Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fantasy Booking II

While there are several matches already heavily rumored to take place at WrestleMania 26, there is one match that I would book because it not only is a match never seen before; it is a match that would help launch a stellar WWE career. If I booked things, I would have set up a WM 26 encounter between The Undertaker and Bryan Danielson. And this is how it would go down:

For several weeks through mid-December: I would hype that Bryan Danielson is coming to WWE. Hell, even let Danielson use the "American Dragon" nickname; it'll be perfect for the Taker angle. Likely not able to get permission for use of ROH footage, but otherwise show Danielson training or do all sorts of video packages to get the crowd interested.

12/14/09 RAW (Slammy Awards): When HBK accepts the award for Match of the Year (against Taker), HBK lays down the challenge for WM 26: Taker/HBK II. Crowd goes nuts.

12/18/09 Smackdown: Taker comes out to talk about the HBK challenge. Basically, he says he will have an immediate answer for him, face to face, next week.

12/21/09 RAW: Taker and HBK, face to face. Taker turns down HBK's challenge, stating HBK had his shot and failed. HBK continues to get Taker to accept a match, going so far as promising to win the Royal Rumble and making sure Taker is still champ going into WM 26.

But then...cue a variation of "The Final Countdown." Bryan Danielson appears, and the crowd is thinking...WTF?! Danielson gets on the mic, introduces himself as the hottest free agent on the market, and gets to the point: he came to WWE to see if he truly is the best in the world, and the best way to find out is to end the Undertaker's WM win streak. Crowd is still mixed on whether to take him seriously or not.

Taker: "What makes you think you can break my Streak?!"
Danielson: "Well, I'll just have to mow down everyone to get to you. And I'll start by facing the man who nearly broke your streak last year: Shawn Michaels!"

*crowd cheers*

Give HBK/Danielson about 18-20 minutes and would hover around **** for me. It should be a wrestling clinic, with a few big spots by Danielson thrown in to get the crowd on his side. HBK can do some big spots too, if he wants. The point is to get Danielson over. Danielson wins with the Cattle Mutilation after putting HBK in it for a few seconds. Michael Cole and King comment on how they have never seen such a devastating hold before, and they hope Danielson is a mainstay on RAW.

12/25/09 Smackdown: Taker comes out.

Taker: "Bryan Danielson, I must give you credit. You were very impressive in your debut match with Shawn Michaels. But one big win is nowhere near enough to face me."

*Teddy Long's music plays*

Long: "Playa, I understand where you're coming from. That's why I took it upon myself to invite Bryan Danielson to Smackdown tonight."

*crowd cheers*

Long: "And you're right, one win is not enough to face you. But I must find out for myself whether Bryan Danielson is the real deal, or if his win over HBK was a fluke. Bryan will face one of Smackdown's best superstars tonight: Chris Jericho!"

*crowd cheers again, splash of boos for Jericho's name being mentioned*

Later in the night, probably at the halfway mark (since DX faced Hart Dynasty for the Unified Tag Titles in the main event), Jericho and Danielson have an excellent match, again hovering near ****. Again, it will get 18-20 minutes. End sequence comes when Jericho goes for the Walls, Danielson counters out, hits a DDT and floats over into Cattle Mutilation. Jericho submits after being in the hold for a few seconds. Grisham and Striker comment on the devastating effect of the Cattle Mutilation; Grisham would love Danielson on Smackdown, and Striker has a mixed feeling because he must play the heel announcer, yet still be impressed.

Danielson gets on the mic right after the match ends:

Danielson: "Taker! I know you're watching! This performance should have really gotten your attention. I want an answer from you next week...do you dare face The American Dragon?!"

*crowd oohs and ahhs; camera remains close up on an intense Danielson and fades to black*

12/28/09 RAW: HBK is still distracted by his loss to Danielson last week. HHH tells HBK to focus because they have a match tonight. Timbaland (the guest host for 12/28) comes in and asks what's up. He finds out HBK is not himself after his loss last week.

Timbaland: "Well, you know...Bryan Danielson *is* in the building tonight..."
HBK: "WHAT?!" *goes nuts*
Timbaland: "Easy, easy..."
HBK: "NO! I don't want him here! But you know what? Since he's already here, how about HBK/Danielson II, TONIGHT!"

*crowd cheers in the background*

Timbaland: "Hey now, you know you're already in a match with Big Show and a partner of his choosing tonight."

*crowd boos*

Timbaland: "But the Board of Directors really love Bryan. They say he's got huge potential, and with me being surrounded by stars all the time, I agree. The Board requested that I use Bryan on RAW tonight. Thus, I have Danielson booked in a match tonight. Bryan told me he wanted only the best, so I'm gonna give that to him. Tonight, Bryan Danielson faces...Randy Orton!"

