Updated: Feb 21
Hello! Are you tired of all the wrestling in one week yet? Well tough shit, there's even more wrestling coming at you with a Smackdown-sized pre-show and two nights of WrestleMania! Did we do right in our picks for NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver? Didn't you love that [Mr. Black] won that match? Or how about when [Mr. Black] hit [Mr. Black] with that big move! I can't believe we were all wrong about [Mr. Black] winning!
Because I can never not promote my Quixo-WWE fantasy booking, we're going to compare what we would have done with Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 back in October 2020 after the brand draft and see how far off we were. Spoilers: very!
For night one, we had:
WWE World Title Match: Andrade Almas vs Drew McIntyre ©
Winner: Quixo, because all WWE did was beat me to the punch as Lashley/McIntyre was in the cards for Quxo-WWE SummerSlam. Plus, we kept Andrade employed.
Buddy Murphy vs Seth Rollins
Winner: WWE, Cesaro/Rollins is far more enjoyable.
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) ©
Winner: Quixo, since we had 3 of the teams correct in our make-believe booking and the other team in the real match (Chad Gable & Otiz Dozovic) literally weren't a team yet. When is Jimmy Uso coming back?
Keith Lee & Mercedes Martinez vs Retribution (Dominik Dijakovic & Mia Yim)
Winner: Quixo, purely because NONE OF THEM ARE ON THE CARD.
Three Stages of Hell Match: Bayley vs Sasha Banks
Winner: Quixo, because we need more women wrestling.
WWE United States Title Match: Mustafa Ali (w/ Retribution) vs Ricochet ©
Winner: Quixo, because again NEITHER IS ON THE CARD. WHY ARE THEY NOT ON THE CARD? I WILL NOT COUNT THE SMACKDOWN PRE-SHOW.
Firefly Funhouse Match: AJ Styles vs Bray Wyatt
Winner: Quixo, because I'm not sure if Wyatt/Orton is even a funhouse match. They've fought so many times. Wyatt needs to show Styles that Earth isn't flat.
Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable (w/ Daniel Bryan)
Winner: WWE, because Bryan instead of acting as a manager is in the main event.
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match w/ special guest referee Becky Lynch: Charlotte Flair vs Asuka ©
Winner: Quixo, because I love Rhea Ripley but I want Asuka to have a WrestleMania win over Charlotte Flair more.
For night two we had:
WWE Intercontinental Title Special International Ladder Match: Aleister Black vs Apollo Crews vs Cesaro vs Kalisto vs Sheamus vs Kevin Owens ©
Winner: WWE, because I admitted even in my write-up that this one was just thrown together, though I still miss Aleister Black. WHY IS HE NOT ON MY TV.
NXT vs NXT UK Titles Match: Finn Balor © vs WALTER ©
Winner: WWE, because having two-nights of NXT Takeover is better than no nights of NXT Takeover.
John Morrison vs The Miz
Winner: Quixo, because this needs to happen, even as a joke to just get them on the card.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Zelina Vega vs Bianca Belair ©
Winner: WWE, since Banks/Belair should be the better match.
Cage Fight Match: Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) vs Brock Lesnar (w/ Kurt Angle)
Winner: Quixo, because duh.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles Gauntlet Match: Flex Appeal (Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose) vs Lacey Evans & Lana vs Liv 2 Riott (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott) vs Rhea Ripley & Shotzi Blackheart vs Nia Jax & Naomi © vs Shayna Baszler & Ronda Rousey ©
Winner: n/a, we both went the throw-them-all-in route and should be better.
Hardy Compound Exorcism Match: Alexa Bliss (w/ Braun Strowman) vs Nikki Cross (w/ Jeff Hardy)
Winner: Quixo, because DID YOU READ THE MATCH TYPE?!?
WWE Raw Tag Team Titles Elimination Match: Catch Point (Drew Gulak & Matt Riddle) vs New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin) ©
Winner: Quixo, because the Hurt is still in Business.
WWE Universal Title Match: Big E (w/ New Day) vs Roman Reigns (w/ Usos) ©
Winner: WWE, because it’s hard to pass up both Daniel Bryan and Edge. Plus I definitely ended it on a down note because I’m a jerk.
By the power of math, it looks like 11 of our 18 matches are better in Quixo-WWE than real-WWE. That’s science.
One thing that I tried to do was have multiple non-title women’s matches and came up with two (along with the three title matches and admittedly I still put most wrestlers into the tag tran titles match). Of the four women in non-titles matches, only one (Sasha Banks) is on the card as the defending Smackdown champion. I understand (sadly) that they’re not invested in Nikki Cross like I am (and the possibilities of multiple Sister Abigail possessions), but what about Alexa Bliss? And what the fuck about Bayley? She carried the women’s division on Smackdown for a year before losing the title to Banks. How is she not on the card? I recently saw a sad stat that WrestleMania will be Bianca Belair’s first singles match on a main roster PPV - every match she’s been in has been a multi-person match. What the hell? And why haven’t we committed to Belair/Banks main eventing night one? Just do it.
Now that I’ve got myself all riled up, let’s check in with the standings for the Quixotronic's Wrestling Shame Challenge™. If you caught our NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver preview, you know these are only through the WWE Fastlane 2021 show. After WrestleMania we'll celebrate the winner, shame the loser, and start fresh.
