The LordsOfPain Wrestlemania Cards: (Part 1 of 3)

For almost 2 months, myself and 12 other columnists, fans, and those from the Lordsofpain forums participated in a fantasy draft that spanned the Wrestlemania era of 1985 to present time.  The rules were simple: any male wrestler who participated in the big event over the last 30+ years was not only eligible to be drafted, but could be evaluated on the merits of their entire career.  A couple of weeks ago, we finally finished the 20 round, 260 pick draft and I challenged the competitors to come up with a Wrestlemania card based on the 20 guys they drafted.

I let them be as creative and fun with it as possible, using the wrestler they drafted in any variation of their career they chose as well as any championships (real or created) they want to use.  For example, as you’ll see below, Dyno chose to use 21-0 Undertaker at that juncture of his career. Without further adieu, here are 3 of the 13 Wrestlemania cards featuring Gary “Dynamite” Billington, Marc Asnes, and Samuel ‘Plan! Enjoy and let us know what you think of the cards and storylines below!!

 

DYNO-MANIA

 

Del Rio v Duggan (US Title)

Following the Pre-show and Lillian’s customary rendition of America the Beautiful, the evening starts with the Mexican Aristocrat coming out with his US Title belt, cutting a promo about being better than the common folk that surround the ring.

As the boos rise, Hacksaw Jim Duggan comes out to a huge pop.

In a standard Face v Heel match, Duggan initially gets the upper hand with some brawling punches before Del Rio takes over and wears him down with his signature technical wrestling.  Following a false finish, Duggan gets the crowd behind him and makes his comeback, bringing the US title home to an American working class hero and getting the crowd in a good mood for the rest of the evening.

 

Stevie Richards (HC) v Viscera v Balls Mahoney v Brooklyn Brawler (Hard-core Title)

It just wouldn’t be WrestleMania without a multi-man clusterfuck of a match to get as many people as possible on the card.  The Hardcore Title was always perfect for this.

Stevie Richards starts the night as Champion, but after 10 minutes of the usual hard core title match shenanigans, gets pinned by The Brawler giving us a new Champ and giving the jobber legend his long-deserved #WrestleManiaMoment.

Then Balls Mahoney hits him with a trash can and gets the pin under the 24/7 rule before running for the exit with the belt.

 

Bray Wyatt v Bo Dallas

Wyatt, as the leader of the recently introduced Family and Dallas as the NXT Champion acknowledge their real-life brotherhood on screen.  Wyatt attempts to recruit Dallas to join his new family, Dallas attempts to reconcile his brother with his real family by making him Bo-lieve.

Bray wins, but Bo forgives him.

 

Backstage Jim Duggan is being interviewed about his title win, when in the background Viscera hits Mahoney with a chair and pins him to become the new Hardcore Champion.

 

Rikishi v Carlito

This feud starts a few weeks before WrestleMania with Carlito interrupting Too Cool doing their usual dance, deciding it’s not cool.  After a few confrontations between them, Rikishi gets involved. Carlito spits apple in his face and the match is set.

Rikishi wins and his friends come out for a post match celebratory dance.

 

In the car park, Viscera is about to get into his car & leave when Mahoney hits him with a road sign and pins him to become the new Hardcore Champion.

 

Barbarian v Vader

Following a series of television matches where Barbarian & Vader beat a string of the same opponents, they finally end up clashing to determine who the better man is.  A typical big man bout, this features a good amount of technical wrestling as well as the expected amount of power moves and strength contests.

I think Vader would win this one.

 

Back in the venue’s foyer, Stevie blasts Mahoney with a fire extinguisher & pins him to become the new Hardcore Champion.

 

Honky Tonk Man v Ron Killings (IC Title)

The build for this was purely focused on the entertainment side of sports entertainment, based on who was more deserving of a Japanese record deal and whether Rap or Rock N Roll was the big thing out there.

The match features all the best that the competitors can offer, incorporating comedy spots and typical cowardly heel antics, but in the end the Honky Tonk Man ends up with the victory successfully retaining his title.