*crowd approves*

Danielson and Orton square off in another impressive performance to boost Danielson's credibility. Orton at one point will hit the RKO, but the momentum sends Danielson outside. I'd book yet another match here coming in at ***3/4 (or equivalent). Danielson gets the Cattle Mutilation on Orton, but Orton refuses to submit right away. Legacy comes down to ringside to help Orton. Rhodes distracts the ref, while DiBiase comes in and tries to hit Danielson with a pipe (something that won't make a lot of noise). Bryan ducks, and DiBiase hits Orton (setting up his face turn, but that's a different angle). Danielson bounces off the ropes and kicks DiBiase right in the face, knocking him to the outside. Danielson nails Rhodes off the apron. Danielson then puts an unconscious Orton in Cattle Mutilation and the ref calls for the bell, making Danielson the winner.

1/1/10 Smackdown: The new year starts off with Teddy Long in the ring, carrying a leather folder.

Long: "Now listen up playas. I just had to tune into RAW again to see the latest on the hottest free agent on the market, Bryan Danielson. And might I add...another tremendous outing!"

*crowd cheers*

Long: "So Bryan Danielson, please come on out, I have something to ask of you."

*Danielson comes out to cheers*

Long: "Bryan, based on your three spectacular matches, I would like to give you this..."

*Long opens the folder, containing a Smackdown contract; crowd cheers more*

Long: "Bryan Danielson, I would love it -- and the WWE Universe would love it -- if you signed here on the dotted line to become the newest Smackdown superstar!"

*Vickie comes out, saying her trademark "Excuse me!" and the crowd boos a LOT*

Vickie: "Teddy, as official consultant, I am 100 percent AGAINST this." *more crowd booing* *Vickie looks at Danielson* "I don't care who you are. My husband, Eddie Guerrero, had to work for YEARS to get a world title shot. And yet, Teddy Long is trying to eventually get you signed to face the Undertaker in a world title match this quick?! NO! I will not stand for it!"

*Vickie grabs the contract and rips it up, leading to heavy crowd booing*

1/4/10 RAW: Bret Hart is guest host. He comes out during the middle of the show and cuts a short promo on the ramp. He says how he has watched WWE programming for the last few weeks and that one man has caught his eye as the next great WWE Superstar: Bryan Danielson. Danielson does not appear on the show because the card is already stacked. Vince's character can come out and explain later that he banned Danielson from the building because he could (and to get more boos for his character).

1/8/10 Smackdown: Teddy Long wants an answer from Danielson: RAW or Smackdown? Long says Vickie has no say in this; he is still the GM of Smackdown. Danielson comes out. Long basically says if Danielson signs with Smackdown, he can make Danielson/Taker a reality. Danielson plays to the crowd, and then signs with Smackdown. Crowd cheers.

Up to the Royal Rumble: Rey Mysterio earns a title shot to face Taker for the World Title. Bryan Danielson continues to say he wants Taker at WM 26.

Batista comes out and tells Danielson to get in line; now that Danielson is a Smackdown superstar, Batista will put the Dragon in his place: dead and a footnote in WWE history. Danielson and Batista have a match on Smackdown. It need not be an epic match, but very good nonetheless. It will result in a no-contest as both men either get counted out or DQ'd.

The Smackdown before the Rumble, Batista says that his only goal is to win the Royal Rumble and become the World Heavyweight Champion; he doesn't care who he has to go through. Batista announces he is in the Rumble. Danielson says Batista better watch what he wishes for, because Danielson is also in the Rumble. Danielson and Batista duke it out in the ring and Danielson tosses Batista over the top.

1/31/10 (Royal Rumble PPV): Taker retains his World Title. During the Rumble, Batista enters somewhere around #16 and eliminates a few people. Let's say Batista eliminates a few people. Buzzer sounds...it's Danielson! Danielson goes right after Batista. Danielson eliminates Batista, making the crowd go nuts for a little while. Batista is livid, goes back in the ring, and beats the tar out of Danielson, then eliminates Danielson. Batista continues to beat Danielson down as refs try to separate the two.

By the way, as sad as it sounds (because I love elevating new talent), I would have HHH winning the Rumble. He would face Sheamus for the WWE Title.

Leading up to Elimination Chamber PPV: More jawjacking between Batista and Danielson. Remember, Taker's still the champ. Batista is primarily concerned with becoming champion; he sees ending the WM streak as a bonus. Danielson, on the other hand, is a person wanting to make a statement, and sees ending the Streak as the ultimate career-maker (the title is great too, but it's secondary to Danielson -- although he never says that).

Teddy Long makes the Elimination Chamber match for the World Title: Taker vs. Batista vs. Rey vs. Jericho vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Danielson.

2/21/10 (Elimination Chamber PPV): Danielson attacked by an unknown assailant, so he cannot go in the chamber. All signs point to Batista taking Danielson out, but it's not revealed yet. John Morrison takes Danielson's place in the chamber.

