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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania XIX

Wrestlemania 19 is fondly remember as the second best Wrestlemania of all time amongst the average WWE fan. Top to bottom a very strong card, nearly every match deserves a place on the show. I say nearly, because unfortunately we have Undertaker vs Big Show & A-Train which leaves a skid mark on an absolute classic of a show. Here is a reminder of the card:

Matt Hardy (c) vs Rey Mysterio, Cruiserweight Championship

The Undertaker vs Big Show & A-Train

Victoria (c) vs Trish Stratus vs Jazz, Women's Championship

Team Angle (c) vs Rhyno & Benoit vs Los Guerreros, WWE Tag Championships

Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho

Triple H (c) vs Booker T, Heavyweight Championship

Hulk Hogan vs Mr McMahon, Street Fight

The Rock vs Steve Austin

Kurt Angle (c) vs Brock Lesnar, WWE Championship

A stellar main event even with the botched shooting star press, an awesome final chapter in the Austin/Rock trilogy, a MOTY candidate between HBK and Y2J. There is a lot to love, which puts me in the awkward situation I was in 2 days ago, trying to amend a show that is near perfect. Well, I will certainly give it the ol' college try. WWE, this is how it's done.

The show begins with a 6-man ladder match for the cruiserweight title. Matt Hardy is the defending champion, the challengers being Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Jamie Noble, Tajiri & Chavo Guerrero. Not much storyline reasoning behind this one, Wrestlemania has a great track record for ladder matches, they're great for generating excitement and that is why this is here. The storyline here was that Hardy was cutting weight to try fit in the cruiserweight division, because it seemed pretty clear that he was slightly bigger than your usual cruiserweight. I'd take this one step further, have Hardy actually forge his weigh-ins to be under the weight limit, but the other cruisers know he is bullshitting and strive to expose him as a liar. Everyone can have their spots in this match, I would have Hardy retain the title thanks to his ladder match experience. Have Rey Mysterio successfully prove Matt has lied about his weight setting up a singles match on Smackdown or the next PPV where Rey can defeat him for the title.

Next up we have a cross-promotion match between the two tag champions. Raw and Smackdown GMs Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon had quite the rivalry of one-upmanship throughout 2002 into 2003. Have them boast about their roster and their champions, both claiming to possess the best tag division in the company. This sets up a champion vs champion match with some humiliating stakes. If Eric's champions Kane and RVD win, then Stephanie has to "shoot a movie" with Raw's creepy Hollywood star Goldust. If Stephanie's champions Team Angle win, then Eric has to suffer the stink face from Smackdown's Rikishi. After a solid 10 minutes of action, I'd put over Team Angle, Shelton Benjamin pinning RVD after the T-bone suplex. Bischoff tries to escape but even fellow Raw stars Kane and RVD want to see his face smother by Rikishi's ass cheeks. Bischoff is humiliated, I'm sure he will want his revenge for that. More on that though in tomorrows booking article.

One thing in this universe that definitely doesn't happen, is the deactivation of the Intercontinental championship. I could accept the US title being unified because we had quite a few titles, but the IC has such a history and it is a great title, it should have stuck around, so I am keeping it around. After Wrestlemania X-8 I had RVD walk out as the IC champion, unifying it with the European championship. He had already unified it with the US champion, he is hoovering up championships. The IC title becomes exclusive to Raw after the draft, he holds it for a good portion of the year before dropping it to Chris Jericho. At the start of 2003 I'd have Jericho enter a feud with Jeff Hardy, he sees Jeff as an overhyped spot monkey who is not on his level as a performer. Whilst in a feud with Jeff Hardy, Booker T has been racking up wins and has earned himself an IC title shot. At No Way Out, Booker T defeats Jericho for the IC championship thanks to Jeff Hardy preventing Y2J from cheating to win. Jeff Hardy beats Jericho on Raw earning himself an IC shot, but Jericho interferes in that match and demands he is fairly added into the match. Bischoff agrees, since he is a heel GM and books the match as a triple threat at Wrestlemania. This means we're not getting Booker T in the world title picture here, but I mean the angle didn't do him any favours anyways did it? The whole "people like you" angle? Definite racial undertones and he still didn't win! Anyways, Booker T goes in as the defending IC champion and he leaves still as the champion too. I can see these 3 having quite the fun match together.

