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Rebooking the WWE in 2006

Liam O'Rourke

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For this week's podcast we're going to look at the WWE in 2006 and attempt to rebook the year with what they had, and would like to hear what you would have changed if you had control.


Would you have brought back DX? Would you have brought back ECW? How far do you go with Edge? How do you deal with the John Cena crowd issue? What do you do with the World Title in Batista's absence? Who do you push and who don't you push? What angles would you have done? It's in your hands.


As always the best contributions/suggestions will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly, so in what was a very unique year for WWE, what would you have done differently if you had the chance?


EDIT - Our show looking at Rebooking WWE in 2006, featuring many of your contributions, is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/play/edjv6y/SCG_Radio_77_-_Rebooking_WWE_in_2006.mp3

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With the benefit of hindsight I'd have booked Cena in quite the same way, as I love his (until recently) unique ace-babyface-who-everyone-hates character, but at the time I'd definitely have pulled the trigger on a heel turn. Can't be having the number 1 baby getting called a cunt by all and sundry every week. State of it.


I'm not sure of the best way to do it, however. Having him turn heel in the build up to the RVD match at One Night Stand makes sense, but the match probably ends up being less fun if Cena's supposed to be a legitimate baddy on the night in stead of the *wink wink* smark-baiting pseudo heel that he was. Maybe he throws a paddy the next night on Raw and goes into his Sabu feud as a proper heel?


Speaking of ECW I'd have relaunched it as it's own brand but filmed it in comparatively small arenas to retain the novelty of the One Night Stand events. If having a third touring roster was too much bother I'd have spoken with the Hammerstein Ballroom about a long term weekly booking, like NXT at the UCF or TNA in the Impact Zone. I'd keep the re-launch angle with Heyman counting the pin for RVD against Cena, which was perfect, but obviously tell Van Dam and Sabu to stick their weed in the back of their Playstations like all the other lads thereafter. I'd have Punk come in as the insurgent Jeremy Corbyn style babyface and give him the TV title for ages, inviting comparisons to Van Dam's original ECW run. This would culminate in a double babyface title vs. title match between the two where Punk would turn heel. Possibly by aligning with Heyman.

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At the time, I'd have booked Edge to win all his matches against Cena. In hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing there.


DX, I'd have done more like the 2009 version where they embraced being uncool middle-aged guys. A feud with MNM should've happened as well, but was this the time where nobody could get Joey Mercury away from the crack pipe?


The big one would be in how shitty the Rey Mysterio world title chase and reign ended up. I'd have kept him as the Rumble winner, got to the Mania triple threat through some Orton/Angle title-swapping, and then not had Rey be a chump all the time.

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I'd have went totally back to basics with ECW, run smaller buildings in its traditional North East areas only at first and build the show entirely around Van Dam.


After Mania, I'd give both Benoit and Angle at least 6 months off each to rest, heal and deal with all their issues.


Cena and Edge plays out exactly as it did on Raw


On Smackdown I put the belt on Orton at Mania and keep it on him until Survivor Series when Batista returns, until then keep him occupied with Mysterio, Undertaker and a face Booker T (King Booker doesn't happen in my world)


I thought long and hard About DX, I loved the build up to the reunion, everything after, not so much, so I'd add new members to make the Spirit Squad feed 5 on 5 and I'd add, and I can't believe I'm typing this, Mr Kennedy, he hadn't been exposed at this time, and fitted into what DX originally were, brash obnoxious ducks, also if we're going down the Kennedy is the illegitimate son storyline in a couple of years it's a good way to sew some early seeds.


I'd also add Mercury and Nitro to the group as well because I need to put a tag team with them and I think they're the best fit.


But jeez that roster is absolutely shit at somepoints

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this so be prepared for a whole load of thoughts. Apologies if I’ve got any historical facts wrong. Also sorry it's really long.





At the start of year, the Edge cash in was fantastic. His rivalry with John Cena in January was also fantastic – it gave them both huge momentum, and I think ratings went up? I say KEEP IT GOING – let’s have Edge vs. Cena at WrestleMania (you could even bring forward that TLC match from Unforgiven, why not.)


This fucks off both the Cena-HHH match and the Edge-Foley match from Mania, which are arguably bigger matches. But Edge and Cena together were always great and you’d get a great moment in what could be a classic feud.


You then have the question; what to do with HHH? I don’t know, to be honest, but I doubt SCG is all that bothered about the wellbeing of HHH!


