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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania 21

Woah, woah, Wrestlemaniaaaaaa. When you've written 20 of these, it get's hard to come up with a new intro every time. Another day, another Wrestlemania. I believe this is shortest card for a Wrestlemania with only 8 matches on the main show, that's quite surprising but we are in the early stages of a transition period in WWE. They're still holding on tightly to their Attitude era edge but they're gradually trying to cater to a wider audience. That is very apparent here when we got, of all things, a sumo match. I honestly feel this was just a huge rib to put Big Show in a massive diaper. Here's the card:

Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero

Money in the Bank Ladder match

Undertaker vs Randy Orton

Trish Stratus (c) vs Christy Hemme, Women's Championship

Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels

Akebono vs Big Show, Sumo match

JBL (c) vs John Cena, WWE Championship

Triple H (c) vs Batista, Heavyweight Championship

Quite a memorable Mania actually. The first ever MITB match, one of the best wrestling matches ever in Angle vs HBK, Cena & Batista win their first world titles, Orton wrestling in his underrated Legend Killer gimmick, the beginning of the Mysterio/Guerrero feud and also Eddie's last Wrestlemania. And also, Christy Hemme is there, how nice, I guess. That's unfair, she really tried but she is no Lita. Overall the show is a really enjoyable, I think half of the card is minimum very good but the other half of the matches are range from decent to mediocre. Both world title matches were disappointing in a sense, one more than the other, whilst the Sumo and Women's matches brought down the overall quality of wrestling. Can I make it better? I sure can. WWE, this is how its done.

We do open with a Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, just not Eddie. Though Chavo and Rey were adversaries this time last year, now I have booked them as allies. Following Eddie winning the WWE championship, his proud cousin finally comes around and reforms Los Guerreros but also includes Rey, forming a little faction. Whilst Eddie reigns as champion, Chavo and Rey win the World tag Championships. Also during this year, Bradshaw repackaged himself as JBL, which I think is a great heel character but pushed far too highly and quickly. I would build JBL up from the upper mid-card before considering him for a WWE title run. JBL brings in his new business associate Orlando Jordan. After JBL failed to take the WWE title from Eddie, He and Orlando target his closest allies to try and take something from Los Guerreros. JBL is a good tag wrestler, Rey and Chavo are great wrestlers so the weaker, inexperienced Jordan is in good company. JBL rattles Rey with a stiff clothesline from hell to win the gold for his team. Both Chavo and Rey look disappointed. Later on after the match, Eddie Guerrero verbally chews out both Rey and Chavo for their loss. Chavo storms off but Rey stays and is apologetic. Eddie asks Rey if he has his back tonight, Rey says of course.

We have our annual Wrestlemania cross-promotional battle with a punishment for the losing GM. Owner Vince McMahon decided on the punishment for Eric Bischoff (Raw) and Theodore Long (Smackdown). The losing GM must compete in a sumo match with Akebono. It'll be Raw's IC champion Shelton Benjamin vs Smackdown's US champion, Charlie Haas. Former allies as part of Team Angle and the World's Greatest Tag Team, they get separated by the 2004 draft, Benjamin moving to Raw and the duo are forced to vacate the World Tag Titles. Both men embark on singles careers and both men are equally successful. John Cena held the US title from Wrestlemania XX until October where he drops it in his feud with Carlito, who reigns as US champion until losing it to Haas on Smackdown in January 2005. Randy Orton wins the IC title from Christian a couple weeks after Wrestlemania, he ends up winning the Heavyweight championship from Chris Benoit at Survivor Series whilst holding the IC championship. He relinquishes the IC title, so Bischoff holds a tournament that Shelton Benjamin ends up winning on Raw, coincidentally the same week Haas wins the US title. Both guys are faces so it is a friendly but very competitive wrestling contest between these two. US champion Charlie Haas gets the win, Eric Bischoff is the punished GM for a third year in a row. Again, he tries to worm his way out but Vince McMahon almost forces him to enter a sumo ring by the entrance. Bischoff gets demolished and squashed by Akebono, because I imagine that might be a bit of fun.

Next up is the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match. Such a genius concept. Jericho created simply to give 8 men without anything to do, something to do. Nearly 20 years later, the match type has it's own PPV and is considered part of the new 'Big 5'. I'd keep all the original participants minus Shelton Benjamin for obvious reasons, who I'd replace with Rhyno. Edge should still win, because his first cash in on John Cena after New Year's Revolution was awesome.

Eddie Guerrero won the WWE championship and I would have him hold it for the majority of the year, right until Armageddon. He has managed to lie, cheat and steal his way to a successful reign, however nothing managed to save him from a match with the Undertaker who defeats him in the main event. After his loss, Guerrero's whole demeanour changes and he is obsessed with winning back his championship. A couple weeks later on Smackdown, Guerrero loses a title rematch and his frustration builds. Undertaker then defends his Heavyweight title against Booker T at the Royal Rumble, in which Eddie Guerrero interferes, costing Undertaker the match and the title. Guerrero blames Undertaker for his losses and feels that he was unfairly put in that position, starting to show really clear signs of turning heel. He acts coldly towards Chavo and Rey too because they're champions and he is not, but he always warns them to not embarrass him by losing their titles. Booker T retains in a triple threat at No Way Out as both Guerrero and Undertaker are too focused on beating each other up. Undertaker says it is time for Eddie to pay for his sins with is soul at Wrestlemania. This will unfortunately be Eddie's last Wrestlemania, but a match with Taker here should be a great one. Guerrero has Rey in his corner, and after a referee bump he demands Rey slides him in a chair. Rey argues that Eddie doesn't need to always take a shortcut, he is good enough as a wrestler to win. Frustrated, Eddie grabs the chair himself but that gives Undertaker enough time to recover and hit a chokeslam and a tombstone to win to go 13-0. After the match, Guerrero looks equally emotional defeated as he does physically. Rey helps him up and tries to console him. They hug, and then Guerrero throws him to the ground and kicks the shit out of him. He screams with rage at Rey, blaming him for everything that has gone wrong. Eddie fully turns heel and now we can get the Eddie vs Rey feud. One of my favourite WWE rivalries.