Rey and Jericho start. Batista in next and he pummels Mysterio, making it basically 2-on-1 against Mysterio. Morrison in fourth and he goes after Jericho. McIntyre in fifth and Taker out last.

McIntyre out first from Morrison's Starship Pain. Jericho out second from a Taker chokeslam. Oh, and by the way, Edge will attack Jericho after he exits the chamber (setting up Edge/Jericho at WM 26). This leaves Taker, Rey, Batista, and Morrison.

Rey goes for 619 on Batista, but Batista moves out of the way, bounces off the ropes and spears Rey out of his boots for three. Down to Taker, Morrison, and Batista for the title.

All three men are winded now. Morrison tries a Flying Chuck on Batista, but Batista catches Morrison and turns it into a Batista Bomb for three.

Batista momentarily celebrates his win over Morrison, but Taker -- who had been down at that point -- sits up to the crowd's cheering. Taker tombstones Batista to retain the title.

2/26/10 Smackdown: Batista is fuming that he did not win the World Title and wants a rematch at WM 26. Enter John Cena (!) on Smackdown. Cena says that he too is mad: he did not win the Rumble, he did not win the RAW Chamber match (assume Sheamus retained again), and now he has no match at WM 26. Cena even teases about maybe going into the MITB Ladder Match.

Long comes out with Danielson. Long says Danielson told him it was Batista who knocked him out of the Chamber match, and it did not pay off because Batista still did not win the World Title. And as further punishment, Batista will NOT face Taker for the World Title. The crowd cheers and Batista is even more irate.

Long says he has an idea for Batista. Why not have Cena and Batista in an interpromotional match at WM 26? Crowd likes it. Batista wants none of it because he wants a World Title shot. Long says then Batista can watch WM 26 from his home in Washington, D.C., and Batista is beyond fuming. Cena is laughing at Batista. Batista then pummels Cena in the ring. More stuff can go down between Cena and Batista where they will end up having a match at WM 26.

Shawn Michaels appears on Smackdown via satellite. He still wants to face Taker at WM 26; it's been eating away at him for months now, ever since Danielson beat him in Danielson's RAW debut match. HBK issues a challenge: HBK/Danielson II, next week, and the winner faces Taker at WM 26 for the gold.

Taker comes out at the end of the show and cuts his usual Taker-like promo. He again explicitly says he does not want to face HBK because he beat Shawn already. He says nothing explicitly about Danielson. Taker says he is a champion for a reason: because he can beat the best, and he is second to none at WM. Taker implies (does not outright say) that if Shawn wins next week, he gets Taker for the title at WM 26.

NOTE: This still works. Even if people pick Shawn to win against Danielson, most people will think the Streak will likely remain intact at WM 26. If Danielson wins, even more people will be picking Taker at WM 26.

3/5/10 Smackdown: About three weeks before WM 26, we have HBK/Danielson II. I would make it better than Danielson's debut match, especially because Danielson would have been in a WWE ring for about three months now, making him more comfortable with the work environment.

Danielson this time does NOT win with Cattle Mutilation; instead, Danielson hits a running big boot (one of his signatures). Michaels oversells the hit as usual, and Danielson pins an unconscious Michaels for three. Danielson becomes the #1 contender to Taker's title.

Please note, Danielson would have used the big boot before, but you must factor in that this would be after about 18-20 minutes of action.

As Danielson celebrates, the gong sounds. Taker appears on the ramp holding the World Title aloft.

3/12/10 Smackdown: Danielson and Taker cut promos. Contract signing takes place at the end of the show. Both men agree to not physically touch the other person until WM 26.

3/19/10 Smackdown: Teddy Long decides to give Danielson and Taker tune-up matches where each can pick the other person's opponent.

Danielson has Taker facing Kane (at least it looks good on paper). Taker and Kane have a decent match, and Taker wins.

Taker has Danielson facing the man who replaced him at Elimination Chamber: John Morrison. I'd put this in the main event slot. Let them go for 15 minutes and further establish Danielson as a legit threat. Danielson gets Cattle Mutilation on Morrison, but Morrison gets to the ropes. Danielson then shocks everyone by using a triangle choke (Hell's Gate) to choke Morrison out for the win.

The last image from the show: Taker's "presence" with the lights, lightning, and smoke. Taker's face appears on the screen, basically saying Danielson's use of a triangle choke has opened the gates of Hell and now will unleash unparalleled fury on Bryan Danielson. "You will rest...in...peace...." Fade to black.

