How’s it going everybody? This week has been a huge week for wrestling as 2016 has started off with some heavy news. There’s been reports of wrestlers from New Japan Pro Wrestling signing with the WWE, the Royal Rumble match will now be for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the WWE’s plans for Wrestlemania are set to change yet again as they’ve been struck with another huge blow.
John Cena has confirmed via Twitter that he will be undergoing shoulder surgery in Birmingham, Alabama and according to PWInsider, he could be sidelined with a rotator cuff injury which may see him out for 6-9 months.
It really is a huge blow for WWE going into Wrestlemania season and their plans for the event. I’ve talked a few times before about how there was no real indication about what the card was going to look like but I think it was pretty clear that Cena was going to be a big part of it so again, I bet things are getting nutty within WWE’s creative team.
When Seth Rollins went down with his injury last year, it forced WWE to change their plans for the next few months as Seth was obviously the champion and probably set for a big match himself at Mania. I think it was more of a concern with that incident as Seth was the champion and nobody was really ready to take the title from him.
Reports suggest that there were plans for Roman Reigns to beat Seth Rollins at Survivor Series anyway for the belt but Roman was still not over to the level of his push at the time. Now though, things are going much better for Reigns and he really is becoming a top star in his own right.
However, I still think with Cena’s injury that all hands are on deck for the writers. The reason I say this is because if Roman Reigns goes down, who do they have to be the top babyface on the main roster after Wrestlemania season?
Think about it. How many wrestlers can you think of? Dean Ambrose would be one of those guys that they would get behind but only because they have no other choice. When they’ve pushed Ambrose in the past, it’s been more of a reluctant push for him. They’d put him in the main event scene but not a lot was done to protect him while he was there. Therefore when he got out of those title feuds, he was right back down the card.
Now let’s think about the other babyfaces. Dolph Ziggler? Neville? They could give the ball to them but it was not like either of them were protected this week on RAW. Ziggler lost to HEATH SLATER (albeit with interference) and Neville lost clean to Kevin Owens. Who could possibly take these two seriously as main eventers? In fact, the only babyfaces that won on Monday night were Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch and Titus O’Neil. It’s not like they’re going to give Titus a really big push towards the title either (even though I’d personally love to see that!) so as it stands, nobody is close to being over to a top level.
I think it’s probably accurate to say that while the roster is the most talented one probably in the history of the company, it could also be said that this could be the most underdeveloped roster of all time leading into a Wrestlemania in terms of star power. Wrestlemania 2000 was a bad one as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker were both out due to injuries but at least wrestling was hot around that time and they had The Rock becoming the top star while Austin was out. This time around, they’ve got no-one near to the level of overness that The Rock was on.
It’s a sad state of affairs for WWE in terms of their roster and John Cena does not help with his injury. It’s a blow to WWE’s future plans. John Cena was advertised for the Royal Rumble event and was even on the poster for the show. The chances are that he was going to have a big part of it. I suspect that their plans for Cena would be for him to go up against Roman Reigns for the belt in the main event of Wrestlemania.
I know they did that tease after RAW a week or two ago but there were also reports of Cena going up against Undertaker. To be honest, I didn’t see WWE having anyone else on the main roster to go up against Roman so that’s why I thought it was going to be Cena. They need an active wrestler coming out of Wrestlemania as champion so I just dismissed the Taker rumours and thought that this was the year where Cena was either going to set up his match with Roman as the challenger or was going to get his 16th title reign and his third Rumble win to tie with Stone Cold Steve Austin for most Rumble wins.
It’s very interesting from a business perspective about how much impact Cena will have. There’s no real precedent for Cena being out for an extremely long period of time. Cena’s rehab has been superhuman at times and he really has pulled off some insane injury recoveries in the past! I wouldn’t want to rush Cena back but WWE would probably want him back sooner if the pay-per-view buys, merchandise and TV numbers don’t do so well.
I think from a merchandise perspective, it’s going to be a hard few months. John Cena is obviously their top guy in terms of t-shirt sales and other merchandise. If he’s not around though, it’s not like they’ll be releasing more t-shirts for the foreseeable future as he won’t be around to wear them. I feel that they are going to take a huge hit in that department. John Cena could take on an non-wrestling/authority figure role while he’s injured I guess, in order to keep up his merchandise.
I don’t think there’s any real correlation between pay-per-view buys/WWE Network subscriptions and Cena’s effect on them because again, he’s not really been out for a really long period of time. I remember that John Cena was not booked for the TLC 2011 event at all and the buy-rates went up from the year before but again, that’s very hard to go off because that happened years ago. It’s very hard to say how big of an impact his absence will have.
As far as TV ratings is concerned, it’s not like the ratings are plummeting right now. There was a time after Cena took his break last year that the ratings did drop to their lowest in nearly 20 years but the ratings have rose up in the past month or so, largely due to how well Reigns is getting over.
It’s all really up in the air about what’ll happen from a business stand-point. All I know is that the odds of Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble this year have really went up in my estimation. Roman’s doing so well and I think the company will be behind Roman more than ever now that Cena’s out. I think that’s a great thing but there’s not a lot of challengers out there that could really be considered as legitimate main event talent unless you were to dip into the part-timer pool.
