Good day, fine gentlemen and ladies. Today we will begin a holiday tradition. I shall give out presents to the rosters of Raw, Smackdown Live, Ring of Honor, and NXT over the following weeks, with a fantasy-booking bent to them. Shall we begin?
This week we will focus on the wrestlers of WWE Raw.
Big Cass – A potential singles storyline against Braun Strowman. Obviously the WWE is building Strowman as unstoppable, but the fans love Big Cass. Strowman can destroy Enzo and Cass can defend his partner. Or, better yet, give Strowman and Cass the big staredown in the middle of the Royal Rumble, eliminate each other, and then feud going forward.
Big E – More mic time. And not necessarily with the New Day. Big E has developed into a fine character since his big heavy debut. We need to see more of him goofing on people and having fun. The contrast between that and his strength is a winning combination.
Big Show – A nice retirement party. Let’s face it, Show has never been good in the ring, and he is just getting worse. However, if he retires, he can act as a full-time WWE ambassador to the media. How great would it be having someone his size show up for an interview and then also knock it out of the park due to his intelligence and fine speaking? That should be his role going forward.
Bo Dallas – I have already floated the idea of Dallas starting his own “flock” type of group. But since his new direction seems to be showing a more selfish direction, let’s just say he starts getting some victories. Maybe even have him attack the cruiserweights and have that be his mission – to destory them or something like that.
Braun Strowman – His projection is going very well, so I’d say stay the course. He could have a good feud with Big Cass and eventually he needs to turn his attention to something that might matter more to him. Maybe the United States championship.
Brock Lesnar – Get your win over Goldberg, finally, and in very dominant fashion. Become the dragon that the knights must slay if they are ever going to save their realm. The dragon is always there, the fear of it is always there, but it rarely has to do battle, except when a knight starts feeling froggy.
Cesaro – I would love to give him a run with the Universal title. But reality is he will probably not be in position for it any time soon. I do like the Cesaro and Sheamus tag team, though. Give them a nice long run with the tag titles so we can see some interesting and new matchups.
Chris Jericho – A scarf which includes the names of the people on his list. Also, a new clipboard would be nice.
Curtis Axel – A valet. Someone to make him seem important. Maybe Summer Rae, or Eva Marie or someone who can’t really wrestle very well, but can draw heat which hopefully can be transferred to Axel.
Darren Young – A trip back down to NXT. This is not a knock on Young, it just doesn’t seem like the Raw writers know what to do with him. His partnership with Bob Backlund succeeded in getting Backlund over, not him. Having Young go back to NXT, where he could do a “return to his glory days” type of gimmick, might just be what is needed to make Darren Young interesting to crowds again.
Enzo Amore – After getting your butt kicked quite a bit, I would say they can start a little bit of an underdog/123 Kid type gimmick for Enzo.
Epico and Primo – 3 weeks vacation in Puerto Rico. Plus, a nice feud against new tag champs – Cesaro and Sheamus..
Finn Balor -A healthy 2017. A safe return from injury and re-entry into the main event scene.
Goldberg – A good showing in the Royal Rumble followed by a Hall of Fame nomination. And then silence.
Goldust – A long contract extension for him to continue doing what he’s doing for as long as he wants to do it. He’s been a good soldier and a very good hand for a long time. I’m not a fan of the Golden Truth team, but keeping Dustin Runnels around makes very good sense.
Jinder Mahal – A new gimmick. Any new gimmick actually. Something that will make me remember he is still on the roster. Maybe rip off the Abyss / Joseph Park gimmick from TNA. Anything that will make Mahal more memorable.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows – If they are going to keep these guys as a tag team, you have to make them seem formidable. Frankly, I can’t see why any team would fear them. So, as a gift, I’d say move them to Smackdown to reunite with AJ Styles, or turn them into mercenaries for hire. Sort of like the APA of old.
Kevin Owens – A long Universal title run. Like a year or so at least. Also, I’d let Owens win a few matches on his own. Treat him like the head of your biggest show.
Kofi Kingston – New Day Kofi is 300% more interesting than single wrestler Kofi. Keep the New Day together, but maybe have all three guys take on some of their own singles battles. Let Kofi feud with Neville for a while and get to shine on his own while his New Day partners cheer him on from ringside.
