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It's August 24th. What's the significance of that? It's the 67th birthday of World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Did I know that when I planned to write this column? Not really. The timing is nice, though, isn't it? Happy birthday Vince!
My name is John Canton. I'm a wrestling fan that's 31 years old. I've been watching World Wrestling Entertainment programming since I was about five years old. I've seen every PPV, nearly every Raw and every Smackdown. I've been writing about the product on and off for a decade. For the last three plus years I've written about Raw every week. I've been to dozens of live WWE events in my life from PPVs to Raw to Smackdown and house shows. I've been to the last two WrestleManias and plan on making it three in a row in 2013 as well. I have so much respect for everybody involved in the wrestling business because I know how hard they work to put on a show for us every day, week, month and year. Despite all of that, there are still things I would change.
I'm not a whiner or complainer. I look at the wrestling business in a positive light. I always compare it to a favorite sports team. Deep down I love the team. I always will. But do I agree with everything they do? Of course not. Being a fan means you care about what you're watching and spending your time on. I'm a fan of WWE and always be.
My rules for this column are that I can't pick something that is unrealistic. For example, I can't say that WWE should bring in Kurt Angle or AJ Styles because those guys have contracts with TNA. I can't say they should book Shawn Michaels vs. CM Punk because Michaels is retired. I have to be realistic with my options. I feel like I've come up with twenty ideas that cover different areas of WWE business. I'm generally pretty happy when I watch Raw, Smackdown or the PPVs. However, like with anything in the world there are ways to improve as well.
To the ones that want me to write about how WWE should turn John Cena heel I can tell you right now that it's not one of my ideas in this column. Obviously it would be a big move that could help the business grow, but I think it's an unrealistic scenario considering where WWE wants to go in the future. In other words, he's their cash cow. He's their top dog. It's not changing. At least not in the next year.
Below I've listed twenty ideas. They are in no particular order although I will admit that my biggest ideas with a look towards WrestleMania come at the end of the column. I didn't feel the need to list anything because they vary from creative ideas to PPV changes and general comments on the state of the business. It's hard to compare them or rank them in terms of importance. I believe they're all meaningful. Some of them are things that I'm suggesting while others are based on bits of news or rumors that I've taken and added some creative ideas too. Now that we've got all that out of the way, let's begin.
1. Book the heels to be stronger than the they currently are
This is a big one for me. I could write a whole column about this and I'm sure one day I will, but for now the point needs to be made that the heel performers in WWE are not strong enough. Let's take a look at the top heels in WWE right now. I'm not going to count CM Punk because he's just turning heel, but obviously once he has more momentum then he's the top heel. Other than him the heels at the top of the food chain are Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan. All three of them are very talented all-around performers who have great matches on a regular basis. You what else they are? Guys that lose way more than they win. Even Big Show doesn't win matches despite being pushed very hard as a heel. It's a problem.
The good guys like Cena, Sheamus and Orton (to name three) win far more matches than they lose and if they do lose a match it's rarely clean. They are too strong. Fans like to root for babyfaces that have to deal with adversity once in a while. Why should we keep cheering guys like Cena or Sheamus if all they do is win all the time? It's why the fans turned on Cena. It's why they have to pipe in crowd noise for Sheamus on Smackdown even though they do everything they can to make him more of a good guy.
When Triple H had his awesome main event run as a heel in 2000 he was a heel that won a lot more than he lost. The same can be said for The Rock in 1998/1999 during his rise. It was also true for Steve Austin in 2001 when he turned heel. It happened for Brock Lesnar as well during his initial WWE Championship run in 2002. All of those guys benefitted from strong booking that made them look like a bigger deal than their opponents. That's what Ziggler, Bryan, Show, Del Rio and the others need today.
Fans like to boo jerks. It's what we do. Fans like to boo jerks even more when they win because after they win they are even bigger jerks. If they are bigger jerks that means fans will be more interested to see these guys lose. You can't have the good guy without the bad guy. They need eachother.
2. Add William Regal to the Raw announce team
Most years I write this column I have a complaint about the announce teams. I actually had this suggestion in last year's column and I felt the need to bring it up again because I'm tired of the announce team on Raw. Since management is reluctant to put Jim Ross back at the announce table, why not William Regal? While Regal works some house show events, he's not a full time wrestler anymore. Most of his time these days is spent as a commentator on NXT, where has proven that he's an announcer that is able to not only explain moves in a competent manner, but he's fantastic in terms of putting over the talent in the ring.
