The John Report: Fantasy Booking WWE Smackdown July 26

The first episode of the new Smackdown brand takes place this evening. In anticipation of that, I though it would be a good idea to try my hand at some fantasy booking. Read it all and let me know what you think when it’s over.


– I’m only using the people that were drafted by Smackdown. I’m not adding anybody. I’m also not using everybody.

– A typical episode of Smackdown has 10 commercials in two hours. I’m going to mention them because it’s a part of the show.

– The announcers for the show are Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield & David Otunga. I’ll mention them once in a while to get a point across. I’m putting them at ringside.


Smackdown begins with the Ambrose Asylum “set” in the ring.

The WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose makes his entrance. He plays off the crowd to get them fired up. Ambrose introduces his guests, the Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan.

Shane and Daniel enter the ring to a big ovation from the crowd. They start off by saying that even though they are talking at the moment, their intent is to stay out of the spotlight and for Smackdown to be a show for the superstars. Shane notes that while their counterparts on Raw are bringing in a WWE Universal Championship, they intend to bring some more gold to Smackdown in the form of Tag Team Titles and Women’s Titles. He sayes they are still finalizing plans on those, but for now they will watch talent closely to determine who the top contenders are.

Bryan also says that they are going to do something different on the Smackdown brand by having a Top 5 Ranking system to determine the contenders for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan announced the top five contenders as AJ Styles, John Cena, Randy Orton, The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, noting that the last two choices were tough, but they went with former World Champions. Bryan said that those five men will participate in a…then the microphone cut off.

Bray Wyatt’s voice appears on the loud speakers. The cameras pan around the arena to try to find where he is, but he’s not anywhere to be seen. Ranallo starts yelling on commentary about how they don’t know where he is and this is a potentially dangerous scene.

The lights come back in. Wyatt does a promo: “You know what the problem is with you Shane and Daniel and Dean…you’re forgetting who I am. If you say this is going to be the show about the superstars then why am I not in a match tonight? Why am I not in your precious top five rankings? I’m Bray Wyatt! The same Bray Wyatt that has beaten you up more times than I can count, Mr. Lunatic Ambrose. All of you should believe in me, yet you sit there judging me and thinking you’re better than me. I have news for you because Smackdown isn’t your show – this is my world! And now I have to take matters into my own hands. (Pause) Run!”

Bryan: “I know I’m new at this, but can we shut his microphone off please? As I was saying…”

The lights go out for about five seconds. When the lights came back on, Wyatt has Shane in a precarious position in the Sister Abigail spot with Wyatt’s head by the steel post. The camera is on them while Dean and Daniel are in the ring looking at Shane. Wyatt smiles at both of them and then slams Shane head first (Sister Abigail-style) into the steel ring post. Shane goes down in a heap and sells it like he is knocked out. Wyatt crouches over Shane. Wyatt picks him up and does it this time so that Shane’s head goes into the barricade outside the ring. Bryan is staring at him and yelling. Wyatt says: “Am I in the top five now?” He laughs maniacally.

Wyatt threatens to do the move to Shane again. Bryan tells him no. Wyatt laughs: “I thought you liked to say yes!” More maniacal laughing from Wyatt. Ambrose gets in Wyatt’s face and says he’ll give Wyatt a WWE Title shot later in the show if Wyatt puts down Shane right now. Wyatt smiles, laughs, says “run” and leaves.

On commentary, JBL puts over Wyatt as the smartest man in wrestling because he wasn’t in the top five and he was able to manipulate Bryan into naming him the number one contender.

GOAL:To put over Wyatt as a crazy heel. It’s not just some show opening promo. It’s a promo with a big angle to start the show with a popular character like Shane McMahon getting injured. Since Bryan is there, they really don’t need Shane around all the time. It puts over the unpredictability factor.

(Commercial #1 8:15pmET-8:18pmET)

Back from break, doctors put Shane on a stretcher. He’s awake, but he is clearly hurt. Bryan is freaking about how he didn’t know what to do because he’s new at this and never expected like this to happen.

As Shane ias wheeled to the back, Bryan picks up the microphone to announce matches from the ramp: “I’m sorry about what happened. This is not what we expected. Shane, I hope you’re okay. We have a show full of matches planned for you that I guess will include a WWE Title match later. Right now we have a four way Elimination tag match.”

