By Vince Russo- I'm so tired of saying this, actually sick of hearing myself--wrestling was at its highest point when we had the MASSES watching the show. Back during the Attitude Era our philosophy was real simple---the hardcore wrestling fans are always going to watch the show as long as the name "WRESTLING" was somewhere in the title. The trick was gaining the masses, or the casual wrestling fan/television viewer, by having a little bit of everything on your show. This included violence, sex, comedy, drama, suspense, reality, romance, and of course, all those categories would be fueled by LARGER THAN LIFE CHARACTERS in INTRIGUING, COMPELLING STORYLINES ending in a FIGHT that you actually believed WAS REAL.
Unfortunately, all those elements are missing in wrestling today---every, single, one of them. However, thanks to the MOCK DRAFT, I had the opportunity to relive the glory years even if not for a New Yawk Minute!
So you ask---if Vince Russo were writing for the WWE today---what would his WrestleMania card look like? Since the foremost mentioned will never take place--and it is fair to say never in this case--I'm going to share with you the semblance of a card that I literally just put together somewhere in 4-6 minutes because that's the way I roll. I've said this NUMEROUS times throughout my career---writing wrestling isn't rocket science, just give them a SPECTACLE that they want to see and will never forget!
VINCE RUSSO'S WRESTLEMANIA CARD
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
60 MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH---MATCH CAN END IN A SUBMISSION
BROCK LESNAR vs. SETH ROLLINS
The idea is to play to both men's strengths, while actually giving the far less physically superior Rollins a fighting chance. The goal is to score as many pinfalls as you can in the hour. The competitor with the most pinfalls when the bell rings--wins the match. Philosophy of this match is real simple--the longer the match goes---the better Rollins' chances become. Remember Brock is a conditioned MMA Fight who has spent his career dominating fights in less than 10 minutes.
On the other side of the equation---the match can end on a SUBMISSION, clearly giving Brock the advantage with that stipulation. So the question--can Brock get Rollins to tape early, or can Rollins outlast the Beast?
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH
BIG CASS vs. THE MIZ
The WWE BADLY needs to make the IC Title important again. Back during the "Glory Years", you knew that the IC Title was the bridge to getting a Heavyweight Title match. The WWE needs to go back to that. Put the belt on Big Cass and let the guy just run with it, setting his sights on the ultimate PRIZE.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE
RUSEV vs. BARON CORBIN
There's something there with Corbin. He has a presence about him. Let both these guys go on a roll, let them beat everybody, until the two monster HEELS finally come face-to-face. You just don't see anything like that in wrestling any more. Thus . . . your problem.
WWE WOMEN'S TITLE
CHARLOTTE vs. NIKKI BELLA
The new guard vs. the old. Let Charlotte continue to roll on in the Diva's division, with Nikki putting her health and career on the line with one more match---against doctor's over.
Finish--Charlotte over---Nikki being stretchered out. You want a believable Champion--that's how you do it.
STEEL CAGE MATCH
BRAY WYATT vs. RANDY ORTON
Once, and for all, let's test Bray in a match where the Wyatt Family can't get involved. Let him and Orton have a knock out, drag out, getting Bray over at the end---CLEAN. This would once and for all solidify him as being a legitimate top heel.
FIRST BLOOD MATCH
ANDERSON/GALLOWS vs. HARPER/ROWAN
Stipulation is you have to be bleeding to be pinned. Let these two teams absolutely DESTROY and bloody each other, ending in a double pin---with both sides up. After the match the teams earn such a respect for each other that they UNITE and become the 2016 version of the NWO. Yes--we would get Harper and Rowan out of their Hillbilly wear. Maybe even shave them--who knows.
CESARO vs. BRAUN STROWMAN
You want to get Cesaro over . . . this is how you do it. I would raise Stroman's hand at the end, but only after Cesaro gave him the fight of his life. I would go as far as having Stroman shake Cesaro's hand when the match is over . . . only to have Cesaro give him a receipt and leave him laying.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. ENZO AMORE
For selfish reasons---I just want to hear these two go back and forth on the mike.
