Fantasy Booking WWE WrestleMania 36 PPV Card Lineup of Matches - Road to WrestleMania 2020 | Smark Out Moment
Welcome to another edition of FANTASY BOOKING where we discuss what we would do if we were given the power to control what happens when it comes to WWE Creative and the planning of events.

I decided to switch things up from the normal pattern, wherein rather than doing a Fantasy Booking SummerSlam before that event and Fantasy Booking WrestleMania just before that goes down, it makes more sense to look ahead after the opposite. Thus, since SummerSlam just ended, this is going to jump forward in time to set our sights on what I would do if I became part of WWE Creative right now and had to plan out what would go down on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania 36.

This means there won't be any ideas in mind of what WWE wants to do that I can say "I'd do that, too." Instead, this has to all come from me, which makes it even more personal. So I invite you to do the same and tell us what you would do if you were in charge of creative control picking the matches scheduled for the biggest event of the year!

Fantasy Booking WrestleMania 36 Matches Lineup

The Rules:

1) The earliest time frame you can begin planning from as a reference point is the day after SummerSlam. You cannot change the outcomes on that show and just have to roll with the punches, but you're not beholden to the events of Raw and SmackDown afterward, nor do you have to include the King of the Ring tournament, if you wish to avoid that.

2) 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. IE, there is no chance over the next few months that Eric Young will be built up to beat Brock Lesnar in an inferno match for the Universal Championship.

3) 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). That means no people from New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor or elsewhere. You're only working with Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live, NXT, NXT UK and the Performance Center with a tiny bit of leeway for legends.

4) Be realistic when it comes to bringing up NXT stars to the main roster. WWE never brings up 30 people in a year, so don't flood the market.

5) The brand split cannot be undone.

6) Time constraints need to be taken into consideration. This cannot be a 14 hour show. When it comes to my setup down below, "Hour 1"is a rough estimate. There is obviously a bleed into each hour, or in some cases, the next match starts while the previous hour is still going on.

WRESTLEMANIA 36 MATCH MAKER

Note: I'm going into WrestleMania with the mindset that The Rock is not going to be able to perform. I would love to book him in a match, but the likelihood is severely low, considering he recently said he "quietly retired" from in-ring competition. He may make an appearance on the show, but I doubt he'll wrestle, so there goes my original plans of The Rock against Roman Reigns.

Surprisingly, this tied my hands quite a bit. WWE kind of screwed half the ideas that I would have wanted to do if I could go back to the night after WrestleMania 35, like I normally do with this series. So keep that in mind when it comes to my card and how it would have been better if I wasn't stuck in certain circumstances.

PRE-SHOW

My big change for WrestleMania remains the same in that the pre-show will be limited to one hour of promotional material, video packages, recaps, panel analysis and so forth, so that the second hour of the kickoff will just be folded into the main card. If WWE cannot fill people in on all the feuds in 60 minutes, they've failed.

That other hour is the same everything else on the official show. It's not a pre-show in any capacity, which means people won't skip it, nor will they miss any of the matches they normally would on the kickoff. If you tell people "the event starts at 5, but the first 2 hours are the kickoff and don't matter as much", they will tune in at 7. Screw that. The event starts at 6 with a 1-hour kickoff at 5pm that will tell you everything you need to know about these matches.

To coincide with that, pre-match video packages are either cut down to 1 minute a piece or nixed entirely. If you didn't watch the television shows leading up to this point, and you don't watch the pre-show, you obviously don't care. Ask your friends if you can't follow these super duper complex storylines and need more information.

HOUR 1

Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The O.C. (c) vs. The Bloodline

AJ Styles is struttin' around, thinking he's the shit, and he takes offense to Roman Reigns being a locker room leader (particularly after the whole incidents of him being attacked). Then, it's a simple story of Styles having backup in Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, with Reigns having backup in The Usos, and we revisit this story from 2016 under different circumstances and with the Raw Tag Team Championship on the line.

