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The John Report: My Booking for Raw on January 4th & WM26

The John Report: My Booking for Raw on January 4th & WM26


(Feels so good using that banner while being able to talk about the current product.)

The most common questions I’ve been asked over the past couple of weeks have been related to Bret Hart. Not a shock considering he’s making his return to WWE TV (if you don’t count the Hall of Fame) after 12 full years of being away. Most people are asking me what I think will happen while others are asking how I would book it? Rather than trying to figure out the crazy mind of Vince McMahon, I’d rather tackle the “how would I book it” question. I wrote this out over the course of the last two weeks. I tweaked a lot of things here and there. It ended up being longer than I envisioned probably because I liked writing it a lot. I don’t foresee myself writing fantasy booking columns again because I’d rather right about what we actually see rather than what I want to see. I guess if feedback is good, though, you could change my mind.

Before we get to January 4, I’m going to assume that on tonight’s Raw Sheamus will retain the title somehow through questionable means leading to some kind of Sheamus/Cena rematch at the Royal Rumble on January 31. I wrote this with the idea that the outcome of that match isn’t that important. The purpose of January 4 is to bring Bret Hart back into the mix more than anything else. I’m also going to assume that WWE will run a video package showcasing Bret Hart with Vince McMahon saying he’s not in favor of Bret hosting, but that the board of directors are forcing his hand. Now, let’s go to January 4th. Keep in mind too that there’s no Smackdown brand show that night, so wrestlers from other brands could be used. After each segment, I’ve put in some **NOTES** to explain what I was going for.

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9pm ET in Dayton, Ohio for Raw

9:00pm ET – Bret Hart opens the show

No pyro. No Raw intro song. Just a shot of the arena. Then…guitar riff. Bret Hart’s music plays. I would run multiple Bret Hart video packages for the live crowd before the show starts to get them ready for it. Bret comes out to the ring in his black leather Hitman jacket like he used to do. He gets a huge ovation from the fans. If it’s a good crowd, they’ll give him a “welcome back” chant. If it’s not, what can ya do? Let him soak up the cheers.

I would give him free reign to speak from his heart. No script for him. He can talk about how he hasn’t been in a WWE ring for 12 years and that he never thought he’d be back in one again. Then, move on to the storyline. He will say that the reason he came back wasn’t for Vince McMahon or anybody that works for WWE. It was for the fans. He’s here for us. Now, for some storyline

Bret: “I’ve been a fan of this business for my entire life and I still am today. I have always been a supporter of the guys and girls that get in this ring busting their butts to entertain you, the fans. Even though I can no longer wrestle, tonight I have the power to choose what you will see tonight.” Crowd cheers. “I watch every week. It’s not what I remember. Instead of actual wrestling matches, all we seem to get are backstage comedy sketches featuring guest hosts, pies in the face, midgets or 40 year old degenerates acting like they are kids. I’m tired of seeing that every week. I’m not here to promote a movie, a TV show or some album – I’m here to promote professional wrestling. Professional wrestling. Not sports entertainment. It’s wrestling. Tonight, as the guest host of Raw, I’m going to give you the wrestling show you deserve.” Crowd cheers again.

Bret: “One of my favorite matches of the year is coming up in four weeks, the Royal Rumble. It’s a match about perseverance, endurance and seizing the opportunity. Everybody wants that number 30 spot in the match. What I’m going to do is put that spot up for grabs tonight. Two heated rivals will compete. The winner of the match gets the coveted number 30 spot in the Rumble. The loser? Number one. The match will be between last year’s Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton and a guy that has really caught my eye as of late…Kofi Kingston.” Crowd cheers.

Bret: “I have carefully crafted the rest of the card that you will see as the night progresses, but I have something special for the main event. As much as I would like to wrestle Shawn Michaels or Triple H tonight…” Crowd pops huge despite the fact that DX are faces. History is there, obviously. He lets the reaction die down. “…I can’t wrestle them, but I know two guys that can.”

Cue the guitar riff as the The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith & Natalya) come out. Bret puts over his nephew David, his niece Natalya and their friend Tyson who grew up with the Hart family. He says they remind him of his team with Jim Neidhart, Natalya’s dad. All they need is an opportunity.

Bret: “I saw Smackdown on Christmas night. These two men took it to DX. They came so close to becoming tag team champions. They made me and my family proud. Tonight, they will get another opportunity as DX defends the tag titles against the Hart Dynasty and the special guest enforcer at ringside to ensure no screwjobs will be me, Bret The Hitman Hart.”

Crowd cheers again as “No Chance” strikes up. Vince McMahon appears on the stage.

Vince: “Let it be known that I never wanted you to be here tonight and after hearing you speak for the last ten minutes it made me want to puke. The board convinced me to let you hear because they think it’s good for business. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it is good for the business. The problem is it’s not good for me.” Crowd boos.

Bret: “I knew you couldn’t resist coming out here. Look Vince, we can talk about our issues another time. I was just about to get out of this ring to begin my WRESTLING show before you interrupted. Nobody here cares about your feelings. They paid to see a wrestling show tonight and I will give them that.”

Vince starts fuming on the stage.

Vince: “Is that so? In that case, you should know that The Hart Dynasty aren’t allowed on Raw. We’ve had this thing called a brand extension since you left and they are Smackdown superstars.”

Bret: “Funny you should say that because I went over your head and signed them to one night Raw contracts effective only tonight. My contract as guest host says I have that power. Not even you can stop that, Vince.”

Vince: “This is a disgrace. This is my show. My company. I am not about to be told…”

Bret: “Cut his microphone off. Cut it off, now!” And it cuts out. “I told you you’re not ruining my show. But Vince, before you go, there is one more thing. If you get in my face at any point tonight I promise you I will punch you in the face just like I did after you screwed me 12 years ago in Montreal. Try me, Vince. I dare you.”

The segment ends with Vince seething at the top of the ramp while Bret talks with the Hart Dynasty. Cut to Cole and Lawler who are sitting at the announce table plugging the DX vs. Hart Dynasty tag title match as well as the Orton vs. Kingston match to determine the #30 and #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble.

9:17pm ET – Commercial #1

**NOTES** I know it’s a bit hypocritical to have a guy say it’s a wrestling show and then talk for 15 minutes, but I think fans would expect that and I would try to keep the promos/skits limited for the rest of the show. I think it’s very important for us to hear Bret speak after being away for so long. It’s necessary to have a promo to open this show. I think it’s also effective in that it gives a small sampling of Bret vs. Vince without giving too much away.

