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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania XXIV

The roman numerals return! Big up the letters. You know the drill. We're talking about Wrestlemania. The first Floridian Wrestlemania will be forever remembered by having the greatest Wrestlemania host in WWE history. Kim Kardashian. She did such an amazing job. She announced the attendance and said "It's big, that's really big" which is the kind of amazing crowd work and analysis I expect from Wrestlemania hosts. It doesn't matter about anything else but we'll talk about it anyways. Here's the card:

JBL vs Finlay, Belfast Brawl

Money in the Bank Ladder

Batista vs Umaga

Chavo Guerrero (c) vs Kane, ECW Championship

Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair, Career Threatening match

Beth Phoenix & Melina vs Maria Kanellis & Ashley Massaro, Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjill match

Randy Orton (c) vs Triple H vs John Cena, WWE Championship

Floyd Mayweather vs Big Show, No DQ match

Edge (c) vs The Undertaker, Heavyweight Championship

Not a lot of bad on this show. Batista vs Umaga was fine if a bit boring. Kane winning the ECW title in 11 was kinda crap. The BunnyMania match was absolutely humiliating and a big giant wee all over the women's division. Other than that though, I enjoyed everything else. Mayweather took part in one of the best celebrity wrestling matches in literal years, Flair's final WWE match was a beautiful send off and the main event was one of the best Undertaker matches at Wrestlemania. In a time when ratings were falling, creativity was dwindling and the roster was thinning out, WWE pulled out a solid show. I have a job to do though, so let's see how I would do it. WWE, this is how its done.

No better way to kick-off Wrestlemania than the MITB ladder match. 6 men, not 7, 2 from each brand. CM Punk and Shelton Benjamin from ECW, IC champion Chris Jericho and Carlito from Raw, Chavo Guerrero and the Great Khali from Smackdown. "But Connor, Great Khali was the explosive, drizzling shits in WWE. Why would you include him?" Oh I will tell you dear reader. Primarily for 2 things. I want to see Benjamin stand on top of his shoulders and senton down to the other opponents on the outside of the ring, sounds like a cool spot. I also want to see someone like Chavo use Khali as a ladder and climb him towards the briefcase. The two main focuses of this match though are CM Punk and Chris Jericho, who only just returned 4 months prior. Punk, the rising fan favourite vs Jericho the established fan favourite. I would actually have Jericho win this match, I mean he did invent the thing it would be nice if he won one. Punk doesn't get his moment here, but his reign was poorly booked in 2008 so I think I'm saving him. We always have next year's MITB.

Second match of the night is a cross-promotional wager. William Regal is running Raw whilst Vickie Guerrero is running Smackdown. They have a mini competition of brand supremacy, and pit each others tag team champions against each other. Raw's World Tag Champions Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly take on Smackdown's WWE Tag Champions The Miz & John Morrison. I think tag team champions deserve more exposure than WWE gave them. It seemed like after 2003 they really stopped caring about the tag division. Give them 5-10 minutes to work a match and I'd put Miz & Morrison over, and Raw GM Regal is punished by being force-fed worms by the Boogeyman. Those Regal facial expressions are top tier. Kinda filler but harmless.

I had MVP winning the US championship at Wrestlemania 23 and I would have him hold it for the full year. He had that great feud with Matt Hardy that saw them go from enemies to tag champions and then MVP turned on him. A pay-off was delayed until Matt Hardy returned from some time off, he returned the Raw after this Wrestlemania. I'd have it pay off here at Wrestlemania. So, keep their feud the same. Matt Hardy and MVP begin a feud of one-upmanship when MVP said he was better than Matt at everything. This began a series of contests; pizza eating, push-ups, football throwing etc. Hardy wins them all, but MVP cheats to be declared the victor. MVP then claims he could win the tag titles with any partner, so Matt Hardy is assigned to him and once again, MVP proves himself right as they win the tag titles on Smackdown in August and hold them until November. After losing their rematch, MVP attacks Hardy and sidelines him. Hardy needs time off to deal with an appendix injury anyways. Now at Wrestlemania, I'd have MVP come out and talk about his historic reign as US champion and the reason he does not have a match scheduled is because no one is man enough to step up to him. We hear the music play "oooh yeaahh!!" Out comes Matt Hardy, making his return at Wrestlemania and he brings a refere along with him. He asks MVP to put his money where is mouth is. MVP, not wanting to look like a bitch, accepts the match and after 10 minutes, Matt Hardy hits his twist of fate and wins the US championship. Its a great way to make a return and tie a nice little bow on the Hardy-MVP feud.