GOAL:The purpose of that is to show that Bryan went from being the happiest guy in the building to somebody that looks overwhelmed because of the chaos. He has to sell the emotion.

Graphics show matches to come: Ambrose vs. Wyatt for WWE Title, Becky Lynch & Carmella vs. Natalya & Naomi with Eva Marie (they have a Total Divas connection), Ryder vs. Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews and Cena, Orton & Ziggler vs. Styles, Corbin & Del Rio.

Fourway Elimination Tag Team Match: American Alpha (Jordan/Gable) vs. The Usos (Jimmy/Jey) vs. The Vaudevillains (English/Gotch) vs. Breezeango (Breeze/Fandango)

Match Begins 8:22pmET

The Vaudevillains are eliminated by Usos 8:24pmET.

(Commercial #2 8:26pmET-8:29pmET)

The pace intensifies with a lot more nearfalls.

Breezango are eliminated by American Alpha 8:32pmET

(Commercial #3 8:33pmET-8:36pmET)

Final eight minutes of the match is Usos vs. American Alpha. The action is intense with a lot of nearfalls for both sides. Have AA kick out of a top rope splash. AA comes back to hit Grand Amplitude to win.

Match Result: American Alpha win

(Match time: 16 minutes)

Post match, The Usos go up to AA, tell them it was close and shake their hands. The Usos ask for regular tag match next week. American Alpha agrees.

GOAL:A long match that the crowd loves. Puts over AA in their first main roster match. They do the match next week. Usos end up getting disqualified for a low blow because they’re mad they can’t win. After the match, they beat down AA to turn heel. Debut of Smackdown tag titles at SummerSlam is AA vs. heel Usos.

(Commercial #4 8:42pmET-8:45pmET)

Backstage, Ziggler walks up to Bryan, who is still looking distraught. Ziggler wonders why Bryan picked others in the top five. Bryan says it doesn’t really matter anyway, but Dolph fires back saying he feels disrespected by somebody he thought was a friend. Bryan tells him he put him in the main event because he believes in him. Bryan suggests that Ziggler impresses the WWE Universe later in the show. Ziggler says he will and says by the end of the night everybody will be talking about him. Bryan says great because that’s the Ziggler he knows.

GOAL:Put a spotlight on Ziggler that hasn’t been on him for a while. He feels slighted by Bryan and has a chance to prove the doubters wrong.

AJ Styles was interviewed backstage. He said that even though Gallows & Anderson are on Raw, The Club is still together and they’re going to grow. When backstage interviewer Renee Young asked for more, Styles just laughed.

GOAL:Teases something for later. Keep the viewer tuned in.

John Cena and Randy Orton are shown in the locker room talking. Dolph Ziggler walks in and they all shake hands/manly hug.

Bray Wyatt enters for the main event alone while JBL says he may appear to be alone, but he’s as dangerous as ever.

GOAL: Have to keep telling the viewer that he’s dangerous, so they can forget Wyatt being booked like a loser for so long.

(Commercial #5 8:52pmET-8:55pmET)

Dean Ambrose makes his entrance looking intense.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

(Match begins: 8:57pmET)

They brawl all around the ring. The ref has a hard time keeping control of things. It ends up spilling out to the ramp after about five minutes, the ref has called for a double disqualification and people come out to break it up. Erick Rowan shows up. He pounds on Ambrose, but Ambrose is able to slow him down. With Wyatt backing up the ramp held by security and Ambrose near the ringside area, two guys in sheep masks and Wyatt Family attire show up to attack Ambrose. One guy is 6’6″ the other guy is about 6’0″. They double team Ambrose and leave him laying. They take off their sheep masks to reveal black and white masks that say “RUN” on them. The masks cover their faces. Wyatt laughs about it as the scene ends.

Match Result: Double disqualification

(Match time: 4 minutes)

(Segment ends: 9:06pmET)

GOAL: It shows that the long time rivalry between Ambrose and Wyatt is still there. Wyatt won a lot of their matches before, but Ambrose is in a better place now. The DQ finish was done to put over the intensity of the rivalry rather than put on a great match. The guys in the mask? The Ascension’s Konnor and Viktor. They become Wyatt Family members, but we don’t get that reveal for two more weeks. Better than doing nothing! Both should have beard growth!

