How I Would Book… Roman Reigns vs The Rock

The last time we had Roman Reigns on the “How I Would Book…” series, we put the “Big Dog” up against probably the biggest dog in WWE history… the Undertaker. However, I wanted to explore a completely different opponent for Roman Reigns. In fact, the story for this match-up is already there for these two individuals. What connects these two… is family. But what if these two had a family feud of their own? What if Roman Reigns collided… with The Rock?

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I think putting Roman in a program with The Rock would be a perfect solution to this issue WWE seems to have with getting Roman over. One of the positives from Roman’s feud with Brock Lesnar was the fact that it included someone who could do all the taking for them… Paul Heyman. With The Rock, he can do all the talking for Roman and himself for their feud, but also wrestle. Granted, he’s not on WWE television that much. However, I doubt it’ll be that big of an issue. All Roman Reigns needs to do, when The Rock is not on television, is simply beat people up. Roman does the fighting, Rock does the talking. Simple as that. But first, let’s talk about how this match would take place. What would cause this family to be torn apart? In my opinion, it could be something that has divided a lot of families in WWE history… Money.

Here’s how I imagine it playing it out. If the plan was to have Roman take on The Rock in this big match, then you need to make Roman look incredibly strong leading into it. So starting from his tag team match with Dean Ambrose against the Wyatts at Summerslam, Roman develops a winning streak. He then beats Bray Wyatt in a feud ending I Quit match. He battles the likes of Sheamus and Rusev on route to the TLC. At TLC, he wins a fatal four way Ladder match with Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt to earn a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at the Royal Rumble. Whether it’d be Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar or Sheamus, Roman rolls into the Royal Rumble on a roll. However, at the Royal Rumble, things come crashing down for the Roman Empire. The Authority tries to help the champion against Roman but in a case of deja vu from the year before, The Rock comes out the even the odds. But as the Authority backs off, The Rock delivers the Rock Bottom… to Roman Reigns.

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A heel turn for The Rock is something that few would see coming. The Rock’s popularity is on a level of it’s own, both in and out of wrestling. The man with 24.4 million Instagram followers and an incredible social media presence would be very hard to turn into a heel. How can you convince the WWE universe to root for Roman against The Rock? Well the truth is, you’re not to convince EVERYONE. That’s why this particular heel turn will be short-term. Because after all, this will be a short term angle.

The Hollywood fame and social media popularity is exactly the type of things that would help the Brahma Bull’s turn to the dark side. He can play the Hollywood Star heel that he played way back in 2003. And it’s not like he’s just done the Scorpion King, he’s done so much more. More positives to dwell on and brag about. It would also be the first time in 12 years that The Rock would be heel. It’s much needed new material for The Rock to work with.

The Rock’s reasoning for turning heel is pretty simple… he was doing a favour for the Authority. Granted, he and Triple H have had some run-ins in the last year. However, if The Rock said something like he was doing it for Vince McMahon, you can sort of explain The Rock’s differences with Triple H, perhaps setting up The Rock vs Triple H some time down the line.

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Back to Roman, The Rock would cut a promo the next night on RAW taking about doing a favour and telling Roman that he does not belong in The Rock’s league. Roman would come out to attack The Rock. If you’re going to have this match, play to Roman’s strengths. He is a badass fighter. Why not have him fight rather than talk? Because there’s no way that Roman could possibly out-talk The Rock. So let him do what he does best. When The Rock is on RAW, have Roman batter him.

At Wrestlemania 32, Roman Reigns goes over. It’s the biggest win of Roman Reigns’ career. It’s not like The Rock would be unwilling to job. Plus, Roman himself looks good having beaten The Rock at the biggest stage of them all. And if you want to have Rock turn face again, have Rock and Roman shake hands. It’s a true passing of the torch from family member to family member. If you want to get Roman Reigns over… that’s how you do it!

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!

How I Would Book… The nWo 19th Anniversary Special [2002] [Part Three]

WARNING: Be sure to check out parts one and two of this series before reading part three if you haven’t already. Just want you to be clued up on what’s been happening in the nWo storyline so far.

In Part Two, there was a lot of developments in the nWo storyline. With Ric Flair drafting the nWo to RAW, the stable respond by attempting to destroy the show and in the process, help Vince McMahon win the ratings war with Ric Flair. It started with the nWo attacking Flair, which led to Hogan beating Flair at Backlash thanks to it’s newest member the Big Show. The group created chaos on RAW, and even targeted Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin would beat the Big Show at Judgement Day to get Hogan at the King of the Ring. The two icons clashed, with the nWo’s Shawn Michaels getting involved. However, his interference was cut off by the returning People’s Champion, The Rock. Despite all of this, a corrupt referee and Vince McMahon helped Hogan pick up the win in this once-in-a-life time match-up. Shortly after, Austin would quit the company (as he did in real-life).

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Again, to have a more in-depth look into the storylines, I would suggest you check out parts one and two first. However, now things are getting really interesting. The Rock is back from his sabbatical and is looking for revenge after the events of part one in this series. However, The Rock was drafted to SmackDown! and his contract prevents him from stepping foot on RAW. However, Rock would ignore his contract and would wind up costing the Outsiders their World Tag Team titles against the Hardyz on RAW. This gives the nWo reason to be mad at The Rock and under pressure from both parties, Vince McMahon would allow The Rock and a partner of his choosing to face the Outsiders at Vengeance. Ric Flair would add a stipulation himself… if The Rock and his partner get the win, The Rock would be allowed to wrestle any member of the nWo at Summerslam. The Rock’s partner would be this up-and-comer called Edge and of course, The Rock and Edge would win the match. The next night on RAW, The Rock would announce his opponent for the match at Summerslam… the nWo’s Shawn Michaels!

