The Problem With Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger In 2015


I was very excited when I saw Alberto Del Rio return to WWE. In a past article for SLTD Wrestling, I mentioned that he’d be much better continuing on with Lucha Underground and AAA rather than continuing on with WWE. However, I’m still think it’s great that he’s with WWE and so far, he’s been booked well. He beat John Cena clean on his first night and is the WWE United States Champion. However, there are a few parts of his booking which I have a problem with. The partnership with Del Rio and Zeb Colter is one thing but it’s the possibility of Del Rio’s first challenger being Jack Swagger.

Here’s the deal. Alberto Del Rio won the WWE United States Championship by beating John Cena of all people, clean. That’s huge. The idea that the United States Champion and AAA Mega Champion goes from John Cena to Jack Swagger in the space of a few weeks seems a bit absurd and it’s all to do with how Jack Swagger has been treated since the start of the year, when he lost a feud against Rusev. Ironically enough, that feud was over the United States Championship.

What has Jack Swagger done since then? How many pay-per-views has Jack Swagger been a part of in 2015? Two. That’s right… two. Both of these matches were battle royal matches, the Royal Rumble and the Andre The Giant battle royal. He was part of multi-man matches and basically used to fill up the numbers. He’s rarely appeared on RAW and all of a sudden, Swagger is back on RAW television. It’s not a slow build for Swagger no. He’s been entered into a feud with the United States Champion Alberto Del Rio.


What has Jack Swagger done to earn a United States Championship match? Has he won a number one contendership match? No. Did he win a tournament? No, he’s just started having trouble with Del Rio which will most likely lead to a US title match at Survivor Series. That alone is not going to make Swagger a legitimate challenge to Del Rio. Actually let’s talk about Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio has actually appeared on less PPVs this year then Swagger (obviously, Del Rio only returned recently) and yet somehow, Swagger looks like nothing compared to him. Why? Because Del Rio beat the best upon his arrival and has legitimate WWE credentials. He’s a three time world champion in WWE, won Money In The Bank and won the only 40 man rumble in history. WWE wouldn’t recognise this but he is still currently a world champion in his own right, being the AAA Mega Champion. It’s not like he’s not wrestled at all since he was fired last year. He’s got an MMA background. Getting him back and noticed wasn’t exactly hard. For Swagger, it’s difficult because WWE have allowed it to be difficult.

If WWE knew that Jack Swagger was going to compete for the United States Championship soon, surely Swagger be put on RAW a lot more frequently. The Del Rio signing was a bit sudden so it’s not like WWE have been planning this. However, if you’re building up a contender it helps to build him up a little. Nobody is going to care that Jack Swagger is winning on house shows or Main Event or SmackDown! RAW is the flagship show for a reason. He needs wins on RAW and he needs to look credible and not just be among the crowd, especially if you’re first feud in a year for him is him going up against a man that just beat John Cena.


What’s disappointing about the negative aspect of this feud is that on paper, it’s actually a decent feud. These two have feuded before with Alberto Del Rio beating Swagger for the World title at Wrestlemania 29 and again a month later. Swagger’s never gotten a big win over Del Rio and must prove it to himself that he cane beat the man. That on paper is great and is all you really need to get this feud running. You don’t really need Zeb Colter at all, although his involvement does add a bit to it. The point is that it’s got the ingredients for a great feud. All you need is for Jack to look credible enough to validate him going up against Del Rio. With that along with the storyline mentioned earlier, people can get behind Swagger and you can get him over. You don’t need Michael Cole to sit there on commentary and say “Man, these two have had quite the rivalry in the past few years,” or “Man, this rivalry has gotten personal” or anything like that.

Give Swagger a lot more motivation to go up against Del Rio over rather than having Zeb Colter being the focal point. Del Rio and Swagger have actually had good matches in the past so you can actually have a decent feud with Swagger proving himself being the focal point instead. It takes away people’s interest in Swagger if you make the match about Colter.


