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The main event of WrestleMania is the one match of the year WWE need to get right. It’s the culmination of their biggest yearly feud, the match that should define an era, create stars and go down in history. WWE just seem to forget this sometimes, but they are getting old, so we’ll forgive them. The WrestleMania main event is also usually the most predictable match of the year.

With WWE wanting to create a feel-good moment for their fans, it’s usually the babyface who goes over in the main event and fans are generally happy about this. Steve Austin defeating Shawn Michaels at XIV, Batista defeating Triple H at 21, Daniel Bryan capturing the gold at XXX, all these matches were as obvious as a WWE fan at a New Japan show, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t good. However, what if, with some Mania matches, there was an alternative outcome to some historic Mania matches? We’ll be looking at 15 Mania main events from all eras and imagining what might have happened had somebody else won the match.

Warning: since the face usually wins in these matches, expect a hideous amount of heel turns. I’m sorry, if there was another way, I’d take it. Anyway, time to indulge my little fantasy booking fetish once more, as we take a look at some alternative Mania main events.

15. WrestleMania IV – Ted DiBiase

via cagesideseats.com

We’ll start off with an outcome that might have actually happened, had other events not intervened.

The story of this match is as complicated as it is cartoonish. Hulk Hogan lost the WWE Championship to Andre The Giant in February of 1988 under controversial circumstances. Gotta make Hulk look strong, after all. The title was vacated and a tournament was set up for WrestleMania IV that would see a new champion crowned at the end of the night. After both Hogan and Andre were taken out after their match ended in a double DQ, the final match was between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. With some help from the Hulkster (because he just had to be in the spotlight, didn’t he), Savage won, claiming his first WWE title and setting up the Mega Powers feud that would last for the next year. But, my children, this is not how things were originally meant to happen.

The planned finish to the night was to have DiBiase go over an exhausted Hogan in the final (with a whole butt-tonne of naughtiness involved) to win the title, setting up a feud between the two for that Summer. However, plans were changed when The Honky Tonk Man, who was Intercontinental Champion at the time, refused to drop the title to Savage at the show, which would have meant every single champion would have left WrestleMania as a heel. Not wanting this, WWE changed the tournament brackets to allow for a Savage victory, costing DiBiase his one and only shot at the world title. Jeez, how bad do you think Honky felt for DiBiase after that? Actually, this is a man who dressed up as Elvis for a living. He feels nothing.

14. WrestleMania V – Randy Savage

via insidepulse.com

Now we are firmly in the realms of fantasy booking. Me likey.

One year after his title win, Savage would defend his WWE title against kayfabe best bud/real life worst enemy, Hulk Hogan, after turning heel on Hogan a few months prior. Yes, WWE is a place where, if a man makes inappropriate advances towards your wife and you react badly to it, you’re the bad guy. Savage and Hogan’s friendship/feud finally culminated at Mania V with Hogan regaining his world title, banishing Savage to the undercard forever more. Poor Macho.

Whilst the mega-face Hogan winning might seem like solid business sense from WWE here, there actually were some benefits to keeping Savage on top of the card. He was selling out arenas as champions, even after his heel turn, so WWE could still have made top dollar with him as champ. Savage could have won the match by countout or disqualification to keep Hogan strong, building to another match at that year’s SummerSlam (which was the original planned match for that show anyway) when Hogan got the belt back, setting up for the Ultimate Challenge at WrestleMania VI. When a show is five years old and the same dude wins four of the five main events of that show, it doesn’t look overly great, so perhaps breaking up the continuity with a Savage retention would have been good for this show. Saying that, I’ve actually seen this one the whole way through, and I loved it, so maybe I’m talking nonsense. Yeah, probably am.

13. WrestleMania VIII – Sycho Sid

via Dailymotion.com

If you haven’t already noticed, I really enjoy booking people to beat Hulk Hogan.

