The Fantasy Book on Fantasy Versus Reality WrestleMania 33 (CM Punk, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Finn Balor)

Greetings! We are almost there. WrestleMania is just around the corner. The WWE’s card is set and we just spent a good portion of the past 4 weeks preparing a Fantasy Booked WrestleMania card. Today, we will take a quick look at how the cards stack up and try to determine which one you would rather watch.

To remind us, here is the Reality WWE WrestleMania card:

  1. Neville vs. Austin Aries (WWE Cruiserweight Title)
  2. Alexa Bliss vs. Everyone (Smackdown Women’s Title)
  3. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
  4. Gallows and Anderson vs. Enzo and Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (Raw Tag Team Title)
  5. Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin (Intercontinental Title)
  6. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (U.S. Title)
  7. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Title)
  8. Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
  9. Seth Rollin vs. Triple H (Non-Sanctioned Match)
  10. John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
  11. The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
  12. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (Universal Title)
  13. Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (WWE World Title)

And here is the Fantasy Booked WrestleMania card:

  1. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
  2. Tag Team Battle Royal
  3. John Cena versus Dolph Ziggler
  4. Smackdown Tag Team Champions American Alpha versus Raw Tag Team Champions Anderson and Gallows
  5. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton versus Kane and The Undertaker
  6. Samoa Joe versus Cesaro (for the vacant Universal Title)
  7. Triple H and Kevin Owens versus Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho
  8. Dean Ambrose versus Baron Corbin versus The Miz versus Luke Harper (for the Intercontinental Title)
  9. Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns
  10. Braun Strowman versus Rusev versus Sheamus (for the United States Title)
  11. A 6-woman gauntlet match for the Smackdown Live! Woman’s Title between Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, and Nikki Bella.
  12. Charlotte Flair versus Bayley for the Raw Woman’s Title
  13. Finn Balor versus Sami Zayn for the #1 Contendership to the Universal Title
  14. AJ Styles vs. CM Punk (World Title)
  • Let’s start with the Real WrestleMania card. I really like the Neville versus Austin Aries matchup. It is a shame it is being scheduled for the pre-show, but we can’t have everything. My ideas for the Cruiserweight division were created before Aries made his in-ring return, otherwise I may have scheduled this same matchup. I also shuttled the entire Cruiserweight division to a special 205 Live to run on the WWE Network (sort of like the NXT Takeover shows). But if I were to have Neville versus Aries, I would add it to my main card. [Advantage: Reality]
  • Next up is the Smackdown Women’s title, where Alexa Bliss takes on the entire division. I have Bliss taking on the entire division as well, but I made it a Gauntlet match, just to switch it up a little. I would have Bliss and Natalya begin the match and have Natalya score a surprise pin. Next would be Nikki Bella, who Natalya would get over on when Bella would make a mistake. Then Carmella would come down and Natalya would be able to pick up the victory with the Sharpshooter. Next would be Becky Lynch, but Carmella would jump her outside the ring. By the time Lynch got into the ring, she would be easy picking for Natalya. Finally, Mickie James would come down (Naomi could be taken out backstage by someone if need be). James and Natalya would work hard for a while, but Natalya, who has been in the match the entire time, will finally wear down enough for James to take the victory and title with a Mick Kick. This would set up future programs with the former champion Bliss, with Natalya (who will be rehabilitated from her previously poor booking due to her impressive showing here), Becky James (since she never got a fair shot), etc. I like this idea a lot more than just throw a bunch of people in a ring. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • Speaking of throwing a bunch of people in a ring, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is up next. In the real world, it looks like they are setting the match up to be Strowman versus Big Show. Everyone else has been severely minimized. The problem there is that we already had that showdown a couple times and Strowman has come out on top, definitively. Including in the Royal Rumble where Strowman eliminated Show. Why do we need to see that again? In my battle royal, I have Strowman busy with something else, so we can use this match to help push some other talent. I mean, Corbin used his victory to turn in a pretty good year, why can’t it be done again? As mentioned last week, I think this would be a good opportunity to push Big Cass as a singles wrestler (and break up the annoying tag team with Enzo). Alternatively, I think Titus O’Neill winning this would be a huge benefit to his Titus brand. You could also probably book a future angle with Titus O’Neill negotiating with Lavar Ball over combining their brands. Fantasy takes this one because it is not set up as something we have already seen many times. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • The Raw Tag Team Titles are being defended in a three-way match in reality. In Fantasy, the tag titles aren’t even on the line. I have a Raw tag champs versus Smackdown tag champs match set up. My reasoning is that neither brand’s tag team division is in very strong shape right now. There are only one or two teams who can hold the belts realistically. So I figured we might as well put some brand loyalty on the line. To be honest, I still like this idea, even though I prefer for the belts to be on the line. I’ll give this a push, but if Cesaro and Sheamus do not come away with the titles, I think it should be shifted to fantasy retroactively. [Advantage: Push]