If all of this business with Del Rio and Swagger is filler until John Cena returns, fine. Whatever. However, you can still make Swagger and Del Rio good coming out of it except Swagger’s not looked good going into it. There’s no real reason for the audience to believe that a man that’s not done anything note worthy in the last year despite being active is going to be on par with a man that holds the second most important title in the company and has beaten the best to win it.

How I Would Book… The Rock vs John Cena III

The Rock and John Cena squared off in the main events of two Wrestlemanias in a row. The Rock won the first match at Wrestlemania 28 and John Cena won the rematch AND the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29. Many will argue whether WWE should bother settling the score between John Cena and The Rock with a third match. However, the financial potential of a third match might make WWE consider it. If WWE were to do a third match, how would you do it? How would book The Rock vs John Cena… Part Three?

I know this fantasy match-up is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The first match took a year-long build and led to an alright main event which saw The Rock pick up the victory. To many, the wrong man won the first round. However, John Cena would get redemption. After winning the 2013 Royal Rumble, Cena beat The Rock in a rematch at Wrestlemania 29 to win the WWE Championship. As discussed before in the How I Would Book series, Rock vs Cena probably shouldn’t have been the actual main event. To be fair, it made sense to have the Wrestlemania 29 main event being one of the biggest rematches of all time. However, the execution and generally build were a little disappointing. There’s never been any real plans for The Rock and John Cena to have the rubber match. The Rock has not actually wrestled in WWE since Wrestlemania 29. Although there were plans for him to go up against the likes of Brock Lesnar and Triple H, Cena’s name was never thrown into the mix.

However, let’s say that WWE decided to go down that route for Wrestlemania 32. Previously on the How I Would Book series, we threw The Rock into a program with Roman Reigns. In that scenario, I turned Rock heel to help elevate the babyface Roman Reigns. With Rock vs Cena III, I’d go down the same avenue. Let me explain how and why this would go down.


If this match were to happen, it’s important that there are hints towards it and foreshadowed in some way. In this scenario, I’d have The Rock make surprise appearances like he’s done before in the past few years. In all of these appearances, the heel teases The Rock about losing his last match in WWE. His last match… was with John Cena. The Rock would shrug these off with some witty comeback like only The Rock can. In one appearance, Cena himself would tease The Rock and hint at a third match to settle the score. Not a HEAVY build considering that The Rock’s WWE appearances are limited. However, it has to be teased to the viewers that The Rock has to win his last match before riding off into the sunset.

We go into the Royal Rumble with Cena himself being an entrant. The Authority targets John Cena as the biggest threat in the Royal Rumble and puts a $1,000,000 bounty on Cena, going to the one that eliminates him. Cena enters the match and everyone targets him. Cena makes it into the final five alongside Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens and Sheamus. You can really pick and choose who you want in this final five, but the biggest thing to note is that the heels outnumber the faces. Roman Reigns is put through the announce table by a powerbomb from Kevin Owens. This leaves Cena alone. They all hit their finishers on Cena but then bicker about the bounty. This is interrupted by The Rock’s music.

In shades of Royal Rumble 2015, The Rock makes a return to save the babyface. He lays out all the heels. He doesn’t eliminate anyone. He just takes them out. He lifts up John Cena… and drops him with a Rock Bottom! The crowd is stunned as The Rock throws Cena over the top rope to eliminate him. The crowd would obviously lose their marbles no matter what they do, but this would begin The Rock’s turn to the dark side.


Since it’s The Rock, he’s not going to be taken seriously as a heel whenever WWE would decide to pull the trigger. That’s also true considering the face he targeted… is John Cena. You need to cement his heel turn the next night on RAW, where he hugs Triple H and Stephanie and confirms his partnership with the Authority. He’s not a member, but he’s a “friend” to the Authority. The Rock can be shown to be friends with Triple H and Steph, annoying the crowd. The Rock explains that he’s motivated by two things in life… money and success.