WrestleMania VIII had some great moments to it; Savage vs Flair for the world title was good, Shawn Michaels had his first solo Pay-Per-View match and Bret Hart and Roddy Piper had a classic for the IC title. The main event, however, was, as they say, a total dumpster fire. The final bout – Hulk Hogan vs Sycho Sid – was advertised as Hogan’s final within the company, so this was a pretty deal. The finish, however, was completely ruined by Charles Wright, better known as Papa Shango. Shango was meant to interfere in the match, breaking up a pin by Sid on Hogan in the process, giving Hogan the win by DQ. However, Shango missed his cue (was probably too busy recruiting hookers, whoops, wrong gimmick), so Sid was forced to kick out of the Atomic Leg Drop (whcih never happened), leaving the end of the match a sloppy, ridiculous mess. Charles’ punishment for this mess-up? A hall of Fame induction 24 years later. Some justice, huh?

What could have happened, though, was something a little different. Sid and Hogan could have brawled outside the ring, with Sid’s manager, Harvey Wippleman, distracting the referee in the ring. Unbeknownst to the ref, Shango could have appeared at ringside, shocking everyone (although, I think a man dressed as a voodoo priest would have been pretty hard to miss) and nailing Hogan with his staff and laying The Real American out. Sid would then hop back in the ring with Hogan down, leaving Hulk to stir, run to the ring, but narrowly miss the count, losing the match by countout. The heat on Sid for winning cheaply in Hogan’s final match would have been huge, compounded by a post-match beatdown by Sid and Shango, which, yes, can still be broken up by a returning Ultimate Warrior. Hogan may not have won, but he would have still gone out a hero, fending off the evil baddies with Warrior by his side, never to return again… until a year later, when he did. And boy, do we wish he’d stayed away.

12. WrestleMania IX – Bret Hart

via cagesideseats.com

Ugh, this show.

Just to clarify; normally I would count the Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna match as WrestleMania IX’s main event, but, my booking for the scheduled final match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna eliminates the need for that, so that’s what I’d count as the main event in this context. Argue in the comments if you must. As it went in real life, Yokozuna defeated The hitman for the WWE Championship after his manager, Mr. Fuji, threw salt into Hart’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Then, just moments later, Hulk “I do what I want” Hogan strode down to the ring and received a challenge from Mr. Fuji. Hogan accepted and, in typical Hogan fashion, took down Yokozuna in 22 seconds to win the belt. Bleugh. Just bleugh.

This shameful pandering to Hogan was the terrible cherry on the top of the terrible cake that was WrestleMania IX. However, this didn’t have to be how things ended. Bret Hart was the obvious choice to lead WWE forward from 1993; he was athletic, intelligent and incredibly over as a babyface. He was not, however, Hulk Hogan, which, for Vince McMahon, was a fatal flaw. In retrospect, however, a clean victory for Hart was probably the best option for this show. Defeating the seemingly unstoppable monster would have set The Hitman up perfectly for an extended title run and, judging by the reaction to his title win at Mania X, the fans would have loved to see The Pink and Black Attack leave Vegas with the belt around his waist. If only Vince hadn’t gone for the big guy over the little guy. Actually, the sums up a lot of problems in WWE history.

11. WrestleMania XI – Bam Bam Bigelow

via WWE.com

Ah, from one crappy WrestleMania main event to another. The mid-90s were not a good time.

To try and bring some mainstream attention to the WWE, Vince spent the big bucks on celebrities for WrestleMania XI, including former NFL linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. Taylor had some kayfabe beef with wrestler, Bam Bam Bigelow, after the two got into a heated discussion at the Royal Rumble and the match was made for WrestleMania; the main event of WrestleMania. Yep, really. Dear Lord. For a match that had a football player in it, this wasn’t too bad, but the ending, which saw Taylor defeat Bigelow with a diving clothesline, has been highly debated amongst wrestling fans and critics to this day. The ones that have actually made it to the main event of this show; it’s a slog.