So there you have it. Question is--only question is---would you pay money to see it?
By Sean Ross Sapp
You'll see my counterpoint talk a lot about masses – that his selections appeal to the masses. What masses? Where are they? What's working that's on the main roster? Hasn't that been what he's saying all along? I'm getting them back with my mock draft selections.
I tried to swing a trade for Sami Zayn, but as it turns out, Vince Russo is a closeted Zayn fan. Not only would he not trade me Zayn, he picked him! So think about that the next time the former WCW Champion is working you guys.
My drafting method was pretty simple: I bolstered the top with a couple of names to appeal to casual viewers, added some fresh faces to liven things up, and got a mixture of guys who could work in the ring, and had some semblance of charisma. My roster isn't one that has been beaten down by WWE booking (yet). A lot of these guys have been protected. Also, my show (Smackdown) is two hours. I'm safe with Roman Reigns and Nakamura not carrying 10-15 minute promos on my program. But is Vince comfortable with the same Wyatt promo we've seen for three years? I guess so!
Sean Ross Sapp's Smackdown WrestleMania card
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
This was a no brainer. A match we haven't seen before, and two guys who invoke emotion, on the biggest stage. This may very well be the best opportunity to get John Cena cheered by the masses.
WWE Women's Championship
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Another no-brainer. On Vince's side of things, he has Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte, a played out feud that we saw peak last year. People have seen my combination of talent wrestle, but at least they cared about it! Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are not only better in the ring, Sasha and Becky are incredibly over. Bayley has all the potential to gain the “masses,” or at the very least a demographic in which nobody else has been able to grab. It's nothing to see kids cry when they meet wrestlers, we see that all the time. When kids meet Bayley, their parents are even so happy they're crying. That's special.
WWE Tag Team Championship
New Day vs. American Alpha
To be honest, my original pick for this was Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. New Day, but I had to shuffle the cards. American Alpha must be seen to be believed. This should be their crowning moment, ending the year-plus reign of the New Day. I'd also have Kurt Angle involved (one night only) to neutralize the advantage outside.
Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
Vince got “The Club,” but who gets the rights the name? Finn Balor and AJ Styles have both been the leaders of the group, and rumors swirled over who would lead the group earlier this year. With everything being split, Styles and Balor have a natural matchup here.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Andrade 'Cien' Almas
This one could be fun. After a babyface run by Alberto Del Rio, I love the idea of him facing Almas. I would have Del Rio get jealous and angry of Almas' run and turn his real life issues into a storyline, saying that he's dealt with race issues before, and he knows the WWE favors one hispanic star at a time. Del Rio, not wanting to let go of being the face of that market, gets pissy with Almas and sets upo a match. It would be important for Almas to put forth the notion that WWE 'has changed,' or else Del Rio would seem like a giant babyface.
Big Show vs. Celebrity (Shaq)
This is the entire reason I drafted Big Show. I'm sure Vince will PYRO AND BALLBOOHOO about this because I didn't draft Shaq, but I specified this on the Podcast. Shaq wrestling gets me mainstream sports coverage. I want that.
Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe vs. Dean Ambrose
This is how you determine a number one contender to the WWE Championship. Four guys that people will care about, that have charisma, and can work.
NXT vs. Attitude Era
Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Apollo Crews & Austin Aries vs. The Dudley Boyz, Kane and Goldust
This is the standard “old guard vs. new guard” match. Something would have to be done about Goldust's persona, and he'd have to be more aggressive. Mark Henry wasn't involved in our draft due to his contract status, but he would be the ideal replacement. I'd have Bubba Ray and D-Von carry most of the mic work, trashing the NXT guys for their size. This is pre-show fodder.
There you go. I didn't even use Breezango.
It's here. The Vince Russo vs. Sean Ross Sapp Mock Draft WrestleMania cards! Who won? https://t.co/1hvWpm6qQw
— Fightful - MMA - WWE (@FightfulOnline) July 16, 2016