As for Foley… maybe you can still have that match with Edge, just not at Mania. It’s hard because that match helped make Edge, but I’m willing to try a ‘new generation of top stars’ Mania match with him and Cena. You could have Edge-Foley at One Night Stand, or maybe keep the tag match from there and do Edge-Foley at Summerslam, thereby giving us the chance to scrap the godawful Flair/Melina angle.




The World Title situation. I’m happy for Rey Mysterio to win the Royal Rumble, as long as he (1) actually gets up off his arse at some point during the match, the lazy bastard, and (2) there are far fewer Eddie Guerrero references. Rey goes on to not lose his title shot at No Way Out, and faces Randy Orton in a singles match to win the belt at WrestleMania. There’s no ‘Eddie’s in hell’ rubbish, needless to say.






So where does that leave Kurt Angle? No Way Out was where he had that cracking match with Undertaker, right? Let’s run with that and do it again at WrestleMania. I know it’s another rematch for that card, but come on, it’s better than wasting Kurt in a 9 minute Triple Threat, and it’s better than Taker vs. Menry Before He Was Ace. You also get to start that run of ‘Taker having a corker at WrestleMania’ a year earlier.


(Angle’ll have to lose the belt to Orton in the meantime but that’s fine, they can feud later in the year. Hindsight tells me he should go part-time after WrestleMania but I guess I don’t get to have knowledge on how he’s going to hold up in the future? Do I? Because if I do, I’m getting Benoit a brain scan and time off and anything I can to stop him becoming a murderer.)




I don’t know what you do with Shawn Michaels. I’m okay with a McMahon feud and I’m okay with a DX reunion, for lack of better options if nothing else, but I’d just want it to be less juvenile and, well, shit. Can we get Umaga involved somewhere? Vince likes him a lot by Mania 23 in the real world, can we start the association a bit earlier? Play up to ‘Vince loves big men’ by sending a load of them up against DX or Shawn? Anything to avoid ‘Vince loves Cock’, or Big Show’s bloody backside. I’ll keep the Shane/Shawn Saturday Night’s Main Event stuff though, I quite liked that match.




I’m unifying the tag titles at WrestleMania. London & Kendrick (or MNM, I’m not fussy) overcome the giants Kane & Big Show and become undisputed tag team champions. Solve your SmackDown roster problems, because that’s a shocking roster, isn’t it?, by making it the home of tag teams. I honestly believe there was scope for a cracking division in 2006 if they’d put some effort in and not just broken teams up at random because they needed more singles guys for the one-brand PPVs.


The Heart Throbs came in in 2006 I think - I always liked them and they never got much chance so let’s have them. Bring in the Tolands but not as Dicks. You’ve got Crazy & Psicosis still hanging about. Fuck, even team up Snitsky & Heidenreich, you’d get godawful matches but I’ve got a soft spot for both of them. Then of course you’ve got any combo of Regal, Finlay and later in the year, Dave Taylor. And I liked the Highlanders and don’t care what anyone says. Nunzio and Mamaluke, even.


And then there’s the Spirit Squad.


I’m keeping the Spirit Squad, but as a trio – Mikey, Nicky, and Mitch. And I’ll keep ‘em as a lowercard novelty act, or on SmackDown as part of the tag division.


Most importantly, I’m keeping Ken Doane (we’re not calling him Kenny Dykstra) and Johnny Jeter out of the whole thing. I’m a massive, massive fan of Paul Heyman’s OVW run in 05/06 and these two guys were booked fantastically in it - Jeter especially, and he NEVER recovered from the Spirit Squad. I was so disappointed that nothing ever became of him. He was INCREDIBLE as a heel in OVW, and yeah, WWE is a totally different environment, but by Christ I wanted to slap the fuck out of that little twat when I watched him in OVW. Superb stuff.


Anyway, both these guys are getting singles runs, probably on SmackDown. Essentially, I want Doane to be Orton mk.2 and Jeter to be a new Jericho.




Speaking of Heyman’s OVW, that’s my model for ECW, because I fucking LOVED Heyman’s OVW. Saying that, I actually rather liked ‘06 ECW – Big Show was as good as he’d ever been, CM Punk got to ease into TV, RVD vs Hardcore Holly was a great little match (I liked it, anyway). I liked the mix of ECW Originals, guys who needed a bit of refreshing (like Show) and newbies. The problem they never got past was the ECW name.


