So I’ve never tried my hand at fantasy booking before because I think there are people out there on the web who do it better than me (looking at you, Mr Blampied), but this was a fun idea I came up with, so I’m giving it a go.
Every year when we look back on the year that was in WWE, we see a lot of glaring errors they made, and we wonder what could’ve been. So I thought, hey, let’s try and analyse what should’ve been in 2020. Obviously, this will be heavily influenced by what I did & didn’t like, so I may make some choices you disagree with, but that’s why this is fantasy.
I’m not going to be rebooking every single storyline that happened in the company in 2020; I don’t have the time or energy for that. So instead, my goal here is to run through the year focusing on the major things I would change, explain a little bit about why and see where the company would be at the end of 2020 had they done things my way. As such, if I don’t mention something, it’s safe to assume I’d just leave it the same as it was.
Now some rules:
– This is just going to be rebooking of Raw & Smackdown’s storylines from 2020
– While injuries are often a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ thing, it can be a bit uncomfortable to book around these things, so I’m going to say that any injuries that happened in 2020 still happened and lasted for the same length of time.
– Finally, I’m keeping any/all NXT call-ups in the same place they happened in real-life because changing that would potentially change NXT storylines, and I don’t want to touch that.
With that established, let’s start this booking with…
So we’re all on the same page at the start; here were the champions in WWE at the start of 2020.
WWE Champion – Brock Lesnar
Raw Women’s Champion – Becky Lynch
United States Champion – Andrade
Raw Tag Team Champions – The Viking Raiders
Women’s Tag Team Champions – The Kabuki Warriors
Universal Champion – The Fiend Bray Wyatt
Smackdown Women’s Champion – Bayley
Intercontinental Champion – Shinsuke Nakamura
Smackdown Tag Team Champions – The New Day
24/7 Champion – I’m not dealing with this title, and you can’t make me
Truth be told, in January, there isn’t all that much I would change. Rumble season is always a bit quiet where the titles are concerned, and 2020 was no different. The Fiend vs Daniel Bryan feud was reaching its peak. Meanwhile, on the women’s side of things, Bayley was having an ok feud with Lacey Evans and Becky Lynch was having a brilliant feud with Asuka.
There were two title changes in January that I would like to undo, though. Firstly, The Viking Raiders lost their tag titles to Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy. At the time, I saw this as a good move as Rollins’ story was starting to heat up, but with the power of hindsight, I can see that it went nowhere, so I’m just not doing it. Instead, I’d prefer to keep the titles on the Raiders for an exciting Wrestlemania feud. Secondly, Shinsuke Nakamura does not lose the Intercontinental Championship to Braun Strowman. Strowman ended up being a transitional champion to get the title from Nakamura to Zayn, but A) Braun Strowman should not be a transitional champion, and B) I think there’s a far more exciting way to get the title from Nakamura to Zayn a little later down the line.
As for the Rumble matches, I’d keep the men’s rumble EXACTLY the same. The 2020 men’s rumble was utterly brilliant, and I don’t want to change a single thing about it, including Drew McIntyre’s win. Truth be told, I’m not going to be changing much about Drew McIntyre’s story in 2020 because I really enjoyed most of it. On the women’s Rumble side, the only thing I want to change is the winner, which will be Shayna Baszler. Charlotte winning the Rumble was a good excuse to kick off her feud with Rhea Ripley, but it was ultimately unnecessary. Charlotte could just show up in NXT one week, and it’d have the same effect, maybe even better, because it’ll be a surprise. On top of that, you have the immediate shock factor of Shayna showing up on the main roster and winning the Rumble, which means you don’t have to waste an Elimination Chamber building her up.
First thing’s first, the night after Royal Rumble, Shayna Baszler immediately announces that she’s coming for Becky Lynch’s title at Wrestlemania. This is a feud that should’ve got far more intense than it did, and I want to start building it straight away. This first month should be this “anything you can do, I can do better” competition between Baszler & Lynch, where both women try to assert dominance in this game of one-upmanship. I’ll go into more detail with that when we get to March.
