I'm not a booker. I've never booked. The closest I've come was co-writing for a short- lived e-fed over the summer. Due to messageboard and participation problems, we folded up shop only a few months after opening. That being said, I wanted to give my spin on how I think the WWF should have gotten to Wrestlemania X7.
Everything through No Mercy was fine. Rikishi's admission of being the driver was good. The idea made sense. Yeah, it's a race angle, but it the WWF made it fly. At No Mercy, it was perfectly fine to have the no finish between Austin and Rikishi, and we have to let the feud move along to blow off at Survivor Series.
Between No Mercy and Survivor Series, we build toward an Angle/Rock rematch. We also have Rikishi and Austin continue to be at each other throats and, since Triple H still wants to be heel, we let him be the mastermind. Triple H as the driver leads to the Ausin/HHH match-up at Survivor Series.
Survivor Series is where I start to change some things. Rather than Angle/Undertaker, one of the least anticipated PPV title matches of the year, we have an Angle/Rock rematch. Granted, it's not an original match, but Rock can make any match interesting. We keep Austin/HHH as the main event, with Rock/Angle going off as the sub-main. We can safely drop Rock/Rikishi, since a match with a given outcome should be on Monday, not Sunday. Rikishi doesn't have to be scheduled for this card, but we COULD put him against Too Cool in a Handicap match just so he could beat the bejesus out of them, super-heelifying him. Rock beats Angle for the title, much to the delight of the crowd. Next, in the main event, Triple H and Austin go at it. Now, since the finish at Survivor Series was pointless, let's try it like this. It's a no DQ match. Triple H and Austin brawl for a bit, until Rikishi makes his appearance. Rikishi and Triple H can proceed to tune up Austin, beating him something fierce until Rock runs in to make the save. But, rather than help Austin, Rock TURNS on Austin. The Rock turns heel, much to the shock and surprise of everyone who just cheered his title victory over Kurt Angle. The "Survivor Series Swerve" is intact, and we just set up Wrestlemania.
The next night on Raw, Rock, Triple H, and Rikishi open the show together. The Rock agrees that he and Triple H have never seen eye to eye, but they did in one respect. Once they moved Austin out of the way, the WWF was theirs for the taking. They pooled their resources, got the help of Rock's cousin Rikishi, and got Austin out of the way. Austin will be selling the beat-down, and will be off television for a time. But someone has to come out and ask them what's up… so let's make ANGLE the face. Angle cuts a promo against the three of them. For the next week or so, gauge the fan response to Angle. If the fans are getting behind him, let him go full-fledged face. If people have doubts, they could team him with Austin and make him immediate face.
Lead up to Armageddon. If the WWF still wants to go with a trainwreck main-event… how about a six man tag putting the new team of three against Angle, Austin, and someone else. This would be a perfect opportunity to elevate some of the mid-card faces. Tazz, Test, or Jericho would fill the third slot nicely. Even some of the mid-card heels can get a shot at elevation. Benoit or Raven can join up into their group and get a rub.
After Armageddon, Vince shows back up on WWF television. The events with Commissioner Foley go down exactly the same. Foley is ejected from the commissionership and Vince gets full power back. Just in time to keep Austin from ever getting a title shot against the Rock. Austin, however, knows damn well he can win a title shot with a victory at the Royal Rumble. The problem would be: Triple H, Rikishi, and anyone else in the heel group would be entered into the Royal Rumble with the sole purpose of eliminating Austin. Austin, of course, wins the Royal Rumble against all odds, and sets up his title match with the Rock. The Rock can have a blow-off title defense at the Rumble, or they could even enter HIM into the Rumble with the stipulation that, if he wins, he doesn't have to defend.
This leaves open a million possibilities to lead into Wrestlemania. Shawn Michaels's rumored comeback could be "to beat some sense back into Triple H." Angle and Rikishi could start having issues. Put Benoit in the group and give him a solid, 2 month feud with Chris Jericho for the IC Title.
Obviously, people in the WWF booking committee thought about this angle. For some reason, they decided against it. Rock/Austin is the obvious main event for Wrestlemania, but I think they could have gotten us there with a different spin. The Wrestlemania main event should have been Austin getting his revenge on the guy who ran him down. The WWF, though, doesn't make people wait four months for a match anymore. Maybe the roster would have been too crowded with top-level heels, but there are a bunch of people who are ready to step up as top-level faces.
There wouldn't be a shortage of story anywhere down the line either. Rock and Triple H can't co-exist together for long. They're the Hogan and Savage of this generation. Or maybe we keep this team together until Foley comes back and makes life hell for them. Maybe Foley comes back, gets the commissioner position back, and ALIGNS with them.
The WWF needed something to shake it up. I think making one of their two top faces heel would have done just that, ESPECIALLY lining one of them up with their top heel. The thing is, I think the Rock/HHH alignment would have come off believable, using Austin as the catalyst. The two of them didn't become much of anything until after Austin was gone.
Just a thought.