Fantasy Booking WWE Road to WrestleMania 38 (2021-2022) | Smark Out Moment

Fantasy Booking WWE Road to WrestleMania 38 (2021-2022)

Posted by Anthony Mango Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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.

Rather than follow up WrestleMania 37 with my fantasy card for SummerSlam 2021, then do my WrestleMania 38 card after that event in August, I've decided to switch things up a bit. Instead of that, or even a full card, I'm approaching this in the following way: If I were in charge of creative control from the moment after WrestleMania 37, what would I suggest for how we would take care of the entire next year, in a rough outline, leading up to the bulk of WrestleMania 38?

Fantasy Booking WWE shows and feuds

The Rules:

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). 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.

3) 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.

4) The earliest time frame you can begin planning from as a reference point is the night after this year's WrestleMania.

5) The brand split cannot be undone.

6) Keep time constraints in mind. That goes for both single pay-per-views along with cramming in a number of special events throughout the year.

7) Keep COVID-19 in mind.

KEEP IN MIND:

I'm not booking every episode of television and every match on every pay-per-view. I simply don't have the time for that, nor would WWE ever under any circumstances, be crazy enough to try to plan things out to that rigid of a structure. It would never, ever work, as people inevitably get injured, angles fall flat and have to be changed, some people catch on with a new gimmick, etc.

This is a general, all-purpose outline of the direction I would take certain characters, championships and concepts. Anything could be changed over time, but I think the best course of action is to have a general idea of where you might want to go so you can build toward that for WrestleMania the next year.

I found half of WrestleMania 37 fantastic and the other half horribly flawed. Unfortunately, I can't go back and change what happened there. All I can do is fix the awful Raw After WrestleMania and steer the ship from that point.

THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA 38

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

We have Bobby Lashley as our champion after WrestleMania 37. He's beaten Drew McIntyre relatively clean. The Scottish Warrior can't win the title back in front of people, so maybe we shouldn't go back to that well.

Instead, I'm giving Lashley a few wins over the coming months against guys like Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens (who would be traded to Raw in a Superstar Shake-up) and so on.

Eventually, you have the big money match at SummerSlam, hopefully in front of a crowd (especially if you can do it on a beach, as that would be safer for the pandemic and more interesting, visually)—Lashley against Brock Lesnar.

You might be surprised to hear me say this, but The Beast Incarnate wins the title. But I'm going to hold him to this idea that he has to make more appearances. We need to see him at least once a month on Raw and we need to see him defend the title on every pay-per-view.

Lesnar fights Drew McIntyre, Matt Riddle (suck it up, I'm paying you to do your job and fight the guy), Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, everyone you have that you can toss his way.

Keith Lee eventually wins the Royal Rumble and goes on to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 in a match that isn't just 5 minutes of finishers and suplexes. Make this so good that Lesnar might even be fine with it as his retirement match.

UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP

I know people are clamoring for The Rock to face Roman Reigns in Hollywood, but I don't trust that this Tribal Chief story and everything can work for that long to hold off and that WWE will follow through with it. Something's getting in the way, guaranteed. It's not going to work out, so let's just do it here at WrestleMania 38.

To get to that point, Reigns has feuds with a number of obvious choices (Cesaro, Big E, Seth Rollins who would turn babyface at some point in 2021) and so on.

Oh, by the way. If you haven't figured it out by now, guess who the WWE and Universal champions are come Survivor Series. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. You have that "champion vs. champion" match as one of the headliners of that card, along with the typical IC/US, Raw/SD tag, men's elimination, women's elimination, and a women's tag title match.

Reigns retains the Universal Championship inside the Elimination Chamber and declares himself above everyone else, definitively, until The Rock shows up to challenge him. Then, you just do the match. The Rock loses to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 38.

RAW & SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS

Charlotte Flair doesn't do her shtick she's done these past two weeks. No. Instead, we wait to do that Ripley vs. Flair match until SummerSlam. Then, we do the WWE Draft afterward in September or so, to switch up the rosters.

What I'm hoping for, if I'm WWE, is that we can get some kind of combination of Flair, Ripley, Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair as the four most featured women for WrestleMania 38. Ideally, Flair against Belair and Lynch against Ripley.

INTERCONTINENTAL / UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sheamus drops the United States Championship to Keith Lee, who drops it to Dominik Dijakovic (not T-Bar). I'm not entirely sold on booking in advance who Dijakovic is fighting at WrestleMania guaranteed, but a few names that are in the running would be Damian Priest, Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, etc. Let's see how it plays out.