Even that is limited though. Undertaker seems very close to calling it a day and his health is really unpredictable at this point. We don’t know how well Sting is physically. It seems that Daniel Bryan will never be cleared to compete by the WWE doctores. The Rock is a movie star that probably wouldn’t have the time to be the champion again. The only one I can think off that would make sense is Brock Lesnar but I don’t think they’d be willing to pay him more often.
I think Roman vs. Brock for the title is really the way to go for Wrestlemania. Brock does have more of a proven track-record for pay-per-view buys and TV ratings than anyone on the main roster but again, it’s going to be a costly endeavour.
For those of you wondering, this will be the first Wrestlemania John Cena will miss since he debuted on the main roster in 2002. That’s incredible if you think about it because again, there’s no real precedent set for Cena’s effect on the buy-rates for Wrestlemania.
It’ll be interesting to see how WWE reacts to this to say the least. Maybe they won’t need to panic depending on Roman but losing a top star is always a bad deal. When you lose a star like John Cena, it could end up being a catastrophic deal for them.
Tweet to @ArmbarExpress to share your thoughts or leave a comment to tell me what you think about this news and what do you think the Wrestlemania 32 card will look like with John Cena out of commission.
The Undertaker’s streak. Many tried to beat it. Monsters like Mark Henry, King Kong Bundy and Giant Gonzalez have tried to crush the Dead Man. They failed. Some have put up championships against the Undertaker, hoping to be known as the great champion that ended the Undertaker’s streak. Batista, Edge and Psycho Sid all put their titles on the line against Undertaker, only to lose those belts they hold dear and become part of the streak. Men like CM Punk had tried to use head games as a means to break the streak, but could not get the job done. Many tried. One succeeded. However, none of the matches came close to the excitement and story-telling than Undertaker’s streak of matches against Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
It was not like none of matches before his encounters with Shawn and Triple H, that spanned from Wrestlemania 25 to Wrestlemania 28, were any good. There were some beauties that the Undertaker took part in against the likes of Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, Ric Flair and even Triple H at Wrestlemania 17. However, none of them stole the show quite like the matches in the saga between Taker, Michaels and Triple H.
These matches were usually a thing of beauty but the story-telling of these matches were even more impressive. At Wrestlemania 25, Shawn Michaels was the first man to step up. With Shawn Michaels being almost an exclusive to the RAW brand and the Undertaker being almost exclusive to SmackDown!, these two legends never seemed to collide during the brand split of WWE. However, when the two of them would battle in the Royal Rumble, it was usually exceptional. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels produced possibly the best finish to a Royal Rumble match in 2007. While Undertaker won that particular encounter, Shawn returned the favour by eliminating Undertaker at the 2008 Royal Rumble. At Wrestlemania 25, we got to see Shawn and Undertaker go at it for the first time since 1998… in a match that put an end to Shawn’s career for four years.
Shawn was confident though, particular bragging pre-match about how the Undertaker had never beaten him. The two clashed and it was quite possibly the best Wrestlemania match we’ll ever see in our life time. These men kicked out of everything they could throw at each other. Shawn even kicked out of the Undertaker’s tombstone piledriver which caused Jim Ross to, and I quote, “have an out-of-body experience.” In the end, Undertaker prevailed in what was the match of the night by a HUGE margin. And they weren’t finished there…
Both Undertaker and Shawn Michaels would take a hiatus from the WWE following Wrestlemania, returning in August 2009. Shawn had re-united DX and battled Legacy and Jeri-Show en route to winning the Unified WWE Tag Team titles while Undertaker dominated the SmackDown! roster en route to winning the World Heavyweight Championship. At the 2009 Slammys, Michaels and Taker won the Slammy for Match of the Year. While accepting the award, Michaels issued a challenge to the Undertaker for a rematch at Wrestlemania 26. Undertaker declined, so Michaels would try to force the issue at the 2010 Royal Rumble. If Michaels won the match, he could challenge for Undertaker’s World title and more importantly… the streak. Sadly, Shawn was not able to win the rumble match. Shawn’s life continued to deteriorate, as he was unable to accept his loss to the Undertaker the year before. Michaels’ obsession would lead to Elimination Chamber, where he cost Undertaker the World title. The next night on RAW, Michaels goaded Taker into a rematch claiming that Taker wanted revenge. Taker accepted with one condition… if Shawn lost, his career would be over. Michaels stated that if he couldn’t be Undertaker, he’d have no career and he accepted the stipulation.
While this match was not at the level of their match at Wrestlemania 25, this was still great. It was the main event of the show and rightfully so. Shawn kicked out of everything the Undertaker had and refused to go down. Michaels slapped Undertaker to get him to fight and Undertaker went into a fury. Taker gave Michaels one final tombstone and that was that…. Shawn Michaels’ career was over.