He attacked John Cena for two reasons… money and success. He attacked Cena to get the money (you’re probably wondering why someone as wealthy as The Rock would care about a bounty but just play along!) and he attacked Cena to achieve some success. The money part of it isn’t really the biggest reason for his turn anyway. He attacked Cena because he wanted to achieve his own redemption for Cena beating him at Wrestlemania 29. The Rock says that he will not allow the record books to show that The Rock lost in his last WWE match. He says that he especially does not want his match to be a loss against someone like John Cena. The Rock throws his usual insults at Cena, reigniting the feud between them. He challenges Cena to a match at Wrestlemania 32 to settle the score. Cena’s response is to run down to the ring and get into a brawl with The Rock. Cena accepts and the match is made.


The match itself would happen at Wrestlemania and the winner… would be John Cena. I know the whole idea of the feud was for The Rock to try and end his WWE career as a winner. However, the chances are that this wouldn’t be The Rock’s last match in a WWE ring. So there’s plenty of opportunities for The Rock to complete his goals. If this was Rock’s last match, The Rock would go over. However, Cena would have to go over for me in this scenario considering that he needs the win the most. Rock doesn’t have as much to lose as Cena by losing this match. This is a short-term program so if you want Rock to turn face again, simply have him shake hands with Cena and cut a promo about his love for the WWE. It doesn’t take much for The Rock to be loved!

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!

Wrestling Flashback – Rufus “Pancake” Patterson


Today on the Wrestling Flashback is the Prime Time Players. This is actually due to an appearance the Prime Time Players made on Chris Jericho’s podcast. On the podcast, they talked about coming up with the idea of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson as an alter-ego for Titus O’Neil.

Why did they call him pancake?

Because he flattens fools!

This gimmick ended up being a one time thing which they did on WWE television. They did film a couple of segments for the WWE App but it only ever appeared ONCE on WWE Television. What’s interesting though is that they appeared at one of the top time slots for a WWE show… they showed up at the start of the show during a segment with John Cena.

John Cena was talking about how he was ready to face The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29. This kicked off RAW, so they were kicking off RAW to promote the main event of Wrestlemania 29 with Cena. This was interrupted by the Prime Time Players. They start to cut this promo and Cena cuts them off. He was about to introduce them but Titus cuts him off to proclaim himself as “Titus’ nephew”. His name was actually Rufus “Pancake” Patterson.

I always thought the debut of this gimmick as part of the program including John Cena and The Rock was very interesting. On Jericho’s podcast, Titus and Darren talked about the pressure of opening the show and I don’t blame them for being nervous.

This was a gimmick that was really hit or miss experiment. For me, it was either you loved it or you hated it. For me, it was a hit. Titus always had a great sense of humour and I think if this was given a few months, this gimmick could have gotten really over. Probably not to the status of an alter-ego gimmick like Dude Love or Mankind. However, Titus and Darren just had great chemistry that I think would of worked out for the best. If Titus was the manager of Darren (like he was during Young’s match with Cena after the above segment I was talking about) it could have helped both Darren and Titus. Titus would have been able to get over just by his mannerisms and mic work. Darren could have built up a good record in the ring and could have been elevated as a singles star.


Let’s be honest, the original split of the Prime Time Players didn’t go as planned. However, I think the opportunity to have both them stand out as individuals first while still being a tag team could have been a success. When they split up, Darren and Titus weren’t able to create a unique identity for themselves before doing so. If they were to have this gimmick run on for a while on television, Titus and Darren can get over as themselves so the split means they didn’t have to rely on each other to get over.

I really wish we saw a bit more of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson. With enough screen time, I truly believe he could have been worth Millions of Dollars…

How I Would Book… The End Of The Streak – CM Punk [Part Three]

NOTE: Be sure to check out the last two parts before reading ahead.


