Sometimes I come up with an idea for this column that is completely formed and I just need to edit it. Other times, I come up with a decent idea and I have to flesh it out until it is fully formed. And yet other times I have an idea but have to stretch it to make it a worthwhile topic. However, most of the time the subject matter is all in my head before I start to write. Last week was a rare exception in that I knew what I wanted to do with some storylines for ROH stars going to Smackdown, but not all of them. So, it is nice when inspiration hits in the middle of a piece.
That is what happened with the decision to introduce Punishment Martinez as Kane’s son and the next big, athletic monster in the WWE. Unfortunately, that meant I spent the majority of last week’s column not dealing with the Marty Scurll storyline which is what I was most excited about going into the week. That left most of a potential AJ Styles versus Marty Scurll feud to take place in the readers’ imagination. But, you know what, I think that is okay because anyone that has seen these men wrestle know a feud between them would be off the charts.
Today, we move onto Raw and take a look at what the Fantasy Book would do for Ring of Honor stars coming into the fold. As with Marty Scurll, anyone who reads my Ten Thoughts columns on Ring of Honor television knows my love for Jay Lethal. So, of course, my initial thought is to put Lethal right into the title picture for the Universal championship. The main event scene is pretty packed on Raw right now though, with Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and Brock Lesnar all jockeying for the crown.
Therefore, instead of trying to shoehorn Lethal into that mix (not that I don’t think he could hold his own and not that I don’t think he could stand out in that field), I have decided to give Lethal as much featured time on Raw week in and week out. There is a very good argument to be made that the WWE Superstar who has had the best year and a half has been The Miz. With Miz now holding the Intercontinental title, I think this is the perfect spot for Lethal to debut on Raw. Lethal could come out as a surprise guest on Miz TV and challenge for the title.
Lethal can hold his own against Miz in a promo battle and could draw out a few classic (yes, I said classic) matches out of The Miz. Miz is better than anyone else on the current roster in turning the crowd against him, so that should help position Lethal as a huge babyface right off the bat. It also removes Dean Ambrose from The Miz’ circle for a while, which is desperately needed. Lethal should come out of this feud as the Intercontinental champion and would no doubt raise the level of the title back to its Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage heyday.
As far as the Universal title, Brock Lesnar is the elephant in the room. Samoa Joe has been built up wonderfully and is seen as a valid contender to Lesnar. So, to move ahead, I would have Joe win the belt at the next PPV and have Lesnar move over to Smackdown where he can wreck havoc and have some classics with Shinsuke Nakamura. With Samoa Joe as the new Universal champion, the usual suspects would be lining up to take their shots. Seth Rollins is in the midst of a battle with Bray Wyatt however and would need to move past that first. And Wyatt needs to be built back up as a strong contender again.
To accomplish these directives, we will deliver a new Wyatt family. A stronger Wyatt family. A crazier Wyatt family. Bray Wyatt works best as the leader of a cultish group. Someone who uses his charisma to get reactions without having to be physically involved all the time. Yet when he does get involved physically he is more than capable of holding his own. We saw that formula work with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and then later with Braun Strowman. It even worked with Randy Orton in the mix as an assassin-type. But I think bringing these Ring of Honor stars in as Wyatt’s followers would work so incredibly well.
Seth Rollins could get a victory over Bray Wyatt at the PPV and Wyatt could take off. The next week we would see video clips of Wyatt traveling around to different locations. He could preach about being a shepherd without a flock and missing his true mission. He wanted to do it alone, but there are just too many out there who need to see the light. He needs his disciples to help show the way. And he knows where he must go to do that. The last video clip would show Wyatt driving and passing a sign which says “Welcome to Sandy Fork, Delaware.”
The following week, Bray Wyatt would come out and introduce his new congregation, his new family. Adam Massacre’s “Reach for the Sky” would ring out and Jay and Mark Briscoe would make their way to the ring.
The Briscoe Brothers would cut a promo about being in WWE to bring pain and the message of Bray Wyatt to the masses. They would continue to cut a rage-inspired promo until Seth Rollins comes to mock Wyatt. Rollins points out that the Briscoes are nothing more than failures who could never make it. He says they needed the WWE to buy Ring of Honor before they could get out of the indys.
As the Briscoes seethe in anger towards Rollins, Wyatt laughs and tells Rollins that these are not the same Briscoes he remembers. They have accepted the teachings of Bray Wyatt and are more dangerous than ever. And as Rollins starts to say something in response, the Briscoes attack Rollins in a sickening beatdown. Eventually Wyatt calls them off and the new Wyatt family walks out.
The next week Rollins comes out to challenge the Briscoes and Jay and Mark come down and destroy Rollins again. Roman Reigns then makes the save and we have a tag team match scheduled for the next PPV. This feud can go on for a while, even bringing Dean Ambrose in to reunite the Shield and have some six-man battles. Individual matchups between the six of these guys would also be classic. And at any time any of these six guys could be a solid force in the main event or any of the title scenes. The Briscoes would also add a dangerous element to the tag team division.
Speaking of tag teams, the Raw tag team titles are currently held by Cesaro and Sheamus and they are definitely one of the hardest hitting teams we’ve seen in a while. Eventually their battles with the Hardys will end and they will need new challenges. And one of the best challenges I can think of could come from a tag team from Ring of Honor named War Machine! Hansen and Ray Rowe could definitely match the champs intensity and warrior mentality and provide some great, hard-hitting action.
