wrestling / Columns

Thursday Sports Entertainment News Report 04.18.13

April 18, 2013 | Posted by Sean Kelly

Greetings, folks, and welcome to another edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment! This will be by far the biggest, most overstuffed, chromium holograph die-cut limited edition cover edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment in my entire illustrious 14 ½ month history at 411mania! Which is odd, because I’ve been spending a lot of my free time trying to wipe out the earth in a game called Plague, Inc. Ever play it? It’s strangely addicting. The premise of the game (which I play on my iPad) is to engineer a super-plague that will wipe out humanity. It’s very challenging, and you get a very weird feeling once you realize you’re actively rooting for genocide. The hardest country in the world to infect? Greenland. Up yours, Greenland!



Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports (via WrestleZone) that Batista has been training for a return to wrestling and is close to the 290 pound mark (what he wrestled at during his last WWE run). Batista has said in recent interviews that he is interested in returning to WWE and possibly working with The Rock and Brock Lesnar.

With The Rock’s WWE future up in the air, and along with it, the Rock/Brock Lesnar WrestleMania 30 match, it’s possible that WWE could bring Batista in to fill in The Rock’s role.

Batista does have a role in an upcoming major movie — Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — which starts filming this summer.

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Anyone else out there think that this isn’t gonna happen? Batista’s acting career is advancing by leaps and bounds in my opinion. While Guardians isn’t a household name, it’s a Marvel Studios production that has the full backing of Disney’s marketing resources. So you know it’s going to be a well-made, well-promoted movie. Batista’s stock in Hollywood is sure to rise higher after Guardians, so why would he squander any future movie opportunities by going back to WWE?

As a fan, I’d love to see The Animal back. He’s a big, muscle-bound guy that is very over. He could do a lot to help. But going back to wrestling would be considered by many to be a step down for him. You could make the same argument for the Rock, but he grew up in the wrestling world and is an established A-list star – neither of which applies to Big Dave. Why would Batista risk injury and missed opportunities in his current career just to re-hash his previous career? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Somewhere in LA LA land, there’s a team of agents, managers, etc. calling Dave constantly, trying to talk him out of a return to WWE. They’ll tell him that he’ll miss big paydays making movies vs the smaller paydays and rougher schedule of working with WWE. They’ll point out that the Rock got injured at the last two WrestleManias and nearly derailed a $100M movie in the process. No, I don’t see Batista returning anytime soon. I hope I’m wrong, but the tea leaves just don’t read that way.

Hornswoggle was recently interviewed by Brian Socia. Here are some highlights:

On whom would make up his wrestling Mt. Rushmore: “Cena, HBK, Taker and yeah, I want to say Bret Hart or Hogan but I can’t [decide]. It’s a legacy here, but I think Hogan because it would be the eras.”

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I like the concept of a “wrestling Mount Rushmore.” Personally, I would put up Vince McMahon, Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin. If we were limiting it to just wrestlers, I would put Bruno, Hulk, Austin and John Cena. Each man was the man during the various peak eras of professional wrestling.

Of course, this list is subjective and up for debate. I’m sure workratephiles would put HBK, Bret Hart, Ric Flair and such on their personal wrestling Mount Rushmores. But from a purely business/exposure point of view, it’s hard to come up with a list that’s different from mine. So here’s a fun assignment for you – come up with your own Wrestling Mount Rushmores for the following categories:

Tag Team
Mic Skills
Non-Wrestlers (announcers, valets, etc)

Should be fun.

According to prowrestling.net, Christian has received medical clearance to return to the ring. No date is set for his return to WWE TV, but he has been out of action since late summer with a shoulder injury.

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I think the only other Christian whose return has been anticipated for this long is Christ Himself. Jeez, every week it’s like “Christian is ready to come back once someone remembers he exists.” What’s it gonna take to get Captain Charisma back on our TV screens? Not that they’d give him anything meaningful to do.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a time where professional wrestling had more hours of TV in a week, with so many members on their roster, with so little for most of them to do. It’s astounding.

While the official number will not be available for a month or so, early word on the WrestleMania 29 buyrate is that the initial estimates are not good. According to a source, one number being floated around was said to be “downright shocking.” WWE lowered their own internal projections (1.3 million) the week of the show, due to the Elimination Chamber buys coming in lower than expected.

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I’m somewhat torn on this report if it is true. On the one hand, I’m thinking “Good! Maybe they’ll realize they can’t lazily book their way to the biggest show of the year and expect us to pay $70 for it.” On the other hand, this will impact the compensation, and possible future employment, of several undercard guys.

Still, the WWE needs a wakeup call. Every match at WrestleMania used to mean something. Feuds from the lowest wrestler to the WWE champion would be brewing for months, finally climaxing at the biggest show in Sports Entertainment. These days, we don’t know what most of the matches will be until about 3 weeks before the event. Matches like Jericho/Fandango, Ryback/Henry, The Shield 6-man tag, and Miz/Barrett are just thrown together pairings with little build. Hell, even the best match (and feud) on the card, CM Punk vs. Undertaker, only had a few weeks of build – but what a spectacular few weeks they were. Cena/Rock and Triple H/Lesnar had much longer builds, but the “spark” wasn’t there and they were retreads of matches that already happened in 2012.

I hate to be one of “those” people, but WWE Creative needs a real shot in the arm in terms of the way they develop storylines. It’s almost cliché at this point to blame Creative for WWE’s woes, but it’s the truth. Developing compelling, successful angles sure ain’t easy, but since this is their full time job, you’d think they’d come up with better stories for the Showcase of the Immortals. Hell, the impromptu Foley/Jericho match at the Hall of Fame was more exciting than most of the matches on the WrestleMania card!

Carlito posted the following on Twitter, regarding Rock’s WrestleMania injuries:

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“Rock tore his ab & adductor tendons? Hmm, I guess instead of getting in tremendous shape for mania…he got in TREN-mendous shape!”

