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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Wrestlemania XXVI

Wrestlemania 26 was a mixed bag of show, containing entertaining matches such as Jericho vs Edge and featuring, well, one senior beating up another senior with a bin. Here's the card:

Shomiz (c) vs John Morrison & R-Truth, Unified Tag Championships

Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase

MITB Ladder match

Triple H vs Sheamus

Rey Mysterio vs CM Punk

Bret Hart vs Mr McMahon, No Holds Barred Lumberjack match

Chris Jericho (c) vs Edge, Heavyweight Championship

Alicia Fox, LayCool, Maryse & Vickie Guerrero vs Beth Phoenix. Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly & Mickie James

Batista (c) vs John Cena, WWE Championship

The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels, No DQ Streak vs Career

There is plenty of stuff on this show, some good, some bad, some questionable. However, the biggest talking point is of course...the 10-woman tag match I mean hot damn, 5 stars! Of course it's the main event. The year long story of Michaels' obsession with breaking the Undertaker streak culminating with an amazing match, calling an end to the Heartbreak Kid's career. He NEVER came back at Crown Jewel, shut up, that never happened. Whilst the main event was flawless the rest of the card left a lot to be desired. WWE, this is how its done.

The show still begins with the usual Money in the Bank ladder match, the last one to be won at Wrestlemania. The contestants are; Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, MVP, Kofi Kingston & Sheamus. In this booking, Sheamus does not win the WWE champion from John Cena at TLC, whilst a shocking moment, it came far too early for Sheamus and I actually think it damaged his credibility as a main eventer more than boosted it. Instead he defeats Kofi Kingston at TLC for the US championship, most importantly however, he is being mentored and guided by his new manager, Finlay. Finlay is proud Sheamus has won the US title like he once did, but he wants them to send a message to the rest of the WWE locker room. THe night after winning the US title, Sheamus throws the title away and reintroduces the WWE European Championship. Sheamus says being the champion of USA is not a bragging right, it is a given. Being the best in all of Europe is a more fitting title. He is the still champion whilst also winning the MITB briefcase here. I think all of the competitors in this match are capable of creating a fun match. Christian, Benjamin and MVP being the more experienced performers but Zigger, Bourne and Kofi have their shining moments. Eventually Sheamus clears out the competition and wins his briefcase. We'll talk more about that plays out, tomorrow.

For the past couple of days I have built up Beth Phoenix as an unconquerable monster in the women's division, but now her historic reign finally comes to an end. By Wrestlemania 26, her reign will be well over 800 days. She has defeated anyone willing to step up to her, but recently there hasn't been that many. She defends her title at the big 4 shows, but many of the other women choose to challenge for the alternate Divas championship because they see their chances better at winning that one. In fact, before Wrestlemania 26 I wouldn't have Phoenix defend it since Survivor Series where she can defeat Mickie James once again. Throughout 2009 though, we have the rise of a new female star. A woman that comes from a special wrestling family that also begins to be seen in WWE once again. Representing the Hart Family, Natalya. Natalya builds momentum in 2009, getting wins over a lot of the roster with her biggest being against Melina at the Royal Rumble at the start of 2010. At Elimination Chamber, Natalya wins a multi-woman match to become number 1 contender for the Divas championship at Wrestlemania. On Raw we get a Natalya promo, she says "What has happened to women's wrestling here? Ever since Trish and Lita left, there is a real lack of ambition. Beth Phoenix has been the iron fist of this division, to the point that they created a secondary title so the other children have something to play with. Well I was brought up better than this. I graduated from the Hart dungeon. I'm a goddamn wrestler and I compete to be the best. Beth Phoenix, you're a great wrestler, the best WWE has seen in a while, but you ain't a Hart. I'm coming for you at Wrestlemania." Beth Phoenix is overjoyed, she says this is the most excited she has been for a title defence, finally someone with fire and emotion that she can crush. It has been a while since she has been able to break someone as much as she is going to do at Wrestlemania. At the PPV, it is a real David vs Goliath. Natalya tries to chip away but Phoenix has a powerful response for everything. Natalya weathers the storm, and she reaps the rewards. She nails Phoenix with two of her discus clotheslines, before using her dad's own finisher the Anvil Flattener (a front powerslam) followed by the Anvilizer (a cobra clutch). Beth struggles for a while, but eventually she passes out and Natalya is declared the winner. She finally dethrones Beth Phoenix. You can have them continue the feud if you like, maybe Beth says she never said she quit and that sets up a submission match or a no DQ match, the worlds your oyster. This won't be the last we see of our new women's champion.