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Michaels’ big comeback match is on and this is one of the dream matches I’ve always wanted see in the WWE. Why not have the match be Shawn Michael’s big return match, considering Michaels cost The Rock his match with Hogan way back at Wrestlemania X8? Everything we’ve seen with Michaels and Rock before was a build up to this big match at Summerslam. So what about Hollywood Hogan and the rest of the group? What’s been going on with them?

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The nWo’s X-Pac and Rob Van Dam would continue their feud, which started way back at Backlash. RVD and X-Pac would face of in a street fight at Vengeance, with Rob Van Dam picking up the win. The next night on RAW, Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero would announce his intention to sign up with SmackDown! alongside his returning buddy Chris Benoit. However, Ric Flair cuts him off, saying that if he’s going to jump ship, he will at least put the belt on the line against one of RAW’s finest at Summerslam. He therefore books a fatal four way match between RVD, X-Pac, Booker T and Christian. X-Pac shockingly wins the match and earns a title shot. X-Pac tries to change Eddie’s mind on jumping to SmackDown! and invites him to be apart of the nWo on RAW. Eddie declines by smacking X-Pac with the belt. The Intercontinental title match between the two is booked for Summerslam, with X-Pac bringing home the gold for the nWo and keeping the title on RAW in the process.

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SmackDown! owner Vince McMahon would appear on the RAW after King of the Ring to “shoot” on Austin quitting the company alongside Hogan from the nWo. Vince said he warned everybody that he would be the one to kill the WWE and he’s made good on his promise so far. He’s forced one of the WWE’s top stars to take his ball and go home while the nWo stands tall. Vince rewards Hogan with a Undisputed WWE Championship match at Vengeance against Triple H. Undertaker, who’s be inadvertently cost the Undisputed title by Hogan in the past, would be outraged. Vince and Ric would agree for Undertaker to be put in a match with the newest King of the Ring, Brock Lesnar at Vengeance. Brock’s title shot earned by winning the tournament would be on the line. However, the Big Show (who was the runner up of the King of the Ring) would protest saying that he should be in the match too. Big Show and Undertaker would fight for the right to face Brock at Vengeance, but Brock’s interference would result in a no contest. It would be decided that it would be a triple threat match at Vengeance, with the winner going on to fight the Undisputed Champion at Summerslam.

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The match at Vengeance would have the Undertaker and Big Show double chokeslamming Brock through the announce table and the match would boil down to those two. Undertaker would chokeslam Big Show for the finish when the nWo interfere to help the Big Show by attacking the Undertaker. However, with the group distracted with Undertaker, Brock Lesnar would sneak back into the ring, smack Big Show with the chair, and pick up the win. Brock would keep his title shot and the Undertaker would be pissed. This leads to the Undisputed title match later that night between the champion Triple H and the challenger Hollywood Hogan. Triple H would retain the title once more after interference from the Undertaker, who costs Hogan the match. Flair would come out on stage (like Vince did at King of the Ring) clapping on and smiling at what he saw. With tensions between the Undertaker, Hogan, Flair and McMahon reaching a boiling point, a tag team match is booked for 100% control of the WWE. It would be unlikely allies Undertaker and Ric Flair (who fought at Wrestlemania X8) teaming up against Vince McMahon and Hollywood Hogan at Summerslam. So Summerslam would be a pretty stacked card.

You’d have…

  • X-Pac challenging Eddie Guerrero for the Intercontinental title (which X-Pac won)
  • The Outsiders could team up against Goldust and Booker T at the PPV, since they feuded in real-life. The Outsiders would win this.
  • The Rock would finally face off against Shawn Michaels.
  • Hollywood Hogan and Vince McMahon would team up against Ric Flair and Undertaker for 100% control of the WWE.
  • And for the main event, Brock Lesnar would get his Undisputed Championship match against Triple H.

NOTE: In case you were interested, the match between Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle at the event would probably still happen. The Big Show could go up against Booker T, while Rob Van Dam would go up against Christian. And on SmackDown!, it’d be either Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho going up against Edge. The winners for these wouldn’t really matter to the main storyline. I guess the Big Show might need to get the win over Booker T to look strong since he’s lost a few PPV matches in a row. But other than that, not a lot needs to be said about the finishes of the other matches.

So Summerslam….

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The three big matches we’ve yet to cover is the tag match for control of the company, The Rock vs HBK and Lesnar vs HHH for the title. Out of all of these three, I’d go for Rock and HBK going on the earliest of the three. The only reason I go with Rock vs HBK first is because control of the WWE and the Undisputed title are all important in the nWo Storyline at this moment. It’s a tough call either way you slice it, but the tag match and the title match are all pretty important in my storyline going forth. So Rock vs HBK goes first.

The winner of this match would be… The Rock. No interference or anything. Shawn Michaels would request that his group not get involved in this match as it is between him and The Rock. This is a 25 minute classic and near-falls everywhere. In the end, Rock ducks the Super Kick and delivers the Rock Bottom for the pin fall over Shawn Michaels. I’d hate to have Michaels lose this match, but I feel I owe The Rock a big match win after jobbing him out to Hogan at Wrestlemania! Shawn doesn’t really lose a lot of from this, even if it’s his first match in over four years. When Shawn Michaels had his match with Triple H at Summerslam in real-life, it was supposed to be a one match deal. He didn’t know how well his back would cope, so there’s no reason to get Michaels back on the full-roster just yet since you wouldn’t know whether Michaels could go 100% yet. So it doesn’t hurt Michaels that much by having him lose. Also, The Rock does eventually return to WWE in 2003. If you want The Rock to keep his credibility as a big star, he has to go over. The Rock goes over, the two shake hands and the crowd applauds their efforts. A heart-warming moment for the WWE universe.