Anyone else had to look up what Carlito was talking about? After ruling out the Theological Research Exchange Network and the Spanish word for “train,” I concluded that Carlito must have been referring to the steroid Tren. Oh, now I get it.

Well, as bitter and juvenile as the joke may seem, he’s probably right. These days Rock gets paid to look good, not compete in ½ hour matches. One surefire way to look like a demi-God on screen is to take anabolic steroids. Does the Rock take steroids? How the hell would I know? But, consider the following:

-He’s enormously ripped, moreso than he’s ever been

-He gets muscle tears often (WrestleMania 28 & 29) – muscle tears are more common when on the juice. Just think, Vince McMahon tore both quads while WALKING INTO THE RING. When’s the last time CM Punk ever tore a muscle?

-Hollywood doesn’t have a Wellness Policy

I’m not here to judge Rock, but Carlito is probably onto something. Do you think that Rock is on the gas?


Last week I asked you, dear reader, to submit to me your fantasy booking for WWE’s next big angle. To share the number one idea you’d pitch to Stephanie McMahon if you had the opportunity to do so. This generated the biggest response to anything I’ve ever requested of you, the reading audience. So here’s what I’m doing – I’m going to take the entire text of several of your responses and put them in the first ever Thursday Sports Entertainment APPENDIX below. That way, if people are interested, they can read the idea in detail. To make it easier for you, I’ve included links so you can jump back and forth between the main column and the appendix.

Within the main body of the column, I’ll give the “logline” of the idea along with my thoughts. Don’t take offense if I’m overly critical. I’m trying to comment on these storylines under the context that you are pitching Stephanie McMahon a BIG story. I’ll also give my “official recommendation” at the end of each commentary. So no hard feelings. Deal? Deal. And kudos to everyone for putting your ideas out there for public scrutiny. It’s NOT easy. So, in no particular order, let’s see how the 411 readership would book WWE for the next several months!


Logline: After teaming with Kane and Undertaker to defeat the Shield, Daniel Bryan sets his sights on ending the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, and is willing to go through Kane to do it.

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I don’t think this angle was “big” enough. It’s good in the sense that it takes one person – Daniel Bryan – and elevates him even further in the eyes of himself and the fans, but it doesn’t change the landscape of the WWE forever. It’s, at best, an upper-mid card level feud.

Also, it involves the Undertaker wrestling a lot more often than he’s used to. I know it’s only a handful of matches, but that equates to him wrestling 3-4 times more often than he currently does in a given year. Think about that.

There are also a few little mistakes in your pitch, like calling a 3-on-3 elimination match a “traditional Survivor Series match,” which typically consists of two teams of five. But I got what you were saying. You also don’t give a definitive ending to your angle. What happens between Bryan and Undertaker?

At the end, what this angle accomplishes is that it gives the tag team titles to the Shield and allows Daniel Bryan, someone who’s normally overconfident, to gain even more confidence. All in all, it’s a nice little side-story, but not big enough to blow the minds of everyone watching.



Logline: John Cena, while trying to help various midcarders against the Shield, only makes things worse for his friends, who ultimately turn on him.

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Much like the previous pitch, this one doesn’t feel “big” to me. I like that Cena gets physical with midcarders that are supposed to be his friends, and I like the idea that Cena doing the right thing is actually hurting people. However, at the end of the day– what’s changed? Cena is still a babyface, but starting to embrace some darker tendencies. Truth and Ryder would endear themselves to the male, cynical fans, but to what end? None of these guys end up significantly different to where they are today.

I’m all for elevating midcard talent in a feud with Cena, but this one didn’t have enough bite for me.


3) THE WYATT FAMILY : by Scipio2009

Logline: Bray Wyatt comes to the WWE as a Messiah-like figure, taking his “family” with him on a slow path to dominance.

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Another commenter pointed out the same thing I thought after reading your pitch – this sounds a lot like the Straight Edge Society. The framework is the same – there’s a charismatic leader who “saves” wrestlers from walking the wrong path. The details may be different, but the overarching themes are very similar. Also, like some other pitches I received, the introduction of a new stable that gradually builds its way up the card doesn’t seem like a big event to me.

There was a little nugget in your pitch that I think has potential, thoguh. You started out by saying that Wyatt would endear himself to referees and production folks. I thought that if taken further, this could be a great angle for a new performer. Imagine if someone became so popular amongst the behind-the-scenes guys that they would go out of their way to help him out. Maybe all the referees count a little faster when he’s pinning someone and count slower when he’s being pinned. In a match against Kane, maybe Kane’s pyro won’t go off when he lowers his arms. Or his opponents could come out to lame elevator music instead of their regular theme. It’d be a neat way to introduce someone new.

Anyway, enough of that tangent. I just don’t think Straight Edge Society 2.0 would work. The SES was only a few years ago and I think most people would see this as a cheap imitation of it.



Logline: Dutch Mantell (aka Zeb Colter) leads a stable of up-and-coming wrestlers that wish to take out the established Main Eventers

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The idea of young bucks airing grievances against main eventers has been done many times before, probably because it works pretty well. While your storyline borders on being too “smart,” e.g. Sheamus being sheltered by the Elite, it does strike a chord and I think the audience would respond. I like the fact that it introduces new guys (although you broke my “one new debut” rule), and it pits them strongly against established talent. But like you said yourself, this is an upper-midcard feud, and we were looking for a big time, blockbuster angle. Still, it’s an idea worth considering.



Logline: After gaining the Undertaker’s respect, the Deadman revels the secret of the urn to Sheamus, who discovers he is an actual, immortal Celtic Warrior.

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Let me start by saying I really liked the way you thought outside of the box here. I totally appreciate what you are trying to do. The Undertaker and Kane are the only “mystical” characters left in WWE, and they aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore. Your idea passes the supernatural torch from Taker to Sheamus, allowing a young wrestler the opportunity to keep the Undertaker’s mystique going. Undertaker has had a long, respected, prosperous career embracing the paranormal, and it would benefit Sheamus and WWE if they could keep that aspect as part of the product.

