When I was first approached to participate in this fantasy booking exercise, my primary objective was to either create alternate realities of years gone by or create incredibly esoteric scenarios that never really would have had a chance to occur in real life. I honestly never wanted to fantasy book anything modern or anything WWE, but here I am writing my first entry, all about fantasy booking modern day WWE through next year’s SummerSlam. The vast majority of the content in this is deeply rooted in what is actually going on in WWE at this current point in time and that is the framework for what I’m about to build. A lot of times in fantasy booking situations, I see things that are not close to happening and things that would never happen. That isn’t to say I’m not going to take some risks and take a few creative liberties, which I definitely will, but everything here is based around the current reality of the WWE and their currently contracted superstars.
With that being said, let’s pick up where SummerSlam and the 8/18 Monday Night Raw left off, as it pertains to the focal superstars within the company:
- Brock Lesnar is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, having mauled John Cena in the process.
- Brock Lesnar has conquered the entirety of WWE and has won the championship in the most physically dominent way in the history of the company.
- John Cena was unable to show up on the 8/18 Monday Night Raw due to injuries he sustained by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam the night before, but will appear on the 8/25 episode to address the WWE Universe.
- Seth Rollins, with the help of Kane, has seriously injured Dean Ambrose.
- Seth Rollins is the Money In The Bank contract holder.
- Kane is back to being Corporate and still within The Authority’s fold, along with Triple H, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton.
- Dean Ambrose will be out of action for 6-8 weeks (assumedly) due to the injuries he suffered on Monday Night Raw on 8/18.
- Randy Orton and Roman Reigns still have an issue with each other.
- Daniel Bryan is still out of action with his injury, unknown when he will return.
- The Undertaker has not been seen or heard from since losing to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30.
Late August / September 2014:
Having been on the recieving end of the most brutal loss of his career, John Cena addresses the WWE Universe. He appears to still be very visibly beat up and suffering from his match with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Playing into his “Never Give Up” mantra, he says that although he was beat, he is not a beaten man, and is exercising his rematch clause for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar to take place at Night of Champions.
Leading up to the event we hear pleas from superstars, legends, “medical staff” and the Authority to convince Cena to not challenge for the title, but he stubbornly goes through with it. Have them mention that he’s “not the same” (ie: physically/mentally weaker, slower reaction times) and that it’s “dangerous to his career/livelihood” but Cena continues to push through saying he’s medically cleared and that he will not give up. Of course we continue to get brilliant mic work from Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar leading up to the event.
Night of Champions 2014:
Brock Lesnar once again maims John Cena in their rematch. Cena might get an additional flurry of offense or two in comparison to SummerSlam, but for the most part this match is more of the same, only worse. In this match, Cena gets bloodied and actually gives up to Brock Lesnar, thus destroying his whole mantra and way of life.
Late September through November 2014:
Heyman & Brock gloat on Monday Night Raw the night after Night of Champions. He is the ultimate conqueror. He broke the streak, became the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, maimed John Cena twice, and even made Mr. Never Give Up submit to him. There is nothing left to do, there is nothing or nobody to challenge him. Not only that, but as per his contract, he’s no longer contractually obligated to compete for the rest of the year, but only make appearances.
This gets around the limited, part time basis of his contract and creates a situation that we’ll see later on where he is essentially holding the grandest prize in WWE “hostage” and there is contractually nothing WWE can do about it, all of this Heyman can put over to high heavens.
John Cena, after being on the recieving end of 2 brutal defeats, goes away for awhile. He needs to heal up, he won’t be medically cleared, he appears to be a broken down version of himself.
The story that I will be creating here with John Cena is rather simple. He’s 37 years old, has been beaten down harder than he ever has before, and is not as resilient as he once was. At the same time, he’s been on top for 10 years, he’s a 15 time champion, he doesn’t know when to hang it up. He wants to be the most decorated superstar of all time, he needs to be champion at least one more time to tie Ric Flair.
While we are without Brock Lesnar and John Cena (and even Dean Ambrose) for a couple months, it is the perfect time to really concentrate on building Roman Reigns, Cesaro, and Sheamus as top tier superstars, while keeping Seth Rollins and Randy Orton at their levels.
This is the best way for the WWE Universe to fully throw their support behind the superstars WWE should be molding for the future, without being distracted by others on top.