(Commercial #6: 9:07pmET-9:10pmET)

The Miz with Maryse come out for a promo. He thanks Shane and Daniel for drafting a terrible roster because none of them can beat him for the Intercontinental Title. He says that he has just been informed that next week he’s facing one of these challengers for the Intercontinental Live on Smackdown and just because he wants to prove he is the best in any kind of match, it’s going to be a Ladder Match next week.

Apollo Crews vs. Kalisto vs. Zack Ryder

(Match begins: 9:14pmET)

The Miz is on commentary with Maryse for the match.

The announcers will put over the fact that Kalisto and Ryder have held titles while Crews hasn’t won any yet. JBL even mentions that if Crews is so good he would have won something in NXT.

The match goes at an extremely fast pace (like CWC matches) with nearfalls by all three guys, big spots all over the place and high flying moves as well. Ryder looks like he’s about to win against Kalisto, but Crews stops it. Crews hits his finisher the Spin Out Powerbomb aka Crews Control (we would call it that) on Ryder to win.

Match Result: Apollo Crews wins

(Match time: 8 minutes)

GOAL: Puts over Crews as top contender for IC Title. Ladder match the following week will put over his athleticism.

Backstage in separate areas, the women are shown walking as they get ready for the tag match.

(Commercial #7: 9:24pmET-9:27pmET)

Back from break, Cena, Orton and Ziggler are interviewed by Young. Cena talks about how he wants to get his hands on Styles and pin him again. Orton says it’s great to be back. He’s excited about dropping some dudes with the RKO. Ziggler delivers a fired up promo about how he’s sick of being told of what he did in the past and how he’s more focused than ever. Ziggler ends it by saying this: “The lightbulb came on tonight, boys. I know what needs to be done.” He walks off alone while Cena & Orton are happy that Ziggler is fired up.

GOAL:Two promos by Ziggler on the show is the most camera time he’s had in a lot of time. Shows the audience that maybe this guy is going to step up on the blue brand.

Becky Lynch & Carmella vs. Natalya & Naomi (w/Eva Marie)

(Match begins: 9:30pmET)

Push the Total Divas connection of Natalya’s team. Two minutes into it, time for a break. Sorry but have to pay the bills.

(Commercial #8: 9:32pmET-9:35pmET)

It’s a pretty even match with Natalya and Naomi working over Carmella for the most part. Lynch is getting fired up in the corner to try to get the hot tag. Just as there’s about to be a tag, Eva Marie pulls her off the apron. They keep building to the hot tag, finally Lynch gets it around the ten minute mark. She ends up making Naomi submit to the Disarmer.

Match Result: Lynch & Carmella win

(Match time: 12 minutes)

GOAL: A lengthy tag match to put over the faces. Lynch needs a win like that. Naomi takes fall to protect Natalya, who is Lynch’s main rival.

Cut to the heel locker room, Styles is trying to motivate Del Rio and Corbin. Del Rio says he doesn’t want to be on Smackdown. He wants to be on Raw with Stephanie McMahon. Styles tries to encourage Corbin to do a Club hand sign, but Corbin just folds his arm. Styles walks off: “I miss my buddies!”

GOAL:Styles is referring to Gallows & Anderson there. It makes it look like Styles may have trouble in the main event, which causes the fans at home to be excited because they want to see a heel get beat up.

(Commercial #9: 9:46pmET-9:49pmET)

Prior to the main event, Daniel Bryan walks out with a microphone. He does a promo about how Shane is being evaluated for a serious concussion at the hospital. He also says that USA Network has granted them extra time for as long as needed for Smackdown to end. Bryan sits in a chair at ringside to watch the match, but he’s not on commentary.

GOAL: It’s important for them to announce it to the arena and the home audience rather than have the announcers do it.

Styles, Del Rio & Corbin make their entrances. Last commercial of the night.

(Commercial #10: 9:53pmET-9:56pmET)

Ziggler, Orton and Cena make their entrances.

(Match begins: 9:59pmET)

Have Ranallo on commentary remind the audience that the show will stay on the air until the match ends.

