In the first part of our series on What WrestleMania Should Be ™, Sarah Parkin details her best-case scenario for the Showcase of the Immortals.
First thing’s first: my dream WrestleMania is not going to happen. If it was, Lita would have walked out champion after a 20-minute classic against Ivory in about 2004. So, for the purposes of this exercise, I’m thinking about what I believe the perfect Mania would look like in 2017 with the talent at our disposal.
Booking Mania is hard, man. There are a bunch of incredibly talented wrestlers that I’d hate to miss off the card, but it’s really hard to fit them in to a reasonably-paced show. Of course, I’d still like the chance to have a go given that somehow, WWE manages both to miss some great people off the card every year and still bugger up the pacing. Almost like a four-hour show with a two-hour pre-show is a terrible idea.
You’ll be shocked to know my dream Mania doesn’t feature Goldberg vs Lesnar. In fact, it features no returning legends at all, because bloody hell am I sick of people reappearing for a cheap pop to make the guys who’ll be on Raw the next night look like complete tossers. I mean come on, Dwayne, if you’d spent a bit less time setting your own name on fire last year maybe the second women’s match could have been on the main show. Anyway, with no further ado, here is the WrestleMania that I think both the fan and performers deserve.
Please note: since we’re fantasy booking, Taker retired when the Streak was broken.
205 Live showcase
I hate having perfectly valuable matches thrown away on a pre-show, not least because I will feel guilty if I don’t get chance to go back and root through two hours of footage to find them. This, I think, would be a great alternative – give the cruiserweight division some exhibition matches, or even a big elimination match of some description (no top-rope eliminations, please, or everyone loses half of their movesets). Get the crowd interested, show what they can do, but ultimately provide skippable entertainment.
Sasha Banks vs Emma(lina)
Emma (or Emmalina, or whatever) was medically cleared ages ago. This would be her return angle- if the Emmalina character is all about bikinis and selfies, Sasha’s “I’m a wrestler!” attitude creates a natural feud. If she is indeed going back to being ‘evil Emma’, I don’t care what the storyline is because this match will be fantastic. Emma goes over because Sasha is still not 100% from her recent injuries, which also serves to set up tonight’s events. The fact that Sasha’s loss takes place on the pre-show, of all places, after her featured role at last year’s show, is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn
I didn’t really care how we got to this, but it seems as though last night’s Raw is pointing in the right direction. Perhaps the feud develops as Joe starts getting handed opportunities by the Authority for which Zayn has had to fight tooth and nail, and Her Majesty Queen Stephanie doesn’t like how he protests. I don’t mind. I just want these guys to fight for my amusement on the biggest stage of all because I think it would be awesome.
AJ Styles vs John Cena
This doesn’t need to be for a belt anymore; it’s about John Cena proving to himself that he’s still got what it takes and proving to Styles that he’s worthy of his spot. No reason to put this on the Mania card, really, except that I think it would be a match of the year candidate.
Neville (c) vs Kallisto (Cruiserweight Championship)
I just want to watch these guys go all out. Give them 15 minutes and they’ll give you a classic.
American Alpha (c) vs The Revival (Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
No explanation necessary.
Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James vs Naomi (c) vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs Nikki Bella (Smackdown Women’s Championship) (Elimination Chamber Match)
I want all of these women at Mania. I want Becky walking out with the title. I also want to see every possible combination of these women in the ring together, and Alexa in particular reasonably well protected (she has another title run in her soon). This is the match we were robbed of at Elimination Chamber, but it’s the match I think we can all agree we need. The Six-Pack Challenge at Backlash proved that Smackdown can pull off a multi-woman match.
Bray Wyatt (c) vs Luke Harper (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
I was crazily happy about Wyatt winning the belt at Elimination Chamber. Harper finding a way to incapacitate Orton and take his spot in the title match is exactly the kind of storytelling this angle needs, and it sets up a far more interesting match than anything that Orton has ever been in. I don’t really care who wins, but perhaps Bray has a longer run and eventually Harper feuds with Orton before getting his hands on the title.
Charlotte (c) vs Bayley (Raw Women’s Championship)
OK, so last night’s Raw doesn’t exactly help with this, but there’s a good chance Charlotte wins the belt back at Fastlane. Bayley wins after 20 minutes of perfect storytelling – or as perfect as it can be given that she’s now pinned Charlotte for the belt once already. Sasha Banks comes out purporting to congratulate her friend, but then snaps and attacks her. Think Owens when Zayn won the NXT title. Thus begins the Road to SummerSlam.
Brock Lesnar vs Kevin Owens (c) (WWE Universal Championship)
Owens retains. Lesnar actually tries.