PART ONE: Introduction

PART TWO: John Cena

We discussed the possibility of John Cena breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of his claim to end the 20 year legacy. Now it’s time to do it again. If it shouldn’t be either Brock Lesnar OR John Cena, then who should it be? It’s actually fairly simple. In fact, it’s somebody that was a victim of the streak in the past. Had the booking of this fellow been adjusted a little, he would have been in a prime position to end the streak and etch his name as one of the all-time greats rather than becoming just another victim of the Undertaker. It’s a popular choice among fans and it’s somebody who can be transformed once more into a top draw in the company. Perhaps than the streak should have been broken… by CM Punk.


Yes, CM Punk was himself a victim of the Undertaker’s streak. Having just had his own “streak” of being WWE Champion ended by The Rock, Punk walked into Wrestlemania 29 hoping to be the one in 20-1. Instead Punk was beaten like the rest by the Undertaker, joining the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Edge as part of the most legendary streak of all. But what if Punk had actually ENDED the streak which Paul Heyman apparently actually pitched to Vince McMahon back in 2013. It’s also a topic discussed in the video down below by the YouTuber DenkOps…

In the video, he discusses the idea of CM Punk’s 434 day title reign going on even further. He would have beaten The Rock at the Royal Rumble and the Royal Rumble would have been won by the Undertaker. DenkOps suggests that Rock/Punk would be the main event of the show, but if Undertaker were to come back as a surprise entrant you’d think that would be bumped up to the main event. After all, they would be planting the seeds for the main event of Wrestlemania with this night. So Punk would win the title FOLLOWED by Undertaker winning the Rumble if I were to book this. This would lead all the way to Wrestlemania 29, where Punk would be challenged by the Undertaker. A Title vs Streak match which see Punk conquer the streak.

I personally believe that it would have supported Punk’s claim to break the streak MORE if he had done it as WWE Champion. To have Punk simply HAVE the title for as long as he did is not enough to make someone a main event calibre star. You have to give the champion big wins over big stars to truly define him as one of the greatest champions in wrestling history. Granted, he was wrestling week-in and week-out so that puts him above the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior in terms of activity as a wrestler. Hogan and Warrior only defended the WWF title on certain events where as Punk was defending it at least once a month against a huge list of wrestlers. However, the list of contenders for Punk’s title really was really lacking in star power. He did go up against main event talent like Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, but I’m talking about bonafide megastars in WWE. The only true TOP star Punk actually successfully defended the title against… was John Cena.


If he had beaten the likes of The Rock en route to facing Undertaker, than obviously his title reign would have been given a little weight to it. And if he beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania as well, it would have meant that the Deadman would have been beaten by somebody who, according kayfabe, were actually in the prime of their life. Undertaker was given a true top talent at the top of his game. He was given the WWE Champion. He was given the true Best in the World. And Punk’s title reign and victory over Undertaker means a HELL of a lot more than if he had just come off from LOSING the championship.

Now the one thing we’ve established so far in this series, is that it should have been someone special that broke that streak. Brock Lesnar and John Cena both fit this bill. Cena was the top dog in WWE for more than a decade and Brock Lesnar is the former UFC champion that conquered everything in his path… well almost everything.


The point is, the breaker of the streak actually HAS to have that unique and mystique about him that separates him from the rest. Brock Lesnar and John Cena are different from the rest. Does CM Punk fit that mold? What separates him from everybody else? Well let’s take a look at Punk as a character.

CM Punk doesn’t have the UFC background of Lesnar nor is he the “franchise player” of WWE like Cena. But he does have qualities that separate him from everyone else. Think about it. On June 27th 2011, CM Punk’s original “pipebomb” was one of the first instances in years that the line between fiction and reality was beginning to shatter on WWE television. Some will argue that it was the genesis of the newly-dubbed “Reality Era” of WWE. It was the beginning of WWE’s integration into social relevancy as it attracted huge buzz on mainstream and social media. In many ways, Punk LEGITIMATELY was the catalyst of change for WWE.