Next, it’s time to head to Saudi Arabia for Super ShowDown and oh dear…
Truthfully, this wasn’t actually that terrible of a show (at least, compared to other Saudi shows WWE have done); it just had one or two majorly terrible things that happened during it. Firstly, Brock Lesnar squashed Ricochet. I’m actually not changing this, I’d just make the match a little longer and let Ricochet get a tiny bit more offence in. Nothing major, just…something. Also, now The Viking Raiders are still tag champs, I would have them retain the titles over The OC. In real life, this was a match between Rollins & Murphy and The Street Profits, but I’m saving The Street Profits for a little later.
The show also saw the start of The Undertaker vs AJ Styles feud, and I’m going to change that because the way they did it here was DUMB. Instead of having The Undertaker show up, win a match he wasn’t in and then leave the trophy behind, AJ Styles is going to win the trophy. Then, on Raw the next week, Styles will show up with the trophy, he leaves it on the ramp during his match, then, at the end of the match, The Undertaker’s gong hits, the lights come down, ‘lightning’ strikes the trophy and it shatters. From there, you can build the story pretty much as it was; I just think this is a better way to start it.
The big one, though, arguably the biggest mistake WWE made the entire year, was having Goldberg beat The Fiend to win the Universal Championship. This was a terrible idea for all kinds of reasons, and I’m not going to waste time going over them all here. But, all you need to know is I’m reversing that result, and in this world, The Fiend beats Goldberg and retains the Universal Championship.
Thanks to the stupid Saudi show being in a stupid place on the calendar, we kick March off immediately with Elimination Chamber. This will be a meaty one; we’ve got a lot of Wrestlemania matches to set up.
First up, the Intercontinental Championship. In real life, Strowman faced Nakamura, Zayn & Cesaro in a 3 on 1 handicap match, Zayn got the pin, won the title, and both Nakamura & Cesaro were just fine with that for some reason. So, I’m making a few changes.
Firstly, as I said in January, Nakamura never lost the title to Strowman in this universe, so he goes in as the champion. Secondly, rather than being a 3 on 1 handicap match for the title, it’s a Fatal 4 Way, Nakamura vs Zayn vs Cesaro vs Strowman. This means the heels can still team up to take the monster down, but you can have fun with their conflicting egos. The finish of this match will involve Nakamura & Cesaro teaming up to take Strowman down, like, REALLY putting the work in to topple the monster. They smash him with finishers, ending with a double-superplex from the top rope, wiping out all three men. At which point, Zayn slides in the ring, pins Strowman and wins the title. This gets the title on Zayn as I want and can start to give us cracks in the skin of The Artist’s Collective, as Nakamura would naturally be pissed Sami stole his title.
Next, the Raw Women’s Championship. Since Shayna Baszler has already won the Rumble, this will be for the title instead of a Wrestlemania match. Baszler essentially goads Lynch into putting her title on the line in the Chamber as part of their game of one-upmanship that they’ve been locked in since the Rumble. The participants will be mostly the same as they were in real life, except I’ll swap out Shayna for Becky, as Becky’s the champion, and Asuka for Kairi Sane because…well, I felt like it. Becky obviously retains, but Shayna attacks Becky after the match and here is where we ramp up the brutality and intensity of this feud going forward.
Finally, we’re going to have ourselves another Chamber match to determine The Fiend’s Wrestlemania opponent. The six men I’d put in this match are Roman Reigns, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Baron Corbin, Sheamus & John Cena.
Now here, we have to make an awkward decision.
If I was booking like WWE was at the time, I would have Roman win, but I’m sitting here in 2021, and I know that the COVID-19 pandemic will become a lot more severe and force Roman to miss Wrestlemania. So do I book with the power of hindsight? Or do I act like I would’ve if I was in the moment, not knowing the effect COVID would have on Wrestlemania? Given that this is fantasy booking and most of what I’m doing is with the power of hindsight anyway, I’m going to say that I do book knowing the effects COVID will have.
As such, the winner of this match is John Cena.
It’s Wrestlemania time! And this show is going to look pretty similar to the real thing, just a few tweaks.
