Grantland has had me thinking about professional wrestling again. The excellent podcast with “The Masked Man” David Shoemaker & Pete Rosenberg ‘Cheap Heat’ has had me thinking. Along with the WWE Network, I’ve been thrust into thinking about the days when I’d attempt to watch WWF & WCW as much as I could, the storylines, Royal Rumble at Philips Arena, and a myriad of other moments. With all that happening, I’ve fallen into fantasy booking // storyline creating: Im a frustrated creative, this helps.
In some way I see this as a two year deal covering 3 Wrestlemanias (including this year’s) This is ignorant of contracts FYI.
The overall crux of the plan hinges on 3 things that are classic tropes and easy for fans to hinge to family, power, and honor. The end result being the grandest coronation of a champion ever.
THE MAIN PLAYERS:
Bray Wyatt & Fam
This year’s Wrestlemania is the beginning with purported title matches between Daniel Bryan v. Triple H (DvT) // Batista v. Orton (BvO) // Undertaker v. Lesnar (UvL)
This past RAW:
— DvT —
Though fans believe this is Triple H inserting himself, it serves a greater purpose to both of their arcs.
— UvL —
The crowd seemed split in their reaction to Undertaker & Lesnar. Of course they cheered when Undertake hit the chokeslam, but that’s just cuz its Undertaker chokeslamming a freak. The key pieces that stood out were a real since of trepidation from Lesnar as he stood in the ring with Undertaker, a real vulnerability from Lesnar seeing the weight of “The Streak” and ‘Taker in front of him. A perceived animal like Lesnar is then only left with that bravado he showed by only pushing himself further into this challenge and provoking ‘Taker, thus the chokeslam and the crowd pop.
— BvO —
Batista is losing steam and has already lost the crowd. They will hopefully use this to their advantage as the schedule gets closer. Over this period they position him as a heel who is ignorant of his actual position: due to his own vanity and hype believes he is the one doing what’s right for the business (his recent in ring promo reveals thats his thinking currently), meanwhile in actuality he’s just a giant dickhead poseur eventually being bailed out by the likes of The Authority, as they slowly build their alliance towards Batista.
The key here is there are continued jabs at Orton actually being the Face of the Business (FOB). During their joint run in Evolution, Batista was often the focal point and champion, while Orton failed to come through. They can use similar talking points to Orton v. Cena in this situation, but with it coming through Batista’s lips it just sounds ridiculous and hollow. This furthers his delusion and fan contempt. Ultimately though the FOB switch happens because what’s best for business is greed and money and The Authority anoints Batista, damn near purely because he’s part of a blockbuster movie.
— BvO —
As stated above Batista wins due to some interference by The Authority that had clearly been brewing over the past weeks. As The Authority see that Orton, again wasn’t pulling his weight and also greed.
In the weeks leading up to it you have Orton needing Authority help to win matches even against up and comers like Reigns & Big E. Meanwhile Batista because of his hubris schedules a match for his title shot against Daniel Bryan; this has the added affect of playing off his post Rumble heat when he mocked the fans and allows for Triple H to intervene on his behalf. This marks The Authority’s backing of Batista in BvO, but on the surface only looks like Triple H is holding Daniel back hurting him for their match.
Post lost Orton is in a tailspin and reverts back to his more batshit crazy persona, but remains a heel, thus allowing his best persona to show through and having great matches with the up and comers, without having to be in the title picture.
— DvT —
Bryan wins this match despite interference from Kane. Its a brutal and technically amazing match from both competitors. I believe it’ll be a classic. The main take away is due to the level both guys go, Triple H gains a real respect for Daniel Bryan after the match, nothing overtly showy, but something subtle that shows Triple H realizes that Daniel Bryan may be the real deal and validation (though of course not really needed)
— UvL —
This is where everything hinges IMO. This will be a brutal brutal match. My belief is this will be similar to Undertake V Triple H but in reverse. I recently watched “The Streak” on Netflix and there is this thread that I couldn’t get out of my head. After you get past the big gimmick days, solid matches started to form. They seem to progress from Undertaker starting hot and pummeling, then the opponent has a solid run, then Taker just beats him cuz he’s better and evil.
Slowly though the matches change, the story becomes a better opening back and forth and Taker being taken to the edge, ultimately though he wins because of his Taker’ness but more importantly the opponent tries one last desperate move to finish him, but Taker is able to muster just enough to win (seen in his Edge classic & the Shawn Michaels // Triple H epics). I think the storyline changes again with this match.