Next is the HBK vs Flair retirement match and I think was absolutely flawless. Sure the in-ring work wasn't 100% perfect, but Flair is literally a 59 year old wrestling grandpa. The pull off a match of this quality at his age is extremely impressive. The wrestling is still great and the storytelling is even better. The cll backs to past feuds, HBK using the figure four on Flair, Michaels giving sympathy and Flair getting pissed off by it. Then, there is the most perfect emotional finish ever. "I'm sorry, I love you" followed by a Sweet Chin Music to end the match. I love this match so much, I might just go watch it again now. Flair gets a standing ovation while he cries his eyes out. If Flair ain't bleeding, he's crying.

Women's match now and there is no lumberjills, playboy advertising or BunnyMania. Sorry Snoop Dogg. He can still be at the show, let him do a performance for a little while, that'll be nice. Beth Phoenix debuts in 2007 and immediately becomes a threat, running her way through the women's roster and earning herself a women's championship match against the defending Melina at No Mercy in October. She wins the match to win her first women's championship and I want her to be an unstoppable force. For the remainder of 2007 into 2008 she dominates any challenger who steps up to her. Mickie James, Melina and Ashley Massaro all take it upon themselves to liberate the title from Beth's vice grip. This is a fatal four-way and immediately it begins with the 3 women trying to take out Phoenix, they even do a triple powerbomb through the announce table. Melina takes out Ashley then we get a call back to Wrestlemania 2 years prior with a mini Melina vs Mickie James match. Around here it looks like anyone could win, until Phoenix gets back into the action and dominates everyone once again. She hits a Glam slam to Melina on top of Ashley, pinning them both to retain. I would keep her reign just ticking on, I think I'd actually make her have the longest women's title reign outside of Fabulous Moolah's reigns. No one is on her level.

Umaga walked out of Wrestlemania 23 with the WWE championship after defeating John Cena. Umaga should have a nice strong reign throughout 2007 getting wins over John Cena and Triple H. At No Mercy, Umaga just manages to retain against both Triple H and Randy Orton but he is ambushed by Jeff Hardy, who I had to win the MITB briefcase at WM23. He cashes in to win his first world title, huge pop for the fan favourite on his big title win. We'll talk about the WWE title later, but where does that leave Umaga? Well after failing to recapture the WWE title from Hardy, I'd have Umaga immediately turn up on ECW and destroy Tommy Dreamer who was booked to face ECW champion CM Punk for the title. Dreamer is stretchered out and Umaga challenges CM Punk. Punk accepts and aims to get revenge for Dreamer but he loses his title to Umaga who now reigns supreme over ECW. Estrada says Umaga doesn't care who or what brand, he will be the world champion if he says so. He can stay on top of the ECW card until Wrestlemania defeating the few title challengers they have there. Who will step up to the mighty Umaga, asks Joey Styles. A few weeks before Wrestlemania, Tommy Dreamer returns with a trash can of weapons and leathers Umaga with them all. He lays down the challenge, an Orlando Street Fight for the ECW title. At Wrestlemania, Umaga is an unstoppable monster but Dreamer channels his hardcore superpowers to remain in the fight. Towards the finish, a woman hops over the barrier and takes a chair out of Umaga's hands. It is Dreamer's wife, Beulah McGuillicutty. Umaga drops her with a Samoan spike, and this is enough to really fuel the fire Dreamer needs to put away Umaga. He is unrelenting with a trash can, before hitting a barrage of DDTs and pinning the bulldozer to win his second ECW championship and be the only person to win the ECW title in the original promotion and the WWE version.