CM Punk won the WWE championship at Wrestlemania 25, cashing in the MITB contract on the same night of winning it, replacing Jeff Hardy who was attacked by a mystery assailant. The mystery was revealed to actually be CM Punk, who was disgusted by Jeff Hardy's lifestyle and refused to allow him the opportunity to be the face of the company again. This begins their awesome 2009 feud, the early signs of the beginning of the Straight Edge Society. Punk walks out of Summerslam as WWE champion, Jeff hardy leaves the company. After that, we start getting more of the straight edge stuff. Punk preaches about being pure, alcohol-free and all of that stuff. Punk retains against Triple H at Breaking Point thanks to the interference of newly recruited Luke Gallows. At Hell in a Cell the scheduled match is CM Punk vs Batista, however Batista picks up an injury in a tag match alongside Rey Mysterio on Smackdown, after he lent a favour to Rey who has been having issues with tag champions Chris Jericho and Big Show. A new contender is crowned as Triple H wins a gauntlet match but due to the nature of losing it last time, he convinces the GM to make it Hell in a Cell. Punk loses the title here and begins to spiral further into madness. His sermons become more frequent, they got longer and he always has someone else to blame for his shortcomings and the state of the world today. Not only does he have Luke Gallows and Serena, but he brings back Joey Mercury as a follower and he convinces Mike Knox who no one remembers to shave his hair and beard then join him. Punk continues to be an inconvenience on TV. He is walking around shouting and preaching in the back of people's interviews and promos. One time, he walks past Matt Hardy who makes a comment under his breath along the lines of "get a load of this guy!" This triggers Punk to attack him the next week on Smackdown. Punk says "Matt I have made an example out of you, but that is okay. There is always a reason for the things that happen, for you Matt, you need to fall before you can rise again. I see your potential and as the saviour of the masses I can guide you to the top. Join me Matt, pledge your loyalty to me." Matt refuses, and they have a match on Smackdown which Punk wins thanks to all of his followers support. Punk again pleads to him to join him. "Don't make me destroy you Matt. I have already scrubbed one Hardy from this company, and I will do it again if I see it fit." Hardy pretends to join, but then grabs a chair and smacks everyone around with it. Punk and Hardy wrestle at Wrestlemania in a Lumberjack match, if Matt loses he has to join the SES, if Punk loses the faction must dissolve. Half of the lumberjacks of the Straight Edge Society, other half mid-card faces. After a competitive, chaotic match Punk hits a sneaky low blow to Matt, hits a GTS for the 1-2-3. Matt has to join the society. He leaves in late 2010 anyways, but this gives him something good to do in his final months. Also, Punk keeps some momentum after a run in the main event scene.

They really rushed the break up of Legacy, a faction that really had legs rise and fell within a year. After Wrestlemania 25 Orton goes on a world title chase, feuding with Cena (I know that sounds bad initially but they haven't fought near as much in this universe) with Orton eventually taking the title from Cena at Summerslam. Orton then gets into a feud with the Undertaker, whom he drops the title to at Bragging Rights. By this time, Rhodes and DiBiase have dropped their tag titles and are starting to grow a little impatient with the lack of opportunity they're getting. Rhodes says he and Ted have busted their ass and paid their dues but everything seems to always be about Orton becoming world champion. Orton verbally blasts them for being ungrateful for being under his tutelage. He says Legacy is done unless they can prove they're worthy of working with him. Rhodes and DiBiase are pissed and take their aggression out the roster. They get in the ring on Raw for a promo where Cody talks about finally understanding what he has to do to prove himself to Randy. He grabs Ted, hitting a Cross Roads and turning on him. We get the 3-way Legacy stand off in the Royal Rumble, Rhodes attacks DiBiase mercilessly and Orton just stands and watches. Rhodes eliminates DiBiase before staring down Orton. The rest of the entrants get amongst the action though, so we never see them actually fight. At Elimination Chamber, Cody Rhodes defeats Ted DiBiase convincingly. After he calls out Randy "I still respect you Randy, and I consider myself a part of Legacy, but Ted was holding us back. We were born for this. I still want to stand by you, but first I challenge you to prove I am your equal. Orton smiles and accepts but says before leaving "Hard times are coming." Sorry Ted, but it's the truth, you never were as good as these guys. Orton and Rhodes wrestling 10-15 minutes and Rhodes pushes Orton to the limit, but the experienced viper hits the RKO to win the match. Afterwards, a defeat Rhodes is offered a hand by Orton. They shake and maintain their alliance. This should be a soft face turn for both men who I'd keep as allies for the time being but eventually Rhodes would turn heel again and evolve into 'Dashing' Cody Rhodes.

