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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania 36

The lovely year of 2020. Nothing much happened did it? A pretty quite year. This is the first time we got 2 nights of Wrestlemania, one of the best business decisions that would have never happened if it wasn't for the global pandemic. Thanks Covid! Here is the full card:

Night 1

Cesaro vs Drew Gulak (pre-show)

Kabuki Warriors (c) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, Women's Tag Championships

Elias vs King Corbin

Becky Lynch (c) vs Shayna Baszler, Raw Women's Championship

Sami Zayn (c) vs Daniel Bryan, IC Championship

John Morrison (c) vs Jey Uso vs Kofi Kingston, SD Tag Championships

Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins, No DQ match

Goldberg (c) vs Braun Strowman, Universal Championship

The Undertaker vs AJ Styles, Boneyard match

Night 2

Liv Morgan vs Natalya (pre-show)

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair, NXT Women's Championship

Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley

Otis vs Dolph Ziggler

Edge vs Randy Orton, Last Man Standing

Street Profits (c) vs Angel Garza & Austin Theory, Raw Tag Championships

Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans vs Naomi vs Tamina, SD Women's Championship

The Fiend vs John Cena, Firefly Funhouse

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Drew McIntyre, WWE Championship

Considering the state of the world, we were lucky to receive any form of entertainment. Though most of the card feels like filler and really damaged by the lack of audience, we got the amazing Boneyard and Funhouse matches that will live on in history. WWE did the best they could with the little tools they had. However, WWE, this is how its done.

Well there is a certain difficulty here because I usually try to book around the real life circumstances involved. That really limits my options since a lot of stars are missing here due to either illness or unwillingness to compete during the global pandemic. I already feel a bit weird trying to book wrestling at a time when the world was at a stand still, so here is what I am going to attempt. I am going to rebook this Wrestlemania only using the wrestlers/personalities that were present for the event. I am also going to add Jimmy Uso and Big E to that list because they only missed out due to the Miz not being cleared to compete. Big Show is also a part of the list, since he fought Drew in a dark segment which aired on Raw.

So after Stephanie McMahon welcomes us to a weird Wrestlemania, we have our host 'The Gronk', Rob Gronkowski. Ugh, The Gronk. He hypes the show before our opening match begins, Shinsuke Nakamura defending his IC championship against Daniel Bryan. Nakamura never loses his IC title to Strowman and he holds it until Wrestlemania. Bryan turns fully face after his encounter with The Fiend and he sets his sights on the indie darling faction of Sami Zayn, Nakamura and Cesaro. He persuades Nakamura into a title match by asking if the self proclaimed King of Strong Style has abdicated the throne, choosing to be a follower instead. A riled up Nakamura wants to fight Bryan. These two have a 15-20 classic opener full of wrestling and stiff strikes. I want NJPW Nakamura to come out to fight Bryan. After an even back and forth, Bryan catches Nakamura with a running knee and locks in the Lebell lock for a submission victory and the gold. A great match to open the show.

Meeting in the 2020 Royal Rumble and being equals is Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. They're both determined to out power and eliminate each other. That becomes their downfall, both men eliminating each other at the same time. I know, I know. Drew not winning the Rumble but TRUST me. I'm cooking. I don't want Drew to win his first world title in front of nobody. Instead Lashley & Drew head on a collision course blaming each other for their losses. Lashley is the heel and Drew the face. They have a power match at Wrestlemania which Bobby Lashley actually wins, positioning himself as a future world champion contender surely. Drew is frustrated at such a big loss. We'll talk more about these two tomorrow for Wrestlemania 37.

The Uso's defend their tag titles in a ladder match still, but only against the New Day. I have other plans for JoMo, plus these 2 teams always have great matches and that's the best we can hope for in front of no crowd. The Uso's can go over here, dropping the titles later down the line to Miz & Morrison.

Kevin Owens stays heel heading into Wrestlemania 36 where he verbally targets part timers and legends for taking up the time that could be given to more deserving wrestlers like him. He bashes Saudi shows as being a "geriatric tribute show for poor, washed up has beens". He insults Edge, Undertaker, John Cena but most brutally he goes after is Goldberg. This begins in late 2019 and over the weeks Owens wrestles and squashes no named jobbers and starts his own undefeated streak. As the weeks go on, he even starts fudging the numbers of the number of wins he has racked up, like WCW did to Goldberg. Owens comes out to Wrestlemania 36 expecting to face a series of jobbers but a camera is backstage, all of the jobbers are beaten and prone on the floor. The cameras pans up and Goldberg is here. Big Bill storms his way to the ring and spears Owens. A referee starts an impromptu match, Owens isn't ready but he is speared and jackhammered and loses in quick fashion. Don't come at me IWC. There's plenty of room there for Owens to spin his loss into a fluke because he wasn't prepared. Gives Goldberg something to do other than try destroy the greatest gimmick in the modern era.

