Updated: Nov 21, 2020
We’re at the halfway(ish) point of the WWE season now that we’re past SummerSlam and especially with the brand draft now finally done. What does that mean? It’s time to fantasy book next year’s WrestleMania far too early! Hooray!
So fun fact - I had an entire card in mind before the brand draft happened and easily dismantled 80% of the card. Most of the card’s story revolved around the unification of the major titles - Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns for the World/Universal titles, Asuka vs Charlotte Flair for the Raw/Smackdown Women’s titles, and pretty much all the tag teams in a gauntlet match for the Raw/Smackdown Tag Team titles. This would have all set off by two things: Charlotte Flair winning the Smackdown Women’s title and deciding to do what Brock Lesnar couldn’t and win the Royal Rumble as champion (which she does) and choosing to face Asuka to unify the titles. Of course Brock Lesnar shows up in the men’s rumble and wins it only to declare that he wants both titles due to his history with both men’s champions (Brock would be pulled from the main event for reasons). At that point why not also unify the men’s Tag Team belts (the IC and US belts would have remained solo to each brand).
Another match I had planned was Big E vs Kofi Kingston vs Xavier Woods in an Intercontinental title match not because they broke up and were feuding, but because Big E had won the title and they were defending it under Freebird rules and having all of the fun. All of it. They then decide to have friendly match to see who would win (spoiler - it would have been Woods). But is that possible now?
Big E did not need to be separated from Kofi & Xavier to get his singles push. Nobody wants this. Not the Quixotronic offices, not the New Day themselves, nobody. But what if we made it work? The Big E singles push in my original thought would mirror Kofimania to show that god dammit these guys are friends and they support each other no matter what. But what if the story is about the opposite? What if it's about when that support goes away?
Big E feuds first with Baron Corbin who mocks him for no longer having any friends (seriously, you can just picture this one, right?). They end up both being on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series (along with Rey Mysterio, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens just to make it a team that just does not want to cooperate) against a somehow smoother Team Raw (Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, AJ Styles, Andrade, & Keith Lee). Big E and Kofi refuse to fight each other if they happen to be tagged in at the same time, and Team Smackdown wins with surviving members Big E and Baron Corbin. Big E and Corbin settle their differences at the December PPV (TLC?) with a solid Big E win before clearing them both for entry into the Royal Rumble.
In the Rumble, the final four are Big E, Kofi, Andrade, and Keith Lee. Andrade is able to eliminate Lee and then faces down E and Kofi. New Day huddles to decide on a game plan until Kofi just jumps out of the ring. Both E and Andrade are shocked but Kofi yells that it’s E’s time. Kofi’s been there, he doesn’t need it again. Big E (obviously) wins and the New Day celebrates in the ring as we close out.
At this point, Roman Reigns has defeated Jey Uso (again) forcing both Usos to admit that he is their Tribal Chief (™) and are members in his new stable The Tribe or Bloodline or The Family or whatever. Roman brings Tamina into the fold as well as the Usos' dad Rikishi, but this is “I did it for the Rock” Rikishi - he’s a badman. Roman has also sent feelers over to Raw to bring Nia Jax (who is still Women’s Tag Team champs with Shayna Baszler) into the fold as his agent on Raw. Naomi, also on Raw, is not brought in and is used a leverage against the Usos to keep them in line.
What was Roman doing while Big E was winning the Rumble? He was absolutely demolishing Daniel Bryan in a title match because he decided he could. Every time he won the Rumble, people chanted for Bryan instead. Every damn time. So yeah, Don Roman wants to ruin everyone's Royal Rumble again - Bryan is eaten within three minutes.
(Did somebody say three minutes?)
Mob Boss Roman Reigns first sends the Usos to Raw the night after the Royal Rumble to cost New Day their Raw Tag Team titles in a match against Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander of the Hurt Business. This causes Triple H to close the borders between Raw and Smackdown - any wrestler who interferes on the opposite brand will be first fined and then terminated. This fully separates Big E from Kofi and Xavier just as Roman wanted. (Why is this the act that finally stops inter-brand shenanigans? For crying Big E reasons).
Roman next manipulates Seth Rollins to go after Big E based on their Shield history, though Murphy can clearly see that the Savior of Smackdown is just being used. Rollins thinks he helping save Roman from himself somehow. Big E defeats former-World Champion Seth Rollins at Elimination Chamber to establish that yes, he can defeat World Champions (yes he’s defeated Sheamus also but it doesn’t have the same feel, right?). Roman sends the Usos, at this point the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, formally after Big E in a handicap match at Fastlane with the stipulation that if Kofi and/or Xavier show up that Big E loses his title match at WrestleMania since they can’t really be fined for being at a show that has both brands anyway. Big E is able to power through and wins the match - one of the Usos also may or may not have allowed Big E to pin them in solidarity just like during KofiMania, but it’s less obvious this time.
