So last Monday, the WWE decided to pull the trigger and announce John Cena will face The Rock at Wrestlemania 28. To me, this move is asinine. I hold out hope that WWE has actually gone back to the old days or reverse engineering the wrestling year to lead to Wrestlemania.
Unfortunately, I believe that this was a last second switch after the poor reception they received the night before and the need to draw some sort of resolution to the Cena-Rock conflict. To paraphrase, they shot first and will start answering questions later with explanations they are surely making up on the fly.
Nonetheless, Cena-Rock is booked. We all can now turn off our TVs and check back in around January when the Rock shows up next, right? Hopefully not. Now since WWE found it prudent to book the main event of their biggest show a year in advance, I figure I may as well take a crack at booking the rest of the show.
Here we go…
Prologue: Michael Cole reveals he is the Anonymous GM. Don’t try to understand it, but it’s just how it works out. He attempts to govern the Raw roster, but proves inadequate. His character runs the gamut of past GMs. In a jab at Bischoff, he tries to be the best friend of the top stars, but they run over him. When he realizes he’s being taken advantage of, he tries to clamp down and names himself “Sheriff” of Raw a la Steve Austin. When that doesn’t work, he begins fumbling along like Mike Adamle until Vince McMahon comes in, fires him as GM, and announces Shawn Michaels as a special consultant and the creation of a Competition Committee that will be dedicated to improving the show for the fans.
Main Event: John Cena vs. The Rock
After shaking to seal the deal with the Rock and fending off the Corre, Cena is challenged by Barrett, who says they have unfinished business. During the main event, the Corre runs in and overwhelms Cena, goes to a DQ as they wreck him again. At that time, Miz’s music hits, comes down, shakes Corre’s hands and tells Cena that with Rock gone, he can’t ignore him any longer and that he’s not going to make it to WM 28.
Miz defeats Cena at Extreme Rules in Last Man Standing match where Cena has Miz up in the Attitude Adjustment on the stage until the Rock’s music hits. He gets distracted and Miz tosses him off the stage and is down for the 10-count. Turns out Riley hit the music. At SummerSlam, Cena finally vanquishes the Miz. With Rock sitting ringside as the show is in LA, Cena holds the belt up at the Rock, only for CM Punk, winner of this year’s MITB, to slide into the ring and hit him over the head with the briefcase. Punk cashes in and wins the title. Cena blames the loss on another distraction by the Rock.
Rock is brought in at the Rumble to serve as special enforcer during the Rumble match. During the match, Cena is pulled, along with another two wrestlers, over the top illegally by Kane. Rock is distracted at this time, and Cena blames his elimination on the Rock intentionally ignoring him. At 'Mania, Cena turns heels in a No-Holds Barred match reminiscent of WM X-7 and defeats the Rock.
Winner: John Cena.
WWE Title: CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
In a rematch of WrestleMania 27, both Orton and Punk have continued their ascent to the gold. Orton, having not tasted the gold in nearly two years, finally has his 1-on-1 shot at Punk for the belt. Orton beat Punk at SummerSlam, the night Punk cashed it in to win the belt. Preoccupied by The Miz for much of the fall, Orton finally reset his sights on the belt when he won the Royal Rumble match.
Rekindling their feud from earlier in the year, Punk psychologically tore down Orton for two months leading to 'Mania. In the match, they played off their great confrontation at WM 27. Orton finally gets his win, gets his belt and moves up as the top face in the company.
Winner: New WWE Champion, Orton.
The Streak: Undertaker vs. Triple H, special guest referee Shawn Michaels
After returning as Vince McMahon’s special consultant to restore order on Raw, he’s adjusting well to the “corporate life.” That is until the Rumble where backstage, he bumps into 'Taker who looks down at him and smiles. Tells him he looks good in a suit and moves on.
This infuriates Michaels, who knows that 'Taker is so proud that he retired HBK. Michaels starts to beg HHH to challenge the Undertaker at WrestleMania again, but he won’t. Not until HBK tells HHH that he will come out of retirement and do it himself if HHH doesn’t do it, will he finally relent.
Growing paranoid and unsure as to whether HHH can do it, he books himself as the special guest referee. Come the end of the match, Taker kicks out of a third Pedigree as both men lie on the mat exhausted. Michaels, losing his cool in the ring, leans over the turnbuckle holding his head. He turns and begins to tune up the band. Having promised Vince that he wouldn’t get physically involved in the match or he would turn over his Hall of Fame ring, he is ready to deliver Sweet Chin Music to the Undertaker.
As he’s doing that, Ric Flair emerges on the stage and begins to run toward the ring waving HBK not to do it. He distracts Michaels long enough that 'Taker stands up while he isn’t looking. HBK goes for the kick in a panic, it’s caught, Taker slaps on for a chokeslam. Flair begs 'Taker not to do it, so he lets go. HHH goes after 'Taker one more time only to be flipped into a Tombstone to end the match.