Since Jerry Lawler in entrenched in his role as the babyface announcer that acts like he's never seen Kane light up the ringposts before, somebody else needs to be there to actually provide commentary. This could also be a way to tone down Michael Cole's annoying heel act and have Regal play the role of a heel commentator. I think when you have a three hour PPV and then a three hour Raw on back to back nights there's too much of Cole and Lawler. They need another voice in there. I think William Regal is the choice.
3. Have Seth Rollins defeat The Miz for the Intercontinental Title on his Raw debut
Do you know who Seth Rollins is? I'm sure a lot of people reading this do. He was known as Tyler Black in Ring of Honor before signing with WWE in August of 2010. For two years he's been in WWE's development Florida Championship Wrestling and my question is why? My guess is that "creative has nothing for him" (Colt Cabana how you doing?), which is the common answer as to why somebody isn't on the main roster. Rollins is currently the first ever NXT Champion too. I guess that means he won't be called up until he drops that title or perhaps he could add to it.
I'm not sure how long The Miz will be Intercontinental Champion for. If it lasts for a few months I think it would be a great story if a debuting babyface named Seth Rollins stepped up for an "open challenge" to beat the IC Champ. They could have the announcers put him over saying it's his first day on Raw. I've seen a lot of Rollins work in ROH, FCW (it's online if you look) and I've seen him in person. Fans react to this guy. He's an athletic guy that knows how to work the babyface style. I'm telling you if he got five minutes live on Raw to work with Miz he would be an immediate star. The main roster needs young babyface stars. To have Rollins debut on Raw, beat a former WWE Champ like Miz for the IC Title in his first night and then be in an immediate feud with him would be something that puts him on the map right away.
4. Bring Money in the Bank back to WrestleMania 29
The one thing that WrestleMania 28 really missed was a match to showcase the midcard talent. In years past, the Money in the Bank ladder match was that match at that event. This past year the midcard match was the Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy match to determine who would run Raw & Smackdown. Team Johnny won. However, his reign as GM of both shows lasted only three more months after that. The match between the teams of competing GMs only served to throw a bunch of midcarders on the card, but it was a forgettable match and the outcome proved to be pointless. Where's the long term booking? It didn't exist in this instance.
A Money in the Bank match allows WWE to put eight (or ten) performers in one match with a lot on the line. It's always an exciting match to watch. My pick to win Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 29? Cody Rhodes. It's the perfect time for him. The winner would earn a briefcase that allows them to cash in against either the WWE Champion or the World Heavyweight Champion. It opens up the unpredictability factor even more.
What about the July Money in the Bank PPV? Scrap it. That brings me to the next idea.
5. Make King of the Ring the annual July PPV with the winner getting a WWE Title shot at Summerslam
Last year I wrote that King of the Ring should return as the October PPV with the idea that the winner of that tournament earns a title shot at Survivor Series. A year later I'm coming at you with another scenario to bring back the King of the Ring tournament that I used to enjoy so much when it actually meant something.
We're fresh off of seeing a Summerslam PPV that did not come across as the "biggest party of the summer" because aside from the Lesnar/Triple H match there was nothing special about it. No major turns. No major championships changed hands. Nothing happened that was especially exciting. A return of King of the Ring could help that.
From the time the June PPV ended to the July PPV, a 32 man tournament could start to determine the King of the Ring. You could have two semifinals matches at King of the Ring and then of course the finals would also happen there. What does the winner get? The honor of being called King of the Ring while also getting a WWE Title shot at Summerslam in August. You can use the entire month of July to have one person defeat five others on the road to becoming King of the Ring. Some top guys could be in it too. They don't have to win, but their inclusion would bring credibility to the table. As for a winner? It's hard to tell. It would be almost a full year from now and the landscape will have changed.
Also, instead of putting the Money in the Bank briefcase on two guys you can have one of them win the briefcase at WrestleMania and the other would win the King of the Ring. These are alternative ways of pushing talent. They work.