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Up next, would be the 100% ownership tag team match. The team of RAW owner Ric Flair and the Undertaker, against the team of SmackDown! owner Vince McMahon and nWo leader Hollywood Hogan. Now I know that Hogan and Undertaker never exactly had the greatest of matches in their real-life encounter at Judgement Day 2002. And I highly doubt that this would be considered a technically sound wrestling match at this point in all of the competitors’ lives. However, if you threw in a no disqualification stipulation, this match could be brought up a bit in this all out brawl. Also, it’s not like these four need to have like a 20 minute match or something. Considering all the other matches on this card, you can keep this to about 10-15 minutes or so. Let’s get to the finish. Vince and Hogan would pick up the win after Flair gets hit with a lead pipe by a masked man with a nWo shirt on. After Vince and Hogan are announced as the winners, the masked man would reveal himself to be none other than former WCW president… Eric Bischoff!

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Bischoff will become a key player in the WWE now Vince has back control of his company. As we know, Eric Bischoff was put in charge of RAW as general manager and Stephanie McMahon was put in charge of SmackDown! The same thing happens here, just a month or so after it originally happened in real-life. With Vince having 100% control and the nWo taking control of RAW, Eric becoming the general manager and Bischoff taking control of RAW is the final step in the nWo controlling of the RAW brand. Eric Bischoff will now be officially running the show on behalf of the nWo. The takeover is officially complete and that final step will have huge implications for the group going forward….

And while we’re at it, let’s wrap this up with the Undisputed WWE Championship match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. Not much else really needs to be said other than this… Brock Lesnar wins the belt.

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It’s the final step to Brock’s ascension to the top star in the company. It’s important to note that he will be on SmackDown! defending his belt, which will now simply be the WWE Championship. Which leaves RAW without a belt. Speculation begins as to the future of RAW and it’s title picture….

And that wraps things up for part three. Things are really starting to develop now with the nWo gaining more power within the company. I’m looking forward to bringing you part four of this series as we build towards Survivor Series. Business on RAW will be picking up…

How I Would Book… The nWo 19th Anniversary Special [2002] [Part Two]

WARNING: If you’ve not seen part one of this How I Would Book, please do so. You’ll need to read that one first in order to understand the storyline a little more. The link is down below:

Part One

Last time during this special nWo How I Would Book, I began re-booking the nWo storyline that started in February 2002 on WWF Television. We recapped what happened in that storyline, the problems on and off-screen with it and we talked a little bit about other takes on this particular “How WWE Should Have Booked”. Let’s recap my booking from the last part of this series.

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Everything went exactly as it did in the original nWo storyline until Wrestlemania itself. The nWo arrived and attacked Austin at No Way Out. The Rock challenged Hollywood Hogan for Wrestlemania and Steve Austin would face Scott Hall. At Mania, Hogan would beat The Rock after interference from the newest member Shawn Michaels. The nWo would attack The Rock the next night, which writes him off of television. But now we must turn our attentions to the WWF Draft where things get a little interesting for the faction.

The WWF Draft would still happen and Ric Flair would win the coin toss to go first. His first pick for RAW would be the nWo, to the shock of everyone. The nWo would be initially angry about not working under Vince McMahon, who brought them into the WWF. However, Vince backstage assures the group that things will work out. The rest of the draft picks would play out pretty much the same and The Rock would be Vince’s first draft pick for SmackDown! Vince’s reason for drafting The Rock was to make sure that The Rock would not mess with the nWo on RAW. The Rock would be out at the moment but when he gets back, Vince says he’d do whatever it takes to get the Brahma Bull in line. I would also have Brock Lesnar drafted to SmackDown! rather than RAW. This will play into the storyline later on.

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At the end of the draft, Vince would challenge Ric to a fight in the middle of the ring to prove to their newest draftees who’s the top owner in the WWF. Vince lures Ric into the ring and says “Allow me to show you why I’m happy about the nWo being on RAW,” which brings out the group. The nWo attack Ric Flair to end the show. Flair responds the next week by making a match for Backlash… Hollywood Hogan with Shawn Michaels in his corner against Ric Flair with The Big Show in his corner. I’m sure a lot of you will know where this is going!…

Steve Austin, who’s had issues with the nWo himself, would then sign up with RAW. Austin would want the nWo but Flair denies him the opportunity as he wants Hogan himself. He does give Austin a chance to be in the Undisputed Championship match at Backlash, which is a triple threat match between the champion Triple H, SmackDown!’s Chris Jericho (getting his rematch from Wrestlemania X8) and RAW’s #1 contender. Flair would book Steve Austin vs The Undertaker on RAW. Of course, shenanigans from the Outsiders would result in Undertaker winning and going on to the PPV. Austin would then be booked in a tag team match against the Outsiders with a partner of his choosing at Backlash. Austin’s partner would be Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam. However, the Outsiders would pick up the victory at Backlash thanks to the nWo’s newest member, X-Pac. Later on that night, Flair would face Hogan. In that match, Big Show would turn on Flair giving Hogan the victory. This would result in Show also joining the nWo. I understand that having a lot of members in the group are what hurt the nWo in the first place and having two new members revealed on PPV would be a bit much. However, I think Big Show and X-Pac would be nWo inevitabilities anyway, so it’s best to just get them on board early. Also, X-Pac interfering in this way sets things up nicely for him in the coming months…

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Ric Flair is pretty banged up from his fight with Hogan but is still running the show on RAW. For the next PPV “Judgement Day” he books a few matches. Since Austin is still gunning for the nWo, he will fight The Big Show inside of a Steel Cage. If he wins this fight, he gets to fight Hogan in the main event of King Of The Ring. Rob Van Dam would come up to Flair and demand a hardcore match with X-Pac at Judgement Day. X-Pac would agree as long as the Intercontinental Championship was on the line. HOWEVER, Eddie Guerrero would end up beating RVD in a non-title math on RAW (albeit with interference) and would demand an Intercontinental Championship match himself. Flair ended up settling the issue with a triple threat match for the Intercontinental Championship at the PPV. Lastly, after winning the World Tag Team titles at Backlash, the Hardy Boyz would challenge the Outsiders to a tag title ladder match at the PPV which they’d accept.

