Fantasy Booking WWE’s Product Until WrestleMania 39

After an absolutely unbelievable Clash at the Castle event in Cardiff last weekend, WWE has quickly reestablished themselves as top dogs in the wrestling world with Triple H at the helm. He has guided the company to its best ratings and praises from all accounts in a very long time and made Clash one of the most fun WWE shows overall in recent memory. With that said, Roman Reigns going over Drew McIntyre in the main event is a move that puzzled many fans, myself included, and left us wondering what could possibly be next for the Tribal Chief. That’s when my creative juices got to flowing, and I threw together an updated fantasy booking of several of WWE’s title scenes and feuds that are to come all the way until Wrestlemania 39 next April. Now, I’ll take you through them step by step!

First Up: What’s Next for Roman Reigns?

Let’s start with what’s next for Roman, his new contract has him at part-time status, so we won’t be seeing him at Extreme Rules in Philly in October. Instead, we will likely see the Riddle vs. Rollins rematch or Bayley vs. Bianca Belair main event that night, and honestly, that will be a good show regardless. That means the next time we see Roman defend his titles will be at Crown Jewel in November. His next challenger will be an easy one based on recent events, Karrion Kross. He and Roman would have a very fun and unique matchup in the main event of the show, and it may very well be Karrion’s best in WWE to this point. However, headed into the show, there would be one very specific detail I’d add to the buildup.

We have seen Austin Theory fail to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on two occasions, only to be thwarted by Brock Lesnar and Tyson Fury respectively. He can cut a promo directed towards Karrion and Roman to say that he plans to cash in on whoever wins in Saudi, only now he has a new plan. That plan is that he’s only going to cash in for one of the titles, specifically the WWE Championship. This move would plant the seeds for once again separating the world titles, which provides many more opportunities for the company. I was not a fan when they were unified, so personally, this would be my ideal scenario. So now on to the match, there could be some shenanigans where there is a referee bump, the Bloodline gets involved, and Kross fights them off, only for Roman to nail a Spear and have both men down without a referee to count. That’s where Theory comes in. Theory cashes in, brings his own referee, and as promised, cashes in on only the WWE Championship, making it a Triple Threat Match in the process. Similar to Seth Rollins cash-in at Wrestlemania 31, this would see Theory win by rolling up Kross, not Reigns. This does a few specific things: it keeps Roman’s streak of not being pinned since 2019 alive, it separates the titles and creates a new feud for the one Roman loses while allowing him to march on as Universal Champion, continuing the over 2-year long reign.

Where do the titles go from here?
With the two titles separate, this can send the WWE Championship back to Raw with Theory, along with his first challenger: Karrion Kross. Survivor Series takes place in the middle of this timeframe, so Theory would face Roman Reigns at the show. There, Reigns can definitively defeat Theory, getting him a score of revenge after Theory took one of his titles. No gold would be on the line there, but it allows for that loose end to be tied up. Drew McIntyre, since he’s such a massive part of Smackdown’s main event scene, would be leading Team Smackdown at Survivor Series, a good way to get him on the show and keep his stock high. After that show, title feuds can commence once again. As mentioned, I see Kross facing Theory at Day 1, where Kross would be working as a tweener, similar to what Bobby Lashley did when he faced The Miz for the WWE Championship in early 2021. Kross, just like Lashley did to Miz that night on Raw, would run right through Theory, allowing for him to become the WWE Champion. Meanwhile, the Universal Championship would remain off the card of Day 1, leading to a fun Royal Rumble opportunity.

How to start 2023 with a bang?

As we all know, the Road to Wrestlemania kicks off at the Royal Rumble, but with WWE bringing back an early-January PLE last year, and allowing for it to return this year, it brings about some newer possibilities for them to go with. Kross winning the WWE Championship that night would be a key surprise, but two other major events should coincide on the same night. Brock Lesnar should return that night, specifically not for any titles, but rather to announce his participation in the Royal Rumble Match. Groans from the crowd would be likely, but here’s a spoiler for what I’m planning: he won’t win the Rumble. His inclusion is to merely add some star power for the big show in San Antonio and allow for a massive moment for whoever eliminates him. The final piece to the Day 1 Puzzle is a Fatal-5-Way Number One Contender’s Match for the Universal Championship. In it, we would see 5 of Smackdown’s best compete for the opportunity to face Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. Those 5 men would be Drew McIntyre, the recently returned Braun Strownman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn (as the Bloodline’s representative in the match), and the Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER. These 5 are a unique blend of what Smackdown has to offer and could easily showcase multiple stories in one matchup. Drew is dying to get his hands on Roman again after months of waiting, Sami is in it to try and protect his Tribal Chief, Braun is back and just wants to take down everyone until he gets back what Roman in part cost him when this legendary reign started, Nakamura was attacked by the Bloodline shortly after Wrestlemania last year and never got proper revenge, and GUNTHER is the young, up-and-coming prospect on Smackdown looking to make the jump into the deep end both feet first. In the end, Strowman wins here after the Bloodline specifically prevents Drew from getting one over on Sami, and Braun advances to the Rumble.

The Road to Wrestlemania begins again!