Having Bigelow win the match, and, therefore, protecting the image of wrestling and wrestlers, might have been better for Bigelow and wrestlers in the long run, but, ultimately, it couldn’t have saved this show. This match would have been fine anywhere else on the card, but the main event was not the place for it. Shawn Michaels and Diesel should have closed the show for the WWE Championship (which I would have happily rebooked too), but, sadly, Vince put his love of celebrity over his love of sweaty men in tights. It was tough, but he did it.

10. WrestleMania XII – Bret Hart

via allthebestfights.net

Hold on, hold on, wait, don’t go. I promise, I’m going somewhere with this.

The Iron Man match in the main event of WrestleMania XII between WWE Champion, Bret Hart, and challenger, Shawn Michaels, is renowned by many as one of the most incredible feats of athleticism in wrestling history. The two men were scheduled to go for an hour, with the man who scored the most falls after the time limit walking away the champion. However, after sixty minutes, the two men were still tied up at 0-0, the match went into sudden death overtime, with Michaels eventually getting the win after a Sweet Chin Music to win his first of many world titles in WWE. It’s the longest singles match in WWE history and one of the most spectacular in WrestleMania history. But, of course, I can improve upon it. Because I am great.

With Michaels as the face in real life, re-booking this match would have to turn him heel I think, but, luckily, I have the perfect way to do so. Imagine, like in real life, the Iron Man match ends at a stalemate, but, it does so with Michaels about to pin Hart from a Sweet Chin Music. As the referee goes to count the “three”, the klaxon sounds and the match ends. No overtime, no sudden death, a draw. Michaels was literally seconds away from finally realising his dream of becoming WWE Champion, lasting an hour in the ring in a gruelling match-up, only to come up short at the last possible second and for Hart to keep the title on a technicality. Following this devastating blow, HBK snaps, brutally attacking Hart, the referee, security teams and even Vince McMahon (who would have been at the commentary desk at this point), confirming his heel turn, setting up a huge heel run for Michaels over the summer, eventually culminating in him capturing the title. Shawn may not have liked this and the ending of Mania XII was fine as it was, but, if you wanted to add that extra layer to this match, a draw would certainly have done that. Although, I can see why telling Shawn Michaels he wasn’t going to win the world title in 1996 would be a hard ask.

9. WrestleMania 2000 – Mick Foley

via cagesideseats.com

Again, let me explain.

The main event of WrestleMania 2000 (WrestleMania 16, if you want to sound boring) was as overbooked at muddled as they come. What began as a pretty solid feud between Triple H and The Rock got a bit more complicated when The Big Show was entered into the mix and then Mick Foley joined the fray, despite having being “retired” by Triple H just a few weeks earlier in a highly emotional angle. This is why I have trust issues, WWE! The match was a Four Way Elimination match that saw Triple H retain his title in what was a pretty shocking moment (this was the first time a heel had left Mania as champion), but the match was an absolute mess, especially when you consider that there was a “McMahon in every corner”. Because how dare there be a wrestling storyline actually about wrestlers.

Having Triple H retain in this match was a shock and one of the things that WWE, in my opinion, did right about this show. However, it doesn’t have to be Triple H ending the night as heel champion – how about we make a brand-new heel and give Mick Foley a truly incredible WrestleMania moment? Here’s how I’d do it. We begin the match as it happened in real life – the Big Show getting pinned by The Rock – and Vince McMahon still turns on The Rock, beating him down with a steel chair and allowing Triple H to pin him. However, unlike real life, this happens before Mick is eliminated, leaving just The Game and Mick left in the match. After some back and forth, it looks like the combination of Trips, Vince and Stephanie are too much for Foley, when Vince does the unthinkable and low blows Triple H, allowing Mick Foley to hit a Pedigree on The Game and win the WWE Championship, aligning with Vince and turning heel in the process. The next night, Vince announces that he couldn’t allow Stephanie to rule his company through Triple H as champion, but he also didn’t trust The Rock as champion either. Mick wanted to have his moment in the sun, so Vince obliged, helping him have his WrestleMania moment. The next month at Backlash, The Rock defeats Mick for the title with the help of a returning Steve Austin, just like real life (except with Mick in the place of Triple H). Not only would this give Mick Foley a huge WrestleMania moment, but it would also be truly shocking to see long-time fan favourite Foley go bad in such a dramatic way. Also, it would make him coming back from retirement actually mean something. Tear me apart in the comments if you must, but I think this would be cool.