First up, Roman Reigns. Now, as I’ve already addressed, he missed Wrestlemania due to being vulnerable to COVID. However, since he didn’t pull out until a week before the show, WWE would still book him in a match, which is why I’d book Roman vs Goldberg, just not for the title, as The Fiend still has that. Then you can do the same thing that happened in real life where you substitute in Braun Strowman and have him beat Goldberg instead.
After keeping the Raw Tag Titles on The Viking Raiders for a few extra months, here is where they fight The Street Profits. The story to this could’ve been great, and the match would’ve been even better as The Street Profits never beat The Viking Raiders in NXT. You can still do the weird skit stuff after Mania if you want, I thought most of it was pretty funny, but the build to this should be serious, and the match will hopefully be great. The Street Profits will win the titles and do what they did in real life for the rest of the year.
Next, the United States Championship, and this is a bit of a weird one. Andrade actually missed Wrestlemania because of an injury, which surely means I can’t have him around, right? Well, I’m actually going to break my own rule here. Andrade’s injury only kept him out of action for a couple of weeks, and it didn’t seem to be that serious. So, I think it’s fair to call it a ‘wrong time, wrong place’ kind of injury, and with what I’m booking, he’ll be in a different place at a different time and hopefully won’t get injured. Which is good because I’m booking a Fatal 4 Way match with Andrade, Angel Garza, Humberto Carrillo & Rey Mysterio. Andrade had been involved with all these guys by the start of 2020, and it’s a shame it never led to anything interesting, so I’m getting something good out of it here. On top of that, Andrade is going to retain.
Jumping over to Smackdown, we have Sami Zayn vs Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship. So, after Zayn stole the title from Nakamura, The Artist’s Collective looked to be falling apart, but Zayn managed to win them back over, albeit things are still uneasy. Zayn then carries on doing his thing, which eventually causes Cesaro & Nakamura to abandon him, meaning they’re not in his corner for this match. This means that we get to have Zayn vs Bryan with absolutely no outside shenanigans, yes please. I’m also going to change the result and give the title to Daniel Bryan. Sami Zayn would leave the company for a few months because he didn’t want to put himself at risk of COVID. So once again, I’m using the power of hindsight to make sure he doesn’t have the title when that happens. Plus, it means Daniel Bryan gets to do great wrestling with the IC title for a few months.
For the Universal Championship, The Fiend defends against John Cena, which will be exactly how it was in real life. The Firefly Funhouse match was a creative masterstroke, and I want to keep it exactly the same. The only difference will be that there’s a title on the line, adding that wrinkle of Cena’s potential 17th world title. When it’s all said and done, The Fiend retains.
The only thing left that I’m going to change is Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler. For one thing, it should go longer than EIGHT pissing minutes. Lynch main-evented the show last year, and you’re not even going to give her 10 minutes to work with the next year? Piss off with that; this is a 15-20 minute match. Secondly, and this one is obvious, Shayna Baszler wins the title. With the power of hindsight, we know that Becky wouldn’t be able to defend her title anymore anyway due to getting pregnant, but even if you pretend you don’t know that, it’s so clearly the right move. Shayna’s run of dominance in NXT is one of the best things to ever happen to that brand – which REALLY saying something – it absolutely blows my mind that Vince can’t see anything in her for the main roster. Baszler is MONEY, and she is holding that Raw Women’s title well past the end of 2020 in my universe.
That’s it for things I would change, all the other results I’m keeping just the same.
Now we’re past Wrestlemania, things need to cool down a bit, and we can start to lay out some plans for the rest of the year. The first port of call for which is Money in the Bank.
In an ideal world, we would be building to a Shayna/Lynch rematch for this show, but as I’ve said, Lynch is pregnant by this point, so that’s off the table. So instead, Lynch just disappears after Wrestlemania, maybe showing up one week to make her announcement, because that was a lovely moment. With that off the table, though, I’m just going to go for Baszler getting to look extremely dominant, beating both Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott in a triple threat match.
On the title defence front, Daniel Bryan’s first post-Mania feud will also be a triple threat, as Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro team up on Bryan to get back the title Zayn stole from them. However, they will be unsuccessful. Then, with the Universal Championship, The Fiend, having erased John Cena from WWE, is going to start dismantling all our other heroes too. Jeff Hardy calls out The Fiend but deeply regrets it come Money in the Bank when The Fiend wipes the floor with him.