We have another cross-promotion match next but this one is not about brand supremacy, it is personal. Batista vs Triple H. Now there is a lot of different angles to take here. It has been a couple years since Evolution split up and it can be a feud based on Batista's growth to be HHH's equal as a main eventer. You can make this about who is definitively the better wrestler to come from Evolution. It can simply be a battle of two egos who want to prove they're the best man. I would incorporate all of these things, plus one extra detail. Triple H's boy Shawn Michaels just challenged Flair and successfully ended his career. Batista takes exception to this and believes Triple H put HBK up to the task himself. Batista shouldn't be a full heel here but I would have him be the de facto bad guy, being a bit of a dick to Triple H. These two have good chemistry together, I'd give Triple H the win and this can even be a number 1 contender match.

Let's go back to the WWE championship, in possession of Jeff Hardy in October. Unfortunately, the WWE title is not all Jeff was in possession off and Jeff ends up missing Wrestlemania due to a violation of the wellness policy. I need to book around that. Jeff can have a nice little run from October until January where he enters a feud with Randy Orton. Hardy refuses to shake hands with Orton because he doesn't respect him. Orton repays this by defeating him for the title and he holds it until Wrestlemania. John Cena should still win the rumble because his return was such a shock that even haters cheered his return. A good rumble win and this sets up Cena vs Orton. However, the biggest difference here is that this should be the first ever singles match between these two defining talents. Remove any inconsequential TV matches and scrap the 2007 PPV matches. Essentially, their Summerslam 2007 match takes place here. The big narrative being pushed is the first time ever singles match between the two biggest stars of the current era. That should make this match feel really big, like a modern day Hogan vs Warrior. Their Summerslam match was great, this can be too. Cena has Orton up in the FU but as he flips him, Orton drops Cena with an RKO reversal instead and retains the title. You can continue the Orton vs Cena rivalry over the next couple months and I would have Jericho cash in his MITB contract at Judgement Day to defeat Orton and win the WWE championship.

Our final two matches to talk about are ones that I have little to add or change. I thought Floyd Mayweather's appearance was very beneficial for PPV buys and overall popularity. He and Big Show kept it simple and had a fun little feud with Mayweather getting a victory over his significantly larger adversary. Floyd wasn't great, of course there were some shortcomings (pun unintended) but he was competent and he actually tried which is all I can ask for sometimes. Mayweather KOs Big Show to win. Then, Edge vs Undertaker. What a match. It is one of those moments where WWE overbook the shit out of it and it benefits. Undertaker had insurmountable odds as Edge had his goons Hawkins & Ryder to provide run ins, plus Edge was currently banging the Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero. Edge spent the match always finding a way to avoid or reverse Taker's signature moves, waiting for an opportunity to strike. He finds it after a ref bump, striking Taker with a camera. All of the cheating and interference just wasn't enough. Edge hits a second spear and Taker surprises him with the Hells Gate submission, making Edge tap out. Undertaker is Heavyweight champion again and he goes 16-0 at Wrestlemania.

Here is a recap of the full card I did:

Money in the Bank Ladder

Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes vs Miz & Morrison

MVP (c) vs Matt Hardy, US Championship

Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair

Beth Phoenix (c) vs Mickie James vs Melina vs Ashley Massaro, Women's Championship

Umaga (c) vs Tommy Dreamer, Orlando Street Fight for ECW Championship

Triple H vs Batista

Randy Orton (c) vs John Cena, WWE Championship

Floyd Mayweather vs Big Show, No DQ match

Edge (c) vs The Undertaker, Heavyweight Championship

Did you like it? Did you hate it? Let me know and come back tomorrow for Wrestlemania 25. Definitely not the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania because that is not how anniversaries work. Until then, see ya!


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