 

In a catering area somewhere in the building, Viscera slams Stevie through a table & pins him to become the new Hardcore Champion.

 

Lance Storm (<100kg Champion) v Hurricane Helms

Shortly after losing the Canadian Heavyweight Championship and the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title, Lance Storm is expecting to defend his 100kg and Under title against the winner of a No. 1 contenders tournament, Gregory Helms.  Unfortunately, the Hurricane has come to WrestleMania instead.

Storm comes out trying to be serious and question where Gregory Helms is, only to be cut short on every sentence by The Hurricane.  Eventually the match starts and the classic 100kg and under style bout takes place. Hurricane wins, renaming the title the Light-Heavyweight Championship.

 

Stevie Richards, Viscera, Brooklyn Brawler and Balls Mahoney are shown brawling in the Gorilla position, before spilling out onto the entrance stage and continuing into the ring.  Eventually Stevie Richards pushes Viscera off the ring apron through the announce table & pins him to become the new Hardcore Champion, before running away and successfully leaving the arena with the belt.

 

Edge v Harley Race (WHC)

Edge (as a face having recently made his comeback from injury to win the Royal Rumble) challenges the heel champ for the Big Gold Belt.

Much of the build up to the match revolves around Race’s opinion that he is the undisputed King and despite acknowledging Edge’s previous title runs, he also makes the point that they were all opportunistic and short lived – much like he claimed the match would be before making the pretender to his championship kneel before him after the match.  Edge uses his wit and comedic timing to respond to all of Race’s put downs and get the crowd behind him.

After the longest match of the night, Edge wins the match then humiliates Race by making him kneel before him as Race had done to so many in the past whilst posing with the belt for the benefit of those with flash photography.

 

Taker v Balor (21-0 Streak v The Demon)

Taker gets the most elaborate entrance to date, surrounded by 100s of druidic followers lit by the customary blue light.

Once his entrance routine is complete, as his arms raise the lights turn red, and Balor’s music starts.  The Demon makes his way to the ring and as he passes the druids they remove their hoods to reveal their faces covered in Demon style makeup.

Following a long & hard fought battle which receives at least a 4* review from across the internet (despite occasional complaints about the use of special effects), Taker summons up his lightening and targets Balor.  The Demon soaks up the energy, blasts it back at Taker and gets the victory, using a new finishing move that is specific to The Demon.

The Demon’s inheritance of Taker’s supernatural powers sets off a multi-year streak of that character appearing randomly once or twice a year and remaining undefeated for several years, with that streak becoming a legend in its own right.

The show closes with Taker getting the send-off he had at WM33.  The next night on Raw, he comes out as the American Badass and cuts a ‘human’ promo, confirming his retirement.

And he actually retires.

Type’s Quick Rating:  Absolutely LOVE the main event and the inclusion of the hardcore title changing hands so many times is a perfect way to use a limited roster in this format.  Edge/Harley Race is one I’d love to have seen in their primes and that’s a solid WHC match.  Creative use of Honky Tonk and R. Truth too.  Excellent job maximizing this card. Seriously, I would watch this and enjoy it  TYPE RATING: *** 3/4 stars

MARC-MANIA

 

1. Marc mero vs tatanka
Marc mero wins off distraction from Sable flashing her goods.
 2. Triple threat Hardcore title  match
Bubba ray vs test (c) vs the sandman 
Bubba ray wins title
3.  Cruiserweight championship
Chavo guerrero (c) vs Dean malenko
Malenko wins title
4. Ahmed Johnson vs Vladimir kozlov
Johnson wins
5. Bobby lashley vs butch reed
Lashley wins
6. Jerry Lawler vs Damien sandow
Sandow wins
7. Intercontential title match
Piper (c) vs George the animal steele
Dq piper retains
8. Number 1 contender to wwe title 
Kevin Nash vs Rusev
Kevin Nash wins
9.  Wwe championship with special enforcer Mr t
Batista (c) vs Stone cold steve austin
Austin wins title