8. WrestleMania X8 – Chris Jericho

via WWE.com

It’s time for me to book… the victory of Jericho. Drink it in, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

WrestleMania X8 was strange Mania indeed. Coming off the back of the best WrestleMania ever (that is a fact), the show had some genuinely amazing moments, but, overall, it seemed thoroughly average. One of the reasons for this was the lacklustre main event between Triple H and Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Championship. Trips had returned from a long absence to a huge applause in early 2002, leading to him winning the Royal Rumble that year and being shoved into a main event feud with Jericho, which also somehow involved his wife, Stephanie McMahon. Basically, Jericho played second fiddle to the McMahon-Helmsleys for about three months. Great. The show ended with Trips standing tall, only for him to lose the title to Hulk Hogan just a month later, who, by the way, had the real main event that night against The Rock. Harsh, but fair.

Re-booking this one is tricky, because, in my opinion, it was really a feud between Triple H and Stephanie, as opposed to Triple H and Jericho. What I would do, personally, is have Stephanie betray Jericho in the weeks leading up to Mania, putting him in the underdog babyface position and have Triple H as the powerful heel, a role he’s always suited much better. Then, you could have Y2J fight against the odds, using his more athletic offence (which always favours a babyface) to overcome Triple H’s power game. It could have made a bona fide star out of Y2J, reintroduced Triple H as a dominant heel and, most importantly, spared us the nonsense of the Hulk Hogan title reign that came after. He could barely even do the leg drop, guys, the least physical finisher of all time. It’s literally just jumping and sitting down at the same time! Jesus.

7. WrestleMania XX – Shawn Michaels

via Dailymotion.com

I really didn’t want to put this on here, but come on guys, you all know why I had to.

WrestleMania XX is a horrible confliction of a show. It had some great matches and moments, but, unfortunately, the single best moment of the night involves a man who murdered his wife and young son. Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match from the number one spot to earn a place in the main event of this show. His opponents were World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H, and the man he’d be feuding on-and-off with for the past two years, Shawn Michaels. Benoit was an afterthought heading into this match, with most of the feud centring around HBK and The Game, so it was a real shock when Benoit forced Triple H to tap out to the Crippler Crossface, winning the world title and then celebrating with his best friend and WWE Champion, Eddie Guerrero, in one of the most emotional WrestleMania moments of all time. But, like all good things in wrestling, it was not to be.

With what we know now, re-booking this one is easy – just don’t have Benoit win. Whilst it would have been awkward for WWE to still talk about the match with Benoit in it, at least they wouldn’t have to mention Benoit’s victory. Having Michaels score the big win against his long-time foe, Triple H, would have been a pretty satisfying emotional pay-off, even if this scenario would have better suited a one-on-one match. HBK didn’t need the world title run, but, under the circumstances, this would have been better than Triple H retaining the gold. Benoit and Guerrero was a great moment, but, sadly, future tragedies overshadowed this amazing moment. Sorry for that emotional payload, guys. We’ll move onto brighter things now, I promise.

6. WrestleMania 23 – Shawn Michaels

via wwe.com

This was the WrestleMania with the Battle of the Billionaires. Oh, the good times.