That leaves us with one final destination: Big E vs Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. One man who's mostly lost his family and refuses to let the darkness consume him against the main who has remade his family in his own darker and darker image. It's very dramatic - here's Big E's review of the story and match:
Who will survive!?
Quick ground rules - we're still in a Quixotine so WrestleMania is two nights again. Also despite Edge vs Randy Orton being an obvious match, I'm not sure if Edge will be healthy by then so we're skipping it and Orton is taking the night off.
WWE WrestleMania 37 - Night One
WWE World Title Match: Andrade Almas vs Drew McIntyre ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Despite us living in a world where Andrade was somehow not drafted in the brand draft this last week, we’re fixing that. Andrade makes his return to Raw with his fiancé Charlotte Flair as the new power couple. Andrade goes on to join Team Raw at Survivor Series (see above) and is the last surviving member before falling to Big E. He rebounds with strong wins over Jeff Hardy and Matt Riddle before being the iron man of the Royal Rumble by entering #3 like his future father-in-law and being the last surviving Raw member. Andrade goes on to win a mini-tournament to crown Raw’s #1 contender defeating Keith Lee in the finals due to Retribution interfering and costing Lee the match (a little more on that later). This leaves Andrade primed to once again defeat McIntyre like he did in NXT for the NXT title. However, we’re going to start WrestleMania on a happy note: McIntyre retains his title. Sorry, Andrade!
Your winner: Drew McIntyre
Buddy Murphy vs Seth Rollins
Fanboy Fantasy: After Rollins and Rey Mysterio are both eliminated from Team Smackdown at Survivor Series their feud is somehow ended. I don’t care how anymore. Rollins and Murphy focus on the Rumble where Rollins eliminates Murphy. Later on Rollins tries to explain that it was for the greater good and Murphy bides his time. Rollins then falls under the sway of his former Shield brother Roman Reigns and is used as a hitman unsuccessfully against Big E. Rollins gives every excuse possible to explain to both Roman and the WWE Universe why he couldn’t finish off Big E. If Seth Rollins has been playing Jesus this whole time, then Roman is his father/God and maybe he needs to die so he can once again save. Roman gladly grants him this wish at Fastlane in a rare heel vs heel match. Roman retains and Rollins again lashes out at Murphy when he finally stands up for himself and fights back to set up a WrestleMania showdown. However it’s not quite Buddy’s time yet - Rollins wins.
Your winner: Seth Rollins
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles Match: Artist Collective (Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura) vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode vs Los Mysterios (Dominik & Rey Mysterio) vs Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) ©
Fanboy Fantasy: The Street Profits hold onto their titles for the rest of the year until on a random Smackdown they lose the belts to Los Mysterios, giving Dominik his first taste of WWE gold and proving that Rey can still go. By this time Jimmy Uso is healthy enough to rejoin Jey as a fellow unwilling member of the Tribe and Roman tells them the Family wants the Tag Team titles. The Usos go and do what they do and win the titles from Los Mysterios. They are able to retain against the former champs (both Mysterios and Profits) though, as already mentioned, do lose a handicap match against Big E at Fastlane. This makes them possible underdogs going into WrestleMania when we have a generic throw-multiple-teams-in match. However the fear of Roman prevails and the Usos retain. Don Roman is pleased.
Your winners: The Usos
Keith Lee & Mercedes Martinez vs Retribution (Dominik Dijakovic & Mia Yim)
Fanboy Fantasy: Keith Lee loses the #1 contendership tournament due to Retribution costing him the final. Why? Because after being in the final four of the Rumble, Retribution tried to unsuccessfully recruit him to their cause - apparently being fighting friends with Dijakovic means nothing anymore. After costing him the match we get a full main-roster feud between Lee and Dijakovic because they should fight forever (clap clap clapclapclap). To make it a touch different, we’ll bring in Mia Yim (the other main Retribution member with history with Lee) and Mercedes Martinez as the Retribution member who got out. Lee and Martinez are able to defeat Retribution and cause them a momentum-blow going into our other Retribution-related match of the night.
