Happy Thursday TJR Faithful. Hope everybody had a great weekend. I know I did, as it was my birthday weekend. My Spurs also signed LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, so things are going great. Speaking of the NBA, those of you that have read my pieces in the past know that I think the WWE should borrow structurally from sports to enhance their storytelling. Annual tournaments, drafts, free agency, all the stuff that makes sports like the NBA and NFL year round water cooler conversation.
One of the things that the WWE hasn’t done in quite some time, is give fans an official series of matches between two competitors. There have been feuds, over personal grievances or titles that last for several months and matches, mostly due to the hostility that builds between the two superstars. Instead what I’m suggesting is a true to form best of 7 series. A series that build to a match 7, and tears the house down. A series with twists and turns. A series with well thought out narrative developments. A series of unique and unexpected matches that focuses on desire to win and strategy.
The last best of seven series I remember taking place on WWE programming was Chris Benoit vs. Booker T in 2005, which was basically ruined because Booker was injured during the 4th match and replaced with Randy Orton for the final 3 bouts of the series. Ten years later, I’m suggesting that the WWE try again, and book a best of seven series, starting on the upcoming episode of Monday Night Raw.
Who would I book in a best of seven series in the WWE? Cesaro and Dean Ambrose. I know that it seems random, and in a sense it is. Cesaro and Ambrose have nothing to do with one another at the moment. That being said, they have some stuff in common. Both just had a pair of great matches where they almost won a championship, getting screwed in the first match and losing clem in the second bout despite pushing the champ to the edge. They also have nothing else to do right now respectively, so why not throw them together and see what you can get.
Here’s how I’d do it:
At Raw I’d have Cesaro approach Triple H at some point during the show to ask why he’s not on the card despite having pushed Cena to the edge in the main event of Raw the week prior. Triple H will simply say, “there just wasn’t time for you this week”. Later on, I’d have him walking down a hall, only to run into Ambrose, who will compliment him on the hard fought match last week, and ask him “You wanna fight?” as we go to commercial.
When we return from break, R-Truth is in the ring waiting for his opponents, King Barrett. As Barrett makes his way to the ring, he is attacked from behind by Ambrose and Cesaro. They get in the ring and stare down R-Truth, who wisely concedes the squared circle to them. Ambrose and Cesaro then instruct the referee to ring the bell, and they’d go at it. Let them have about 15 minutes, with Cesaro getting the win after taking advantage of a mistake by Ambrose.
Cesaro Leads (The Currently Unofficial) Series 1-0
After the match (and a commercial), Cesaro will come through the curtain in the back, Triple H is waiting and asks what the hell he thinks he’s doing. Cesaro will say something along the lines of “taking brass rings”. Before Triple H can lay into him verbally, Ambrose comes through the curtain and tells Cesaro he got lucky and that he wants to fight him again. “I had you right where he wanted you.” Cesaro would accept the challenge, and though Triple H would protest initially, he’d eventually book the bout for Battleground. At the PPV, Ambrose and Cesaro would have another fairly lengthy, back and forth match, this time with Ambrose getting the win.
(The Currently Unofficial) Series Tied 1-1
The next night on Raw Cesaro would go to Triple H’s office and say he wants to fight Ambrose again. Ambrose would enter and say he’ll take Cesaro on any time and any place. Triple H will then interrupt, telling them to knock it off and saying facetiously “why not just make it a best of seven series?”
Ambrose and Cesaro like the idea and agree to the format. Triple H acquiesces just to get them out of his office. That night they have the third match in their newly minted series, which Ambrose would win, taking an official 2-1 lead in their best of seven series.
Dean Ambrose Leads (The Now Official Best Of Seven) Series 2-1
Over the next few weeks, they would have matches 4 through 6 on Raw and Smackdown. Cesaro would tie things up in match 4 on an edition of Smackdown the week after match 3.
Series Tied 2-2
Cesaro would go on to win match 5 as well, taking advantage of an injury Ambrose suffered during match 4 to best him on Monday Night Raw.
Cesaro Leads Series 3-2
Ambrose would then pull off a huge match 6 win, gutting through said injury, keeping himself alive in the series and able to fight another day.
Series Tied 3-3
The WWE bookers will need to be creative during this process and make sure that each match feels distinct. You don’t want to go out there and have the same match over and over again. The level of competition needs to ramp up as the matches occur, with each superstar becoming more and more familiar with the other’s tendencies as the series progresses. The familiarity forces both out of their comfort zones and has them trying new things in order to gain an upper hand on their opponent; stuff they wouldn’t expect. The finishes will have to be different too. Have a match end with a successful sleeper hold, or with a non-finishing move, more often that the paint by numbers finishes most matches use (i.e. distraction rollups, classic series of signature moves into a finisher, etc.).
Most importantly, I want to see a bit of a camaraderie and respect forming between the two, having created this series out of nothing as a showcase of their abilities. I want that camaraderie broken by one of them during the bout making things personal and heated. I then want them to come around to respecting one another once more and leaving it all out there for the deciding match 7.
With the series tied 3-3, the final match will be set for Summerslam. To this point, these guys have been fighting over pride. While they respect one another, they each want to prove they are better. Otherwise there is no tangible prize on the line at the end of this gauntlet, a fact JBL would remind us of with lines like “these guys are killing themselves and each other for nothing”. A week before their final match at Summerslam, it would be announced by Triple H, that the winner of the series will receive a United States Championship Match, facing the winner of John Cena vs. Kevin Owens which will also take place at Summerslam, at the following PPV Night Of Champions.
At Summerslam, Ambrose and Cesaro will go nearly 20 minutes, tearing each other apart. Near fall after near fall, and each guys simply will not give up. At this point I don’t care who wins, as either Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens or Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens can be killer programs (and yeah, I’d certainly have Kevin Owens walk out of Summerslam US Champ). Maybe you give the series to Ambrose, as his movie is releasing in September and it would be great to see him as a focal point coinciding with that. Or maybe you finally give Cesaro a huge victory and a shot at a rivalry with Kevin Owens. It’s kind of a no lose situation. Both guys had an amazing series and pushed one another to the limit. The loser of the final match certainly doesn’t come out looking like a loser after all the time each guy will have put into the series.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Do you want to see a best of seven series in 2015? Should WWE borrow more from sports in general? Who would you have win the Ambrose/Cesaro series? Which man’s prospective feud with Kevin Owens would be better? If not Cesaro and Ambrose, who on the roster would you want to see engage in a best of seven series?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying GO SPURS GO! Have a great week everybody!