Fantasy Booking the Perfect WWE WrestleMania 36 Match Card
WrestleMania is a time of big moments and matches, so it's important the card gets everyone excited. This does not mean throwing together a bunch of multi-wrestler matches as has happened in some years, though.
It is important to take the time to highlight fresh stars and those who have earned their place in The Showcase of the Immortals.
While there is plenty of opportunity for WWE to put together some odd celebrity appearances or unwarranted veteran matches, including the additions of Undertaker, Goldberg or even Sting to the card, the best way for this all to go is to focus on the stars who built their way to this moment.
The Grandest Stage of Them All should be about highlighting champions and rising stars, and the early hints of what is to come are promising.
The following would the perfect way to build off of what has already happened in WWE and get to the heart of what matters. It would feature every major champion and a few true showstealers.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
While it would be nice to let this tradition rest, the point of the match is clear. It allows everyone to get a WrestleMania pay check. Multiple former winners would be in this match, but Ricochet or Elias stand out as likely winners at this point.
The WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal
In much the same manner as the men's Battle Royal, this contest is to get everyone on the card. Natalya, Lacey Evans, Liv Morgan and Lana could use this chance to emerge victorious, but it could also be a fresh NXT star such as Dakota Kai.
NXT North American champion Keith Lee vs. Finn Balor
NXT's presence should be larger than ever on the WrestleMania 36 card, and this show should feature plenty of big title matches. Keith Lee needs to be on this card in some way, and this would be better than winning the Battle Royal, especially working off Finn Balor.
NXT cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Angel Garza
The past several years, the Cruiserweight Championship has had a role at 'Mania. This year should be no different and perhaps help keep some underused stars relevant. Having Rey Mysterio, Humberto Carrillo and Angel Garza in the match would even play on their recent interactions.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships Fatal 4-Way
The Match: SmackDown tag team champions The Miz and John Morrison vs. The New Day's Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.
SmackDown's tag team division is overflowing with talent. It is incredible just how much the blue brand has to work with, so picking the right teams to represent the brand at WrestleMania was difficult.
Ultimately, these four represent the peak of the division at the moment. The New Day and The Usos are the most decorated tag teams in all of WWE, while The Miz and Morrison have been on a roll since The Shaman of Sexy returned.
The final spot could go to Heavy Machinery, but Roode and Ziggler are better established. In fact, they may be the underdogs to win the match in surprise fashion as a rebound from recent embarrassment.
What matters is that the talent in this match will shine through, and it could be an impressive opener. No one here would want to slow down for a second.
It also is a great excuse for Woods to make a big return standing in the corner of his best friends, truly reuniting The New Day.
Raw Tag Team Championships Fatal 4-Way
The Match: Raw tag team champions Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy vs. AOP vs. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe vs. The Viking Raiders.
The story has been fully established, and Raw's tag team division has suddenly been taken over by what began as a rivalry of just Rollins and Owens. Now, it is a competition for tag team supremacy led by The Monday Night Messiah.
What would make this match interesting is pitting friends against each other. AOP would make more sense representing Rollins' group as champions, but he insisted on taking the titles instead.
Joe and KO have been working with the Raiders, but Erik and Ivar only have one true goal. They lost their gold once and will not stop the raid until they are back on top.
It could be a fun physical war, with all eight men shining. It would also be an interesting way to shift the championships to Akam and Rezar, who can contend with the Raiders going forward.
Women's Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way
The Match: Women's tag team champions The Kabuki Warriors vs. The IIconics vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Candice LeRae and Tegan Nox.
Similar to last year, this feels like the right spot to get plenty of women from all the brands on the card. Asuka and Kairi Sane technically represent no brand, so they can get one challenger from each.
While plenty of women could step up, a few key teams stand out even if some have been barely established.
Bliss and Cross are former champions who have dominated SmackDown's tag division. Finally, NXT can get another shot, and who better to represent it than the two best friends waiting for the right opportunity? LeRae and Nox are both great and deserve the spotlight.