Your winner: Keith Lee & Mercedes Martinez
Three Stages of Hell Match: Bayley vs Sasha Banks
Fanboy Fantasy: Bayley retains against Sasha Banks at Hell in a Cell and gives her a “career-threatening” injury. Guys, Sasha may never wrestle again. It’s okay, she can always star in more seasons of The Mandalorian, right? Bayley, absolutely full of herself holds onto the title a little longer until a fluke loss to Smackdown-newbie Bianca Belair. Belair retains in a rematch. After a second rematch that Bayley loses, Banks returns to attack Bayley - but after Bayley had already lost just so Banks can rub it in. Their hate leads to a Three Stages of Hell match - the first pin fall is a normal match, the second is first blood match, and the last is an I Quit match. Bayley wins the first match by cheating behind the ref’s back, but Sasha busts Bayley open to win the second fall. Sasha locks on the Banks Statement on for an unbearable 5 long minutes to force Bayley to admit she quits.
Your winner: Sasha Banks
WWE United States Title Match: Mustafa Ali (w/ Retribution) vs Ricochet ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Mustafa Ali has been busy since coming out as the leader of Retribution - he first feuds with the New Day because what some people forget about KofiMania is that Kofi wasn’t even supposed to be in the Elimination Chamber match that year - Ali was. When he went down with an injury, Kofi was subbed in and something magical happened - but that was Ali’s spot. After losing that feud at Elimination Chamber, and while members Yim and Dijakovic deal with Keith Lee and Mercedes Martinez, Ali gets himself a United States title match with champion Ricochet (he beats Bobby Lashley for the belt at some point) after Ricochet also declines to join Retribution. The two have what can be described as an AEW-style match with all the flips and all the kick outs but Ali secures the win with no Retribution interference.
Your winner, and NEW WWE United States Champion: Mustafa Ali
Firefly Funhouse Match: AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt
Fanboy Fantasy: Since switching to Raw, AJ Styles starts acting as neither face nor heel - he’s just putting on great matches. He becomes part of Team Raw at Survivor Series. Styles is eliminated from Team Raw when an Undertaker gong goes off mid-match and freaks him the fuck out. At this point Styles is having PTSD-like flashbacks to being buried alive and his work begins to suffer. Bray Wyatt, the helpful friend that he is and now backed by both a fully possessed-Alexa Bliss and golem-like Braun Strowman (for love of Eddie Guerrero give me this!), offers to help Styles with his problem - all he has to do is what John Cena did last year - come into the Firefly Funhouse and work out his issues with Bray. Ignore the fact that Cena did not come back after said match. The Fiend will show him the way. If AJ realizes all the accolaides he's had that the Undertaker never had, it would repower him! The Fiend will show him. The Fiend will let him in. AJ makes the worst decision he can and accepts the match(?). AJ’s statistician Joseph Park warns him not to but AJ enters anyway.
AJ awakens in a WCW Thunder ring teaming with Bray Wyatt in the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles tournament - we don’t see their opponents but their silhouette’s appear to be Undertaker and John Cena - and we hear Cena yell “Get out!” Bray laughs the “noise” off before an Undertaker gong goes off. We have a quick cut of Undertaker dragging AJ across the graveyard from last year before opening back up on an unfamiliar and plain ring with a beaten Jeff Jarrett in the middle of the ring. AJ is now holding a blurred-out NWA World Heavyweight title belt. Bray, in a referee shirt, whispers to AJ "did he ever have that?" and laughs.
A gong cuts us to the next scene - and another quick cut of Styles being buried alive - followed by a similar plain ring with broken tables and blood splattered all over and Joseph Park kneeling and crying in the corner and a mask near him. Styles runs to him and asks him why he followed him. Park heard the whispers - the familiar whispers and he couldn’t help himself. John Cena's voice screaming can be heard in the background as the lights begin to blink out. The screams fade as Wyatt can now be overheard telling Park to “put the mask on” while Park cries “no please no.” Park slowly lifts the mask up and Styles yells as the lights go out only to come back with Park fully dressed as TNA’s Abyss once again - he powerslams Styles through one of the tables and disappears.
Another gong sends us to the next scene - another quick cut of Styles being buried - and then Styles walks out in a Japanese-looking arena and walks past Finn Balor in full Demon paint. The two eye each other as they walk past and Demon Finn fades away as Styles passes him by. Cena, dressed as NJPW’s Kazuchika Okada, is laying in the middle of the ring as Alexa Bliss hands him another blurred out championship. Bray whispers again and tells Styles this is another win he has that Undertaker doesn’t. Soon he’ll be able to face Undertaker again and do what he couldn’t before.
