As we always do around this time, we need to set our sights on the build to the biggest pay-per-view of the year, WrestleMania. The event is coming up in just a few weeks and the card is starting to fill up, but it may not be shaping up the way you specifically would have preferred, so if you were in a position to change things, how would it go down? What would you do if you were in charge of creative control and could pick the matches scheduled for the biggest event of the year?
1) You need to justify your choices within a reasonable mindset of what WWE has in store. Just because someone is a favorite of yours does not mean WWE would be pushing them to the title in any realistic fashion.
2) You cannot include people who are not a member of the roster, whether they are retired, working for another company, or obviously deceased. You can, however, work under the assumption that injured stars might possibly return in time for certain events (if it is within reason). Also, be realistic when it comes to bringing NXT stars up to the main roster. WWE never brings up 15 people in a year, so don't flood the market.
3) The earliest time frame you can begin planning from as a reference point is last year's WrestleMania, although considering.
4) The brand split cannot be undone.
Note: I restrained myself to an even shorter time frame, angling around Survivor Series rather than WrestleMania and keeping in tact all of the injuries that are currently out there.
Raw Commentary Team = Michael Cole, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Byron Saxton
SmackDown Commentary Team = Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves and Tom Phillips
Announcers = Mike Rome and JoJo
Backstage Interviews = Charly Caruso and Dasha Fuentes
Pre-Show Hosts = Cathy Kelley and Scott Stanford
Kickoff Panel = Renee Young, Shawn Michaels, Booker T and Jerry "The King" Lawler
Master of Ceremonies = The New Day
This is a two-hour pre-show, so we have plenty of room to play around with for at least two matches, if not three, while also dedicating time for promos, recaps, panel analyst activity and so forth.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Club (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
I'm still not sure who I would want to go in as the champions and who would leave, but I don't want too many title changes, so I'm leaning toward The Club holding the belts both before and after. Enzo and Cass can win it at Payback.
Cruiserweight Championship Lumberjack Match: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
This is the best means to get all of the cruiserweights on the card without making it another multi-man match.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Braun Strowman was looking for competition and he gets it. However, he proves that he's the man by winning.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Starts the night off with a bang. Baron Corbin wins the championship.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley
Perhaps Charlotte is the special guest referee if they NEED to put her in there, but she doesn't have to be. Sasha Banks goes into this as a heel, having won it from Charlotte the first time and not dropping it back to her on three occasions afterward. She slowly turns into a cocky heel over the course of her title reign and this is the first time Bayley wins the championship.
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Orton takes down The Wyatt Family from within, turning babyface. Harper is the tweener and Wyatt is the heel.
Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
If this match doesn't happen for this year's WrestleMania, then you can remove it from my card. I'm leaving it on here just in case. Time constraints make it so it would have to be rushed anyway
United States Championship Match: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Originally, I wanted to have Joe against Cena, but I couldn't figure out a way to balance it out better with the other matches. This is good enough.
Shane McMahon (with Daniel Bryan) vs. The Miz (with Maryse)
This is a relatively quick match. The feud is set up as McMahon standing up for Bryan as a means to settle his feud with The Miz.
Mid-Show New Day Promo
Carrying on from earlier, The New Day have some sort of bathroom break segment that continues the story of their antics. This can have cameos from legends and such.
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
SmackDown Women's Championship Six-Pack Challenge Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Naomi
If Naomi hadn't have wrestled that match with Alexa, she wouldn't be injured. This is inspired by the old "SmackDown Six" idea. Alexa retains.
Hall of Fame Recap
This gives fans a chance to run to the bathroom.
Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
It should now be dark enough to have this match and since Undertaker is beaten up, it should be kept on the shorter side.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
I can't imagine this being a long match. Lesnar wins and Goldberg has a sendoff in the ring if this is his retirement.
Final New Day Promo
This gives fans a chance to run to the bathroom if they need to. The New Day round out the night thanking people for watching WrestleMania and we see some kind of conclusion to their antics.
WWE World Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena
You end the show with what would probably be the best match of the night, for the best title in the company, and with John Cena winning his 16th world title as that's the most historic thing to do.