Lets Fantasy Book!: WWE Payback
The grand spectacle that was Wrestlemania has come and gone, leaving us in a very positive position for this new direction of professional wrestling. Previously, we were tasked with the burden of fixing some of creative's humongous mistakes, the primary of which involved rescuing the belt from Roman Reigns.
We've given some much needed prestige to our undercard belts, thanks in part to a high profile Intercontinental run by Chris Jericho and the surprising US Title win by Stardust. With the male belts in an upward trajectory and a much needed shake up coming to the Women's division, we now have the freedom to enact, true and lasting change... starting with the Main Event.
Before we begin WWE Payback lets recap our previous show, Wrestlemania 32. In addition, lets see what direction, if any, Creative has taken with our programs as well as a brief recap of our current Champions. As a friendly reminder: Unless otherwise noted, feuds are assumed to be progressed during the previous week's WWE Raw and Smackdown.
If you haven't been following our year long fantasy booking series, you can catch up with our previous events: The Royal Rumble, Fastlane Part 1, Fastlane Part 2, Wrestlemania 32, Wrestlemania Fallout.
- The Dudley Boys have defeated the Lucha Dragons to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. Sin Cara has turned heel and split from the Lucha Dragons. His new Venon inspired ring gear has proven to be a hit.
Adam Rose began on a high profile tear through the roster however a recent violation of the WWE Wellness policy has put this push on ice.
Beck lynch is the new WWE Women's champion, erasing Charlotte from history as promised. Charlotte isn't taking this lying down... nor is Sasha Banks. Paige has interjected herself into the race for the Women's title.
Ryback has set his sites on Appolo Crews after destroying Kane at 'Mania. Kane has continued to be a thorn in Rybacks side after suffering several losses to Ryback. It seems that the heel demon Kane is reemerging.
Stardust has defeated Alberto Del Rio for the WWE United States Championship.
Sheamus and Miz have entered into a feud, with Miz looking ahead at the United States Championship.
Chris Jericho retains the Intercontinental Championship. Dean Ambrose has moved on, setting his sites on the the WWE Heavyweight Championship.
Bray Wyatt has won the WWE Heavyweight Championship, plunging the WWE into darkness. His injury may have consequences for the company moving forward.
The Miz has entered into a short term program with Baron Corbin. If Corbin wants to be a star, he's got to prove it.
- The Dudley Boys are the WWE Tag Team Champions
- Stardust is the WWE United States Champion
- Chris Jericho is the WWE Intercontinental Champion
- Becky Lynch is the WWE Women's Champion
- Bray Wyatt is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Despite us using the “fantasy” title, for the purposes of this year long project, there are rules we must follow. We cannot outright hire people or call up talent from NXT, “just because.” If something happens, “In real life,” this must affect our booking.
This is a recap of ongoing real life events that will affect our booking decisions.
- John Cena has announced that he will return at the end of May
- King Barrett has returned from injury
- Titus O'Neil has returned from a suspension
- Daniel Bryan has retired
- Brie Bella has retired
- Nikki Bella has suffered a career threatening neck injury
- Seth Rollins remains injured, however reports have surfaced that he is currently filming a movie
- Paige has returned from injury
- Randy Orton remains injured
- Cesaro has returned from an injury
- Neville is injured
- Luke Harper is injured
- Bray Wyatt is injured
- Adam Rose has been suspended
- Konnor has been suspended
- Maryse has returned to the WWE
- Mark Henry has a possible rib injury
- Baron Corbin has debuted on the main roster
- Sami Zayn has debuted on the main roster
- The Vaudvillians have debuted on the main roster
- Enzo and Cass have debuted on the main roster
- Apollo Crews has debuted on the main roster
- Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson have debuted on the main roster
The Dudley Boys vs The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championship
For some time now, The New Day has been delighting live crowds and turning the internet upside down with their unique brand of promo work and in ring talent. Along with their amazing manager, The New Day is leading this modern tag team renaissance and is doing so in style. Unfortunately, in focusing so hard in righting the wrongs of the good ship WWE, The New Day hasn't been given the attention they deserve.
While we can't immediately take the belts off of the Dudleys, we can give this feud the slow build treatment, putting the New Day over by having the babyface team overcome the odds later in the year. The Dudley's win in this opening bout via a 3D, not before a scare involving an Xavier Woods distraction.
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions, The Dudley Boys
Ryback vs Apollo Crews
If Ryback dipped himself in rich, creamy Palmer's chocolate and putted the big stick out of his ass, you'd have yourself Apollo Crews. In my opinion, Crews's “personality”, that word used in the loosest sense doesn't have enough appeal in his current form to maintain popularity on the level he is currently experiencing. His dopey, “Just happy to be on the team, Coach!” mentality is sure to wear thin at an accelerated pace.