Having beaten Shawn Michaels in two incredible Wrestlemania matches in a row, the question was this… what could WWE possibly do to follow up two of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history? Their solution was to put Undertaker up against the “Cerebral Assassin” Triple H at Wrestlemania 27…
Undertaker and Triple H had faced each other at Wrestlemania before but this one was very special and necessary for a few reasons…
- Their match at Wrestlemania 27 would be a rematch from their previous Wrestlemania 17 showdown ten years before… which Undertaker won.
- It’d make sense for Triple H to try and avenge his best friend Shawn Michaels, who had his career ended by the Undertaker.
- Triple H and Undertaker, like Shawn and Taker, have both been near-exclusives to the RAW and SmackDown! brands respectively. Therefore, they’ve not really had any big programs together for almost a decade. This was unique.
The first match was made No Holds Barred match. This helped appeal to the intensity of both these characters. These men could go all out and they did. It was hard-hitting and it just helped Taker and HHH thrive. This was not like the wrestling masterpiece that the Michaels/Taker matches were. This was a straight up battle. It suited both men well.
This match was also unique in it’s layout. The story of the match was last outlaw of WWE refusing to give up as Triple H was wanting to put him away. It was not like Undertaker and Triple H just had a great back-and-forth match. It was initially, but then Triple H just simply battered Undertaker. He battered him with chairs, pedigrees and even a TOMBSTONE of his own! However, Undertaker still refused to give. Triple H wanted to end things with his trusty sledgehammer, but Undertaker locked on Hells Gate to make Triple H tap and escape with the streak intact. However, Undertaker ended up being carried out on a stretcher. Undertaker won, but it hardly seemed like a victory. This match was the brightest spark during a pretty lame Wrestlemania 27. The ending was also the perfect set-up for a rematch…
While Undertaker had spent the year on the sidelines, Triple H had been through a fair amount of character development. Following Money In The Bank 2011, Triple H would take the reins in WWE as the COO. He had traded in his wrestling gear for a suit as he started doing more paperwork than pedigrees. On an episode of RAW in January 2012, Triple H was about to fire Interim GM John Laurinaitis. As he was doing it though, we heard that all too familiar gong. Undertaker returned, hinting towards the rematch. However, Triple H seemed to take a pass on one final match.
Despite pressure from Undertaker and even Shawn Michaels, Triple H refused to face Taker as he didn’t want to destroy the “brand” of the streak that helped made Wrestlemania such a success. It was great that the build up to this match was also able to tie-in to Triple H’s role as COO as well. Undertaker was adamant about erasing the memory of Triple H forcing Taker onto a stretcher the year before and offered Triple H one more shot at immortality. Undertaker went as far as to call HHH a coward and claim Shawn was always better than him, which pushed HHH over the edge. Triple H accepted on one condition… Hell in a Cell.
This was an appropriate finish to this four year storyline. As pointed out, Taker and HHH had a lot of history inside the cell. A standard match might have not had as much impact. The Cell made more sense from a storyline standpoint. Shawn Michaels was also added to the match as he had the streak in the palm of his hand. The stage is set. At Wrestlemania 28, Taker beat Triple H in the cell to take the streak to 20-0 and end the era which I believe was simply this four year storyline. While a lot of people might not have gotten the “End of an Era” billing of the match, I think it was just this era of Wrestlemania matches which was centred around Michaels, Taker and HHH. Jim Ross was also brought into to commentate the match and did a great job.
Now, I’m going to say something which will not be a popular opinion… I was left disappointed by this match. This was by no means a terrible match. It was not as great as their match at Wrestlemania 27 but it was still a great match. However, there were a few things about it that really hurt the match in my opinion.
The first issue I had with it was Shawn Michaels as the special referee. The reason Shawn gets a bit of criticism is because it wasn’t really made clear what his motivation was leading into this match. It was kind of hinted on television that he was going to screw Undertaker. However, the storyline in the match became about whether Michaels would allow his friend to do what Michaels himself was unable to do or if he would help his friend end the streak of the man that had ended Michaels’ career. Therefore, everything Shawn was doing as the referee was just dead confusing to me. He teased calling for the bell, then he jumped in when Triple H was beating Undertaker with the chair and then he tried to screw Taker himself with the super kick. By the way, that Super Kick/Pedigree spot was the highlight of the night.
The point is, Michaels’ actions just came off as so confusing that it looked for all the world like he was Darth Vader struggling to decide between saving Luke or siding with the Emperor but it was done in such a complicated matter that it took way from his role as referee. There was also the use of the Hell in a Cell itself. Now let me just make clear that I did not expect HHH and Taker to do something crazy like going to the top of the cell. However, HHH said in a promo leading into the match that he and Taker should “go all the way.” To me, it didn’t look like they “went all the way.” It looked like they just did a repeat of the match from the year before, added Shawn Michaels and a Cell. They rarely ever used the cell. I would have preferred it if they just left it to being a singles match with Shawn as the referee. At least then, the cell wouldn’t have limited Triple H and Undertaker.
With that being said though, this was still a great match. The hug at the end was great and it was a great way for this saga to end.