6. Give Drew McIntyre another chance
Did you know? When Drew McIntyre started in WWE developmental he was only 22 years old. That was five years ago. Upon his debut on the main roster in 2009 he was pushed as "The Chosen One" even though he was younger than most of competitors. His future was bright. The announcers put him over by saying he was handpicked by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to be a future World Champion. Then he fell in love with former WWE diva Tiffany, they got married, there were some public incidents that led to a falling out, she got fired, they got divorced and McIntyre's push was gone. Now that his ex-wife is in TNA, McIntyre is more of a "grizzled vet" under the age of 30 and at 6'5" 250 pounds he's got the kind of body type that Vince McMahon loves.
These days McIntyre spends most of his time wrestling on shows like Superstars if he even gets a chance to wrestle at all. I'm not sure why management has lost faith in him, but it's about time they realize they have something special in McIntyre. I've always enjoyed his in-ring work. Even though he's not at the level of the top guys on the roster, he's still above average for somebody his size and age.
McIntyre has a bright future. I hope that recent reports of Triple H being high on him are true because he really is somebody that WWE can build around if they are smart in building up his career for the next 5-10 years.
7. Don't do another Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H match
I really hope we don't see this match again. Why? Because if we do then Triple H will likely get his win back. He doesn't need it. More importantly, the millions of dollars that Brock Lesnar is making to work a reduced schedule means that it would be smarter to move on from this. The match at Summerslam needs to stand on its own. Lesnar beat Triple H. He broke his arm. He won the feud. Move on from it. This idea that Triple H needs to get his win back is stupid. Hunter's a legend in WWE. He's basically the second man in charge these days other than Vince McMahon, who may I remind you just turned 67 years old. His "spot" is safe. Doing another match versus Lesnar would do more harm than good especially if you want Lesnar to be one of your top draws at WrestleMania, which is what he should be considering his drawing power.
Some rematches draw money. Rock vs. Cena will whether it happens in January or April. This one? Not as much. It was a pretty average match, all things considered. I don't think there's a demand for a rematch, nor should there be.
Like I said, Lesnar won. It's over. Let's move on from it.
8. Debut Dean Ambrose as an ally of CM Punk
It goes without saying that WWE management is high on Dean Ambrose. He's one of the more polished performed in FCW/NXT that has a very bright future. Unlike nearly every other person on the FCW/NXT roster, Ambrose has been kept off that show. Why? We don't know for sure as of yet, but the assumption is it's because there's something bigger in his future. I've seen enough of Ambrose's work in FCW to know that he's got the kind of heel character that will allow him to stick out from the pack.
That brings me to CM Punk. Months ago, Punk called Ambrose a "secret weapon" in a tweet and talked about how great it was that he was working on the house shows with the main roster. Punk's heel turn is in full swing. What he needs to put himself over the top is some backup. A lot of heels over the years have had an ally or two to watch their back. It allows them to escape from beatings and generally look like a coward. Ambrose is the right guy to be paired up with Punk. Not only would it give him credibility right off the bat, but I believe that it would allow him to show exactly how talented he really is.
What about some other wrestlers joining them to make a stable? It could work. The only problem with that is that Punk's already been a leader of two stables. Three stables might be too much. Ambrose would be an ally to watch his back and in the long run both of them would benefit from it.
9. Find a way to use Derrick Bateman, Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis
I'm a long time NXT viewer since the show continues to air on cable here in Canada. These are three men who have really impressed in the last couple of years as they have spent the majority of time on NXT, especially Bateman & Curtis. In MM's case, he did have a tag team run with David Otunga that really didn't accomplish, but I can assure you he's a better performer now. He's had a run of awesome matches on NXT versus Tyson Kidd and has also proven himself against other opponents as well. I've enjoyed his team with Curtis, who does an awesome job as a "creepy guy" character aka Dirty Curty. They have chemistry together. Hopefully that leads to them becoming a more regular tag team going forward.
As for Bateman, I think he has all of the tools to be a success. If you follow him on Twitter (@DerrickWWE) or Tout you can see he's a very funny guy. During his two seasons of NXT, he showed a lot of acting skill as both a babyface and a heel. In the ring, he's also proven to be a very consistent performer although I think he's better in the ring as a babyface. His character developed very well on NXT. Now it's time for him to show up on Raw or Smackdown to show the bigger audience what he can do. My idea would be to introduce Bateman as a midcard babyface act on Smackdown where he was given an opportunity to show his funny side. Whether that happens in the ring or backstage is up to the creative team. It may take time, but I believe he could succeed.