3/26/10 Smackdown: Final Smackdown before WM 26. Taker in the ring at the end of the show for a promo. Danielson comes out to interrupt, and gets right in Taker's face. He says Taker can do all he wants with the lights, the lightning, the smoke, etc., but there is nothing standing between him and getting what he wants: a shot at breaking the Streak and becoming the new World champion. More drama enhanced with the Taker lights; the promo will end like this:

Danielson: "You're right, I have never faced anyone like you before. But your problem is, you have never faced anyone like me. Shawn Michaels has been the closest person to breaking the Streak. And you see, I'm just like Shawn Michaels: I've been in hour-long wars, I've wrestled in excruciating pain, I've bled for the promotions I've worked with. But the thing is, Shawn is in his mid-40s. I'm not even 30. I'm faster than Shawn. Hungrier. I've got his talent, and then some. You've tasted Sweet Chin Music countless times, but you have never felt the wrath of Cattle Mutilation. It's put away countless opponents, and you, Undertaker, will be no exception."

Taker: "Seventeen and 0. Everyone who has come before me has failed. People faster than you, people larger than you, everyone bows before the Undertaker. You can escape many things in life, but you cannot escape death. And at WrestleMania, you will...rest...in...peace...."

3/28/10 (WrestleMania 26): Let these two go. No limits. Take about 30-35 minutes. Have Danielson carry most of the match; he's younger and has way more moves in his arsenal than Taker. Every move will be exhausted, including a bunch of moves Danielson has not even needed to pull out in prior WWE matches. It will have an insane amount of high-impact offense (for a WWE match) and lead to countless near falls. Lots of slaps, chops, and punches mixed in.

End of the match: Taker sets Danielson up for the Tombstone, but it's countered into a DDT by Danielson, and then into Cattle Mutilation. Crowd going nuts. Taker looks like he's about to tap, but holds on. Taker makes one last-ditch effort to make it to the ropes and/or break the hold. Taker is agonizingly close to the ropes and struggles to reach them, but passes out.

The ref rings the bell...the NEW World Heavyweight Champion is Bryan Danielson!

Final Notes: This would obviously be the Shocker of the Year should it happen. But of course, it's WWE, so it's very unlikely to happen -- not at this WrestleMania, not at any WrestleMania.

Trust me, I am a big fan of the Streak. Personally, I do not want the Streak broken because it's become more than a statistic. It's gained its own cult following.

There will be no one who will ever get close to breaking it, not only because it requires longevity, but because the odds favor everyone losing at some point. The Undertaker's streak lives because it fits the character; a supernatural, unstoppable force on his playground never loses.

But think of what it would do for a person who DOES break the Streak. It would clearly be the biggest win of his career. Main eventers don't need the win; they're already established stars. And even though Bryan Danielson is about as big as it gets for an independent pro wrestler, he is still largely unknown to WWE fans. A debut like this would make no one forget Bryan Danielson. And because Danielson is not even 30 (will be 29 in May 2010), Danielson is young enough and telented enough to lead WWE for at least the next 10 years.

Look at the ages of people I consider main eventers:

RAW Brand:
Shawn Michaels is 44.
HHH is 40.
Big Show will be 38 by WM 26.
John Cena is 32.
Randy Orton is 30.

Smackdown Brand:
Undertaker will be 45 by WM 26.
Batista is 40.
Chris Jericho is 39.
Edge is 36.
Rey Mysterio is 35.
CM Punk is 31.

ECW Brand:
William Regal is 41.
Christian is 36.

We need to push younger stars. Punk was getting pushed, but now seems to be taking a back seat to do the Straight Edge Society gimmick.

Note there are fewer people on RAW who I consider main eventers. Why? The same people keep getting pushed and no one else gets elevated; the classic "glass ceiling." Orton and Cena are young and have been main eventers for a while now, but it's been the same thing on RAW for a long time. And even when HHH and HBK are doing DX stuff, they are still winning matches or failing to fully put others over because of politics.

And no, Sheamus is not a main eventer yet. He may have the WWE Title, but he has to prove that he can shine constantly in the main spotlight before I give him the nod.

People get tired of the same stuff all the time. It needs to be freshened up. Send either Orton or Cena to Smackdown and bring some Smackdown guys to RAW in the Draft. I also realize ECW's brand may be folding soon, so I want to bring the top guys from ECW to one of the two big brands. Here are some ideas:

(1) John Morrison to RAW
(2) John Cena to Smackdown
(3) Edge to RAW
(4) Bryan Danielson to Smackdown
(5) William Regal to Smackdown
(6) Christian to Smackdown

I have a feeling Undertaker is retiring soon. I wouldn't think Batista will last more than a few years, either. He's too injury-prone and maybe will have a couple more reigns before he retires for good.

And elevate Kofi Kingston on RAW. He's had tremendous talent, but his push was basically killed off.

New feuds have to be started, but that can't happen if the same people will be feuding all the time.

This took me about 5-6 hours to write. If you made it to the end after having actually read all that I typed, you are a crazy individual.

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