  • The Intercontinental title is on the line between Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin in reality. In Fantasy, I added Miz and Luke Harper into that match. Frankly, I would have The Miz take the title in Fantasy as he deserves it with the work he’s been doing. Plus, that would be so much better for him than being forced to job to John Cena in reality. I think this match would also give plenty of opportunity for Luke Harper to be showcased, which is not a bad thing. It could also limit the amount of action Ambrose and Corbin see, which is not bad (as they are both better in small doses). Now, I do not like four-way matches like this, and I would much rather see the title defended one-on-one, but I like giving Miz and Harper some more attention on the card. Hmm… [Advantage: Push]
  • In reality, we have the former friends Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens fighting for the United States belt. I am not only okay with that, but I am looking forward to the match. And that is in a big way due to the tremendous work Jericho and Owens have done with this program. In Fantasy WrestleMania, I moved the title off Jericho to Braun Strowman. His title defense is against two other brutes in Rusev and Sheamus. The match would be insanely physical and we could even switch the belt here without having Strowman be pinned. Maybe we do just that and have Sheamus pick up the victory by pinning Rusev and beginning a Strowman versus Sheamus program. Plus, in Reality, where the heck is Rusev on the card? Strowman is already involved in a re-run and Sheamus is stuck in a triple threat tag match, which includes Enzo. As much as I want to see Jericho versus Owens, I don’t really see Owens settling for the US title. Plus, the Fantasy WrestleMania will still get to see them fight, just not for the US championship. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • The real WWE is promoting a fatal four way match for the Raw Women’s title between Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax. Again, I am not a fan of mulitple people matches, especially on big stages. So I have a one-on-one match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair. In the Fantasy world though, Charlotte has the belt and Bayley is chasing it like the determined babyface which is her forte. In this Fantasy world, we also are attempting to build another star, as we have Dana Brooke taking out Nia Jax in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. And instead of waiting for Sasha to turn heel on Bayley (which, let’s face it, if that is what the WWE wanted to do, wouldn’t it have made more sense to do it a month or two ago and have a one-on-one match between Sasha and Bayley at WrestleMania? Instead, the title match feels like it exists to simply forward a storyline. Anyway…), I have Sasha heading to NXT to challenge Asuka for the NXT Women’s title. I do like the Asuka versus Ember Moon match set for NXT:Takeover, but I think we can all agree that Sasha versus Asuka would be a HUGE matchup. For these reasons, Fantasy wins out. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • Shane McMahon versus AJ Styles. No belt on the line, just Shane being made to look like a challenger to the best wrestler in the WWE. Last year, I hated that we were forced to pretend Shane could hang with The Undertaker. This year, we are being forced to pretend Shane can hang with AJ Styles. I’m sorry, but that pisses me off, as it should the entire WWE roster. The Fantasy booked WrestleMania doesn’t have Shane wrestling at all, therefore it is automatically better. [Advantage: Fantasy}
  • We add another McMahon family member (through marriage) next as Triple H fights Seth Rollins. Let’s think about this for a second. Despite Rollins finally getting over as a face, the entire storyline (partially based on reality) is that Seth is injured. I think we all know that we are going to be forced to watch Triple H slowly beat on Rollin’s injured leg for a hald an hour, see Rollins make a valiant comeback, and then have Samoa Joe interfere and Triple H win. What a waste of Samoa Joe and a decent storyline. In the Fantasy world, we still have Rollins versus Triple H, but we combine it the Owens/Jericho fight. Triple H would team up with Kevin Owens (they have established that Owens and Triple H are in cahoots) take on Rollins and Chris Jericho. If it were non-sanctioned or No-DQ, it could add into the hatred in the best friend fight as well. Plus, having Jericho involved can help mask the injury to Rollins, giving him a little less ringtime to play up the knee. And having Owens involved could help Triple H as he is only part-time. Plus, the pace of the match would probably be quicker and the overall atmosphere more frenzied. Triple H can still get the victory, but the match would be much, much better. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • John Cena and Nikki Bella versus The Miz and Maryse is actually a thing the WWE scheduled for their biggest event of the year. I agree with everything Penny said in her excellent column http://insidepulse.com/2017/03/29/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-wrestlemania-countdown-day-5-the-insipidly-backwards-booking-of-the-cenanikki-mizmaryse-bs/ this week. Miz and Maryse should be the faces here. They are the ones doing all the work to build this match anyway. Plus, Cena and Bella are coming off as complete bullies and jackasses. I would love to see Miz and Maryse just destroy Cena and Bella at WrestleMania, but we know that isn’t going to happen. Everyone knows Cena and Bella will win, and most likely in a dominant fashion. Meanwhile, in Fantasy World, I have Miz winning the Intercontinental title and John Cena curtain-jerking against Dolph Ziggler. While I wouldn’t hold out any hope of Ziggler versus Cena turning into a modern-day classic. And it may be Ziggler’s last shot at being relevant. Or it could get booed out of the building as the fans realize they are watching two of the least motivated performers on the roster. But at least it wouldn’t be this piece of crap. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • In the battle of the big dogs (how is that even a thing), reality has Roman Reigns versus The Undertaker. I think everyone expects Reigns to be handed the torch in this match, but I don’t really care. The Undertaker is great and always will be, and you can’t tell my 14 year old self otherwise. But he is hurting and slowed by age. I wouldn’t want to see him go out this way. Nor do I want to see the torch passed to Reigns. But Bray Wyatt has a very good thing going with his dark character. In Fantasyland, I didn’t have Orton turn on Wyatt, commit arson and grave desecration. He stayed with Wyatt and found his true calling in being Wyatt’s weapon of destruction. They had good team chemistry and I think they could have used that for a lot longer. Kane also gets another WrestleMania payday as his brother’s partner, hopefully also easing the load on UT’s shoulders. The Brothers of Destruction versus the New Faces of Fear. This could be a big transition moment where the torch is passed, even if Wyatt and Orton didn’t win. And Orton stays away from the main event, which is a huge positive. While I would prefer Undertaker in a singles match, reality actually makes the fantasy version more intriguing. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • The Universal Title is on the line in reality between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. Did this match really need the Universal Title attached to it? The answer is no. Not at all. But the crowds still want to see Goldberg versus Lesnar. But in a reality where Samoa Joe doesn’t have a match on the card, why are these two in this spot? In a Fantasy WrestleMania, these two behemoths would still be wrestling, but without the belt on the line. Yes, I added Roman Reigns into the match in the Fantasy Booked WrestleMania, but that was for a couple reasons. First, it gives a full-time performer an opportunity to carry the match for the part-timers. Second, it gives Reigns the appearance of being on Goldberg’s and Lesnar’s level, which he isn’t, but it won’t hurt in the long run if he is seen at their level. Third, it allows Lesnar to get his win back against Goldberg without hurting the legend of Goldberg. For example, it Goldberg gets speared by Reigns and then F-5ed by Lesnar, he can always say it took two tough dudes to beat him. And while I am sure Goldberg doesn’t care, it is probably good for the business to keep his legend alive in that way. Now, just from that, I might still say the spectacle of Lesnar versus Goldberg one-on-one might be better. But as I mentioned, it doesn’t need the Universal belt. So, in the Fantasy universe, we added another layer and gave fans another potential 4 star match between Samoa Joe and Cesaro for the Universal title. It really wouldn’t matter who would win that match, as future title matches would be awesome regardless. I’d probably give it to Cesaro after a long and vicious match between the two men. Cesaro is seen as too much of a jobber right now, and a big win on a big stage would do wonders for him. Joe can probably afford a loss here, especially if he is continued to be booked strong. Plus, Joe could always capture the belt in a rematch down the line. So, Goldberg/Lesnar III for the Universal Title or Goldberg/Lesnar/Reigns plus Samoa Joe/Cesaro? [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • The main event of WrestleMania in Reality is the World Title Match between Bray Wyatt and the felon Randy Orton. I like Wyatt and think he deserves a nice run with the belt. But this is WrestleMania and the company brass see Randy Orton as a popular face. Most of the time, the good guy is victorious at this event, sending the crowd home happy. Therefore, I would expect an Orton victory. However, exactly how the Viper is a good guy here is unknown to me. This match is also going to suck because Orton as a babyface is death until he hits an RKO so the crowd can pop. There is a very good chance we will see the painfully slow and stupid Garvin stomp as a major aspect of a WrestleMania main event. Let that sink in for a moment. Meanwhile, I propose a totally different main event in the Fantasy Booked WrestleMania. In that world, AJ Styles would have rightfully reclaimed his World Title. He would be defending against a returning superstar who has been dreaming of headlining WrestleMania for years, CM Punk. And I don’t think it would hurt credibility at all if Punk took the title in a feel good moment to close the show. So, in the main event of WrestleMania you could have a match between the boring (Randy Orton) and the horribly booked for years (Bray Wyatt) or you could have a match between two of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time (AJ Styles and CM Punk). I think you know which way I am leaning. [Advantage: Fantasy]
  • There are also two extra matches set for the Fantasy event. Since the tag team titles would not be defended for either brand due to the Raw vs. Smackdown setup, the remaining teams from both Raw and Smackdown could be involved in a Tag Team Battle Royal on the pre-show. This would keep the Andre-the-Giant Memorial Battle Royal from being overloaded with tag team wrestlers who realistically would not win. The winning team could get some momentum from this match and turn it into a future championship opportunity. The second extra match would be Sami Zayn versus a returning Finn Balor to determine the #1 Contender for the Universal Title. Think of it, we know how good Cesaro versus Zayn and Joe versus Balor would be because we’ve seen them before. We’ve also seen Joe versus Zayn in an abbreviated manner, and a longer program could be awesome. The final combination would be Cesaro versus Balor which would be a fresh and exciting matchup. If nothing else, Balor and Zayn would have an opportunity to have a Match-of-the-Night. [Advantage: Fantasy]

Overall, I think we have a clear winner, with the advantage going to the Fantasy Booked WrestleMania by a score of 11 to 1 with 2 pushes. Of course, we are not getting the Fantasy Booked card, but I am open to a call from anyone in Stamford who would like to offer me a job.

Feel free to add in the comments anywhere you think I was wrong or your vote for which card is more intriguing to you. And enjoy your WrestleMania weekend everyone!

 

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