At Elimination Chamber, we have ourselves a Women's Chamber match to determine a number 1 contender for Becky's Raw Women's Championship. The real match was so close to being awesome, but WWE beefed it. Instead, I'd have Shayna Baszler enter the match at number 5 then start clearing house. She gets 4 back to back eliminations and patiently waits as the time ticks down for Asuka entering. They have a mini 5-10 minute match which Baszler wins, subduing Asuka with her choke hold. Baszler promises to Becky that she has never faced anyone as dangerous as she is. They have a good match similar to their real one, but Shayna manages to trap Becky in her choke and Lynch passes out to the pain. Baszler is the new Women's Champion. Lynch can go take time off to be a mom and the reign of Shayna begins.

Elias comes out for a special performance where he takes aim at various wwe wrestlers but mostly the host, The Gronk. He doesn't appreciate the insults and demands an apology. He gets one, in the form of a guitar over his head from Elias. This is purely for my own amusement. Titus O'Neil can play host for the rest of the night.

The Street Profits are scheduled to defend the Raw Tag Championships against Andrade and Angel Garza but Andrade is pulled due to illness. On the kick off for Wrestlemania, Angelo Dawkins is attacked backstage by Angel Garza. Garza, accompanied by Zelina Vega, comes out and challenges Montez to defend the tag titles on his own unless he is too scared. Ford comes out and accepts the challenge but they are interrupted by the main roster debut of Ford's wife, Bianca Belair. Bianca doesn't trust this situation and proposes a groundbreaking match. Bianca and Ford defending the Raw Tag Championships against Garza and Vega, Mixed Tag rules. The heels accept. It should only go like 10 minutes, Montez and Bianca win. This gives Montez and Garza a match still plus a very strong debut for Bianca showcasing her skills at Wrestlemania.

Kofi Kingston walks out of Wrestlemania 35 as WWE champion and has a decent length of a reign (and a much better booked one) leading up to the debut of Smackdown on Fox. Kingston actually defends the title in the main event against number 1 contender, Cesaro. It's a competitive match up, Cesaro looks poised to get the win but then he hears the music of his ally, the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase...Sami Zayn. The heel conspirator comes down and cashes in, begging his ally to let him get the win. Cesaro reluctantly agrees and helps Zayn win the match. Zayn is WWE champion. Zayn feuds with Kofi for the rest of the year and keeps ahold of his title. At the Royal Rumble. Zayn promises to help Cesaro win the Rumble so he can go win the Universal Championship and they can rule the WWE together. Cesaro enters the Rumble around 14th and makes it to the final four with Rollins, Reigns and Bryan. There has been no sign of Zayn, nor will there ever be. Cesaro is eliminated by eventual winner Seth Rollins. Zayn makes up excuses for his lack of help and Cesaro accepts it...for now. Cesaro instead is tasked with winning at the Elimination Chamber to earn a WWE title shot so he can lie down for an easy Zayn win. Cesaro does indeed enter the match and he wins it, but he decides it is time for some Payback. He refuses to lie down promises to take Zayns title from him at Wrestlemania. Zayn tries to run and evade Cesaro but his fate is sealed. Cesaro catches him and defeats him, winning the match and his first world championship. Cesaro as WWE champion is all I have to say and I'm sure someone has made a mess in their pants.

That is our in ring main event but we have one more match left for Night 1. The Boneyard match. I loved this match but for the sake of the article I'm going to change it, because that's more fun. But who else could be Undertaker's opponent for this type of match? Well during late 2019/early 2020, there was one man literally BEGGING for a worthy opponent. For someone to answer his door. That man is Aleister Black, and I think this is the only time we can get Undertaker vs Black. So Black asks for worthy opponents. He fights Buddy Murphy, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan and bests them all. He is challenged by AJ Styles at Elimination Chamber and Black again wins. He grabs a microphone and says "don't misunderstand me, all of these wrestlers are phenomenonal, but they are not the challenge I am after. I want the ultimate test, one that will not only test me physically but mentally, emotionally, psychologically. I need–" BONG. Lights out. When they return, the Undertaker stands before him. Black stares at him, smiles, and drops him with the Black Mass. In the build up towards Wrestlemania, Black claims that the Undertaker is exactly opposite to what he wanted. Undertaker is an empty vessel, an overused and out of date product that cannot stand up to Black in any capacity. "Stick to doing reality TV Mark, I'd get a better challenge wrestling your wife than wrestling you." Black can still bring in Taker's family so that the match feels a bit personal, Undertaker promising sweet vengeance. Undertaker challenges Black to a Boneyard match, where he will see his final resting place. Black and Taker have their cinematic match in a graveyard, we can still see all of the entertaining spooky bollocks like Undertaker fighting lots of druids, teleporting, starting fires. The result is the same, Undertaker buries Black alive to win the match and rides off in the darkness, listening to Metallica.