I'm not sure who I would have win, but I'd lean toward The O.C.

This match would be advertised in advance as taking place at the start of the show so that people know that they shouldn't skip the first hour. You have to actively tell some viewers that. Otherwise, they'll show up at 7pm instead of 6pm and be all confused.

~ 20 minutes

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Chad Gable

This is the best possible match this brand can give. Gable wins the title. This is a different style match than the battle royal, so that's why it follows it.

~ 20 minutes

Chyna Memorial Women's Battle Royal

Andre the Giant was The Eighth Wonder of the World. Chyna was The Ninth Wonder of the World. Just go ahead and name it that, why don't you? It's so much better than the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.

Competitors in this match include, but aren't limited to: Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Bayley, Billie Kay, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, Lacey Evans, Lana, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, Mickie James, Naomi, Natalya, Nia Jax, Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Sonya Deville, Tamina, and Zelina Vega

I would make sure to include some names from NXT and NXT UK. Most likely, those names would be Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, Jinny, Kacy Catanzaro, Mia Yim, Piper Niven, Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm.

Also, since it's not elsewhere on the card, this would include the women's tag team champions, just out of a need to not take 4 women out of this match by adding another match to the card. It saves time and makes the battle royal bigger.

Possible winners would be Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Bayley (to compensate for having to drop the SmackDown Women's Championship), Mickie James (to give her something as they'll never give her a title again), Natalya (tenure win), or Sonya Deville.

I think I would go with Natalya winning so that she could be a good contender against Shayna Baszler and Sasha Banks in the future.

~ 20 minutes

Buffer Segment #1

The 24/7 Championship changes hands for the first time in the evening. This gives fans a chance to breathe, go to the bathroom and so on. This will happen multiple times. Yay, new babyface champion!

HOUR 2

Intercontinental Championship Four Corners Match: Aleister Black vs. Ali vs. Andrade (c) vs. Buddy Murphy

Shinsuke Nakamura loses the title to Andrade and starts to turn babyface so he can team with Finn Balor. The other three are just viable contenders. You're done. The title goes to either Ali or Aleister Black.

I like referring to this as a Four Corners match, rather than a Fatal 4-Way. I don't know if I want it to be an elimination match, a one-fall decision, or a championship scramble, so I'll leave that up to closer to the event itself if I'm WWE in order to make the decision sometime in early March and see what flows the best. However, I'd lean more towards it being an elimination match and I don't want it to have any hardcore elements to it. That's saved for the next thing.

~ 20 minutes

United States Championship No Disqualification Match: Braun Strowman (c) vs. Samoa Joe

Braun Strowman wins the United States title from AJ Styles at Clash of Champions (he doesn't face Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship). He beats people along the way until he gets to the Royal Rumble, wherein he eliminates Samoa Joe. In retaliation, Joe screws Strowman out of the Royal Rumble (he's the runner-up with Drew McIntyre) and that sets up this feud.

In a better world, this is for the Universal Championship, rather than the midcard title, but that would be too hard to do this year without changing too much of the roster like a whirlwind.

~ 20 minutes

Buffer Segment #2

A new 24/7 champion is crowned and it's a heel. Boooo. Thought you were safe and this wouldn't happen for a while, did you?

The reason this comes about is because it's a holdover from anyone who said they wouldn't bother going to the bathroom or getting food the first time.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Now that we've had several matches since the previous battle royal, we can have another. Amazing how much more this will mean when it's not on a kickoff. Also, I'd probably have both battle royals have a built-in title shot opportunity.

Participants of this match include, but aren't limited to: Apollo Crews, The Ascension, The Authors of Pain, The B-Team, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, The Colons, Curt Hawkins, Dolph Ziggler, EC3, Elias, Eric Young, The Hardy Boyz, Harper, Heath Slater, Heavy Machinery, Jinder Mahal, Lars Sullivan, Lio Rush, Lucha House Party, The Miz, Mojo Rawley, No Way Jose, Randy Orton, The Revival, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Robert Roode, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Shelton Benjamin, Sin Cara, Titus O'Neil, The Viking Raiders, Zack Ryder + the 205 Live roster + members of the NXT and NXT UK rosters.

