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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania XV

When people talk about some of the worst Wrestlemania's off all time, this one always comes up as a candidate. Sure, it is main evented by the first entry in the Rock/Austin Wrestlemania trilogy. It was a very good main event that saves the event from being the absolute worst, but it does not remove the amount of trash on the card. Here it is:

Billy Gunn (c) vs Hardcore Holly vs Al Snow, Hardcore Championship

Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett (c) vs D'Lo Brown & Test, Tag Championships

Butterbean vs Bart Gunn, Brawl for All

Mankind vs Big Show

Road Dogg (c) vs Goldust vs Ken Shamrock vs Val Venis, IC Championship

Kane vs Triple H

Sable (c) vs Tori, Women's Championship

Shane McMahon (c) vs X-Pac, European Championship

Undertaker vs Big Boss Man, Hell in a Cell

The Rock (c) vs Steve Austin, No DQ for WWF Championship

I have an issue with nearly every single match on the show. For months they had booked Billy Gunn in the IC title picture and Road Dogg in the hardcore title picture, then in the weeks prior to Wrestlemania had them swap feuds for literally no reason. D'Lo Brown & Test were a mash-up team who shouldn't be challenging for the tag titles. Hart and Jarrett got 4 minutes of PPV time. The Brawl for All, well I don't have to add anymore, everyone already knows how terrible the whole thing was. Mankind vs Big Show sucked, ending with Big Show turning from heel to face for the first of many times after being in WWE for 1 month. The Kane vs Triple H had good storytelling but a bad match. Sable vs Tori was the worst match on the show I think, either than or the godawful Hell in a Cell featuring a staged hanging. The European match was good. The main event was good too even if they got a bit trigger happy on the poor referees. Considering how well they had crafted the Austin vs The Corporation angle with all of the interwoven side stories featuring DX, Mankind and the Brothers of Destruction. This show is a wet fart. WWE, this is how its done.

Straight off the bat, there is not going to be a Butterbean appearance. In fact, in this universe the Brawl for All never happened and didn't exist. It was a doomed idea from the beginning, having a competition with "real" fighting taking place amongst your "fake" fighting. It was damaging and exposing to the business, it made the competitors look incompetent, no one got over. We're scrapping it. There is going to be a running narrative throughout this show. With the Corporation officially forming in late '98, the heels in charge are sick of the antics of Austin, DX and the other good guys. By the end of Wrestlemania, they want to be holding all of the gold. Every title is up for grabs, 3 of them held by the Corporation, 3 of them not. All of the members of the Corporation are the same as in real life, with a couple of additions. Sable as the heel women's champion and Jeff Jarrett. From Mania 14 to Mania 15, the main story is about the talent vs the Corporation, of course there is sub stories and plot lines but ultimately that is what everyone is invested in. I would have Undertaker start to form his Ministry of Darkness, however he does not begin to challenge Vince McMahon and the corporation yet, save that for after Wrestlemania. The heel vs heel thing didn't work, after Wrestlemania you can begin to turn some people heel/face and have Undertaker begin to make Vince McMahon's life a living hell. I'm sure I'll address that in tomorrows rebooking.

So, how do we start the show? I think we should just put two young teams out who have something to prove and will work their hardest to have a good match. Edge & Christian vs the Hardy Boyz. These 4 lads would gain a lot more popularity over the course of the next few years, but I think a fast paced 5-10 minute match to start will excite the crowd. The Brood recently were brought into Undertaker's ministry, the Hardys don't really have anything going on right now so heel Edge & Christian get a win in the first match.