9:20pm ET The Miz vs. Evan Bourne in a non-title match

They get their entrances right after the commercial. It’s announced that if Bourne wins this match he gets a title shot. They have a highly competitive match with each guy going on offense at various points. Bourne shows off his athleticism while Miz does a good job of garnering heel heat. Right around the 9 minute mark, with no commercial, Miz goes for his Skull Crushing Finale only for Bourne to reverse it and get a nearfall. Miz goes nuts, complaining to the ref that Bourne pulled his tights. Bourne hops to the top rope and comes off with a spinning DDT just as Miz turns around. He positions Miz in the corner, hits the Air Bourne Shooting Star Press and scores the victory at 10 minutes. The announcers then hype a US Title match between Miz and Bourne on next week’s Raw.

**NOTES** Raw needs more 10 minute midcard matches. This one would be good.

9:32pm ET Commercial

9:35pm ET DX meets with Bret

Cut to a shot of Shawn Michaels and Triple H in DX gear with smiles on their faces. It looks like a typical DX merchandise promo. “Hello, Degeneration X here…” and just as they’re talking in walks Bret Hart.

Bret: “Cut. Stop this. I told you, no backstage skits on my show. Look at you two. Calling yourselves degenerates when you’re both in your 40s, you both have kids and you, Hunter, are married to the boss’ daughter. And Shawn, you’ve worked here longer than any other wrestler on the roster. You were degenerates when you were making my life hell a decade ago, but now? You’re nothing like that. You two are the biggest suckups in the history of this company and you always have been. That’s why I don’t like either of you. Everybody knows that. However, I’ve always respected both of you as talents in that ring. Tonight, on my show, forget about your catchy intros and those ridiculous glow sticks. Instead, remember why you got in this business in the first place: To entertain those fans with your wrestling skill. See you out there. Hope you don’t get screwed by the guy in charge.”

Bret walks off with a smirk on his face. Shawn and Hunter look at eachother.

Shawn: “Man, what a bitter old man. You think he’s still mad that you didn’t invite him to your wedding?”

Triple H: “I don’t think that’s why he’s mad at us, Shawn. Remember, that thing between you, him, Vince that was my idea? Montreal? Survivor Series? 1997?”

Shawn looks clueless during all this. Then he perks up.

Shawn: “Oh, that! Nobody remembers that, do they?” Then he walks up and looks straight into the camera. “Do they?”

A two minute video then airs showing the Montreal Screwjob with comments from Bret, Vince, Shawn and HHH on it (take the comments from various DVDs). Cole and Lawler would then go nuts hyping the main event wondering what might happen with so many combustible elements involved.

**NOTES** This segment would get across the Bret/HBK/HHH relationship while also having a bit of comedy at the end of it, but not enough to take away the seriousness of it.

9:42 pm ET Commercial

9:45pm ET Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton. The winner is #30 in the Rumble. The loser is #1.

They wrestle for about 7 minutes. Orton ducks Trouble in Paradise, covers Kofi and puts his feet up on the ropes as he pins him. The ref never sees the feet on the ropes. Orton celebrates the win…until Bret Hart shows up on the screen. He tells Orton, who is walking up the ramp, that “there will be no screwjob finishes on my show. The match will continue and just to ensure this doesn’t happen again I will be assigning a second ref outside the ring.” The show goes to commercial with Orton running back towards the ring.

9:53pm ET Commercial

9:56pm ET Kingston vs. Orton continues.

Kingston continues to get worked over by Orton, who shows anger towards the ref for what he perceives to be slow two counts. Out come Dibiase and Rhodes. They do everything they can to try to interfere, but the second ref on the floor prevents that and throws them out of ringside. The announcers can put over how Bret’s decision to have a second ref paid off. A minute or so later, Kingston mounts his comeback using his athleticism. Orton comes back, goes for the RKO and Kingston shoves him stomach first into the turnbuckle. With Orton’s back to him, Kingston hits him with the Trouble in Paradise kick in the back of the head (it would look more devastating) and covers Orton for the three count. Post match, Kingston celebrates being #30 while the announcers put over how devastating that kick was because Orton never saw it coming. Total match time from bell to bell is 18 minutes.

**NOTES** Kingston scores the decisive victory to even things up from TLC, which the announcers would mention. They would have a grudge match down the road, but it wouldn’t be until March. More on that later.

Big Show’s shown walking down the hall in his wrestling gear. The announcers hype up Big Show having an announcement after the break.

10:14pm ET Commercial

10:17pm ET

Big Show’s in the ring with a microphone: “You know, ever since Jericho and me lost the tag belts I’ve been alone on Raw. People are scared of me even though I’m a friendly giant.” Crowd boos him for his lies. “What I’ve come to realize is that I need a friend to counter the other groups on Raw like DX, Legacy and whatever you the hell you want to call Chris Masters and those pecs of his. To be the dominant force that I know that I am, I need somebody to watch my back in case something bad goes down. Over the past few weeks I’ve talked to people in the Raw locker room and I can assure you that by the end of this match you’ll see who my backup is. For right now, I’m going to challenge any two superstars to a handicap match and no matter who you are all I can say is watch your back.”

10:20pm ET Big Show vs. Mark Henry & MVP

Big Show gulps at the sight of his opponents, putting over how Mark Henry is a big dude. MVP starts the match. He doesn’t have much success moving Show or getting him off his feet. Show laughs. MVP tags in Henry. Henry comes in, does his power moves. He gets Show off his feet with a big shoulder tackle that sends Big Show down into the corner turnbuckle. MVP hops up and down the apron asking for a tag now. Crowd’s excited. Henry tags him. As MVP gets in the ring, Henry gets out. With Henry standing on the apron and with his head in between the top & bottom ropes, MVP quickly turns around and boots Henry in the head sending the big guy to the floor. The crowd lets out a big “oooooooohhhhhhhhh.” MVP smiles, then jumps to the outside, takes the ring steps and repeatedly attacks Mark Henry’s left knee with it. Show tells him to roll him into the ring. MVP can barely move him, but he does it. Henry gets to his one good knee and Show KNOCKS HIM OUT~! with his punch. He covers for the three. Post match, MVP stands over Henry, yells at him about “holding me back” and shakes hands with the Big Show as the two men proudly smile.

No promo. Just end it like that with the announcers wondering how dangerous MVP could be with somebody as experienced as the Big Show on his side. Next week they cut a promo.

**NOTES** This whole thing isn’t about the match, which would be about three minutes. It’s about MVP turning heel. His face run isn’t working. He’s a cocky guy. He should be a heel. Being in an alliance with Big Show will elevate him and it also helps towards recreating a tag division on Raw, which would be a bigger plan of mine. Meanwhile, Mark Henry is off TV for a few months selling Kool-Aid.

10:26pm ET Commercial

10:30pm Melina vs. Gail Kim in a non-title match

They have a competitive, athletic match for about five minutes. The purpose of the match is to get over Gail’s athleticism. It wouldn’t be as slow as most divas matches. It would be fast paced. Maryse comes out to distract the two faces. Both Gail and Melina see it. Melina leaps off the apron onto the floor to take down Maryse with a crossbody. Gail climbs to the top rope and hits a crossbody of her own onto Melina and Maryse. The ref counts to ten, ending the match in a countout. Post match, Gail and Melina get in a cat fight, brawling on the floor until referees break it up. Maryse, being the heel, gets out of there.