My biggest concern is that Undertaker and Kane are holdovers from a simpler era. Undertaker is basically a cartoon character that debuted in 1991. These days, those kinds of gimmicks are few and far between. WWE has been taking more of a reality-based approach to their characters and storylines. I don’t think this angle would fit in the current wrestling landscape. As much as I like it, I just don’t think it would fly. There’s a big chance that the audience would crap all over this and damage Sheamus’ reputation, the Undertaker’s reputation, and the company’s reputation in the process.


6) BRAD MADDOX – UBER HEEL: by Gregory Fabiano

Logline: Paul Heyman reveals that his master plan was to make Brad Maddox the next great champion, and that CM Punk, Lesnar and the Shield were all put in place to protect Maddox.

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I like the idea of ret-conning the last 6 months to say that it was all about Brad Maddox. While there are some holes in your logic – like what gives Maddox the right to cash in the briefcase – I think they can easily be patched up with some creative thinking. I do have a hard time believing that Heyman would go through so much trouble for Brad Freaking Maddox, but again, some creative rationale can be used to explain that away. Maybe Maddox is Paul’s godson, or there’s some other connection there that would make Paul (and by extension Punk, Lesnar & the Shield) beholden to him. I think the idea is at least worth exploring. This pitch comes closer to the “big” storyline I was looking for.



Logline: Paul Heyman forms a modern day Dangerous Alliance with “shooters,” which ultimately leads to Heyman running a revived WCW.

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This was the best pitch I received by far. It was BIG, it had lots of twists and turns, and it changes the landscape of professional wrestling forever. There’s a possibility of bias because it’s actually very similar to my idea, but I 100% agree with everything Mr. Gray wrote in his pitch. There are some minor kinks to be worked out – like we need a logical reason for Vince to give Paul the go-ahead to re-form WCW, but that’s small stuff. THIS is how you fantasy book. Bravo! I recommend that everyone read at least this pitch. Great, great stuff.


Thanks for submitting your ideas, everyone. I had a great time reading them. So, as promised, here’s the idea I would pitch to Stephanie McMahon if I had bid on that charity auction.


I wanted to construct an angle that fit with the times. After all, the best angles are the ones that can establish an emotional connection with the audience. These days, the world is a very fearful place, and in my opinion, the most fearsome thing of all is uncertainty.

What if the biopsy comes back as cancer?

Are those guys following me?

What if I lost everything I worked for?

What is my new boss going to do? Will he lay me off?

The last one is happening all around us. Hell, it’s happening to a lot of my co-workers, who are damn good people that deserve better. But that’s life in corporate America. There’s a regime change, a new boss comes in, puts his cronies in positions of power and cuts heads to try and hit a magic number that unlocks a huge bonus for him. It ain’t right, but it happens all the time.

The WWE corporate structure on television and the WWE corporate structure in real life are very different. Vickie Guerrero has no real authority outside of storylines. And Triple H’s real life title isn’t COO, it’s Executive Vice President of Talent and Live & Events. And the Board of Directors in real life wouldn’t get so involved with the minutiae of WWE storylines like they do on TV. So the WWE audience has been conditioned to accept two corporate structures within WWE – the on-screen structure, and the real life structure.

On TV, WWE has had its share of regime changes. Hell, in the last two years we’ve had a revolving door of GMs on RAW and SmackDown. But throughout all the RAW & SmackDown authority figure turmoil, one person remained in charge, overseeing everything – Vince McMahon.

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I’m saying that needs to change. What I’m proposing is an on-screen hostile takeover of WWE.

Remember that scene in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne becomes the majority shareholder of Wayne Enterprises? He explains to the now-former CEO that “I bought most of the shares through various charitable foundations, and trusts, and so forth. Look, it’s all a bit technical, but the important thing is that my company’s future is secure.” What if, in the storyline world of WWE’s corporate hierarchy, something similar happened to Vince McMahon? What if someone has slowly but surely been buying the majority of the company’s shares over the last several years through different dummy corporations, trusts, and so forth? That would make him the new owner of WWE, and he would suddenly be Vince McMahon’s boss. The man hasn’t had a boss in decades.

Not only that, but this new CEO would do what every other new CEO does – he’d put his friends in positions of power. He’d take the company in a new direction, looking to trash the old way of doing things with visions of a bigger, brighter WWE. The entire power structure of the company would shift overnight, and everyone’s future would be uncertain.

Whom would I recommend to be the new CEO? As it turns out, there are a plethora of options. The new CEO would either have to be:

a) Someone with a large personal fortune or
b) Someone with access to investors with large fortunes

So it could really be anybody. Here are my candidates, along with my favorite:

John Laurinaitis

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Pros: Big Johnny’s revenge. We already see him as an authority figure and he has the (albeit weird) charisma required to pull off the part. There’s a lot of backstory to mine here. You would be certain that he’d have his sights set on Triple H as the first person he’d remove from power.

Cons: We’ve kind of been down this road before with Johnny as GM of RAW and Smackdown. It would be a boon for David Otunga, though. Seems like a re-hash of a previous storyline if Johnny’s involved. Physicality is limited due to his age.


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Pros: Everyone knows JBL is a savvy investor with a large, personal fortune. He has a boatload of charisma and is golden on the mic. And who wouldn’t want to see Ron Simmons as GM of RAW?

Cons: Leaves a hole at the announce table. Physicality is limited due to his age. Long-term availability uncertain.

Alberto Del Rio:

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Pros: His character is that of a super-wealthy Mexican aristocrat, so he could pull off the stock purchase. He can get physical. And who wouldn’t want to see Ricardo Rodriguez as RAW GM?

Cons: Shaky on the mic. I don’t see him as someone who could pull it off.

And here’s my favorite, though unconventional choice…

Ted DiBiase Jr.