Lets say sometime during 2009, Michelle McCool defeats Melina for the Divas championship. Alongside her ally Layla, they declare themselves co-champions and even "break" the title in half, sharing a half each. I know some people might hate it, but I loved the co-champion booking, it was something unique and they still only acknowledged a singular champion which is the right call. Leading into Wrestlemania they're feuding with Mickie James and Gail Kim. This comes off the back of Natalya's passionate wrestler promo which resonates with Kim and James. They target LayCool as being a detriment to women's wrestling, defiling a championship belt but also being a part of a larger problem. "Women's wrestling isn't about wrestling anymore, it is about looking hot, showing skin and having pillow fights. You are leading that generation, and we don't want to be a part of it anymore. Mickie James & Gail Kim challenge LayCool for a tag team match with the Divas championship on the line, whoever gets the pinfall walks about as champion. James and Kim's sole desire is to take the title for them, but LayCool are both too selfish for their own sake. Both women argue about who should be the recognised champion, allowing Gail Kim to pin Layla to win the championship. LayCool argue as James congratules Kim. At Extreme Rules, I'd have Kim and Natalya face off in a unification match which Natalya wins. The keep the women's championship, no more Divas belt.

So I mentioned earlier that Triple H replaced Batista in his scheduled WWE championship match with Punk, winning the title inside Hell in a Cell. A few weeks later Batista returns to WWE from a brief respite injury. He is greeted in the ring by his best friend Rey Mysterio, they hug and then Batista throws Rey into the ground. the Animal mauls the luchador, similarly to how Batista turned in real life. Batista is sick of the set backs in his career, not just the injuries but always feeling obliged to help the little guy. Well not anymore. At TLC Rey gets a shock victory over Batista, Batista is infuriated. At the Royal Rumble, Triple H loses the WWE championship to John Cena. At Elimination Chamber the match features; champion Cena, Triple H, Batista, Rey, Orton & Punk. STACKED. Punk and Rey are 1 & 2, followed Orton, Cena and Triple H. Punk is eliminated before HHH comes in by Rey, Orton and Cena after trying to perform a sermon mid-match. As soon as HHH walks in, he is hit with an RKO and stunned. He is then hit with Cena's AA, then Cena receives a west coast pop from the fatigued Rey Mysterio. All 5 men are down on the mat, Batista sees this as his time. He smashes his way out of the chamber pod like a minute early. He runs in and hits a Batista bomb to Rey 1-2-3. Then he hits one to Orton, 1-2-3. Another one for Triple H 1-2-3. A final one to John Cena 1-2-kick out! Everyone rolls their eyes thinking that super Cena is once again going to overcome the odds everyone else can't, but Batista quickly hits 2 more Batista bombs and pins Cena to win the WWE championship. Orton can look at getting another title match after he has done his match with Rhodes, but the other 3 men Batista eliminated have something to say. They all feel that Batista ruined the match but the champion doesn't care and he runs down all of them. He calls Rey a weakling who stuck to him trying to steal his spotlight. He says Triple H has been trying to keep him down for 7 years. Finally John Cena, then man who wishes he was the breakout star of his generation but he is not. Management might think so, but the wrestlers don't agree and neither do the fans. This sets up a marquee 4-way match between 4 former world champions. After nearly 20 minutes of competition the match is over and the Batista. No matter what Rey, Cena and HHH threw Batista was able to overcome. Cena hits an AA on Rey Mysterio and goes for a pin but Batista throws him out, hitting a Batista bomb to Rey and retaining the title. This sets up the Batista vs Cena programme which can end in Batista quitting. For now though, he is still on top of the division.