The announcers put over how that was one of the most athletic divas matches they’ve seen on Raw and that they wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a rematch down the road. The segment ends with the two women jawing at eachother while the crowd hopefully boos at the sight of them being split up.

**NOTES** The purpose of this segment would be to showcase the athleticism of the divas in a match that got more time than the two minutes they usually get. It would lead to a Melina/Kim match at the Rumble that Kim would win after cheating, leading to a heel turn for her.

10:37pm ET

Cut to backstage where Hornswoggle, Chavo, Chris Masters, Eve, Carlito, the Bellas and whoever else is a regular in the “comedy” sketches are milling around. They are about to do something when Bret walks in and says, “No, not on my show. I hate these segments.” A disappointed Michael Cole throws it to commercial.

**NOTES** This would be the greatest thing ever if he interrupted the weekly comedy fest, wouldn’t it?

10:39pm ET Commercial

10:43pm ET Sheamus/Cena confrontation

For the first time all night, we see WWE Champion Sheamus, who is face to face with John Cena backstage. Standing in between them is Bret Hart. Hart talks to them. He speaks about how there was never a champion in WWE history that cared more about being WWE Champion than him. He puts over how he had long title reigns back in the days when “people didn’t lose the belt every single month.” (A shot at the short title reigns that WWE has booked.) He puts over their work, saying that he thought their match at TLC was very physical and their match last week (Dec. 28 Raw) was representative of what he likes to see as it pertains to the WWE Title. He then announces that at the Royal Rumble Sheamus will defend the title against John Cena in a Street Fight. Cena tells Sheamus to keep the “belt warm for me” and Sheamus shoves him. They brawl backstage a bit before security breaks it up. Bret smirks to himself, “Kinda reminds me of Austin and me. I miss those days.”

**NOTES** The feud already has had a lot of focus on it, so they’d only get about four or five minutes for this. It’s more important, at least for this week, to get the focus on Bret Hart. The last line is my way of putting over Austin vs. Hart, which is the best feud in company history between two wrestlers. I’d say Austin vs. McMahon is the best feud ever, but Vince obviously isn’t a wrestler.

10:48pm ET Commercial

10:51pm ET DX vs. The Hart Dynasty for the Tag Titles with Bret Hart as special guest enforcer.

No commercials during the match. The match starts with DX looking very serious with the announcers going on about how the speech from Hart earlier in the night being a big motivator for them. Bret would clearly be rooting for THD, even wearing their t-shirt. During the match, they could have various spots where Michaels goes to the floor to be face to face with Bret, each guy eyeing the other while the announcers suggest what might happen. THD finally gets control of things when Bret “accidentally” trips Shawn when he’s running the ropes. This brings Vince out, who comes out to bitch at Bret for interfering. He threatens to go ring the bell, but Bret stops him without touching him. Shawn gets the hot tag to HHH at the 12 minute mark, he comes in, does his knee smashes and spinebuster spots. He does his roar. Bret sees his family in trouble so he stalks towards Vince. Hunter tries to break it up, so Tyson dropkicks him in the back and he goes out to the floor into Bret. They roll Hunter back in. Bret looks out of it, so Vince stalks over to him, taunting him. As he leans down, Bret headbutts him gets up to his feet and punches Vince in the head sending him flying backwards into the announce table. While all this is going on, Shawn comes out to shove Bret. Hunter’s coming back, but Smith hits him in the back with a chair to stagger him. The ref is paying attention to the commotion. Hart holds Hunter up, Kidd comes off the top rope and they hit the Hart Attack clothesline for the 1…2…3 and they are the new tag team champions. I would expect something of a mixed reaction here. Bret hands them the belts and hugs them up the ramp. The match gets about 14 minutes.

To end the show, a dazed Vince McMahon crawls over to grab a microphone. “Bret Hart, you ruined my show! You ruined Raw! Forget about being guest host again. It will never happen! This isn’t over, though. Not by a long shot.” He stands up, barely. “Next week on Raw live in Boston I’m ordering you to be present so we can have the face to face conversation in the middle of that ring. Just you and me.”

The camera closes in on Bret’s face, who mouths the words “you got it” as he raises the arms of the Hart Dynasty, the new Undisputed Tag Team Champions.

The show goes off the air at about 11:10pm

**NOTES** The match leaves a rematch likely. Do it on TV. I would also think that would be a good time to split the belts up. Maybe do a double pin finish where DX takes the Raw belts back to Raw (and drops them to my MVP/Show team) while the Hart’s keep the SD belts on that show.

The ending closes the show with a cliffhanger going into the next week as WWE should do a good job of promoting a Vince McMahon/Bret Hart conversation. I would keep the focus on Vince/Bret because Shawn’s a face and he should be more involved with the current roster. They should make it a point to mention that the issue was more between Vince and Bret rather than Shawn and Bret although you can’t ignore Shawn/Bret either.

Goals of the 01/04/10 show:
– To start the Vince/Bret feud without giving too much off the bat in order to build to the next week.
– To elevate Kingston by having him beat Orton clean while also earning the most coveted spot in the Rumble at number 30, which would make him a favorite to win.
– To feature actual wrestling matches. One of them would be about 10 minutes, the main event at 14 minutes and the mid-show match at 18 minutes. When was the last time Raw had three matches get over 40 minutes? Doesn’t happen anymore.
– To turn the Hart Dynasty face by having a legend like Bret Hart endorse them.
– To plant some seeds for an Orton/Hart rivalry because Orton feels that Hart screwed with him. If Bret doesn’t want to travel for a couple weeks, have him take a RKO to sell the injury.
– To not turn DX heel. I know some of the actions against them aren’t that babyface-like, but they need the star of the show to be Bret and to put over THD. That’s the most important thing.

I know I left some people off like Swagger, who I like, but I don’t want to put too many people on every week. That leads to short matches and too many segments. Everybody that deserves it will get their time and place. What do you think? Good show? Would it work?

Booking to WrestleMania 26 and beyond for the key storylines
I had a lot of fun doing this, so I figured I’d also share my long term plans for WrestleMania 26 and beyond for the key storylines:

– Kofi Kingston wins the Royal Rumble match. Orton starts out at 1, he lasts all the way until the final three and he gets eliminated by Kingston. The runner up in the Rumble is Triple H. Orton wins the WWE Title from John Cena in a triple threat match also involving Sheamus on the February 1st edition of Raw (night after the Royal Rumble where Cena wins the belt back from Sheamus). He gets a title match after going on a tirade about losing the Rumble and he physically threatens the guest host into giving him a shot. He pins Sheamus for the title. He successfully defends the title at the Elimination Chamber PPV while Kingston defeats somebody else in another match on the card (Sheamus perhaps?). I would keep Orton and Kingston apart from the Rumble until Mania, instilling one of those “no physical contact” stipulations on them. At WM26, Kingston pins Orton to become WWE Champion. This has been the best feud in WWE since Punk/Hardy and it deserves to be rewarded with a title match at WrestleMania.

