WrestleMania XXVIII: Creating a Card Through Logic and Wishful Thinking
With the 2012 Royal Rumble officially in the books, the road to WrestleMania XXVIII has already begun. And as we approach the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, we know just a handful of facts about the annual extravaganza.
We know The Rock will clash with John Cena and Sheamus will have a major title match as of right now. But besides that, there's nearly an entire card to fill.
Luckily for you, I'm here to fix that. So with a bit of logic and some wishful thinking, here is how I would book the rest of WrestleMania XXVIII.
John Cena vs. The Rock
Logic: Already Booked
Wishful Thinking: Already Booked
Build-up: It'll be The Great One vs. The Fruity Pebble on the industry's biggest stage. It'll also be The Attitude Era vs. The PG Era, the 18 and older demographic against the kiddy demographic and the, "If ya smell what The Rock is cookin'" against, "You can't see me."
However you look at it, this matchup should certainly be one to talk about for many years to come.
Who Would Win: As much as it pains me to say this, I would have John Cena come out victorious against The Rock. I will admit that I'm one of the biggest Rocky marks and I do not particularly care for Cena.
But from a strictly creative standpoint, a Cena victory is the only thing that makes any sense here. Cena is the face of the company now, not The Rock. Cena is a current full-time employee of the company, the Rock is not.
So in what would be best for the company, I would unfortunately give Cena the nod.
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Logic: Just like the Cena-Rock feud, this matchup has already started its road to WrestleMania. It certainly does not have the type of build that match does, but we've now seen the first shot taken in this potential Punk-Jericho bout.
It'll provide the card with another old vs. new angle which was something the company wanted for this event.
Wishful Thinking: This wishful thinking explanation really needs no explanation. Who wouldn't want to see this?
If Jericho and Punk do indeed engage in a WrestleMania feud, we can expect nothing less than pure entertainment. We'd be assured great microphone battles as well as incredible promo work that'll hopefully culminate into one of the best Mania matches of all-time.
Build-up: After Jericho delivered a Codebreaker to Punk on the last edition of Raw, we can only assume this match is going to happen. So to build off of that, this back and forth should go right through Elimination Chamber, leading all the way up to WrestleMania XXVIII. So obviously, I would have Punk retain his title in the Raw chamber match.
Starting now, I would send Jericho out to kick off the next episode of Raw. Here, Jericho would give reason to his sudden attack on Punk and once again go into the, "world is over" gimmick.
I'd also have Jericho claim that he, not Punk, is the, "best in the world." The two would fight over that moniker and fight for the WWE Championship at Mania.
Who Would Win: This match could go either way in terms of the victor. A win for either guy would make sense and would build their character a bit more. But since Jericho claims that he plans on staying with the company for a bit, I'll give him the win.
If creative wants to follow up on this apocalyptic Jericho angle, they should make him appear somewhat dominant. I feel as if Y2J has been a bit slighted since his return, given he has yet to start or end an episode of Raw. So to further Jericho's legacy and make the company more engaging, another title run for Jericho should be in order.
The main objective here, however, is for these two to put on a quality match.
Undertaker vs. Triple H (Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels)
Logic: The conclusion of their last match left this angle wide open. Although Undertaker came out on top, he could not manage to get backstage under his own power. His inability to do so may motivate him to lock up with The Game again. Plus, Triple H did leave a possible rematch on the table the night after the match.
As far as Michaels being the referee, why not? He's always open to to doing events for the WWE. Given Michaels' history with Taker at WrestleMania, this would be a very nice touch to an already promising match.
Wishful Thinking: Taker and Trips put on quite a match at last year's show, so why not again? Plus, this would be Taker's 20th win atWrestleMania. Capturing that 20-0 record against a legend like Triple H would only be fitting.
But to make this year's different from last, we'll throw in none other than Mr. WrestleMania himself to officiate it. That's right, Shawn Michaels could be the special guest referee for this big time match.
Build-up: We have already seen the build for this rematch begin after Taker's return on Monday. Although it appeared as though The Game was not game for another bout with the Deadman, we all know it's coming.
From here on, I would continue on the Triple H being timid storyline. Creative can throw some angles where Trips says he's done and does not want to wrestle Taker again. And they could eventually have Taker force the COO into a rematch much like they did with Michaels and the Deadman for WrestleMania XXVI.