I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but let’s get back to the Universal championship. In this Fantasy Book, Samoa Joe has become the Universal champion. Let’s say he gets an immediate challenge for the title from Dean Ambrose before the Shield regroups. While Joe will defend against a few other guys during this time, a battle for the #1 contender will be taking place.
Finn Balor will declare himself the #1 contender, but the current Ring of Honor champion Christopher Daniels will come in and dispute that. He will list off his career accomplishments ending in laying the Ring of Honor title belt down in front of him. Daniels will state, “That, right there, (pointing at the ROH world title he set down) is the line in the sand. You’ve never crossed that line. You’ve never even come close to that line. I helped create that line. I defined that line. Do not think you are ready to cross that line.”
This will begin an awesome feud between Finn Balor and Christopher Daniels to determine the #1 contender for the Universal title. Somehow this feud can continue through a couple PPVs, with Samoa Joe taunting both men the whole time. Joe can even defeat Daniels’ tag team partner in The Addiction, Frankie Kazarian, to drive Daniels crazy.
When the Daniels/Balor battles ends, with Finn Balor probably holding the #1 Contender mantle, Daniels could re-team with Kazarian and finish out his career adding additional value to the tag team division. He could also mentor younger wrestlers in NXT or something. But I still think Daniels has a few more good years to give to the top brand in WWE.
I’ve been attempting to avoid bringing in Ring of Honor wrestlers and throwing them right into a title hunt (even though I know I’ve done it). But when I look at the Raw Woman’s division, there doesn’t seem to be much of a choice. With the title being held by Alexa Bliss, I think she is in a perfect spot for someone like Mandy Leon to come in and make an immediate impact. At least she will be able to wrestle someone her size. I like Leon and think she has a big future, but she does need some more seasoning in the ring. A couple big-time matches against Bliss, even in losing efforts, would go a long way in introducing her and giving her a jump start to popularity.
There are still a couple more Ring of Honor wrestlers who I believe could work on the Raw roster right away. For example, Raw has been doing a pretty good job pushing Titus O’Neill and his Titus Brand. As of last week, it looks like they have decided that the Titus Brand will attempt to be babyfaces. I am not sure how well this will work as I envision Ring of Honor talent signing with the Titus Brand.
My initial thought was to have Kenny King sign with Titus O’Neill and have Apollo Crews become jealous of the attention and success King would have right off the bat. Eventually, Crews would attempt to sabotage King and Titus would drop him. This would set up a Kenny King versus Apollo Crews mini-feud which could go any number of ways.
My second thought was that as good as Kenny King is, I could imagine Triple H wanting Rhett Titus on board as well. Not only does Rhett Titus have the look that Vince and company like, but his last name fits the Titus Brand perfectly. The All-Night Express has been a strong and successful tag team in the past, and there is no doubt they would be able to look strong and successful again. Maybe the Titus Brand is interested in branching out into the tag team arena?
I think I finally settled on Titus O’Neill bringing Kenny King on board the Titus Brand and running the storyline with the jealous Apollo Crews. However, Crews could convince Akira Tozawa to join his side against this “newbie” who is stealing their promotional time. While O’Neill would try to keep his group under control, Kenny King would suggest bringing an old friend of his in to really boost the brand. Several humorous skits could occur with O’Neill trying to recruit Rhett Titus and there being lots of confusion over Rhett’s understanding of the “Titus” Brand.
Eventually Rhett Titus would sign on and he and Kenny King would reform the All-Night Express. They would immediately attack Crews and Tozawa, beating them down in various matches for a few weeks. Titus O’Neill would have to choose between the two factions, with Crews and Tozawa being the babyfaces and the ANX being the heels. Whichever direction O’Neill took, we would have a couple new heels in King and Titus who could be big players in a tag team or singles matches.
There are a couple ROH wrestlers who I have not mentioned in this little four-week fantasy book adventure, but not necessarily because I don’t think they would have value for the WWE. Some of them I just have not been able to come up with a good storyline for them to debut. We are talking about people like Adam Page, Roppongi Vice, Shane Taylor, etc. Right now, all I can think of is RPG Vice and Shane Taylor heading to NXT to bolster their roster and maybe Adam Page could work some angle with the Cruiserweights on Raw. If anyone has any better ideas for these guys, I’d love to hear them.
There is one more Ring of Honor wrestler who I would think the WWE would absolutely love having on Raw. And, at the risk of sounding too arrogant, I have the PERFECT way to introduce him. Anyone who has been watching Raw recently has seen that Goldust turned on R-Truth and has returned to his golden roots. After dispatching R-Truth, Goldust could spend a couple weeks giving his classic creepy and unsettling promos in the ring, talking about how the Golden Age will last forever. Then, in the middle of one of these promos, we get the following:
The best thing about this is that even Goldust would be all “What the hell is this?” The two could spend the next few weeks trying to out-weird each other, eventually leading to a showdown at a PPV. Given the solid work of a veteran like Goldust and the technical and amateur skill of Dalton Castle, I think a match between these two could be fantastic. And a prolonged feud between these two could be a crowning achievement to finish off a fun career for Goldust.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Hopefully you have enjoyed this month-long Fantasy Book look at bringing the stars of Ring of Honor into the WWE. Next week I’ll come up with something different but I hope you’ll enjoy it. See you then!