The Rock as Rock stares down Punk and cuts a promo to end the show. He rips on CM Punk as well as John Cena, revealing his disdain for both men. The Rock guarantees that he will not only let these two beat each other up but declared that he was getting his hands dirty as well.
CM Punk believes that The Rock is going to screw him at Wrestlemania and orders the Nexus to take him out. All of the members (except Slater, who’ll be feuding with Gabriel) will be sent to take out The Rock in the weeks building up to the event. Since they can’t have The Rock appearing every week, it’s just to case of filming each member of Nexus going to Miami, Florida or on the set of one his movies with the intention of taking him out. Punk will have the beatings live streamed for the crowd but each time, the camera is down with a member of Nexus attacked and their armband taken off.
This happens every week with everyone except Slater and Mason Ryan. CM Punk vows to have Ryan beat up Rock on the RAW before Wrestlemania (since The Rock is there). On the go-home segment of the show, we have Rock, Cena, Punk and Ryan all there. Mason tries his attack on The Rock but the Rock takes him out. Cena hits Rock with an AA and Punk hits Cena with the GTS. This sets things up nicely for Mania.
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The Wrestlemania 27 card looks like this…
  • Cody Rhodes (c) vs Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental title
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs Sheamus vs John Morrison for the US title
  • Kozlov (c) and Santino (c) vs Otunga and McGillicutty for the Tag Titles
  • Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio for the World Title
  • Undertaker vs Triple H (vs Mason Ryan if you want to have Taker get revenge on Nexus for beating him down at Bragging Rights)
  • The Miz vs Randy Orton
  • Heath Slater vs Justin Gabriel
  • John Cena (c) vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship with The Rock as special guest referee
Looks something like that. The main match we’re interested in though is Cena vs Punk. With The Rock as the referee, he makes it No DQ because he wants to see Cena and Punk beat each other up big time. The Nexus are not there to help Punk due to the attacks throughout the month. If the Nexus are in matches at Mania, have them get beaten down. Trust me, there is a point to these attacks!
The match gets a bit of time and ends pretty much the same way that the Miz vs Cena match in real life ended at Wrestlemania 27. Cena would have the upper-hand when Rock hits The Rock Bottom. Punk wins the title and then the Rock beats down Punk. Gotta let Rock get his post-match beat down in.
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The Rock stuff is pretty much done now anyway. Cena and Rock make their match for Mania 28 and that’s taken care off. The WWE is all about making money too for god’s sake so let Cena and Rock have their program for next year’s Mania.
The bottom line is that Punk is the champion coming out of Wrestlemania. Hopefully, the members of the Nexus win the tag titles either at Mania or Extreme Rules. I would also have Heath follow suit and win the US title. My thing about building up a faction is giving them the credibility to alongside of it. Why do you think Evolution was as successful as they were? The night where all four members of Evolution all held championships showed just where the power lied on RAW. Nexus needs to be the same.
Therefore, The Rock taking over the main event of Wrestlemania doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore as the Nexus has the power and gold anyway to run the show. I would not have The Rock appear on the show again until after July (which is when this storyline will end). Let the Nexus run the show.
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There will be a thorn or two in their sides. In the final segment of the RAW after Wrestlemania where Rock vs Cena is made, CM Punk interrupts on the stage. He brags about winning and says that their match at Wrestlemania is nothing compared to him. Punk is then dropped from behind… by WADE BARRETT.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
Barrett grabs the mic, looks at Cena and Rock and says “the only one you can trust is yourself.”
Barrett elaborates the next week, saying that he was the one that was taking out the Nexus members to help Cena retain against Punk. Barrett protected The Rock, thinking that The Rock would screw Punk. Barrett admits that he misjudged The Rock’s ego and didn’t think that Rock would attack Cena. Barrett is back to kill his own creation and said that he needed to kill Nexus by cutting off the head of the snake. He vows to take out Punk.
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The RAW GM announces that Cena will get his rematch for the title at Extreme Rules. Barrett must beat three members of the Nexus in order to get in the match. He beats Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris. He finishes the gauntlet by knocking out David Otunga to have him look incredibly strong going into Extreme Rules. In a triple threat steel cage match, Punk retains after escaping the cage. That’s kind of the beauty of the cage match. Neither Cena or Barrett need to get beaten in the ring so you can protect them both.