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Ted’s the guy. He’s young, he’s been off-screen for a long time, and comes from a wealthy (kayfabe) family. The Million Dollar Man’s son grew his portfolio to become the Billion Dollar Boy. Sure, he could use a little help on the mic, but his dad can be around to back him up if needed. Ted’s a talent that’s long been considered ripe for a big run (remember when he was supposedly being considered as someone to end Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak?), and this would immediately make him the biggest guy in the company. He also has a long history with Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Triple H, Daniel Bryan and, in real life, Sheamus.

Okay, so Ted DiBiase Jr. takes over the company…now what?

Ted lays out his vision for the company in a State of the WWE address. He wants to take the WWE to new heights. It’ll be the same WWE you know and love, only better. He’s keeping Vince McMahon in an advisory role out of respect. Ted thinks that while Vince did some amazing things 20 or 30 years ago, he thinks McMahon has made things worse under his recent tenure. Kind of like George Lucas with Star Wars. Ted announces that while Vince still has some authority as Chairman of the Board, Ted will be introducing a measure at the next board meeting (in 8 weeks) to replace Vince with himself as Chairman. Vince isn’t pleased with this, especially when Ted constantly refers to him as “Vinny” and makes McMahon address him as “Mr. DiBiase.”

Ted’s vision is one that every hardcore wrestling fan can get behind. He wants to re-invigorate the tag team division. He wants to invest in the Diva’s division. He wants young guys that have been held down like Kofi Kingston and Zack Ryder to get their shots at the big time. He’ll get the WWE Network up and running by the end of the year. He’ll put John Cena out to pasture. Ted wraps it up by saying “I’ll accomplish everything Vince McMahon failed to do over the last ten years, and I’ll do it in one.” To show his confidence in the roster, he has them all sign 5-year, non-compete contracts with a bump in pay for the lower guys. “Imagine that? In these certain economic times, I’m giving you guaranteed employment for five years. I won’t make you join an infamous kiss-my-you-know-what club. I’ll never scream “YOU’RE FIRED” in public. This is a new era of WWE management.” This does not please Vince, but he has no choice but to suck it up.

And sure enough, things start out okay under DiBiase’s reign. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow get pushes to the moon. DiBiase gets the tag team and Diva’s division back on track. He forces John Cena to compete in the undercard. He’s a benevolent ruler to those he likes. To those he doesn’t, God help them. This makes many of the talent, both face and heel, to show their true colors. Some kiss up to Ted in attempts to curry favor, while others are more open about their displeasure with how Ted is handling things.

This starts a resistance movement within WWE, led by Vince McMahon. People’s loyalties are called into question. Do they remain loyal to the WWE company and their new, visionary leader, or to Vince McMahon – the man who gave them their opportunities but whose days are numbered? There is no right answer. Much like the premise in Marvel Comics’ Civil War, it’s a matter of two conflicting but perfectly valid perspectives. Each week, wrestlers choose their sides. There are no more faces and heels. For now, there’s Ted supporters and there’s Vince supporters.

Things get intense over the following weeks with Ted’s guys and Vince’s guys clashing at every turn. The Board of Directors has voted: and they are as split as the roster, with half voting to keep Vince and half voting to oust him. To break the tie, Ted and Vince agree that their respective wrestlers will face off at SummerSlam in a series of matches that will decide the fate of the company. Winner take all.

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SummerSlam comes and, of course, everything is tied up until the Main Event: John Cena (representing McMahon) vs. Ted Dibiase, Jr. It’s an epic match, but DiBiase wins cleanly. Ted celebrates in the ring. “I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but today is the exception…Vince McMahon and John Cena…Youuuuuur’eeeee FIRED!” McMahon & Cena leave with their tails between their legs, dumbfounded. Ted puts everyone who supported McMahon & Cena on notice – if they supported McMahon & Cena – he’ll make their lives a living hell for the next five years. And there’s nothing they can do about it, because he’s the majority shareholder of the only game in town.

About a month goes by and Ted lives up to his promise. Anyone who backed McMahon is forced to compete in matches that favor Ted’s supporters. McMahon followers are embarrassed on a weekly basis. They hate it, but they love wrestling and have to put up with Ted if they want to earn a living doing what they love. It’s either that or go back to the minors. Meanwhile, Cena’s nowhere to be found.

Toward the end of a later RAW, out comes Vince McMahon. Ted mocks him for showing up, asking what the hell the old man is doing here. Vince says that he’s come to give Ted notice. Ted may have taken everything Vince has built over the last 35 years, but while you can knock Vince McMahon down, you can never, ever, knock him out. Another rich guy named Ted learned that the hard way. Vince won the war with that Ted, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t win the war with this one as well. Out comes half the locker room led by John Cena – it’s everyone that supported Vince at SummerSlam.

Ted laughs. What is Vince going to do about it? Those guys work for him, and they’ve all signed long-term, non-compete contracts. *It’s time to play the game* Out comes Triple H. Triple H says that Ted is right. They’ve all signed long-term, non-compete contracts. But Triple H is in charge of talent. Triple H drew up those contracts. And there’s a clause in there that says the WWE has the right to fire them at will and void the non-compete clause. Triple H turns to Vince’s supporters. “Guess what guys? As the head of Talent Relations, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. You’re all fired, and I hereby waive your non-compete clauses. Oh, and Ted? I resign.” McMahon then proudly announces to a dumbfounded DiBiase that Vince is now the Chairman and CEO of the newly resurrected World Championship Wrestling, and he’s standing with the new WCW roster.

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At this point, WWE brings back Nitro and pits it on Thursdays against TNA (because fuck TNA). It’s a true brand split between WWE and WCW, with rival owners, titles and everything. Talent jumps back and forth but never interacts outside of really special occasions. This forces them to make new stars and sign up more talent. It’s better for the industry as a whole, better for WWE as they have a new, major show with built in brand-recognition, and you re-ignite the wrestling wars both on a kayfabe (WWE vs WCW) and real-life (WCW vs TNA) level.