Night 2 begins with the NXT Women's Championship. The dominant Rhea Ripley starts wrestling on the main roster seeking out greater challengers for her title. She crosses paths with both Asuka and Sasha Banks, former NXT champions themselves. Ripley taunts both women and offers to fight both of them at Wrestlemania, prove who the best NXT Women's champion really is. It's just 3 really good wrestlers going to have a really good match. Rhea should retain, pinning Sasha who really felt like she had something to prove here. More on that later.

The US champion was Chad Gable at Wrestlemania 35, I'd give him a few more months as champion before dropping it to Ricochet in the summer. When it ends up around Rey Mysterio waist in November, Rey revives John Cena's US open challenge. He defends it weekly ahead of the Royal Rumble where his opponent is a mystery reveled to be the returning John Morrison. Morrison wins the US title in his first WWE match in over 10 years. Morrison allies with the Miz and is able to keep ahold of his title thanks to outside interference. This sets up a fatal 4-way match with Morrison's challengers with the Miz banned from ringside. His challengers are Drew Gulak, Austin Theory and Braun Strowman. Give the lads 10 minutes to work a solid match, the focus is on Drew Gulak who has been working with Daniel Bryan recently to improve as a performer. His hard work with Bryan has paid off as he catches Morrison in a dragon sleeper and makes him submit. Gulak wins the US title. I really like Gulak, I think he'd do great things with a midcard title run. They can do the whole 'powerbomb through table and Bury him' spot to Braun to remove him from the match in the endgame sequence.

Remember the weird Otis and Mandy Rose storyline? Whilst being a bit cheesy and silly on paper, it was the most developed and well built story WWE had leading into Wrestlemania. I enjoyed my time with it, Otis is God. I'd keep the story mostly the same except here at Wrestlemania the booked match is instead a mixed tag match. Otis & Mandy teaming against Dolph Ziggler & Sonya Deville, the jealous BFF and love interest. It just provides a little extra flavour to have both ladies involved too, we can see Mandy and Sonya stand opposite properly as opponents for the first time ever (I think). Otis & Mandy can still get their feelgood win and have a slobbery kiss at the end.

So at the 2020 Royal Rumble Edge made his grand in ring return after 10 years of retirement. Amazing moment. In that match, Edge drilled AJ Styles with a spear and Styles over rotated, separating his shoulder. That is the crux for our first major Edge feud. Styles is injured for the following weeks after the Rumble and takes a few weeks off. Next time we see Styles, he is wheeled put by Gallows & Anderson of the Club and he is in a sling. He claims that Edge has almost taken his career away from him. Edge is far too old, washed up and rusty to come back to wrestling and he is campaigning for WWE doctors to ban him from wrestling ever again. We have weekly promos by AJ trying to ban Edge, we even see a mock ad campaign where Styles has a helpline for people to contact if they have been upset by Edge's actions. Edge laughs the claims off, no matter how much AJ campaigns, Edge is back. Styles says "well if the doctors won't ban you from competing, I guess I'll make sure you cannot compete." The Club attack Edge and Styles slowly stands up from his chair, removes his bandages and sling. Gallows and Anderson hold Edge in place over a chair, AJ Styles gives him a conchairto. Edge is wheeled off by medical staff. In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, doctors tell Edge they are unsure if they are able to clear him for a match with AJ at Wrestlemania. Edge goes and speaks to Triple H "I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, but I need this. I'll sign any waivers I need to, please help me get this match." Triple H nods and says he'll help him out. Edge gets AJ Styles in an Unsanctioned, Falls Count Anywhere match at Wrestlemania. The two men tear each other apart around the ring and backstage, through the performance centre and whereever else they have access too. Towards the end of the match, Edge has Styles set up for a spear through a pile of tables backstage. As he runs,.in comes the club to attack and help AJ. After a mini beat down, out comes Randy Orton. He helps Edge fight off Gallows and Anderson. Another mini Rated RKO reunion...until Orton drops Edge with an RKO on the hard concrete. Styles watches on in shock as Orton winds up his boot and delivers a brutal punt kick to Edge. Styles scrambles over for a pin and he wins. Edge again requires medical attention. Orton can justify his reasons as agreeing with Styles that Edge shouldn't be here if he is so volatile and sets up their match at Backlash a couple months later. Edge can eventually get his revenge on Orton and also Styles over the course of 2020.