10. Turn Kofi Kingston heel
This is one of those points where I ask: Why not? It would be a nice change. He's been the "boom boom boom" babyface guy since he debuted on the ECW brand in December of 2007. When they did try to give him that push up the roster against Randy Orton it didn't really work. Kingston's act as a babyface performer is good. He gets a solid reaction every time he's out there because for the last five years fans have gotten used to him. Will he ever move up the charts as a babyface though? I don't see it happening. Heel turns need a justification. In his case it could happen after he loses the tag titles with R-Truth because Truth is pre-occupied with Little Jimmy. When Evan Bourne returns, he could go after him and blame his injury (as well as suspension) for why Air Boom didn't take off to where it should have been.
Who knows what might happen? Maybe Kingston will fail in the role. He could just be too nice of a guy to be able to pull off a heel turn. If that occurred then you can easily turn him back babyface again. They did it with R-Truth last year.
My belief is that when you have talented in-ring performers like Kingston it's important to try new things. You don't want him to be stagnant his whole career. If not, then he'll be this generation's Tito Santana, who carved a nice career as a midcard babyface wrestler for many years. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I'm sure Kingston would like to try to be more, though.
11. Have Sin Cara defeat Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 29
I'm not sure how true this is, but one of the rumored plans in the buildup to WrestleMania 28 in Miami was for Rey Mysterio to wrestle Sin Cara. The match never happened because both guys suffered major knee injury before the end of 2011.
The idea was to encourage fans in the stadium to wear masks to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people wearing masks at the same time. Would they place a cheap mask on every seat or would fans be given a mask as they entered the stadium? I'm not totally sure about it. The concept isn't what would interest me as an annual WrestleMania attendee. I care more about the match. Why not do it at WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey?
I've been a fan of Mysterio since he jumped on the scene as part of WCW's Cruiserweight division in the mid 1990s. He was electrifying. His run in WWE has been excellent with a number of high profile feuds and multiple championship wins.
In the case of Sin Cara, he was a huge star in Mexico as Mistico when WWE brought him in with a little fanfare. His WWE run has been far from great, but I don't think it's a question of talent. I think it's about adjusting to the culture around him. It's not easy to go from the lucha libre style of Mexico where a lot of the talent are similar in stature while in WWE there are much bigger men who aren't as adept at working a style. It takes time to learn to adapt.
A Mysterio/Sin Cara match could be a lot of fun. I think the best thing they could do would be to have them form a tag team in the near future. Perhaps they could have a short run as tag champs. There's no doubt that they could add a little spark to the tag division at least for the short term. Who would win the match? Mysterio's in his late 30s now while Cara turns 30 in December.
I think to have Mysterio "pass the torch" in a lucha style match would be a great thing. Give them 12-15 minutes. Tell them to do their thing, let them work their style in their kind of match and it could be one of those special WrestleMania moments we all remember for years to come.
12. Build the tag division around Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
One of the best things WWE has done in 2012 is actually promote tag team wrestling again. Now don't get me wrong it's not like the tag division in 1990 or 2000 when they were at their absolutely best with a lot of really good teams, but they are at least trying to get there. In 2000 the division was built around Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boys and The Dudley Boys. They are three of the best teams in company history. The first two teams featured young guys in their 20s that could energize and spark a crowd.
In my opinion the two current wrestlers that WWE should build the tag division around are Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. While they are not in their 20s (Kidd is 32 and Gabriel is 31), both of them have over a decade of experience while working all over the world before they made it to WWE. Their work in the ring speaks for itself. Kidd is one of the best all around in-ring performers who has become more of an aerialist since he turned babyface this year, which was the right move. Gabriel started out as a heel as part of the Nexus, but since his face turn he's shown his future is in that role. This duo teamed up at WrestleMania 28. Then Gabriel hurt his elbow. Since he's been back they've teamed up occasionally although mostly on Superstars.
I think they need to be the babyface tag team that WWE should build around for the next year or two before they break off into singles stars. Other babyface teams like The Usos and Primo/Epico are solid, but they are not at the level of Kidd & Gabriel. Give them a chance. They will shine.
13. Sign Angelina Love (Angel Williams) & Velvet Sky
Every year I write this column I suggest one or two women that I think WWE should hire. Two years ago I said Awesome Kong, who ended up being Kharma although her WWE run never really happened before she got released recently. Last year I said they should hire Sara Del Rey, who is rumored to have signed recently although she still has independent dates that she is committed to.