In October at Hell In A Cell, Dean Ambrose faces Seth Rollins in the HIAC, fresh off returning from the injuries sustained from Rollins. I’m seeing his comeback happening 2-3 weeks away from the event and it being HUGE. In order to get the match, HHH thinks it’s both “best for business” for them to be in the HIAC and a chance for Rollins to FINALLY put Ambrose down for good.
Rollins is not happy with this decision, but HHH assures him that he will both win and get rid of Ambrose once and for all.
Leading up to Survivor Series, both Orton and Rollins begin to have problems with The Authority and HHH due to them not receiving the title shot at SummerSlam or Night of Champions (as well as the HIAC issue with Rollins) and now they cannot recieve a title shot due to Brock not having to compete in 2014. HHH assures them they will both get opportunities in 2015 and that he’s undergoing “intense” contract negotiations with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar to make sure that happens.
In the mean time, the top tier superstars are vying for spots, to cement their chance at being #1 contender once 2015 comes around. Which sets up the main event match at Survivor Series. Knowing this, John Cena comes back, as it’s his opportunity to prove that he still belongs in the discussion. Cesaro and Sheamus have been on fire lately and deserve inclusion as well.
In November at Survivor Series the main event 4 v. 4 tag match is:
Seth Rollins, Kane, Randy Orton, & Cesaro v. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, John Cena & Sheamus
- Cesaro eliminates Cena early on
- Reigns eliminates Orton
- Kane and Reigns eliminate each other via Double Count Out
- Cesaro eliminates Sheamus
- Ambrose eliminates Cesaro
- Rollins eliminates Ambrose, dirty
This will prove to be a pivotal month in WWE, setting up big things for 2015.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins need to have their blowoff match to settle their differences. Ambrose has gotten retribution from getting injured, but there’s one more thing he NEEDS to get from Rollins. Ambrose needs to take away the MITB contract from Rollins, which is the only thing that is guaranteeing anybody a title shot in 2015.
With the WWE Universe wanting to see this match, demanding it on twitter, etc. and HHH feeling pressure from intensifying contract negotiations with Brock Lesnar, signs the match for TLC in a TLC Match.
Cesaro v. Sheamus for the United States Title
Kane v. Roman Reigns
Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins in a TLC Match for the Money In The Bank Contract
The final blowoff to this feud and more than likely the craziest, most memorable one-on-one TLC match we will ever see. Dean Ambrose wins the match and is now the holder of the Money In The Bank Contract.
After TLC, HHH announces that negotiations have hit a stand still due to demands and is unsure of the future of the company’s championship (something similar to that) which brings out Paul Heyman. The two have a heated discussion and we hear the demands Heyman is making for Brock. HHH agrees to the terms & conditions (whatever they are… money, level of competetion, number of matches, where/what shows he wrestles on, whatever) and they will sign a contract the next week on Raw.
Lights go out, Undertaker’s music hits and we see the Undertaker for the first time since WrestleMania 30. He comes down to the ring, says a few words, and signs the contract for Royal Rumble.
The big stories leading into Royal Rumble are Lesnar v. Undertaker, heavy dissention between Seth Rollins and HHH as well as Randy Orton and HHH for being “mistreated” (for Seth Rollins) and being “overlooked” (for both men, but mostly Randy Orton), how John Cena is coping with the recent downswing of his career, the positioning of Cesaro and Sheamus as big time players, if Roman Reigns can repeat his 2014 performance in the Royal Rumble, how does Dean Ambrose handle having the MITB Contract
Brock Lesnar is looking to keep his championship and continue his legacy as being the most dominant man in wrestling history and Undertaker is looking to avenge the biggest, most important loss of his career.
Finally having enough of his mistreatment, after being placed in bad situations and losing his MITB Contract, Seth Rollins breaks free from the Authority and becomes a loner.
HHH, however, is able to keep Randy Orton in the fold due to their long and storied history together and assures Randy Orton he’ll get the “first shot” after Lesnar v. Undertaker.
John Cena is not coping well with the recent downswing of his career and we begin to see how important it is to John Cena as a person the he’s not the man on top any more, that he NEEDS to be champion, he needs his legacy to be the best of all time, that it is his driving force…. but he’s not the same mentally and physically after his matches with Brock and being eliminated so quickly at Survivor Series. Does John Cena have what it takes any more?
