Watching this year's All-Star weekend got me thinking: What if WWE had their own PPV where they would have matches competed like if they were in the NBA?
It makes sense that Vince would think of this at some point in his life, seeing as how much, after the NFL of course, professional basketball players have crossed over with the sports entertainment entity that is professional wrestling. Back in the late 1990s in WCW, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone were two guys at the height of their popularity in the NBA that were inserted into the hottest and freshest wrestling angle in recent memory at the time that was NWO invasion. Rodman was the big celebrity/non-wrestling athlete member of Hollywood Hulk Hogan's NWO meanwhile Malone was crusading for WCW while maintaining a rivalry with Rodman over who is the better basketball player (All things equal, Rodman was a better rebounder while Malone was the better, more complete player).
Their rivalry concluded at WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 when Rodman teamed with Hogan in a tag match against Malone and close, personal friend, Diamond Dallas Page, who was one of the biggest babyfaces in WCW at the time. The match wasn't anything spectacular, if not way too long considering the inconsistent pacing of matches that WCW liked to use, being over 23 minutes long, but it helped push the door open for high-profile celebrities and athletes to be a part of pro wrestling angles. The line between what is professional wrestling and sports-entertainment gets blurred even more so.
Which brings me to the All-Star weekend spectacular that the NBA likes to put out every year. It always is a success for the league and, despite what some may think about the decrease of quality in the Slam Dunk contest in recent years, people still can't wait for the festivities. Even though it is at about the halfway point of the season, it has a WrestleMania Week feel to it, a mix of pop-culture, sports, and entertainment with most of the actual events having no overall impact to any team's success. A PPV that replicates that styles appeals to Vince (either McMahon or Russo, pick your poison, I guess). This idea would totally be something that came out of New Generation WWF or pre-NWO WCW.
But who would partake in such an event? The only real solution is to pick all of WWE's "All-Stars" and have them compete in matches that sort of are the equivalent of the various basketball mini-games that are being conducted this weekend. I looked at the roster and what they contributed since WrestleMania 30. The only rule I have is that they have to be active wrestlers and can't be injured at the moment (Sorry Triple H, Batista, Undertaker, AJ Lee, The Rock, and Sheamus).
So without further ado, here are the five matches that I fantasy booked in parallel to the five big NBA All-Star events (Rising Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shooting Challenge, Slam Dunk Competition, and All-Star Game):
Paige vs Natalya vs Nikki Bella for the WWE Divas Championship
Give these three 15 minutes and you could have a small gem of a match. Plus more ring time means less irrelevant pre-show talk.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Rising Stars Match:
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
Who else from NXT's Women's division exemplified the idea of a rising star more than Charlotte and Sasha Banks? No disrespect to the other women in NXT (whom I think collectively are more talented that the main roster Divas), but these are above and beyond the cream of the crop. While Charlotte is more than ready for the main roster, Banks is the NXT Women's Champion and proved that she is more than capable of standing toe to toe with the best of the women and coming out on top. The fatal 4 way at NXT TakeOver: Rival was the second best Women's match in NXT since it launched on the Network (behind Charlotte vs Natalya). These two, along with Paige, are going to be at the top of the main roster women's division in a couple of years. I can almost guarantee it.
Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (Skills Challenge):
Kofi Kingston vs Erick Rowan vs Jimmy Uso vs Jey Uso vs The Miz vs Damien Mizdow
Okay I have to admit, I kind of reached when I was booking this match, only because I had to place everyone else on the top matches. Most of these matches aren't singles matches so it was hard to put everyone that has made an impact for the past year on the card in their proper place. But if you think about each member's placement in this match, maybe you can understand why they're justifiably in this match:
Kofi: Do I really need to convince you why Kofi needs to be in a match involving ladders?
Erick Rowan: Sure he may not have had as much of an impact or be as good as Dolph Ziggler and Ryback when all three were "fired" back in January, but there is a reason why WWE has put faith in him. He is a good wrestler and can have a few good matches with some guys.
The Usos: Even in a watered down tag team division, the Usos were clearly the best tag team in 2014. People are now quick to forget but they had fantastic pay-per-view matches in the Summer and there's a reason why they're still the Tag Team Champions. They're still popular and it's not their fault they have to fight the same guys week in and week out.
The Miz: Despite what you think of him, you can't deny that The Miz is possibly the best natural-heel in the company (I said it. So sue me). So it's hard for me to not put him in any card at the very least.
Why is a TLC match considered the Skills Challenge? Well, most of these guys are talented wrestlers, but if put them in a match where you are required to use weapons to your advantage. Anyone can use them in a match, but it takes real skill to use them effectively and make it a memorable match.