Cena’s pleas for a rematch are turned down in similar fashion to how Miz’s request for a rematch was turned down in real life after Over The Limit. This leaves Barrett and Punk to feud one-on-one. They have their match at Over The Limit and Barrett knocks out Punk. Barrett is declared the winner. However, the RAW GM buzzes in and rules that you can only win the title by pinfall or submission. Therefore, Punk would retain the title.
To make it so that Barrett could win the title by knocking out Punk, a Last Man Standing match is made for Capitol Punishment. But once again, Punk retains after interference from Nexus. I feel kind of bad with how Barrett’s storyline arc has played out. However, I’ve not actually beaten Barrett by pinfall or anything in this storyline. If I were to keep booking this past Money In The Bank, Barrett would have won the briefcase and cashed in at Summerslam or something. But for now, the focus is on Punk.
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The storyline ends in the same way that the “Summer of Punk” began. Punk declares that the Nexus is done and announces that his contract is coming to an end. He vows to leave with the title, cuts the infamous shoot promo and goes on to beat Cena at Money In The Bank to leave with the title.
I could keep going and book the “Summer of Punk” but I’ll save that for another time. That’s about it for this storyline. I’ll admit that the Post-Wrestlemania booking wasn’t as detailed as the earlier months of the storyline but the fact is, there’s not a lot that I needed to do. Having Punk win the title at Mania and having him leave the company with the belt is the ultimate way to put Punk over. The Nexus can also go their separate ways as the group would have run its course. I’d like to think I left them in good shape as a number of them are champions.
That’s a wrap from us and we do hope you enjoyed this edition of How I Would Book. Have any suggestions for a future How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking gameExtreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

How I Would Book… CM Punk As Nexus Leader [Part One]

Leaders joining and leaving a major group in professional wrestling are not rare. Even in major groups like the Bullet Club, the leaders of these groups have changed on multiple occasions. Today, we explore the change in leadership in the Nexus group in 2010 with CM Punk taking over the reins from Wade Barrett. The group needed freshening up a bit after John Cena took out all the members of Nexus and destroyed Wade Barrett at TLC to conclude his warpath. What we want to do though is write about how we would have picked things up when CM Punk took over. Here’s How I Would Book… CM Punk as the leader of Nexus.

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In a way, Punk’s involvement with the Nexus unknowingly set the table for the “Summer of Punk” angle and Punk’s rise to stardom. If it weren’t for the Nexus, Punk might not have even been in the main-event scene for RAW when June 2011 rolled around. Due to the Nexus being the biggest group on RAW, Punk’s affiliation with them saw him becoming a top heel once Cena’s feuds with The Miz and R-Truth wrapped up.
However, Punk’s time at the Nexus was nowhere near over to the level that the group was when Wade Barrett was in charge. To pin-point where things went wrong, let’s go through the storyline.
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The Nexus had been tearing up RAW until Summerslam 2010, when Team WWE defeated the Nexus in a 7-on-7 elimination match. The group did get some small victories but John Cena and WWE eventually won the war when Cena defeated Wade Barrett at Nexus after taking out all the other members of the group.
Those things are events that we can’t and won’t change for this particular “How I Would Book” piece. We can change what comes next, as CM Punk took over.
Punk initially feuded with Cena after pointing out Cena’s brutality and humiliating of Wade Barrett, Batista and Vickie Guerrero. He talked about Cena not being the man of his word when he was forced to leave the WWE and promised to expose Cena and his “hustle, loyalty and respect.” Cena took it upon himself to call out Punk but was instead confronted by the Nexus – without Wade Barrett. David Otunga declared that Nexus is under “new management” and initially called for a truce between Nexus and Cena. Cena refused which lead to the group beating down Cena. CM Punk came out to pick up the scraps and hit a GTS. He then picked up a Nexus armband and put it on, revealing himself to be the new leader of Nexus.