Type’s Quick Rating/Thoughts:  I would have loved to hear more of an explanation.  The main event you have presented might be the best of any card I’ve seen but some of these like Marc Mero/Tatanka and Kozlov vs. Ahmed look like duds.  Dark horse match I like here is Lashley/Butch Reed.  Reed in his prime was very very underrated and you have two strong African American men at their best.. I approve.  Main event saves this from being a dud but not enough star power. Type rating: **

 

‘PLAN-MANIA

 

The Top Guys (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) def. The Hart Dungeon (Tyson Kidd and DH Smith) (c.) for the Tag Team Championships

The Competitors: This one is pretty paint by numbers. The Hart Dungeon will be as they were during their height on WWE’s main roster. The Top Guys will be exactly as you know Revival to be, with the added extra of having had an alliance with Rollins all these months and backed him up at every turn as ‘The Top Guys.’

The Build: The Dungeon and D&D will have been the two big forces in the tag ranks from day one. The Dungeon first won the titles at SummerPlan only to trade them to D&D with a loss on TVs. They’d recapture the titles in an epic Eight Man Tag at TTT where the World, Openweight and Tag titles were all on the line and the champion pinned would drop their title – with the Dungeon pinning D&D, the titles moved back. From there D&D would be busy protecting Rollins while the Dungeon fended off challenges from all comers until the division comes full circle again just in time for PlanMania.

The Match: I mean, it’s a Revival / Hart Foundation match essentially. You do the maths! Every show needs a hot opener and I’d produce this as exactly that, with D&D going over to recapture Tag gold, this time for a lengthy stint.

The Aftermath: Hart Dungeon would lose a rematch before looking to temporarily focus in on singles competition for a while. D&D would beat down Rollins the night after ‘Mania thanks to the build to and outcome of the main event, before renaming themselves Shatter Machine (for having destroyed the Architect!). Rollins would be told he was no longer a ‘top guy’ and that it was they who didn’t need him, not the other way around. That would transition into Shatter Machine’s first title feud – them vs. Rollins and Mercury (more on that next!).

Tyler Breeze def. Joey Mercury by pin fall

The Competitors: Breeze will be his NXT self, back when the gimmick, though faintly comic, was still treated with relative seriousness. Mercury will be his 2006 self, all red carpet and paps, but having freshly turned babyface and gradually shedding the camp.

The Build: At SummerPlan, Breeze and Mercury were two thirds of the Junior Heavyweight Championship Match that crowned Itami champion. In that fray they discovered what they were capable of as a team and formed the It Factor. From there they pursued a chance at the Hart Dungeon’s Tag Team Championships, working their way to a number one contendership match against the Caribbean Connection at TTT. They would prove victorious, and get their opportunity at Fury Road – only for things to go awry and for them to come up short.

Breeze would blame Mercury for the loss, claiming Mercury wasn’t on his level and beginning a one-man campaign of hate against his famous friend. Mercury would respond by claiming Breeze was jealous of his greater fame and fortune – something Breeze would scoff at, claiming Mercury to be talentless compared to his gorgeous self. There would be a number of public run-ins at photo-ops and press conferences and red carpets where they would regularly come to blows until Mercury challenges Breeze to settle it in the ring at PlanMania.

The Match: Lavishly produced, the ring would be surrounded by reporters, news crews and paparazzi for this match the world was watching. It would be the ‘Jericho / Christian’ of my card, a dark horse show-stealer wrestled between two excellent mid card workers to an over-achievement of a longer match than might have been expected. Eventually, Breeze would pick up a cheap win.

The Aftermath: Mercury would slowly begin to shed his pomp and pursue adopting a more legitimate image, transforming into a more serious ‘Shield-lite’ type character. He would find himself linking up with good friend Seth Rollins, who would be beginning his own redemptive arc, to help in Rollins’ new feud opposite D&D. Meanwhile, Breeze would have his victory officially overturned when one of the news crews release footage of his having pulled Mercury’s tights. This would catalyse a more aggressive Breeze who would go to feud at length with Gable for the Junior Heavyweight title.