As stated its a brutal match. Major back and forth thoughout; a few big spots but its clear that ‘Taker is taking a bigger beating in this match than ever before. So much so, that beyond the fans thinking he may lose, he actually believe he may lose. Previously I said it seemed the crowd was split in their response to the ‘Taker v Lesnar in the ring; they make them choose here. Taker becomes desperate essentially unhinged to maintain his all consuming ‘Streak’. Throughout the match, other than ring posts, Lesnar is fighting clean w/ no Heyman interference; the idea being he doesn’t want to taint his domination over ‘history’. Taker’s desperation pushes him to cheat with repeated and brutal chairs shots, sledge hammer shots, choking, etc. Taker is no longer ‘evil haha’ but big bad EVIL Undertaker. This pushes crowd against him and favoring Lesnar. Taker wins the match, streak maintained.
POST WRESTLEMANIA XXX
As this is technically the beginning of the new wrestling season as they say, changes obviously take place. I’ll layout a few things so you don’t think to much about them.
Cena / Orton / Sheamus / Mark Henry / BShow work storylines with the up and coming guys like Big E, Swagger, Cesaro, The Shield, The Wyatts, (group and individually) for most of the year. The focus here is to keep the main guys active and they pop in and out of the title hunt and major storyline I’m positing here, but they are not the major players. They work to bring a bigger stage to the future guys and re-elevate the Intercontinental and US Titles to being legit stepping stones and worth while belts to the big time.
LEADING TO HELL IN A CELL 2014
The major Storylines are now Batista v. Lesnar (BvL) / Daniel Bryan v. The Authority (DvA) / Undertaker Being An Evil MoFo (Taker)
— BvL —
Immediately after winning its clear Batista is a fraud who the fans hate, he’s a false strong guy, and the new FOB. He has The Authority by his side and pushing his actions and working for him.
Lesnar post Taker dismantling has a slight change of heart of sorts. He sees Batista and is disgusted. He sees the fake strong guy who had the backing of the entire organization and barely beat ‘puny Bryan'; he sees the guy who had everything handed to him; and he wants to destroy him and take the title. Lesnar post match realizes that he sacrificed so much in his match against ‘Taker, and then to turn around and see Batista gloat is too much.
We now have The Beast v. The Animal. He also convinces Paul Heyman to “change” simply because he knows he’s the best horse in the race; Heyman’s only motivation is power and that can be achieved if he stays with Lesnar. The real reason is so that Heyman can continue to be the mouth piece in big moments to maintain the hype. Lesnar isn’t particularly a ‘good’ guy but a fan favorite who we want to see beat an impostor.
Up until that Hell in a Cell there are a number of great matches of these brutes, fighting and ducking each other. Also I stated this is a 3 Wrestlemania plan, thus once Lesnar wins it he has a few losses of the title to the likes of Cena, Jericho?, & whoever. But its ultimately a dominant 1 yr reign as a brutal champion taking on all comers because he saw the value of the win and the honor of competition that was almost robbed of him by ‘Taker.
After Hell in a Cell, Batista goes back to MMA or something (not a concern of mine)
— DvA —
Daniel Bryan having cleanly beaten Triple H in a classic is further raised to the rafters by the fans. Triple H at first gives him his props, but lets him know that from now on he and Stephanie will absolutely do everything in their power ruin, humiliate, and prevent him from FOB status. First order of business is Corporate Kane.
The attempt is to further cement the break of their brotherhood and for a greater reveal. Leading to Hell in a Cell, Bryan is feuding with Kane and Bray Wyatt, two of three markers of ‘evil’ in the company. Hell in a Cell is a 2v1 match between the 3: Bryan v. Kane & Bray. Its an utter obliteration of Bryan ultimately with the whole Wyatt family intervening to crush Bryan. Seeing the brutality of his once best friend and ‘brother’ Kane changes allegiances and rescues Bryan fighting by his side.
— Taker —
Taker is just running roughshod beating up whomever he chooses. He makes it something akin to building his power base in the company.
As Hell in a Cell approaches the topic of an evil pulling the strings of the Wyatt’s is closer and closer to being revealed as The Undertaker (they took his blackout move at Elimination Chamber). At Hell in a Cell it is official, via a tag team championship match for the two behemoth Wyatts that they serve The Undertaker and are only under the employ of The Authority.