Winner: The Miz
Triple-Threat Match (NBA's 3-point challenge):
Adrian Neville vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
I decided to use the top three NXT guys (well Zayn and Neville were the top two guys for most of the year, meanwhile Owens is the NXT Champion and is currently being pushed as the first superheel in the WWE Network era for NXT) for this triple-threat match. I would have put them as a second Rising Stars match, but then I thought of this reason to put this match the way it is:
Like this match, the 3-point participants is starting to be nothing more than niche players and young guys that might not necessarily be known to all NBA fans (outside of Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry this year, because I think they're all superstar players on very good teams in Cleveland and Golden State). These three have shown incredible progress since coming to NXT and it would be a hell of a match if these three were to be given a match at a WWE PPV.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Elimination Chamber Match (Slam Dunk Contest):
Luke Harper vs Dean Ambrose vs Cesaro vs vs Big Show vs Kane vs Tyson Kidd
Although this may not have the greatest names, each of these guys have contributed for the top of the card at some point in 2014 and is partially responsible for what the current storylines are today. Except Tyson Kidd, who has done nothing, but put Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, and Finn Balor over in NXT among others, but you have to give him a lot of credit for what he has been able to do for his career. Before being sent down, a lot of people thought he would be on the short list of wrestlers to be fired from the company since they had nothing for him to do. So I gave him a wild-card spot in the Chamber.
Harper's no stranger to harsh match conditions. He had one of the most physically gruesome matches against Dolph Ziggler at TLC last December so he'll be someone to create a big spot if needed to. Ambrose is a guy that I would love seeing inside the Chamber. Big Show and Kane, despite their age, have been always by the Authority's side for the past few months and they are guys that'll take advantage of what they are able to do. Cesaro is still sort of finding his way in the hierarchy of WWE, but so far he has a nice place being in a tag team with Kidd (and the occassional stable whenever Adam Rose is involved) for now. The King of Swing is still one of the more underrated talents on the main roster and did well in last year's Elimination Chamber match.
I could go with Cesaro winning this match, but since this is more of an All-Star type of match and is more suited for babyfaces to win and give the fans a good time, I'm going with someone else to win it: Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose needs a pay-per-view win and needs it badly. Inside the Elimination Chamber, Ambrose is able to tap in to the more crazy and even try for sadistic characteristics of his character to try and pull off a victory. The final two men remaining would be Cesaro and Ambrose and I have Ambrose winning one of the more underrated Chamber matches in history.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
5v5 Survivor Series-Style Elimination Tag Team Match (All-Star Game):
Team Babyface: John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns, Ryback
Team Heel: Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Randy Orton
Team Heel: Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Randy Orton
These are the top five babyfaces and heels all put into one group. Ambrose would've been my fifth pick to round out Team babyface, but the fact that hasn't won a pay-per-view match since who knows when, plus coupled with the fact that Ryback has been knee deep into the top storyline in WWE for the past few months and the large cheers he has received since coming back from injury made me realize that they have bigger plans at the moment for Ryback and that WWE is comfortable with letting Ambrose stay in the midcard for now.
Despite the fact that Orton might come back as a face in his return to television, I put him on the heel side just because of him being one of the top two or three villains in 2014. Plus doesn't it make some sort of sense to pt him on the heel side just for this match to push the Rollins-Orton feud that's probably going to continue. Here's how it could work and have Orton turn and give Cena's team the win:
Orton comes back the week before the pay-per-view and tells Triple H that he wants to be on his team for the match. Triple H agrees and is happy that Orton put aside his differences with Rollins to do "what's best for business".
During the match, after about 20 minutes in, Seth Rollins tags himself in and Curb Stomps a weakened Dolph Ziggler for payback after what happened at Survivor Series. Rollins pins Ziggler to even the match up the match at three Superstars a piece (Cena, Reigns, and Bryan vs Orton, Lesnar, and Rollins).
Cena comes out and next and Rollins tags Lesnar to try and beat Cena. Lesnar and Cena brawl for a bit, but Heyman thinks that Lesnar, as the champ shouldn't have to compete in something as trivial as a Survivor Series match before WrestleMania. So Heyman gives the belt Lesnar and hits Cena with it, eliminating Lesnar and keep him from risking injury before the biggest show of the year, but before Lesnar leaves, he hits a couple of F5s and German Suplexes to Cena before leaving the ring. Rollins then takes the chance to pin Cena, which leaves Rollins and Orton vs Reigns and Bryan.
All four men battle each other for about 10 minutes until Orton and Rollins drive Reigns and Bryan out of the ring, rendering them immobile. Rollins shows off in front of Orton and tells him to step out of his ring. Orton leaves while Rollins tries to pick Bryan up and put him inside the ring to pin him. But just after that, Orton comes back and hits him with several chair shots. Orton then gets disqualified but not before hitting Rollins enough to put him down for good and that's when Reigns comes in for the pin to win the match for Team Babyface.
This finish accomplishes, or at least try to accomplish, two things:
1. It reintroduces the Rollins-Orton rivalry
2. Despite him not doing anything to get the final pin except putting his body over Rollins', just putting Reigns as the lone survivor would further legitimize the push that WWE wants to give him.
Winner: Team Babyface
What do you think? Are these the All-Stars for WWE? Would you have booked this pay-per-view differently? Sound off in the comments below.