Savio w/ Primo def. Bobby Roode w/ Shane McMahon in a Caribbean Strap Match

The Competitors: Bobby Roode will be in his NXT heel persona, placing particular emphasis on his status as a box office attraction. Savio will drop his second name as part of his team with Primo, though the two will be basically as you know them – fairly straight up pure babyface characters who are all about work rate.

The Build: Primo had beaten Savio in a singles match to qualify unexpectedly for the Fury Road at the last special event, in which he encountered Bobby Roode. During the action, Roode would go on to injure Primo, forcing him into missing active ring competition at PlanMania. Naturally Savio would take exception to this, and would pursue Roode on TV for the next few weeks, but thanks to McMahon Roode would always gain and upper hand and leave Savio laying. Eventually, getting sick of Savio’s interference and feeling ever cockier over his successful self-defence, Roode would challenge Savio to a match at PlanMania and promise to leave him injured like his partner before him. Savio agrees to terms on McMahon being in Roode’s corner during the match, but only if Roode accepts a Caribbean Strap Match stipulation; Roode does just that, then Savio reveals Primo will be his cornerman to counteract McMahon too.

The Match: If you’ve seen Austin/Vega at IYH when they had a Strap Match you know what to expect here. There’ll be no blood, but the action will be multi-faceted and the cornermen will play a role not too dissimilar to Michaels and Heyman in the Trips/Lesnar WrestleMania match – basically counteracting one another throughout. Savio will eventually pick up a feel good win.

The Aftermath: Primo will return to action and the Caribbean Connection focus their efforts on the tag team division, putting Primo’s injury behind them. McMahon and Roode would fall out heavily over Roode’s loss, each blaming the other, until Roode comes to side with Mayweather in wanting to kick McMahon from the faction he founded.

William Regal def. Don Muraco (c.) by submission for the Openweight Championship

The Competitors: The Magnificent One will be very much in the same guise he had as IC Champ when he was feuding with Snuka – brash, verbose, actively thriving off the animosity of the people. Regal will be like his current self albeit in physical prime of course – someone the people respect for his experience, for his work ethic, and I’ll play up his working class roots over his typical aristocratic character.

The Build: Muraco is a long-reigning champion who has somehow survived his way past the majority of folks able and interested in challenging for his championship. A feud with Regal has felt inevitable, and it’s a real clash of personalities – the OTT Muraco and the muted and reserved Regal just do not get alone. Regal will win a three match eliminator to earn his championship shot, and from there the gloves will be off. The two will have a number of physical altercations ahead of the event, often interrupting one another’s interviews for example, and it’s never pretty. Not ever. Despite the technical skills of Regal, it’s a smash mouth affair between these two, with Regal promising to humble the braggadocios champion and beat some respect into him.

The Match: Attitude Era style stuff, this one; just a sleeves up, fists up old fashioned bar fight between the two of them, but one that goes at a good pace. Eventually Regal will gain the upper hand and force Muraco into a Regal Stretch, eschewing the brawling for his submission skill and catching Muraco off guard to attain a submission win and become the new champion!

The Aftermath: The division will make a basic switch, from being anchored by the roster’s best heel worker to the roster’s best mid card babyface worker. Eventually Muraco will find himself locked in a feud with Doug Furnas over which of them is the stronger man while Regal will go on to have a series of intensely physical matches with Itami before eventually surrendering to his avaricious, aristocratic tendencies to join the One Percent when McMahon is kicked out by Mayweather.

Doug Furnas breaks a powerlifting world record

The Competitors: Until this point Furnas will have been largely restricted to being Gable’s partner in tag matches, but will be presented with a heavy focus on his powerlifting records and as the premier strongman of the roster.

The Build: Pretty simple this. When Floyd Mayweather starts running his mouth about being the most legit competitor on the roster, Chad Gable and Furnas both take exception. While Gable pursues Mayweather though, Furnas has his own way of disproving Mayweather and proving his own worth – setting a new powerlifting world record on a grand stage.