Cesaro and Sheamus continue to have an on again, off again rivalry with each other, while having a string of strong matches with whoever they’re in the ring with. Their stock continues to rise as they continue to get more and more over with the WWE Universe. (note: Sheamus has lost most of the corny elements of his character, he’s now just a no-nonsense ass kicker tough guy, which is more favorable to the viewing audience)
Everybody wants to see if Roman Reigns can continue his dominance in Royal Rumbles after last year’s record breaking performance. Will he be able to show the same amount of dominance this year? More importantly, will he win the whole thing this year?
Dean Ambrose carrying around the MITB Contract is a really interesting idea to me. How does a guy like Ambrose choose to cash in?
Royal Rumble 2015:
Brock Lesnar v. The Undertaker for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar faces a tougher fight from the Undertaker than he did at WrestleMania, but he’s still able to defeat him cleanly in the middle of the ring. Important to note this time, Undertaker is able to leave the ring on his own and does not get taken to the hospital afterward. Brock continues his dominance over WWE.
Royal Rumble Match
- Seth Rollins is an early entrant and looks great, but gets eliminated later by Randy Orton.
- Randy Orton has a good showing and remains until the Final Four.
- Roman Reigns enters around #11 and has a run much like last year, leading people to think he will win the whole thing tonight. However, he gets eliminated by…
- John Cena, who comes into this match thinking this could be his last opportunity to get a title shot at this stage in the game. He appears a bit sharper than when we’ve seen him last at Survivor Series. The time off has done him good and his drive and determination allows him to remain until the Final Four.
- Cesaro, who has history looking good and winning battle royal situations, is the iron man of the 2015 Royal Rumble and remains until the Final Four.
- The 4th member of the Final Four, and eventual winner of the Royal Rumble is DANIEL BRYAN who makes his surprise return to a thunderous ovation.
Late January – February 2015:
The night after Royal Rumble, Undertaker is scheduled to appear on Monday Night Raw, in what many expect to be his “goodbye” to the WWE Universe after not being able to avenge his greatest loss. While he is addressing the audience, the lights cut out and we hear the now familiar violin version of STING’S theme music, who makes his first appearance on WWE television. He lays out his challenge for “one more match” for both of them at WrestleMania 31, which Undertaker obviously accepts.
Following his Royal Rumble win, we see a series of vignettes of Daniel Bryan’s Road To Recovery and Road To WrestleMania. Bryan winning the Rumble though has pissed HHH off and HHH demands that Bryan puts his WrestleMania Title Shot against Brock Lesnar on the line at Elimination Chamber, which will also include Roman Reigns, John Cena, Randy Orton, Cesaro (the last 3 for being a part of the Final Four) and HHH himself.
Roman Reigns included either for winning a qualifying match or for just being so impressive in recent months, either way.
John Cena gets a “second last chance” after coming so close at the Royal Rumble, as we see more of his NEED to be the champion, etc.
Cesaro was the last man eliminated in the Royal Rumble and has yet to “cross” the Authority at any time.
Randy Orton is still in the Authority fold and is a natural selection for HHH to make, also playing into the guaranteed “next title shot” that Daniel Bryan took away from him by eliminating him from the Rumble.
HHH wants to stack the deck in the Authority’s favor so he includes himself. He also wants to get his hands on Daniel Bryan again for screwing up his “long term plans” with Randy Orton, plus it’s revealed that HHH “wouldn’t mind another shot at the title” and still doesn’t like how Brock held him and his company hostage, not to mention the arm breaking incidents, WrestleMania 29, etc. etc.
Elimination Chamber 2015
Daniel Bryan v. Roman Reigns v. John Cena v. Randy Orton v. Cesaro v. HHH in an Elimination Chamber Match for WrestleMania 31 WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
- John Cena eliminated by Roman Reigns after a flash Superman Punch
- Cesaro eliminated by Roman Reigns after a spear
- Roman Reigns eliminated by Randy Orton after a Pedigree from HHH followed up by an RKO
- Following what they did to Roman Reigns, HHH and Randy Orton look to hit the same combination of moves on Daniel Bryan, which they successfully do. However after the RKO, HHH kicks Randy Orton and delivers and Pedigree to eliminate Randy Orton because HHH wants the glory, the title shot, and wants to pin Daniel Bryan to do so.