Wade Barrett still insisted that he was the real leader of Nexus but Punk stated that it was time for a change. Barrett was booked in a number one contendership steel cage match for the WWE Championship against Randy Orton and Sheamus. Punk said that if Barrett won, Barrett would be the leader and Punk would work for him. If Barrett lost, he would be out of the group. Barrett agreed but it was Punk that cost Barrett his leadership. CM Punk was now officially in charge and he had one clear goal he wanted to accomplish.
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With the help of the “New Nexus”, CM Punk vowed to win the Royal Rumble and re-assert the Nexus’ dominance. Punk was the #1 entrant in the Rumble match and lasted until half way through, where he and the Nexus were mostly eliminated by John Cena. Punk’s attentions turned to Randy Orton as he cost him in the WWE title match earlier that night. Punk’s motivation was revenge for Randy Orton costing Punk the World title in 2008. Did Punk really have to wait three years to get his revenge?
Orton’s response was to take out each of the members of New Nexus and defeated Punk in a stellar match at Wrestlemania 27. The New Nexus floated around with not a lot to do until June 2011, when Punk won a number one contendership match and declared that his contract was coming to an end. The rest, as they say, is history.
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An issue with the New Nexus was that it was simply seen as one of two things. It was either a “poor man’s Nexus” or basically a second incarnation of Punk’s “Straight Edge Society.” Another issue, and probably the biggest of all, was similar to the original incarnation of the group. New Nexus were dominated just as badly as the old group was. John Cena and Randy Orton, who were thorns in both groups’ sides, dominated all the members of the group which made the Nexus look like embarrassments. By affiliation, Punk also looked bad.
Punk was not as badly booked as his followers, but that doesn’t mean that he was booked greatly either. He was basically on the same level as a number of RAW main event heels, which was another problem. With the likes of The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio also on the show, there was simply too many heels for Punk to compete with. Punk needed to stand out on his own two feet.
Hopefully, my scenario could fix all of these issues that hurt the rise of the New Nexus.
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I’d keep the lead up to CM Punk taking reins of Nexus mostly the same. There’s not a lot wrong with it as it actually gives CM Punk legitimate reasons to want to go after John Cena. Initially, Punk announced his intentions to deal with someone that had “wronged him” on the 2010 Slammys. That’s fine as it build’s up to the events of next week, where CM Punk takes out John Cena with a chair.

In the third week of this angle, CM Punk explains his reasons for attacking Cena. I thought he did a great job with this promo in real-life. Punk explained that Cena was a dishonest man that mislead the WWE universe with his “retirement speech” as he would come back to take out the Nexus. He brought up Cena’s “barbaric” actions against Barrett and Batista and declaring that he was gonna “call Cena out” later on in the show. The finish of the show ends exactly as it did in real-life. Nexus attacks Cena, Punk takes advantage and puts on the Nexus armband. Now let’s move onto the next week, where Wade Barrett comes into the fold.
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CM Punk cuts a promo on RAW where he talks about his plans with the Nexus. He brags about beating up John Cena and vowed to win the Royal Rumble match with the help of Nexus. He mentions Wade Barrett and states that Barrett will find out about his future in the Nexus later tonight. Punk talks about not being a “power-hungry” dictator like Barrett. He will allow his group the chance to vote on who should be the leader and if Barrett will be allowed to remain in the group. Each member has until the end of the night to make their decision.
The Nexus are all in the ring when Barrett comes out in a hooded jacket with trunks on under neath. CM Punk talks about how he will give everyone in the group a chance to speak their minds and give their votes. Before they do, Barrett grabs the mic. He talks about having a epiphany after his match with Cena at TLC. He realised that it is not in his interests to be looking for a group to bail him out every week. Barrett mentions his bare-knuckle boxing background and that he needed to go back to his roots before making his next move. Barrett resigns from the group and tells Punk that he will see him soon. Before he leaves, Barrett lays out David Otunga with the Bullhammer.