The Segment: If you’ve ever seen the original 1988 Royal Rumble, they do a similar segment with Dino Bravo. This would be like that, only with a bit more pomp and higher production values. Furnas would also break the record for important reasons that play out later. Or it’s a nice toilet break ahead of the main event run.

The Aftermath: This, combined with happenings later in the event, set Furnas on trajectory of a brief singles main event push before solidifying a singles career in the Openweight division, transitioning him fully out of a tag team role.

Hideo Itami def. Shane McMahon by TKO

The Competitors: Shane McMahon will be the irritating Boy Wonder version, crazy athletic and capable of a beating but also resourceful and able to hold his own in environments conducive to shenanigans, not to mention endlessly interfering in every match under the sun! Itami, meanwhile, wouldn’t stray too far from his heel persona in NXT before his promotion – except it’ll be angled as more of an anti-hero than an outright villain. Nor would he talk. I’d take the Goldberg approach, of silent and imposing and deadly. That’s the Itami who will have absolutely dominated the Junior Heavyweight division from day one, like the star I know he can be! Oh, and Itami is totally using his original NOAH entrance theme.

The Build: Itami won the Junior Heavyweight Championship at SummerPlan and, heading into Fury Road, had beaten almost everyone. Mayweather seemed to be heading in that direction too, when Itami was even proven capable of picking apart Mayweather’s considerably larger entourage staff. Itami, however, never counted on McMahon’s interference. One belt shot to the head later and Mayweather had dethroned the Silent Assassin.

Pissed, Itami would waste no time in chasing Mayweather down, only to discover that Mayweather had lawyered up to prevent Itami from having a well-deserved rematch – or, for that matter, any match whatsoever. Mayweather had a restraining order out. McMahon would take great glee in reminding Itami of the One Percent’s victory over him week after week after week while sticking close to Mayweather to prevent physical reprisals. It would be during Gable and Furnas’s physical altercation with Mayweather and his retinue (more on that later!) that would see McMahon stray too far from his golden boy and Itami was waiting – he battered McMahon into submission, forcing McMahon into relenting to an official in-ring showdown at PlanMania where the firebrand Itami had every intention of taking out his frustrations.

The Match: With Roode out of action because of his earlier defeat and Mayweather’s own restraining order preventing Mayweather from being at ringside, Shane instead brings Umaga with him to the ring as a cornerman. In spite of the size difference, Itami squares up to Umaga from the off-set. Umaga still beats Itami down, leading to officials, refs and even cops trying to eject the monster from ringside. Fearing legal reprisals of an escalation and now confident of his advantage, Shane would collaborate and send Umaga back. Shane would then be cocky, confident, thinking he had this in the bag. Only early pin fall efforts see Itami kick out, the Silent Assassin slowly fighting his way back until the match becomes an outright beat down of Shane O’Mac, in the one-sided and sickeningly stiff style of the infamous Del Rio/Ziggler match from 2013. Itami would get his win by technical knock out / ref stoppage.

The Aftermath: This would be Itami’s official transition away from the Junior Heavyweight division and lead to him challenging for Openweight Championships thereafter. He would also eventually reprise his issues with Umaga later down the line, and be produced as an absolute bad ass in refusing to back down from the monster even when heavily outmatched. Shane, meanwhile, would find his leadership challenged by Mayweather after PlanMania because of the humiliation of this defeat and the shenanigans surrounding how the match came together in the first place. This would facilitate McMahon’s downfall and see Mayweather become the faction’s replacement leader.

DDP def. Umaga by pin fall in a No Holds Barred Career Match – if Umaga wins, DDP must retire

The Competitors: Umaga will have been produced similarly to how he was heading into the John Cena feud, with a little bit of Yokozuna there too – a deadly monster handled by the man that brought him ashore, Shane McMahon. DDP, meanwhile, would be his WCW People’s Champion self, infinitely charismatic and capable of incredible matches with his Diamond Cutter being his secret weapon.

