I have a theory/hope about Wrestlemania.

I have a theory/hope about Wrestlemania.

I have a theory/hope about Wrestlemania.

Right now, they’re building up to a match between Shane McMahon and AJ Styles. This is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. Shane isn’t a believable threat to AJ in the ring, any more than he was to the Undertaker, “guts and refusal to give up” notwithstanding.

So here’s my dream scenario for this. AJ enters the WM ring first, ready to fight, but not at all concerned. He’s got Shane’s measure, and the announcers could even play up a bit or refer to a past vignette where AJ didn’t even feel the need to warm up properly, that he’s going to pin Shane in his sleep.

Shane’s entrance music hits, and he comes down to the ring, mic in hand. He steps inside, but gestures to the ring announcer to wait before getting things started. He cuts a promo about how he’s been studying tapes of AJ’s fights, and how the more he watched, the more he realized that taking AJ on was sheer folly, that AJ is just too damn good. A bit of grudging acceptance and acknowledgement that AJ would definitely take him in a straight-up match. This could be emphasized further by having Shane receive some sort of kayfabe injury the week before — his arm in a sling, perhaps.

Shane concludes by saying that watching all those old tapes of AJ’s matches over the last few years, including those in Japan, gave him an idea. Just because he acknowledges AJ’s skill and power doesn’t mean that he thinks AJ should get away with any of this. So instead of facing AJ himself, Shane called in… a specialist.

Cue the music of SHINSUKE NAKAMURA.

Crowd loses its goddamn mind, and Nakamura enters, possibly with an army of hot violinist redheads at his heels, getting the full-blown Wrestlemania Moment treatment, on par with Rusev getting a Russian Tank from a couple years back. Ranallo is losing his mind on commentary, gushing about the battles that Nakamura and Styles have fought in Japan, the stuff of five-star legends… and then AJ and Shinsuke proceed to steal the show.

That’s how I’d book it, anyway.

6 thoughts on “I have a theory/hope about Wrestlemania.”

  1. Nakamura v. Styles would be one of the greatest bookings for WM in history. But they would definitely need to cue that ahead of time, like have Shane explain that he can’t do the match and have him teasing the mystery opponent for a few weeks ahead of time.

  2. If they do go with Shane/AJ for real, there’s always the possibility it becomes something like Shane/Kurt Angle from about a decade and a half ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB4qOI7xxn0). It wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one hell of a spectacle. Shane didn’t really get any believable offense in, and he took some of the sickest bumps I’ve seen in a WWE ring (not all on purpose, either). If they make this a no-DQ match, I could see a repeat of that booking. It’s sort of a shameful waste of AJ Styles at ‘Mania, but Shane matches do have potential spectacle value, even if they’re barely “matches” by most measures.

  3. Also, traditionally, they don’t do surprise arrivals/new signings/moving up at Wrestlemania, but the RAW after.

    And, as others have said, that’s not a match you would spring on people. That’s a match you hype for weeks in advance.

  4. They want people to buy the PPV to see that match. The same reason movies release trailers showing the stars to get people to pay for movie tickets.

  5. Chris nails the reason – generally, someone who you think will be a major draw is often better revealed on free TV as a kind of “ad” for the product they want you to buy. Even in an era where PPV is falling out, WWE wants to convince people to buy the Network. If they think Nak’s going to be a draw for people who don’t have the Network yet, they’ll tease his debut on free TV, but hold him back from debuting until it’s an occasion where you’ll pay to see him.

    Of course, in an era where backstage gossip and booking is leaked all over the place, it’s rare for there to be a real “secret” amongst the smarks. But since that’s still a small portion of the audience, the people who do follow the backstage stuff, the old booking logic does still have a valid business reason – not quite as compelling as back in the days of heavy kayfabe, but sound enough.

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