Now obviously his role in throwing WWE into the social media spotlight is not a strong enough reason to have him breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. But keep that last paragraph in mind if Punk actually broke the streak. WWE is now in the “Reality Era” of wrestling. Punk beating Taker gives the WWE audiences a huge reality check. It’s the reality check that literally ANYTHING can happen in WWE. Nothing would represent that change for WWE than to have the streak of the Undertaker end at the hands of CM Punk. Punk would have been a true agent of change in WWE by doing something you’d think nobody would ever do.


I think this special effect Punk had on WWE television gives him the uniqueness that separates him from everybody else. That and his historic title reign puts Punk in a very strong position to break the Undertaker’s streak. There’s a number of other unique aspects about Punk to talk about. It may be minor but there’s nobody else that’s been given all the time on-and-off screen to speak his mind about the WWE than CM Punk. And there’s few people as polarizing as Punk either. Those that are fans of Punk are extremely passionate about him to the point where even 18 months after he left, they are still chanting his name at events. If anything, Punk’s influenced so many fans to express themselves to the point where it’s actually having drastic changes in the WWE’s plans for big events like Wrestlemania.

Fans have always been been vocal when it comes to wrestling, but Punk’s brought some of the more extreme fans out of hiding. He’s an incredibly beloved character. That’s why his name is thrown around so much for a candidate to beat Undertaker. If you love a wrestler so much, you’ll want to see them get everything you think they deserve. And it’s for this reason… why he SHOULDN’T have been the one to break Undertaker’s streak…


Let’s discuss our other candidates. Brock Lesnar’s story is about a conquering freak of nature that is capable of beating everyone in his path and doing everything he sets his mind on. John Cena’s story, on the other hand, is of a hero who inspires others to never give up no matter the odds. If anything, he’s WWE’s version of Goku from Dragonball Z. A true representation that anything is possible. On the other hand, Punk’s story is about a man who’s true addiction is wrestling and having the desire to be the best. He’s scratched and clawed from his days as an indie wrestler to make it to the top, and is always wanting to prove that he is in fact the best in the world. He wants to prove that it doesn’t take a certain look and the build of an Olympian to be the best.

Despite calling himself the best in the world, Punk’s an underdog in the majority of his matches. Everybody likes a true underdog. But if that underdog accomplishes everything the big dogs accomplish, why would you want to root for him? What else would be left for Punk to do after conquering the streak? Punk could hold the championship for another year after beating the streak but after losing the title, Punk would have nothing left to aspire to in WWE. Having gotten his big Wrestlemania match, an historic WWE title reign and even the STREAK, he doesn’t really need anything else.

There’s also Punk’s mentality around the time with Heyman suggesting in podcasts that Punk was itching to leave WWE a lot sooner. It would be a real shame for the streak to be broken by someone who might not even be here for years to come and whose heart’s not in it anymore.

There’s other reasons for Punk not breaking the streak too but I think I’m pretty much gonna wrap things up here of my analysis of CM Punk. In the end, it would go against everything you’d love about Punk as a character if he were to break the streak. Why would you care for an underdog that accomplishes everything there is to accomplish?

To read more about what I thought about the potential of CM Punk vs Undertaker being the main event of Wrestlemania 29, click on the link below from a past “How I Would Book“. Be sure to check out Part Four of the series, when I move onto my own picks about who I thought truly should have broken the Undertaker’s streak.

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs CM Punk

How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 [Part 4] – CM Punk vs Undertaker

Alright, so here’s the very last installment in this particular How I Would Book. Firstly, make sure you check out the first three parts first before reading this last scenario as I do mention a few things related to those posts…

Part 1 – CM Punk vs The Rock vs John Cena

Part 2 – CM Punk vs Ryback

Part 3 – The Rock vs Ryback

Also do check out DenkOps “What If” video related to this particular scenario. He does a great job illustrating the storyline with WWE 2K15 and do check that out below.