Not every championship is staying put, though, as Andrade’s reign with the United States Championship is coming to an end, and here’s where I feel a little cruel. In real life, Apollo Crews was the man to take Andrade down, but that’s not who I’m having it be. It’s not because I think Crews was a bad choice; he was a good champion. There’s just someone I’d rather have the title and could be built up even bigger with it around his waist. That man is Aleister Black.
What we’re all looking forward to, though, is the Money in the Bank ladder matches themselves. Keep the entire premise of the match the same, although it was a bit too silly for some, personally, I loved the weird fever dream that was the cinematic Money in the Bank match last year. As for the winners, on the women’s side, I’m keeping that the same and having Asuka win. However, as Baszler is the champion in this timeline, Asuka will hold onto the briefcase for a little while rather than being handed the title straight away.
On the men’s side, it’s not going to be Otis, that was shit, and I’m not giving it to The Miz either because 2021 proved that it was entirely pointless. Instead, I’m going to give it to Bobby Lashley. Lashley’s run with the US title in the latter half of 2020 with The Hurt Business was terrific, but I can’t give him that title for this rebooking due to some plans I’ve got in place, so he can run with the briefcase instead. Plus, when the time comes for the cash-in in February 2021, things are much more straightforward, with Lashley taking the title from Drew straight off the bat, rather than using The Miz as a middle-man.
Straight out of the gate in June, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura will win the Smackdown tag titles from The New Day. This happened in July in real life, but I’m pushing it forward a month. No real reason, I just wanted Cesaro & Nakamura to have a longer reign. That’s not the only title change, though, as AJ Styles is going to beat Daniel Bryan to become Intercontinental Champion, and this is where the IC title roughly falls back into the same path as real life.
The Fiend will continue to murder our heroes, this time Kofi Kingston is up on the chopping block. I don’t want this to be too dominant a victory, as Kofi deserves better than what he got at the end of his 2019 WWE title reign, but he will ultimately be vanquished by the Eater of Worlds.
Over on Raw, Lashley having the MITB briefcase means he can’t fight Drew at Backlash, so I’m going to pull a quick substitution and put Kevin Owens in against Drew here instead. He won’t need to turn heel for this; you can keep it face vs face pretty easily. I know this leads to Owens taking a big loss, but given that WWE were doing absolutely nothing with him around this time anyway, I’d argue this is still better.
Aleister Black’s first major feud with the US title can be with Apollo Crews because I feel bad about taking that title reign away from him. You know that match these two had on the Raw after Wrestlemania? The one that went 20 minutes and was really bloody good? Yeah, we’re just going to let them have that match at Backlash instead, and everyone will probably enjoy that.
With the Raw Women’s Title, Baszler will continue her run of dominance against Natalya. However, after the match, Asuka will come out with the briefcase and declare that she will be cashing in…at Summerslam.
One of the more uneventful months now, as we’re mostly biding our time until Summerslam.
On Raw, Aleister Black will defend his US title against Ricochet, playing off how they came onto the main roster as a tag team, and it’ll hopefully be a great match, not to mention a new one. The Raw Women’s Championship scene is going to heat up a bit too, with Asuka’s cash-in looming on the horizon, Baszler will defend her title against Kairi Sane. These two made magic in NXT, and I’d love to see some of that on the main roster, plus Sane & Asuka’s allegiance keeps Asuka at the forefront of the action in the build to Summerslam, as well as teasing Asuka vs Kairi, which would be a match people would want to see. Unfortunately, Kairi isn’t going to win, as she would retire from in-ring competition around this time. Hopefully, this was a worthy sendoff for her. Certainly better than Nia Jax almost killing her.
Over on Smackdown, Styles defends his IC title against Daniel Bryan, and we’re starting The Fiend vs Braun Strowman feud at last. One of the main problems with that feud in real life is that it just dragged on forever. They fought at Money in the Bank, then they forgot about it for a month until Bray suddenly showed up again, and they kept going for another couple of months. I’m shortening it by waiting until now to start it. You could do the cinematic match that happened in real life, but I thought it was crap, so I won’t. Instead, I’m going to have this be similar to the Money in the Bank match from real life, with the funhouse version of Bray fighting Braun instead. The only difference here is Bray will retain, but you can get some spooky shenanigans involved, so it’s not clean.