– Batista is the World Champion after winning the belt at the Rumble. He defends the World Title in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match that also features Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Drew McIntyre, John Morrison and Kane. Morrison is one of the first two. Batista is the last one out of the chamber. Batista retains the title, pinning a tired Morrison for the last fall. On the next episode of Smackdown, Morrison challenges Batista for Mania. Undertaker says no, he’s challenging him. Long makes Morrison vs. Undertaker. Morrison wins clean on a counter with a fancy rollup to become the #1 contender to the belt at WrestleMania 26 while Undertaker shakes his hand after. Morrison defeats Batista at WrestleMania 26 to become the World Champion for the first time in his career.

– Bret Hart defeats Vince McMahon in a street fight. If Bret doesn’t want to do a singles match, I would have him team up with The Hart Dynasty against Punk & Gallows. Either one works, but I think there’s more drawing power in the singles match.

– The Undertaker defeats Shawn Michaels again. Same kind of classic match as WM25 with Undertaker prevailing again. I would do another rematch in the summer, maybe for Summerslam, with Michaels winning that one.

– A returning babyface Edge defeats Chris Jericho in Edge’s first match back. Give them 20 minutes. Great match as expected. I would shift the World Title over to Jericho a few months after this and re-ignite this feud over the summer.

– The winner of the Money in the Bank match is Christian. The match features seven people who have never been a WWE or World Champion before (the ECW Title isn’t considered to be a world title). The competitors in the match are The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger and Christian. It would also feature one person that has been a World Champion, Triple H. People are shocked that HHH wants to be in the match, but he puts it over as being a show stealing match every year and how he likes the idea of getting a title shot at any time. He will go into the match as the prohibitive favorite. Everybody will think he’s going to win…especially the fans on the internet. He comes close, but Christian wins it.

Looking ahead further, I would have a heel HHH win Raw’s WWE Title from Kofi Kingston in June and Christian, now on Raw after the lottery, refuses to use the MITB on him in a cheap manner. After HHH retains the title against somebody at the July PPV, Christian comes out on Raw and challenges him to a WWE Title match at Summerslam giving him a month to prepare. He wants to win the belt in an honorable manner, which he does for the first time at Summerslam.

– The now babyface team of the Hart Dynasty defeats CM Punk & Luke Gallows aka the Straight Edge Society to retain their Smackdown Tag Team Titles.

– The Raw Tag titles are retained by the team of MVP & Big Show against a returning Mark Henry (remember the angle from January 4) and Ted Dibiase. I would have Dibiase split off into singles and get him into a babyface role. This would be the start of that.

– After losing the title of February 1, Cena talks about how he wants to get the title back one day, but for WrestleMania this year he has another goal. He wants to wrestle the one guy that transcends the wrestling business. He wants to wrestle The Rock. He issues a public challenge and he will continue to call out The Rock until he is answered. On one of the Raw’s in March, Rock is guest host. Calls out Cena. Accepts the match. Rock vs. Cena at Mania. Vince, pay the Rock whatever he wants. If it’s $5 million he’s worth it. It’s worth it. Make the match happen. I would have Cena win a back and forth encounter with Rock shaking his hand at the end of it, putting him over. As good as Rock is, it would be foolish to having him go over your top guy in his first match in about five years. The result doesn’t matter that much. The moment does. If the crowd boos Cena during the match I would strongly consider turning him on an episode of Raw shortly after this.

To sum up, here’s my WrestleMania 26 lineup in order. There could be some other midcard matches (I don’t have Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio – who has knee issues, Sheamus or a possibly returning Jeff Hardy listed for example) on the show too. These are the core matches.

1. Christian wins Money in the Bank
2. Show & MVP d. Henry & Dibiase
3. Edge d. Jericho
Put in the first divas match here. Heel Divas Champion Gail Kim over Melina/Maryse in a triple threat.
4. John Morrison d. Batista to win the World Title
5. Undertaker d. Shawn Michaels
Have some “comedy” stuff here because it’s hard to follow them.
6. Hart Dynasty d. Straight Edge Society
7. Bret Hart d. Vince McMahon
Put in the second divas match here. Heel Mickie James over Natalya, Beth & McCool in a four way elimination match to win the Women’s Title.
8. Kofi Kingston d. Randy Orton to win the WWE Title
Honor the Hall of Famers here before the main event.
9. John Cena d. The Rock

If Rock’s on the card, he goes on last. No question about that. If not, maybe Undertaker vs. Michaels goes last.

Will this happen? Of course not. Putting HHH in a minor role like I did is highly unlikely. I’m not doing it as a way to insult the guy. It’s more for the bigger picture and to set up his heel turn. The story with him would be that he came up short in the Rumble, came up short in MITB and he’ll be called out for going soft. Once he gets that edge back (heel turn) he’ll become the champ again. He’s had his big time matches at Mania and he stunk it up last year. I’m rewarding the ones that deserve it like Morrison and Kingston, among others. This has to be a WrestleMania where they build new stars.

I wouldn’t be opposed to a HHH vs. Sheamus match either. That could work and considering they’re friends already it is a definite possibility. I’d rather see the title in the Kofi/Orton feud.

If this card happened it would definitely be the most watched WrestleMania ever. I have no doubt about that. In terms of match quality, it’s a stacked lineup. Maybe too stacked. I’d love watching it, that’s for sure.

I’m pretty proud of what I came up with. I’m not about to write fantasy columns on a regular basis. Consider this a one time only thing…unless I get a ridiculously good response. Maybe I’ll send this along with a resume to WWE Creative. You never know.

Send me an email at oratoryjohn@gmail.com with your thoughts or hit me up Twitter or Facebook. The info is below.

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I’ll be back tomorrow (Tuesday) with the Raw Deal as usual. It’s Sheamus vs. Cena for the title.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – oratoryjohn@gmail.com
Visit the blog: johnreport.wordpress.com
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  1. nathanville
    December 28, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    I like it – pretty close to what I would have booked when I posted my thoughts on your wall on 12/14… of course some things have changed since then! If you get hired on at WWE feel free to recruit me! I think I could book a show much better than what the WWE puts out there these days! Of course we would probably both get fired within the first few weeks for telling Vince he is a moron but it would be fun while it lasted!

  2. Sargon
    December 28, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    I’m gonna have to rant regarding John’s distaste for the skits. While I certainly respect his opinion, and can agree with it in some respects, I think if you cut the skits you’d end up with the ratings dropping more in line with those of Smackdown. Granted, Smackdown is on the worst network ever created, but even when I’m in on a Friday night I have little interest in flipping over to watch. I’d rather watch the staple of ESPN Friday night programming – MAAC college football. Plus, I think the workers today are sloppier than they were even five or ten years ago, and if you want longer matches you’re going to need the TV editing that the non-live Smackdown allows.