On January 4th Bret Hart makes his return to WWE Raw, making his first appearance outside of the Hall of Fame in over a decade. He says his heartfelt promo with the fans, teases Jerry Lawler and has that moment of forgiveness with Shawn Michaels. After HBK leaves, Bret stands there for a few seconds and nothing happens. It's a little awkward. "I-I'm sorry everyone I was under the impression someone else was coming out but now I feel like I've been made to look silly" Again, nothing happens. Bret shrugs and shakes his head saying "I'm too old for this shit", he goes to exit the ring but the we hear Mr McMahon's music as the boss walks out. He is full of smiles and jubilance. "Hey everyone look, Bret Hart is back in the WWE! What a great moment. Sorry did I keep you waiting Bret? Well, that is because I was waiting for my cue to come out, which is when you invite me down to the ring to tell me something." Bret is confused by this, he says "What have I got to tell you?" Vince smiles and says, "That you are sorry." Bret stares down Vince, before leaving without saying a word. Once again we don't see Bret for a couple of weeks. Vince cuts promos of Raw weeklt where he says Bret should be thanking him for his forgiveness, apologising for abandoning the company in the middle of a war. Without Vince, Bret is nothing. This draws the ire of David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Natalya. The Hart Dynasty. They take issue with Vince's words and his refusal to take responsibility. IC champion Drew McIntyre comes out, because he was Vince's "chosen one" at this time, and he ambushes the Hart Dynasty with a chair. McMahon on the next week buries the Hart Family and how WWE have much better stars that don't come from wrestling families. He invites out reigning Tag champions Big Show and The Miz as well as the IC champion McIntyre. "Look at these guys, they're champions and they didn't have to wrestle their stupid dad in a basement. During the promo, Kidd and Smith return fire with an attack but the 3-2 odds are too much. The Hart Dynasty challenge Vince's 3 champions for a 6-man match at Wrestlemania. McMahon is more than happy to accept since they're at a one man disadvantage. "Oh, did we not tell you? The Hart Dynasty has a third man." Out comes Bret Hart, only making his second appearance since 1997. He says he will fight alongside his family and when they win, he wants 5 minutes kicking Vince's ass. At Wrestlemania, its a 6-man tag. Now, Bret Hart unfortunately has racked up too many injuries that Goldberg may or may not be responsible for and he no longer can wrestle like he used to. He is actually uncleared to even take a bump. So, we keep him in the corner as the finish. David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd valiantly fight against the heels, Mr McMahon on the outside is prevented from cheating by the whole Hart Family. Bret is tagged in at the end to lock in the Sharpshooter on The Miz who taps out. Bret is then handed a chair by Natalya and he goes to town on Vince. He whoops him all the way up the entrance ramp to the stage. Vince wobbles to his feet near the edge of the stage. Bret says "I haven't screwed you Vince. You screwed yourself." One last chair shot to the head of Vince, he falls back off the stage into some electric equipment. He gets carted off by medical staff. Yeah Vince is getting old but he would still take a sick ass bump like this, also we can use smoke and mirrors with crash mats and stuff. The whole Hart Family celebrate in the ring, with women's champion Natalya being the centre of the group.

I'm honestly pretty happy with how the Edge vs Jericho feud played out. In 2009 they formed a team and won the tag titles, however a serious achilles injury put Edge on the sidelines. So, Jericho verbally trashed Edge in a promo before bringing in Big Show as his replacement. They reigned as tag champions for the rest of the year before dropping the titles to DX. Big Show then ditches Jericho and allies with rising heel The Miz to form ShoMiz and then winning the Tag titles back from DX. Jericho has a really good run in the Royal Rumble, until Edge returns at number 29 and immediately eliminates him. Edge goes on to win the rumble match. Jericho wins the Heavyweight championship at Elimination Chamber form the Undertaker thanks to Shawn Michaels reasons, so Edge's choice is clear. He is going to defeat his former ally and once again become Heavyweight champion. They have the match, but this time Edge is the one who wins, countering a Codebreaker with a huge spear for the pin. Edge celebrates his redemption.

Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 26 is my favourite wrestling match of all time. I love it so much. The story built over a year and the storytelling in the match and the rumble and the elimination chamber. It was all done perfectly. There is not a single thing I would change, however I'm going to add some things just for some fan service. I would add one extra section in the later third of the match. Undertaker kicks out of a second Sweet Chin Music. HBK is shocked and at a loss on what he has to do. Then, he bows his head before gesturing his hand to the ramp. Then out comes Triple H still feeling the effects of the match earlier. However, he is not alone. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac all follow him. the Kliq have banded together to help HBK. It is a No Disqualification match however. They get in the ring but HBK stops them, unsure if this is the right thing to do. Kliq exclaim "come on, do you want us to help or not?" This gives Undertaker enough time to rise to his feet and he sees the numbers and he beckons them all on. The Kliq step to him, but then the lights go out. We hear the familiar chilling noise of an organ, the lights turn red, out comes Kane but he is dressed in his original attire. He storms the ring and the Brothers of Destruction reunite to overcome the Kliq. Undertaker does the taunt, then he drops HBK with the tombstone for the 1-2-kick out! Now Taker cannot believe it. HBK then defiantly pulls himself up the Undertaker, mocks him and then slaps him. One more leaping tombstone secures a win. The streak lives, Shawn Michaels' career is over. It is the perfect match, with a perfect send off for the sexy boy.

That is how I would book Wrestlemania 26. Did you like it? Could it have been better? Let me know your feedback. Here is a recap of the card:

Money in the Bank Ladder

Beth Phoenix (c) vs Natalya, Women's Championship

CM Punk vs Matt Hardy, Lumberjack match

Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes

LayCool (c) vs Mickie James & Gail Kim, Divas Championship

Batista (c) vs Rey Mysterio vs John Cena vs Triple H, WWE Championship

Hart Dynasty vs Drew McIntyre & ShoMiz

Chris Jericho (c) vs Edge, Heavyweight Championship

Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels, Streak vs Career

Come back tomorrow when we talk about Wrestlemania 27. Yikes, this is a pretty trash Wrestlemania isn't it? That's the one with the main event of Wrestlemania, featuring the Miz, ends in a double count out and is restarted by a laptop which is beaten up by the Rock. Wrestling is stupid. I'll see you then.


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