Editorial Columns

Rebooking WrestleMania 36

James Klonowski tells us how he’d rebook WrestleMania 36.

WrestleMania 36 was ‘Too Big For One Night’… or more accurately, too big by law.

Because of this, some form of the greatest live event in sports and entertainment took place over the course of a weekend inside an empty gym and on location in such places as a graveyard (sorry, boneyard) and a Firefly Funhouse. 

The event was originally scheduled to be taking place in the gigantic Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida, which holds over 80,000 people but due to the global pandemic known as the Coronavirus it instead took place inside an empty Performance Center in front of absolutely nobody. The WWE Superstars really found out what it would be like to wrestle for TNA.

Vince McMahon still wanted to make WrestleMania epic, God bless him, and to some extent it was. The incredible 16 match card separated across two nights was something to behold, especially the Boneyard Match, which may have been the perfect swansong for The Undertaker. 

A major problem WrestleMania suffered was seeing several of the company’s top guys pulling out, including Roman Reigns, who was blandly replaced by Braun Strowman. The good news is WrestleMania was a success. It didn’t feel epic, but it was a fun watch and they succeeded in putting smiles on our faces when we need them most. 

However, I would’ve booked it differently. Granted, I’m no Vince McMahon or even Vince Russo for that matter, but I believe what I’ve come up with is entertaining. If you find it rubbish, we’re in isolation, cut me some slack! 

Night One

Night One saw Gronk kick off the show as the obnoxious host, and was as annoying as I feared.  I’d have had Triple H and Shawn Michaels, otherwise known as D Generation X, ridicule the former NFL star before giving him some Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree to end the Gronk experiment once and for all.

That way you keep HBK and The Game in the stands to bring comedy relief and reactions to what’s happening in the ring so the wrestlers aren’t competing to utter silence.

The opening contest saw Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross knock off The Kabuki Warriors to become the new Women’s Tag Team Champions. It was a strange choice for opener but all four did well, even if some of the editing cuts were fairly obvious. Cross was the MVP here, but Bliss played her part too.

However, With this being the strangest WrestleMania of all time, they needed to do something different than many empty arena matches. Have every bout be on location or set up the Performance Center differently for each contest. This one, why not design it like some Disney princess movie for The Goddess? Make it cheesy. Make it different. 

I’d have booked the same outcome, however, right after the win, I’d have had Alexa turn on her partner and leave her laying before throwing the titles on top of her.

Let’s face it, heel Alexa Bliss is way more interesting than the one who comes out high fiving fans.

Elias gained some revenge on King Corbin by defeating him in a TV quality bout in controversial fashion, using a handful of tights to get the three count.

If I booked it, this one should’ve been a sing off between the pair. Again, something different and comedy relief to WrestleMania. I’d have had King Corbin mock Elias for shoving him off a stage on Smackdown by performing a badly written song only for Elias to show up and drop him with a little help from DX.

Okay, I’m a big DX fan. I admit it.

Surprisingly early on was Becky Lynch’s successful Raw Women’s Championship defense against Shayna Baszler. The contest was decent, but nothing like we expected. Way too short for my liking. 

This should’ve been in the Lion’s Den, who’s with me? That would’ve set the tone perfectly for this one. Maybe they’re keeping it for Extreme Rules, who knows at this point. I’d have put it on last and given them plenty of time to shine. I’d still have given the win to Becky, though. 

The money match is still The Man against Ronda Rousey. So, I’d keep Lynch strong until SummerSlam when we finally get to see the bout we should’ve at last year’s WrestleMania until Charlotte got involved because her father threw a tantrum. At least that’s how I think it happened

With The Miz pulling out of WrestleMania due to illness, the Smackdown Tag Team Championship was instead defended in a Triple Threat Ladder Match between John Morrison, Jimmy Uso and Kofi Kingston. It was almost a show stealer, and all three did their best with what they could. Morrison sneakily winning was smart too.

However, if I was to change it I’d have taken Miz and Morrisn out altogether and have The Usos simply face The New Day in a number one contender’s ladder match. The Usos would go over to set up an eventual showdown with the Champions when this isolation ends.

Sami Zayn beat Daniel Bryan to retain the Intercontinental Championship in a very disappointing contest. These two can definitely do better. The stalling didn’t do anything for me, and neither did the finish, which they certainly should’ve reshot. I’d have added Sheamus to the contest. The Celtic Warrior has already gone on record to say how much he wants to win the title to complete the Grand Slam. I’d have had The Celtic Warrior do just that in a decent three-way. 

Next up, Kevin Owens finally got his WrestleMania moment by defeating Seth Rollins in a terrific effort. Owens leaping off the gigantic WrestleMania sign will be replayed for years to come. Having those two wrestle in the Performance Center actually made sense as they both started there, so ending their rivalry in the gym was the perfect ending. 

The only change I’d make is to make it a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Make use of the entire Center. Make every match seem completely fresh from the one before. It’s only so many empty gym matches you can endure before tuning out. 

Roman Reigns pulled out of his match with Goldberg due to fears about the ongoing pandemic, so WWE decided to replace him with Braun Strowman with zero explanation. It took The Monster Among Men just 3 minutes to flatten Goldberg and win the Universal Championship. 