MAIN EVENT: John Cena, Randy Orton & Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio & Baron Corbin

The heels don’t get along from the beginning. Styles tries to lead them, but Corbin isn’t interested. Del Rio gets pissed off when Styles tags himself in. Del Rio gets pissed off, so he gives Styles an Enziguri kick to the head. Del Rio walks off, Bryan gets in his face asking what he’s doing and Del Rio yells: “Trade me to Raw! I don’t want to be on Smackdown, vato!” Del Rio walks to the back while Cena, Orton and Ziggler wave by to him.

After about seven minutes of action, Cena gets the hot tag from Orton. He’s on fire going after Styles in the ring. Corbin tries to save his partner, but Orton ends up taking him out to the floor. They start brawling out there. Cena goes into his routine on Styles with the shoulder tackle, the spinning slam and then he connects with Five Knuckle Shuffle. With Orton and Corbin still on the floor, Ziggler goes into the ring. He tells Cena he wants to do the Five Knuckle Shuffle too. The crowd cheers the thought of Ziggler doing it with Cena. Cena bounces off the ropes on one side, Ziggler bounces off the ropes on the other side and as Cena does his hand gesture, Ziggler drills him right in the face with a massive Superkick. Ranallo and Otunga freak out while JBL says that was brilliant! Cena sells it where he bounces off the ropes and then he’s almost knocked out on the mat. Ziggler does The Club hand gesture with Styles. Orton sees this, tries to save Cena and Styles nails him with a Pele Kick. Styles picks up Cena, Styles Clash and covers.

(Match time: 11 minutes, match ends: 10:10pmET)

Match Result: Styles, Corbin & Del Rio win

GOAL: Ziggler turns heel, which is a way to elevate him to another level because it will be tough for him as a face on this Smackdown roster. He is the reason that his team lost.

After the match, Corbin tosses Orton into the barricade to get rid of him. When Styles tries to get him to do The Club hand gesture, Corbin just stares at him. Then Corbin smiles, sticks his hand in the air and both Styles & Ziggler do the jumping hand gesture the way Shawn Michaels used to do with Diesel.

Styles asks for The Club shirts from ringside and he gives them to Ziggler and Corbin, who put them on.

Ziggler puts his arm around Corbin’s shoulder, then says this to the camera: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” Then Ziggler yells at Bryan standing by the ring: “Are you impressed now, Danny boy?”

GOAL:Earlier in the show, Ziggler said he would impress people the way Bryan told him to. That’s why he would say those words again.

Bryan is forced to look on from ringside in horror. JBL on commentary says this is great because Bryan isn’t saying “YES” anymore!

The show ends with Styles, Ziggler and Corbin standing tall as Smackdown’s new version of The Club. Styles stands in the front to show that he’s the leader of the group.

GOAL: Styles told the truth earlier when he said The Club would live on. He recruited Ziggler and Corbin to join him. Del Rio keeps complaining about being on Smackdown, so he ends up getting traded for Cesaro a few weeks later because Cesaro’s not happy on Raw.

(Show ends 10:14pmET)


– Raw ended with such a happy ending of Balor beating Reigns in the main event and Sasha Banks winning the Women’s Title. I want Smackdown to be the opposite of that. It’s a strong night for Styles and Wyatt. They are the main heels, so they are going to look strong. With two babyface authority figures, you need to make the heels look strong or else the show would be really boring.

– This angle will give Ziggler a chance to stand out. He hasn’t had that for a long time. Ziggler should completely change his look by cutting his hair, shaving it down and wearing different gear. Switch it up.

– Corbin can be used as more of the bodyguard type for Ziggler and Styles while he continues to improve on the road.

– Cena and Orton need to be in the main event tag match because the group forming against them means more than if it happened against somebody else.

– There wasn’t a huge emphasis on the titles, but announcing future Tag Titles and Women’s Titles is a way to keep people guessing. They can try to figure out what the titles may look like, what they may be called and so on.

– I used everybody on the Smackdown roster except Kane, Mojo Rawley and Alexa Bliss. Sorry to them. Maybe next time.

Future matches:

WWE Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam

John Cena vs. AJ Styles II at SummerSlam

American Alpha vs. The Usos for Smackdon Tag Team Title at SummerSlam

Dolph Ziggler (w/Baron Corbin) vs. Randy Orton post SummerSlam

Shane McMahon vs. Bray Wyatt later in the year


How did I do? Let me know in the comments below or contact me using the info below.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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