5 Ideas to Replicate Undertaker vs. Styles Success for WWE's Next Cinematic Bout
The coronavirus pandemic has led to WWE holding all of its TV and pay-per-view tapings at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, but the restrictions forced management to create some unique showings.
The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles in a Boneyard match, Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena in the Firefly Fun House and the recent Money in the Bank PPV all received high praise for being original and entertaining.
These cinematic matches offer a different kind of experience for both fans and wrestlers. It also gives WWE the opportunity to do multiple takes so every moment can be as close to perfect as possible.
This isn't the first time WWE has done this, though. The Wyatt Family fought The New Day at their compound in 2016, and Matt Hardy brought The Ultimate Deletion to WWE before leaving for All Elite Wrestling.
Shotgun Saturday Night used to regularly feature Superstars fighting in unconventional locations, including one time when The Undertaker performed a Tombstone Piledriver on an escalator.
Once WWE begins holding shows with fans in attendance again, we probably won't see this kind of match too often, but the company should consider using them for special occasions.
Let's look at some other potential venues for more cinematic matches and which Superstars would fit the gimmick.
WWE headquarters was a good choice for the Money in the Bank match May 10 because the company was already in the process of moving to a new building and could afford to destroy a few things.
Another property that would make a decent venue for a match would be the WWE warehouse, where the company keeps all of its props and sets.
Everything from the giant SmackDown fist from the original stage set to dozens of weapons fills the shelves of the warehouse, making it ripe with nostalgia.
A match at the warehouse would need to involve somebody from the McMahon family, and Shane will probably return to the ring at some point, so he would be a logical choice.
The former SmackDown general manager is known for working in unconventional matches and performing risky stunts. The WWE warehouse would give him the chance to do both.
A Grocery Store
WWE has never shied away from doing something more than once if it was successful, so the odds of seeing two people fight inside a grocery store are high.
Booker T and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had one of the most entertaining fights in WWE history when they destroyed almost every aisle of the shop in 2001.
A setting like this is perfect for comedy and would fit best with a Superstar who likes to make people laugh and an opponent who takes things too seriously.
Somebody such as Otis, R-Truth or Carmella would be good in the babyface role against a star like Bobby Lashley, Jinder Mahal or Tamina.
Imagine Mr. Money in the Bank trying some free samples before using the serving tray to hit somebody in the head or Mella using a shopping cart as a weapon. There are so many things WWE could do if it revisited a grocery store for a future encounter.
Seth Rollins' Wrestling School
Many current and former pro wrestlers own wrestling schools. Tyler Breeze and Shawn Spears have Flatbacks Wrestling School, Shawn Michaels used to have his own training facility, and Seth Rollins is one of the owners of the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy.
The former Architect of The Shield is now portraying a strange character who has more in common with a cult leader than he does with anyone else.
Having him choose what would be his home territory for a showdown would give WWE a different setting to work with besides the Performance Center that would still have a traditional ring.
The bout would be similar to what we saw between Edge and Randy Orton at WrestleMania 36 in many ways. And various pieces of workout equipment would be around to use as weapons, such as dumbbells or CrossFit gear.
Rollins' wrestling school would be a solid venue for a rematch with Drew McIntyre, especially if it happens before WWE returns to having shows with a live crowd.
An Amusement Park
If there is one industry that has come to a screeching halt because of social distancing guidelines in most states, it is theme parks.
Disney resorts, Six Flags and every water park you can think of has been sitting empty for months, with some only just beginning to formulate a plan to reopen.
Before that happens, WWE should pay one of them to host a gimmick match where a bunch of Superstars beat each other up using carnival games and various rides.
Somebody could express a fear of roller coasters only to have somebody else lock them in the seat of one and turn it on, or two people could fight in a house of mirrors like Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
This is another setting that would lend itself well to comedy. WWE could even bring in some people for logical cameos like Doink the Clown and Kizarny, although many fans may not remember the latter.
Most theme parks have an arcade of some sort, which would be the kind of place The New Day would feel right at home. So many different Superstars could be used in a scenario like this to make it work.
A Haunted House
We have seen spooky matches before like the Firefly Fun House and Boneyard bouts from WrestleMania 36, but WWE could up the ante even further by setting one inside a haunted house.
Every generation has a few Superstars who use psychology to creep their opponents out. The Undertaker, Kane, Goldust and The Boogeyman are just a few examples.
Aleister Black doesn't claim to have otherworldly powers like The Deadman, but he does use a lot of imagery associated with the horror genre in his wrestling attire and entrance.
If WWE is looking for a signature match to make him stand out, having him torment somebody inside a haunted house would be amazing. It could either be a gimmicky Halloween thing or one of the hundreds of houses across the country people claim are haunted by spirits.
Jeff Hardy would also be a good choice for something like this thanks to his unorthodox style in and out of the ring.
Management has received good feedback for its recent cinematic matches, and it should continue finding new ways to keep giving the WWE universe fresh experiences. These five locations would be good choices, but there are countless possibilities.