Raw's tag team is the hardest to put together, but it could be interesting to see if Peyton Royce and Billie Kay will be rebranded in time for WrestleMania 36. The IIconics certainly need a fresh start.
Together, this might be a messy match, but it could also showcase the division in a memorable fashion.
United States Champion Andrade vs. Aleister Black
The Match: United States champion Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. Aleister Black.
The future of Raw has slowly been built with a few key stars. One man who has been completely protected has been Black. The Dutch Destroyer has gone undefeated for months.
Andrade has been highlighted as well but not to the same extent. He needed his United States Championship reign to solidify his position in WWE. He has been a good champion to date, though perhaps only a warm-up for Black.
These two have fought before in NXT, and this should be a hard-hitting affair. Black forces his opponents into striking wars, and El Idolo is not afraid to get physical.
Arguably two of the best on Raw with plenty still to prove, they can push each other to steal the show. This is one of those matches that may get cut short for time. It could even end in seconds with Black Mass, but the rivalry will rage beyond The Grandest Stage of Them All.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Braun Strowman vs. Sheamus
The Match: WWE intercontinental champion Braun Strowman vs. Sheamus.
The Monster Among Men needs to finally get his WrestleMania moment. It has been a confusing running joke how often Strowman has missed a major spotlight on The Grandest Stage of Them All. This would be his first singles match at 'Mania.
Sheamus is comfortable in this role. He has been everything WWE wanted him to be for years. It would be appropriate for him to keep rising up the ranks by taking out smaller competitors before someone bigger than him gets in the way.
This would not be the first time Sheamus and Strowman have fought, but it would have the most behind it of any of their encounters. It would not be a joke tag team match where The Monster steamrolls through The Celtic Warrior and Cesaro.
Sheamus can push Strowman to his limit, and The Monster can push right back. It is time for WWE to remind everyone of the talent that is on its roster.
Edge vs. Randy Orton
The Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton in an unsanctioned match.
This is an easy sell given recent events. Orton's brutal attack of Edge had fans stunned into silence. The Rated-R Superstar returned to work with the best, which may mean starting with familiar stars first.
It's been a long time since Edge and his former tag team partner last clashed. It may not be the same with both being much older, but there's plenty of story to tell.
On a night that should be primarily pure wrestling, the veterans can get hardcore. After the punishment Edge endured, his slow return to action will be fun to watch especially as he refuses to heed medical advice and demands a fight with The Viper.
These two can get brutal and safely test Edge's limits. It will likely be shocking and unnerving but also potentially brilliant.
It has been a long time since Edge stepped in a WWE ring for a one-on-one match. It has also been a long time since Orton has had a rival who pushed him to tell a complete story in the ring.
This is a perfect storm for a WrestleMania match.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano
The Match: NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano.
In continuing NXT's growing spotlight on WWE shows, no one is going to begrudge the brand for putting its two biggest stars in the first NXT Championship WrestleMania match.
Ciampa and Gargano have fought plenty, perhaps too much, but they have not had a true complete wrestling match through it all. It is time to put away the weapons and just perform.
DIY reformed in January. If Johnny Wrestling and Tommy Entertainer fight again, it will be as friends with a dream. They don't need to brutalize each other, they just need to show how incredible they are in the ring.
Fans will be on their feet if these two just get 10 minutes. It will be non-stop action. Plenty of other matches could take the same spot and have success, but this feels just right for WrestleMania.
It can even build off of NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay the previous night. Ciampa can retain his title against Finn Balor or Adam Cole, and Gargano can earn his opportunity to finally get back to the mountaintop.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Naomi
The Match: SmackDown women's champion Bayley (w/ Sasha Banks) vs. Naomi.
The SmackDown women's division needs a true spotlight to rise to the next level. It would be easy to throw together a multi-woman title match at WrestleMania, but that helps no one especially with the other women's titles being defended one-on-one.