Undertaker gong, quick buried cut, and we’re on the Smackdown set and AJ is face to face with John Cena who looks very worried and is wearing his nWo shirt from last WrestleMania. “AJ! He won’t let me leave!” but the two then go into the motions of a match while Bray laughs. Quick cut and now we’re finally back at the Graveyard match from last year and AJ is face to face with Bray Wyatt dressed as the Undertaker. AJ tenses up to fight but instead uses his words - he’s not mad at Undertaker, he’s mad at himself. He's not mad at Cena either, it was just his job to fight him.
Bray, as the Dead Man, continues to smile. "AJ, the Undertaker is done and you lost. There is only the Fiend now - and you're in my home, boy. You're now part of my collection!" Bray transforms into fully into the Fiend and throws AJ into a shallow grave where AJ lands next to Cena’s unmoving body. We cut to a POV shot from in the grave to see Fiend, Bliss, Strowman, and Abyss all staring down into the grave as dirt is shoveled in. The two are buried and Bray and his crew walk away laughing.
Your winner: Bray Wyatt
Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable (w/ Daniel Bryan)
Fanboy Fantasy: In my official “does this really have to be on the card” match of the show, it’s also very specifically slotted to be the match between the Firefly Funhouse and night one’s main event - feel free to go grab a snack and take a piss. After Daniel Bryan’s murder via Roman Reigns (see above), Corbin decides to mock Bryan now that he’s done mocking Big E - it’s not a great start but for Corbin it works so damn perfectly. Corbin and Bryan face off at some point and Corbin beats Bryan cleanly. It’s at this point that Chad Gable comes to Bryan’s aid. You see, back when it was revealed that Jason Jordan was revealed as then-Raw General Manager Kurt Angle’s son (sorry for the reminder), Chad Gable started jokingly calling then-Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan “dad.” Gable is tired of Baron Corbin getting the last laugh on Daniel Bryan when he was down, he’s tired of Corbin pinning Kurt Angle in his last match, and most importantly, he’s tired of going by the fucking name “Shorty G” because of Corbin. He may have lost to Corbin in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament and allowed Corbin to call himself “King Corbin” but that’s all done with. Corbin isn’t facing Shorty G at WrestleMania - he’s facing Chad fucking Gable and he’s got Daniel Bryan in his corner. And it’s a quick match: Gable with the upset (?) win.
Your winner: Chad Gable
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match w/ special guest referee Becky Lynch: Charlotte Flair vs Asuka ©
Fanboy Fantasy: After returning alongside Andrade, Charlotte Flair wins the women’s Rumble for the second year in a row because we can’t have nice things - also she was also #3 like her dad and fiance. Though she has won every women’s singles belt, she has never walked out of WrestleMania with the Raw Women’s title (she won the WWE Women’s title at WM32 pre-brand split, retained the Smackdown Women’s title at WM34, and won the NXT Women’s title at WM36 - thanks random wrestling stat generator!). Plus, she’s beaten Asuka already at WrestleMania so why not do another repeat while she’s at it. However, this isn’t just-out-of-NXT Asuka, who to be fair is a monster anyway. This is dancing and murdering Thunderdome MVP Asuka. Sorry Raw power-couple, no double gold this time: Asuka retains. Asuka dances. Delight in all things Asuka.
Your winner: Asuka
WrestleMania 37 - Night Two
WWE Intercontinental Title Special International Ladder Match: Aleister Black vs Apollo Crews vs Cesaro vs Kalisto vs Sheamus vs Kevin Owens ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Much like Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic on Raw, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fall into the “fight forever” side of things. After Survivor Series, Zayn tries to reteam with his good friend Kevin Owens, but Owens sees how annoying Zayn has become and powerbombs him immediately. Owens beats Zayn for the title on the Christmas episode of Smackdown, Zayn regains the title at the Royal Rumble due to interference from Cesaro & Nakamura, and Owens regains it again shortly after due to botched interference from Cesaro. Cesaro ends up splitting off from Zayn and Nakamura who decide to pursue the tag belts. Owens defends against Cesaro at Elimination Chamber and Kalisto at Fastlane. Owens decides to hold an “International Challenge” match where every competitor is from a different country, so we get Aleister Black (Netherlands), Apollo Crews (America), Cesaro (Switzerland), Kalisto (Mexico), Sheamus (Ireland, Owens invites him because he feels sorry that Sheamus has won everything except the IC belt and even covers the money needed for him to show up on another brand) and Owens (Canada). They’re not all winning storylines folks. Aleister Black wins the title because I want him to have nice things.