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic…
Standings going into WWE Fastlane 2021
First Place: Kyle 64.7% (97-53)
Second Place: Tim 58.4% (59-42)
Third Place: Ryan 30.8% (24-54)
WWE Fastlane 2021 results:
WWE United States Title Match: Mustafa Ali vs Matt Riddle ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE United States Champion: Matt Riddle
Kyle: n/a (0-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-0)
Tim: n/a (0-0)
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler ©
Your Winners, and STILL WWE Women's Tag Team Champions: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Kyle: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (1-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-1)
Tim: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (1-0)
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Apollo Crews vs Big E ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E
Kyle: Big E (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: Big E (2-0)
Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon Elias
Your Winner: Braun Strowman
Kyle: n/a (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: n/a (2-0)
Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Your Winner: Seth Rollins
Kyle: n/a (2-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-2)
Tim: n/a (2-0)
No DQ Match: Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus
Your Winner: Drew McIntyre
Kyle: Drew McIntyre (3-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-3)
Tim: Drew McIntyre (3-0)
Alexa Bliss vs Randy Orton
Your Winner: Alexa Bliss
Kyle: Alexa Bliss (4-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-4)
Tim: Alexa Bliss (4-0)
WWE Universal Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Kyle: Roman Reigns (5-0)
Ryan: n/a (0-5)
Tim: Roman Reigns (5-0)
And now the conclusion…
New standings after WWE Fastlane 2021
First Place: Kyle 65.8% (102-53)
Second Place: Tim 60.4% (64-42)
Third Place: Ryan 28.9% (24-59)
Who will survive!?
If you want to watch WWE WrestleMania 37 live on Saturday & Sunday, you’ll want to subscribe to Peacock (not WWE Network - it is off on a farm upstate where it can finally figure out exactly what it was that the Rock was cooking). Until then, here’s your Quixotronic preview of the show.
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
Announced: Akira Tozawa, Angel Garza, Baron Corbin, Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, Dio Maddin, Dominik Dijakovic, Drew Gulak, Elias, Erik, Gran Metalik, Humberto Carrillo, Jaxson Ryker, Jey Uso, Kalisto, Lince Dorado, Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, Shane Thorne, Shelton Benjamin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tucker
The Background: It was announced via Twitter on April 1st that the Andre the Giant battle royal would return to a special "WrestleMania edition" of Smackdown, also known as the two-hour pre-show. There are some suprising names on here that don't have matches otherwise, such as Baron Corbin, Jey Uso, Mustafa Ali, and Shinsuke Nakamura. While I may be a booster for many other names (cough cough Hurt Business cough cough), Corbin and Nakamura both have main evented previous pay-per-views in world title matches, and both Jey Uso and Mustafa Ali have both been involved in storylines for the last few months so its surprising they haven't gotten specific match ups this year. It's not hard - Mustafa Ali really needs to have a PPV match with Kofi Kingston, or even just toss him and Dominik Dijakovic (I refuse to use the Retribution names) into the Raw Tag Team titles match? I guess you'd have to not break up Retribution first? They can just face off then. Shinsuke Nakamura was used in Apollo Crews heel turn, so why can't he be popped into the WWE Intercontinental title match? And as stupid as it may sound, it sort of makes sense to slip Baron Corbin into the WWE World title match if not for the WWE Universal title match wasn't already changed to a triple threat. I actually kind of want that to be the Raw main event for the next big show because it at least has history behind it. Plus Jimmy Uso should be healthy soon? Right?
Fanboy Fantasy: Without fantasy booking the whole match since it’s on the pre-show, I would have the final four be Dominik Dijakovic, Mustafa Ali, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Baron Corbin. Ali and Corbin team up to eliminate Dijakovic, and Nakamura hits both with a Kinsasha knocking out Corbin. Ali and Nakamura go for a minute or two until Corbin interferes and distracts Nakamura for Ali to make the elimination and win. Ali demands a World title shot on the Raw after WrestleMania but is interrupted by WWE United States champion Matt Riddle because bro, Ali can’t even beat Riddle. But if Riddle beats Ali again, then he can demand a title shot, right? They face off, and Ali finally beats Riddle for the title.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Baron Corbin - since Corbin goes wherever he wants now, why not have him also become the first two-time Andre the Giant battle royal winner? It's obviously meant something to him and everyone else who has won before, so it'll mean double this time!
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles Match: Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis Dozovic) vs Los Mysterios (Dominik & Rey Mysterio) vs Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode ©
The Background: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, supposedly going by the name the "Dirty Dawgs" but I refuse to call them by that, defeated the Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) on the January 8th Smackdown to win the WWE Smackdown Tag Team titles. Since then the tag team division has basically comprised the Street Profits, the father-son duo of Rey & Dominik Mysterio, and new and surprisingly heel friends Chad Gable & Otis Dozovic as Alpha Academy while Ziggler and Roode do their best to not interfer in things as long as they have the belts. Each team has beaten each other while trying to work their way into title shots. With all three challengers with equal scores, they will all get a shot against the champions in a fatal four way on the go-home Smackdown acting as the pre-show to WrestleMania.
Fanboy Fantasy: Street Profits should win it here because I enjoy when couples are champions and (spoilers) I will also be fantasy booking Belair to win the Smackdown Women’s title.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Los Mysterios - I don't think WWE can resist having a father-son team as tag team champions. That's gotta check some sort of box on the bingo card in the WWE Archives somewhere, right?
