Fantasy: Announcing the Location of WrestleMania 30
It’s the March 15, 2013 edition of Friday Night SmackDown!, with less than a month until WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey.
In between matches, Michael Cole does some bit about WWE.com or social media, and happens to mention a Tweet sent out by Vince McMahon: Meeting with high-profile businessmen in Mexico City. “Huh, I wonder what that’s all about,” Michael Cole says flippantly before moving on.
The following Monday, March 18, one of the superstars has trouble convincing John Laurinaitis to see things his way. The superstar wants to go over Johnny’s head, so he tries to get Vince McMahon on the phone.
“Let me speak with Mr. McMahon… Canada?… Meeting with the Director of Tourism?… oh, never mind!” The superstar storms off stage left, and no further mention is made of the bit.
Matt Striker Investigates Vince McMahon's Mysterious Business Dealings
Thursday, March 21, after doing color commentary for a match on Superstars, Matt Striker draws attention to an on-going investigation that he’s conducting (providing updates at WWE.com), after we heard recently about Vince McMahon traveling to meet with international businessmen.
The segment is replayed the next night on SmackDown! Striker is backstage, and states that he hasn’t learned why Vince has had these meetings, but does know that he was traveling to England that very day for a similar meeting.
Monday, March 25, Raw. A pre-taped segment shows Striker at WWE Headquarters in Stamford. He speaks to Vince’s secretary, requesting a few minutes to speak with the CEO. “I’m sorry,” says the secretary, “but he’s in India at a business meeting.”
As the cameras follow Striker out of the building, he says that although he can’t confirm it, the rumors backstage are that McMahon is looking to sell the WWE, and that’s why all of these meetings are being set up.
Matt Striker's Investigation Continues as WrestleMania 29 Approaches
Friday, March 29, SmackDown! A pre-taped segment shows Striker at a small, private airport, trying to get to Vince McMahon. The door is closed to the chairman’s private jet, however, before Striker can speak with him. The cameras follow Striker through a doorway to a man sitting at a desk in a small room. “Where is that plane taking him?” Striker demands of the attendant.
“To another airport, to catch a plane to Tokyo.”
“What’s going on in Tokyo?” Striker asks.
“Business,” is the attendant’s only reply. Striker says that rumors have been going around that Vince wants to bring in more talent from Japan, and that’s what these meetings may be about.
Monday, April 1, Raw. WrestleMania 29 is just around the corner. Linda or Stephanie McMahon is seen backstage talking on a cell phone. Unbeknownst to the McMahon of the fairer sex, Striker and a cameraman are eavesdropping. “Okay Vince, enjoy your time in Dublin… I hear the businessmen are shrewd, but I’m sure you can handle yourself…Love you, goodbye.”
Striker bombards them as soon as they hang up the phone. “What is Vince doing in Ireland? What kind of business meetings is he having? Why all of the traveling? Why the secrecy?” Stephanie/Linda slaps Striker and storms off stage left.
Striker says that rumors have been spreading that Vince wants to own a developmental wrestling organization exclusive to Europe, and that may be why he was in Dublin.
Vince McMahon Answers Matt Striker's Questions at WrestleMania 29
Friday, April 5, SmackDown! With just a few days left before WrestleMania, Matt Striker is shown in the parking garage. He says he has been trying to get Vince on the phone all day, but to no avail.
“He’s scheduled to show up any minute, and when he get’s here, I’m…” and just then, the limo pulls up behind Striker. Vince gets out of the limo, and before Striker can get a full word out of his mouth, the CEO grabs Striker’s mic.
“I got off my plane from Rome less than an hour ago, I’m not in the mood. I know you have questions about the meetings I’ve been having all over the world. I have a big announcement that I’ll be making at WrestleMania. It will answer all of your questions.”
Sunday, April 7, WrestleMania 29. CM Punk vs. Steve Austin has just finished. The crowd is ready for the Rock/Brock main event. Vince has refused interviews all day. All of a sudden, his music hits, and Vince makes his way to the ring, the exaggerated pomp and circumstance of his strut as strong as ever.
Vince McMahon Announces the Location of WrestleMania 30 at WrestleMania 29
Vince grabs a mic. He's ready for his big announcement, on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
“I’ve been reading reports and hearing rumors about what supposed ‘insiders’ are making of my recent business meetings. Maybe I’m making a concerted effort to bring in more international talent. Perhaps. Maybe I’m interested in owning an international developmental organization. That’s always a possibility. Maybe I’m ready to sell WWE. Don’t count on it.