A little palate cleanser after that, a fatal four way match for the cruiserweight title. I've given the title to Paul London and he is defending it against Billy Kidman, Funaki and Spike Dudley. Not a lot of story here, but I think some fast-paced cruiserweight action is a nice little break in-between the Undertaker match and the next match. I'd have London walk away as the winner.

The next match happened in real life, Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels. I cannot replace it, it is one of my favourite matches ever. This was an absolute masterclass in wrestling psychology and in-ring storytelling. The closing submission sequence where HBK struggles to escape from the Ankle lock until finally tapping out, is possibly the best submission spot only rivalled by the Bret Hart vs Steve Austin spot 8 years prior. Keep all of this, absolute perfection.

I'd also keep the Piper's Pit segment between Roddy Piper and Steve Austin because they were great together. I actually booked them in a match at Wrestlemania 12 so that can be brought up in this segment. Austin drops Piper with a stunner like he does to everyone.

Now, I usually stick to real life injuries and suspensions to make my booking as concrete as possible, it would be so easy to just book anyone and everyone I could think of each time. However, I have bent the rules a little bit here because I refuse to not book a Trish Stratus vs Lita match at Wrestlemania. Lita got hurt at New Year's Revolution and was out for a long time. That meant Stratus ended up wrestling Christy Hemme who weirdly looked a little like Lita. It wasn't great but Hemme tried, she was just way too green for the spot. I'm going to play the "that match never happened therefore she doesn't get injured" card. I'd have Lita be nominated and most likely voted to face Stratus for the title at Taboo Tuesday. Trish defeats Victoria for the title in June at Bad Blood. Lita wins at Taboo Tuesday. This is around the time they have their major singles feud together. On the episode of Raw in December with the first ever women's main event, Trish wins back the women's championship. Lita defeats Victoria at New Year's Revolution to get a rematch at the Royal Rumble, a no DQ match that Lita wins the win back to championship. That brings us here at Wrestlemania, Lita vs Trish Stratus in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. There is a reason these two are highly regarded as two of the best women's wrestlers ever, it is only a bonus that they have amazing chemistry together. Trish should walk out as champion so she can begin her year long reign in preparation for next year's Wrestlemania.

The semi-main tonight is for the WWE championship, John Cena challenging Booker T. Well, actually I've been misleading. To get us to Booker T being a world champion, I have decided to bring forward some booking that wouldn't happen until mid-2006. In late 2004, I would bring back the King of the Ring tournament for one off, which Booker T wins and becomes King Booker. As previously mentioned, King Booker wins the WWE championship at No Way Out, on the same show John Cena wins a match against JBL to book himself into a world title match at Wrestlemania. John Cena still has his crowning moment, I think a Cena vs King Booker match will be far more enjoyable than Cena vs JBL. Cena catches the King in mid-Book End attempt, drops him with the FU to win his first world title.

It is an Evolution affair in the main event. I mentioned Orton defeating Benoit for the Heavyweight title whilst being IC champion. This takes place a year and a half into the history of Evolution. The stable are initially happy for Orton, however Triple H very quickly takes issue with this and convinces his boys to betray Orton ahead of the Royal Rumble. Triple H defeats him on the show, whilst Batista wins the Rumble in the main event. We get the iconic "thumbs up, thumbs down" segment as Batista chooses to challenge Triple H and officially splits up Evolution. Orton believes he is deserving of a title rematch, he is still acting quite heelish compared to Batista who is face, Triple H is the mega heel. All 3 members of Evolution turn to Ric Flair and pitch their case as to why he should be in their corner. He is too undecided, so Bischoff helps him by removing the choice. He books Ric Flair as the special referee for the Evolution 3-way main event. This should still be Batista's crowning moment, but I think the triple threat makes for a more drama filled match especially with Flair donning the black and white. Batista is unstoppable, Orton and HHH try to put aside their differences to put him down but the Animal keeps fighting. Eventually Batista hits them both with Batista bombs to win the title. I wouldn't have Flair get too involved, he calls it mainly down the middle. This allows heel Triple H to briefly feud with him for a couple of months, before he takes a few months off to recover from injuries and surgeries.

Let me know what you think of the fantasy booking. I'm finding it gradually harder to book these shows the more recent I get. Trying to follow the lore that I have built throughout my booking whilst staying true to most of real life events is proving to be a challenge. Hopefully you're enjoying these as much as I am. Here is a recap of the rebooked card:

Chavo Guerrero & Rey Mysterio (c) vs JBL & Orlando Jordan, World Tag Championships

Shelton Benjamin (Raw, IC) vs Charlie Haas (SD, UC), Cross-promotional Champion vs Champion

Money in the Bank Ladder

The Undertaker vs Eddie Guerrero

Paul London (c) vs Billy Kidman vs Funaki vs Spike Dudley, Cruiserweight Championship

Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels

Lita (c) Trish Stratus, 2-out-of-3 Falls Championship

King Booker (c) vs John Cena, WWE Championship

Triple H (c) vs Batista vs Randy Orton, Heavyweight Championship

Thank you for reading, make sure to return tomorrow when we talk about Wrestlemania 22. It's Big Time! Even though, it was the last Mania to take place in an arena and the attendance was below 20K. So really this is smaller time. It's a weird show, with an infuriating poster. We'll talk about it tomorrow. 'Til then, see you!


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