Recently, two long term TNA Knockouts (long term for TNA, at least) Angelina Love and Velvet Sky left the company. Why? Money. Probably. TNA doesn't pay their talent well except for the ones that used to work for WWE or even WCW in some cases. I think Angelina Love is somebody WWE should hire very soon. She was in WWE developmental for a couple of years in the mid-2000s, so there was an interest her back then and for whatever reason it didn't work out. She recently stated in an interview with Monday Night Mayhem Radio that she would be open to going to WWE. At 31 years old, she has a lot of experience and she has a bright future. The other good thing in her favor is that she's got a unique look in that she's got some tattoos, which would make her stand out from the other current girls. The fact that she can have good matches in the ring is another plus especially because some of the current divas are lacking in terms of in-ring talent. Did you see the battle royal on Monday when Aksana & Rosa rolled out of the ring because whoever put the match together had no faith in them? I rest my case.
As for Velvet Sky, she's a gorgeous woman. At times she was the top woman in TNA. I don't know if there'd be as much WWE interest in her. She's been around for about a decade and never signed with WWE at any time, so my guess is WWE has passed on her for a reason. I've never been a huge fan of hers, but she does have sex appeal. Even in today's WWE PG environment that's not a bad thing.
14. Create a feud between Beth Phoenix and Natalya
In my opinion, the two best divas in WWE are Beth Phoenix and Natalya. In addition to being women who are actually trained to be wrestlers that can have quality matches with just about anybody, they are also nice to look at as well. In 2011 the two were paired up as a heel duo known as the Divas of Doom. Phoenix had a dominant run as Divas Champion, but the group fizzled out along the way. No reason was given.
The story they should have told would have been easy. They could still do it too. Have the girls reform their alliance as a heel duo that's on a mission to get rid of the likes of Layla, Kelly, Kaitlyn and all of the rest. Phoenix could go for the Divas Title from Layla with Natalya by her side as the supportive friend. During one of Phoenix's title match losses (let's say December's TLC PPV), Phoenix could blame Natalya for the loss even though she really didn't do anything wrong. Then Phoenix would attack her friend, injuring her knee and putting her out of action for a month or two. At the Royal Rumble, you could have Phoenix win the Divas Title from Layla perhaps due to a new ally or just because she found a new way to cheat. At February's Elimination Chamber PPV, there could be a Divas Battle Royal to determine Beth Phoenix's opponent for WrestleMania. After all of the divas entered, the music of Natalya would start up as she limped her way down to the ring. Natalya would overcome the pain from her injury, win the match and set up the first time ever singles matchup at WrestleMania against her former best friend Beth Phoenix. From there the outcome is obvious. Natalya's "knee injury" would be all healed up by then and she would defeat Phoenix with the Sharpshooter right in the middle of the ring to win the Divas Title in triumphant babyface fashion.
A potential WrestleMania matchup between Natalya and Beth Phoenix could be one of the best matches that two WWE women would ever have. It's certainly better than the booking that the divas currently have. All they need is a chance to prove how good they can be. What do you have to lose?
15. Mick Foley should headline the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2013
I'll be the first to admit that I think there are some flaws with the WWE HOF because there's no actual Hall of Fame like there is in other sports or even in the rock & roll industry. Plus, there are Hall of Famers like Koko B Ware, who was nothing more than a glorified jobber during the majority of his career. Still, the pageantry of the event is big and when you're in that building during those speeches it does mean a lot.
There's a rumor out there that WWE management is looking at Foley as a possible headliner for the Hall of Fame this year since he's a native New Yorker who went to wrestling shows in Madison Square Garden (where the Hall of Fame ceremony will be) as a kid. I'm here to tell you that the rumor should be a fact. It's the right time. It's the right place. And he's the right guy to be the headliner at the Hall of Fame in 2013.
16. Make David Otunga a manager
I think David Otunga brings a lot to the table. He's a smart guy because as we all know he's a lawyer and he is fantastic whenever WWE sends him to represent the company at Be A Star events or other press events. In the ring, though, I think he leaves something to be desired. I've never been entertained watching an Otunga match. His offense is very average, he doesn't bump particularly well and if your only way to get heat from the crowd is by flexing your muscles then you should consider an overhaul. His work in the ring leads me to think he'll never be a guy that I'm interested in seeing wrestle because he's robotic in a lot of his movements. Is he a good athlete? I'm not sure. Don't confuse muscle mass with being athletic. Sometimes when people are too big it prevents them from moving around like they should be able to. In wrestling that means it makes you look like you have two left feet and it's tough for you to bring the crowd into your matches.