WWE WrestleMania 37
Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon
The Background: After being left out of Raw's elimination chamber match at WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 that was booked by Shane McMahon, Braun Strowman showed up on the February 22nd Raw demanding a title shot. McMahon said he had to go through Bobby Lashley for a chance to be inserted into Lashley's title match against the WWE World champion Miz the next week - and Strowman failed. Strowman was teamed with Adam Pearce for a shot at the WWE Raw Tag Team titles against the Hurt Business members Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin instead and Strowman failed after Pearce tagged himself in on McMahon's order and ate a pin from Benjamin. Strowman challenged McMahon to a match on the March 15th Raw, but a match never started because Strowman was slimed. Not Slimer-in-Ghostbusters slimed, but You-Can't-Do-That-On-Television slimed. They tried again at WWE Fastlane 2021 but McMahon subbed in Elias instead. Strowman defeated Elias both at Fastlane and the March 22nd Raw, and finally Elias's roadie Jaxson Ryker on the March 29th Raw. In doing so, McMahon allowed Strowman to pick a stipulation for their match: a cage match! This match is scheduled for night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: Shamelessly copy and pasted from my Fastlane writeup - Braun Strowman powerslams Shane McMahon. And then he powerslams him again. And then he powerslams him again. And then he powerslams him again. Adam Pearce shows up and tries to stop Strowman, so Strowman powerslams Pearce. And then he powerslams Pearce again. And then he turns back to McMahon and powerslams him again. And then he powerslams McMahon again. Do a quick cut or something and have McMahon replaced by a pile of slime in the middle of the ring. Strowman pins the slime escapes the cage that they were in the whole time for the win. Shane McMahon is not seen ever again, and if he must show up, he always now has green hair.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Braun Strowman - Shane-o will fall off the cage and land on the announce table just enough to not be counted as the winner.
Tim: Shane McMahon
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs John Morrison & The Miz
The Background: Fun fact - no one in the Fire Pro Wrestling World community has made a "Bad Bunny" create-a-wrestler. Oh well? Anyways, Bad Bunny introduced his new music video about Booker T of all people at WWE Royal Rumble 2021, which Miz and John Morrison immedietly had issues with. The next night on the February 1st Raw, Bad Bunny returned to introduce Damian Priest to the Raw roster on MizTV and watched as Priest defeated Miz in his first Raw match. On the February 15th Raw, Bad Bunny won the WWE 24/7 title with Priest's help by pinning a downed Akira Tozawa - he actually had the belt with him when he was the musical guest on February 20th SNL, but there were no SNL hijinks. Where's the synergy, NBC? He eventually traded the title back to R-Truth on the March 15th Raw in exchange for some John Cena merch. In the meantime, Miz spent this time by being inserted into Raw's WWE World Title Elimination Chamber match at WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 and then pulling out because he still had the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase so he didn't need that, and then using Bobby Lashley to cash-in and win the WWE World title for the second time. Lashley, of course, murdered him later, so now Miz is back to attacking Bad Bunny after the title/merch trade. Bad Bunny attacked Miz with a guitar on the March 22nd Raw, and lastly on the April 5th Raw their WrestleMania match was upgraded to a tag team match along with Damian Priest and John Morrison. This match is scheduled for night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: Priest and Morrison start and Priest is able to hold his own for a bit until Morrison and Miz are able to tag in and out enough to double team Priest and wear him out. Miz demands that Priest tag Bad Bunny in because he wants to really fight the musician. Priest can be heard over the ring speakers trying to argue that they really don't want to fight Bad Bunny. It would be bad. Bunny. But no, Miz demands it, so Priest finally gives in and tags Bad Bunny in who starts hitting insane Matrix ninja moves. Flip onto Miz, hurricanrana onto Morrison, shooting star press onto Miz, the bad guys are stunned. Bunny tags Priest back in, Priest hits Miz with a Hit The Lights, Bunny hits Miz with a skull-crushing finale, and Priest pins Miz for the win. On later Raws, Priest points out that Miz should thank him for pinning him because at least he got beaten by a fellow competitor, though Bad Bunny could have pinned him just as easily. Plus, Morrison gets fed up with Miz's anticts and we finally split these two up and they can feud all summer.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Bad Bunny & Damian Priest - there's really no reason to give Miz and Johnny Mondo the win here? Can we finally split them up and get the Miz/Morrison feud? Please?
Tim: Johnny Mondo & The Miz
Tag Team Turmoil Match for #1 Contendership to the WWE Women's Tag Team Titles: Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs Lana & Naomi vs Natalya & Tamina vs Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott)
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: [winners of tag team turmoil match] vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler ©
The Background: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler started their second stint as champions by defeating the wacky can-they-coexist team of Asuka and Charlotte Flair at WWE Royal Rumble 2021. They've spent most of their time (for some reason) feuding with the champion and their challenger on both Raw and Smackdown (see Asuka and Charlotte Flair, Asuka and Rhea Ripley, Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair in two pay-per-views in a row). Hidden underneith this lazy storytelling is an actual women's tag team division that exists outside of NXT somehow. Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott have been teaming since they got back together after a year's break that somehow didn't produce a singles run for either woman. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose have been teaming since last year's WWE WrestleMania 36 when Rose was moved from Smackdown to Raw after her feud with Sonya Deville concluded early. Naomi returned in the Royal Rumble match this year and has been allied with Lana since in her otherwise singles-fued with the champions (add "Asuka and Lana" to the champion/challenger list above). Natalya and Tamina started teaming around the same time on Smackdown running as the angry veterans. Since the champions keep feuding with the wrong people, we're just going to throw everyone into a fatal four-way on night one and have the winners face the champions on night two.