In the last three parts, we’ve looked at a number of alternative main event matches for Wrestlemania 29. We’ve looked at scenarios like triple threat matches, CM Punk’s historic WWE title reign ending at the event and even Ryback walking out of the event. Now we’ve got to do ONE MORE scenario. And believe it or not, it’s actually an idea that the writers were toying with to end the show.

This is actually a match that ended up appearing on the show anyway, but it could have a totally different meaning if this idea were to have come to fruition. This match could have actually main-evented the show with the WWE Championship at stake. That’s right. CM Punk’s title reign as WWE title would continue to Wrestlemania, where he would put the title on the line against the legendary Wrestlemania streak of the Undertaker…


There’s actually NOT a lot to say about this particular main event. CM Punk would be riding high at I think 500 days or so as WWE Champion heading into Wrestlemania. He is clearly the top heel in the company on top of his game, having beaten the likes of John Cena, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan. And with this theory, he’ll obviously go over The Rock at the Royal Rumble which makes his title reign even more historic. Like I’ve mentioned before, The Rock’s loss at the Royal Rumble would be caused by John Cena leading into their rematch at the same event. The only difference is that CM Punk and Undertaker would be for the title and NOT Cena vs Rock II.

Undertaker on the other hand extended his Wrestlemania streak to 20-0 and may feel that he doesn’t have much else to prove. Then he sees Punk with his historic title reign and would seek to challenge. Eventually, we’ll get Undertaker putting up his undefeated streak against CM Punk’s WWE title. “Streak vs Title” has a nice ring to it don’t you think?


Undertaker challenging Punk for the title would happen in one of two ways:

Firstly, someone OTHER than Undertaker or John Cena would win the Royal Rumble match and challenge the World Heavyweight Champion, while CM Punk would retain his WWE title against The Rock. This would lead to CM Punk retaining the title to at Elimination Chamber but his celebrations would be cut short by the Deadman, who’d tombstone Punk and pose with his title. Undertaker or Punk would make the challenge for Mania and you have your match.

While this one would prevent Undertaker from working as much and keep him fresh for their Mania match, whoever were to end the WWE title reign of CM Punk SHOULD really be the one who wins the Royal Rumble. Having Taker just call Punk out on RAW doesn’t have the same effect. Which brings me to scenario number two…


Undertaker would return to win the Royal Rumble. While from a business-standpoint, announcing Undertaker’s participation beforehand would be the ideal solution. However, with The Rock already being the main attraction of the card, promoting Undertaker would seem rather pointless. Hype up The Rock challenging for the WWE title and keep Undertaker a surprise. Plus, it adds to the mystique of his character by having him shocking the WWE universe in this manner.

He’s the surprise #30 entrant or something and is part of the final three between himself, John Cena and Ryback. Ryback would eliminate Cena and Cena would look really down. He’s a lost a chance to potentially get his redemption back by beating The Rock after being eliminated Ryback. Cena goes to back knowing there’s only one way for him to get his redemption now. And of course, you know where that would lead to. Cena costs The Rock the title later on that night. But back to the Rumble, we’re down to Ryback and The Undertaker.

I personally think the fans would be popping for this. Feed Me More Chants, Let’s Go Taker. There’s a lot going for both these for this final two to be even more impactful. These two clobber each other and somehow, Taker eliminates Ryback. I think that makes Ryback stand out even more than he did in the real Royal Rumble match of 2013. He’s just eliminated John Cena and it took the Undertaker of all people to eliminate him. But the end-game of all of this is having Undertaker go over. Punk retains later on and we’ve got our main event already set. What happens next?


Now, it would be OK for Taker to be away from TV for a while. He shows up on RAW maybe and the first shots are fired between him or Punk. He chokeslams Punk or whatever, unsettling the champion. Punk is a little rocked by it, but he has to focus on the Elimination Chamber. Whether he’s in the Elimination Chamber or he’s in another match or whatever, Punk walks out the champion. At the end of the night, Taker comes back to try and attack Punk. However, Punk reverses and hits the GTS. Punk had Taker scouted and it makes Punk looks just as strong as he’s ready for anything Undertaker can throw at him.