Following that I have a Women's Gauntlet match for a future title shot. This is just a way to get a bunch of women some deserved screen time but also not increase the risk of too many people gathered at once. Kairi Sane and Natalya start the match, they have a nice 5 minute match which Sane wins. She racks up a couple of more victories over Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss before falling victim to Tamina who is the fresher, far more stronger opponent. Tamina eliminates Lacey Evans next but then is caught up in a roll up by Naomi. Naomi then faces the last entrant Liv Morgan, they have a 5-10 minute mini match which Morgan wins getting her first Wrestlemania win as well as a future title opportunity. Gives the ladies something to do plus Morgan still gets her nice moment.

Wrestlemania host The Gronk is back in the ring and he verbally runs down Elias for his attack yesterday, claiming that he could have crushed him if he wasn't ambushed. Gronk lists all of his accomplishments in American football and claims to be a bigger, better and stronger star than anyone in the WWE. Out comes a returning Big Show. He simply drops Gronk with a chokeslam, then again, then again and then again. Big Show hits him with a KO punch and takes his leave. Mojo Rawley comes out and drugs his unconscious friend away, Titus O'Neil returns to do hosting duties. Fuck you Gronk!

I'm happy for Bayley to win the MITB briefcase and cash it in on Charlotte on the same night in 2019 and I'm still happy for Charlotte to win the Women's Rumble. I would instead have Charlotte choose Bayley as her Wrestlemania opponent. Have Bayley turn heel in late 2019 and refuse to give Charlotte a straight up singles match for the title. Charlotte eventually gets one at Clash of Champions with the stipulation that she cannot become number 1 contender whilst Bayley is champion if she loses. Bayley wins via cheating and Charlotte is unable to challenge her anymore. Then, Charlotte wins the Rumble and now has a way to challenge for the title once again. During that time, Bayley & Sasha do not form their heel alliance. Bayley does approach her saying "I've finally found my edge, I've adapted like you've always wanted me to. Let's run this show together." Sasha is unsure after they have been separated for so long and seems content working solo for the time being. Bayley controls Smackdown as the heel champion whilst Sasha mainly works Raw but struggles to find the same success she once did. At Wrestlemania, Bayley and Charlotte have a great match like we know they can and it is a late interference from Sasha which gives Bayley the win. Sasha turns heel, the Boss N Bayley Connection unite once more and they can be the dominant heels throughout 2020.

I can't remove the Firefly Funhouse match. I just can't. It's not really a match, but this might be one of my favourite things WWE have ever done. It is a classic case of WWE needing to try something new and they actually pulled off something special. They let Wyatt spread his wings. Bray Wyatt and John Cena created cinema together. I know I've changed a lot of the history leading up to this moment but there is still plenty of stock usable for this segment. It was flawless.

So our final match of Wrestlemania 36 is for the Universal Championship, Brock Lesnar defending against Royal Rumble winner Seth Rollins. Rollins is heel by this point after his interaction with the Fiend which I think should still happen but booked and produced FAR better than what WWE did. Rollins wins the Rumble and challenges Universal champion. Samoa Joe was Universal champion at Wrestlemania 35, he should hold that for all of 2019 and he can eventually drop it to Lesnar in 2020, I dunno, at a Saudi show or something? Why not. Its a short Wrestlemania main event. Lesnar dominates and throws Rollins around confidently but Rollins uses a referee bump to use a low blow and a Stomp with a chair to defeat the beast. Rollins had a cracking 2020 as a heel, I think giving him the title would only be a benefit.

So that is my rebooking of the covid-cursed Wrestlemania. Here's the card:

Night 1

Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Daniel Bryan, IC Championship

Bobby Lashley vs Drew McIntyre

The Usos (c) vs New Day, Ladder match for SD Tag Championships

Goldberg vs Kevin Owens

Becky Lynch (c) vs Shayna Baszler, Raw Women's Championship

Montez Ford & Bianca Belair vs Angel Garza & Zelina Vega

Sami Zayn (c) vs Cesaro, WWE Championship

The Undertaker vs Aleister Black, Boneyard Match

Night 2

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Asuka vs Sasha Banks, NXT Women's Championship

John Morrison (c) vs Drew Gulak vs Austin Theory vs Braun Strowman, US Championship

Otis & Mandy Rose vs Dolph Ziggler & Sonya Deville

Edge vs AJ Styles, Falls Count Anywhere

Women's Gauntlet

Bayley (c) vs Charlotte Flair, SD Women's Championship

The Fiend vs John Cena, Firefly Funhouse Match

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins, Universal Championship

What do you think? Considering I limited myself massively with my available wrestlers I think I pulled off a good card. I mean, Wrestlemania in front of no one can only be so good. Come back tomorrow to read about Wrestlemania 37, its a significantly less covid-cursed Wrestlemania but the pandemic still looms over the world. See you then!


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