Each show would appeal to different audiences. WCW can be the kid-friendly, family accessible brand that WWE wants, led by John Cena, of course. RAW can then go back to being truly RAW and make the product edgier. I’m not saying they should do a TV-14 attitude era rehash, but keep it edgier with guys the hardcore fans will support, like CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan. You could also bring back some other smart-fan favorites like RVD. Hell, make Paul Heyman in charge of creative. Make RAW fun again for the adults, but keep Nitro safe for the kiddies. Bigtime wrestling fans would watch both, while the younger kids can step-up to the older-skewing RAW show.

This storylive forever changes the landscape of professional wrestling. You get two separate “companies” that appeal to two different audiences, and jumps between brands become special again. You also elevate the World and US titles back to their former glory. The storyline makes Ted DiBiase a star, creates real tension as the Superstars have their loyalties tested, and shines the spotlight on young, hungry guys. The uncertainty in this time period would be off the charts, all culminating in a huge re-launch of a venerated brand. As a fan, I’d be watching this the whole time thinking “wow, where are they taking this? John Cena is fired and hasn’t been on TV in over a month! This is crazy!” I’d also like to steal Mr. Keith Gray’s idea of introducing weight classes with their respective titles in WCW. Good idea, Keith!

There could be adjustments, of course. It doesn’t HAVE to be Ted DiBiase. It could be anyone, including Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shane McMahon, whatever. But something BIG needs to happen that changes everything. And if I were pitching Stephanie McMahon my best wrestling idea, this would be it.


And of course, follow all the 411 stuff on Twitter! #spon



Thank you for making Thursday Sports Entertainment your go-to destination for Wrestling News, Opinions, etc. Hope you enjoyed the biggest ever edition of this little ol’ column. Thanks again to everyone that submitted their storyline ideas!

Hasta Jueves,

This is Sean.



Well you asked for a booking pitch to be presented to Stephanie, here it is…

Last week Team Hell No came to the aid of The Undertaker and on SD they came to help HHH even out the odds against The Shield. This sets up a story line in which the Shield comes after the Tag Titles and wins them at the first time of asking at Extreme Rules and they retain the titles successfully at Over the Limit. Come MITB PPV, Bryan and Kane both enter the SD Ladder match and because of their dissension fail to win the briefcase. After MitB, Bryan and Kane go their separate ways with Bryan even managing to win a secondary title in the mean time and Kane trying unsuccessfully to wrest the Tag Titles back from the Shield with other partners like Kofi or the Miz.

Around Hell in a Cell PPV, The Shield, who have run through almost every other team, issue a open challenge to the roster for a shot at the Tag Titles. Surprisingly Bryan answers the challenge and announces he is reforming Team Hell No and guarantees that they will wrest the titles back. Dean Ambrose tells Bryan to get in the queue as he has been beaten twice. Bryan calls them out as chickens and Ambrose accepts the challenge – provided Bryan puts his secondary title on the line as well – Winner takes all. The Shield manage to somehow win the match at Hell in a Cell and now Bryan is livid as he has lost his singles title as well. The next night on RAW, Bryan challenges the Shield for his rematch for the singles title. Roman Reigns defeats Bryan with some assist from Ambrose and Rollins and The Shield then do a beat down on Bryan after declaring that they are going to make sure that he doesn’t cross their path again.

Kane comes in for the save and promptly gets destroyed as well. Ambrose then goes off on a spiel listing the trail of wreckage that The Shield has left behind in the WWE and muses who else they haven’t beaten up. He says maybe the Shield should take on Vince, Stephanie and HHH as they are the only ones left untouched….


Taker is in the ring and by now Bryan and Kane have regrouped. Taker says that there is someone else left who the Shield haven’t gotten their mitts on. Taker, Bryan and Kane issue a challenge to the Shield for a classic Survivor Series match in the next PPV and the Shield accept. During the match Kane gets eliminated first quite early and it is Bryan and Taker against the Shield. Bryan comes close to getting pinned few times and somehow keeps surviving and manages to eliminate Rollins and Ambrose with Taker who had briefly tagged in choke slamming Rollins. Bryan is quite exhausted and Reigns manages to over power him. Despite Taker being fresh and desperate for a tag, Bryan doesn’t agree and is intent on finishing the match on his terms. Reigns then hits a spear and Bryan falls back on Taker tagging him and Taker comes in and after a brawl manages to hit the Tombstone on Reigns officially ending the Shield’s unbeaten streak.

Bryan and Taker survive and Taker is impressed by Bryan who had almost single handedly won the match but calls him stupid and selfish for trying to do things on his own. Bryan who is completely exhausted at this point just drops his head and seemingly apologizes to Taker. The next night on RAW, Bryan opens the show and tells that last night’s battle with The Shield opened his eyes to few things – Kane tries his best but was no longer dependable, Despite his lack of size – Bryan is really that good that he almost defeated the Shield single handed. He doesn’t blame Taker, but he now knows that he is THAT GOOD. He is ready to climb the mountain, he is ready to conquer Everest and HE WANTS UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA.

Kane interrupts and takes exception to being called undependable. Bryan just buries Kane by listing his failures to win back the Tag Titles with Kofi/ the Miz and even Bryan himself. Kane tells Bryan to watch what he is asking for and calls him being intoxicated by his victory the previous night. Bryan calls Kane a bitter loser whose only contribution to the team was to weaken it by getting pinned right off the gate. Taker was good but Bryan was immense last night and Bryan wants to crown his career by doing the seemingly undoable… goozle.. Kane tries to choke slam only to be caught in the No Lock. Kane taps out as refrees break up the brawl. Bryan defeats Kane in a brutal match and then proclaims that whatever little doubts he had about facing Taker is gone and he is ready.