Fanboy Fantasy: Before the match starts, more teams are announced for the match because we did a men's Andre the Giant battle royal but not a women's Sensational Invitational battle royal and more ladies need a Wrestlemania paycheck: Bayley & Carmella (they teamed a few times), Mickie James & Chelsea Green (they were @ing each other recently and I like a newer wrestler teaming with a veteran), Nikki Cross & Mia Yim (no longer in Retribution and could be fun together), and the goddamn Iconics as a cross-brand powerhouse. The Riott Squad go on to win the tag team turmoil match even after the match doubles in size. Jax and Baszler show up post-match trying to pull what Roman Reigns did at Elimination Chamber, but referees stop them before they can do too much damage to their challengers and WWE Official Adam Pearce refuses to allow the official match to start until night two. Night two opens with Baszler and Jax already in the ring demanding their challengers get to the ring because they're ready. Morgan and Riott each have a slight limp as the head to the ring. Once the match starts though, Liv Morgan kicks in with speed that the champions were clearly not expecting. When Riott tags in and maintains the challengers momentum, it's clear the two were exaggerating their injuries from night one. When Baszler is on the outside, Morgan and Riott do... their tag team finisher? Whatever that is? and double pin Jax for the win and the titles. Their first feud after a rematch with Baszler/Jax should be the Iconics who will no longer let the brand split leep them apart since they need to be together to compete in a cross-brand division. The people demand this.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: The Riott Squad, The Riott Squad - please just do it. Please.
Tim: The Riott Squad, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (w/ Logan Paul?)
The Background: Much like the story of Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly back on our NXT Takeover Stand and Deliver preview, these two have been together in some form for nearly 15 years. The two started in IWS in Canada, went to PWG, and then ROH, working both as a team and rivals the entire time. Zayn (previously the masked El Generico) headed to NXT first in 2013 when NXT was first transforming from a game show to the best brand we know today. He worked his way up to become the NXT champion when he defeated Neville (now PAC in AEW) in December 2014 at NXT Takeover R-Evolution. Unfortunately for him, Kevin Owens (formerly Kevin Steen) debuted literally earlier that night with a win against CJ Parker (now NJPW's Juice Robinson). Owens greated and congradulated his friend over his title win... and then bodyslammed him multiple times. This is pretty much the cycle of their friendship. Zayn successfully defended his title against Neville on the January 14th (2015) NXT only to eat more powerbombs from Owens. Zayn demanded he defend against Owens, so he did just that, and lost the title to Owens at NXT Takeover Rival in February 2015. Let's hit the fastforward button: Zayn faces Shinsuke Nakamura on his way out of NXT... Owens defends the NXT title on the main roster... Owens goes after John Cena's WWE United States title... the two meet and Zayn eliminates Owens from the WWE Royal Rumble 2016... Zayn defeats Owens at WWE Battleground 2016... Owens wins the WWE Universal title... the Festival of Friendship... Owens faces off against Shane McMahon at WWE Hell in a Cell 2017, and Zayn saves Owens?!? Finally for the first time in NXT/WWE, Owens and Zayn were on the same page against Shane McMahon (really not the wrong reason, you know?) and went on to face Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan in Bryan's return match at WWE WrestleMania 34. Not too long after that Zayn went down with an injury and the two weren't on the same brand for long. Eventually Owens turned face (he has traditionally been the heel) while Zayn returned as a freedom-fighter conspiracy-theorist heel. Owens most recently failed at his attempts to regain the WWE Universal title from Roman Reigns while Zayn lost his WWE Intercontinental title to Big E. With both coming out on the losing end of feuds, the easy thing to do is do what they've always done: fight forever. Clap, clap, clap clap clap. Also Logan Paul is in Zayn's corner? But I'm only vaguely aware of who Paul is and frankly I don't care enough to Google it.
Fanboy Fantasy: Zayn comes to the ring accompanied by Logan Paul who looks ready to fight along side Zayn and his camera crew. Owens enters with a film crew of his own that he specifically has filming Zayn's film crew. This upsets Zayn and Paul. Once the bell rings, Owens starts telling Zayn that his film crew is here the help because you know what? He believes Sami. Sami is a victim, and all of their combined footage will show the truth. Zayn and Paul look very excited at the prospect of teaming with Owens until he hits Paul with a Stone Cold Stunner. Zayn is frozen with shock and Kevin smiles right in his face and hits Zayn with a Stone Cold Stunner and pins him for the win. This match takes about a minute and most of that is talking. On later Smackdowns Sami calls into question where Logan Paul's loyalties laid and how he is still the victim of a mass conspiracy.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Kevin Owens - he needs the win more, I think? Plus another loss only adds to Zayn's conspiracy.