Part One – Introduction
Part Two – John Cena
Part Three – CM Punk
Part Four – Randy Orton
We’re now at the final installment of this particular series. We’ve discussed three other candidates. We’ve discussed John Cena, we’ve discussed CM Punk and we’ve discussed Randy Orton. We’ve talked about the possibility of booking these three as potential breakers of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. But here’s a problem with these three individuals. These three were already main event stars in the WWE BEFORE they broke the streak. I mean this win would boost these three in one way or another. But however, one could argue that the ending of the streak should be done to make a star rather than elevate an already established star. One legacy ends so another one can begin. So let me ask you guys a simply question.
Out of everyone on the current WWE roster, who is the one person that needed a moment like this to make their mark in the WWE for years to come? Who is the one person who has developed possibly one of the greatest characters of all time with an incredible amount of potential? And with the right push, who can really forge a legacy of his own from ending the Undertaker’s streak? It’s the one person whose got the whole world in his hands. That’s right. Maybe the streak should have been broken… by Bray Wyatt.
Wrestlemania 30 would have been the perfect time for the Eater of Worlds to conquer the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. Wrestlemania 30 was Bray Wyatt’s first Wrestlemania. In his first match, he took on John Cena which is a big deal in itself. Also, he came out to a live performance of his own theme song. How many wrestlers have had a live performance by a band while strolling down to the ring for their first Wrestlemania match? Surely WWE must have had great confidence in the character to give Bray this kind of push after he debuted in July 2013 (just not enough confidence for him to beat Cena apparently). Bray Wyatt is a special character. So his first Wrestlemania match should be a special moment. How shocking of a moment would it be if in his first match at Wrestlemania… he beat the Undertaker?
Here’s how I’d play it out.
At the 2014 Royal Rumble, Bray Wyatt beats Daniel Bryan like he did in real life. Bray does not interfere in the John Cena vs Randy Orton match at all. At the Royal Rumble match, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper come in and destroy everyone. They eliminate Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Cesaro at the same time near the end (which is what Roman Reigns did) to make it into the final four. It’s the two Wyatts, Batista and Roman Reigns in the final four of this match. When it looks like they are about to Batista and Reigns out, Bray Wyatt stands on top of the stage. He gets down on his knees. When he does, both Rowan and Harper leave the ring and eliminate themselves. The camera cuts to Bray telling Rowan and Harper, “I have a greater purpose for you yet.”
We hear nothing from the Wyatts on RAW until they show up in the main event to cost The Shield their six man tag team match against Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Sheamus. Bray Wyatt cuts a promo the next week on RAW, saying that he plans to put the Hounds of Justice down and spawn the birth of new hounds. Wyatt announces that they will become the new servers of justice in the WWE. They won’t be called the Hounds of Justice. The Wyatts announce themselves… as the Hounds of Hell.
The Wyatt Family then beat The Shield in their match at Elimination Chamber. Bray Wyatt cuts a promo stating that the Hounds of Hell have already rid the WWE Universe of the Hounds of Justice. However, there is still one more outlaw to put down and deliver to the devil himself. He announces that the outlaw will reveal himself later on that night. The Undertaker then returns to the WWE at the end of the show, announcing his intention to defend the streak once again. As Undertaker is about to sign off we get the Wyatt Family cryptic intro…
The Wyatt Family come out to take out the Undertaker. Bray gets on the microphone and says “I will put you down, Outlaw”. Bray will challenge Undertaker to a match at Wrestlemania which Undertaker accepts a few weeks later. Mind games are thrown back and forth until Wrestlemania itself. Undertaker requests that the match is made a No Disqualification match as it is the only way to put down Wyatt AND his two dogs Rowan and Harper.
In the match, Undertaker first sets his sights on Harper and Rowan as Bray Wyatt watches on his rocking chair. Undertaker spears Erick Rowan into the barricade and chokeslams Harper through the announce table. As he’s having to take on all of these members, Taker is getting visibly tired and bruised. He then turns to Bray who simply launches himself into the Dead Man. This is a long and slow beat down but Undertaker continues to kick out. When Bray is about to deliver Sister Abigail, Undertaker counters it into a Tombstone. However, Undertaker is spent after the fighting with all three members of the Wyatt family. The camera man focuses on the ring for about 30 seconds when Undertaker sits up. He sits up but he sees both Rowan and Harper outside of the ring, seemingly unharmed. As he looks on, Bray gets up to do his Spider Walk. Undertaker turns around to walk into a Sister Abigail. And that… is the end of the match.
Bray then kneels over Undertaker laughing saying “Only I am unbeatable” as the crowd is shocked. The Wyatts walk off, leaving Undertaker in the ring.
What I would do for Bray though is simply take over the role of the Undertaker as this superhuman mystic force in WWE. He and the rest of his “Hounds of Hell” take out everyone. John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan. Everyone to assert themselves as the top dogs in the company. Not only that, but he starts a undefeated streak of his own at Wrestlemania. What’s a better way for Bray’s streak to start by having him beat the owner of the greatest streak of all time?