Don't confuse me for an Otunga hater. I think he has a lot of value as a talker and his lawyer gimmick is an automatic way to get heat, which is always a good thing. I just think they could utilize his talents better if he used his mouth more and paired him up with a wrestler or stable of wrestlers as their mouthpiece. Plus, I do like his theme song too. Oh ay oh. Oh ay oh.
17. Turn The Miz into a babyface
Not yet. I think it should happen around WrestleMania next year. Perhaps it could happen at WrestleMania itself or shortly thereafter. His run as a heel has been good (even great at times in late 2010 especially), but it's been too many years and he needs to do something to freshen up his act other than growing a beard or changing his hairstyle a bit. A babyface turn would do him wonders. Miz has all the tools to be a babyface because he's smaller than a lot of his opponents, his work on the microphone is above average with easy things for fans to chant along with ("I'm Awesome" and "Really") and I think his offense would be better suited in a babyface role.
There's something about Miz that makes me think if he was put in a position to succeed as a babyface he could really do a good job at it. I'll admit that I've never liked his heel facial expressions. The guy just doesn't look very scary or intimidating. Turning into a sympathetic hero type of character really help him take a step to the next level.
18. The World Title Match at WrestleMania 29? Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. challenger Daniel Bryan
If you asked me who the best in-ring performers in WWE are I would make the case for Bryan and Ziggler being two of the top three with CM Punk being the other man in that discussion. At an event like WrestleMania it should be the place where some of the best wrestlers in the company are allowed to have a match for the ages. At Bragging Rights 2010, there was a fantastic Bryan vs. Ziggler match that reached the four star level. It left me wanting to see more between them. Now my hope is that "more" means the grandest stage of them all. My choice for the World Title match at WrestleMania 29 would see the heel champion Dolph Ziggler face off against his babyface challenger Daniel Bryan.
It's inevitable that Bryan will be turning babyface within the next year. His heel run has been fun and WWE is trying to get him to turn into a lunatic by yelling "no" at the fans that chant "yes" at him, but the problem is he's so good at the role that he generates laughs while he does it. Once you start getting laughs that usually means a change is imminent. Throw in the fact that at 210 pounds (WWE's listed weight although he's likely under 200 pounds) he'll easily be able to work like an underdog who is able to beat people into submission because of all the submission holds he has in his arsenal.
As for Ziggler, I would expect him to end the 2012 calendar year as the World Heavyweight Champion. I'm not sure when he will cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Sheamus, but it will likely happen before the Royal Rumble. That way, much like Bryan last year, he can have a good run as the WWE Champion.
Everything would come full circle for Bryan as the challenger going into WrestleMania 29. A year after he lost the World Title to Sheamus he could reclaim the championship he lost as a hero leading the crowd in "yes" chants. It would be an amazing sight to see. Trust me when I tell you how fun it was to be a part of the WrestleMania 28 crowd as 70,000+ people were chanting a simple word like "yes" even though it didn't last long due to the 18 second match against Sheamus. To see that many people supporting Bryan in a championship match at WM29 would be a sight to behold. The match would be a classic too, which wouldn't be a surprise considering the caliber of these two phenomenal performers.
Bryan vs. Ziggler at WrestleMania with championship gold on the line in a potential classic? Yes! Yes! Yes!
19. The Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker WrestleMania 29 match should be set up at Survivor Series
I think the likelihood of a Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania is very high. As we all know, Lesnar has a limited number of dates on his WWE schedule. They need to use his time wisely. On this past Monday's Raw Lesnar "quit" WWE saying he had nothing left to prove. What I think would work well is if we saw Undertaker in a video package prior to Survivor Series saying that there's one guy out there that he's always wanted to face at WrestleMania and that's Brock Lesnar. They could have Undertaker say he would be at Survivor Series where he would make a challenge to Lesnar. Paul Heyman could then appear on Raw saying that Lesnar never liked Undertaker, so he will be there to answer the challenge. It wouldn't be promoted a match, but instead as a face to face meeting. Once there, Undertaker would enter first. As he is about to enter the ring during his legendary entrance, Lesnar could attack him from behind. Guess what happens next? Arm break.