Tim: Kevin Owens
Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
The Background: Cesaro spent is rare time on television last year as a heel teaming with Shinsuke Nakamura. Once they dropped the WWE Smackdown Tag Team titles on the October 9th Smackdown, they fell into the background. Recently both got fired back up and turned face - Nakamura by running and owning a gauntlet match on the February 8th Smackdown that saw him defeat Rey Mysterio, Baron Corbin, and Daniel Bryan only to lose to trickery on the part of Don Roman Reigns, and Cesaro by (also) defeating Daniel Bryan the next week on the January 15th Smackdown and by choosing mutual respect. While Cesaro didn't get much action in the Royal Rumble, it was at WWE Royal Rumble 2021 that the Smackdown Savior Seth Rollins returned from his own damnation/paternaty leave and the Architect quickly set his sights on Cesaro. Rollins flat out attacked him on the February 12th Smackdown after feeling disrespted by the entire Smackdown roster but specifically Cesaro, and Cesaro finally returned the attack to Rollins on the February 26th Smackdown (after a brief WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 interlude). Cesaro defeated Buddy Murphy on the March 5th Smackdown that ignored previous continuity of Murphy leaving Rollins' employ but at least put Murphy on my television screen, and again on the March 12th Smackdown - two in a row is almost a streak! Rollins finally stepped in a defeated Shinsuke Nakamura (see, I mentioned him for a reason!) at WWE Fastlane 2021 to send a message to Cesaro, and again on the March 26th Smackdown - two in a row again! After comparing suits on the April 2nd Smackdown, the two will face off on night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: Rollins comes to the ring with his disciple Buddy Murphy so when Cesaro enters, Shinsuke Nakamura slides in as backup. Each backup doesn't actually factor into the match beyond comedic bits of Nakamura slyly stalking Murphy. Rollins and Cesaro have a very even match and give them a solid 15 minutes. Cesaro tries to get Rollins up for a spin multiple times but Rollins is able to escape until he tries for the curbstomp but misses and Cesaro grabs him and spins him 37 times. Because it's WrestleMania 37. Cesaro gets the pin and he an Nakamura celebrate in the ring while Murphy helps Rollins up the entryway still selling the spins.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Cesaro - Cesaro needs a big win so he can hopefuly be set up as a Universal title contender. As he should be.
Tim: Seth Rollins
WWE Raw Tag Team Titles Match: AJ Styles & Omos vs New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) ©
The Background: The New Day won the 11th tag team championship (four WWE Raw tag team titles, seven WWE Smackdown tag team titles, though they literally swapped titles with the Street Profits and that appears to count as two reigns instead of one but that's just statistics nerdery) by defeating the Hurt Business members Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin on the March 15th Raw, shortly before what I will call "the troubles" started with the Business. That same night, AJ Styles decided that it was time to add the tag team championship to his list of accolades as it is the one thing keeping him from being a Grand Slam champion. Kofi Kingston beat him in singles action on the March 22nd Raw, Xavier Woods won by DQ against Styles on the March 29th Raw after Styles' heater Omos interfered, and Woods picked up a definitive win on the April 5th Raw. Styles is going in with Omos who will be having his debut match here with little to no momentum against the most decorated team in WWE history. This match is scheduled for night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: Omos turns out to be terrible at wrestling. He moves like WWE Hall of Famer the Great Khali, but with less grace. However, when he is able to actually hit either Kingston and Woods, they go down hard but each is able to pull the other away before Omos can attempt a pin. AJ is able to tag in a few times and hold his own, but then keeps foolishly tagging in Omos to disastrous results. Kingston eventually hits Trouble in Paradise for the win. Styles yells at Omos for costing them the titles until Omos lifts AJ by his neck, but Styles is able to talk him down. For the next few weeks AJ starts teaming with other Raw competitors because goddamnit he wants those tag titles. AJ Styles & Sheamus, AJ Styles & a non-Retribution Shane Thorne, AJ Styles & Akira Tozawa (this last one ends with R-Truth showing up and Omos winning the 24/7 title), but Styles is not able to beat the New Day. Eventually Omos finally chokeslams AJ Styles and Styles goes on vacation for a month while Omos hangs out in the 24/7 division.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: AJ Styles & Omos - I see no reason to not give Styles the extra checkmark on his resume now that he has a guard/friend/partner. New Day can always regain the titles literally the next night on Raw if we want.
Tim: AJ Styles & Omos
WWE United States Title Match: Sheamus vs Matt Riddle ©
The Background: Sheamus beat Matt Riddle in a non-title match on the March 29th Raw. Now he will receive a title shot. That's it. This match is schedule for night two.
Fanboy Fantasy: Sheamus takes the early advantage due to his size, but Riddle is able to fight his way back. The two are evenly paced and Riddle wins with a roll-up. Riddle celebrates whatever the middle ground is between super-excited and super-chill. You know what it is, it's his whole thing. As mentioned above and gets into a discussion with Mustafa Ali about title shots and ends up losing the WWE United States title to Ali on Raw. For now.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Matt Riddle - it's too early to take the title off Riddle I think.
Tim: Matt Riddle
WWE Intercontinental Title Nigerian Drum Match: Apollo Crews vs Big E ©
The Background: Big E defeated Sami Zayn to win Smackdown's WWE Intercontinental championship on the Christmas Day December 25th Smackdown, and all the children were happy. He soon found an ally in Apollo Crews and teamed with him against Zayn and Baron Corbin on the January 1st Smackdown and it was pretty much downhill from there. Crews, fresh off a WWE United States title run over on Raw last year, was able to secure a title shot with Large Epsilon on the January 8th Smackdown that ended with double pin screwiness. Paul Heyman used his sounding board on the January 9th Talking Smack to explain to Crews that he needs to fight harder and meaner. The two fought in a triple threat with Sami Zayn on the February 5th Smackdown with Big E again coming out on top, but Crews was now down the rabbit hole. Crews lost a match against Shinsuke Nakamura on the February 19th Smackdown and snapped, attacking both Nakamura and Big E post-match. Crews began embracing his Nigerian roots to confirm that he is different from you and you must boo him, and the two fought with a golf cart on the March 19th Smackdown. It was wonderful but not up to Matt Hardy/Sammy Guevara standards. Big E defeated Crews at WWE Fastlane 2021 in what was likely a botched finish, odd for a storyline that seems to be incorporating multiple work and shoot botches. Crews and the Alpha Academy team of Chad Gable and Otis Dozovic defeated Epsilon and the Street Profits on the March 26th Smackdown so they will fight again in what will be a "Nigerian Drum" match. I'm uncomfortable already. This match is scheduled for night two.