From this point the booking is fairly simple as Bryan need not necessarily be a heel but just this over-ambitious guy who wants to establish himself at the top of the mountain and Taker, while being thoroughly impressed sees Bryan as a minor inconvenience.

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OK, here’s an idea to freshen up Cena, build a new main eventer or two and reinvigorate the whole country. We start with a standard match with Kofi Kingston / R-Truth (or some other makeshift face tag team with a couple of guys you want to elevate) fighting against a lower rung heel tag team (say, Hunico and Camacho). The Shield hits – turns out that they’re ready to divide and conquer and they’re going for the tag team titles, so as a trio they take out Kingston and Truth. In the aftermath, Kingston and Truth look ready to issue a challenge – and Cena’s music hits. He suggests he join the team and even the odds.

Kofi is all for it, but Truth has other ideas. He turns and asks Cena “do I look like I need saving to you?” and gets in Cena’s face. The Shield sit back mesmerised while Kofi tries to talk him down, but then Truth starts reasoning with Kingston, explaining that this is why they have been at the middle of the ticket for the last three years… Every time there’s a problem, Cena comes in as lord and savior to the midcarders. Next week, Kingston and Truth take on The Shield with their own partner, Zach Ryder. They can do this, without Cena’s help. And they almost do, keeping it even for most of the match… but then the Shield cut of Ryder and begin to work him over, using cheap tactics to cut the ring off.

Enter Cena, whose here to right situation just as Ryder makes the hot tag. Truth enters the ring, turns to see Cena cheerleading them, only to get rolled up. After the match, Truth and Cena argue. Cena, at some point, turns to Ryder and says “no offense, but you needed something bigger Ryder for this match. I’m here for you, Truth”. Ryder takes offense at the no-offense comment, Cena tries to joke it off, but Ryder levels Cena. Kofi gets involved, getting Ryder to back off, but it’s unclear where he stands in the fight.

Situation repeats with Cena trying to help people who don’t want to be helped, and even Kofi begins to get agitated by the interference, slowly being turned around by Truth’s argument.

Then Truth / Kingston / Ryder end up in a match with 3 Man Band, and it looks like an easy victory… but the Shield turn up again. Even with the extra men at ringside, the faces get the victory. Post-match, the Shield looks like they’re trying to cut the exit off for the faces when Cena broadsides the Shield. Everyone watches on as Cena takes on the Shield single handedly – and loses. The Shield put him through a table and leave. Next week, Cena stands out in the ring and calls the 3 faces out. He asks Truth why he didn’t get involved ? Why didn’t he save him from the Shield? Truth responds that he didn’t save him because he didn’t need to be there. The Truth does not need to be saved. Ryder spends the interview still annoyed at how he has been belittled, but Kofi tries to be more diplomatic, saying that he can dominate the limelight a bit too much sometimes.

Cena, stung by the comment, looks to the crowd – half of whom will probably be booing him. He looks out “So that’s how it is, huh? I give my life to the WWE universe. I give my blood sweat and tears to the WWE universe. I put my heart and soul on the line for the fans, for my friends… I do everything right… and its still not enough for you… Well, I might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb”. And with that he surprises Kofi Kingston and knocks him out with an AA / his belt / whatever. He then fights off Truth and Ryder, taking them all out before leaving the ring, shocked at what he did.

Cena tries to reconcile with everyone, but only Kingston will give him a second chance, and they tag against two of the Shield on one condition – Cena cannot try to be the savior in this match. Kingston has to be given chance to prove his own. In the match, Kingston gets cut off, and Cena gets so frustrated with the agreement that he just leaves. He can’t save his friend and keep the promise…

Its then a tale of revenge, with Punk / Show / the Shield / other main event heels trying to convince Cena he’s better off just embracing what he did. Punk tries to convince him that he should just give in to his ego, Big Show councils that he always gave too much thought to what people think about him. Truth is out for revenge, Punk / Show etc are trying to get him to turn heel and Kingston is caught in the middle – no longer trusting Cena but so wanting to give him another chance. Click here to return to the main article.

3) THE WYATT FAMILY : by Scipio2009

Idea: Monster push of Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family
(Wyatt Family: Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, Corey Graves, Paige)

Bray Wyatt, as a character, has been on fire imo since it was debuted. The character has the legs to be downright epic, as long as Stephanie and WWE Creative have the guts to go with it. [Then again, Muhhamad Hassan, the Arab-American from Deerborn, MI who’s grown tired of the xenophobia that arose after 9/11, was a brilliant character before the skewed it and pulled the plug there, too.]

Ideally, the arc would play out on Raw. You’d debut Wyatt on this past Raw, with a promo in the back, where he catches a ref/production guy, introduces himself and speaks of the reckoning that is coming, but also the peace and love that HE brings (catchphrase: “time is on my side”, melodically). Ref is a bit weirded out, but he goes on his way. This type of activity, with Wyatt interacting with production people, continues for another 2-3 weeks, before Wyatt’s first match, which is against a jobber.

Wyatt lets his opponent know HE’s here to bring peace to all, before outright brutalizing him (hyper agressive, but ‘clean’). Wyatt kisses his opponent goodbye, before planting him with his finish (rolling STO) for the 1-2-3. Wyatt closes his opponents eyes, whispers words of peace, and leaves. [3-5 jobber matches, with at least 1 more on Raw, with the rest on Main Event, should be okay.

Wyatt moves onto some of the lower regular WWE talents (JTG, Tyson Kidd, Gabriel, [unfortunately] Ted DiBiase, etc). He talks of the reckoning that is coming to all who refuse to believe in HIM. As the victories pile up, Wyatt talks of introducing his family, those who have come believe as HE believes.

The first member introduced is Corey Graves; he talks of how his life was lost, in the haze of the drugs/alcohol and the countless women, before he found Bray Wyatt, and finally spoke to the truth of his existence in life. Bray Wyatt then takes the mic and implores the crowd to also see HIS truth. (Graves doesn’t interfere in any matches).

