In the spirit of whatculture.com’s Adam Blampied…
Hello there, I’m Aaron from maysquared.com and this is How WWE Should Book, where I take an angle from now into the future, because I’m a smart ass <ding>. Today, we’re looking at the Wrestlemania journey of the big belts, the Universal Title and the World Heavyweight Title. WWE, book it better.
We pick things up today. It is after the Royal Rumble, where Kevin Owens retained the Universal Title, John Cena won the World Heavyweight Title for a record-tying sixteenth time, and Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble match to guarantee a title shot at Wrestlemania. We’ve also had the first post-Rumble Raw (where Roman Reigns interfered to cost Braun Strowman his Universal Title opportunity in revenge for the inverse at the Rumble) and Smackdown (where the stage is set for Orton and Bray Wyatt to try to beat Cena, and possibly for Orton to turn on Wyatt). There is one more week of shows before Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber PPV, where Cena will be defending the World Heavyweight Title in an Elimination Chamber match that should include Wyatt. Raw has the Fastlane PPV in March, and then Wrestlemania is in April. So we only get one PPV for each brand to set the stage.
Step one is to have John Cena lose the World Heavyweight belt at Elimination Chamber to Bray Wyatt. Most picks have one of these two men coming out of the chamber with the belt, so this isn’t particularly groundbreaking. Putting the belt on Wyatt gives him legitimacy (it would be his first singles title) and it provides stakes for the assumed Wyatt-Randy Orton feud. Taking the title off John Cena lets him do other things at The Show of Shows, which could help round out the card (cough, Undertaker’s last match, cough).
After Elimination Chamber, we have a promo/contract signing for Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. See, it turns out that the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to choose their title shot, and Orton signs the papers to challenge for the Universal Title. The Wyatt Family wants both of the top belts, and they have the skills to pull it off. This is a major swerve because for some reason everyone immediately assumed that Orton would be going for the World Heavyweight Title. Obviously both he and the belt are on Smackdown, so that’s the title shot, right? Nope, we’re going with shades of Batista, only without the ‘decision.’ We want this to look like an automatic thing; there is no dissension in the family.
Over on Raw, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman have been trading encounters with Kevin Owens and the Universal Title as the object of desire. At Fastlane, there’s a triple threat match: Owens vs. Strowman vs. Reigns. And Reigns wins by pinning Owens after botched interference by his BFF, Chris Jericho. This result is doing a few different things. First, it creates the split between Team Kevin and Chris; they go on to have an amazing match at Mania over the US Title. Second, it protects Strowman by keeping him away from the pinfall. Maybe have Jericho wang him in the head a couple times with the US Title outside the ring. To be honest, I thought about having Strowman win this match to maximize the Wyatt Family drama, but then I decided against it. Finally, Reigns heading to Wrestlemania with the title helps because we all know how much Vince McMahon loves The Big Dog, and we all know how much the fans are going to hate it. Like, really hate it. This will be one more example of favorable booking for Vince’s chosen one.
So, the stage is set for Wrestlemania: Randy Orton will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title. That seems like a very Vince McMahon main event, and at least it isn’t a matchup we’ve seen a hundred times like Orton/Cena. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt will be defending the World Heavyweight Title against… well, it isn’t clear. He was supposed to be facing Dean Ambrose, but on the last Smackdown before Wrestlemania, Orton and Wyatt ambush Ambrose, kayfabe injuring him. And the WWE do their best to sell this injury as real. Like, they really need to sell it. Have Ambrose leave the arena on crutches. Have him tweet out the typical, “I’m gonna work hard to be back on top of my game.” Basically, everything that just happened with Seth Rollins, run it back, only Ambrose isn’t really injured in this case. We can survive a Wrestlemania without Ambrose, it will be okay.
Now it is Wrestlemania, with all its flamboyance and showmanship. Towards the end of the night, the first of what I’m sure will be four or five main events is planned to start: the Universal Title Match. Randy Orton’s music plays, and he and Bray Wyatt come out. The two of them do a bit of a promo, and it’s time for the champ to appear… but Wyatt’s music hits. What? Wyatt doesn’t understand. Orton explains that, yeah, the papers he signed were actually for the World Heavyweight Title, and Wyatt should know better than to trust a snake. The two have the unexpected match, making both men look strong, but Wyatt has an uphill battle didn’t have any chance to plan. Orton is able to scout his way away from any Sister Abigails and picks up the win after an RKO. One, Two, Three, Orton wins the title. Orton’s slow burn of joining the Wyatt Family to destroy it from within finally pays off, having forced Luke Harper into exile in January and now betraying Wyatt.
After the match, it is chaos behind the scenes. Things went from no planned opponent for Bray Wyatt to no planned opponent for Roman Reigns. At the end of the night, Reigns makes his entrance and starts a promo that is as heelish as we can make him. He talks about how he’s The Guy, The Big Dog, the Empire. Randy Orton was scared of him, that’s why he took the easy way out. Let it go long enough that the fans are yearning, aching for someone to shut him up. And then, slowly rising in volume (because it has a bit of a buildup), music can be heard playing. Whose music? Finn. Balor. The Demon King, who has only been seen in backstage segments and commentary for the past few weeks because his arm needed further conditioning, makes his return from injury and heads to the ring. He says he’s taking back the title he never lost. The two have an epic match, with each missing on their finishers multiple times. Finally, Reigns connects with the Spear. One. Two. Balor kicks out! Balor hits the Coup de grâce. One. Two. Three. The crowd erupts, Balor has reclaimed the Universal Championship, and there is much rejoicing.
So, that’s how I would book it. It has a couple of genuine swerves that I think would be hard for fans to suss out. It gives a satisfying ending to the Orton/Wyatt drama. It gives Balor a fantastic return from injury and a great first Wrestlemania moment. It puts Reigns in a big match at the biggest of shows and kick starts his heel turn, which WWE absolutely needs to do. And it will send the fans home happy, which is something that’s really important, right? Right? Anyway, let me know what you think.