Fanboy Fantasy: I have no clue what a Nigerian drum match is supposed to be, so let's say it allows drums and drumsticks as weapons? Like a Symphony of Destruction match? E and Crews beat the living shit out of eachother and brawl into the back for as close as a crowd-participation style match we're allowed to have at this point. Well, as close in Florida, so pretty close, right? Crews eventually gets Big E lodged into a bass drum that pins his arms to his sides and is able to keep him down for the pin and the title. Post-match E is able to bust out of the drum Superman style though security stops him from any actual attacks to the new champion. On the next Smackdown, Big E announces that he and Crews have fought enough times, and while he wouldn't say the better man won because Crews is in no way the better man, but Crews is now the champion. And while the Intercontinental title may be losing him as a contender, he would like to formally announce his intention to win the WWE Universal title. This brings out the champion who agrees, but as to who that is, we'll soon see, dear reader.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Apollo Crews - while Big E is the good guy here, Crews has been screwed several times and should pick up the win here.
Tim: Big E
Bray Wyatt (w/ Alexa Bliss) vs Randy Orton
The Background: Randy Orton won the WWE World title having defeated Drew McIntyre at WWE Hell in a Cell 2020, though he lost it back to McIntyre on the November 16th Raw. While briefly the champion, Orton appeared on Alexa Bliss's "A Moment of Bliss" talk show segment where she brought up Orton's history with her master Bray Wyatt - the two were aligned back in 2017 when Orton had won that year's men's Royal Rumble and Wyatt won the WWE World title the next month at WWE Elimination Chamber 2017. Orton relinquished his title shot because he's a good disciple (AJ Styles won a battle royal and singles match against Luke Harper/Brodie Lee to win the shot in the meantime) but then took the shot back by burning down Bray Wyatt's compound and burial spot for Sister Abigail on the February 28, 2017 Smackdown. The same Sister Abigail that is the namesake for Wyatt's finisher and current possessor of Alexa Bliss. Orton went on to defeat Wyatt for the WWE World title that year at WWE WrestleMania 33 and Wyatt didn't really recover until bonding with The Fiend personality. This obviously led to a Firefly Inferno match at WWE TLC 2020, as you do. Instead of being a cinematic match, the ring was instead surrounded by fire - so it was a "traditional" inferno match? Either way, Orton set The Fiend on fire, effectively killing both Bray Wyatt and/or The Fiend. Since then, its appeared as if Alexa Bliss is at the least still in contact with the Fiend, or at the most the new host for The Fiend, so she faced Orton at WWE Fastlane 2021 that saw Wyatt return as an extra tasty crispy version of the Fiend. Now the two will fight for what one can assume as "one last time" in.. a singles match? That can't be right. *checks Wikipedia* Nope, it's scheduled as a singles match. Huh. This "singles" match is scheduled for night two.
Fanboy Fantasy: Shamelessly copy and pasted from our WWE TLC 2020 preview because this shouldn't be a singles match and I'm not thinking this up again. They need to both move on to new feuds: So if we want to remember, this is NOT the first Firefly-style match between Orton and Wyatt - they had a proto-cinematic "House of Horrors" match at WWE Payback 2017 after Orton had defeated Wyatt for the WWE World title the previous month at WWE WrestleMania 33. The new match literally starts with the shot of Orton burning Wyatt's old cabin we saw 3 years ago, but now it fast forwards and the 2017 Orton morphs into 2020 Orton. Current Orton, taking a moment to gain his barings realizes where he is and that the fire has already started. Throughout the match, shots of the 2017 match are cut in when a movie the current Orton and Wyatt uses mimics the previous match. Think of how Homicide: LIfe on the Street would show the same scene from multiple angles and takes (a deep cut for my fellow David Simon fans). Throughout the match we rewind back to Orton burning the cabin, each time with the Fiend laughing more and more, and then fast forwarding back to the current match. With each rewind when we cut back to the present fight, Orton's attire jumps back a few years - first current, then Wyatt family-era, then Authority, Legacy, Rated-RKO (w/ special guest appearence by Edge standing in the corner of the cabin, Blair Witch style), all the way back to pre-Evolution blue-chipper era. Each time we hear Fiend laugh as he gets weaker, with one or two instances of someone yelling "Get Out!" Once Orton is blue-chipper Orton, Alexa Bliss shows up with a giant fucking mallet and chucks him in the face with it, allowing Fiend to drag him into the center of cabin. Fiend and Bliss disappear and we cut back one last time to the Orton-setting-cabin-on-fire scene except Orton is edited out. The cabin bursts into flames, Fiend and Bliss teleport into the shot mocking Orton's victory gestures, and we hear Orton scream. The Fiend wins and has another superstar captured and taken off the table.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Bray Wyatt - Randy Orton must disappear just as John Cena did a year ago. I have multiple fantasy write-ups based on this all being very hard contiuity.