So I’d keep the show, but give it another name, and use it like it was in its later years, like a link between developmental and main roster (where the likes of Sheamus or Kofi got the chance to develop a bit on TV). We WON’T call it ECW, but have Heyman involved and say that it’s inspired by the values of ECW – not the garbage style necessarily, but the ideas of giving new stars a chance to catch fire, opportunities, etc.


Keep that mixed roster. But use it to debut guys as well - namely Brent Albright. He was dead on arrival as Gunner Scott on SmackDown, he never stood a chance and had his shortcomings made blatantly obvious. But he was fucking mint in OVW, he really truly was, and maybe it was just the way he was booked but I was convinced he’d be a big part of WWE proper when he was brought up. He was SO GOOD. That rivalry with Punk was a THING OF BEAUTY. And that episode that focused on a triple threat with him, Doane and Punk? Sublime! He could have been something in WWE too with the right booking, and that’s what I want to give him.


We’re not doing December To Fucking Dismember, obviously.




If I’m unifying the tag belts, I’ll also have to unify the IC and US titles, and put that one title on Raw. Probably with Jeff Hardy as champion: let’s build our way to those Umaga matches we know we want to get to, and keep working on him as a big star.


Cruisers stay on SmackDown, Women stay on Raw.




I’m keeping King Booker. I don’t know who to give him at WrestleMania but it’s not going to be the bloody Boogeyman. I love Boogey but he’s not a guy to put in matches like that, he’s for crazy backstage segments and the occasional squash.


Anyway, King Booker is over the top and silly but it’s fun. Whether I’d have him unseat Mysterio, I don’t know. I’d need him to go serious first. Maybe not learn from every opponent Rey’s ever had and not take him seriously, then when Rey retains, he goes serious and brutalises him in the rematch. Wins the belt, then goes back to over the top and silly. So you’ve got the fun of ALL HAIL KING BOOKER but know at any moment he could snap.





And to end… time for future endeavours!


Eugene’s served his purpose, so scrap him (the ‘turn him into heel Nick Dinsmore who was pretending to be Eugene but he’s actually just a TECHNICAL WRESTLER’ school of thought can sod off, once you’re Eugene, you’re Eugene forever).


Little Bastard’s not getting brought in (hindsight, yes, but I don’t care).


I’m sacking the world’s most boring cruiserweight, Gregory Helms. And Jillian Hall. The Road Warrior can bugger off too.


Tatanka can stay.

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1. Ban all mentions of Eddie Guerrero

2. Fire Mr. Kennedy.

3. Move HBK to Smackdown in the draft and give him the title for six months.

4. Put the Raw title back on Edge after WM and squeeze the juice out of the Cena rivalry a bit earlier.

5. Leave DX in 1998 where it was last any good.

6. Run ECW completely separate with primarily ECW originals and development talent. Add a very small amount of WWE talent who've lost their way but use it to repackage them.

7. Leave RVD as ECW Champion only.

8. Leave One Night Stand as the only "ECW" PPV.

9. Don't put Hogan in the ring.

10. Bring Khali in for Taker at Mania, then fire him.

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You lads record Wednesday nights, yeah? I'll be brief, it's nearly my bedtime.


The three biggest crimes of 2005 for me were that neither Shawn Michaels or Kurt Angle were rewarded for their status as probably the best guys in the company with a title reign (in fact, among the best five wrestlers on the planet), and the stalling of Randy Orton's rehabilitation as a top guy. They fannied around with Orton until late 2007, it was ridiculous. These are all things I would aim to correct in 2006. It's a nightmare of a Mania to book in many ways with so many guys deserving of a top spot - the aforementioned talents, the incumbent John Cena, the ever-present Triple H, the newly-promoted Edge, everybody's favourite Dead Man. But I always hated the Mania they put on because I thought Mark Henry, Vince and everyone's favourite sexpest Mick Foley were wastes of their respective opponents at Mania 22.