Next we have our first of 2 women's matches tonight. In 1998 WWE brought back the women's championship, Jacqueline defeating Sable to win the title, but dropped it to Sable at Survivor Series who held it for 6 months. They had plans for Luna and Sable to feud past the Royal Rumble but Luna was suspended for fighting Sable backstage, that is a shoot not fiction. Luna hated Sable for her attitude and lack of care for the art of wrestling. I'm hoping how I book this would avoid Luna being suspended because I want her to win a women's championship like she deserved. So, in November WWE announce the return of the women's title and Luna is really motivated to win it, but management have different ideas. Vince and Shane both personally award the title to Sable as she joins the Corporation and turns heel. They call Sable the most perfect, ideal woman on the entire roster. Luna launches an attack on Sable, she says that every other woman on the roster has far more talent than she does and deserve the title more. Every time Luna tries to get a title opportunity, she is knocked back with bullshit excuses such as "oh Sable has came down with a fever" or "we simply don't have time for a women's title match tonight." However, they do award title shots to more "conventionally" attractive wrestlers; Jacqueline, Ivory, Terri. Luna refuses to let it go, making Sable and the Corporation's life difficult every week. They suspend her but offer her a deal. She must defeat Jacqueline at Wrestlemania and if she does, she can have a match with Sable later that night. If Luna loses either match, she is fired. So at Wrestlemania, Luna defeats Jacqueline in a short but solid match. Afterwards, she is beaten down by Jacqueline, then Shane McMahon comes out and says he forgot to say that there is actually another opponent she needs to get past. Out comes Ivory. Luna gets through it and just manages to pin Ivory, winning 2 matches to get her title shot. Sable comes out and clocks her with the title before running away laughing at the beaten up Luna.

In real life, Kane is part of the Corporation and has held Chyna hostage only for her to low blow Triple H and officially join the Corporation. What they did was have a tag match with those 3 plus X-Pac at St Valentine's Massacre, then a Kane vs HHH match at Wrestlemania. First what I would do different is have Triple H and X-Pac be the reigning tag champions. Corporation members Boss Man & Shamrock held the belts in December, let's say HHH & Pac win them at the Royal Rumble. Instead of at Mania, I would have the Kane vs HHH match happen the Valentine's Massacre, Kane winning thanks to the Corporation being bastards. The feud escalates as it does, HHH using a flamethrower whilst dressed as Goldust was pretty funny, and this sets up the tag title match at Wrestlemania. Kane & Chyna vs Triple H & X-Pac. Their match in real life was pretty good. It can play out similarly except we are keeping in the swerve we got. Chyna doesn't get in ring at all at first, it is all Kane vs HHH or X-Pac. Eventually Chyna gets the tag in, X-Pac draws the attention of the referee as Chyna says "suck it" and boots Kane right in his big red testicles. It is a 3v1 beatdown, Kane takes the pedigree and loses. Chyna reunites with HHH and X-Pac. They're in high spirits as they're interviewed backstage. X-Pac says all he has to do now is shut up that privileged asshole and win back his European championship. More on that later.

Next up is hardcore title action, the champion is Al Snow defending against Big Show and Mankind. After Big Show costs Mankind the WWF title in the lead up to Wrestlemania, the Corporation reward him by giving him a shot at Al Snow's hardcore championship. Mankind interferes in every Big Show match on the road to Mania. He says nothing can stop him from interfering in a Hardcore match so they might as well add him in or he'll make sure Big Show won't walk as champion. Mr McMahon reluctantly adds him to the match. This can be your usual fun hardcore nonsense, both Snow & Mankind work well in these matches and Big Show can take a lot of hits. They try to work together to slay the giant but Show double chokeslams them both and pins them both to win the title.

Following that is the IC championship, Owen Hart defending against Jeff Jarrett. If you remember, this feud began at the previous Wrestlemania when I had Jarrett turn heel on Owen. Jarrett aligns himself with Mr McMahon as one of the earliest members of the Corporation. He helps with dealing with Austin but mainly his goal is to run the last Hart out of the company. I would have Jarrett and Owen feud over the next few months, Jarrett ultimately winning the feud with a big win at Summerslam. I'll quickly cover what happens with the IC title before continuing. The Rock won it at Wrestlemania 14, I would have him feud with Triple H throughout the year (which happens for real) with the title going back and forth between them. It ends up with Triple H who ends up vacating it due to a knee injury. In October, Ken Shamrock wins the vacant belt which also really happened. At the Rumble though, I would have Owen Hart defeat Shamrock for the title and hold it until Wrestlemania. With all of the other members of the corporation failing to take it from Owen, McMahon tasks Jeff with once again defeating him. I know these would have a great match. I would book Jarrett to win once again so he can hold the title for the majority of 1999, like he does in reality. On commentary JR can be upset that the Corporation control all but 1 championship so far, but Lawler of course ships the heels.