The Build: Since SummerPlan, where the One Percent had a hand in costing DDP the World Championship, Dally has been the primary thorn in the side of McMahon’s mega-rich stable. It was Page who assembled the People’s Coalition in the main event of TTT, and it was Page who eliminated Bobby Roode from the Fury Road. In retaliation, the One Percent had cost Page – a man very much beneath them, like all the unwashed masses – the World Championship several times over; at SummerPlan and when Umaga eliminated Page in the Fury Road being the most notable examples.

Sick of the One Percent’s shenanigans and toxicity, Page decides it’s time to end things once and for all and challenges any member of the group to a match at PlanMania. Shane McMahon accepts under conditions. First, the man he wrestles is no man at all but the monster Umaga. Second, the match is No Holds Barred. Third, if DDP loses, he has to retire. After a little contemplation, with the odds stacked against him, DDP, understanding the importance of the message behind his mission, accepts nonetheless – much to the shock and humour of McMahon.

The Match: This one is a knock-down drag-out thirty-odd minute bloodbath, mixing the carnage of the Cena/Umaga Last Man Standing with the visuals of the Summerslam 2017 main event with the intensity of the Hogan/Vince Street Fight. Quirks of fate have evened the odds going in, with McMahon and Roode both out of action, promising no interference. DDP would put in a valiant fighting effort, even though Umaga would seem utterly unstoppable – until one well-placed Diamond Cutter, perhaps on a chair or through a table, would allow a crimson-masked Page his elating victory.

The Aftermath: In the immediate aftermath on the night, once Page had been stretchered away, Umaga would regain consciousness and fly into a rage. Without his handler there to control him, Umaga would be unstoppable, destroying referees and officials all the way through the crowd to the back. In the longer term, Page’s victory, on top of Itami’s and Savio’s, would begin to sew seeds of dissension in the One Percent and Page would transition into eventually becoming Punk’s nemesis once the latter’s heel turn was fully complete (more on that later!).

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather (c.) def, Chad Gable by escape in a Steel Cage Match for the Junior Heavyweight Championship[/B]

The Competitors: As Mayweather has only ever really wrestled once, it’s that version that I’ll be producing of course, but it’s a gimmick that fits perfectly into my vision for the One Percent. Mayweather would also come complete with his own entourage as an inherent part of his gimmick, full of jabroni bodyguards and the like. Gable, meanwhile, will be as we knew him briefly when a singles competitor on SDL – young, hungry and determined to prove what he can contribute to the organisation. Except a much bigger deal will be made at all times of his Olympian past. Oh, and he’ll use the awesome theme he used with Benjamin, not the American Alpha one!

The Build: After a run-in during the main event of TTT, Mayweather would challenge Itami for the Junior Heavyweight title at Fury Road – and go on to shock the world by winning thanks to interference from his entourage and, more directly, Shane McMahon. Mayweather would then begin the process of lawyering up to avoid title defences, and especially to avoid a rematch with a furious Itami. While doing this, he would run his mouth relentlessly, proclaiming himself the greatest and most legitimate athlete in the industry – which would grab Gable’s attention.

In spite of World title frustrations, Gable would claim himself to be a member of a different One Percent – the top one percent of athletes in the industry, which Mayweather, with all his legal loopholes, was not. Gable would challenge for the title, but Mayweather would continue dodging legally and physically. Gable’s partner Doug Furnas – who had similar issues with Mayweather’s proclamation – would help Gable get past Mayweather’s entourage, resulting in Gable publicly humiliating Mayweather with an amateur wrestling display at the expense of the champion. Ignominious, Mayweather would accept the challenge, promising to now break Gable’s face with his fists – only for Gable to reveal, in a last minute twist, that he had lawyered up too to make their match a Steel Cage Match, denying Mayweather’s entourage and One Percent team mates any chance at interference.

The Match: Taking a cue from both the Owen/Bret and Angle/Benoit Cage Matches, this wouldn’t be a bloodbath but would instead focus on high intensity competitiveness and escape courtesy of Mayweather’s character. Ultimately Gable would be frustrated when an out of control and rampaging Umaga smarting from his defeat and without Shane to handle him would storm the ring, tearing the Cage door clean off and beating Gable down as Mayweather escapes. This would result in a newly world record holding Furnas to run interference for his partner. A stand-off between the strongmen would ensue eventuating in Furnas spinebusting Umaga, derailing and flooring the monster like nobody had before him, to a huge pop, rescuing his buddy.