For Hollywood Hogan, he wouldn’t be booked for Judgement Day. However, he would make an agreement with the Undertaker to help him in his upcoming Undisputed Championship match against Triple H at Judgement Day. Hogan said that he needed to maintain the chaos in the WWE and Undertaker winning was a big part of that. So Judgement Day is all set for the nWo….

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Judgement Day is a PPV of ups-and-downs for the group. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would walk out with the tag team titles after beating the Hardyz due to botched interference from Lita. Eddie, RVD and X-Pac have a hell of a match for the Intercontinental Championship but it would be Eddie Guerrero that walks out with the title. Austin would beat Big Show in the Steel Cage match thanks to Ric Flair, resulting in Austin vs Hogan for King Of The Ring. In the main event, Hogan’s attempt at interference results in him hitting Undertaker with the chair. Austin comes out to thwart Hogan’s plan and gives him the Stone Cold Stunner. Triple H retains the championship among the chaos. This sets up the King Of The Ring…

The big match, which I would book as the main event, is Hogan vs Austin at King Of The Ring. Along with that, Shawn Michaels says he’s going to be in his corner for the big match. However, let’s have a look at everyone else in the stable…

The Outsiders would be defending the tag titles in the rematch with the Hardyz, so they’re taken care off. The King Of The Ring tournament would feature X-Pac and Big Show as participants for the nWo. X-Pac would be eliminated by Rob Van Dam in the 1st round. However, X-Pac would cost RVD his quarter final match against The Big Show. However, Rob Van Dam would be booked for his Intercontinental Championship rematch with Eddie Guerrero at King of the Ring. X-Pac tells Eddie that he’s watching out for him, hoping for him to win. The Semi-Finalists for the tournament would be Big Show, Booker T, Brock Lesnar and Edge. The Undisputed Title match would be Triple H defending the title against SmackDown!’s Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle and RAW’s Undertaker in a fatal four way elimination match. And of course, it would be Hogan and Austin in the main event. The stage is set.

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The Outsiders, of course, will retain the tag team titles. X-Pac would hit Rob Van Dam with the Intercontinental Championship while Eddie was out and the ref was distracted somehow to help Eddie retain the title. Eddie would look confused as X-Pac embraced him. The King of the Ring tournament would go a little bit like this. In the semi-finals, Brock Lesnar would beat Booker T while Big Show would beat Edge. Big Show tells the nWo that this rookie would be a piece of cake. However, Brock shocks the WWE universe by F5’ing the Big Show and pinning him to be crowned the 2002 King of the Ring. Triple H would retain the Undisputed title which would bring us to Austin vs Hogan.

The match goes on until there’s a ref bump and the ref gets taken out. Shawn Michaels takes advantage to deliver Sweet Chin Music to Austin. However, you hear this….


The Rock has returned and targets Michaels who took him out and cost him the Hogan match at Wrestlemania. He delivers Rock Bottoms to him and Hogan and departs. Austin covers but Hogan kicks out. In the end, Austin would hit the Stunner and the ref would start counting but stop at two. Austin would grab the ref but Hogan would hit the low blow. Hogan hits the leg drop and the ref performs the fast count for the win. Hogan is surprised but elated at these turn of events. Vince McMahon would then come out on the ramp, rubbing his fingers and with a huge smile on his face! And the PPV goes off the air…

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And that about wraps things up for part two. Again, that’s a lot to take in for a very short period of time. But again, every member of the group has to have a good reason for being in it. And we are led to the big Hogan vs Austin match that we never got in real-life. For this particular storyline, I’m going to pretend that Austin left the company AFTER King of the Ring rather than just before it (when he left in real life). Because I at least wanted to get the Hogan/Austin match in somehow as that would be something fans had been dying to see. So there you have it. At least Hogan looks incredibly strong now after beating The Rock, Ric Flair and Steve Austin in the space of a few months.

Stay tuned for part three where we build towards Summerslam. Triple H vs Brock Lesnar is the main event for the Undisputed Championship, but the nWo are looking on at this up-and-comer who had just defeated The Big Show in the King of the Ring final. Also, we’re building to ANOTHER dream match we never got to see in real-life for Summerslam. And I think judging by how I booked things, you may be able to see what I have planned! Speaking of plans, what are the plans being cooked up by Hollywood Hogan and SmackDown! owner Vince McMahon?

Stay tuned for part three of this storyline!

How I Would Book… The nWo 19th Anniversary Special [2002] [Part One]

The New World Order will go down as one of the most revolutionary and biggest factions in wrestling history. A number of wrestling stables have come and gone. And long before the nWo was formed at Bash at the Beach 1996, there had been a number of stables in the wrestling industry. The Four Horsemen, the Million Dollar Corporation, The Dungeon of Doom, just to name a few. But none of them were as dominant, as risky and as impactful as the nWo. These guys ran the show in WCW, had their own PPVs and proved to be WCW’s biggest gun in the Monday Night Wars. So it’s quite astonishing how disappointing the WWE’s incarnation of the stable was when the group were brought onto WWF television in February 2002.