The only angle that really needs the build is HBK as the ref. If that's the case, then Triple H and Shawn can have an in-ring confrontation prior to the event. They can refer back to when Shawn claimed Triple H couldn't beat Taker and use that to catapult him into the match.
Who Would Win: You can't end up 19-1, that's just annoying. So in order to go 20-0 and develop one of the greatest feats in the industry's history, I would obviously have Taker grabbing this one.
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs. Sheamus
Logic: Sheamus is already on his way to WrestleMania and Randy Orton will have a shot at the strap in the Elimination Chamber. So with that being said, this match is very possible.
As far as Sheamus selecting the World Heavyweight Title for Mania, it should be just about a lock now. Jericho has engaged in a feud with Punk that'll ultimately culminate into a WWE Championship match. That leaves the World Heavyweight strap to Sheamus.
And in defense of Randy Orton, he would be a prime opponent for the push Sheamus is now on. Since Daniel Bryan would not have the draw appeal of an Orton, they have to take the strap off of him at the chamber match. (The other chamber opponents wouldn't be as big as an Orton for that matter.)
If the company wants to develop their younger talent, they must put them in big time matches against big time guys.
Wishful Thinking: Orton and Sheamus do have the potential to put on a very solid match. Both are very capable in the ring and are continuously improving in their promo work as well. This would be an interesting feud that could have some nice payoff at WrestleMania.
Build-up: In order for this feud to work the right way, one of these guys has to go change his character just a bit. I'm not saying one of them has to go heel, but either Sheamus or Orton has to intensify things.
Being that Sheamus will have an opportunity to make a statement after the World Title chamber match, I would have the Celtic Warrior sticking Orton after his victory. As soon as Orton would get the three count and the World Heavyweight Title, I would have Sheamus make his way to the ring and plant Orton. This would begin the feud and give us Sheamus' decision for his WrestleMania match.
Again, he does not have to go heel. He just has to increase that, "kick-ass" face role in order to irk Orton.
Who Would Win: A haunting problem of the current WWE product is a lack of major talent. So in an effort to catapult another name right into the Cena-Orton territory, I would have Sheamus picking up the win and the title here. This would make him a legitimate force and a main event talent almost immediately.
Orton has been a bit out of his backstage character lately, allowing some younger guys to get over. So I'm sure one more job for a guy like Sheamus wouldn't be much to ask The Viper for.
Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Kharma
Logic: I guess we need a Divas match.
Wishful Thinking: I guess Beth Phoenix and Kharma are the most capable women in the business.
Build-up: I guess Kharma could make good on her promise and return to dominate the division.
Who Would Win: I guess Kharma winning would be meaningful for the otherwise weak Divas division.
Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
Logic: There always has to be some sort of celebrity involvement when it comes to WrestleMania. So why not Shaquille O'Neal? After all, there have been quite few rumors of this potential matchup taking place.
Big Show has always handled celebrity matches very well at WrestleMania, so it does make sense.
Wishful Thinking: If you're a WWE fan, chances are that you're also a sports fan. With that being said, we all know how entertaining Shaq can be. The Great Aristotle has the wits, the draw appeal and has already taken a test run in a WWE ring.
Build-up: The build for this could be a little tricky, but all the company has to do is bring in Shaq for a guest host appearance. There, he could have a nice little run in with Show backstage. I can imagine they would have a cute back-and-forth regarding who is the better and bigger athlete.
Show doesn't have to necessarily turn heel for this angle. All he has to do is create some friction between himself and Shaq for this to be believable. Maybe he can throw some jabs at O'Neal concerning his infamous free throw game and/or his love-hate relationship with fellow NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
Who Would Win: Just like the build, determining the winner of this match is tricky. Celebrities always win at WrestleMania and Show has yet to beat one. The interesting factor in this, however, is that this match would be in Show's area of expertise.
Show has dropped a 'Mania match to Akebono in sumo match and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing/wrestling match. Both stipulations were in favor of the celebrity. So to have Shaq win here would be an embarrassing blow to Show's legacy in the ring.
So I would have Show pick up a win in this match. But as long as a bout between these two giants is entertaining, everyone will be a winner.
Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Goldust
Logic: Creative has already dipped their feet into the Rhodes family water. We have already seen Cody assault his older brother, Dustin, during his brief feud with Booker T. So as far as having a starting point, it's already there.
In terms of this match making sense, having Goldust jobbing for Cody at WrestleMania would be a nice step forward. Defeating Goldy wouldn't exactly put the current Intercontinental Champion over the top, but it would make for quite an intriguing feud.
Creative writing for wrestling doesn't always have to be about advancing young talent. Sometimes you just have to have book something fun.
Wishful Thinking: Brother vs. brother? Count me in. I firmly believe Dusty's offspring can put on a nice eight to ten minute match for the IC strap.
Build-up: As I stated earlier, this feud already has a starting point should they revisit it. The company can always bring Dustin back as Goldust to challenge Cody. He can engage in one of those all-or-nothing, end-of-my-career moments.
Cody would gladly accept the challenge and refer back to his recent dominance over other wrestling legends. He did defeat Booker in their feud and eliminated Mick Foley and Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the Royal Rumble as well.
Who Would Win: Cody for overly obvious reasons.
8-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Logic: You can only fit so much talent on one card. And being that the company has an overload of mid-card wrestlers, it only makes sense to bring back the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania. But that's not just me speaking.
The company already has plans to revive this match at Mania. So you should expect it.
Wishful Thinking: The WrestleMania Money in the Bank matches are just that, money in the bank. These matches never fail to disappoint and are always one of the better matches on the card.
This time, however, would include a stockpile of talent. A match containing The Miz, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Kane, Daniel Bryan, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston would easily make for the most appealing Money in the Bank Ladder Match of all-time.
Build-up: We can have our usual Money in the Bank build-up here. They'll be a bunch of guys complaining about not getting a title match at Mania and will subsequently be placed into this one.
The big payoff during the build would be the return of Captain Charisma himself, Christian.
Who Would Win: Like I said in the Sheamus-Orton slide, the company is lacking main event talent. The guy on the verge of becoming the next biggest heel in the company is Wade Barrett.
Barrett has the in-ring ability and mic skills. All he needs is that final push to the top. This would be the actual beginning of the Barret Barrage.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio
Logic: It might be a tall order to ask these two men to put on a WrestleMania quality match given their recent injuries. Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio will hopefully be back in time for WrestleMania, but who knows.
Both already have a decent amount of history that could further them along here.
Wishful Thinking: Del Rio and Mysterio have very different styles. Both men, however, are two of the best at what they do. Both have the capability to put on an interesting and high energy match to kick off this pay-per-view.
Build-up: Creative could have Mysterio and Del Rio return on the very same night. Del Rio could come out first and brag about his return, only to be upstaged by Mysterio hitting the ring.
Mysterio would challenge Del Rio to a match being that he took Rey out of commission back in the summer.
Who Would Win: There would be two goals for this match, one primary and one secondary. The primary objective would be to start the event off on a high note. The company can't afford to start off their biggest pay-per-view on a dull note.
The secondary issue to be addressed would be the winner. Although it wouldn't really matter, I would lean towards Mysterio. His victory would get a larger pop than Del Rio's, making the start of Mania a bit exciting.
Notables Left off Card
Mark Henry: It'll be tough for the world's strongest man to put on a quality match given his nagging knee injury. Although it hurts to leave him off, I don't think he'll be well enough to compete at a high level.
Zack Ryder: Creative has put Ryder in a back brace and a wheelchair. So it wouldn't make much sense to anyone if he comes back ready for WrestleMania.
Jack Swagger: He's an unfortunate victim of a very crowded card. The WWE did this to Sheamus last year and I'll do it with Swagger here.
Brodus Clay: The Funkasaurus character isn't quite ready yet. So no need to call his mama on this one.
Tag Teams: As much as I would love a good tag team bout, the company has not done enough to justify one for this WrestleMania.
*Match order from first to last:
(1) Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio
(2) 8-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Bryan, Christian, Kane, Miz, Truth, Kingston, Barrett, Ziggler)
(3) Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Goldust
(4) Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
(5) Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Kharma
(6) World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs. Sheamus
(7) Undertaker vs. Triple H (Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels)
(8) WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho
(9) John Cena vs. The Rock
What Do You Think?
What do you think?
Like the card? Hate the card? Think you can make a better card?
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