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The next week, CM Punk is in the ring with the Nexus. Punk wishes Barrett well with his exile and tells Barrett that he’ll make the Englishman realise that there is always strength in numbers. Punk turns to the group and tells them all that each member of the group will reveal the honest-to-god truth about how they were going to vote the week before. Punk demands that they tell him the truth as there will be major consequences for lairs, like there was for John Cena two weeks ago. Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga all say that they would have voted for Barrett to be out and for Punk to take over. Punk believes the three men and then he turns to Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. Heath uncomfortably reveals that he was going to suggest that Barrett stays while Justin flat out says that he was going to vote for Barrett to be leader.
Punk announces the initiations for the group tonight with David and Husky’s punishments being the same as it was in real life. Otunga took a beating from the Big Show while Husky Harris was hit in the back with a kendo stick repeatedly. Michael’s initiation is to remained locked into the Anaconda Vice for a full minute. I prefer this one as this actually puts Michael over as a hard case that was able to take a full minute of this move.
Punk tells Heath and Justin that he appreciates their honesty and reveals that they will be rewarded for it. He tells them that he was able to strike a deal with the anonymous RAW general manager to have Slater and Gabriel have a rematch for the Tag Team titles against Santino Marrella and Vladimir Kozlov. However, he whispers in both men’s ear with a specific instruction. Punk is at ringside to watch the match. As the champions are making their entrance, Slater and Gabriel attack them both with chairs. They bring them in the ring and they keep it up. Gabriel yells at Punk “Are you happy with that?” which leads to Slater smacking Gabriel with the chair. The beat down sees each member of Nexus hit Gabriel with this chair, which will be Gabriel’s exit from the group.
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In the weeks building up to the Royal Rumble, we see John Cena come back and vow to do whatever it took to make sure that CM Punk would not win the Royal Rumble. This leads to a no disqualification Royal Rumble qualifying match between CM Punk and John Cena on RAW. Punk wins when Mason Ryan appears to take out John Cena. The RAW GM gives Cena one last chance to enter the Royal Rumble. John Cena will have one last qualifying match at the Royal Rumble event against Mason Ryan. Since Barrett will not be around at this time, the Corre will not be a thing and the Rumble match will not be built around the Nexus vs the Corre. It’s built around the Nexus.
Cena wins his match with Mason Ryan and he is in. The Royal Rumble match sees Heath Slater as the #1 entrant and he does really well. He makes to the #21 entrant and is the lone man in the ring after eliminating the likes of Rey Mysterio and John Morrison. Number #21 is revealed to be Justin Gabriel. This is Justin’s first appearance since his beat down from the Nexus. He eliminates Slater and number #22 is revealed to be CM Punk. Punk berates Gabriel in the ring when Slater runs in with the chair. Justin takes out Heath when CM Punk capitalises with the GTS. He is about to eliminate Justin when he changes his mind and decides to keep Justin in the match just to beat him up more. McGillicutty, Otunga and Husky all come out and Nexus pretty much dominates the match with Punk. Before number #40 comes out, Nexus eliminates Kane and Sheamus. The only men in the ring at the moment are Punk, Husky, Otunga, McGillicutty, Orton and Gabriel. Cena is number #40 and runs wild. He eliminates Husky, McGillicutty and Otunga. The final four is Cena, Orton, Punk and Gabriel. Maybe I should be giving SmackDown! more of a major part in the Rumble but for this particular storyline, we’re just going to keep it like this for now.
Orton is laying out everyone with RKOs when WWE Champion The Miz comes out to eliminate Randy from the match and dash his dreams of main-eventing Wrestlemania. This actually plays into the WWE Championship match from earlier (Randy Orton vs Miz). Cena is laying in a beating on Punk when the four fallen Nexus members from the Rumble enter. They attack Cena and Gabriel when Mason Ryan comes out to deliver his finishers on both men. Punk dumps out Cena and commands that Nexus take Cena to the back when Gabriel clotheslines Punk over the top rope but Punk has NOT landed on the floor. Punk is shocked as the final two begins. Punk goes for the GTS but Gabriel catches the knee. He goes to throw Punk out but Punk counters to eliminate the South African. CM Punk is your winner of the 2011 Royal Rumble.
That’s it for part one. Tune in to the second part of this series where we explore the road to WrestleMania for the Nexus and we wrap this angle up!