The following week, backstage vignette with Wyatt preaching HIS truth to Graves and some unidentified individuals. Graves accompanies Wyatt to the ring for the next 1-3 weeks, before Luke Harper and Erik Rowan debut. They, too, share their stories of finding truth with Wyatt. As he implores the audience to see HIS truth, Paige, acting as a plant in the audience (since the debut of Graves), steps forward to join Wyatt and his Family.

In essence, you’d be 4 months in, Wyatt has the makings of a charismatic wrecking ball and the audience has now learned of the Wyatt Family. {Part 1}

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I’m going mid-upper midcard…hence maybe Stephanie would not care at all and let me run with it…
My pitch is built around Dutch Mantell and Jack Swagger: The opening promo goes something like this: Dutch and Jack come out and shoot. Dutch introduces himself by his real name and runs down WWE, talking about how that’s Vince McMahon’s idea of the real America made Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger a ridiculous parody. Those days are done. Keep in mind Dutch is heeling it up and Jack is doing what he can to just be himself, out of character. Then they talk about American traditions of sacrifice, hard work, having bigger goals than selfish aspiration and those who who denigrate those traditions both foreign and domestic. How the elite, Vince, protects and shelters the spoiled, greedy, and selfish. Then he says no man can be an island, pointing to Swagger, and that their revolution will be televised.

Then later on the show, the main event is Orton vs Sheamus vs Show and just before the show closes Dutch leads out Swagger, Kassius Ohno, Joe Hennig, and Bray Wyatt. Bray hangs back with Dutch while the other three take out Orton, Sheamus, and Show, before entering the ring to land the coup de grace…preferably really pushing the violence envelope.

As the weeks go on, Dutch’s crew continues to go after these three guys…talking about how there are people in this country handed everything on a silver platter and even when the screw it up, they never lose favor with the elite, remaining consequence free (Orton)…and Dutch’s Crew is here to make him feel the consequences. How there are those who come to this country without ever sacrificing for their selfish rewards, as the elite shelter them from paying any price (Sheamus)…and Dutch’s crew is here to inflict that sacrifice. How there are those who are given chances to give back and show humility for all the gifts they have been granted, only to spit in the face of everybody and selfishly grab for more as the elite smile with approval (Show)…and Dutch’s crew is here to…uh…make him humble…

The story is has all singles matches with Dutch’s crew winning, through the numbers game. HHH plays up the threat by adding a second ref (but Dutch and Bray are crafty and still find distraction) and becomes a target for nepotism. The faces play up dissension and distrust…and at SummerSlam they finally get together for a six man, while Swagger gets a streetfight with HHH. Dutch’s crew gets the win, while Swagger takes the loss to HHH…from there they move on to tag champs The Shield (Reigns/Black) and Bray goes after Ambrose, theoretically turning them face and while Swagger branches off to go after US champ Antonio Cesaro.

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I would pitch a story where the Undertaker would announce that WrestleMania XXX would be has last match, win, lose or draw.

Should his opponent win, the true secret of the urn will be revealed to them.

Authority-figure-at-their-descretion then declares that there will be a scramble match at the next PPV. The winner of that match is declared King of the Mountain for the honor of fighting Taker and the possibility of learning the secret. However, if they do not stay undefeated, they lose that honor too the man who defeated them.

The honor can either stay on the original talent, building them up so that they seem like a threat to Taker OR the creative team can hot-potato the spot around making the angle more unpredictable, their choice. The nature of the stipulation also protects the company should an injury occur.

The honor finally goes to Sheamus, who loses… however, Undertaker is SO impressed with Sheamus that he bestows upon him the secret. However, it comes with a price. Sheamus must now bear the secret alone. Sheamus veers into the urn, lights out, lights up and both have vanished.

Next night on RAW Sheamus comes out and tells the he not only learned the secret of the urn but the truth about himself. That he does not just idolize the ancient warriors of Ireland but the he, himself, WAS one of those ancient warriors and that he is thousands of years old (his character from his pre-WWE days).

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6) BRAD MADDOX – UBER HEEL: by Gregory Fabiano

This would take place the night after the next Money in the Bank Ladder match (PPV 13′), featuring RAW superstars: Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Wade Barrett, Ryback, Fandango and Chris Jericho. Jericho wins the Money in the Bank Ladder match and is in turn, Mr. Money in the Bank. Jericho starts a mid-card feud with Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Title (ala RVD/Shelton Benjamin) and they go back and forth. The feud becomes heated and in the mist of a brawl, Bard Maddox and security attempted to break up the fight and Jericho ends up hitting Maddox with the briefcase, knocking him out. Later that night Brad comes out and strips Jericho of the Money in the Bank contract and suspends him indefinitely.

Fast forward to Summerslam, where it is John Cena as champion defending against Brock Lesnar. John defeats Brock in a hard fought match for the WWE title and comes out on top. Brock proceeds to destroy John after the match. As the PPV comes to a close, Brad Maddox comes out and says, since he know has the brief case, he is cashing in for a title match. He easily takes the title off John Cena and is the WWE Champion.

The next night on Raw Heyman, Brock, Lesnar and Brad all come out. Heyman explains this was all months in the making. He began planting the seed all he way back at Hell in a Cell, making Maddox the referee, and in turn costing Ryback the match. He wanted Maddox’s name to start getting out there. He went to Vickie and asked her to hire Maddox as the Co-Supervisor, thus giving him and authoritative figure role to make sure he got the case when he did. Brock and Punk have always been watching out for Maddox, has Maddox has returned the favor by making sure that Punk remained champion when he did and Brock would come in when needed, like last night to make sure Maddox became champion. Punk held the title to make sure Maddox was ready, and Brock was the muscle to make sure no one got in the way.

The Shield proceeds to come out and say they want to be thanked as well. Paul says he was getting there. The Shield were brought up from NXT with Maddox as an insurance policy to make sure that Ryback, another young blood, never got the title. The Shields goal was to make ee sure that no one else was champion until Maddox was ready. They admit they failed when Rock came back, but have sense redeemed themselves by blocking guys like Sheamus, Orton, Ryback, etc from the title picture.