The rest of 2014 would see Bray dominate WWE just like Brock Lesnar did after he ended the streak. He beats John Cena at Summerslam for the WWE World title but he would lose it to Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble after interference from his next opponent… Sting. Bray beats Sting at Wrestlemania 31 to take his streak to 2-0. The Undertaker helps elevate Bray the same way Undertaker himself was elevated – dominating from the start of his career. Think about it. Undertaker beat Hulk Hogan for the WWF title not long after he debuted. Hogan beat him for the belt shortly after but the mystique of Undertaker remained. That’s exactly what ending the streak would do for Bray.
That wraps things up for the Eater of Worlds. We’ve got four candidates to choose from but I’m still interested in hearing other people’s thoughts about who should have broken the streak. I’ll discuss all of our candidates once more in the VERY last part of this series. We’ll decide ourselves who really should have broken the streak and come up with a verdict.
Have any suggestions for a 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 game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!
So who really should have broken the streak? Well before we go further with my picks, we’re going to go through two YouTube videos that tackled this particular subject. We’re looking at two hugely different candidates that have been considered to end the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. Before we go onto the videos, let me ask you guys some questions. Out of all the potential candidates we could choose, who are the guys that needed that win the most? Who are the guys, whose great careers can be turned legendary by having them end one of the biggest streaks in sport? Also, which two guys that are still physically willing and able enough to take this streak to revitalize themselves for years to come? So instead of Brock Lesnar… should the Undertaker’s streak have been broken by John Cena or CM Punk?
Now, I know these candidates are going to get mixed reactions. You may be asking yourselves, “Well, why would Cena or Punk need a win over the Undertaker? They are already established stars.” Fair point, but keep in mind even the biggest of stars need big wins like this. As I pointed out in the last blog post, Brock Lesnar needed to break the Undertaker’s streak to separate himself from everyone else in the WWE and regain his mystique and turn himself into a mega-attraction once again. John Cena and CM Punk, for different reasons, needed a win like this to drastically alter their futures in WWE. Considering they are/were full-time stars with WWE, you could have been able to build the shows around them as they had the star power and they would still be here for the long haul. For CM Punk, if he had broken the streak at Wrestlemania 29, he would also have the right man to emphasize just how big a win this was for Punk… Paul Heyman.
But first, let me draw your attention to videos that discussed both Cena and Punk as wrestlers that maybe should have broken the streak instead of Brock Lesnar. Firstly, we’ll talk about John Cena…
In my nWo series, I pointed out a website called WhatCulture which began posting videos like my blog posts about how they would have booked particular scenarios. It was where I got the idea to do the nWo storyline and… well this one. Adam, who hosts these videos, did this video below.
He nominates John Cena as the man to conquer Undertaker’s undefeated streak. His reasoning is pretty straight forward as he believes that Cena conquering the streak is the best way to not only end the streak, but to turn John Cena heel. Think about it. Out of everyone in WWE, who is the one person you’d NOT want to end the Undertaker’s streak? The majority fans would know doubt utter one name… John Cena. Ending Undertaker’s streak alone would generate Cena more heat than ever, but what if he CHEATED to do it?
The boos reigning onto Cena would be deafening. This would not be like a Bruno Sammartino moment which would leave the audience speechless. The fans would be PISSED at WWE for allowing somebody like Cena to end that streak. Adam does a great job with describing the execution of this shocking moment. In a match that would end the show (apologizes again to Daniel Bryan) Cena challenges Undertaker. As Adam mentions, John Cena would vow to leave WWE for a year if he could not beat the Undertaker. Because if Cena vowed to leave WWE forever or something, nobody is going to buy it. But something like a year could be something that WWE might pull off. OK… WWE would probably never write John Cena off television for a year! But at least this stipulation would raise the stakes. After all, you’d think the Undertaker would have never had his streak broken either. This night would change everything.
With the referee getting taking out somehow, Cena has the Undertaker down. Cena would look around and see a chair. He’d grab a steel chair and put in a BEATING on Undertaker with it. I mean this beating would be like Steve Austin battering The Rock with the chair at Wrestlemania 17. It would be nasty. Cena would wake up the referee and hit one final Attitude Adjustment to pin the Undertaker and initially leave the crowd shocked. Then Cena would simply smile to the crowd, causing outrage among the WWE universe. We’ve gotten two things we’d never expect to see happening at once. John Cena has turned heel and Undertaker’s streak has ended. You see, John Cena turning heel would be a surreal moment in WWE. The fans would probably go nuts if Cena turned heel tomorrow. However, for every yin there’s a yang.
If you want the Cena heel turn to work, you have to give Cena legitimate heat off his turn. And what else would give Cena the necessary heat than taking away something the fans hold dear. Enter the streak. So while you get something you’d “want” to see happen, you also get something you truly don’t want to see happen. Why? Because that’s what being a heel does.
If you want Cena to create legitimate heel heat for himself, you have to give him something to work with that he can shove down your throats for years to come. The Undertaker’s streak breaking in this manner would change Cena’s character in a big way, perhaps forcing him to be heel for the rest of his career. Also, Cena marks all the checkpoints outlined in the first part of this blog. For you see, John Cena… is John Cena. He’s the “franchise” of WWE, the face of the company. He’s been on top of the mountain in WWE for nearly a decade. So to group him among a bunch of other wrestlers by having him lose to the Undertaker takes away the mystique of John Cena. While he’s not the guy with the UFC credentials of Lesnar, he’s still the ONE top guy in WWE.