Summerslam time, and here I’m actually changing quite a bit.
First up, Retribution. As much as I think the whole idea of this faction is a bit naff, I’m going to do my best to improve it. I’ll keep most of the things about their introduction the same, but fuck those masks and fuck those stupid codenames. Let them be the same people they were in NXT; just give them more of an aggressive edge. Additionally, have them only show up on Raw, but DON’T give them contracts because that was DUMB. Just keep them as a presence that could strike at any moment and wreck Raw week in and week out.
At Summerslam, Aleister Black will be defending his United States Championship against Cedric Alexander, and this is where Retribution get involved in the show. During the match, Mustafa Ali’s music hits, and he comes down the ramp. Everyone’s a little confused as to why until Retribution jumps the barricade and storm the ring. Once they’ve taken Black & Cedric out, Ali gets in the ring and stands at the head of the faction as they all unmask themselves. We actually get to see their faces, and all of them, Ali, Dijakovic, Dio Madden, Shane Thorne & Mia Yim, stand in the ring until being chased off by security. More on this next month.
Elsewhere on the card, Jeff Hardy wins the Intercontinental Championship from AJ Styles. Again, keeping this the same as in real life, but let’s actually put it on Summerslam because that just feels better. Bayley continues her run as Smackdown Women’s Champion, but she’s not getting involved with Asuka in this timeline. Sasha & Bayley still win the women’s tag titles, but Sasha doesn’t get her hands on the Raw women’s title, and at Summerslam, Bayley will be defending against Alexa Bliss.
Shayna Baszler vs Asuka is up next, and this is another point where I feel bad about the decision I’m making. Asuka’s run as Raw Women’s Champion in 2020 was great for the most part, and she absolutely deserves it, but this really is Shayna’s year. Shayna shouldn’t take a loss until at least Wrestlemania 37 in this universe, so she will retain her title over Asuka in this one.
The main event goes on as it did in real life, ending in the exact same way with Roman showing up and laying waste to everyone.
But wait! That’s not all!
For some strange reason, WWE booked another PPV a week after Summerslam, so I’ve got to book that too.
Randy Orton vs Keith Lee is up first, and I’m making a slight change in that this will now become a number 1 contender’s match for Drew’s WWE title, which Lee will win, as he did in real life. I want to keep the Drew/Orton feud, but I think it went on too long, so I’m breaking it up in the middle here with Keith Lee instead.
Secondly, Bayley & Sasha lose their tag titles, as they did in real life, however, Baszler & Nia Jax aren’t a tag team in this universe, so I’m putting the titles back on The IIconics because…it’s The IIconics.
Finally, Roman Reigns wins the Universal title from The Fiend. I know it’s unceremonious and not a great end to The Fiend’s title reign, but Reigns’ run in the latter half of 2020 was SO good, and I don’t want to change any of it.
The Intercontinental Championship gets firmly back on the path it had in real life now, with Sami Zayn returning and winning the title at Clash of Champions. The only change I’d suggest is maybe throwing Daniel Bryan into that ladder match too. Not required, but it might be fun. Drew McIntyre vs Keith Lee will be a great match, but Drew will ultimately retain. This serves more as a launching platform for Keith Lee than anything else; it would be a bad idea for him to win the title so soon. I’d have it be clean and let Orton attack Drew after the match, but if you wanted to protect Lee, you could have Orton spoil the match. Shayna Baszler will pick up a feud with Nia Jax now and wrestle circles around her with ease…that’s all I have to say about that.
Now, we pick up the Retribution thread again. The idea around this group should focus on what Ali has touched on a lot online recently about them being ‘underutilised’ wrestlers. Here, you can use the established identities of the group’s members to enhance this story. Dijakovic was constantly passed over in NXT for guys like Keith Lee. Shane Thorne was never given a proper opportunity to get off the ground, and Dio Madden was cast away from Raw commentary as quickly as he arrived. These aren’t complicated motivations, just use the character-building you already have right in front of you.