“In years past, in the days leading up to WrestleMania, we have generally announced the location of the following year’s event. Normally, we have everything planned out by now, down to the date, time, and venue. But this year, things are yet to be decided. Every city in America, every city in the world, would love to host WrestleMania 30.
“For the first time in over a decade, next year’s extravaganza could have an international flavor. I’ve been in negotiations with businessmen and tourism authorities from cities in eight different countries. At next month’s Pay-Per-View, When Worlds Collide, there will be an eight-man elimination tournament, featuring superstars from the eight countries bidding for the opportunity to host WrestleMania 30. The winner of the tournament will win the hosting rights for the country he represents.
"The eight countries being represented include Canada… Mexico… England… Italy… India… Japan… Ireland… and the United States of America! The individuals selected to represent their countries, and the brackets for the elimination tournament, will be decided over the next few weeks on Raw and SmackDown!
"On May 5, at the conclusion of When Worlds Collide, we’ll be able to announce the country, city, and venue for WrestleMania 30 on April 6, 2014.”
Qualifying Matches Are Set Up for the New PPV, "When Worlds Collide"
Over the next few weeks, matches are set up as superstars want the chance to represent their country at When Worlds Collide.
If we used today’s roster (per WWE.com), we would have a Triple Threat match for Canada’s spot featuring Chris Jericho, Christian, and Tyson Kidd.
For Mexico’s spot, a Fatal Four-Way comprised of Alberto Del Rio, Sin Cara, Camacho, and Hunico.
England, Japan, and India would be decided in singles matches: William Regal vs. Wade Barrett, Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu, and The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal, respectively.
Santino Marella represents Italy, Sheamus represents Ireland, and a huge Battle Royal is set up for the American spot.
WWE could substitute several other countries if needed, such as Scotland (Drew McIntyre), Wales (Mason Ryan), South Africa (Justin Gabriel), West Africa (Kofi Kingston), and Samoa (The Usos or The Rock).
Plus, I’m sure WWE has stars it could pull from FCW, or they could use it as an opportunity to bring in someone new, introduced with Rosa Mendes or Aksana, as co-representative for the country of that Diva. If they really wanted, they could name 16 potential countries, and have qualifying matches to bring the number down to eight for the PPV, as they used to do with the King of the Ring tournament.
Of course, any good smark knows that unless Vince and the WWE are willing to really shake things up, WrestleMania is going to be held in the US or Canada.
But just as we allow ourselves to believe that the Undertaker could conceivably lose at WrestleMania, if they can manage to prevent the actual location from being leaked before the PPV, we can all wonder and discuss what WrestleMania would look like in Japan or India or Mexico.
Assuming the event is held in America, it gives the WWE an easy vehicle with which to push a developing star, letting him represent the USA in the tournament and be the man responsible for keeping WrestleMania 30 within our borders during an economic recession.
WWE Could Use Their International Appeal to Create Some Dramatic Build-Up
This also allows for the month of April to be something more than four weeks of WrestleMania recaps and a new PPV concept that is more than WrestleMania rematches with weak stipulations.
Sure, for some WrestleMania feuds, we’ll still want another match, and no doubt that WWE creative could intertwine the tournament to further some of those storylines.
But post-WrestleMania serves as a transition period for many superstars, as they begin the year-long journey of trying to redefine who they are before all of the spots are taken for the next edition of “the grandaddy of them all.”
For any of the international superstars, this gives one more opportunity for them to reconnect with their homeland and put a slight (or perhaps significant) spin on their character.
A plot like this serves several purposes. Rather than spending the month of April remembering the WrestleMania that just happened, the WWE Universe can immediately start thinking about next year’s WrestleMania.
Instead of a PPV that is forced full of WrestleMania rematches, we have an eight-man elimination tournament, with a few necessary rematches and title defenses sprinkled in.
For at least one month, the WWE Universe would have an Olympic feel, fans coming together to cheer for their countrymen, reminding everyone that the company is truly an international phenomenon.
WWE has never been shy about using nationalism as a way to create drama and intrigue; no doubt a story like this would easily lead into some new alliances and bitter feuds.
What do you think? Would you enjoy a storyline like this? Is this preferable to simply have a video package a year prior at WrestleMania?