Mark Henry – You know what wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world? Turn New Day heel and have Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston kick Big E out of the group. Then have Mark Henry replace Big E and kick start the beatdowns.
Neville – Aside from the feud against Kofi I suggested above, I would give Neville some TV time. Have the dude wrestle more often, even if it is just as a spare member for a tag team match or something. Well, there is one other idea I have for him, but we’ll get to that later.
R-Truth – Golden Truth is pretty pointless. I’d have R-Truth split the team up and have he and Goldust feud for a little bit. Then, R-Truth would be a decent opponent for the US Title for a while, without actually winning it.
Roman Reigns – Here you go, big guy. I’m going to get you a badly needed heel turn for Christmas. And here’s how you do it. Attack and then turn your back on Seth Rollins. You and Rollins have made up and the crowd likes the little mini Shield reunion. So take advantage of that and spit in the crowd’s eye. It would send Rollins’ face pops through the roof and would finally allow you to act as the indestructible force the WWE keeps booking you as.
Rusev – This might seem weird, but here goes. Dump Lana. For storyline purposes, you don’t actually have to divorce her. But dump her and dump her hard. Tell her she’s been holding you back. You don’t need her to distract you from your purpose – to be the Universal champion. And then create a hit list which would double as a rating of top contenders and start a bloodbath on your way to a title match.
Sami Zayn – Okay, this is where I will mention Neville again. I like Sami Zayn. Everyone likes Sami Zayn. But Sami Zayn works best as an underdog, according to everyone. What if, instead of an underdog, he was on an even playing field. With Kevin Owens as the Universal champion, have other previous NXT champions start to claim that their NXT reign was the best. Turn it into a challenge tournament of the past NXT champs. Owens would not enter because he is “above” that title now, but the winner of the round robin tournament can get an Universal title shot or something. Zayn can be the one suggesting it. And you would have Zayn, Balor, Neville, Bo Dallas, Big E, and even Seth Rollins involved. The matches would be amazing and would give these guys all something to strive for, regardless of where they are on the totem pole of importance. Bonus thought here – the eventual winner could get jumped by current NXT champion Samoa Joe, because Joe is just badass like that.
Seth Rollins – See the fantasy booking of Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns above. While Rollins will obviously keep fighting for the Universal title for the near while, I think a feud against a turned Roman Reigns will cement his face status. Being involved with the former NXT champions also allows for him to showcase his ability in multiple ways against multiple opponents. Plus, there is the added chance of a future feud with Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura.
Sheamus – See Cesaro’s entry above. I don’t think it is time to kill the tag union with Cesaro yet. I really think they could have a very nice run with the tag team titles. The strength and ability this team holds makes them very effective against any and all teams in the WWE. Just look to the end of their Survivor Series match. That stretch against the Usos was one of the best matches of the whole card.
Sin Cara – You’re still here? Okay, have a participation award. Actually, while I don’t see you advancing beyond the lower card in 2017, I still think you can have some good battles with people like Curtis Axel, Jinder Mahal, Goldust, Enzo Amore, even someone like Chris Jericho. You may not be in any high-profile feuds, but I think you can have a solid streak of victories in the summer sometime to keep you from being a total jobber.
Titus O’Neill – I am not sure what to give you, Titus. You are intelligent, well spoken, well-built. But for some reason, you don’t seem to connect with the audience. You know what might work for you? Natalya’s coach gimmick from over on Smackdown Live. You already have the whistle. Maybe you can “mentor” some of the younger talent and really be a hard ass on them. Base the character off Bill DeMott or Bob Holly or something.
Triple H – Your gift is the continued success of NXT, allowing you to brag about it at the McMahon family dinners. Also, perhaps you can be involved in a “Legends” six to ten man tag team match at Wrestlemania. That way, you can bring in all your part-timers and ex-wrestlers and put them all in one match instead of mucking up the whole card. Think about it.
Xavier Woods – In addition to the New Day heel turn I floated above, I would also like you to get a tryout as an announcer. Maybe not full-time, but maybe Woods could be the official analyst of all New Day matches or something. Maybe give him a live mic while the New Day is wrestling, sort of like Jerry Lawler’s old gimmick that no one was good enough to announce his matches, so he would have to announce them himself.