The next part would see Lesnar appear in the Royal Rumble saying that just like The Rock he had an itch to be WWE Champion again. Lesnar would be in the ring alone after dispatching every other wrestler. Undertaker's music would hit, it would distract him and somebody would eliminate him while Undertaker never showed up. There's your setup of the match.
There are a lot of ways they could build up a WrestleMania match between Lesnar and Undertaker. The difficult part is having the story make sense even though neither guy works a full time schedule. What could stop it? The Undertaker's reluctance to work another match. He's 47 years old. The streak is 20-0. Why do another match? Money is a good reason. He's been married three times. His third wife, Michelle McCool, is pregnant with their first child and his fourth child. Sure he's rich, but why turn down the chance to make more money while you can? Plus, another match would mean another victory (Undertaker is never losing at WrestleMania) against another big name opponent. It only adds to the legacy of one of the greatest figures in WWE history.
I think Lesnar vs. Undertaker will happen at WrestleMania. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that. The question is how do they get there? That will be the interesting part. Of course the match will be interesting to me as well because I'm a fan of both guys, but I'm intrigued to see how it is set up.
20. Have John Cena defeat The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29
Remember all of the talk about how John Cena vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 28 was a "once in a lifetime" match? That was a lie that WWE told to sell tickets. As soon as Rock beat Cena this year I knew there would be a rematch. This Cena/Rock story has a two match story arc that will culminate in a WWE Championship match at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 7, 2013.
Do I think Rock vs. Punk will happen at WrestleMania 29? I don't. It will be a Royal Rumble match with The Rock defeating Punk for the WWE Title. As for John Cena, he'll likely be the winner of the Royal Rumble. At the end of the night, Rock would be celebrating his championship victory as Cena's music started up and the two had a staredown while everybody watching knew what it meant for WrestleMania 29.
I think we'll get Rock vs. Cena II with Cena getting the win this time. The night would end with Rock raising the hand of Cena after he beats Rock for the WWE Title. That's the "passing of the torch" moment. It could also be the last match in the career of The Rock, who would then likely be the headliner for WrestleMania 30's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the story pretty much writes itself.
My concern with this story is that it leaves CM Punk out in the dark a bit, which shouldn't happen. I would be strongly opposed to a triple threat match because singles matches are much better and more marketable as well. Hopefully there is an interesting story for Punk at WrestleMania because as far as I can tell all signs are pointing to Cena/Rock II at WrestleMania 29.
I definitely had an eye towards WrestleMania in writing this column. My top matches would be Rock/Cena II, Undertaker/Lesnar and Ziggler/Bryan with a Money in the Bank match, Mysterio/Cara and Phoenix/Natalya on the undercard as well.
You'll notice I didn't forecast any feuds for CM Punk. I'm not sure what the direction will be with him. I think the heel turn will intensify, he'll have the Royal Rumble match where he drops the WWE Title to The Rock and then the possibilities for WrestleMania are endless.
There were a lot of talented people that I like that I didn't mention. Guys like Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Christian and some others weren't names I focused on. It's nothing against any of them. It's just that when you think of 20 things you can only cover so much. That's why I want to hear from my readers to let me know what you think I missed.
This was my third straight year writing this column. Want to see some past ideas?
There was actually a 2008 edition too (not in 2009), but I was unable to find any workable link to it due to moving over to a new site. I'm sure I have it on file if I really wanted to look.
If you made it through this nearly 7,000 column I sincerely thank you. My question to you is what do you think? How'd I do? What was your favorite idea that I came up with? What idea would you suggest to WWE in order to help them improve their product?
I'm likely going to run a reaction column on Sunday or Monday. I'll take some comments via Twitter @johnreport, Facebook (search "John Canton" there if you don't have me as a friend already) and of course emails as well. I'd actually prefer email if you want to give me feedback because then it's easier for me to post it in the reaction column, but it's really up to you. My email address is email@example.com and I do reply to every email in a timely manner.
That was my "major" column for August. What one is coming in September? The annual WWE Roster evaluation. It's always a fun column to write. I'm looking forward to getting started on it very soon. I would venture to guess that it will be ready after September's Night of Champions PPV.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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