And not a lot else needs to be said. There would already be a lot going with this feud as it is. CM Punk’s WWE title and Undertaker’s streak are both on the line. And to be honest, Paul Bearer’s real-life death gives WWE even more to work with. As much as I’d hate to bring real-life incidents into storylines, it’s just another thing to add that will give this main event match even more meaning. Now to the match…


I would ABSOLUTELY book Undertaker to win. For Undertaker it’s the good-feel Rocky Balboa like ending which sees the old-timer making one last comeback to win the WWE title from the seemingly unbeatable WWE Champion. However, there would obviously a bit of an issue with Undertaker winning the title. Undertaker’s not exactly in the best of conditions in this particular part of his career. Yeah he was able to do the matches with The Shield and Dean Ambrose later on in the month, but WWE now has a champion who’s unable to do a full-time schedule. Having Taker drop the belt back to Punk the next night on RAW would really take away from the Wrestlemania match in the first place if Punk is just going to win it back a day later.

WWE could do what they would end up doing with Brock Lesnar and have the WWE title not be defended until an event like Summerslam. But five PPVs or so with the title NOT being defended really wouldn’t be great for business. I would go with having Undertaker dropping the belt to somebody ELSE at Extreme Rules and Taker leave after that. Not to dispute Punk’s claim for a title shot, but what’s the point in him winning the title again a month later after the longest title reign in the modern era? Also, according to Punk, he’s really banged-up post Wrestlemania. So with Punk taking time off anyway, you’d have to think of someone else that could win the title.

I could go through an alternate scenario of if CM Punk WERE to break the streak, but I think I’m going to leave that for a future post and call it a day.


That’s it for this particular series. Again, not to knock the Rock vs Cena II main event completely, but it really lacks the Wrestlemania-feel ending like the rest of these scenarios do. Whether’s it’s one more title run for Undertaker, the emergence of Ryback as the newest face of the WWE or the end of CM Punk’s historic title reign, these four hopefully provided a number of main events that would have been talked about a lot more than Rock vs Cena II.

Do vote in the poll over what YOU think should have been the main event of Wrestlemania. And please comment or tweet @ArmbarExpress with your thoughts on this particular series!

NOTE: The (c) in the poll below indicates who the champion walking into the match is. E.g. CM Punk (c) vs Undertaker would have CM Punk entering as champion.

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?


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?


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…


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.


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.


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?


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. -.-

Cm Punk and Ryback

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.


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.


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?


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.


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?


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…


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?


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.


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…

416 - cenawinslol john_cena macro osakan_destroyer

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

2013 Awards – My Vote For… Theme Song Of The Year

Evening wrestling fans, my name is Tom Robinson. And THIS is the Armbar Express!


Continuing on with the Armbar Express’ awards posts. My Vote For… Theme Song Of The Year!

The nominations are…

Live In Fear (Wyatt Family)


Evil Ways (AJ Styles)


ChaChaLaLa (Fandango)


Flight of the Valkyries (Daniel Bryan)


Cult of Personality (CM Punk)


Special Ops (The Shield)


AJ Styles’ Evil Ways takes this one for me. Because when AJ started his “lone wolf” gimmick, he had his old “Get Ready To Fly” theme which didn’t really seam right with this new gimmick. He had it for like a couple of months and we were all awaiting a theme song that helped AJ embrace his new gimmick with a cold, dark theme that could send chills down your spine. And when he came out to Evil Ways at Slammiversary, you just knew this theme made all the sense in the world. It was so perfect and a perfect fit for AJ. I mean of all the entrances I’ve seen this year, that entrance into Slammiversary is definitely up there among the best because of that song. There’s no real right or wrong answer of course. It’s just a matter of music tastes and personal preference. But for me, AJ’s theme really stood out.