    Flip over to YouTube and tell me the old Kurt Angle/John Cena skits or Edge/Christian or Rock/Edge, etc. weren’t amusing. Sure, Angle, Edge, Christian and Rock are all talented on the stick, but the writing was ten times better several years ago. I don’t know when the WWE made the effort to hire only washed up sitcom writers, but that’s what it would appear they’re using and that’s the material the fans are being given. The skits can still sell a PPV match (potentially) better than the same two guys going at it for twenty minutes four Monday nights in a row….but not with the cheesy ‘hole in between the cheeks’ writing that’s being done.

    All said, this is probably the difference between American and Canadian professional wrestling fans. I think the Canadians are still rabid for excellent mat wrestling, whereas Americans buy in to the bright lights, pyro’s, music and a well cut promo. The Rock and Bret Hart could go in the right for an hour tonight, but personally it wouldn’t give me the same goosebumps as giving each of them ten minutes on the stick would. I would go in to how to remedy the current writing, but this is not my soapbox, but I’d be interested to see what John had to say on it, should he have an open topic writing one day.

    • December 28, 2009 at 3:52 PM

      I love comedy segments. If you read my stuff you know I’ve got a good sense of humor and I think it definitely has a place in wrestling. My problem with WWE is they have far too many bad comedy segments especially on Raw. I think Raw can become a better show if they limit that and focus more on the wrestling.

      Furthermore, my booking focuses on Bret Hart’s return and if you look at his career he was known as a wrestler. Not a comedy guy. So it makes sense based on his character to have a wrestling heavy show.

      I think a good wrestling angle sells more than anything. Look at how good Orton/Kingston was before they did it too many times and now it’s just another feud. You want to sell PPVs or draw viewers, tell good wrestling stories. That’s what the fans want.

      I appreciate the commentary, though. Very good.

      • Sargon
        December 28, 2009 at 4:16 PM

        Johnny C, you know I don’t miss a TRD, and I appreciate the humor in it. I think we could both agree the humor/skit problems may come from so few talent being able to pull it off. When Cena tries to be funny I flip it (or during little people’s court), but when Masters started randomly titty dancing during Carlito’s Slammy presentation I laughed. It’s a problem though, when your funny isn’t funny and the unintentionally funny is.

        As for Bret, believe me, I grew up on that man. His character’s traits of hard work, perseverance and always being the little guy in the fight resonated with me when I was younger. Further, the way he spoke and the actions he had, you knew he was an honorable, upstanding guy. Again, that resonated with me when I was younger. When I’d fake wrestle with my brother, I preferred the Russian leg sweep to the Stinger splash. Why am I so anti traditional wrestling then? Very, very, very, very, very few can do it like this man. After reading his book, I will swear Vince is an idiot until he hires Bret as his lead booker. The guy knows this industry and how to finish a match. Maybe that’s where the problem lies.

        Good call on Orton/Kofi.

  3. December 28, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    John, you should have never wrote this column. The reason why I say that is because it is perfect and you know WWE will never come anywhere close to touching this. The 1/4 RAW is laid out perfectly, and I love your plan for WM. The only thing I’m not feeling is the RAW Tag Title Match. I don’t know what pairing Ted and Henry does for Ted although I like the possibilities a MVP/Show team could produce. Could you imagine if WWE actually put Christian, Morrison and Kofi over like that at WM? It would be huge. I’d love a HBK/Taker rematch, but how could it ever come close to last year’s especially with no blood? Please send this to WWE, but copyright it first so they can’t steal your ideas and take it as their own. WWE should hire you and whatever they pay you wouldn’t be enough. If this was the 1/4 RAW and WM it would be a great 4 months to be a WWE fan.

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:37 PM

      I appreciate the support. Very complimentary stuff. And for the record, I’ve sent some stuff to WWE. I know people. :)

  4. Jens
    December 28, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    This is really great! At least on par with the last fantasy booking you did, if not better. And do send it along with a resume to WWE Creative ;)

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:38 PM

      Done. I still don’t love fantasy booking. This was well received, though, so I’ll consider it again.

  5. December 28, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    Sargon, I’m going to have to disagree with you. I’m as American as they come and I crave good wrestling. I could do without all pyro and bright lights. Some of my favorite wrestling shows are the old MSG house shows from the 80’s and 90’s when they turned the lights off and just wrestled. I think you’re off base on that. In the hot cities like NY, NJ, Chicago they are like me but in these crummy little towns that barely have electricity I could see your point.

  6. mcnulty
    December 28, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    Great, great column and line up. Possibly the best thing Ive seen you write. I know its only fantasy but it got me more excited than is decent.

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:39 PM

      McNulty! The Wire! One of my favorite TV characters ever.

      I don’t think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, but thanks for the feedback anyway.

  7. Sargon
    December 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Doc $ – The WWE cannot base the business simply on the NY’s, Chicago’s, etc. Believe me, when I go to Charlotte or Raleigh to catch a show, I WISH they had the energy the NY crowd always seems to have. If nothing else (i.e. it makes the TV product better, makes everyone’s live experience better) – the performers deserve it.

    As for your love of old school wrestling, I’m not old enough to have seen the shows in the 80’s and 90’s, but I’ve watched tape (which certainly can’t do it justice; I also have the stories from my dad of going to the Norfolk Scope every Thursday night to see the Nature Boy, AA, etc., which also can’t do it justice). Unfortunately, when Vince ‘broke the mold’ I think he broke the ability of wrestling to sell itself. Guys that have been around for awhile will buy in to it, but the next generation, and your next cash cow and ratings boom, I fear will not. That’s what I’m looking for – the next Attitude boom. I’m 25, and when I was 15 almost every male I grew up with watched the product. I’m the last one left, and believe me I catch hell for doing it. I’ll take all the hell they can give, because I still root for the business to catch fire, and watch every Monday night hoping it will, but I don’t think 20 minutes of even the best ‘fake fighting’ is going to win the UFC nuts or ‘street smart’ audiences over.

  8. December 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    I like it a lot and would watch the hell out of that program right from January all the way to Mania.

    The only problem I see with everything you have written is the following:

    I see what you are going for and as I said I like it a lot. The ultimate goal of all your booking choices leading to your fantasy Mania is to get people excited for the matches again and not the silly scits for which most of the guys in WWE are not good enough actors anyway. Your whole text with all your propositions says “Wrestling first!” basically. While we as the “John Report Crowd” (yea, you can use that ;)) will all be into that I dont see WWE selling a lot of merchandise and PPV with a product focussed on the “sports” part of “sports entertainment” within their target demographic – can you say PG?