Tim: Bray Wyatt
WWE Raw Women's Title Match: Rhea Ripley vs Asuka ©
The Background: Rhea Ripley joined the "main roster" by showing up in the women's Royal Rumble match and almost winning the whole damn thing - she came in at #14, lasted 39 minutes, eliminated seven women (Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Dakota Kai, Mandy Rose, Santana Garrett, Toni Storm, and Charlotte Flair) and was eliminated last by the Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair. And then... nothing? She finally showed up on the Raw roster more than a month later and immedietely challenged Asuka to a title match at WrestleMania. This was surprisingly easy since Asuka, who has been champion mostly since WWE Money in the Bank 2020 in April excluding a month-break from Sasha Banks in July/August, hasn't had much to do? She was last feuding/teaming with Charlotte Flair and the two briefly held the WWE Women's Tag Team titles, but Flair was more involved in a story with Golden-Age Charlotte Flair, Lacey Evans, whom was dating and/or banging her father Ric Flair. But Evans got pregnant and dropped out, and then Flair dropped out do to other things including her fiance Andrade requesting (and receiving) his release from WWE, and Asuka was left to dance alone. Ripley and Asuka had a contract signing on the March 29th Raw, which always goes well so they were obviously challenged to a match by the WWE Women's Tag Team champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. The champions beat Ripley and Asuka on the April 5th Raw when Ripley attacked Asuka because they have a WrestleMania match and cannot coexist. At least they didn't tease it out any longer than a full match? This match is scheduled for night two.
Fanboy Fantasy: Ripley and Asuka rip into eachother right away with stiff slaps and harder kicks. Any time Asuka gets Ripley into a submission, Ripley headbutts her way out. Any time Ripley is able to power kick Asuka, she's able to slide out of the ring before Ripley can go for a pin. We even get blood. The match also goes far longer than what anyone is expecting, so much so that the announcers start making comments that these two women are amazing and who knows how long they'll go before our other matches. Something thinly valed to say they need to hurry up. Other members of the Raw women's division start making their way down to the ring to see the carnage, but also to say hurry the fuck up. Baszler, fresh off her tag titles loss, finally has enough and tries to attack Ripley, but Ripley sees it coming and kicks her off the apron - Baszler didn't make the attack so no DQ. Jax does the same thing on the opposite side only for Asuka to return in kind and again no DQ. Peyton Royce, Dana Brooke, Mia Yim, others start to get further into the ring only for no one to connect and either Ripley or Asuka to beat them down before they can touch either competitor. With the entire division down, Ripley and Asuka pause to count who's out there and they both realize someone isn't there: Charlotte Flair. Ripley slams Asuka down and yells at Flair to get out to the ring with everyone else. Flair's music hits just as Asuka spits the green mist into Ripley's face. Flair slowly makes her way to the ring as Ripley tackles Asuka and the two brawl in the middle of the ring. Once Flair makes it to the ring, Ripley is able to hit Riptide followed by a second Riptide on Asuka and pin her for the title. Ripley gets the title and holds it up in Asuka's face and then turns to Flair and stares her down, green mist and blood dripping from her face. Asuka gets up and runs at Ripley but Rhea senses her coming, dodges, and Flair gets green-misted in the face. Thanks for coming, Charlotte! Let's slide Baszler back into singles action and have these four kick the shit out of eachother for a few months, it'll be fun!
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Rhea Ripley - Asuka doesn't really deserve another WrestleMania singles loss, but she needs a break from being a champion without a feud.
WWE World Title Match: Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Lashley ©
The Background: Drew McIntyre won the WWE World title by defeating Brock Lesnar in the main event of night two of WWE WrestleMania 36 and held the title for around 300 combined days acting as the leader of the Raw brand in the COVID-19 era. One of his first pay-per-view title defenses was against Bobby Lashley at WWE Backlash 2020 who had just aligned with MVP (interestingly enough MVP's reasoning for managing Lashley was that he was receiving nothing while Smackdown's Baron Corbin was being invited over to face McIntyre). McIntyre retained his title, but Lashley went on to win the WWE United States title in August at WWE Payback 2020 and held that title with an iron fist with MVP by his side with Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander, collectively known as the Hurt Business. Alexander and Benjamin were able to win the WWE Raw Tag Team titles in December at WWE TLC 2020, giving the Hurt Business #mostofthegold. Lashley lost his title at WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 through no fault of his own when Matt Riddle pinned John Morrison in a triple threat match to win the title. However, Lashley showed up after the WWE World title elimination chamber match to completely dismantle champion Drew McIntyre, allowing the Miz to swoop in and cash-in his Money-in-the-Bank briefcase to win the championship. Of course, Lashley did this for a price and defeated the Miz a week later on the March 1st Raw to win his first WWE World title. Now the Hurt Business had #allthegold. It was downhill from there. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander lost their WWE Raw Tag Team titles to the New Day on the March 15th Raw and were effectively removed from the title scene immedietly when AJ Styles (and Omos) challenged the New Day to a WrestleMania match. Alexander and Benjamin then lost a handicap match to McIntyre on the March 22nd Raw that made the WWE World title challenger strong, but made the former tag team champions very weak. Then the dark day, the March 29th Raw, Lashley and MVP kicked Alexander and Benjamin out of the Hurt Business because they couldn't take care of McIntyre. While technically correct, what the fuck? It turns out Lashley is starting to crack at the thought of defending the title against McIntyre because McIntytre defeated him last year? Yay, continuity? Lashley and MVP put "a hit" out on McIntyre, saying whomever takes him out can have his spot at WrestleMania - and it was answered by Smackdown's Baron Corbin. Yay, continuity? Thankfully it was pointed out that Corbin is not a new member of the Hurt Business (though they are scouting), and McIntyre defeated him on the April 5th Raw. This match is scheduled for night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: This sounds like it'll be the opening match on night one, so let's go with that - McIntyre gets the full Braveheart entrance while Lashley enters with MVP who joins the commentary booth. The announcers start grilling MVP on using Baron Corbin to Hurt McIntyre before the match and releasing Alexander & Benjamin, but MVP waves it all off as just Business. They two beat eachother like Kong and Godzilla (see it in theatres or the comfort of your own home, everyone!) and go for a good 20 minutes. It's important to be that it goes more than 5 minutes like last year. Lashley tries to lock the Hurt Lock but McIntyre escapes a couple times until it's finally locked in and McIntyre, sorry to say, passes out. No tap, but passes out and Lashley retains. Clean. It's fun when you have to point that out because it's not the norm? Anyway, on the next Raw, Lashley ignores Mustafa Ali's title request because he and MVP are dealing with Baron Corbin because like Lashley did with Miz, he feels that he is owed a title shot for working on McIntyre the last two weeks and it obviously helped out. MVP points out that their (Hurt) Business has concluded so he can go back to Smackdown now, but WWE Official Adam Pearce appears to let everyone know that since Lashley and Corbin looked so tight and due to Corbin's proper paperwork filing, Corbin has been officially traded to Raw and Smackdown will receive a superstar of a similar level (which Corbin laughs at the idea of). Corbin is new to the roster so he can't have a title shot right away, but he can earn it by defeating Drew McIntyre in the main event - to which we get a double pin and thus a triple threat match at the next pay-per-view between Corbin, McIntyre and Lashley. In the meantime Alexander and Benjamin try to attack Lashley whenever they can but he's able to avoid them with new Hurt Business members Dabba-Kato (who is still technically on the Raw roster I think?) and Ricochet despite Alexander pointing out that MVP will just throw them away like he did with Benjamin and himself. We also get a tag team match between Alexander/Benjamin and Ricochet/Kato at the next big show and the (new) Hurt Business comes out on top with more new members: Damian Priest, Nia Jax, & Shayna Baszler. After this we go full gang warz with McIntyre and Corbin becoming very uneasy allies (and Corbin finally drops the King gimmick) and teaming with Alexander and Benjamin (and Cross and Yim to counteract Baszler/Jax). At Money in the Bank, MVP Is able to slide in both Priest and Ricochet into Raw's side of things along with Matt Riddle and Drew McIntyre with Priest coming out on top and keeping the briefcase in the Business. While we wait for the tension to brew there, Kurt Angle returns to Raw with his new client: Brock Lesnar. We finally get Lashley/Lesnar at SummerSlam. Catch the wave!
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Drew McIntyre - I'm not a fan of short title reigns (Miz's recent week-long reign is an exception as it did what it needed to), but I think McIntyre will be getting his title back. Not a bad thing for him, but Lashley (and the Hurt Business) deserved better.
Tim: Drew McIntyre
WWE Smackdown Women's Title Match: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks ©
The Background: Bianca Belair entered the women's Royal Rumbe match at WWE Royal Rumble 2021 at #3 and fought her way to the end to win only the fourth women's rumble match. She was in for 56:52 minutes, breaking the previous record of length in a single women's rumble match, and eliminated four women: Bayley, Natalya, Charlotte Flair (along with Rhea Ripley), and runner-up Ripley. There wasn't really a question, but Belair chose her frenemy Sasha Banks for her title shot. This led to them to start teaming up against Nia Jax & Shayna Baslzer (but why though) and they challenged for the WWE Women's Tag Team titles at WWE Elimination Chamber 2021. They then lost to Natalya & Tamina on the March 12th Smackdown with Belair eating the pin from Tamina. Way to keep the challenger strong! Sasha Banks was able to successfully defend her WWE Smackdown Women's title against Nia Jax thanks to miscommunication between Jax and Baszler on the March 19th Smackdown, so they had another tag team titles match at WWE Fastlane 2021 with the same losing result. Belair has gone on to defeat Natalya on the March 26th Smackdown and Carmella on the April 2nd Smackdown to remain strong. This match is scheduled for (the main event of?) night one.
Fanboy Fantasy: Unlike the Raw women's title match, this one is purely one-on-one with no interference (as much as I want to plug Bayey back in) and goes a solid 30 minutes in the main event of night one. We get a nice technical match with psychology all over the place. They start slow and feel eachother out, and start working on specific areas - Banks goes for neck and back shots to set up the Banks Statement while Belair hits the back and face to set up the K.O.D. Banks accidentally gets hit by Belairs braid so she grabs and yanks Belair down with it. This leads to Belair whipping her with the braid which I love is never a DQ because it's her hair. She doesn't do it as often anymore that she's a face, so we need to set it up as self-defense. Then it works. Either way, Banks works more and more heel as the match goes on to reaffirm that the crowd is behind Belair. Belair eventually hits the K.O.D. for the pin and the title. The Street Profits join her in the ring with #allthegold to celebrate as we go off the air. I told you I like when couples have titles together.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Bianca Belair - she's the EST.
Tim: Bianca Belair