As far as storylines heading into this, I'm repeating something from last year's ideas and saying Robert Roode plays up his heel persona by wanting to win it and rename it the Glorious Battle Royal. Most people are just sort of there, because let's face it, this doesn't need a ton of story.

I think some of the major contenders to win would be Apollo Crews, Bobby Lashley, The Miz, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, Rusev (if he isn't leaving for AEW) and an outsider from NXT like Dominik Dijakovic.

~ 20 minutes

HOUR 3

SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

The Boss attacks Bayley instead of Becky and beats her for the title at Clash of Champions. They have a Hell in a Cell match where she retains it. Slowly, but surely, Charlotte Flair starts turning babyface. Flair wins the Elimination Chamber to earn a title shot and most likely topples Sasha here to win the belt, but she doesn't have to. It all depends on whether or not USA/Fox want Flair or Lynch, as they can swap in the Superstar Shake-up. If so, Lynch can beat Banks for the title and Flair can beat Baszler.

~ 20 minutes

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Six-Man Tag Team Match: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura

I don't think Nakamura works as a heel. It was an interesting idea at first, but it just doesn't lead anywhere, so I think he should turn babyface again and be paired up with Finn Balor and possibly shift his ring gear to do some sort of demonish thing for special occasions in his own right. They could have a pretty cool entrance going on, too.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan have their feud with Roman Reigns finish up at Hell in a Cell or at the very latest, Survivor Series. They move on to having a tag title shot against The New Day at TLC and they win the tag titles back.

This is almost a throwaway match in comparison to some other things on the card, but it's a way to get people on the show, and since I can't realistically move The Authors of Pain AND The Viking Raiders over and make them have a match, this is the best I can offer.

Balor and Nakamura win the titles.

~ 15 minutes

Buffer Segment #3

A new 24/7 champion is crowned, and it's one of the Hall of Famers!! Yay, babyface!

HOUR 4

No Holds Barred Match: Brock Lesnar (and Shane McMahon) vs. Kevin Owens (and Triple H)

If they need to keep Shane McMahon and Triple H on the card in some fashion, I'm lumping them in here either as partners in a tag team match, or people standing in the corner of the two wrestlers.

Kevin Owens wins.

~ 20 minutes

Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. King Drew McIntyre

McIntyre wins King of the Ring. His Hell in a Cell is spent fighting someone who he faced in that tournament. He's on Team Raw for Survivor Series and is a sole survivor. He does whatever at TLC (doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things). Then, he wins the Royal Rumble, truly making it fit for a king.

Meanwhile, Rollins has feuds with Sami Zayn (at Clash of Champions and possibly Hell in a Cell but not in a HIAC match itself), a friendly match against Kofi Kingston at Survivor Series, faces Cesaro at TLC and Royal Rumble, defends the title in the Elimination Chamber and has a rather pointless match against someone like Bobby Lashley at Fastlane.

McIntyre wins the title at WrestleMania and starts a reign that will eventually end from either Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman at SummerSlam 2020 or later.

This is a downer, and it happens at this point in the card to set something up.

~ 25 minutes

Hall of Fame Parade / Buffer Segment #4

This gives fans a chance to run to the bathroom again. Everyone smiles and waves. Standard protocol....until a new 24/7 champion is crowned and someone beats the Hall of Famer who won the title. Boooooo. Good people can't have good things. (Side note: my favorite option for this is Sami Zayn winning the title after berating how we praise the Hall of Famers. He'll lose the title on the next night's Raw episode.)