    Now everytime I read a text like yours its basically calling for one of the oldtimers and Hall-of-Famers to bring back a part of the old WWE/F and the underlying wish always sounds like “talk about the good ol’ days”. And while we both know that the promos you wrote for Bret will never happen that way (although I wish they did) I strongly disagree with the implied fact that we need the Bret Hart fame to get back to “real wrestling”. If (and thats a very strong “if”) the WWE really wants to go in a direction similar to what you wrote up, I would like to see this “movement” (if you will), started by one of the younger wrestlers. Have Legacy split up over an argument about “what matters in todays business”. Let that boild for a month and let them have serious promos and arguments after each match about it. Then split them up having one guy (Ted) be the new “I mean business” face of the company and the other (Cody) the new “I mean business” heel. Then let them have a proxy-feud where they have short-term programs with other wrestlers only to have the respective other come out after a match and have a promo on how important it is to concentrate on the wrestling and why all the merchandise and glow-stick business doesnt mean anything. This way you could have the same effect while elevating talent that hasnt been used properly. Bret and Vince can still go on and do their stuff with Shawn and HHH (whilst adding to the new direction as Breet could still be all about the wrestling).

    Sorry that this has been such a long text but I hope you get my point. I just dont know if having an oldtimer (sorry Bret ;)) coming in to “talk the talk” with the current roster is such a good idea as nobody in the current audience likes to be talked to by older guys (kids, when will they learn? ;)).

    Again, sorry for writing so much and sorry for my “non sophisticated” english ;)

    Greetings from Germany
    See you on commentfest (looking forward to the signs in the audience tonight).

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:44 PM

      I get your point. I think you absolutely need to mix the entertainment in with the sport aspect of the business, but you have to find a balance that works too. Think of Survivor Series when they did Cena/HBK/HHH. They treated it as a total joke and nobody cared about the match as a result. You don’t generate enough business doing that.

  9. December 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    Sargon, I’m only 1 yr older than you and I used to watch those shows all the time as a kid. If you can get the WWE Classics channel you should bec they show them all the time. I agree that WWE can’t base their business on the big cities but if the smaller cities acted more like the big ones we wouldn’t have to deal with this garbage. Cena gets cheered in the back towns, but boo’d in the big ones, what should that tell Vince? It should tell him that the people that truly understand what the business is about can’t stand the guy. I, like you am the only wrestling fan left among my friends and the rip me for it, but I’ll never leave it and with a roster of Orton, Morrison, Christian, Punk, Kofi, Swagger, Miz, McIntyre, Sheamus the pieces are in place for the next boom, just who’s going to step it up and take it there

    • Sargon
      December 28, 2009 at 4:23 PM

      I wish I could get the classics channel. I’d heard WWE was trying to buy ESPN Classic to take it nation-wide (and sometimes ESPN classic shows old AWA wrestling, which is kinda nice. Leon ‘Baby Bull’ White vs Someone last episode I saw) but I don’t think that ever materialized. And I agree, I skipped the house show in Raleigh (had it been TV I would have gone but too far a drive for a house show, especially after Christmas travel) but had I gone security probably would’ve removed me for the verbal abuse Cena would have taken. Probably sounds stupid, and I think John has said this in column too, but I really hate ‘hating on’ Cena because he’s apparently a hell of a nice guy, but nice guys should always finish where they belong…

      I, too, am pretty excited about the young talent. Vince better swallow his pride and let John Morrison take the ball and run for a long time soon – his athleticism will bring in a new group of fans and energize the current ones. I think Orton needs a bit of a repackage, personally, but he’s been around so long now (and yet still so young) that could be a knee jerk thing on my part. I think Miz has star written all over him, again, he just needs a touch up. They’ve done it a bit, converting him to tights instead of those goofy ass jorts, but he’s not quite built ready for prime time yet…though that’s just my two cents.

      • December 28, 2009 at 4:32 PM

        I agree with you and John on the hating on Cena thing, I try to like the guy, but if you saw the match he had with Punk and the following promo on the Slammy RAW, that is every reason why I can’t stand the guy. As a person the guy is great by all accounts, with all he does for the troops and sick children, but the way his character is presented on TV is disgusting. Orton gets some pops in the big city which leads me to believe they can turn him into an anti hero like they did with Austin, personally Orton is my fav right now. He needs a feud that really defines him, as the HHH/Cena feuds over the summer made him look bad, but you’ll never come out looking good vs those 2.

        • Sargon
          December 28, 2009 at 5:00 PM

          As a man who has watched it before, you feel like we’re the curmudgeons that would’ve bitched about Hulk Hogan in the 80’s? I mean, the characters are identical (except lemme tell ya something, Mean Gene, the Hulkster could cut a promo), but both are big guys, discovered in a weight room, whose mat ability is heavily in question, yet the same five spots get them through every match. The kids love ’em and the older guys hate ’em. Unfortunately, and I don’t think Vince has figured it out yet, that lightning will never strike twice. I would actually welcome Cena returning to a heel rapper, as lame as it was, rather than trying to be John Hogan.

          Personally, I dislike Orton, but that’s because he’s so damn good at what he does. He actually really makes me dislike him sitting at home. The facial expressions, the jaw pulsations, the slow talking, methodical promos…Great heel, but a little depth to his character couldn’t hurt.

          • December 28, 2009 at 6:49 PM

            hahaha, I know every time I rip Cena, I’m like wait Hulk Hogan was my favorite wrestler as a kid. Cena will never be Hogan. I actually really liked Cena when he had his smartass rapper gimmick. It’s great you hate Orton for all those reasons it means he’s doing his job. I like rooting for the bad guy, I’m a Yankee fan so I’m used to it, not to mention I’m the guy that wanted to see the Joker prevail in The Dark Knight.

  10. Evan
    December 28, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    This was too good. The WWE is in long need of getting some of the younger talent showcased, and I mean more than HHH’s workout partner in Sheamus and also Drew McIntyre. Kofi, Morrison, Punk, MVP and Christian are probably the 5 that I would lean on going into 2010, with Swagger, Kidd, DiBiase, Miz, Bourne (he can become the new Jeff Hardy if given the opportunity) McIntyre and Sheamus (still not impressed with Sheamus, give him a real match that goes at least 10 minutes and maybe I will change my mind) right behind them.

    HHH, Michaels, Batista, Mysterio, Undertaker have very few years left in them, and in most cases these guys can’t put on good matches w/o help (save Michaels). Vince needs to have guys like Orton, Jericho, Edge and Cena become the ‘new’ old guard.

    I would be keen to see a storyline like we saw in WCW before they crashed in which you had the new blood (led by ‘Above Average’ Mike Sanders..anyone remmeber him?!?) going up against Hogan and his team of older vets.