(Epilogue: Flair delivers a tearful speech the next night on Raw that Michaels needs to accept what has happened and know that he can’t change the past. Great promo, yada yada).
World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs. Cody Rhodes
Rhodes continues his ascent up the roster throughout the year, winning the US Title at one point, only to lose it and move up the card further. He enlists Mason Ryan as his personal insurance policy to protect his face from ever encountering the same damage it had from Rey Mysterio.
Also, it’s another year, so it’s another Edge title run. He wins the belt by defeating Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio in a three-way TLC Match at TLC. After being the last man eliminated in the Royal Rumble, Cody Rhodes goes on to win the Elimination Chamber match. With a little help from Mason Ryan, “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes wins his first big gold belt.
Winner: New Champion, Cody Rhodes
Mexico Explodes: Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio
Kept apart for a year primarily by existing on opposite brands, Sin Cara makes a name for himself on Raw. Focused on the gold, Del Rio doesn’t pay much attention to Cara, who wins the U.S. Title for a period of time and WWE announcers begin hailing him as the next Rey Mysterio, and the leader of the next generation of Mexican wrestlers.
After losing his title to Edge at TLC, Del Rio and Cara meet face-to-face backstage at the Rumble and go on to have a lengthy exchange in the Rumble until Cara tosses Del Rio. Infuriated by this and all of the hype around Cara, Del Rio begins showing up to Raw shows and provoking Cara.
He attacks Cara backstage at Elimination Chamber where he was supposed to compete in the match for a shot at the title. Cara can’t compete in the match and challenges Del Rio to a match at 'Mania. Cutting a standard Rey promo about how he’s often overlooked and underappreciated because of his size, he says he will also not simply step aside and accept these two taking his place as the king of Mexican wrestling stars in the WWE. He says he respects Sin Cara, has no respect for Del Rio, and is willing to prove he still has it. In the biggest match for Mexico ever at WrestleMania, Cara defeats Del Rio and Mysterio.
Winner: Sin Cara
Divas Championship: Awesome Kong vs. Trish Stratus vs. Lita
Kong debuts not long after WM 27 with Armando Estrada as her manager. By June, she wins the Divas Championship from Eve in a 30 second squash on PPV. She bulldozes (get it?) the Divas roster for months.
After defeating Natalya at the Royal Rumble in a strong match, Estrada and Kong hold a press conference in the ring to announce they will be retiring the “Divas Championship” because there is not a woman on the roster capable of matching her skill. Then Trish’s music hits and she comes out to ask what about a Divas Legend? She walks to the ring. Then Lita’s music hits and she asks, what about two Divas Legends? They have the match, the best in a WWE women/diva’s match in years.
Winner: New Champion, Trish Stratus
Battle of the Reality Stars: Chris Jericho vs. The Miz
Chris Jericho returns as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble. Fresh off his Dancing With The Stars fame, he arrives back in the wrestling ring as a face. Gone are the stuffy suits, the big words and nasty attitude.
Instead, we now have a variation of Y2J, spitting catch phrases and pumping up the crowd. He’s greeted by The Miz. Reminiscent of the legendary Y2J WWF debut with the Rock in the ring, Miz begins to rundown Jericho and the fans for debasing The Miz and not accepting his talent due to his history with the Real World, yet they cheer for Jericho, who spent the last year pandering to the lowest form of life: DWTS viewers.
Jericho tears into the Miz for stealing his gimmick. Wearing his suits and being nothing more than a Jericho clone. Both are entered into the Elimination Chamber match where Miz eliminates Jericho. They go onto to WrestleMania and Miz again defeats Jericho.
U.S/IC Title Unification, Fatal Four-way Ladder Match: Kofi vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian
Come February, the Competition Committee announces that they have found the IC and US titles aren't defended frequently enough. In order to improve the division and increase competition, the champions at the time, Kofi Kingston (IC) and Jack Swagger (US) are stripped of their titles and along with the number one contenders would compete in this match. This provides the spot-heavy Wrestlemania match that was missing this year without MITB, elevates the belt and the competitors in the match.
Winner: New Champion, Dolph Ziggler
Tag Team Title Match: Daniel Bryan/Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus/Wade Barrett
The Competition Committee also increased focus on the tag team division. By breaking kayfabe to a certain extent, they announce that the Tag Team Titles will be defended on every PPV, leading to increased paydays for those members of tag teams and the tag team champions especially.
Chasing the cash, and harkening back to his NXT gimmick of a bare-knuckle fighter that will do anything for money, Wade Barrett enlists fellow European star Sheamus to create a dominating physical duo to run rampant over the tag team division. Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, brought together over their independent wrestling roots, join to knock off Sheamus and Barrett who had held the belts for several months at this time.
Winners: New Tag Team Champions, Bryan & Rollins