The Aftermath: This would begin a main event push for Furnas who would go on to fight Umaga with his strength in a way nobody had witnessed before. With Itami the first main event star forged from the Junior division, Mayweather would soon follow and Gable would dethrone Money to become next in line and the division’s new centre star – this would come to earmark the Junior Heavyweight title as what the NXT title has become to the main roster today.

CM Punk def. Seth Rollins (c.) by pin fall for the World Championship

The Competitors: I’m using bratty Rollins circa 2015, constantly cheating his way to retaining his championship and generally acting smarmy and irritating, only using Dash and Dawson in place of J&J. Mixing his 2011 and 2013 anti-heroes, I’ll produce Punk as the violent and impassioned orator looking to change the status quo and crusading for greater influence to affect positive change.

The Build: Rollins was originally crowned as the frst-ever World Champion at SummerPlan over DDP. Since that time, D&D have helped him escape and / or retain his title against a myriad of stars. CM Punk meanwhile, for a long time, had his hands full with the One Percent, clashing with similar loudmouth and disrespectful industry outsider Floyd Mayweather at SummerPlan before being embroiled with the wider war against the One Percent at Tag Team Turmoil (TTT).

After getting the victorious pin fall in the Elimination Tag TTT main event, Punk set his sights on the World title, to the chagrin of a frightened Rollins. Punk won entry as a seventh man in the Fury Road after beating D&D in a Last Chance Handicap Match that same night thanks to botched interference from a guest commentating Rollins, and went on to win an impossible victory to earn his title shot.

From that point on, Punk sought to even the playing field by wielding his pipebombs, accusing Rollins of being disrespectful to the industry and the title; that he was a paper champion hiding behind his hired protection; that he wasn’t on Punk’s level. Rollins would respond, his insecure vanity and his lust for success combining into ordering D&D to stay backstage come PlanMania so he could prove Punk and the world wrong, that he didn’t need back-up, that he was the real Best in the World and he would prove it under no uncertain terms. His final words to D&D would simply be “I don’t need you.”

The Match: Would be a modern Savage/Steamboat affair, with relentless movement; a high octane competitive chess match, free of any shenanigans and that wouldn’t see Rollins attempt to cheat at all. Nor would it be overlong – a 15/20 minute affair that simply doesn’t stop for breath. Punk would eventually gain a hard-earned victory, while Rollins would gain a hard-earned handshake before bowing out gracefully, his match ostensibly being a babyface turn for him.

The Aftermath: The next TVs would see fellow Top Guys Dash and Dawson turn on a Rollins seeking redemption, laying out and destroying the Architect and thereby re-christening themselves Shatter Machine – Rollins was no longer a champion even though they now were, was no longer a top guy and was no longer worthy of their effort. Rollins would team with his long-time friend Mercury in a title feud with Shatter Machine which would kick start a year long redemption arc for Rollins that would play in parallel with a year-long corruption arc for Punk, who would hold the title for a year and slowly transform into his latter-day 2012 self. PlanMania II would see Rollins win a rematch with the moral alignments switched as Rollins would complete his redemption while seeking to pull Punk back from the brink.

Type’s Rating/Thoughts: On paper this roster didn’t look strong but Plan’s intricate story telling sold me. Punk/Rollins is superb, Floyd Vs. Gable provides us with an absolutely awesome lightweight match up of cocky arrogant star vs. promising underdog. I won’t make this any longer. Rating: ****

 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE STORYLINE? WHO USED THEIR MANIA CARD THE BEST? IS THERE MATCH-UP THAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BUT DIDN’T?

Closing thoughts: This was so much for to do. I sincerely hope this was a breath of fresh air to those readers who may be a little exhausted with the current product.  For those who enjoy more currently relevant columns, there’s no shortage of those either!  Thank you for reading!

#EmbraceDebate

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