    Give a chance for the young guys to shine. Kofi would be a wonderful champion. Losing the accent really helped him as you can now take him a little more seriously, plus he isn’t half bad on the microphone. His skills are up there as well and the crowd LOVES this guy. I marked out (as I am sure most people did) when he did the Boom Drop to Orton at MSG, I know Vince HAD to have heard that reaction that Kofi got and the 1-2 combo when he put down Punk/Orton at SurSer was amazing as well.

    See what you did Canton! Instilled hope in all of us that maybe one day Vince will realize that there needs to be a change! Ah well, enough ranmbling and I will go watch RAW and continue to be disapointed in the fact that 3 of the 5 matches that they air will be 3 minutes in length….

    Good stuff as always, and if you can come to a middle ground in the WWE fantasy writing, maybe only do the 4 big PPVs (WM, RR, SS and SurSer).

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:48 PM

      Thanks Evan. Maybe doing some fantasy writing every three or four months would work. I don’t want to do it too much, but people seem to like it. I think it’s something I can definitely consider doing if the readers call for it. And I got a lot of awesome feedback for this (both here and in email), so I’ll keep it in mind.

      I liked the New Blood idea too. They just didn’t execute it properly after initially starting it.

  11. Mark T
    December 28, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    awesome john pure awesome!!!!

  12. Michael Ryne
    December 28, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    If this actually happened, then WWE would completely decimate TNA. Fantastic column, John…if only it would happen this way. This timeline of events could definitely bring WWE back to its insane popularity and even keep them at their precious PG rating.

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM

      Thanks. I really don’t think the PG rating is as much of a hindrance as some do. You can make it work with that if you tell good stories and all I presented were what I thought were good stories.

  13. rob
    December 28, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    if any member of wwe creative reads this- please suggest it!! man it would be sooo refreshing, exciting and involve WRESTLING which is what raw needs! it sucks the fact that 99% of the things you wrote will never happen tho. i cant ever see HHH not being one of the top 4 guys in a main event or in the spotlight, just wont happen… and to have Bret take shots at the way raw has been with the ‘comedy’ segments ect, i cant see vince ever allowing it.

    such a shame tho! i think what you have produced is a product people want to watch. please john, apply for a job in wwe creative, send a c.v- anything. they need your ideas. i hope they at least steal a few off you!!

    well done!

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:52 PM

      Ha, I don’t know if I’ll be happy or pissed off if they steal from me. We’ll see.

  14. Liam
    December 28, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    You really need to send this through to the creative team at WWE. They need to have a very good RAW when Bret Hart is back, as im sure that they will get alot of extra viewers with Hart being back on wwe, and if they show anything with hornswoggle/chavo/masters/dx merchandise skits, then surely it will just put people off the product.

    I agree with alot of the ideas that you have put forward, namely putting Christian, Morrison and Kingston at the forefront of the babyface scene, as Jeff left a big gap. I would like to also see Punk, Swagger and Miz pushed as 3 big heels, as i think they are all fantastic. There was a suprisingly good episode of ECW last week when Swagger was back, and really showcased his talents.

    I think they are heading in the right direction at the moment, but dear god, the last 2 episodes of RAW were awful. Even Y2J wasnt good. Hopefully Timbaland can deliver! Morrison for the rumble win :)

  15. December 28, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    BRILLIANT!!!!

  16. Mike
    December 28, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    Wow John….the way you layed out the 1/4 Raw, future plans, and the WM 26 card is fabulous. If WWE actually had the same card as you for WM–it would go down as the greatest WM of all-time…and by a wide margin.

  17. December 28, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    Awesome feedback, guys. I promise I’ll reply to all of them probably Tuesday night at some point. I’m currently sitting in my place with only my TV, computer and fridge plugged in. Everything else is in boxes. I’m moving Wednesday morning. Tuesday night I’ll have nothing to do. Tonight I’ll be having some drinks with some friends.

    The replies are great. I’ll get back to all of you Tuesday night.

  18. December 28, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    Really, really, REALLY wish they would do pretty much everything you’re writing. My only objection might be Big Show + MVP. I think Jericho said he was teaming with show for so long to try and elevate show, get him back into the game, make him better than ever, etc. I kind of feel such elevation might be lost throwing show back into the tag team circuit (as you’ll see most superstars with a big buddy in their pocket end up – see CM Punk and Gallows) even though I would be pleased with the elevation this tandem might generate for MVP, having show potentially lose steam off his stellar run would leave Jerichos efforts wasted.

    Now, if the WWE were capable of writing superstars who have allies AND great singles feuds (it can be done, refer to Captain Charisma and Tomko when CC was vying for Money in the Bank WM21/the Fatal 4-way US Championship a few years back around the No Mercy ppv that main event was Eddie Guerrerro vs Batista with Eddie playing up Batista being his best friend and at the end had the classic Eddie smiling evilly behind Batistas back, but looking shocked/horrified/beaten when Batista turned around…miss you, Eddie…) but with the “creativity” the RAW brand has shown me in the last year and maybe more (still having bad flashbacks to the near 2 year stint where nearly all the main events were HHH vs HBK) I don’t know if this is even possible within the WWE. They’re either a team, or one of them doesn’t get used a lot and generally acts as an enforcer kinda role (see Tomko/CC again) but if you think about it…what does the future hold for Show?

    Before JeriShow (I hate the – too, John C, you and the guy who first quoted it totally deserve royalties on that one) Big Show had a pretty flat run, despite the match with Mayweather at WM24, it seemed booking had no idea what to do with a giant behemoth, even if he did generate his own steam with the boxing training, and the development of the KNOCK THE FUCK OUT~ punch. With the frequency that WWE likes doing Triple Threats, you’d think Show would be one of their most valuable assets; a man like that makes the 3-way interesting…the two smaller athletes will generally work together to keep him down till the inevitable turning on each other. Sure, it’s been done, but it almost conveys that the wrestlers have to outsmart and out-maneuver the bigger man utilizing the strength of two, because he’s just that damn powerful. But what do I know, right? I’m one of those dirt sheet reading internet fans that Vince insists the opinions and thoughts of are irrelevant.

    I also like the move of two young, fresh guys winning the titles with Christian winning MITB; it just reeks of AWES….er…ELEVATION. You know, precisely what the company wants to do, yet keep putting off for some reason. (Why is Ziggler in the doghouse, exactly? Is he a pothead getting the The Brian Kendrick treatment? I had such High Hopes for that guy. …pun or no, I was being serious. I miss his heely dancing to the ring with big Zeke the enforcer.)

    I’m glad they’re at least sort of trying with Sheamus and Drew McIntyre, even if the reason for selecting those two is suspect. I just hope the potential Sheamus/HHH match at WM isn’t for the title. Seriously, HHH, WE GET IT.

    I just wish they’d try harder, which is what the booking in this online blog thing would accomplish. They pay all these writers, yet what they need is on the internet for free.

    Well, I suppose they always said that wrestling fans were smarter than they gave credit for.