San Antonio will host the Rumble again for the first time since 2017, and boy is it sure to be thunderous on that night. The two major title matches coming in would be Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns and Austin Theory vs. Karrion Kross in a rematch of their Day 1 encounter. Both defending champions (Reigns and Kross) should retain here, but both matches should be rather competitive, especially Braun’s opportunity, as he needs something big for him to sink his teeth into during this second run with WWE. Now onto the Royal Rumble PLE. While this booking has focused solely on the WWE and Universal Championship scenes, allow me to briefly state that my pick to win the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble Match is Bayley. However, focusing back on the timeline we’re working on right now, we jump to the Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

This one should be full of big-name stars, as Triple H’s first Rumble as head of creative surely promises for a massive night. Along with Brock Lesnar, he will be joined by the likes of Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Johnny Gargano, GUNTHER, Riddle, and Edge. Surprise returns for this one, at least in my mind, are Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. The Cody surprise seems to be the most obvious, and I’m rolling right with those thoughts for as long as I can. The final 4 in this one should be McIntyre, Lesnar, Rhodes, and Rollins, 4 of WWE’s cornerstones right now. They can easily tease a physical encounter between Rollins and Rhodes, but they very specifically need to not make any contact with one another right now. McIntyre should toss Rollins out, and then Lesnar sends McIntyre right out behind him, signaling the end of Drew’s latest attempt to get back to Roman Reigns. Cody then will find a way to outlast the Beast, sending him packing while sending the American Nightmare off to Wrestlemania!

The Final Stop: Elimination Chamber!

Assuming WWE brings this show back to Saudi in 2023, this will be a very fun final stop as they put the pieces in place for Wrestlemania. In the meantime, The Rock shall make his triumphant WWE return in the build to Wrestlemania to set up a showdown with Roman Reigns. However, it won’t be a guarantee that he will challenge for the Universal Championship, as Adam Pearce will make Roman compete on both nights of Wrestlemania 39 since he views himself as the greatest of all time, he can do it without issue then. The Rock focuses on the fact that he doesn’t want the title, he merely wants to kick Roman’s backside on the grandest stage and prove that the Rock will always be at the head of their family’s table, not Roman. The fallout of this is that Roman will defend the Universal Championship on Night One against the winner of a Number One Contender’s Chamber Match at Elimination Chamber. The 6 men in that chamber will be Drew McIntyre, GUNTHER, Shinsuke Nakamura, Braun Strowman, Xavier Woods, and Brock Lesnar…several men who have tried to end Roman’s reign. In there, GUNTHER will get the shock elimination of Lesnar, setting up a Wrestlemania match between the two, one I am 110% ready for. In the end, Drew McIntyre would win, finally getting his rematch against Reigns, this time at the grandest stage of them all. Finally, on the Raw side of things, Karrion Kross would defend the WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber against Seth Rollins, Austin Theory, Rey Mysterio, Finn Balor, and Edge. The Judgement Day story will hopefully still be red hot then, and Edge/Rollins/Mysterio can provide some experience to the more inexperienced Chamber competitors. In this one, Seth Rollins finally reaches the heights he always should have, last defeating Edge to win the WWE Championship!

Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood: What Does the Card Look Like?

Two nights of Wrestlemania action will descend upon LA in April, and a fantastic card of action surely seems to be set. On Night One, two major title matches will headline the show. The opening contest: Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre for the Universal Championship. Roman is looking to test if he can go 2 for 2 at this Wrestlemania, as a showdown with The Rock awaits the following night, regardless of the outcome here. This, however, is the night that the Bloodline finally falters, as Drew McIntyre would take down Roman Reigns, ending his nearly 3-year long reign right then and there. This adds doubt for Roman ahead of Night Two, but we aren’t there yet. First, we reach our main event of Night One: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. This is why they don’t physically interact at the Rumble: because we’re saving it for one final showdown at Wrestlemania. Cody’s WWE return was marred a bit by his untimely injury, but his feud with Seth Rollins is one of WWE’s best of the last decade, capped off with an insane Hell in a Cell match last June. Their final encounter would be for the title Cody’s dad never held but Cody promised to win when returning to the company, but he has to defeat his arch-rival to get it. Can Cody take down Seth again? My answer would be yes, as he gets his crowning moment and can lead WWE into the next year on their cycle as the face of Raw and the top babyface on the red brand as well.

Night Two is built around one concept: Roman Reigns vs. The Rock for the first time ever. No titles on the line, because this one doesn’t need them to be. This is a good old-fashioned may the better man win scenario, but with so much deep and detailed story and history intertwined, and the magnitude of Roman’s loss just 24 hours prior weighing heavily on the Tribal Chief. John Cena and The Rock did this in Miami in 2012, and I fully see Roman and Rock doing it again in 2023: tearing the house down, but only this time, Rock does the job for his cousin, sending Roman to a level he has always been capable of, solidifying him once and for all as the leader of his generation. This would also serve as a way for Roman to take some well-deserved time off after nearly 3 years at the top of the card. The title scenes would be in good hands with Cody and Drew, and Roman can come back anywhere down the line and instantly find himself right back in the thick of it where he belongs.

As always, this is just my personal most idealistic version of what could be to come in the next 8 months or so, but regardless of what does come from WWE’s creative team in that time, it sure seems like it may be the most entertaining time we’ve ever been promised to have in many years.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and