Paul goes on to explain that the road block was WrestleMania, where Punk wasn’t in the title picture, like was supposed to be, and the Undertaker was another distraction. They knew Cena was going to win, and they knew he was going to keep his redemption year. They planned it that way. Punk throwing the match with him the RAW where the wrestled for the title shot, the Shield backing off of Cena and going toward Sheamus and Orton, Brock turning his attention to Hunter. All guys who associated with Cena backed off to give him his time to shine and they waited until they knew the moment was right. Chris Jericho was just collateral damage; who ever won that match was going to be the guy under the bus regardless of what happened. Everything has fallen into place to make Maddox the champion, right now and take over for where Punk left off.

Punk announces at this Punk he is stepping back from in ring work due to how beat up his body is, but he will be managing Maddox from here on out and making him the next CM Punk. Brock says he is hired muscle for Maddox and when you least expect it, along with the Shield, he will strike.

This leads to a long summer of Maddox in a plethora of title matches that he escapes time and time again with the help of his stable. The summer is storied around making Maddox a huge heel, with Punk as his manager to garner the heel heat, and Paul has his mouth piece and the Shield and Brock as ways to defend him. The idea is to make Maddox the next big heel and the man who will in turn take the title way from him, will be big face in the process and give them a good push. Maddox will establish credibility by beating Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Ryback, etc. and will turn develop into a seemingly untouchable heel (ala JBL) and the new rising face (ala John Cena circa 2004) will take the title away and sky rocket.

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So Im one for working out the little details in my fantasy booking so I really will only being laying out the bullet points of how to get from point A to Point B in my storyline which I admit is very ambitious.

This all starts with the reintroduction of Heymans Dangerous Alliance. It was heavily rumored back when Heyman was booking Smackdown and then given ECW that he always wanted to book a stable of “shooters”. In my reality Heyman opens a Raw where for the first time Lesnar and Punk are shown together on screen with Heyman speaking for them. He talks of how both men were used to anchor the WWE at one point or another and that is was always to the benefit of the Mcmahon family bank account. He speaks about how almost two years ago CM Punk spoke about bringing change to the WWE and while his rant and subsequent actions at MITB 2011 sparked interest and intrigue in the end nothing changed and the status quo returned. After the debacle that this years WM provided for him and his clients they have vowed to make the change once foretold by CM Punk. He promises throughout the night that more will join their ranks and an Alliance will be formed to break the WWE down brick by brick to be rebuilt in their image, the image of a TRUE wrestling fan!

Throughout the night the major pillars of WWE(Cena, Orton, Sheamus would be the ones I would choose) would be attacked individually by new members of Heymans Dangerous Alliance following his pattened “ECW Lights Out, Surprise wrestler in the Ring when they come back on method”. The three men that would be revealed would be Batista, Bobby Lashley and KURT ANGLE! This may be breaking your rules slightly in that you said we could only make one acquisition which I would use on Kurt Angle but since the other two are free agents I consider them to be fair game. In both Lashley and Batistas case both wrestlers are former stars that left wrestling and tried their hand at MMA bringing about the shooters stable I spoke about earlier. Kurt Angle certainly fits that mold as well and has ties to Heyman as Heyman once managed him and was one of two draft picks by Heyman when ECW was restarted. You now have a stable of 5 true main eventers backed by Heyman looking to take down the WWE.

As I said before Im no good with the details so theres zero chance I could map out Raws week to week expanding on the storyline but essentially you would have the Dangerous Alliance vs WWE guys in various iterations over the course of 6 months or so culminating at WM 30 (so I guess start this just before Survivor Series so you could do a 5 on 5 match at that PPV similar to the Inaugural Brawl at the Invasion ppv.

Fast forward a bit to a face to face interview between Mcmahon and Heyman the night after Elimination Chamber where both sides had significiant wins and losses. In the interview they go back forth and per usual until Mcmahon reminds Heyman that hes tried to take him on before and that both times previously he killed ECW and ended the Alliance Invasion. Heyman then begins to explain to Mcmahon that he does realize that but unlike the time before hes working within the WWE organization now. Hes not hindered by the involvement of McMahon children or the lack of funding that caused him to go bankrupt. This time he wants a brand that Vince has backed by Vinces money that Vince has absolutely no involvement in. He wants what was promised to him back when ECW was first revitalized: A fully funded brand completely directed by his vision. At this point Mcmahon cuts him off almost laughing at him asking”Is that what this is all about? You want your precious ECW brought back to life one more time?” Heyman then responds to Mcmahon “NO. I knew the moment I saw you on television wearing the ECW title that there was no coming back for the tribe of extreme this time. It is time to let that sleeping dog lie. What do I want Vince? I want the one thing that hurt you most. I want it so I can use it to hurt you again. I want to be able to control the one thing that haunted your nightmares, Vince. I want full control of WCW!”

Immediatley Vince turns the idea down but over the course of the next 2 weeks he is on it sold through various attacks and evil planning and Vince is finally convinced to put the WCW brand (which would take over the Smackdown and Main Event TV time slots leaving WWE with Raw and Saturday Morning Slam) in a best of 5 series at WM30. I want to mention at this time that regardless of sides (Dangerous Alliance v WWE) Heels act like heels and faces act like faces. This way when Heyman’s side wins at WM it allows for whoever the main face is (I would use CM Punk vs John Cena) on Heymans team to win in the main event of the night.

My brand spilt would be completely different than that of what we have seen previously. It is my belief that one of the biggest reason the attitude era was so successful was that it not only brought in droves of new viewers that felt the product was hip and cool at the time but it rekindled the love for the sport for all of fans that were children during the Rock and Wrestling Era. They had grown bored with the product during the new generation as they grew older a matured and once attitude was introduced it brought a


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