There is no point creating a big setting here for a 3 minute Goldberg match, so I’d have had Strowman in the ring while a video package played of Goldberg’s most destructive wins before closing on Braun with a target on his chest. Then have Goldberg smash through Strowman with a series of Spears to remain Champion.

The main event saw Undertaker beat AJ Styles in a tremendous Boneyard Match. It was truly outstanding. 

Granted, there was a lot of smoke and mirrors here, quite literally, but it was brilliantly shot and performed. Undertaker won by burying Styles alive following a brutal beating. Nothing says forget about your troubles quite like that. The American Badass then rode out on his hog to Metallica. If it is the end, then what a way to go out.

I can’t better perfection, and make no mistake about it, this was bloody perfection. Credit to all involved.

Night Two

Night two of WrestleMania opened with Charlotte Flair forcing the game Rhea Ripley to tap out to the Figure Eight to become the new NXT Women’s Champion in a terrific contest. This highlighted both superstars’ strength and delivered a worthy effort for match of the night.

For me, I’d have Rhea Ripley knocking off Charlotte Flair to remain the NXT Women’s Champion. I’d also have had Flair shake Ripley’s hand afterwards to officially pass the torch.

Aleister Black knocked off Bobby Lashley in a throwaway contest. Literally nothing to see here except for Lashley wearing tights. Black getting the win was a no brainer, but this didn’t belong on WrestleMania.  I wouldn’t have had it on the card in the first place as it didn’t even make any sense for the pair to be wrestling considering they haven’t even had any sort of altercation.

This could’ve been the end to the rivalry between Lashley and Rusev once and for all instead. Add some bells and whistles with Lana, and a surprise ending with The Ravishing One screwing Lashley (not that way) to realign with The Bulgarian Brute.

With the help of Mandy Rose, Otis flattened Dolph Ziggler, who was being managed by Sonya Deville. The bout was fine for what it was and completed the story nicely with Rose returning to wipe out her former best friend Deville and target Ziggler, allowing Otis to get the win and the girl, sealing it with a kiss.

In my rebooking, I would have had Mandy Rose be the special guest referee to make her decision on which man she wants.

Obviously, she would side with Otis and help him win. Let the good guy win the girl for once. Even if it is the strangest match since Michael Cole squared off with Jerry Lawler.

In the most anticipated contest of the entire WrestleMania weekend, Edge returned to singles competition after 9 years away to defeat Randy Orton and be the Last Man Standing in a brutal brawl for the ages. It’s gutting for Edge to make his comeback under such circumstances, but his bank balance will undoubtedly cheer him up. This was everything that was promised. Edge looked fantastic, the right guy won, and it was also arguably Randy’s best match of his career.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure what else I’d have done. They did pretty much everything. It was spot on, very much like the Boneyard bout from the previous evening. Welcome back Edge.

Gronk captured the 24/7 Championship in a crappy segment. Didn’t I already get DX to kick this obnoxious guy’s butt already?

The Street Profits retained the Raw Tag Team Titles in a very forgettable contest. To be fair to them, they were in the undeniable position of trying to follow the impossible in Edge and Randy Orton, but it was pretty average stuff. The only good thing about it happened after the bout with the emergence of Bianca Belair to lay out Zelina Vega. A decent moment for the NXT standout.

This is another match I would’ve removed from the card. As The Street Profits’ biggest selling point is their promo skill, I’d have had them turn heel by disrespecting other teams before DX or some other legendary tandem came out to put them in their place.

A WrestleMania moment instead of a throwaway match no one will remember tomorrow. Lets face it, DX can’t possibly bury the Raw tag division any more than Vince McMahon already has.

Bayley held onto her Smackdown Women’s Championship in a completely meaningless gimmick 5 pack challenge. If a match involves Tamina you can pretty much guess the quality. It wasn’t great.

I’d have pulled the trigger on a Banks face turn in the lead up to WrestleMania and actually run with the long awaited main roster bout between her and Bayley. Give them 20 minutes and watch as magic happens before our very eyes.

Of course, I’d have had The Boss walk out with the Championship. 

‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena in the bizarre Firefly Funhouse Match. We feared it would be as bad as House of Horrors. It wasn’t. It was worse. 

The Boneyard Match was everything this wasn’t. Not even sure what they were going for here. It was super strange and hardly any action. Maybe Hollywood still hasn’t given Cena the green light to take bumps. Maybe they should take a look at his acting because it was shocking here.

In my imaginining, I’d have had lots of creepy and spooky crap featured, but at least have made it a match with some action. Get The Fiend over in destructive fashion, burying John Cena along with Rambling Rabbit.

The main event of the entire weekend saw Drew McIntyre conquer The Beast Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship in a match that made Braun Strowman’s squash of Goldberg look entertaining in comparison.

I’d have had a much longer match where McIntyre tooks Lesnar’s best effort before flipping up and grinning at The Beast. From there, McIntyre would decimate Lesnar, beating him with 3 Claymores as Paul Heyman begs him to end it at ringside. 

There you have it. The strangest WrestleMania of all time. If you always wondered what would’ve happened had WCW won the Monday Night Wars, you just found out.

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