Fantasy Booking WWE WrestleMania 37 2-Night Lineup
In an ideal world, WWE should strive to make every event the greatest show imaginable.
However, when it comes to WrestleMania 37—the first show in over a year to have fans in attendance and the hard launch point of the WWE Network on Peacock—success is an absolute must.
It would be great to go back in time and build a better Road to WrestleMania, but this year's card is not beyond saving.
With that in mind, let's discuss some fantasy-booking scenarios that would bring about positive reviews for WrestleMania 37.
Unconfirmed: SmackDown Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Nothing has been set in stone regarding the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, but it seems clear a Fatal 4-Way is in the works. The Dirty Dawgs should defend against Dominik and Rey Mysterio, The Street Profits and Alpha Academy.
Given those options, the holders are the least-appealing pick for winners. Keeping the belts on Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode would keep things stagnant and get the worst reaction.
Alpha Academy wouldn't be much better as the new champions, but Chad Gable and Otis deserve some plaudits for their consistency. The Street Profits previously had a long run as the titleholders but now is not the time for another reign.
The winning recipe here is for The Mysterios to win the titles. If Dominik could win alongside his father, Rey, it would make history and be a fantastic moment on highlight reels.
They would also be the perfect team to lose the belts to The Usos once Jimmy Uso is healthy and cleared for a return to action.
Unconfirmed: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE should restore the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to the card this year after being dropped last year as part of the safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company has staged several multi-wrestler matches over the past 12 months, though, so it wouldn't seem to be an issue to return the men's and women's Battle Royals to The Show of Shows at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 10-11.
The return of the men's match would also allow the likes of Ricochet, King Corbin, Angel Garza, Jeff Hardy and others to participate on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
NXT star Adam Cole would make the crowd go wild if he were to win, while Dabba-Kato would be an interesting addition. Shinsuke Nakamura and Dominik Dijakovic would also be intriguing figures in the men's contest.
It's arguably easier to book this than not do it at all. It would take longer to make the graphic than to plan it out.
Unconfirmed: Women's Tag Team Championship Match
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler have had more spotlight on them than even the Raw Women's Championship over the past year, but they still have no match for WrestleMania 37.
With so many other Superstars in the women's division not on the card, the go-to answer would be to combine the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal with a Women's Tag Team Championship title defense.
Some teams that are already established include Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose, Natalya and Tamina, Lana and Naomi, The Riott Squad and possibly Baymella (Bayley and Carmella).
Mia Yim should team up with Nikki Cross and create some mayhem together, and it's time to admit breaking up The IIconics was a bad idea. WWE should put Peyton Royce and Billie Kay back together and have them win the titles.
All of this could be handled by Sonya Deville to give her new role as an authority figure greater purpose.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins has been to the mountaintop several times. He's a multi-time world champion who has conquered The Beast Incarnate at WrestleMania, won the title in the main event and had many months as the primary focal point of WWE Raw.
Cesaro has yet to get close to that level, despite how talented he is. It's time to tip the scales in his favor.
Rollins can easily lose this match and not suffer a dip in credibility, while a win for The Swiss Cyborg would be the biggest of his career.
The only decision here is for Cesaro to come out on top, which the crowd will absolutely adore.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
In order for the conspiracy-theory storyline to work out, Sami Zayn has to continue losing.
There isn't a strong case that Kevin Owens needs to win this match, but he's still the babyface and the one fans will pop more for if he's victorious.
More than most matches on this card, though, there is some flexibility here.
If WWE has something interesting in mind as a payoff for Zayn's "paranoia" angle, that's more interesting than KO simply beating him; if not, then Owens should win.
United States Championship Match: Riddle vs. Sheamus
One of the many feuds WWE has put little effort into building is Riddle vs. Sheamus for the United States Championship.
The company took the easy way to setting this up by having the pair bump into each other backstage, with The Celtic Warrior using The Original Bro's scooter as a weapon on him and then pinning the champion in a non-title match.
This match will have virtually no heat going into it, but there's nothing at this point that can be done about that. With only one Raw left before WrestleMania, this is just a matter of doing the match.
Ideally, Keith Lee would have been cleared to compete and made this a Triple Threat. Since that seemingly isn't happening, Riddle should retain and then everyone can move on to something else after WrestleMania.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E vs. Apollo Crews
It would be nice to go back and stop WWE from doing six of these matches before copying and pasting it for a seventh.
Big E and Apollo Crews should never have fought that many times prior to WrestleMania 37, especially if all it was going to lead to was another normal match. WWE has to do something to spice things up or this will be the least interesting bout on the card.
We can't quite stop it from becoming stale, but there is still time to add a stipulation or gimmick to ensure it doesn't sound quite so boring.
Fantasy booking this is then two-fold: picking the type of match and the winner.
Last Man Standing should serve both men well, and Crews should win the title to preserve his credibility. That will allow Big E to move up to the world title hunt as a future opponent for Roman Reigns later in the year.
Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
It's a shame no one has a time machine to avoid having Shane McMahon repeatedly calling Braun Strowman "stupid" as the entire foundation for this angle. It has been a terrible build.
The damage has been done, though, so all eyes need to be on the match itself to make up for it.
It was clear from the start that some sort of gimmick was necessary for this to be successful. McMahon has never been an in-ring technician of note, and The Monster Among Men is best when he can show off his absurd strength.
However, WWE has made the mistake of making this a steel cage match, which is one of the most illogical choices.
