So here we are. WrestleMania week. Is everybody excited? Is everyone psyched? Is everyone about ready to join the Roman Empire? (Sorry, I threw up a little in my mouth even typing that.)
Okay, I know. The card looks really, really bad on paper. But I am not going to harp on that. Instead, I will use this week’s Fantasy Book to, basically, fantasy book WrestleMania 32 based on the matches announced. I will avoid the temptation to book an invasion angle, or too many surprise guests, or ignore the insane booking leading up to this point. I will do my best to provide what I believe would be the best outcomes based on where we are now.
To be clear, these are not my predictions for WrestleMania. Those will come with everyone else’s here at Inside Pulse. This column is meant to have a little fun at what could be. So, with that in mind, here we go…
Match 1 – Ryback challenges Kalisto for the United States Championship. Ryback will begin the match by showing respect to Kalisto. After talking for a minute, Kalisto will interrupt and say, “Let’s go.” Ryback will nod out of respect and the match will begin. Early on, Kalisto will use his speed to avoid Ryback, all the while Ryback nodding and even clapping for Kalisto’s antics. After a few minutes of no real offense from either competitor, Ryback finally will get his hands on Kalisto and begin pounding on him. Kalisto will take a bad beating for almost ten minutes, but kicking out of every pin attempt by Ryback, including one very close one after a meathook clothesline. Ryback looks shocked, but still is displaying an air of begrudging respect towards Kalisto. Finally, Ryback picks up Kalisto, slaps him and yells at him that his time is up, and goes to pick him up for the Shell Shocked, but Kalisto reverses it and hits the Salida del Sol and gets a three count, retaining the title. After the match, Ryback loses it and jumps Kalisto from behind. He beats down Kalisto with a chair, leaving the champion laying in a heap outside the ring.
Match 2 – The Total Divas versus B.A.D. and Blonde. Natalya will start against Naomi. They will go back and forth for a while, with both women hitting some big shots. Naomi will then tag in Emma and Emma will show off her new vicious streak on Natalya. This will go on for a while, with Emma tagging in Tamina and Summer Rae briefly. Finally, Emma will tag back in, but Natalya will escape and get back to her corner where she will tag in Paige. Paige will come in and take over on Emma, getting some revenge from this past week’s Raw match. Emma will finally make a tag to Lana, but Paige will hit the RamPaige on her almost immediately. Before the pin can happen, both sides will charge the ring and start fighting with each other. Eventually, everyone in the ring will clear out except for Lana and Paige. Paige will lock on her submission hold on Lana, but when the referee is busy trying to get everyone back to their corners, Eva Marie will come into the ring and hit Paige in the back of the head with, let’s say, a bottle of hairspray. Lana will fall on top of Paige and get the pinfall. Eva Marie will just walk up the ramp all alone to a sea of boos. When Team B.A.D. and Blonde catch up to her on the ramp, she sprays the hairspray in their eyes, leaving them all in agony, and making herself the most hated woman in the locker room.
Match 3 – The Usos versus The Dudley Boyz. These two teams will have a fairly boring tag team match, until Bubba Ray grabs a mic and declares the match should be under Extreme Rules. Everyone agrees and, of course, the tables come out. The Dudleys tease using the tables several times, but never do. The Usos turn the tables (ha. See what I did there? I crack myself up.) on the Dudleys and use a Kendo Stick repeatedly in a variation of the Dudleys’ own Wazzup Drop spot. The violence is decidedly PG, but the crowd starts eating it up, especially when the Dudleys pull out a table with “Usos” written on it. The table gets set up in the middle of the ring and Jay fights back and goes to throw it out of the ring. With Jay turned away from the action, Jimmy falls victim to a 3-D and the Dudleys win the match. The Usos throw a bit of a fit after the match, acting as sore losers for the most part. The crowd, who was 50-50 for most of the match, turn on the Usos for their poor sportsmanship.