Alicia Fox and Summer Rae – Continued employment and a role on Total Divas. I don’t have a whole lot else for you. Unless… I know I mentioned Summer Rae as a valet for Curtis Axel… what if Alicia Fox became the first full-time female referee in WWE? She could probably hold her own more than some of the current refs. Plus, it could lead to on-screen shenanigans with the other refs at times. Who doesn’t love referee drama?
Bayley – A slow build towards a title match/victory. A VERY slow build. Everyone loves Bayley. She is the most loveable babyface in a long while. Don’t jump the gun though. Build up a big feud with Sasha. Have Sasha embrace her heel side and really let Bayley have it. At the same time, give Sasha the appearance of ducking Bayley’s challenges. Finally have it all boil over and sign the match for Wrestlemania. Then let those two go at it, with Bayley bringing home the gold.
Sasha Banks – See Bayley above, because I want the Boss to get a nice and slow heel turn where Bayley is the main focus of her torment. Also, keep the belt on her until Wrestlemania to build her up as a strong champion.
Charlotte Flair – First, split from Dana Brooke. Second, go after the title again, but be rebuffed by Sasha each time (with some of the time Sasha winning with a little cheating going on). Then, during a very whiny interview, have Paige come out and tell her to suck it up. Charlotte will lose it on Paige and beat her down viciously. Have those two feud for a couple months. Have Charlotte come out of it as a top contender for the belt again.
Paige – A feud against Charlotte Flair where you are the face. Also, no more wellness violations please. Get back into the ring and kick ass.
Nia Jax – Nia Jax will continue to look like a monster in the division, rolling over almost everyone she faces. Get her a big match against Sasha for the belt at some point and have Sasha cheat to win. Jax can also have some fights with Dana Brooke.
Dana Brooke – After being dismissed by Charlotte, and trying unsuccessfully to re-team with Emma, Dana can begin a storyline of trying to find herself, her way, her purpose. You can throw her into some silly skits every now and then and also have her challenge Nia Jax in an ill-conceived measure of herself. However, she can surprise with a victory or strong showing and allow further battles between the two to continue.
Emma – Sorry, Emmaline. Emmaline will come back as this model-esque Diva character. However, whenever someone comments on her beauty or dismisses her as “just a Diva,” she could fly into a rage and destroy them. Give her a fragile temperment which could see her go off at any moment. She could provide some fodder for Bayley and Paige in the upcoming months.
Bob Backlund – Leave Darren Young and tell everyone that you are considering another run for President. Continue to call out Donald Trump until he shows up at a Pay Per View. Then put Trump in the Crossface Chickenwing and don’t let go until 2020.
Lana – After Rusev dumps you, go through a phase of trying to get him back, trying to tease him with how you dress, trying to make him jealous, etc. When none of that works, offer to team with Emmaline, since you and she are the prettiest divas. After you recover from the horrible beating Emmaline gives you, I would suggest beginning your own talk segment on Raw. Call it Lana’s Lounge or something.
Mick Foley – A chance to actually be Santa Claus and give some of these gifts out to the wrestlers on the roster.
Stephanie McMahon – Some time off. Make it a storyline. Spend a few weeks getting frazzled at the chaos around you. Have Foley offer to run things for you for a few weeks. Rent a beach house from the Shining Stars in a cute segment. Then go and relax for a few weeks. When you return, you could be very chill and easy-going, unlike what you were before. Then, have the stress of Raw slowly grind at you until you return fully to the hard-edged character you were before. It sounds pointless, but it is the kind of pointless that could make for some good television and acting range.
Paul Heyman – I would like to give you a month. Maybe June. During this month, you would be actually in charge of Raw. You could do whatever you wanted, book the show however you wanted, etc. It would be the month of Heyman and it could become an annual event to spice up the dull months after Wrestlemania.
The Cruiserweights – Either make 205 Live the first hour of Raw each week, or keep the Cruiserweights solely on that show. There will be at least one Cruiserweight match on every Raw-branded PPV, possibly two (one on the pre-show and one on the main show). Also, give Cedric Alexander the ball and let him run with it. Not everyone has to dance, you know.
And that is my Christmas List for WWE Raw. Next week, I will fill out my list for WWE Smackdown Live! Join me there!
Tags: bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, emma, Finn Balor, goldberg, Goldust, Kevin Owens, Lana, Mick Foley, Neville, NXT, Paige, Roman Reigns, rusev, sami zayn, Samoa Joe, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The New Day, Triple H