WWE booked Undertaker as a heel going into Wrestlemania X-8 to face Ric Flair, it was a short-lived heel run as he would become a face again by mid-2002 to feud with Lesnar. I would actually delay Undertaker's heel turn until after Wrestlemania X-8 when my invasion angle ends. After yet another battle on behalf of WWE and Vince McMahon, Undertaker has had enough of fighting Vince's battles and says no more. He starts threatening and making demands to Smackdown GM Stephanie, saying he has paid his dues to get anything he wants, starting to be a real dick about it. This brings out Vince McMahon who reminds Undertaker "As long as your name is on a WWE contract, I own you. You are my employee and you will fall in line." He isn't going full blown evil Vince, but both men are not acting very favourably. Undertaker shows his loyalty by chokeslamming Vince off the stage. He then goes on a rampage where he promises to destroy everything that Vince loves. He goes after the world champion Brock Lesnar and feuds with him trying to destroy the WWE championship. At the start of 2003 though, Undertaker gets personal and begins to threaten Stephanie, to the point that she suspends him and bans him from appearing weekly. Undertaker, feels his suspension is unfair so he pays Vince a personal visit at his home, except Vince is not there. Linda answers the door, Taker lets himself in, we don't see anything but we are led to assume that he attacks Linda. This triggers the return of Shane McMahon, who convinces Stephanie to reinstate Undertaker and he challenges him to a match at Wrestlemania. "You talk about making people famous, well how about I make you famous when I become the first person to defeat you at Wrestlemania." Another small reference of the streak. Undertaker accepts but ups the ante by making it a Hell in a Cell match. Basically, I'm doing this so we can get Taker vs Shane 13 years before WWE booked it, because whilst the spot was awesome, the match was dull. Here though, both men are younger and Shane was a far more capable wrestler in his younger years. This should be a bloody war as Undertaker murders Shane, whilst the latter is fighting to survive. We can still see the huge dive off of the top of the Cell to the announce table. Undertaker defeats Shane after a violent match, I would use this to write off Shane from WWE mostly permanently. I wouldn't have him involved with another storyline until the Triple H vs Legacy feud in 2008/2009. Yes that means we won't see Kane electrocute Shane's testicles, I am sorry. Shane focuses on his own life for a while after this when he realises that it is no longer his destiny to take over the company.

When I do these bookings I do try to change as much as I can whilst leaving in a couple of matches if they were too good not to include. It gives me a challenge and makes for a better read. Unfortunately I am cutting Angle vs Lesnar, but I will make up for it. So, like what WWE did have Lesnar win the WWE championship from The Rock at Summerslam but he should hold it right until No Way Out, where he loses the title to the first match he has with Kurt Angle thanks to Paul Heyman turning on him. Lesnar is an angry man-shark gunning to Heyman who avoids coming to TV to prevent being mauled. Heyman begs and pleads saying that he didn't have a choice, "he" made me do it. Lesnar agrees to not hurt Heyman as long as he can come and correctly explain himself. On the Smackdown before Wrestlemania, Heyman returns to Smackdown and says he was approached by someone who wanted me to be his manager. I said no, he offered me more money than I have seen before and I still said no. However, he threatened his very livelihood and if you knew who this man was, you would understand. I had to say yes. Lesnar asks who is his new client. Heyman says "He said not to tell you. All he said was that he had a list of names, and you're first. Be prepared at Wrestlemania." Lesnar, F-5's Heyman anyways because he is an angry boulder. At Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar comes out dressed to fight, Paul Heyman comes out and introduces Lesnar's opponent...Goldberg. Now Goldberg debuted the night after Wrestlemania anyways, so he must have signed early in March. The first Lesnar vs Goldberg sucked because both men were leaving, so why not book it when both men are 100% still around. Goldberg gets his grandiose entrance, then he comes face to face with Lesnar. Have this be an explosive 5-10 minute match, Goldberg pinning Lesnar clean after a jackhammer to win his WWE debut at Wrestlemania. Goldberg is here.