Match 4 – The New Day versus The League of Nations. This is apparently not for the tag team titles since it is a 3 on 4 match, which surprises the League of Nations. They get very mad and go nuts. The New Day just laugh at them while they beat up the referee and several members of security around the ring. They finally return to the ring and are about to attack when The Rock’s music hits. The Rock comes out and cuts a promo on The League of Nations, while seemingly making amends with The New Day. After several minutes of hilarity, The Rock says that enough is enough and decides to join the match as a teammate of The New Day, making it a fair 4 on 4. Everybody gets to hit all of their big moves, except Francesca 2. Francesca 2 meets a painful end at the hands of Sheamus as he bends the trombone into a ball. The finish comes with The Rock hitting a Rock Bottom and The People’s Elbow on Rusev for the pin. The New Day and The Rock celebrate and mourn Francesca 2 while The League of Nations leaves arguing amongst themselves.
Match 5 – 3rd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The battle royal will be pretty quickly paced, with a lot of competitors being eliminated by The Big Show and Kane. Mark Henry will get a few big spots, but will be eliminated by Curtis Axel. The final four in the battle royal will be Big Show, Kane, Curtis Axel, and Heath Slater. Axel and Slater will team up together and Kane and Big Show will team up together, but almost immediately Big Show will turn on Kane and eliminate him. Slater, Axel, and Big Show will celebrate, looking like they planned this. Then Slater will hug Big Show and Show will toss Slater hard out of the ring. As Big Show stands at the ropes, yelling that he is not an Outcast at Slater outside the ring, Axel charges from behind and dropkicks Big Show out over the top rope. The winner is Curtis Axel, and he begins his reign as “King of the Battle Royals.”
Match 6 – AJ Styles versus Chris Jericho. The match will start slow with lots of “Y2Jackass” and “AJ Styles” chants. Jericho will freak out and throw all caution to the wind, trying to hit Styles with any and all of his 1004 holds. Styles counters most of them and hits a bunch of his own. The match is easily the best in the series they have had. Jericho knocks Styles outside the ring and spends some time on the floor taking over with a viciousness that seems to surprise the announce team. After hitting Styles with a codebreaker outside the ring, Jericho slides Styles into the ring and goes for pin. Styles kicks out of the pin attempt and Jericho is livid. He tries to go for the Walls of Jericho, but Styles reverses to a small package. Jericho kicks out and gets into it with the referee while Styles slides outside the ropes and sets up for (and I can’t believe I am typing this ridiculous name) the Phenomenal Forearm. Jericho turns around and gets hit with it, but kicks out at 2.5. The crowd is seriously into the near falls now. Styles goes for a DDT, but Jericho pulls his legs out and turns him over into an old school Liontamer. As Jericho cinches the move in, Styles desperately claws for the ropes. After inching little by little, Styles can take no more and goes to tap out. But as he taps, his hand hits the bottom rope and the referee tells Jericho to break the hold. Jericho thinks he has won the match and starts an over-the-top celebration dance in the ring. The referee informs him that Styles made it to the ropes, and Jericho is beside himself. Styles has recovered some now, but has his back turned to Jericho and on one knee. Jericho goes over to attack again and Styles hits a Pele kick out of nowhere. Styles grabs Jericho’s legs and starts to put on the Calf Crusher, but Jericho throws a few forearms to knock Styles back some. Styles goes right back to Jericho’s legs, but instead of trying the same move, he hoists Jericho up and hits the Styles Clash in the middle of the ring. Instead of going for the pin though, Styles jumps up and hits an Asai moonsault to add insult to his tormentor. Styles then starts to go for the pin, but decides that isn’t enough, and he locks on the Calf Killer in the middle of the ring. Jericho, already spent and injured, tries to hold on, but eventually taps out and Styles has the victory. Easily the match of the night thus far.