Anyway, after they ruin the US title match at Summerslam, Cedric runs off to join The Hurt Business while Aleister Black sets his sights on the faction. Once again, Retribution DO NOT get given Raw contracts. They are an outside force that is wrecking the shows; why would you ever hire them? They demand contracts from Adam Pearce, but he refuses them time and time again, so their antics get more violent, one week they’re actually on the brink of cutting the power and taking Raw off the air in the middle of the show when Black comes in and chases them off with a surprise attack.
This is the only time Black gets one up on the group, as after this, Retribution focuses solely on Black. Black wants to fight them, but Pearce won’t let him because “it’s too dangerous” or something like that, but Black won’t be deterred. Eventually, Black goes over his head and gets Vince involved, who makes a match, Aleister Black vs Mustafa Ali for the United States Championship at Clash of Champions. Ali forcibly adds the condition that if he wins, Retribution gets Raw contracts. Pearce pleads with Vince to not do that, but Vince blows him off with a cocky attitude because “no-one’s ever beaten me at this game before”.
So at Clash of Champions, Ali beats Black, wins the United States Championship and contracts for Retribution. On Raw the week after, Pearce can go to Vince and be like, “what do we do now?” to which Vince is like, “that sounds like a you problem”, and peaces out of there.
We’re not quite done in September yet either, as I’m booking Sasha Banks vs Bayley for Clash of Champions. While I think this feud was great, it was a bit disappointing that we only got one match out of it. So instead of having this feud weirdly skip this show, this is where it starts, and Sasha wins the title straight away. This might seem like an odd choice, but here we can play up the story of Sasha being unable to defend her titles, and that’s where the drama comes from in the Hell in a Cell rematch.
Heading into the final quarter of the year now, and here’s where my changes start to wind down. The rest of the year is more about seeing through all of the stuff I’ve already set up rather than bringing in anything new.
The major thing that happens in October is the draft, and while I did think about rebooking it, the more I thought about it, the more of a nightmare it became, so I’m keeping it as is. I’m including the New Day splitting up in that too. I still think it was a bad decision, but Big E has really started to flourish as a singles competitor (again) throughout the start of 2021, so I’m keeping him on that course.
Looking to this month’s Pay-Per-View, Hell in a Cell, and things are looking pretty similar. Banks & Bayley can still have their Cell match. Only Sasha will now be going in as champion. I think this will be better because the feud will have had more time to reach the kind of heat that would require the Cell, plus you can centre the story around Banks not being able to defend her titles. Banks will win, and she can carry on as she did in real life from now on. On the Raw women’s side, Shayna Baszler defends her title against Mandy Rose. Not much to say here, Shayna retains.
The US title scene heats up now as Retribution is going to get involved with The Hurt Business (now with Cedric Alexander) as they did in real life. However, this time, Retribution will not lose and be made to look like fools every week. The central point of the feud for this month is going to be Ali vs Shelton Benjamin for the US title because Lashley’s got the Money in the Bank briefcase. The match will play out at Hell in a Cell, and there should be a lot going on around ringside for this one. Everyone in both factions should be getting involved. Said chaos leads to Benjamin getting caught up in the crossfire, and Ali gets the win. It’s not a clean win for Ali, but he should be able to hold his own in the match against Benjamin. I feel the need to specify this because, let’s be honest, in real life, Ali would be booked like a chump, and I don’t want that.
Finally, Drew vs Randy happens inside the Cell, as in real life. However, because of our detour with Keith Lee, people won’t have seen this match twice already and will hopefully be more up for it. The key difference here is that Drew is going to retain. I don’t know if WWE made plans and then changed their minds when they gave the title to Orton, but it seemed really dumb for Orton to win the title, only for Drew to get it back a few weeks later. This way, Drew gets to keep one continuous run as champ and doesn’t go into Survivor Series off the back of a huge loss.
Survivor Series time, and hey, you know all those Champion vs Champion matches? FUCK ‘EM! They’re gone. I’ll keep the men’s & women’s 5 on 5 tags as they are so you can still sell the show on the Raw vs Smackdown aspect, but the champion vs champion matches are horrible and pointless. Never mind the fact that everyone (including the characters) forget about them the moment the show ends, but it just makes one of your champions look weak, and that’s really dumb. The only change I’ll make to the tag matches is that Bianca Belair wins and is the sole survivor because that thing with Lana pouting like a schoolgirl then winning by accident was crap.