WrestleMania 23 saw the World Tag Team Champions, Shawn Michaels and WWE Champion, John Cena, do battle the in the main event for Big Match John’s world title. In a pretty solid main event, the two men (who were both faces at the time) pushed each other to their limits, kicking out of multiple finishers before Michaels eventually tapped out to Cena’s STFU. Whoops, sorry, that’s the STF now. Michaels and Cena would continue feuding after HBK turned on Cena, costing the two their tag team titles the next night on Raw and the feud would culminate with a Fatal 4-Way at Backlash, also involving Edge and Randy Orton. John Cena would then go onto feud with The Great Khali, which is… nice?

I think this match could have been changed up slightly with Michaels winning, but not through cheating or a heel turn, but clean as a whistle. I know, I know, Cena losing clean in 2007 was about as likely as a “Best of Fandango” DVD ever getting released, but hear me out. Cena and Michaels would put on their usual top-calibre match, trading momentum back and forth, but, when Cena goes for a final FU (whoops, sorry, AA. Damn PG), Michaels slips down behind John and hits a thunderous Sweet Chin Music, pinning Cena for the 1, 2, 3. Not only would this be a massive shock, but it might help to curb the growing anti-Cena movement that was bubbling away at this time. Also, having John team with the man who defeated him for the world title would add an interesting caveat to his character, possible leading him to become a tweener. Yeah, that’s right, not a heel. Be patient, my children, the time for that will come.

5. WrestleMania XXV – Randy Orton

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*Insert joke about WrestleMania XXV not being the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania here*

I really enjoyed the build-up to Randy Orton and Triple H’s WWE Championship match at Mania XXV. Orton was hot as hell thanks to The Legacy and was showing a real vicious side to his character. The home invasion stuff from The Game was really good and, as creepy as it was, tell me you don’t remember Orton’s weird kiss to Stephanie McMahon. Creepy and illegal. Don’t try that at home, kids. However, when the match rolled around, it had to follow the immense Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker match from earlier in the night, which many consider to be the best Mania match of all time. The final bout was an uninspiring affair that left many fans leaving the show feeling a little bit deflated.

Orton winning would have really mixed things up in this main event rather than having boring old Triple H retain. Perhaps some interference from Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase could have established The Legacy as a truly destructive force in WWE and getting The Viper to use Triple H’s own signature weapon, the sledgehammer, against him to retain could keep Trips strong, as well as hinting at Randy Orton replacing Triple H as a dominant force in WWE. Something that probably should have happened in, oh, I don’t know, five years earlier – *cough* Unforgiven 2004 *cough*. In reality, Orton won the WWE title just one month after WrestleMania, so what’s an extra month in the long run? Orton’s victory could have set him up for a monster run as the champion in 2009, but, sadly, WWE messed up what could have been a pretty good main event. If only they’d had a certain Sportster writer booking for them at the time, eh? Actually, I’d have been 11 years old. Probably still could have done a better job.

4. WrestleMania XXVII – John Cena

via WWE.com

Sorry, Miz, my love for you has to take a backseat for now.

If you thought WrestleMania XXV was bad, you obviously haven’t seen this absolute dumpster fire. With one decent match on the whole card, Mania 27 was a massive disappointment during one of the company’s lowest points. John Cena and The Miz were the main event feud heading in (unbelievable, I know) with Miz looking to retain his WWE Championship against The Leader of the Cenation (again, unbelievable!). However, there was a third member of this feud; a member who, unfortunately for Miz, massively overshadowed The Awesome One. The Rock had made his WWE return as the host of Mania 27 (why WrestleMania needs a host is beyond me) and everyone was pretty excited about it. They got less excited when Rock cost Cena his chance at the title after attacking him during his match, which, by that point, had become an overbooked mess. Miz won, looking like the worst champion in the history of champions, leading Kevin Nash to smile madly somewhere.