I don't believe the real star of this match is going to be Apollo, I believe it can be Ryback. There's a real opportunity here to correct the decades of poor booking that has befallen The Big Guy and put him on a path towards a meaningful title run. His turning heel is a great start. That being said, I think the crowd can become a bit more invested in him if this match were to feature a dirty ending.
This match will technically be a victory for Crews as Kane enters the ring to force a DQ. However, Kane will take his frustrations out on Ryback as well, beating him to the point that officials from the back will rush in to tend to the fallen and usher Kane out of the building. Chairs, hard strikes and maybe even a bit of color are needed for Kane's heel turn to really feel believable.
Winner by Disqualification: Apollo Crews
Sheamus vs Stardust
Simply put, I want Sheamus back in the title hunt for either the big belt or the Intercontinental strap. I feel that he needs a belt around his waist in some form or another. If Wyatt is unable to return to action in a reasonable time frame, then we may slot him in. Until then, giving Stardust a viable, high profile opponent is a great alternative.
A clean win over Sheamus is a tried and true way to progress the character, without doing too much damage to Sheamus in the long term. If we want our investment to pay off, then we need to carefully tread with Stardust's character. Giving him a strong win here gives fans a chance to do the same, invest in the character.
Your winner: Stardust
The Miz with Maryse vs Baron Corbin
Well good afternoon Baron. Remember me? Yes, I still can't stand this guy and even more so now in my role as Head Booker. Although I'm seemingly the only detractor from Baron Corbin in the WWE, I can't let my dislike for him as a performer or a talent cloud my judgement. The audience and the powers that be think he's got “it”. So I'll give him a shot.
However, this isn't going to be some six minute squash match. If he's gonna win the hearts of the crowd and my accolade, he's got to earn it. The Miz is a former World Champion and he even has a second set of eyes in his corner. If he can overcome The Miz and put on an entertaining 15 minute match, then maybe Corbin can prove himself to be able to hang with the rest of the roster.
Winner after a failed interference attempt: Baron Corbin
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho has been on a tear lately, and it's proving to be quite popular with fans. Placing him in a match against someone who is closer to his equal is a surefire way to put asses in the seats. After pinning Jericho in a non title match on Raw, the two have been engaged in a war of words that has gone from undercard to main event caliper in a short amount of time.
Unfortunately for Styles, this may be a stop gap feud until Adam Rose can clear up the circumstances leading to him failing his wellness test. While we have big things in mind for Styles as well, shoehorning him into a series of bouts for the IC belt certainly isn't an ideal scenario, but if to come to fruition, it would put gold around his waist.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho
Sin Cara vs Kalisto Build Up
Sin Cara's new attitude and darker persona need to be in full focus here. Giving us a true, heel voiceless and faceless heel is going to be a great departure from the standard M.O. and give us something pretty unique to look forward too. I look forward to building Sin Cara as darker version of Sting. Having him kick the ever living piss out of Kalisto during an interview backstage is a good way to start things off right.
Match to determine the #1 Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs Rusev
Here's the reality of the situation: Our storyline regarding the WHC is written up to Survivor Series and having to pivot so quickly is something I'm not comfortable with. Having defended his belt at a house show prior to injury, we are able to circumvent the 30 day rule. As long as Wyatt's injury is healed in the six week timetable he's set, we can continue down this path.
Ambrose is a huge part of that plan and as stated, I'd prefer to disrupt it as little as possible. Although an Ambrose victory appears imminent, thanks to crafty interference by Lana, Rusev will take the victory and will face Bray Wyatt at Money in the Bank. This victory also does wonders for his character as Rusev has needed a boost given his prior booking record.
Winner and No1 Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Rusev
Sami Zayn vs Cesaro
Coming off the hype of the Rusev victory over Ambrose, I want to give the fans a chance to wind down in preparation for our huge main event. No feud, no building, just a hard hitting match for fans of wrestling. Two babyfaces going out and showing fans what professional wrestling is all about. With Zayn's character depending on him overcoming as the underdog, I'd like put Cesaro over on this one. It makes Zayn's victories over heels much more satisfying.
Fatal 4 Way Ladder Match for the WWE Women's Championship: Paige vs Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch
This is a huge and game changing main event, however some reality of how business works needs to be illustrated here. First, this is a “B” show and if we're going to test the waters of how a main event like this is going to work, this is a very safe space to do it in. Second, If we're to prove that women can do anything that men can do, then this hits the point home in spades.
I feel confident that these four women can put on a very safe, but intense ladder match, given the level of comfort the main player have in working with each other. While the intensity of the match may be too much for some, the idea of a ladder match isn't to showcase violence. No other match can create the sense of drama and dread for the competitors like a ladder match. A highlight of the match involves Charlotte running across the Spanish announce desk to hit Natural Selection on an unsuspecting Becky Lynch through the English announce table.
Becky Lynch will somehow gather the strength to retain her title however. With this twenty minute main event, we potentially break down a final barrier in women's wrestling. A main event match featuring females can be just as exciting and violent as one featuring men.