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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: World Heavyweight Championship Tournament

They finally bloody did it. They're bringing back the legendary World Heavyweight Championship. Sure they've messed the designs a little by making it a tad smaller and wacking a corporate logo in the middle, but it's still a beautiful design that is 100x better than the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship designs. While we're yet to find out what happens to Roman Reigns' two belt championship (hopefully an official unification with a new belt design) we found out on the most recent Raw that we'd crown a new World Heavyweight Champion at Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia. Hoora–wait what? Ugh, I guess we have to continue to accept Saudi shows exist. In light of the recent announcement, I've whipped up a quick fantasy booking of a tournament to crown a new champion, because I'm hotter on the button than The Menace on The Chase. Possibly an obscure reference there. Nevertheless, let's begin.


So, I would have a 16-man tournament for the vacant championship, and the bracket would look like this:


Bobby Lashley vs Brock Lesnar

Chad Gable vs Montez Ford

Seth Rollins vs The Miz

Rey Mysterio vs Cody Rhodes


Edge vs Karrion Kross

Matt Riddle vs Solo Sikoa

Ricochet vs LA Knight

Finn Balor vs Shinsuke Nakamura


Three weeks before the Night of Champions PPV in the BEAUTIFUL city of Jeddah, we have our first round matches in the tournament. On Raw our first match will be Chad Gable against Montez Ford. I want both guys to have a great showcase in a 10-15 minute match, eventually Ford going over with his frog splash. Gable should come out of this looking great, worthy of competing in the secondary title picture because I want to see Gable vs GUNTHER like immediately please. Next up we'll have Seth Rollins vs The Miz. Plenty of history here as these two feuded over the IC belt a few years back. These two are super reliable and can easily have a good match without even trying. Rollins would go over clean here. Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio battle I'm a face vs face match. These two also have a lot of history together, they had an absolute belter of a feud in 2011. A match I have no doubt would be great to watch, Rhodes going over and they can have a nice handshake post-match, because they're such nice lads. Our main event is Bobby Lashley vs Brock Lesnar. This would be Lesnar's first Raw match in over 20 years which is mental, also a big selling point to draw big numbers to watch. It isn't much of a match though, before the bell gos and the referee is turned around, Lashley absolutely HOOFS Lesnar in the cucumber and tomatoes. This is payback for Elimination Chamber, when Lesnar hoofed Lashley I'm his plums for a DQ finish. Once the be rings, Lashley locks Lesnsr in the hurt lock and Lesnar passes out in the hold. Lashley looks strong and gets revenge, Lesnar doesn't look too weak either.


Later in the week on Smackdown, our first round one match will be Ricochet vs LA Knight. These two can have an entertaining TV match, Ricochet being a flippy boy and LA being a more traditional heel wrestler. Good showing for Ricochet but Knight gets a much deserved win here, solidifying his worth in the division. Next up we'll see Matt Riddle go up against Solo Sikoa. I know that they only recently had a No Disqualification match on Smackdown (which was really good btw) but this gives Riddle a nice opportunity to get some revenge on his lonesome. As Riddle closes in on victory, out comes the Uso's to assist their famalam Solo. However, a botch from Jey ends up clocking Solo instead, Riddle takes advantage and gets a hard fought victory. Riddle gets a small measure of revenge, the story of dissension within the Bloodline continues, also this would he another great match for sure. Next up, a bit of a dream match here between Edge & Karrion Kross. I want this to be a shock match, because Edge is probably going to retire sometime in the next year and I think Karrion Kross would be a perfect last feud for him. Edge gets some offence in occasionally but Kross just absolutely dominates. Scarlett taunts Edge at ringside telling him "Your time is nearly up, you're too old to continue". The finish comes as Kross just keeps planting Edge with back-to-back Doomsday Saito suplexes. Eventually, the referee calls for a stoppage, Edge needs assistance while Kross stands tall and dominant. The main event, a real throwback to the good ol' days of black and gold NXT, Finn Balor vs Shinsuke Nakamura. These two could create magic together if given the time and opportunity. Their 1 match in NXT was fantastic, their 2 on the main roster were fine. Give these two like 20 minutes and Shinsuke Nakamura just manages to earn a victory. As Nakamura celebrates, Balor mouths to him "I will see you again soon".