What to do with all these champions who now don’t have matches, though? I’m glad you asked. Sami Zayn can defend against Apollo Crews because they had a mini-feud around this time. Sasha Banks can defend against Tamina because, why not? Might be fun. Shayna Baszler will continue her run of dominance by blasting through Mickie James; haven’t seen her in a while. Roman can have a one and done match with Rey Mysterio because I think it’d be great, and Drew can start his program with AJ Styles a month early, with a regular match here, before getting more hardcore for TLC.
That just leaves Ali. He and Retribution are going to continue their feud with The Hurt Business. Initially, Cedric steps up to be the next to challenge Ali, but MVP says no, he wants this dealt with, and he wants it dealt with now, so Bobby Lashley challenges Ali instead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well. Once again, the two factions go at it at ringside during the match, except this time, it’s Cedric who accidentally knocks Lashley. Ali takes advantage and once again gets away with the title.
Our final month of the year, and straight away, I have to say that on the Smackdown side of things…nothing changes. The Banks vs Carmella feud gave us a good match, Big E winning the IC title on Christmas day was great, and the Reigns vs Owens feud was brilliant. Smackdown was really good in December, a streak it’s still somewhat keeping up now, so I don’t want to change any of it.
Raw is a different story, though. The Drew/Styles feud will keep ticking along, leading to a TLC match, only hopefully with more build now, and also there is no cash-in because Miz doesn’t have the briefcase.
While I’d love to end this on some massive high for Baszler’s title reign, it doesn’t really need one. This whole year since Baszler won the title has just been about letting her have good matches and getting dominant wins over a HUGE variety of opponents to solidify her as a main-event star for years to come. There are a bunch of different ways you can go heading into Mania 37 with Baszler. Charlotte vs Baszler would be a money match, Rhea Ripley vs Baszler would have great story potential as Rhea was the one to unseat Baszler in NXT. You could even have Baszler face off against Fiend-ified Alexa Bliss if you want something new and weird. However, this booking is just about 2020, so for now, Baszler defends her title in a chaotic tables match with Nikki Cross.
The Raw tag titles! Haven’t talked about those for a while. In real life, The New Day lost them to The Hurt Business at TLC; that isn’t happening here. The New Day are essentially going to get caught up in the war between Retribution & The Hurt Business. Both teams will try to take the titles from The New Day, but the two factions keep screwing each other over. This culminates at TLC with a triple threat tag match, The New Day vs Dio Madden & Dominick Dijakovic of Retribution vs Shelton Benjamin and…Bobby Lashley of The Hurt Business.
What’s Cedric Alexander doing? I hear you ask. Well, after Cedric accidentally cost Lashley his match for the US title at Survivor Series, The Hurt Business have been a bit pissed off at him. MVP essentially tells him, “you’ve made this mess, you clean it up”, and Ali vs Cedric for the US title is set for TLC. Additionally, because of how chaotic the fighting has got between the two factions, Adam Pearce decrees that the extra members of each faction are banned from ringside. To enforce this, he also states that if Retribution interferes, Ali will be stripped of the US title, and if The Hurt Business interferes, Lashley will be stripped of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
The Raw tag title match goes on first, and that is won by Retribution after Dijakovic pins Shelton Benjamin. Ali carries this momentum into his US title match. However, Ali underestimates Cedric, and they have a very even match. It comes down to the wire, but with the pressure on, Cedric pulls it off, wins the US title from Ali and is welcomed back with open arms by The Hurt Business.
From here, we should separate these teams and bring an end to the feud because it’s been going on for a while. Retribution can focus on defending their tag titles, first in a rematch with The New Day and then wherever, while Cedric can be the golden child of The Hurt Business for a bit. Lashley will be cashing in his briefcase to win the WWE Championship come February, so it doesn’t hurt him one bit to take a loss at TLC with a feud that would’ve hopefully made Raw a lot more fun to watch in the last quarter of 2020 than it was in real life.