So while Adam does a good job in executing the ending of the streak, he fails to answer one of the main obstacles outlined in the first post of this series. If John Cena broke the streak, then what happens to him afterwards? At the start of his video, Adam mentions how WWE booked Brock Lesnar after Wrestlemania calling it “OK” and saying he could do it better. However, Adam doesn’t ACTUALLY go into the aftermath of Cena breaking the streak and stops the video at Wrestlemania itself. If you’re going to have the streak end, then you’ve got to have a plan in place for what happens next. For Brock, the plan for him was very simple.
Brock ended the streak and Paul Heyman cut a superb promo for him the next night on RAW which clearly identifies Lesnar as the ONE to beat in WWE. Brock then comes back before Summerslam and is named the number one contender for the WWE World Title. After destroying John Cena at Summerslam, he becomes WWE World Champion. And he doesn’t just beat Cena either. It was a main event so unique that again, it separates a Brock Lesnar match from any other match in the company. Despite awkward bits of booking (like Cena beating Lesnar via DQ) and scheduling issues, Lesnar was still the ONE guy that is so different from the rest, that he becomes a special attraction in WWE once again. Him breaking Undertaker’s streak helped solidify him as a top draw once again.
The thing about Cena though is that with him turning heel, you’ve got a lot of fresh ideas for him to work with and he’s a full-time wrestler. Cena could go on every week how he beat the Undertaker’s streak and you’d all get sick of it. He could break Ric Flair’s title record and bring him even more heat. There’s so much you COULD do with John Cena. The question is, would it all actually work?
Yes, Cena COULD do the heel turn and create a moment. But WWE turning Cena heel at all is a huge risk itself. That’s why for more than decade, WWE have not dared pull the trigger on Cena. If they did that, then they’d have to be somebody as marketable and as dedicated as Cena waiting in the wings to take over as the top face in the company. Daniel Bryan COULD have been that guy as he had the marketable catchphrases and was the most over person in the company at Wrestlemania 30. However, there’s no guarantee that Yes-O-Mania could last. After all, the overness for Bryan kind of died down during his Kane feud. There’s no reason to believe that Daniel could do an even greater job than Cena as far as merchandising and as a draw. Also, there’s always the possibilities of injuries that could hurt the YES-movement needing a draw to take his place. Of course, the only person WWE could turn to at this point… would be Cena.
The point I’m trying to make is that a Cena heel turn would NOT be able to work long term. You’re rarely going to find the right time for Cena to turn heel. You can think of a number of great scenarios for Cena to turn on the WWE universe. No doubt, Adam came up with a beauty of an idea here. But you have to think about how Cena’s turn would be received by the fans. You’d have a lot of adult fans cheering about seeing Cena as a heel, but if that were to happen… what would be the point in Cena turning heel in the first place? If there are people still cheering Cena, then why bother having Cena turn heel?
Granted, Adam’s method involving the streak ending is a great way to help neutralize the cheers and keep the heel heat on Cena. But for how long and for what price? A Cena heel turn would cause a financial disaster for WWE. WWE have gotten themselves to the point where they are dependent on Cena’s merchandise to keep themselves financially strong. You could have the heel turn be a short-term thing, where Cena turns face once again at Summerslam. But would it really be worth ending a 20 year legacy for a short-term heel turn?
As much as I respect the efforts of Adam at WhatCulture, John Cena was just not the right person to end that streak. So if John Cena shouldn’t have broken that streak, than who should? Join me part three, where we talk about another YouTube video providing us with CM Punk being the one to break Undertaker’s streak…
Wrestlemania XXX will go down as one of the most memorable wrestling events of all time. Not just one of the most memorable Wrestlemanias, not one of the most memorable PPVs, no. If you think back to all the great wrestling events, whether it be PPVs or House Shows, there has never been one quite like this one. But there’s one moment that all us wrestling fans will look back on as one of the most shocking moments in wrestling history. Brock Lesnar conquering the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania, becoming the one in 21-1. Although a lot of fans were outraged about the decision to have the “part-timer” conquer the streak, a lot of wrestlers like Chris Jericho agreed with it. Jericho said once on his podcast that “Brock was the only one that should have broken that streak”. But what I want to know is, was there other candidates out there that should have been given this accomplishment? Was there anyone else that needed it more? And if so… who else should have broken the streak?
It’s important to note that although there’s reports of Vince McMahon deciding the end the streak 4 hours before the Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker match, this can’t have been an easy decision for him to make. For years, this was one of the marque matches of Wrestlemania. It was usually the match of the night, with all the drama and fans wondering “Could this year be the year?” In times, it’s been argued by fans whether having the big match with the Undertaker is bigger than the main event of Wrestlemania itself. Even if you lose, you’re still up against a true legend like Undertaker taking on his streak. That all changed at Wrestlemania 30, when Brock Lesnar broke the streak.