However, the majority of the failures for this story wasn’t actually down to the writers. There were a number of reasons for the storyline going south including injuries, messy divorces, personality conflicts and a number of wrestlers leaving the company. Had all the members involved been healthy and here to stay, then who knows how WWE would have booked it…

However, it’s time to see how I would book it. Had Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall been fit and here for the long-haul, how would I have booked the nWo’s arrival at the WWE in 2002….

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Before getting on with the storyline, I first want to bring up the YouTube video which led to me to doing this particular storyline. It comes from a website I actually used to write for as a wrestling columnist… WhatCulture. WhatCulture have been expanding their output regarding wrestling content and began a YouTube channel with wrestling videos galore. Like a lot of WhatCulture content, most of them are list videos. For example, “10 Shocking Moments in WWE”. Things like that. However, they’ve recently began a fantasy booking series themselves called “How WWE Should Have Booked…”.

The host of this video series, WhatCulture writer Adam Blampied, talks about how he would have booked a certain WWE Storyline himself. A video of his recently caught my attention though. It was a video of how WWE should have booked the nWo storyline in 2002. The video’s down below for you guys to watch and I suggest you do.

As much as I appreciate Adam’s attempt at this storyline, I felt obligated to do my own version of the storyline in a “How I Would Book…” installment. Obligated because 2002 in WWE always felt to me like the Family Guy TV series… a lot of noise but not a lot of development in storylines. That’s not to say that it was a bad year or that Family Guy is bad. Hell, a lot of wrestling fans don’t really care about long-term storylines just as long as they get the action. And it’s not like the WWE were in competition with anyone at the time.

However, I always felt that the nWo should have been immune to this as the stable was of such importance that the program should have been revolved around it. If you’re going to do a storyline with the nWo coming to the WWE, IT HAS TO BE LONG TERM. And that was really the issue with the nWo after Wrestlemania. They had the idea of Hollywood Hogan turning face at Mania and had little idea what to do next, other than add in a few new members. If we’re coming up with an alternative storyline, let’s hopefully have one that has a lot of substance to it and last quite a while…

Like Adam does, let’s run down how the original nWo storyline went down and the state of the WWE around that time…

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That picture is pretty badass isn’t it?

The storyline really began when Ric Flair became Vince McMahon’s business partner when he bought the stocks of the Alliance’s Shane and Stephanie McMahon after the conclusion of the 2001 Survivor Series PPV. Vince had so many problems with having to work with Flair, largely due to him having to share power with somebody else. He wanted to destroy Ric Flair as destroying lives turned on him… I’m not joking. He actually said that! Skip to 1 minute 53 seconds into this video if you don’t believe me!

Ric Flair and Vince McMahon would meet in a street fight at the 2002 Royal Rumble, with Flair picking up the win. Vince McMahon cut an epic promo on a later episode of SmackDown!, stating that Ric Flair was trying to destroy the WWF. Vince said if anyone was going to do it, it would be him. He said he was going to inject the WWF with a lethal dose of poison. He announced he was going to kill the WWF… with the nWo.

The nWo arrived at the No Way Out pay-per-view, with Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall arriving on the scene. On their first night, they would cost Steve Austin the Undisputed Championship. On RAW, Hogan was challenged to a classic match-up against The Rock at Wrestlemania, which he immediately accepted. Hogan and the nWo would try whatever it took to injure The Rock before the big match but The Rock would still make it to the PPV at Montreal. In a match which saw the fans side with Hogan, The Rock scored the victory. Following this, Hogan shook the Rock’s hand and would turn face once more….

Oh yeah and Stone Cold Steve Austin beat Scott Hall, in case you were wondering what that Austin beat down led to….

The nWo would then be drafted to RAW in the brand extension and the group brought in a number of new members, including The Big Show, X-Pac, Booker T and even Shawn Michaels. However, with injuries and wrestlers leaving the company, the angle was eventually scrapped in July 2002.

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Needless to say, the nWo didn’t QUITE go as well as we hoped. To be fair, a lot of it was out of the writers’ hands. Kevin Nash getting injured and Scott Hall leaving the company were things they just had to work with. However, there was ONE slight thing which I think we need to re-write. In some ways, it’s a very pivotal moment in the storyline as well as one of the great Wrestlemania moments. It is… Hollywood Hogan turning face once more at Wrestlemania 18. In fact, Hogan wouldn’t have been the loser if I’d booked it – he should have won it.

When looking at this in hindsight, what were the long-term implications of The Rock pinning Hogan at Wrestlemania that night? What exactly happened to The Rock AFTER that night? He left for a few months, came back to win the Undisputed Title and then left once again. At the end of the day, Hogan was going to be there the next month while The Rock wasn’t. So why not give the nWo storyline the added umph by having Hogan going over?… well obviously by shenanigans. But it can’t just be Hall or Nash coming out to help Hogan. It has to be someone special, someone that could give the nWo that added shizzle to their group. In step the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels…

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Shawn superkicking Rock would be the perfect way for Michaels to return to the company. Also, I think Shawn being in the nWo was one of the better decisions with regards to that storyline. Shawn could have been the Deputy Leader of the group, acting as the adviser to Hogan. Hogan’s the King and Michaels is Hand of the King. Hogan can rest easy knowing Shawn is working to make sure his group falls in line. The Chief Whip, whatever you want to call him. And bring him into the fold by helping Hogan beat The Rock.

Now I know what that would do to The Rock’s Wrestlemania record if Hogan went over. He lost to Austin at Wrestlemania 15. He lost the fatal four way at Wrestlemania 2000. He lost to Austin AGAIN at Wrestlemania 17. And now he’s losing again. Worst of all, it’s the third time that The Rock has lost due to shenanigans and outside interference at a Wrestlemania. Well at least he’ll win at Wrestlemania 19…

But I outweigh Hogan’s importance in the nWo storyline as being more of a relevancy to The Rock’s. If Hogan loses, the stable loses credibility. Kevin Nash wasn’t even on the card and Scott Hall lost to Austin. Hogan needed to win this match and in doing that, him and his group are stronger because of it.