Immediately following that is Steve Austin vs The Rock, the third and final Wrestlemania match. Whilst their WM X-7 match is better, I love the closing sequence to this match so fucking much. The Rock desperate to finally defeat his greatest adversary but Austin keeps kicking out. I wouldn't change a thing. The build was excellent with Hollywood Rock being the best version of the Rock. The match was a perfect send off to WWE's most lucrative talent ever. Rock finally getting the biggest win of his career was the right call. Unmatched storytelling spanning 4 years.

Victoria defeated Trish Stratus at Survivor Series for the women's championship. At Armageddon, Victoria retained in a triple threat match by pinning Jacqueline. WWE booked all of that and it is all good stuff. I would keep Victoria defending her title but avoiding Trish at all costs, or being able to defeat Trish thanks to her manager Steven Richards. At the Rumble, Trish as 3 count on Victoria but the referee misses it thanks to Richards interference. At No Way Out, Victoria defends against the returning Jazz but Trish actually helps Victoria get the win. Trish defeats Jazz on Raw to earn her title match and says she is the one who must take the title from Victoria. That is exactly what should happen. After a good 5-10 minute wrestle Trish defeats Victoria to win herself another women's championship.

I realised when trying to come up with a card for this show that I have booked Hogan to lose at Wrestlemania far more often than I thought. Whilst that is a little funny, I cannot deny his star power and I should probably give him a win here. I didn't want to rehash to Hogan vs Vince match so I had to come up with a reasonable opponent that fans wouldn't get too pissy at me booking to lose to him. I didn't come up with one, I came up with two. I established that in late 2001 to early 2002, the UnAmericans would form consisting of Christian, Test, Lance Storm & William Regal. Their whole thing is "fuck America" which makes them perfect. What is more American other than the 'real American' Hulk? He would only be more American if he soared into the arena on a bald eagle made of pies. In the lead up to Wrestlemania, have the UnAmericans do their usual anti-America stuff when they are challenged by Hogan who loves the good ol' red, white and blue. They beat up Hogan for a couple of weeks but tell him he can bring any American he wants to team with him and they will squash them at Wrestlemania. Christian and Storm represent their faction at Wrestlemania, Hogan comes out draped in American merchandise, becasue of course he is. He brings out his mystery partner, Mick Foley! Everyone loves Mick Foley, and that might wash the bad taste of Hulkamania out of your mouth. This shouldn't go too long since both Hogan and Foley are limited as wrestlers, but it should be a fun victory for the faces and I know Christian and Storm would make them look great in there. I'd reward Christian with an IC title reign later on in the year, Storm can get another tag title reign alongside fellow Canadian, Test.

Two big title matches left and a handful of big names unmentioned. First, the WWE championship. Kurt Angle defends in a triple threat match featuring Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. If you remember from my booking of Wrestlemania 2000, I had both Guerrero and Benoit defeat Angle in seperate singles matches to take the IC and European titles from him. That should come in to play for the build to this match. Both Guerrero are in a mini feud already after Guerrero turned on him to form Los Guerreros with his cousin Chavo. During their feud, they both score non-title victories over the current world champion Angle. Both men claim that when it means the most, Angle simply cannot defeat them and both argue over who gets the WWE title shot. In a number 1 contender match, Angle inteferes and destroys them both with a chair, declaring that he is better than both of them and he will prove it by beating them both at the same time. How does a 15-20 minute WWE title match featuring these 3 guys sound? It sounds pretty fucking delicious doesn't it? 5 star potential for sure. I would have Angle retain his championship, but I imagine all men will walk out of this looking great.