Sheamus, though, in the meantime, will have been traded over to SmackDown. Over the course of the next few months, Apollo Crews drops the IC title to Cesaro. The Celtic Warrior and The Swiss Cyborg battle it out for the title at WrestleMania in a Best of Seven Falls match to reference their series that led to them forming The Bar. Sheamus wins the title, which is the last thing he really needs to cross off his bucket list.

RAW and SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

I'm lumping these together, as it's one division that depends entirely on which teams get drafted and shifted between the rosters.

I'm fully expecting some people to leave WWE this year, like Chad Gable, so don't be surprised to see Alpha Academy isn't a thing anymore. In fact, I'll go so far as to say the only teams I can rely on to revolve around for this are Dominik & Rey Mysterio, The Usos, The New Day, The Street Profits, The Miz and John Morrison, The Viking Raiders and possibly some other makeshift teams like Riddle with someone.

I can't imagine AJ Styles and Omos, nor Dirty Dawgs, keep their titles for a full year. It's just not happening. But I'd revolve the tag title scene around those teams listed in the above paragraph as well as some possible new pairings that could work well that will have formed in the meantime.

Not knowing what those other teams could be, or where certain rosters could line up, I would think The Usos are SmackDown tag team champions and facing The Street Profits if we haven't done that already. Raw would probably be The New Day either heading in as champions or challenging.

WOMEN'S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

I haven't hammered out the specifics, but I'm fairly certain I would move Io Shirai up to the main roster at some point in the year. Eventually, I'd tag her up with Asuka, hoping that I could do it on some Japanese special event where Kairi Sane could get the two together and it would be a "New Kabuki Warriors" type deal.

Then, along the way, Bayley and Sasha Banks would go back to being partnered up so we could get those two teams against each other. That's about the best possible match you can get for the tag titles, right? Plus, I don't have other big spots on the card for Bayley, Banks, Asuka and Shirai, so this gets them in a prominent position while not thrusting them into the two other titles and making them Fatal 4-Ways and such. It also prevents them from being lost in the battle royal shuffle.

MISCELLANEOUS

It's not just the championships that are on the line at WrestleMania. We have other matches that are just flat out normal feuds, too.

Granted, I'm not booking a full card here because I don't know what the filler would be. My issue has never been that WWE needs to know 100% the entire lineup for an entire year—just that a few of the marquee matches should be set up in advance to work toward, with the filler being something to sort out around the time you get to Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber.

But here are some ideas of what I think I'd try to aim for, as far as matches that we could put at WrestleMania 38 and hint at over the course of the next 12 months:

  • AJ Styles vs. Triple H
  • Edge against Seth Rollins would likely be my go-to match for those two, but Kevin Owens is another one. 
  • Daniel Bryan against Adam Cole.
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
  • Chyna Memorial Battle Royal (yes, I'm still pitching that they should rename it that) - The winner would probably be someone like Shayna Baszler or Toni Storm.
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin is the guest host and we have to factor him into the card in some fashion, ideally.
  • The Undertaker goes into the Hall of Fame. He gets to do something in front of the crowd, too. It doesn't have to be a re-retirement match, but for my money, I'd like to see his last performance be in front of a crowd, wouldn't you? If so, I think Undertaker against Drew McIntyre works, if he's cool with that.
  • Randy Orton against Tommaso Ciampa would be an amazing feud. I'd hope that I could get Ciampa to the main roster and set this up at some point, even if it doesn't happen at WrestleMania specifically.
  • No dedicated spot to Bray Wyatt. Sorry pal. This character's had too many opportunities that have failed and I'm not staking my creative spot on another "wait a bunch of months and then, it'll fizzle into nothing" storyline. I'd want to do it right, but I don't have faith that would happen, so I'd rather not touch it. Wyatt can have an undercard match that we can sort out another time, maybe against Jeff Hardy if he really wants to do the Willow stuff.
  • You can rest assured that every notable person (Braun Strowman, King Corbin, Sami Zayn) and the people who are being forgotten about (Ricochet, Angel Garza, Cedric Alexander) would be used throughout the year and have some role at WrestleMania, even if it's just to be in the battle royal.

WRAP UP THOUGHTS:

It will be interesting to see how some things change over the course of the next year. That way, when I look back on this, I can say "wow, I never thought so and so would strike oil with a new gimmick" or something. I invite everyone else to play around with this thought exercise in the comments by letting everyone else know what you'd do if you were given this creative control!

HOW WOULD YOU BOOK THE NEXT YEAR?

LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

AUTHOR OF THIS POST: ANTHONY MANGO

The founder, editor-in-chief, head writer, podcast host, and more for Smark Out Moment and all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. Tony Mango is not just a pundit/analyst, but also a creative director/consultant, media manager and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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