Naomi's return came with much praise and excitement. She is as much a star as any female on the blue brand, but it is almost entirely potential. She is an incredible athlete, but she has not put it all together.
It will be a sink-or-swim moment with Bayley. The Role Model will demand her absolute best. If Naomi can run with this opportunity and put on the best match of her career, she will be made no matter the result.
The SmackDown women's champion has evolved into an interesting heel, but she needs true rivals. Her strongest story so far has been with Lacey Evans, but their matches went nowhere.
Bayley can drop the title at any time and be fine. Naomi won't get many opportunities like this. It should be her time to glow as long as she has proved herself ready.
NXT Women's Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair
The Match: NXT women's champion Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair.
While not officially announced, this match has been teased too much not to come to fruition. It is also the only good answer to follow up Charlotte's Royal Rumble victory.
The Queen has already fought Becky Lynch and Bayley before and doesn't need to do so again. Meanwhile, Ripley has earned this spotlight and could be made by this match.
Once The Nightmare retains at NXT TakeOver: Portland, only Charlotte will stand in front of her. The most prolific female champion in WWE history already, she is the ultimate challenge to overcome for a young rising star.
No women's division is better than NXT's. The talent on display is staggering, and matches like this will elevate everyone no matter who wins.
It should be Ripley who emerges victorious, though. She is on a tear right now and has earned this moment. A win will solidify not only her but also the NXT Women's Championship.
Universal Champion Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
The Match: WWE universal champion "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns.
This is an easy match to book. From the start, Wyatt has said The Fiend's focus is to punish anyone who wronged him. His most personal rival was always The Big Dog. Even now, his words linger: "Anyone but you, Roman."
Wyatt has revitalized himself since he last feuded with Reigns, but the multiple-time former champion has been waiting for an opportunity to enter the title scene again.
Fans will tune in to watch SmackDown's leading hero battle the top villain. WWE did well in keeping them apart this long.
No one deserves a second chance at headlining WrestleMania match like Wyatt. His battle with Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33 was a mess that neither man could salvage due purely to booking.
Hopefully, this will not be the moment The Fiend finally falls, but it will be fun to believe it could be. Someone will come along as the superhero who topples WWE's most dangerous super-villain. The Big Dog has played that role many times.
Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler
The Match: Raw women's champion Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler.
This is the easy money match since Ronda Rousey is likely not coming back to WWE any time soon. Lynch needs someone who can challenge her on a roster that she has mostly outmatched.
Baszler was a dominant force in NXT, and she is soon to be a commanding presence on the red brand. Raw needs more major stars, and she has shown she can work with anyone.
The women's division has thrived when it has focused on the physical side of wrestling. When the women are leaning into their shots and wrenching submission holds, it feels more real than the men's matches often do.
The Queen of Spades is a legit fighter who knows how to look like one in the ring. She will push Lynch to her lowest, and the Raw women's champion will have to find a way to overcome. It will make for a compelling story.
Now with the single longest reign as Raw women's champion in WWE history, this may be the right moment to move the title. It may even lay the groundwork for a Four Horsewomen showdown when Rousey does return.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre
The Match: WWE champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Drew McIntyre.
This is the first confirmed match for WrestleMania 36, which is why it feels best suited for the main event. McIntyre has never won a world championship or even had an opportunity at the WWE or Universal Championship to this point.
He will be motivated to go all out while Lesnar is likely to be happy working with the Scot. The two are comparable in their size and speed, and McIntyre will hit The Beast Incarnate as hard as he wants.
Ultimately, this will be the moment to finally put over The Scottish Psychopath. He has spent enough time on the sidelines along the way.
He can topple The Beast, and this time it needs to stick. Lesnar must finally step out of the spotlight for a time and work with performers without carrying gold.
This will allow McIntyre to work with so many stars he has never had a chance to fight. He will make Raw feel far more like a fresh product in WWE.