Next up is a 6-man Philly Street Fight. Big Boss Man, Test and Ken Shamrock represent the Corporation, they fight Val Venis and the New Age Outlaws. Look, the solo pushes for Road Dogg and Billy Gunn didn't work at all. Dogg had all the charisma but lacked the in-ring work, Billy Gunn was just average at both of those things. Let's just keep them together for the time being. I would have the Corporation beat the Outlaws for the tag titles, and also Venis failed numerous times to defeat Shamrock when he was IC champion due to the Corporation interfering. The feud builds intensity over the months and we get a fun brawl here. Philadelphia love hardcore fighting, plus this would be far better than literally every other match these 6 men participated in. Venis & the Outlaws get a face victory. Vince is backstage angry at the loss by his goons but Shane reminds him they currently hold 5 of 6 championships, he will make sure he keeps his in his match next.

X-Pac vs Shane McMahon was one of two good matches on the original card. I'm keeping it in, not only was the match good but the booking was amazing. Triple H and Chyna come out, it looks like they're here to help their DX buddy until HHH hits the pedigree to his former friend and drags Shane over him for the win. Afterwards, Triple H mocks X-Pac and DX in a brief segment and tells X-Pac he's out. He hands one of the Tag Championships to Chyna. JR gasps in horror "The Corporation now hold all of the gold."

Trying to figure out who the Undertaker should face was a difficult one. I booked a Hell in a Cell match with Kane yesterday so I won't have another one here. Pretty much all of the other big names are in matches already, so I was left with limited options. So I went a little left field and I hope any of you are wrestling purists and will appreciate this decision. So in early 1999 Undertaker begins kidnapping people and bringing them into his little cult. The Brood, the Acolytes, Mideon and Viscera. He targets another man, but every ambush attempt he fights off and is unscathed. That man, 'Dr Death' Steve Williams. His run in the WWF was butchered thanks to the Brawl for All, but in my little universe that never happened! Williams had some great physical matches in his time in Japan and WCW. I think he and Undertaker could have a really fun hoss fight. Undertaker cuts promos telling Dr Death to give in to the darkness and become a slave to ministry. Williams refuses and kicks the ass of anyone who tries to abduct him. Give them 10 minutes at Wrestlemania to stiffly beat the snot out of each other, Taker wins with help from the Ministry. Williams now succumbs to the darkness and becomes Undertaker's right hand man. He would probably stick around for a while longer if this happened, he would end up back in WCW before the end of the year.

Our penultimate match is Sable vs Luna Vachon for the women's championship. Sable comes out all sexy and confident, she doesn't think Luna is even going to make it to the ring. Yet, here she comes. She limps down to the ring but she is full of vengeance. Sable tries to make her escape, but out come the other women in the locker room who are sick of Sable's preferential treatment. They stop her from leaving up the ramp, Luna drags her back to the ring and goes to town. She squashes Sable in a few minutes to win her first women's championship. It would be a great moment. Sable was great to look at, but she was a really bad wrestler outside of her awesome Sable bomb. Luna was a hard worker and really deserved to be crowned at least once. This would probably prevent all of the backstage issues, but maybe not since we are aware of Luna's mental health issues. JR hypes this up with the Corporation no longer holding every title and questions whether they can hold on to the world championship.