- HHH is yelling “it’s just business” to Orton as he’s being taken out of the ring and turns his attention to Daniel Bryan, goes to pick him up for another Pedigree, which gets reversed into the YES! Lock.
Late February – March 2015:
The main storylines leading up to WrestleMania 31 are Brock Lesnar v. Daniel Bryan, the break up of the Authority after what happened in the Elimination Chamber, a developing situation between John Cena and Roman Reigns, the ONE MORE MATCH challenge between Sting and The Undertaker, and the return of the Andre The Giant Memorial Invitational Battle Royal for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Opportunity at WWE Payback
Andre The Giant Memorial Invitational Battle Royal for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Opportunity at WWE Payback
- Won by Cesaro, who now has won this match two years in a row.
- Won by The Undertaker in a pure spectacle of a match, this is the last match for both men on the grandest stage of them all.
- Won by Roman Reigns, the true “passing of the torch” to Roman Reigns as the next top star.
- Won by Randy Orton, as he is now a full fledged babyface for the first time in quite some time
Won by Daniel Bryan, who then goes on to have the most ridiculously busy championship reign in history.
(writer’s note: Honestly at this point my brain became kinda fried and I was more interested in creating the craziest championship defense schedule I could come up with for Daniel Bryan. I know where I want to build toward for SummerSlam, but I don’t necessarily want to try and connect the dots at the moment. I want to get this piece done and and it’s already long enough, so I’m just going to lay out the championship defense schedule, the reason why each match occurs and the top 3 matches for SummerSlam 2015 and why I chose them.)
The busy defense schedule is designed this way for 3 reasons.
- HHH desperately wants the Championship off of Daniel Bryan, still does not buy him as “the face of the WWE”
- WWE as a whole feels as though the Championship needs a lot of defenses to make up for the lack of defenses from the previous champion, Brock Lesnar
- Daniel Bryan WANTS to be a fighting champion. He wants to have the kind of reign he should have had before the injury put him out of action.
Daniel Bryan’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship Defense Schedule
v. Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules
As the most unorthodox MITB Contract holder of all time, Dean Ambrose chooses to cash in in the most unorthodox fashion. He chooses to cash in for the first title shot at Daniel Bryan at a PPV designed almost specifically for his style of wrestling, Extreme Rules. He picks out a stipulation like Falls Count Anywhere or No Disqualification where the odds are in his favor and increases his chances of becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
v. Sheamus at Monday Night Raw
Sheamus has been steamrolling through competition at this point and has earned a title shot. Sheamus has defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship before and believes he can do it again. Daniel Bryan sees it as a way to avenge his embarrassing 18 second defeat at WrestleMania 28. Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick right out of the gate like WrestleMania 28 would make for a super hot near fall.
v. Sami Zayn at Monday Night Raw
At this point, I imagine Sami Zayn has been a part of the main roster for a few months and has had some real standout matches on television, but never any true opportunities. Daniel Bryan can be the man who gives him his first real opportunity and even nod to their independent history together saying that he knows what Sami Zayn is capable of. Would be some good shine for NXT when Zayn takes Bryan to the limit.
v. Cesaro at Payback
Cesaro won the Andre The Giant Memorial Invitational Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, thus securing him a title shot at this Pay Per View.
v. John Cena at Main Event
This one might seem the most strange as John Cena hasn’t particularly performed very well for the past 6-8 months and has taken some months completely off. Plus it’s on Main Event. Daniel Bryan can sympathize with John Cena. He knows what it’s like to be unable to compete during injury and feel like every opportunity to become champion is passing him by. Cena hasn’t made the best of his most recent opportunities to become champion and may not get any more, but Daniel Bryan offers him a shot due to those sympathetic reasons. Putting a match like this on the WWE Network exclusive Main Event show could sell subscriptions to people who want to see this match, if only the no-commitment 1 month version. Plus you can tie it in to the Total Divas crowd. If promoted properly, it could be a huge deal.