So that leaves our main event and I assume you've figured out the two big names left. At Summerslam 2002, the amazing Shawn Michaels returned and proved he still had it by having a match of the year quality match with former friend now foe, Triple H. HBK won but was battered after it though and was also attacked by HHH after the bell, sending him off in an ambulance. HBK returned a few months later and won the Elimination chamber to win the Heavyweight championship from Triple H. I'd keep all of that, but here is how I begin to change things. In the lead up the Armageddon, commentary and HBK push the narrative that Michaels is simply better and Triple H has failed twice now to defeat him. Their next match is not the self-indulgent Three Stages of Hell we got, it is actually just a straight up singles. HBK says "You want to call yourself the Game? You think you're better than the Heartbreak Kid? Prove it. No tricks, no brawling or using weapons. Just you and me in a straight up wrestling match." Triple H agrees, but of course he does cheat throughout their match in order to win. HBK retains the world championship in a 20 minute wrestle. After the match HBK tries to extend a handshake to his former best friend, Triple H low blows him and pedigrees him. Michaels, after beating Triple H 3 times in a row, refuses to defend his title against him anymore and instead seeks out other challengers. He wrestles younger stars such as Booker T, Jeff Hardy, Christian and RVD on Raw and has a mini feud with the debuting Scott Steiner, facing him at the Royal Rumble. During that show, Triple H wins the Rumble match and guarantees himself a world title match and of course he chooses HBK. Not only does he deserve to be world champion, he needs to beat Shawn and prove to everyone and himself that he is indeed better. A key note here is Evolution have not formed yet. Both Batista and Randy Orton are doing there own thing on Raw currently, but Ric Flair has begun mentoring Triple H and accompanying him to the ring. They agree to making it a No DQ match, however Ric Flair is banned from appearing at ringside. These two wrestle an epic war, with call backs to their previous matches together and also Michaels' history. HBK has a sharpshooter in, which HHH reverses into his own and he gestures at the timekeeper to ring the bell even though HBK hasn't tapped out. Michaels hits a splash from the top of a ladder similar to his one at Wrestlemania X. Lovely little moments like that really add drama to a match. As Michaels tunes up the band, he is dragged out of the ring by Randy Orton. He manages to fight him of, but then he is speared by a charging Batista. They mug Michaels, who suffers a Batista bomb and then an RKO. They feed him a weak Michaels to HHH, he does the "suck it" crotch chop before nailing a pedigree. He finally defeats Michaels and does it on the grandest stage. After posing and celebrating in the ring Triple H stands at the top of the ramp alongside Orton, Batista and then Ric Flair joins them. They pose. Evolution offically forms at Wrestlemania XIX as the show closes.

This one took some thinking and planning but I managed to re-create a card that should be as good as Wrestlemania XIX was. Trying to perfect perfection is a painful task. Here is a quick recap of the new card:

Matt Hardy (c) vs Billy Kidman vs Rey Mysterio vs Jamie Noble vs Tajiri vs Chavo Guerrero, Ladder match for Cruiserweight Championship

Kane & RVD (Raw) vs Team Angle (SD), Cross-promotion champion vs champion

Booker T (c) vs Jeff Hardy vs Chris Jericho, IC Championship

Undertaker vs Shane McMahon, Hell in a Cell

Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg

Steve Austin vs The Rock

Victoria (c) vs Trish Stratus, Women's Championship

UnAmericans vs Hulk Hogan & Mick Foley

Kurt Angle (c) vs Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero, WWE Championship

Shawn Michaels (c) vs Triple H, No DQ for Heavyweight Championship

What did you think? Would you enjoy this show just as much as the real Wrestlemania XIX? Would you do anything different? Let me know and come back tomorrow for a rebooking of Wrestlemania XX. Another show with a lot to love on it, as well as some rough spots including the most disappointing first time ever showdown of all time. I'll fix it. Until tomorrow, take it easy.


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