How do you take two people who are better off fighting with weapons outside of the ring and put them in a match where it forces them to be stuck inside the squared circle?
Fantasy booking this requires a rewrite in many ways, but making this a Street Fight so McMahon can use weapons to offset the size differential and Strowman can do something drastic to get his revenge is essential.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. AJ Styles and Omos
The official in-ring debut of Omos alongside AJ Styles makes for an interesting hook for the Raw Tag Team Championships match.
There are two ways to go about this that could make sense, depending on WWE's plans for the future.
One scenario would be for The New Day to drop the belts. They've held them enough times that such a short reign this time won't hurt their legacy, instead it just takes them closer to breaking the record for the most reigns in company history.
That way, Omos can start his career with a win and his partnership with Styles can continue, with the latter becoming both a triple crown and grand slam champion in the process. The Phenomenal One only needs a tag team title.
The other option would be for The New Day to retain. The crowd should be happy with that, especially if it leads to Styles flipping out at Omos afterward, only for the giant to turn on his partner and lay him out.
The Miz vs. Bad Bunny
The presence of celebrities at WrestleMania is designed to give WWE a boost in media coverage and provide a handful of moments that can be shared on social media.
Bad Bunny seems more dedicated to wrestling than a lot of other previous guest stars, but he's still not a true wrestler. There's no way he could have a legitimate match with The Miz that wouldn't be a mess.
Therefore, this should be less than five minutes of The A-Lister hamming it up, a short amount of maneuvers that are practiced well in advance and some interference from Damian Priest that gives Bad Bunny the win. Get in and get out.
Priest needs a spotlight and as long as there are clips of Bad Bunny that media outlets can use, that's a mission accomplished. Any more than that could lead to this being a low point of the show.
'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
For whatever reason, WWE decided to drag this story out from November through WrestleMania season and still can't settle on some of the necessary elements.
Neither looks like the babyface in this equation, and it's disappointing this doesn't have an interesting enough gimmick yet.
A regular match would be boring, while most cinematic matches have been intriguing in concept but not so good in execution. And if this is just a repeat of their House of Horrors match in 2017 with a different title, it's a pointless retread.
So far, it appears this will be just a regular match, which means WWE plans on doing something odd during it, or it plans to drag it out even more and do a gimmick match at the next pay-per-view beyond WrestleMania.
Fantasy booking this is difficult as it's hard to forget there were dozens of other options both Superstars could have gone with that would have had more potential.
Since this is what we're stuck with, it has to be The Fiend winning and getting his revenge on The Viper. It's impossible to send Wyatt away again and stretch this out even longer.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair
Sasha Banks is one of the best Superstars the women's division has seen, but there is virtually no argument to say she should win this match.
WWE has to learn from the past. After decades of making similar mistakes, such as Shinsuke Nakamura losing to AJ Styles and Asuka failing to beat Charlotte Flair, this can't be another WrestleMania where the fresher Royal Rumble winner comes up short.
It will kill Bianca Belair's momentum for her to lose, no matter how she is defeated.
The only way to book this is for The EST of WWE to win her first title clean. Anything less does both performers a disservice, and the woeful build has already put them in a tough spot.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley
Knowing WWE's love for Charlotte Flair, it's interesting she wasn't added here to make it a Triple Threat match and become its focal point.
As with most of this card, this would have been infinitely better if the creative team had a game plan in advance and took the right steps toward building this, rather than just having Rhea Ripley come out, challenge Asuka and say the match is on.
Even ignoring the lack of build or storyline, though, this is a lose-lose situation.
Asuka has had a terrible year as champion, with WWE perpetually putting her on the sidelines in favor of giving the spotlight to anyone else in the women's division. Meanwhile, Ripley lost all her momentum when she tapped out to Flair at WrestleMania 36 and has spent the past year unable to get any of it back.
The Nightmare has to win to wash away that year-long miasma, but it's just a shame it has to come at the expense of The Empress of Tomorrow.
We should also pray that WWE doesn't just plan to have the winner of this match drop the title to Flair straight after WrestleMania.
WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre
Fans were happy when Bobby Lashley finally won the WWE Championship, but the company is booking this match as if Raymond James Stadium will erupt in cheers when Drew McIntyre claims the title back.
It's a setup for failure that has nothing to do with either Superstar.
If fans boo the Scot, WWE will likely blame McIntyre and think that's a sign he was never over enough as a top guy to begin with, rather than admitting it was creative's fault.
If Lashley wins, this has no payoff and McIntyre fans will be disappointed. If The Scottish Warrior dethrones the champion, people will complain The All Mighty didn't get a proper run.
WWE has booked itself into a corner with this. There's no way to come out of this unscathed and no time left to do damage control by turning Lashley heel.
So, it's best to stick with the plan: Put the belt back on McIntyre and hope the crowd doesn't reject him too harshly.
Universal Championship Triple Threat Match
Daniel Bryan is in this match to be the glue that holds it together as well as to take the fall.
Roman Reigns is the overall favorite in terms of win-loss records, but Edge is the sentimental pick.
Since this WrestleMania needs to make fans as happy as possible, The Rated-R Superstar has to end the night with the championship and crossing that off his bucket list.
If there is some finality to it, he'll pin The Tribal Chief. But what makes more sense is to stretch things out by having Bryan take the loss so Reigns can say he didn't truly lose, which would set up a rematch against Edge at the next event.
WWE is more interested in moments than the stories themselves, and Edge winning the title is the moment.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.