So what happens next?

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The next night on RAW, Shawn Michaels cuts a promo about targeting all of the so-called “all time greats” of the WWF. He says that all the so-called greats of the WWF are nothing but frauds compared to the likes of himself and the Immortal Hollywood Hulk Hogan, and needed to be punished by the nWo. Shawn says it takes an all-time great to know one and he knows that the “Great One” The Rock could never hold a candle to himself or Hulk Hogan. Shawn says it’s up to the nWo decide who truly is worthy of being considered a star in the WWF. Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupts the nWo and challenges Hogan to a match on RAW that night. However, Hogan says there’s a better time and place for him to put the rattlesnake in his place. Vince McMahon comes out to make the tag team main event of The Rock and Steve Austin vs The Outsiders, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

The Rock and Austin take over in that main event when Hogan comes out for the DQ. Hogan and the rest of the nWo batter Austin. Michaels delivers Sweet Chin Music to The Rock and tells Nash to get him a chair. He takes out The Rock with chair shots to the leg and Hogan drops the leg to end RAW standing tall. This little beat down writes The Rock off of television as he takes his sabbatical. I’ve decided to input the real-life absence of The Rock into this storyline as it still works as he is initially taken out by the nWo. When he returns in June, he’ll be looking for revenge for Michaels, Hogan and the rest of the nWo.

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That wraps up part one. I’ll admit, we haven’t covered a lot of time yet with the nWo storyline. However, check out the Armbar Express and follow @TomRobinson5199 for part two of this storyline where things get interesting.

We look at the draft lottery and how that will affects things and what will eventually lead to the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Hollywood Hogan match we’ve all wanted to see.

Happy 19th anniversary to the New World Order!

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How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 [Part 3] – The Rock vs Ryback

In the last two parts, I discussed two potential replacements for the Rock vs Cena II Main Event of Wrestlemania 29 which I believed would have been better with regards to in-ring ability or storytelling. The two we came up with were….

Now let’s do it again. What other main events could have been a good replacement for Cena vs Rock II?

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It’s clear that the WWE had their hearts set on having The Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania 29, dropping the belt to John Cena. While that’s great that The Rock was putting someone over on the way out, my main issue with this was that it was Cena. Not jumping on any Cena-Hating bandwagon, but if The Rock was going to put over an active member of the roster on the way out… why did he put over somebody that was already an established star? If we’re looking for Rock to put someone over, why not have it be an up-and-coming star beating a huge mega star for the title? Or better yet, why not take advantage of the incredible momentum of a star who became one of the breakout stars of 2012?

Why not The Rock… vs Ryback?

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Now I know what a lot of you a thinking. Wrestling-wise, this match… would suck. I’m talking about putting someone like Ryback up against The Rock, who’s hardly in his prime anymore as a wrestler. Considering how quickly The Rock was getting blown-up against Cena and CM Punk, and Ryback not having a lot of experience working long matches, this could be a snooze-fest of a match. However when you’re thinking about a rising star which could really benefit from beating a bonafide superstar, Ryback is the only-one that would have made sense at this point. Daniel Bryan would be a good choice, but he was busy with Team Hell-No at the time and Dolph Ziggler was holding the World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank contract. Ryback really was the right man to defeat the People’s Champion.

Now let’s see how this would go down…

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To be honest, not a lot needs to be said about how this would be booked. Ryback wins the Royal Rumble and The Rock beats CM Punk for the championship that same night. The Elimination Chamber would stay pretty much the same with Ryback losing in the six man tag against The Shield (I would have Cena be the one to get pinned btw to keep Ryback looking strong) and Rock retains over Punk. Bada bing, bada boom. The Wrestlemania 29 Main Event is set. Ryback beats The Rock, Ryback wins the title.

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That’s pretty straight forward but this leaves a bit of a problem. If Ryback challenged The Rock for the championship, then what match would John Cena be in for Wrestlemania?

Mark Henry would make sense since he would be left without an opponent, but who honestly wants to see that? You could take either Randy Orton or Sheamus out of the six man tag team match with The Shield at Mania to take on Cena, but I can’t say I’d be looking forward to seeing Cena vs Orton once again. Sheamus might be a bit of an improvement, but I would only have that if he won. Somebody like Sheamus or Orton could be seen as future stars they’re looking to push so having Cena beat them would do them no favors. If Cena had to go over, we’re looking for somebody that is NOT a major part of WWE’s future plans. My pick… would be Chris Jericho.

Chris Jericho is a part-timer and has been willing to “job” to upcoming stars in order to elevate them. Hell, he put over Fandango at Wrestlemania 29 in real-life! Cena vs Jericho might actually be an interesting feud if booked right. Jericho also wouldn’t need to turn for this I think and it could be a lot better than you think.

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So there you have it. Part 3 of my Wrestlemania 29 How To Book Series. The link to part four is down below:

  • Part Four – CM Punk (c) vs Undertaker for the WWE Championship

How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 [Part 2] – CM Punk vs Ryback

PART ONE: The Rock vs John Cena vs CM Punk

Last time in this particular “How I Would Book” series, I talked about Wrestlemania 29. I talked about alternative endings for the 2013 Wrestlemania PPV as the original main event of The Rock vs John Cena… wasn’t really one which I agreed with. Other than doing the same main event TWO YEARS in a row, the match itself wasn’t really up to par. We discussed how we’d book one alternative main event in which The Rock, CM Punk and John Cena faced off in a triple threat. Now it’s time to do it with another main event. CM Punk will be the champion for this particular storyline, so The Rock vs John Cena II would just be non-title.