v. Seth Rollins at Battleground
With competition for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship really heating up, I think a fun idea would be to have 4 singles matches on Raw with a Fatal 4 Way on Main Event (or even Superstars, anything WWE Network exclusive) where the winner gets a title shot at the next PPV, Battleground. Seth Rollins would excel in such an environment and could really tear the house down with Daniel Bryan for 20-25 minutes on a PPV for the Championship.
v. Mark Henry at Monday Night Raw
At this point, HHH really wants the title off of Daniel Bryan. He thought that this excellerated schedule would take a lot out of Daniel Bryan and that he would lose the Championship in no time, but he was wrong. He begins to put Daniel Bryan against larger threats, the first being Mark Henry, the night after Battleground.
v. Big Show at Monday Night Raw
After Daniel Bryan gets by Mark Henry, HHH makes him face The Big Show the very next week on Raw, leaving him with practically no time off to recover.
v. Kane at Monday Night Raw
Of course Daniel Bryan defeats The Big Show on Raw and HHH relies on his old enforcer, Kane, to defeat him for the Championship and to bring the Championship back to the Authority.
v. HHH at Money In The Bank
After Daniel Bryan once again defeats HHH’s hand picked opponent, HHH has no choice but to take the Championship himself and signs a match between himself and Daniel Bryan at Money In The Bank. Daniel Bryan once again is able to defeat HHH, as it has now been proven that HHH simply cannot defeat Daniel Bryan.
(writer’s note: reasons for the matches will be written underneath the matches themselves)
Brock Lesnar v. Cesaro
Not for nothing, this is just a match I really want to see. The way to get into it is luckily pretty simple. Paul Heyman can be doing one of his many high quality promos and one particular time, he names all of the great “Paul Heyman Guys” that there have been, except for one, Cesaro. Cesaro takes offense to it and says that he never really felt like a “Paul Heyman Guy” as Heyman was always worried about Brock’s career and didn’t do nearly as much for him as he did for Brock. Cesaro makes the challenge to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Cesaro wins, thus “making” him and Brock can go on to do other things and come back after a few months.
Seth Rollins v. HHH
This match up is a long time coming after Seth Rollins left The Authority in January. Seth Rollins continues to be “overlooked” in terms of recieving opportunties and HHH is continually trying to “hold him down” in a way that would both rile up the internet crowd and generate actual heat for the program. After Rollins gets his title shot, perhaps HHH could say that he’d rather the Championship be held in abeyance than have either one of those two win the match, or something equally as smarmy. Then HHH can mock Seth after he loses, but when HHH loses to Bryan at Money In The Back, Seth can do the same to HHH, which then riles up the months worth of bad feelings, and that’s when things really start to heat up with intense promos and sneak attacks and the like. Seth Rollins wins and finally gets one up on the Authority.
Daniel Bryan v. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
This is the match that people have been waiting for, in terms of Roman Reigns FINALLY getting his well-deserved, hard-fought title shot. At this point in time, Roman’s in ring work should be at the level his popularity is at now, and in all honesty, he should be even more popular in a year than he is now. There must not be any “start and stop pushes” for this guy, he needs to be kept strong at all times. If treated right, the fans will STILL be salivating for him to win the big one in a year’s time. The way I have laid it out, he’s kept incredibly strong through WrestleMania, perhaps have him win the United States or Intercontinental Title in the interim and it would be likely that he could elevate the prestige of that title solely based upon winning it. I basically see it like John Cena giving Daniel Bryan the title shot at for SummerSlam 2013, with a molten crowd just WAITING for those words to leave Daniel Bryan’s mouth the night after Money In The Bank 2015. Of course, Roman Reigns will win the match and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
- Roman Reigns as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion
- Roman Reigns v. Seth Rollins as the next big program for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Daniel Bryan still looking to be in the title hunt
- Bonafide Main Eventers in Cesaro, Sheamus, Dean Ambrose
- Will John Cena ever get back to his prominence or have we really seen the last of his greatness?
- The Daniel Bryan v. Sami Zayn match putting a lot of mainstream eyes on NXT and people taking that product a lot more seriously.
Hopefully this was as engaging for you to read as it was for me to brainstorm and write about. Not only do I hope you found it engaging, but I hope it made you want to see some of this happen on WWE programming. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this entirely waaaaaay too long #BeTheBooker article here on thewrestlingchronicle.com and please hit me up on twitter @GuapoEmilJ to leave me your feedback!