Your winner, and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: Aleister Black
NXT vs NXT UK Titles Match: Finn Balor © vs WALTER ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Finn Balor and WALTER were supposed to face each other at NXT UK Takeover: Dublin in May but then *waves madly* all of this happened. NXT UK went on hiatus and Balor came back to NXT Domestic and won the NXT title. However now that NXT UK is back and once Finn is healed from his broken goddamn jaw he starts calling out WALTER. He wants his match. Over on NXT UK, WALTER calls out Finn also, telling him to get his ass back to England and face him like a man. The announcers put over the fact that they can’t actually travel back and forth but by WrestleMania time the correct parties are bribed and WALTER arrives in the USA for a special NXT vs NXT UK titles match - winner takes all. The two put on a very British catch as catch can match before the rest of Imperium interferes causing the DQ finish and each man walks out with their respective titles. They’ll get another round whenever the next NXT UK Takeover is eventually held.
Your winner: Finn Balor (by DQ)
John Morrison vs The Miz
Fanboy Fantasy: The Miz gets more and more angry that not only is WrestleMania not in Hollywood like it was supposed to be because of the so-called “pandemic” but because he doesn’t have a match for the show. He and Morrison don’t qualify for a United States title match or a Tag Team titles match (they even try sneaking back into Smackdown and fail there as well - they have the cash to cover checking in on the other brand). Finally with a week before the show, Morrison has an idea - what if they turn on each other? They’d have to settle the score at WrestleMania! They both shrug, Morrison winks to the camera, and they very playfully hit each other while yelling "I'm turning on you!" and “how dare you!” and “I’ll see you at WrestleMania!” This of course works and they get a match on the card. The match starts with them having a nice gentle match but as it goes on they both start hitting stiffer and stiffer. Miz eventually wins by putting using his legs on the ropes for leverage - after WM he can use his win to argue into a future World title match with Drew McIntyre. Morrison doesn’t see the dirty win on the show - but eventually figures it out and really turns on Miz with Morrison sliding into the face role with Miz staying in the heel role as he forever should be. Morrison eventually wins the more feud to set him up as a hopeful world title contender.
Your winner: The Miz
WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Zelina Vega vs Bianca Belair ©
Fanboy Fantasy: Bayley loses her belt to Bianca Belair in what she immediately calls a fluke but it really isn’t. Belair establishes herself by defeating Bayley in the rematch and goes off looking for challengers. Zelina Vega, now also on Smackdown and without either Andrade or Angel Garza, slowly defeats everyone else on the roster not named Bayley or Sasha who are off in their blood feud to become the #1 contender. Vega is able to score the win and take the title. This is when Aleister Black shows up to very darkly and calmly celebrate with his wife - it is Black and Vega who are your new power couple, not Charlotte and Andrade! Swerve, bro! Oh, and Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae show up on the Smackdown after WrestleMania. Boom, power couple feud!
You winner, and NEW WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion: Zelina Vega
Cage Fight Match: Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) vs Brock Lesnar (w/ Kurt Angle)
Fanboy Fantasy: Here’s your special exhibition match for this year’s show - an MMA style Cage match (or Fight Cage as they called it during the Matt Riddle/Timothy Thatcher match on NXT this summer). Easy set up: Brock Lesnar returns in the Royal Rumble with Kurt freaking Angle by his side. He eliminates a few people (except iron man Andrade) before Bobby Lashey enters next a heads right for Lesnar - the announcers put over that Lashley’s MMA record is better than Lesnar’s though it was not UFC. The two brawl and eliminate each other. On the next night’s Raw, Angle informs us that since Lesnar lost at last year’s WrestleMania for the second year in a row, he thought maybe he was finished. Then his advisor, Paul Heyman, left him for one of his enemies, Roman Reigns, he thought maybe he was finished again. That’s when he reached out to Angle and the two agreed - Lesnar wasn’t finished yet. This brings out MVP and his client Bobby Lashley who issue a very simple challenge: Lashley/Lesnar at WrestleMania - they’ll make it Lesnar’s third strike at the show of shows. Angle accepts on Lesnar’s behalf and the match eventually becomes the cage match we get. In the mean time we get what we haven’t seen since roughly 2004 - a weirdly good guy Lesnar mostly due to his handling by Angle and he shows up to work (sometimes). At Fastlane, we get a preview of sorts when L