Now for this second one, let me ask you one thing. Who is the one person in 2012 who really shot up the ranks in WWE? Who is the one person in 2012 that with a new gimmick got so over in such a short amount of time? Who was the right guy, in the right place, at the right time to be worthy on winning the Royal Rumble? Who was coming off 2012 still extremely over that needed the Rumble win and to be the one to end CM Punk’s illustrious title reign. Ryback. So what main event would make more sense than CM Punk vs Ryback for the WWE Championship… at Wrestlemania 29?

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Alright, I know what you guys are thinking at this point. Having talked about The Rock vs John Cena not being up to par, we’re now throwing in the idea of Ryback vs CM Punk. With their Hell In A Cell match being awful and Punk mentioning his displeasure to wrestle a worker he believed was dangerous, this match would probably not be the greatest spectacle on this show. However, this main event is a main event that would be a satisfying way to end a storyline with a match which you could argue has been a year in the making.

Think about it. Ryback debuts on the SmackDown! after Mania. Punk retained his title at last year’s Mania and has been rolling. After a while, Punk turns heel. In the mean time, Ryback has been rising through the card beating anyone in his patch. This leads to Ryback challenging Punk at Hell In A Cell. Punk ends Ryback’s unbeaten run after a shady referee. Ryback gets screwed out of the title again at Survivor Series when he had the match won. And in their TLC match, Ryback again was robbed off the title. The Royal Rumble is Ryback’s last chance to get another shot at Punk. When he wins the Rumble, the Big Guy’s got one more chance at glory. In a momentousness occasion, Ryback finally claims the WWE Championship having ended the longest title reign in the modern era. Revenge for Punk ending his streak by ending Punk’s history-making title reign. That’s a great build with an ending that makes all of this stuff we’ve been through the last year worthwhile.

That’s pretty much it. That’s all WWE needed to do… except WWE decided to just ignore that and go with Cena vs Rock II. -.-

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Now there’s still two questions still to be answered coming off this alternate storyline. Firstly, Undertaker’s again left without an opponent with this storyline. However, we did go over potential candidates which WWE could have went with in the last part, if you’d like to read that post. I’d hate to have to write that all out again, but pretty much Sheamus (after turning heel) would have been my pick.

Secondly, it regards how the Punk vs Rock matches are booked. Not a lot of detail needs to be added other than this…. Cena screws the Rock out of the title.

After all, Rock did it to him at Wrestlemania 29. So it’s not like Cena would attack Rock and suddenly be considered a heel. He would cost him the match, ask for a rematch and the Rock would grant him it. In the end, Cena gets his redemption over The Rock.

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So that about wraps up this alternate main event pretty sharply I’m hoping. I’ll admit, there are a few things which would hurt this main event. With Ryback having had so many title matches against Punk in the six months before the main event, the fans might want to see somebody new win and face Punk. Then again, Cena had a lot of title matches too in 2012 and went on to main event Mania. I guess the difference is The Rock being the champion that made Cena’s title match a bit special.

However, what this main event does it subtly wraps up a year’s worth of storylines with a pleasing solution which the hero finally wins the title. We could argue that this storyline started up back when Punk’s title reign STARTED if we really wanted to. However, tying that obvious point into this might be a bit greedy, so let’s call it a day!

Check out the other parts down below…

  • Part Three – The Rock (c) vs Ryback for the WWE Championship
  • Part Four – CM Punk (c) vs Undertaker for the WWE Championship

How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 [Part 1] – The Rock vs John Cena vs CM Punk

Two years ago, a lot of us complained about the main event of Wrestlemania 29. Whether it’d be for CM Punk missing out on his Wrestlemania main event or having to see Cena vs Rock for the second time, it wasn’t exactly everybody’s cup of tea. The Rock would defend the WWE Championship against John Cena and Cena got his redemption for his loss the Great One the year before. But I want to look at is how we’d book alternative Wrestlemania main events. There a few rumored by dirtsheets and one or two I personally wanted to see. But what main events would we have liked to have seen and how would we book…. Wrestlemania 29.

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To set the stage here, here are the three big main event matches of that year’s Wrestlemania:

  • The Rock (c) vs John Cena for the WWE Championship
  • Undertaker vs CM Punk
  • Triple H vs Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Match (Triple H’s career was on the line)

The reasons why I wanted to outline these three from the get go is we’re going to go with an alternate Wrestlemania main event, then these are the three top matches we REALLY need to think about as we’re booking. If we’re talking about like adding CM Punk to the Wrestlemania main event, then we’ve obviously got to think for an alternative opponent for Undertaker at Wrestlemania. A lot easier said than done. However, we’ll get to that later on and name off the first potential Wrestlemania main event match. The Rock vs John Cena vs CM Punk in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship.

We’ll go through this one first because according to his podcast with Colt Cabana, this was the main event Punk was lobbying for to Vince. Punk will feature in a lot of main events in this particularly series and I’ll explain why? CM Punk is the reigning WWE Champion as of the start of 2013. He’s gone 400+ days with the championship and is clearly the top heel in WWE heading into his match with The Rock. This means whenever he would have lost the championship would have been special. Hell, somebody like The Rock beating Punk for the championship is special… whether we agree with it or not. So wouldn’t it have made sense for Punk to be defending the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania and given somebody a WRESTLEMANIA moment?

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However, like we mentioned before, putting Punk in the main event creates a very VERY big problem. If Punk goes onto the main event, then who could possibly wrestle the Undertaker? Punk can say that he wasn’t thrilled to lose to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania but of all the people on the roster, Punk’s quite possibly the one person who’s truly ready enough to take on the streak.