Sadly, his match with Brock Lesnar WASN’T a show stealer match which stole the show. In fact, it didn’t really need to. The moment itself stole the show. No disrespect to Daniel Bryan and his title win, but Undertaker’s streak made HEADLINES around the world. There have been few things in recent years in the WWE that have garnered as much interest from the media than the streak ending. And nobody in WWE had the real-life credentials and the star power to break it other than Brock Lesnar.
It gave Lesnar that “mystique” that made him different from everybody else. He was the UFC Heavyweight Champion, he was the youngest Undisputed WWE Champion and now he has done something that no one else has. He beat the Undertaker and he used that to conquer the WWE Universe in 2014. He destroyed John Cena at Summerslam and reigned as the unbeatable WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar. To give WWE credit, they did a great job at taking advantage of Lesnar’s BIG win. Other than his disqualification loss to Cena at Night of Champions, there’s little complaint about how Brock was booked after he broke the streak.
So if we’re going to have that streak be broken, then we’ve got to have a good idea about how this elevates the man who breaks it. Where does he go from there? What happens next? How is this big win going to effect this wrestler’s life? Like, let’s see we had Roman Reigns end that streak. It’s all well and good, and he’s clearly someone WWE would want to push into the limelight. After all, they had Roman Reigns compete in the main event of Wrestlemania 31. So if you have a plan, you can book accordingly. But you CANNOT have the streak end just to create a MOMENT. If you’re going to have this streak end, then it needs to lead to something.
So when considering a new candidate, you have to think “Who needs this the most?” Who needed a huge win over the Undertaker that can develop his character and elevate him to new heights? Not wanting to use the term “use as a stepping stone”, but whoever beats the Undertaker will have to play a big role in the WWE’s future. And it also has to be somebody that can stand-out as THE ONE. What I mean is this person can’t be just like every other wrestler. He has to be unique. That’s why Brock Lesnar made such a good streak-breaker, because he had the credentials that differed him from the Hulk Hogans, The Rocks and Steve Austins. He was the UFC guy. He was the NCAA guy. He was the guy that’s special and different from everybody else. So whoever beats the Undertaker should be somebody special.
Now, for this storyline, we not going to be THAT strict about the timing of the streak breaking. If we believe that somebody should have broken it at an earlier time, we can. If we thought that somebody that lost to Undertaker in the past at Wrestlemania should have won that particular match, then that’s fine. But most importantly, we need to point out how he’d be booked following the win and how his win would elevate him.
So given all those stipulations and things to consider, does or did such a wrestler exist?
Before going into potential candidates, we’ll be going through TWO different very well thought-out YouTube videos by those thinking of new candidates. I will be going through these theories and if any of these wrestlers are the right guys to end the streak…
The debate over who should have really ended the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania could go on forever. Hell, the debate over whether the streak should have even been broken at all could go on forever. It’s like the Superman vs Goku of WWE debates. As many great bouts we’ve seen, there’s been a number of top talents that never got a chance to go toe-to-toe with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. In fact, some have never once went one-on-one with Undertaker in their entire careers. With that, we’ve missed out on interesting matches that could have very well been one of the matches of the night. From Sheamus and Seth Rollins to Alberto Del Rio, a number of fantasy matches have missed the cut over the years. However, there was one person who I think could have potentially been hugely elevated after a match with the Deadman. Someone who the WWE is desperate to make a star and could deliver a pretty physical match with the Phenom. What I would have liked to see is Undertaker… vs Roman Reigns.
This has been a match that has always intrigued me. It’s the up-and-coming bad ass Samoan doing battle with the old supernatural Deadman in a true battle of old school vs new school. If we looking for an up-and-comer to take on Undertaker at Wrestlemania that can be truly elevated from the showdown, we really should be throwing Roman Reigns’ name in the mix. After the Undertaker’s streak was broken by Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns WAS one of the names that fans were claiming should have given this honor. Why’s that? Because he a rising star that WWE valued and whose true ascension to stardom would begin by having him slay the Undertaker. If anyone would, why not have be someone like Reigns? Why not have it be Roman Reigns vs Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 and give Lesnar the streak the next year?
It’s not like Roman hasn’t got the build or that bad-ass feel to him either. One of the reasons Chris Jericho gave on his podcast for Lesnar breaking the streak is that Lesnar was legitimately someone that could beat up Undertaker in a real-life fight. While Roman Reigns doesn’t have the MMA and amateur wrestling background of Lesnar, you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have Roman Reigns by your side if you had gotten yourself in a scrap with a bunch of guys!
Roman Reigns also is someone with a sporting background. He’s a natural athlete that began his time in sports in Canadian Football. He’s everything Vince McMahon could ever want in a superstar. So why not have his ascension to the top begin with a battle with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania?
Now let’s be clear that I’M not suggesting that Roman Reigns ACTUALLY break the streak. He doesn’t need an accomplishment like that in order to get himself over. Despite popular belief, you don’t need to win every match you have in order to look strong. All you have to do… is look strong.