Here’s how I’d have done it. We all know this match was just a way to set up the main event of next year’s WrestleMania between Rock and Cena, so, as long as we can still do that, we can have this match end however we want, really. I’d have Rock be at ringside from the start (we can play up his duty as “host” to make this happen) so that, when Cena and Miz spill to the outside, Rock and Cena can have a stare-down which, hopefully, should get a nice little pop. After this, the match would continue until the referee gets knocked down, leaving the match un-officiated. Miz could then hit Cena with the Skull-Crushing Finale and go to pin him, but, with no referee, his three count doesn’t register. Whilst Miz pins Cena, Rock gets up at ringside, grabs a referee shirt from someone and gets in the ring. He makes the count, gets to two, only to have Cena kick out. Cena then gets up in Rock’s face about trying to have him lose the match (Rock is not a proper referee, after all) and the two can get a little physical if you like. Miz could then go to pin Cena again, but he kicks out at two, leading Miz to go crazy at The Rock for not counting fast enough. Tired of being disrespected, Rock hits Miz with a Rock Bottom, Cena makes the pin and The Rock, begrudgingly, counts three. The next night on Raw, Rock interrupts Cena’s celebration, claiming that he wouldn’t be champion without him. The match is made for Mania XXVIII, only it is assumed to be for the WWE title, when, in reality, the CM Punk stuff still happens and Rock and Cena have their normal one on one match, as they did in real life. Phew. That was a long one. Sorry, guys.

3. WrestleMania 29 – The Rock

via Smacktalks.Org

Dammit – John, Dwayne, I thought I was done with you guys!

After their “Once In A Lifetime” main event at Mania XXVIII, WWE decided that promises were for wimps and repeated the exact same match a year later. Great. Rock had ended CM Punk’s historiuc 434-day WWE Championship reign at Royal Rumble, leading to a world title match with the winner of the Rumble match, old Johnny Cena. Cena was desperate to avenge his loss from a year earlier, whilst The Rock, umm, didn’t have any movies lined up? I dunno, there’s a reason this match needs to be re-booked. Whilst there first match was original and fresh, this second match was about as fresh as a month-old tomato; it was boring, flat and predictable, with Big Match John going over clean and celebrating with The Rock at the end of the show. Bleugh. However, dear readers, I have a cunning plan to amend this flop of a finish. You know earlier I mentioned the John Cena heel turn was coming? Boom! Brace yourselves.

After really building up the idea that this is Cena’s chance at redemption, a chance to avenge his loss one year ago, this story really just writes itself. Have the two put on a solid match, but have Cena fight more aggressively, more viciously, like he really, really wants it, because, well, he does. However, despite all this, Cena can’t put The Rock away; he hits AA after AA, STF after STF, umm, well, that’s really all he’s got, but never mind, you get the point. Cena goes for one last big move when, out of nowhere, Rock rolls him up and gets the win, retaining his title. As The Rock celebrates with the title, he goes to shake Cena’s hand, offering him some condolences at coming so close, yet not quite reaching the top. Instead of shaking Rock’s hand, however, Cena destroys him, beating him up mercilessly with chairs and kendo sticks and even the ring bell. After an AA onto a steel chair, Cena leaves The Rock broken and beaten, slinks up the ramp and smiles. The next night on Raw, it is announced that The Rock has had to vacate his title due to injuries and a tournament is set up to crown a new champion, a tournament won by… John Cena. Cena then rules the WWE as heel champion before being unseated by Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam. A perfect example to turn Cena to the dark side, this moment could have saved WrestleMania 29. But, sadly, that show will forever be remembered as the one where Mark Henry defeated Ryback by falling on him and Fandango beat Chris Jericho. Sigh.

2. WrestleMania 31 – Roman Reigns

via helensuccess.com

Ok, ok, ok, calm down, please. I didn’t want to put this on here, but this idea intrigues me, ok?