Match 7 – The Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship features the Champion Kevin Owens taking on Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, The Miz, and Stardust. This ladder match will start off like a greatest hits highlight of previous ladder matches, just without the amazing work by Shelton Benjamin. The biggest bumps will be taken by Sin Cara, Sami Zayn, and Dolph Ziggler. The Miz will make a sneak run up a ladder when no one is paying attention, only to stop at the top to proclaim his awesomeness. This will alert the other competitors to him and they will all attack and shake him off the ladder. Kevin Owens will hit everyone with the ladder helicopter move, but not make it up to the belt before Sami Zayn hits him with a missle dropkick. Dolph Ziggler will tease a possible victory, only to have Stardust throw a ladder at him and knock him down into a tangled mess of ladders in the ring. Sin Cara will be sandwiched between two ladders by Kevin Owens, who will then hit a pop-up powerbomb on Sami Zayn onto the ladders containing Sin Cara. As the match winds down, Zack Ryder will square off with Kevin Owens, but K.O. will get the advantage. Owens will attempt a cannonball on Ryder in the corner and onto a ladder, but Ryder will move and Owens will crash into the ladder. Ryder will take the opportunity to make a run for the belt, but will be stopped by Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler will apparently turn heel as he starts destroying Ryder with a ladder in the corner, ramming it into him over and over and over again. With Ziggler apparently losing his mind and trying to kill poor Zack Ryder, Owens will creep over and climb the ladder to retain his title.
Match 8 – Divas Champion Charlotte is challenged by Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. These three are given 20 minutes bell-to-bell to show up the men in the locker room. All three put on a great match with some very hard hitting and interesting spots. At one point, Charlotte puts Sasha Banks in the figure four, but Sasha is able to reverse it and turn it over. However, as soon as she does, Becky Lynch jumps on Banks and puts the Dis-Arm-Her on. Charlotte frees herself and hits the Natural Selection on Lynch, but Banks breaks up the pin. The three women continue to put on a clinic while avoiding most of the three-way cliches (like one person falling into a coma while the other two wrestle and then they switch off coma duties). The finish comes when Charlotte puts Sasha Banks on the top rope and then climbs up for a top rope hurricanrana. She hits it, but as she stands up, Becky Lynch comes off the top rope with a flying bodypress. Charlotte tumbles over Banks as Lynch crashes into her and Becky Lynch gets the three count and wins the title. This sets up Becky Lynch to defend the title against a number of challengers, including Natalya getting a big push in the coming months. Meanwhile, Charlotte will blame Banks for the loss and those two will begin a nasty feud, pushing the women’s division into even harder edge territory.
Match 9 – Hell in a Cell with Shane McMahon versus The Undertaker. The stipulations of Shane taking over Raw if he wins and Undertaker retiring if he loses are played up heavy before the match. As the cell drops, Shane realizes what is going to happen now and tries to escape. Undertaker stalks Shane and brutalizes him for the most part. Eventually, Shane will trip up Undertaker and send him into the steps. Shane will recover some and begin to pound on Undertaker with the steps as Taker is propped against the cage wall. Shane will then do something that will be replayed a million times, but I don’t even know what it will be. Maybe he will leap up and grab the ceiling of the cell and swing his legs into Undertaker a bunch of times. And then maybe he will charge from the ring and dive at Taker who will move and Shane will crash through the cell wall. After replays galore, Undertaker will put Shane on the announce table and strap him there with the video cables. Then Taker will climb to the top of the cell himself. After what would seem to be an eternity, Undertaker will jump off the top of the cage and leg drop Shane through the announce table on the outside. The announcers will go crazy and play up how much Undertaker will do to win. Taker will do his zombie sit-up, pick up Shane over his shoulders, and carry him back through the broken cell wall and dump him in the ring. He will then pick up Shane and hit him with a tombstone piledriver and get the victory. After the match, the cell will be lifted and Vince McMahon will come out to gloat. Taker will interrupt Vince’s gloating by grabbing him by the throat and then signalling for the cell to be lowered again. Vince will be pleading and begging Taker not to hurt him, but Taker will chokeslam him and then send him into the cell several times. Just when Taker starts to leave, Vince spits at him. So Undertaker clocks Vince again, throws him over his shoulder, and climbs up to the top of the cell. At this point, the crowd is going nuts, Stephanie has charged out to beg for Vince’s life, and even Shane is yelling from his stretcher at the Undertaker to stop. Taker picks up Vince and tombstones him on top of the cell. By this point, a lot of the backstage talent has run out and several wrestlers are trying to climb the cell to talk Taker down. Taker picks McMahon up and throws him off the cell on top of the mass of wrestlers outside the ring. Undertaker’s music hits and the lights go out. When the lights come back up, the cell has been lifted and everyone is gone. The announce team says that emergency personnel are tending to Vince backstage and they have no update as of yet.