Winner: AJ Styles

2013 Awards – My Vote For… Headline Of The Year


Wrestling fans, my name is Tom Robinson. Writer for the Armbar Express, WhatCulture!, and! And we continue with this series of blog posts on the awards with the Headline Of The Year Award!

NOTE: If you want to read all of the ones I’ve done before, click on this link for all my votes for the awards.


Nominations for Headline Of The Year!

Bruno Sammartino goes into the WWE Hall of Fame – Bruno Sammartino is one of the first true wrestling stars remembered by wrestling fans. Bruno had been WWWF champion for a combined 4,000 days and is considered a true wrestling legend. But when he retired, Bruno was publicly critical of the route all of professional wrestling seemed to be taking. He was critical of WWE paying more attention to the entertainment than the wrestling. He wasn’t happy with the WWE, having seen it being overrun with wrestlers using steroids. So imagine the shock after all these years, when it was announced that Bruno Sammartino was being inducted to the WWE Hall Of Fame. Having been one of the greatest wrestlers not have been inducted, Bruno was  finally among wrestling’s legends where he belongs.

Death Of Paul Bearer – This news took the wrestling world by storm. A long time companion to both Kane and The Undertaker, the news of William Moody’s death JUST after Undertaker made his grand return to the WWE was felt by all and had a huge impact on Undertaker’s Wrestlemania program with CM Punk. In fact his death played a huge part in CM Punk getting heat as he approached his battle with the Deadman. It was really touching when Undertaker paid respects to Paul Bearer (before CM Punk interrupted it) and WWE referred to him by his real name along with his in-ring name.

Dolph Ziggler cashes in MITB on RAW – We all wondered when Dolph Ziggler was going to cash in Money In The Bank. The night he won it, Summerslam, Royal Rumble, just before Wrestlemania, at Wrestlemania. We all wondered when WWE were to pull the trigger and they did it in such a spectacular way with an amazing crowd to compensate. After Alberto Del Rio injured his leg, Ziggler arrived on the scene. And the crowd reaction was incredible. Ziggler was in the right place at the right time and it had been long overdue for Ziggler to get his first proper World Title reign.

Randy Orton turns heel and teams up with HHH – Now, if you caught my Summerslam review, you knew how ecstatic I was when this took place. Orton hadn’t been a heel since 2010 and Triple H hadn’t been one since 2006! These two had been away from their strongest elements for some time and it was about time they embraced their dark roots once more. After Daniel Bryan won the WWE Title, Orton cashed in off a Triple H pedigree to Bryan. And whether it was fans enraged with Bryan being screwed out of the title or fans delighted with the heel turns, everyone was buzzing about these turns. Summerslam was a night we won’t soon forget.

John Cena returns early from injury – Now I’m sure a lot of you were looking forward to John Cena having a lengthy absence from WWE to heal from an elbow injury. With Daniel Bryan’s popularity at an all-time high, this “passing of the torch” seemed perfect for Bryan. And from the way Cena was talking, it seemed like he would be away from a long time to heal up. So imagine everyone’s surprise when Cena was announced to return to fight Alberto Del Rio for the World Title at Hell In A Cell. At first, I wasn’t buying it. But boy was I wrong when he turned up at the PPV and won the World Title!

Hulk Hogan leaves TNA – Many TNA fans have cited Hulk Hogan for being the cause of trouble in TNA since he arrived. Having brought in many big names from WWE, WCW and ECW that lacked proper talent and having gotten rid of many wrestlers whose first TV contract had been with TNA. Being a huge ego-maniac, Hogan had a big role in TNA television as well. So with his contract up in October, Hogan decided to not resign and if you believe the rumours is set to return to the WWE.


For me, Bruno takes this one. I mean after all of these years, Bruno being inducted came off as a huge shocker. For years, Bruno never wanted even be associated with the product. So for him to finally take WWE’s offer and for egos and personalities to be dropped just to get this deal through, it seemed so touching when he was inducted to the Hall Of Fame after all of these years.

Winner: Bruno Sammartino goes into the WWE Hall of Fame