That last sentence might have seemed like a deliberate reference to the CM Punk/Colt Cabana podcast where CM Punk shoots on Roman Reigns, but there’s actually a bit of point. Look at how Roman Reigns was booked against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. Brock DESTROYED Roman in this fight and the only momentum Reigns was able to garner was as a result of a lucky push into the ring post. To have Roman Reigns actually beat up Brock Lesnar to a significant degree is not believable. Whether Roman could take Undertaker in a legit fight is a debate for another time, but the two year rookie conquering the legendary Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania is a pretty ridiculous notion. Up until Wrestlemania XXX, other than record eliminations in Survivor Series and Royal Rumble matches, Roman hadn’t had a lot of singles success in the WWE. So Roman doesn’t really have the credentials to make people think that he could possibly be a threat to the Undertaker. But a true beating by Undertaker could elevate Roman even more than if he were to break the streak.
Here’s how I’d play it out…
Up until Elimination Chamber 2014, I’d have everything played out the same for Roman Reigns. He give tremendous performances at Survivor Series and Royal Rumble and now his crew are up against the Wyatts at Elimination Chamber. The match plays out pretty much the same as it did in real-life with a few changes. Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt fight into the crowd. However, the camera pans to Ambrose and Wyatt beating each other up backstage. Bray hides behind a wall of some kind but then we hear some sort of commotion. We hear a chair shot and Bray looks up to find Dean laid out and chair broken next to him.
Now I’m sure some of you are asking “Wouldn’t the chair shot have resulted in a disqualification?” Even though they’re not in the ring, you’d think what was going on would have been shown on the titantron or something. However, I think it’s possible to have the referee not notice the pinfall in one way or another. Do you remember at the end of Backlash 1999 when Vince McMahon wasn’t aware of his daughter been taken, ironically by the Undertaker, despite the fact that it was shown on our screens? With all the action in the ring, the referee might not have had the chance to look back at the titantron. I know this sounds a bit iffy and we’re making it sound like the referee is completely incompetent, but he can be let off just a little considering it’s a wild six man tag team match between these two dangerous factions. Either that or you could just have Luke Harper and Erick Rowan distract the referee while that was going on.
Seth Rollins is then taken out like he was in real-life and we have the Wyatts surround Roman Reigns in the ring. Also, the referee would get taken out somehow. Roman clears the ring and looks like he is about to hit Bray with the spear. But then we hear the Undertaker’s dong. Undertaker pops up in the ring and hits the chokeslam on Roman Reigns. It’s followed up by Bray Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail and the ref comes over and makes the pin.
As for why The Undertaker cost the Shield the match is pretty straight-forward. Do you remember the Shield taking out Undertaker in 2013 on SmackDown!? This would have been Undertaker’s first appearance since then. I will admit, I’ve never quite gotten how the Shield attack was never addressed and followed up on by WWE. I mean with Undertaker getting revenge on Lesnar right now in real-life, why did he never get revenge on The Shield and the Nexus for their attacks a while ago. At least this way, you are also wrapping up old storylines and integrating them into the Wrestlemania build up. The next night on RAW, Undertaker would simply state that he’d wish to get his revenge on The Shield for their SmackDown! attack, by challenging one of its members to a match at Wrestlemania. Roman would step up and challenge the Undertaker. After quite a battle which is mostly Undertaker dominated, Taker goes 22-0. Roman gets the respect from the crowd and becomes a true single star with the match of his life against the Undertaker.
And that’s pretty much that. I’ll admit there are a few issues with booking this match at Wresltemania 30. Firstly, I realize how hilariously unfair this would be to Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose if Roman were to get the big match. If Roman were to fight Undertaker, then where would that leave those two? They could fight Kane and The New Ages Outlaws still I suppose and just beat them three on two. Or they could enter the Andre The Giant memorial battle royal or something. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Ambrose and Rollins would get the short end of the stick on this one. Sorry lads!
However, what this does is sky-rocket Roman’s singles career despite still being a part of the Shield. The Shield storyline with Evolution can still happen after Undertaker departs again. Now with Roman’s singles push already getting a huge boost, you can direct your attention to Seth and Dean in the matches with Evolution. At least when they do break up, they’ll all be able to stand out on their own merit. They were able to do so in real-life, don’t get me wrong. But if Roman was truly the WWE’s golden boy, then this is one of the rare chances they’d have at making a true star out of Reigns. Besides, if you were wanting to do either Undertaker vs Rollins or Undertaker vs Ambrose… then just take out Reigns and insert either Rollins or Ambrose. Hopefully with this storyline, you can push the Shield member of your choice to be a top singles star in WWE!
That’s it for this edition of How I Would Book. Be sure to check out all the past blogs in this series, including the on-going series on the WWE’s incarnation of the nWo. Coming up will be part five of that series and to be honest, I’m really proud of the storyline I’ve came up with so far!
See you guys really soon and keep up to date with all the blog’s newest posts by following us on WordPress or @ArmbarExpress on Twitter.
- How I Would Book… Rey Mysterio vs AJ Styles
- How I Would Book… Batista vs Brock Lesnar (Part One and Part Two)
- How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 (Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four)
- How I Would Book… Eddie Guerrero’s Road To Wrestlemania 22 (Part One and Part Two)
- How I Would Book… The nWo 19th Anniversary Special (Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four)