Next week, the penultimate Raw before Night of Champions we have our first two quarter final matches. First, we'll see Bobby Lashley clash with Montez Ford. We see a real star making underdog performance from Ford here but Lashley remains a dominant force. As he's preparing to end the match, a ref bump or distraction leads to Lesnar coming out and nailing Lashley with a pipe, or brass knuckles, or maybe like a farm tool or something. Ford hits the big splash and pins to win. Lastly, we have another match between bitter rivals Seth Rollins & Cody Rhodes. These two can have a classic together under general anaesthetic. Plenty of false finishes and callbacks to their previous encounters, but Rhodes walks away again with a victory over Rollins. I want Rollins to never quite be able to beat Rhodes, until maybe sometime next year or the year after when he FINALLY manages to get the job done. Over on Smackdown, Shinsuke Nakamura & LA Knight can have a great match together which ends with a Shinsuke Nakamura victory. I would love to see Knight progress further but I don't think this tournament is for him. However, I would have him have his big moment soon, at a little PPV called Money in the Bank. Our final match in the round would see Matt Riddle vs Karrion Kross. Tell me you don't want to see this one, if you do you're lying. A real hard-hitting stiff match this one would be,.I would eventually have Kross go over here. Maybe some Bloodline interference if you want to continue that but ideally I'd have Kross win pretty clean here.


On the go home shows we can have soke great promo segments and video packages for all 4 remaining participants. I would also have a Lashley vs Lesnar rematch set up for Night of Champions, a No Holds Barred match to finally blow off their feud conclusively. Maybe a big 4-way contract signing on Smackdown would be cool, each member getting a chance to put themselves over.


PPV time, and the semi final matches open the show. Firstly, Montez Ford vs Cody Rhodes. We get another star-making performance from our favourite solo cup enthusiast but this is unfortunately not his night. Rhodes manages to earn a victory and they shake hands. Ford really sells the damage he's had to endure, even bringing out his partner Angelo Dawkins out to help him to his feet. Dawkins raises his hand to the crowd, before turning around and nailing Ford with a clothesline. He hits him with a couple more, before hitting a pop-up spinebuster and taking his leave. Street Profits are no more. I wouldn't have them jump into a feud immediately, I'd have the brand split separate them and they can feud a little further down the line once they're both more established guys. Ford is fine but Dawkins needs more work, I think the perfect thing for him to do would he to be paired with MVP and reform the Hurt Business.


The next match is an NXT dream match of Karrion Kross vs Shinsuke Nakamura. God this could be amazing. They're already teasing this as Kross has targeting Nakamura. They can have a great match with complimentary styles, and I would have Nakamura go over here but he just manages to survive. Kross attacks him again post-match, Nakamura leaving with an injured leg. Since I've talked about it I'll discuss Lashley vs Lesnar, even though its not part of the tournament. A brutal hardcore match as they both put each other through hell. I would have Lashley win, defeating Lesnar via tapout. It would only be the fifth time Lesnar has submitted and Lashley would be only the third person to ever do so, behind Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit. Lesnar is already an established monster and he'll never lose that aura. A submission win for Lashley over the beast would absolutely cement him as a dominant force.


Main event time, Cody Rhodes vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. They can talk about both guys wrestling in Japan at different times. Both have a relatively similar level of success within WWE, with both guys being unable to win a big one until this very moment. Someone will finally win their first World Championship in WWE here. Give these guys as much time as needed to have a classic you can find in Japan. The story is both guys giving their all to finally win. They can borrow finishers and moves from past allies and rivals of themselves and each other. Rhodes uses a Codebreaker, Nakamura hits a High Fly Flow. Rhodes hits a Styles Clash. Nakamura hits a V-trigger. Everything but the kitchen sink. Rhodes gets increasingly more frustrated, especially when Nakamura kicks out of a Crossroads. He begins working more aggressively, targeting and brutalising Nakamura's injured leg. Not fully heel but enough for the crowd to ask questions. Rhodes is all caught up in his emotions here, and it rattles him. He gets careless, making a mistake leading to a big Kinshasa for a 1-2-3. Shinsuke Nakamura is World Heavyweight Champion.


If we're going with the story of Cody always coming close but never quite achieving his goal, then I want it to continue past this. I want Cody to be the one to dethrone Reigns, probably at Summerslam, and I think the road should be tough both physically and mentally for him. That will make his eventual victory feel even more special. Because Rhodes isn't the only guy who has been long overdue a world championship reign in WWE. Shinsuke Nakamura debuted in WWE over 7 years ago, and he still hasn't been world champion. He had a great run in NXT, a great win in the Royal Rumble but his feud with AJ fell a little flat and afterwards he lost all momentum. He's had some good moments, like US & IC Championship victories but he's never made it back to that legendary status he is deserving of. After some time away to perform in NOAH and recently returning, now is the perfect opportunity to elevate Nakamura to the top of the division. A little extra booking, for his first major feud I would have him and Finn Balor go at it, because I think that would be great.


I think this tournament has established stars like Nakamura, Montez Ford and even Chad Gable. It has progressed existing storylines like Lesnar/Lashley, the Bloodline, Rhodes title journey etc. It has generated future new feuds like Edge/Kross, Nakamura/Balor, Ford/Dawkins. I think this is how WWE should book the upcoming tournament. Trips, I dare you to do it better.


Thank you for reading its much appreciated. Let me know what you think and if there's anything you'd like me to write. Stay well and stay safe. Until next time, see ya!

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