Match 10 – Dean Ambrose versus Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. This match is less exciting than many people think it would be. Ambrose hits Lesnar with everything he can think of, including chairs, tables, ladders, Kendo sticks, a fire extinguisher, the ring bell, the ring steps, a shovel, and a golf cart. For most of the match, it is just Ambrose attacking Lesnar with objects and Lesnar getting knocked down, but getting back up and keep coming at him. The match looks more and more like a Terminator movie and Lesnar just keeps coming and nothing Ambrose can do keeps him down for long. And after a while of that happening, Ambrose basically gives up, drops to his knees in the middle of the ring and yells, “Ok, get it over with!” Lesnar takes over then, sending Ambrose to suplex city. After 10 German suplexes, Lesnar throws Ambrose outside the ring and into the golf cart’s hood. He then picks up Ambrose and hits an F5 through the roof of the golf cart. Ambrose is broken in the wreckage and Lesnar decides that he’s done. He tells Paul Heyman that this isn’t fun any more and walks out. Heyman chases after him, pleading with him to come back to the ring and finish off Ambrose, to fullfill his contract, etc. but Lesnar just shakes his head and walks out. The match ends in a no contest. Lesnar will eventually return in a few months to face someone he has never faced and someone he thinks may be a challenge – Shinsuke Nakamura.
Match 11 – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H is challenged by Roman Reigns. Triple H is out without Stephanie, who is apparently in the back with her dad and brother. Reigns is soundly booed and every move he hits the boos get louder. Triple H, just by being the opponent gets cheered wildly every time he hits Reigns. The match goes on and Reigns tries his hardest to get the crowd to care about him. The Usos come out to support Reigns, but he stops and send them to the back, telling them he’s got this. Later, as Reigns looks poised to win, The Rock comes out to support him, but Reigns sends Rock to the back as well, telling him not to try to steal his spotlight. The crowd is booing the hell out of Reigns now, and when Triple H recovers and finds his magic sledgehammer under the ring, the crowd wants nothing more than to see Reign’s head bashed in. But even after hitting Reigns in the gut with the sledgehammer twice and in the back of the head, Reigns kicks out a 2. Triple H is livid and hits Reigns with a pedigree. Reigns kicks out again. At this point, Stephanie comes out to support her husband and Triple H yells at her to get the belt for him. Stephanie slides the belt into the ring and Reigns gets hit with another pedigree on it. As Triple H goes for the pin, the lights go out in the arena. When they come back on, the Wyatt Family is in the ring. All four members of the Wyatt Family beat down Triple H. Stephanie is screaming bloody murder and yelling for someone to come help. Kane comes down the ramp, but instead of helping, he grabs Stephanie, puts her over his shoulder, and walks back up the ramp, basically kidnapping her again. After Bray Wyatt hits Triple H with Sister Abigail on the title belt, the lights go out again. When the lights come back on, The Undertaker is standing in the ring with both Reigns and Triple H laid out. Triple H crawls over to Undertaker, but Taker picks him up and tombstones Triple H on the title belt in the middle of the ring. Taker then grabs Reigns’ lifeless arm and drags him over Triple H. Undertaker then spins to the referee and demands he makes the count. Three beats later and Roman Reigns is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
But at what cost? And what is going on? Did Undertaker just complete a very hostile takeover of the McMahon family business to cement his own legacy, as he destroyed Shane, Vince, and Triple H while his brother kidnapped Stephanie? Is Roman Reigns going to be Undertaker’s puppet champion? Was this a message to Triple H that his “era” is over? What designs will Undertaker have on the WWE as he ushers in his Dark Period.
And so WrestleMania 32 ends. We are not sure what is in store for the WWE going forward at this point, but we sure are interested in seeing what happens on Raw the next night. And isn’t that what we crave, constant excitement and interest in the product to which we invest much of our entertainment time?
If you’ve made it through this column, thank you. Feel free to tell me what you think about these fantasy scenarios. Join in on the fun in the comments and let’s brainstorm what the next storylines and feuds could be. Until the WWE puts out something that holds our interest, let’s find a way to enjoy it in our minds at least.
Until next time, the Fantasy Book is closed.