Austin vs Rock, it has to be of course. The match and the result are the same, but there is plenty I would change about how we get there. The world title picture is booked expertly through 1998, I liked how McMahon used any way to get the title off Austin. I loved the Deadly Games Survivor Series with the Rock walking out as the Corporate champion. The way things take a turn as at the Royal Rumble, what a bad rumble match it was. Austin and McMahon are 1 and 2, it isn't long until they go backstage and Austin is ambushed and removed from the match temporarily. Outside of Austin shenanigans, there is zero structure or focus elsewhere and the match really suffers. Midcarders fight for most of it, no one looked like they would actually win other than Austin who came back late in the match to almost win, then Vince won. It's dumb as shit. This is where I would book Austin's second rumble win. Sure it's predictable but sometimes the predictable outcome is the right one. Have the $100,000 bounty still, have the Corporation stack the deck against him but also have entrants in the match who are anti-corporation fight alongside him. DX, Owen Hart, Val Venis, whoever else. Vince McMahon should not be in the match. However, at number 30 I would have the Rock enter. The WWF champion is in to try and eliminate Austin himself. We wittle down the entrants until our final 2 are Austin and Rock, the Texan getting the win and booking his Wrestlemania match. With the build to St Valentine's Massacre, I still want that steel cage match because I love it. Mr McMahon hatches one last plan to try stop Austin from being a world champion. The ultimate stakes. He challenges Austin to the match and says if Austin wins, then he will guarantee no one from the Corporation will interfere in his Wrestlemania match. However, if Austin loses then he forfeits his main event match. Austin is baited into agreeing since he hates Vince so much. That match plays out as it does in real life.

After his loss, Vince says he is a man of his word. There is no way that the Corporation can interfere in the match...when they are going to be working the match! He appoints Corporation members in roles for the match, he even just makes some up. Pat Patterson is the special second referee, Boss Man is the outside ring enforcer, Gerald Brisco is appointed as a "rules consultant". Once again, the deck is being stacked against Austin. At Wrestlemania, before the bell we hear the music of WWF's commissioner, Shawn Michaels. He says that owner Vince can flex his power as much as he wants, but he knows that the commissioner is the only one who can appoint a senior official to the match and he has hand picked someone to keep the match in order. Out comes Mankind with black stripes spray-painted on his shirt. We get a very similar match to real life. No one else from the corporation are allowed at ringside, any time Patterson, Brisco or Boss Man try anything Mankind nips it in the bud. Mankind is eventually taken out though, Boss Man wipes him out. Patterson gets in and puts on a referee shirt, before being immediately hit with a stunner. Brisco starts barking about a DQ for assaulting an official, so Austin hits him with a stunner too. A stunner for Boss Man and a final stunner for The Rock gets Stone Cold a well earned victory. At the end of it all, Vince is disappointed with the defeat. He offers a handshake to Austin, saying "I give up. You win." Austin grabs it and shakes it, but as soon as Vince turns to leave he eats a Stone Cold Stunner to close the show. That ties a nice little bow around the Austin vs McMahon story for the time being. McMahon focuses on feuding with the Undertaker's ministry and Austin can continue his feuds with the corporation and other heels but stays away from Vince for now. Austin vs ministry Taker should probably happen. What shouldn't happen though is Vince McMahon being revealed as the higher power. What an awful twist to 1999's most intriguing angle.

Here is a recap of the card I have made:

Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz

Luna Vachon vs Jacqueline & Ivory, Gaunlet match

Triple H & X-Pac (c) vs Kane & Chyna, Tag Championships

Al Snow (c) vs Mankind vs Big Show, Hardcore Championship

Owen Hart (c) vs Jeff Jarrett, IC Championship

Big Boss Man, Test & Ken Shamrock vs Val Venis & New Age Outlaws, Philly Street Fight

Shane McMahon (c) vs X-Pac, European Championship

The Undertaker vs Steve Williams

Sable (c) vs Luna Vachon, Women's Championship

The Rock (c) vs Steve Austin, No DQ for WWF Championship

What are your thoughts and feelings? I mean, Wrestlemania 15 was pretty shit so surely this is an improvement even if you don't like everything on it. It is worth mentioning that each rebooking follows on from the last so if you miss any of them and you're confused about me talking about things that never happened, then that is probably why. Check back tomorrow when we talk about Wrestlemania 2000. Fuck me it's another messy one, I've got plenty of work to do. Until then, see ya!


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