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CALDWELL'S TAKE
CALDWELL'S BLOG: Re-thinking the WM29 line-up - how a new approach to the Big Four could accomplish several things

Dec 27, 2012 - 12:13:43 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

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After pondering conventional wisdom's WrestleMania 29 PPV line-ups, and following a brainstorming session with my good friend and wrestling historian, Jason Hess, I figured it was time to re-think the WM29 line-up on April 7, 2013.

Considering WWE Creative recently re-thought the Big Four matches - save for a Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar re-match - this is not Fantasy Booking, but a path to a WM29 card that accomplishes several things both on the journey to WM29 and after WM29.

Proposed Big Four Line-up

- WWE champion C.M. Punk vs. The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Title with Ric Flair involved (ringside enforcer, timekeeper, popcorn vendor, some role). Accomplishes: Flair in the Mania main event mix, Punk keeps WWE Title all the way to WM29, Rock wins at the Rumble but only via DQ, "Once In a Lifetime" is reserved for WM28, and Punk can defend WWE Title on house shows in-between Rumble and WM29.

- Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. Straight-forward attraction match following up on Lesnar beating Hunter at Summerslam.

- The Undertaker & Ryback vs. The Shield. Accomplishes: The Streak in jeopardy against red-hot Shield, plants seed of doubt that Streak could be broken since no one believes Taker will lose a singles match, Ryback in huge spotlight match helping protect The Streak, Taker protected from too grueling of a match, Taker saved for huge singles match at WM30, and The Shield rubs elbows with The Establishment and The Future.

- Big Show vs. Sheamus/Randy Orton/top star who wins the Royal Rumble for the World Title. At WM29, Ziggler cashes in on the top star who wins the World Title from Big Show. Accomplishes: WWE's protected species, Big Show, lands in a spotlight match against the Rumble winner, it keeps Dolph Ziggler in the title picture by continuing to tease a MITB cash-in leading up to WM29, and sets up a ready-made Ziggler vs. Rumble winner feud post-WM29.

How WWE Gets There

- Jan. 7 Raw: C.M. Punk vs. Ryback for the WWE Title in a TLC match does not happen. (A tweet from former WWE Creative writer Seth Mates captures part of it: "Am I the only one who finds it weird that a month after surgery and three weeks before a huge $$ match, the champ is booked in a TLC match?!") Instead, The Shield takes out Ryback before the match. The key to avoid a bait & switch is to replace it with something more important or bigger. That is where The Rock slides in to confront Punk in his TV return.

- Jan. 14 Raw: The 20th Anniversary of Raw from Houston will feature a spotlighted appearance from The Undertaker. After Shield's latest attack on Ryback, an ominous video from Taker appears on the screen following up on Triple H's proclamation "that you have not seen Undertaker for the last time."

- Jan. 21 Raw: Final hype for the Royal Rumble PPV with a Punk-Rock contract signing.

- Royal Rumble: C.M. Punk vs. The Rock - slotted before the Rumble match - ends in a DQ win for Rock. In the Rumble match, a top face/Smackdown star wins the Royal Rumble to earn a World Title shot at WrestleMania 29. (The star is dependent on whether Dolph Ziggler has cashed in MITB yet.)

- Elimination Chamber: John Cena wins the Raw brand Chamber match to earn a WWE Title shot against C.M. Punk at WrestleMania. Ryback is again attacked by The Shield during the Raw Chamber match, then another Taker video appears on the screen warning The Shield. On the Smackdown side, Big Show successfully defends the World Title in the SD Chamber.

- Raw the night after the Chamber: As Cena and Punk are setting up their WWE Title match at WM29, The Rock interrupts. Rock calls out Punk for hiding behind The Shield and says - using WWE Marketing Math - they should make the Biggest Match Of All-Time at WM29 by making it a three-way WWE Title match. Punk, being a heel, balks at first by claiming Rock failed to beat him for the title at the Rumble. However, Rock notes Punk has the chance to beat two of the greatest Superstars of all-time on the same night in the same match on the biggest stage that he has been wanting for years. Punk finally accepts, setting up Punk vs. Rock vs. Cena to get Rock and Cena in the same match, but not going back on the "Once In A Lifetime" marketing from WM28.

WWE might be hesitant to pull the trigger on a three-way WWE Title main event at WM29, but go back to the last WrestleMania in the New York market when Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels at WM20 turned out to be one of the best Mania main events of all-time.

- Second Raw following Elimination Chamber: After The Shield attacks Ryback again, The Undertaker returns. Taker joins Ryback to set up a three-on-two match at WM29 with Taker's Undefeated Streak on the line. This protects Taker for a bigger money match at WM30, puts The Streak in jeopardy against a trio that has been established as big-game winners, and puts a huge spotlight on Ryback.

- WM29 build-up Accomplishments: Cena and Punk will carry the load on general WM29 hype and specific WWE Title match hype with's Rock availability limited, Ryback and The Shield will carry the load on Streak vs. Shield hype with Taker being kept off TV for most weeks, and WWE can reserve Hunter's and Lesnar's TV appearances for when they count.

- WM29: (1) Cena beats Punk and Rock to capture the WWE Title or Punk retains to have ultimate bragging rights like Chris Jericho being the first Undisputed champion. (2) Triple H beats Brock Lesnar. (3) Taker & Ryback defend The Streak. (4) Sheamus/Orton/Rumble winner captures the World Title from Big Show, but Dolph Ziggler cashes in MITB to take the World Title in 18 seconds.

- Post-WM29: Two ready-made top feuds: New World champ Ziggler vs. Rumble winner and Cena vs. Punk with a refreshed outlook (either Cena is the new champ and Punk is on the chase, or Cena gets a one-on-one shot against Punk at Extreme Rules). Plus, Big Show and Ryback collide with Shield continuing to torment Ryback.

Thoughts on a re-thought WM29 line-up are welcome on today's PWTorch Livecast at 5:30 p.m. EST. Join Caldwell & Greg Parks on the show with live calls & emails on BlogTalkRadio.com - here.


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