Roman Reigns, believe it or not, used to be very popular. Go back and watch any of the old Shield stuff and it’s always The Big Dog who gets the best reaction; he was appealing to the casual fans and the kids, as well as being in a legitimately cool group to keep the smart fans happy. That all changed when he won the 2015 Royal Rumble, however, From that moment on, Reigns was booed like he’d just killed a kitten with his bare hands and this badly affected his planned WrestleMania main event win over Brock Lesnar. Despite putting on a good match, Reigns and Lesnar couldn’t win the crowd over to the idea of having Reigns defeat The Beast. But, as Triple h famously said, there’s always a Plan B. Midway through the match, Seth Rollins would cash in his Money In The Bank contract to make the bout a Triple threat. This allowed him to pin Reigns and walk out WWE Champion, saving Lesnar from getting pinned, but also making sure fans didn’t leave Mania 31 feeling disappointed. They’d save that for a year later.

To re-book this match effectively, you’d need to do one thing and one thing only – turn Roman heel. Reigns could win the match, but only through cheating. Perhaps he could knock the ref down with a wayward Superman Punch, meaning he could then beat down Lesnar with a steel chair to get the pin. Or, and this is what I would do, use Rollins’ cash-in, not to get the belt on Seth, but as a distraction. Rollins’ music could hit, just like it did in real life, and the Architect could run down the ring and stand on the outside, threatening to cash the contract in. As Lesnar is distracted by Seth, Roman hits a devastating Spear on The Beast, dropping him to the mat, all whilst Rollins is smiling like a mad man. Then, just to make things crystal clear, Reigns attacks Lesnar one more time, not with a Spear, but with a Curb Stomp. Reigns pins Lesnar to pick up the win and the gold and then embraces Seth Rollins outside of the ring. The two former Shield members reunite, but as top heels. This could lead to a story over the next few months of Rollins and Reigns working together to keep the title on Reigns, all the while with Rollins teasing a cash-in, which could help build towards his eventual face turn on Reigns. The real life booking was very good, but I still kinda like my version. And no, not just because I wrote it. That’s only about, I dunno, 90% of why I like it.

1. WrestleMania 32 – Triple H

via showbizuniverse.com

If you ever needed an example of how to ruin a show with a single match, here you go.

Whilst Mania 32 was far from perfect, it was certainly passable. The Intercontinental title match was great, as was the Women’s match, the Hell in a Cell match was intriguing if nothing else and the surprises such as the three legends returning and Baron Corbin winning the Battle Royal were pretty awesome, albeit in the short-term. But the main event; excuse my language, but good golly gosh, what a fricking pile of sugar. Reigns had once again been pushed to the main event over a much more popular talent (Dean Ambrose), to the point where the supposedly-evil Triple H was getting huge applause from the crowds. The match was plagued with boos throughout and the awkward spots like Reigns Spearing Stephanie McMahon didn’t help either. In the end, Reigns just won the damn thing clean, winning the world title and sending all 101,000+ fans in Dallas home with the grumpiest faces ever seen in the wresting business.

Re-booking this match the other way might not make sense – Triple H is a part-timer after all – but, actually, it’s not too difficult; there’s an opportunity here to build on a previously exiting story. Mania 31 ended with Seth Rollins costing Roman Reigns the WWE Championship, so why not have this show end the same way? Rollins was out with a knee injury at the time, but there’s still a way to get him involved in the show. As Reigns sets up one final Spear to put Trips away, Rollins music could play and The Architect could appear at the top of the ramp (hopefully to huge applause). Reigns gets distracted, allowing Triple H time to recover and hit the Pedigree, plating Reigns for the three count and retaining the gold. Rollins and Triple H could celebrate after the show, having once again outsmarted Roman. I’d then have Triple H defend the title against AJ Styles at Payback, before having him drop the belt to Roman at Extreme Rules, only to have Rollins return as he did in real life, putting the timeline back on track. Having Mania 32 end with a Reigns win was an awful idea that WWE should never have gone for, so, for me at least, this one was a no-brainer to re-book. I think this has definitely redeemed me from the Mania 31 rebooking. Phew.

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