~ 5 minutes

HOUR 5

Raw Women's Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

I'd rather do Lynch/Banks, but that either forces me to hold off on Sasha's return or tell the same story of Becky dropping the title and having to earn another shot, and I don't want that. Plus, it leaves me in a confusing situation for SmackDown. So this basically is that Baszler wins the Royal Rumble after dropping the belt in a multi-woman match at WarGames so that she doesn't get pinned, and challenges Lynch and wins the title at WrestleMania.

Another downer!

~ 25 minutes

WWE Championship No Disqualification Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Bray Wyatt

Kingston beats Orton at Clash of Champions by disqualification when it seems like Kofi has the match in the bag and Orton gets caught trying to cheat. They wrap that story of "you manipulated your way to the top, Randy, and I earned my right to be the champion and I'll prove it by beating you fair and square" idea with a Hell in a Cell match that Kingston wins. He then faces Seth Rollins at Survivor Series in a friendly match that acts as a reset and a breath of fresh air for the more bitter feuds and all.

Kingston faces...I don't know...Andrade or Shinsuke Nakamura or whoever at TLC and Royal Rumble. Buddy Murphy. That isn't important. He's in a title match at Elimination Chamber, but it isn't the cage itself. Rather, the Elimination Chamber is used to determine a No. 1 contender. Ali comes very close to winning (to play off last year's story), but Bray Wyatt attacks and ruins it and we're left with no winner, with that having to be settled at Fastlane. Or, alternatively, Bray Wyatt just wins the Elimination Chamber (which they accomplish by having him be the last one in the match, and he's not in the cage at all until his pod is about to open and he magically appears).

Then, this is a story of good vs. evil, light vs. dark. And you know what? As much as you all want Wyatt to win the title just because there's been a single cool entrance and all, that's not the story I'm telling, because I feel like you're all going to turn on that soon enough and I want to get ahead of the game, and I don't want to undervalue what Kingston has been able to accomplish.

Over the course of the post-SummerSlam era, Wyatt slowly gets more people to "let him in" and become mindless drones. Think how The Undertaker had druids. Maybe Wyatt just calls them his "friends" to play off the Mr. Rogers gimmick.

Wyatt takes out Xavier Woods and Big E in February and March. He even converts them over to become mind-controlled puppets, which would help explain their lack of spot on the card. Kingston is up against insurmountable odds, and even when it comes to how The New Day normally has really outlandish set pieces at Mania, this time, everything is dark and Firefly Fun House themed, instead.

But with the power of positivity, he manages to turn Woods and E back during the match at WrestleMania, and the reformed New Day come out on top. Kofi Kingston retains the WWE Championship and all is well in the world.

I want WrestleMania to end happy, so it can't end with McIntyre beating Rollins, and I don't think Kevin Owens against Brock Lesnar is the right match to make the main event. Plus, the darker elements of Wyatt's character work better at night, so the later this goes on, the better it will be for the production side of things.

~ 25 minutes

WRAP UP THOUGHTS:

I wanted really badly to do something where The O.C. went up against The New Day and Kofi Kingston had to put the WWE Championship on the line alongside his team in a "brotherhood vs. brotherhood" setup, but couldn't work out the logistics behind that and the Raw and SmackDown tag titles and being cross-branded. I wanted something better for the women's titles, but nothing felt decent. I wanted Braun Strowman winning the Royal Rumble to beat a heel universal champion Samoa Joe, but they botched that and there's no time to set him up without sacrificing Drew McIntyre. I wanted Daniel Bryan in something better and I didn't want Bray Wyatt involved in anything at all, really, but I had to work with the obvious push they are giving him.

Basically, this card is in no way what I would have done if I could have rebooked everything going back from the day after WrestleMania 35, as I never would have made a mess of the Superstar Shake-up and gotten into this problem to begin with. But hey...like I said...I worked with what I was given to work with and a short time frame to massage the roster.

HOW WOULD YOU BOOK WRESTLEMANIA THIS YEAR?
LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
AUTHOR OF THIS POST: ANTHONY MANGO

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer, host of Smack Talk, and much more for Smark Out Moment as well as all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, media manager and more. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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