Just think, whoever faced Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 would have had to follow up the act of his classic hell in a cell match with Triple H the year before. Who could possibly be ready enough in terms of star-power and ability to tackle that anticipation? Other than Punk, let’s look at some alternatives.

  • Chris Jericho – To be honest, I think Jericho would have been a great opponent for the Undertaker to face for Wrestlemania 29. Jericho’s a fantastic in-ring performer and could have done a lot of great work with Taker in the build up to their match. However, the problem with Jericho is the fact that he had turned face in the summer and had come back in January as a face. A newly-face Jericho facing Undertaker, or Jericho turning heel again and facing the Undertaker, wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Him turning heel again after having just turned face or a face Jericho vs face Taker wouldn’t quite have the same impact then Jericho at his heel peak going up against the Undertaker.
  • Ryback – Ryback having been on his undefeated streak WOULD have made sense to go up against the Undertaker… had he not lost to CM Punk at Hell In A Cell. After losing to Cena as well at the Royal Rumble as well, Ryback really doesn’t look much of a threat to the Undertaker anymore. Plus, there are questions about whether Ryback could have handled a match like this at this stage of his career.
  • Sheamus – As much as I would have loved to seen a Sheamus vs Undertaker program, it did seem like it was only just recently that Sheamus turned face. Considering that had been face for 18 months as Wrestlemania rolled by, it seemed a bit early to pull the trigger on him. And now… a face vs a face at Wrestlemania would be no where near as good.
  • Randy Orton – As great a timing as this would have been to turn Randy, he’s wrestled Undertaker before at Mania. It should be someone new.
  • Mark Henry – Same reason as Orton.

So it’s really hard to think of anyone to wrestle the Undertaker if CM Punk was taken out of the match and put into the main event. Out of those, I’d go with Sheamus and just turn him despite him not being face for that long. However, let’s turn our attention back to Punk vs Rock vs Cena.

I have two different scenarios for how a triple threat match would go between these two. One of which would have Punk being the champion and one being if Rock was the champion. So let me go with the first scenario, in which CM Punk walks into Mania as the champion.

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In their match at the Royal Rumble, the first step would be to have Punk retain the championship against The Rock. It would probably be a cheap finish where Punk hits Rock with the title or something to retain. A cheap finish would give The Rock a legitimate reason for a rematch. The rematch at Elimination Chamber I would probably just drop, as Punk would simply have to retain again and it would be difficult for The Rock to make a claim for one more title match at Wrestlemania.

So after Punk retains, he begins his program with Cena. Keep in mind, Cena was booked to feud with The Shield after he won the Rumble. So it makes sense that Punk gets involved considering his previous storyline with the stable. The Shield’s six man tag team match still happens at Elimination Chamber. Punk would just have to defend the title against somebody else at the PPV. I’d say Ryback, but he’d fought Punk quite a lot by this point. So maybe Jericho and Orton would be next in line. In any situation, Punk retains. So what happens next?

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The way I see it, the night after RAW would be a big night regarding this feud. At the start of the night, Punk would come out and insult Cena face to face. The insults eventually led to Cena cashing in his Wrestlemania title match on next week’s RAW. It’s not like he can’t since he’s done this before. And we also get the epic RAW match between these two that we got in real WWE. This match ends in Punk getting himself DQ’d and retaining the championship. However, Vince McMahon would come out. I think Vince would have been back on TV at this point after Brock Lesnar’s attack on him the month before. He would come out and announce that at Wrestlemania, the WWE Championship will feature a momentous main event. He said Punk would defend the title in a triple threat match! Punk would defend the title against John Cena… and The Rock!

This leads to the match at Wrestlemania which Cena regains the title. I’ll admit, there are a few problems with this main event. Punk being added to the main event means that Undertaker is left without an opponent at Wrestlemania. This and the fact that this booking will mean The Rock will miss a month of WWE Television. However, what this does is make sure the WWE title reign of Punk ended the way a lot of us thought it should – in the main event of Wrestlemania against two elite stars like The Rock and John Cena. Cena’s champion at the end of it still and Punk gets the Wrestlemania main event he always wanted. However, The Rock losing in BOTH of his matches doesn’t do him much favors. However, before I leave, let me go through an alternative main event storyline where The Rock would be the champion…

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There’s two ways this could go down. One way would be to simply have Punk win at the Rumble in some screwy way, resulting in a rematch for Elimination Chamber where Rock would go over. Punk would invoke his rematch for Wrestlemania leading to the triple threat. However, I do have one more way which is a bit more complicated but has a much stronger effect.

Remember the Shield stipulation for the Rock vs CM Punk match at Royal Rumble? If The Shield got involved, Punk would be stripped off the title. Well, why not have the match end EXACTLY that way?

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Other than this highly anticipated match ending without a clear winner, this finish would be a huge shocker of an end to this match. The Shield would come out as both men were down. Punk would plead the Shield to back off but The Shield would ignore him. They would pull The Rock out of the ring, Powerbomb him and leave. Vince would come out and strip Punk off the title. The title would be vacated and a rematch between the two would be made for Elimination Chamber with Rock winning the title. Punk would get the opportunity to get added to the Mania match with his RAW match with Cena  (which he’d win). Thus, the triple threat is made and Cena still walks out champion.

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Anyway, that FINALLY wraps up the Cena/Punk/Rock main event fantasy booking. Yes, I do realize how long of a post this was! There was a lot of bases to cover with this main event because there’s so many ways this could have occurred without hindering those involved too much. However, one thing is certain…

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Be sure to check out the other parts of this series by clicking down below:

  • Part Two – CM Punk (c) vs Ryback for the WWE Championship
  • Part Three – The Rock (c) vs Ryback for the WWE Championship
  • Part Four – CM Punk (c) vs Undertaker for the WWE Championship