  19. Jay
    December 28, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    Do you think that Vince McMahon would ever listen to the ideas like putting new talent over and emphasizing actual wrestling? You won’t get hired making suggestions like this. Try these ideas instead.

    1. An entire show focused on “Little People’s Court.” Lots of Glow Sticks.

    2. Have Bret Hart run into Santina who convinces Bret to dress in drag to get in touch with his feminine side.

    3. Have HHH imediately start winning and losing the World Title so he can pass Ric Flair for most championships at Wrestlemania. Vince can be the special guest referee.

    4. Invite out all of the living members of the Guerrero family and let Sheamus squash them in a big mud pit.

    • January 1, 2010 at 3:59 PM

      Ha yeah, I didn’t write it to get hired. If I wrote it to get hired I would have had 75% of the show with HHH and in it and the other 25% of the show being people talking about how great HHH is. I know how to suck up.

  20. Jericho
    December 28, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    Wow, Cena defeating The Rock? That would imply that Cena has successfully filled in The Rock’s shoes, and we both know that’s not true.

    And to ignore HHH’s role in WM 26? Not only is that unlikely but it is stupid on so many levels… Firstly, would you want to miss WM if you were a wrestler? (No matter what level of a wrestler you would be?)

    And CM Punk in the tag division… Seriously man?

    (At the time I am writing this, the main event for 12/18 raw seems it would go for five minutes… wow)
    Typical, I knew you would do that. You’ve changed bro. I think this modern day wrestling has rubbed off on you a little bit too much.

    But I have to give credit, where credit is due. The raw you produced will no doubt draw views and I would rate it a 9/10.

    Heads up: just giving you my opinion, it may be a bit harsh, but hey it’s feedback.

    • Aaron
      December 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM

      Not everyone can stay in the main event picture (Unless your a McMahon Family Avenger). I like Punk too, but like Jericho’s run in ’08, reducing him to building feuds, and putting guys over in ’09, this will most likely be Punk in ’10. Call it a setback.. or call it the mark of a great worker, Punk is going nowhere, and I would excel in the tag division and get this tag division elevated. (Didn’t I also hear a rumor about the Briscoes coming in? THAT is a tag team to build a division around!)

      Also he’s not leaving HHH off the card, but putting him in the MITB and putting over the importance of that match. And leading to an eventual heel turn and title run down the road, that’s where HHH would excel. big picture, HHH will be happy, ‘Mania would work better, I think it’s brilliant.

      I see how splitting the tag titles back up would work, but that’s not happening yet. Plus, I don’t feel tag wrestling is nearly strong enough to split the tag division up again. I think the TNA knockouts tag titles are stronger right now.

      Great stuff overall.. too bad Bret’s probably going to haev to put over Hornswoggle, or maybe claim he’s his TRUE father or something… all while Jillian Hall sings ‘Just the two of us’.. with the plot twish of Mae Young’s hand being the mother of the bastard seed….

      • Evan
        December 30, 2009 at 10:49 AM

        You would have to have Cena beat the Rock as a ‘passing of the torch’ moment. If The Rock wins, then anything that Cena has ever done is a moot point and he will forever be labeled as someone that will never be ‘great’

        • January 1, 2010 at 4:01 PM

          Cena’s the full timer, so he should win if he’s against Rock. That’s just how it is. Not a case of him being bigger or better than him. He’s the one that wrestles regularly these days, not Rock.

  21. Mark
    December 29, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    I think i am going to have to agree with sargon here. While I do like the overall booking of the matches for raw, you need to have some of those comedy skits. That kind of stuff is entertaining for kids, and can also catch the casual viewers eye( I watched raw with a friend, and he thought the midget thing was funny). I also think these comedy segments could be easily worked into midcard feuds. I lvoe midcard feuds with wierd little story lines(ex Val Venus and shamrock’s sister) while these will never win feud of the year, they add that little bit of rediculousness(is that a word) that makes wrestling great.

    • January 1, 2010 at 4:02 PM

      Like I’ve said, comedy skits are good and you need them. However, Raw tries for too much and it takes away from the product. You don’t sell PPVs with comedy segments. You sell PPVs with good storylines that involve quality matches. It’s not that hard.

  22. rob
    December 29, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    The comedy segmenst are funny when they matter? Does that make sense? They were funny in the past when it switched around. It wasnt always just Santino/Hornswoggle. In the past, it was everyone, at THE RIGHT MOMENT!
    Kurt, Benoit, Guerrero, E and C, Jericho, THE ROCK, The DX bits, Mick, Austin and his warbling guitar playing…do you see where I am going here. I am so tired of the same comedy over and over.
    There is a reason why in hollywood, every comedy DOESNT star Will Ferrel. Cause they would all be bad, right? WWE needs to learn this.

    • Aaron
      December 30, 2009 at 8:42 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. The comedy is necessary, but the problem is WWe is trying to appeal to everyone. It’s like a family movie that comes off cheesy because it’s trying to appease everyeone and instead alienates nearly everyone.

      WWE is picking it’s target audience, and that’s kids. I think as this generation gets older we’ll begin to see another edgier product, but that’s years down the road… the wrestling biz has been riding highs and lows since the 80’s rock n wrestling boom.. I see no reason for a pattern change. But the writing team.. gotta get a few less hollywood reject writers and a few more WRESTLING writers (or idea men basically).

  23. Mrs. Jericho
    December 29, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Great fantasy booking article!

  24. December 31, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    John, well written as always. However, I think that it would be somewhat confusing to people as it plays out. For example:
    Bret is face, he has a confrontation with McMahon, the heel.
    Bret endorses the Hart Dynasty, who are heels.
    Bret interferes in the match (accidentally), a heel tactic.
    McMahon comes out to play enforcer in response to this, technically taking the side of DX, who are faces.
    McMahon then gets in another confrontation with Bret.
    So it seems like there’s, what, three faces, two new/de-facto faces (as of that night) and one heel involved here?

    I understand that you’re trying to involve the history between all the personalities involved here. I also understand that you’re trying to elevate a team through association. I know this is a fantasy booking column, but I just think that some people, especially the younger audience who WWE now seem to be aiming at, would not be able to follow the dynamic of having an on-the-night turn without precipitation, as well as taking in the Bret vs. Shawn/Hunter and Bret vs. Vince angle on things as well. It’s too complicated.

    Despite this, I really enjoyed reading the column in its entirety and I wish the WWE booking team employed half as much logic and foresight as you do.

  25. January 1, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    I think turning THD face when Bret there is a necessity. It doesn’t have to be done in one show. Build up to it and it’ll work. You start it on the first show, then it grows from there. I don’t think DX has to go heel. You can even do it where Shawn says it was all Vince and Bret agrees with him or something. For storyline sake, make Vince the true heel in the angle. Keep Shawn involved, but he’s got his own angle with Undertaker to do too.

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