I probably have Orton win the Big Gold belt on the first SmackDown of the year as soon as Batista gets injured but I have Shawn be the surprise Raw entrant into that battle royal instead of Angle. I have Shawn win the Royal Rumble setting up Orton/Michaels for the belt at Mania, which is second to last on the PPV to the Cena/Edge rematch where Cena shockingly DOESN'T cut Edge's balls off after three weeks and actually loses to him - I don't know how, but (insert convoluted reasons) it ends up Edge vs Cena vs Triple H at Mania. Cena wins the belt back because I do intend Cena to be the man that he ended up becoming but Edge gets slightly longer for his first run and gets to have a main event at Mania that he had earned, even then. I also have Shawn win the Big Gold belt from Orton as both vindication for his form and revenge for losing the deciding fall to Orton at Survivor Series, if that matters.


Also at Mania, I have the Undertaker/Angle match that was originally pencilled in for Mania, and I have Kurt beat the fucker. I have no intention whatsoever to use "Ohhh, but wasn't The Streak great" hindsight and let future Taker matches at Mania and the drama therein distract me from THE BRIEF which was "fix 2006" and for my 2006, Kurt Angle beats The Undertaker. Kurt's going to plow through a whole load of guys from here, because I want to build to Michaels vs Angle for the Big Gold Belt, maybe at SummerSlam, if the renewed faith the company shows in him can be a catalyst for him not falling off the rails to the point they sacked him, or for him quitting, depending on who you believe. You've probably guessed, Kurt's going over.


Also at Mania I have Rey with RVD in a "lets go out and do flash moves" match but give them longer than Rey and Eddie got at Mania 21, and I'm fairly sure RVD's going to win because I need him to have a few wins as I probably still want to do One Night Stand exactly as it was because JESUS, that atmosphere. Cena not having wrestled Hunter one at one at Mania preserves that match for a big occasion and I suppose my SummerSlam probably has Shawn v Angle, Cena v Hunter and RVD v Edge. If Umaga gets built as strongly as he did in real life, I'm tempted to have him in here with Taker by here, anything to keep Taker away from Khali. Also, whichever show Orton is on at this point, he's going to be winning their belt between SummerSlam and the New Year because he's the guy I want Batista coming after, after two false starts on their proper feud with Orton's shoulder injury in 2005 and Batista being injured as we enter 2006.


I know it's not as in-depth as you might have liked, but I hope you get a feel for what I wanted to do. Reward Shawn and Kurt for their greatness and simultaneously try and get Edge and Orton ready to lead from the front.

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Yeah I have no idea. Good luck lads. First of all, I can't imagine WWE book with much foresight into the future at all, so that is how I'll try and book this. Most of all they need some creativity. They were stuck in a bit of a rut, and no new characters were interesting at all. A change of paint for both Raw and Smackdown here, and we keep up the brand split pretty rigidly. Most of the big stars need revitalized and the ones about to break through need that special something to put them to the top. it was a really confusing time. For the most part new superstars either had a gimmick that mostly made them comedy - The Highlanders, Spirit Squad etc (Umaga being the exception, however it took people a while to get him) or else they came in as generic wrestlers with nothing - Gunner Scott, KC James and Idol Stevens). Nobody could have caught on really. It was only through groundswell of fan support that Punk was revered in ECW. It was a tough time for new talent.


First of all, I think I'd keep the Spirit Squad, but we could have them as a sort of young blood heel jock stable rather than the comedy oafs they were. I think they tried to make Shelton Benjamin a heel at this time (I could be wrong, but we'll give him a mouth peice (not Momma Benjamin) and see if he starts clicking in the Intercontinetal division. He could sort have been a character like MVP before we got MVP. Try and build Carlito up to being somethin decent. I'd keep Umaga and his debut they way it happened, I loved him murderising jobbers. I think I'd try and revitalize Ric Flair and start him on his retirement tour long before they actually got around to it. I loved Tatanka as a kid...but I don't have a clue why he was here. I'd also start the William Regal renaissance early. I think he had a successful 2008 but there is no harm in revatilizing him (and even Finlay here). Put them in the IC/US title hunt and see if they catch on.


Anyway so Tatanka, Road Warrior Animal, Ashley (and most of the Divas around this time), The Boogeyman, Orlando Jordan, Big Viscera, Kane (and his imposter, remember that?!?) can go. As for ECW we'll use the 'Originals' for now but I think (hindsight is a great thing) we'd make it like it was in the later stages with the 'superstar initiative' starting now! Dreamer and all the older idiots can be used to get our new guys over and give them a helping hand. Our guys that are ready in OVW go to ECW. ECW will be a bit like NXT now,  I suppose. I wasn't really aware of it at the time, but isn't this OVW roster at the time highly revered? Hopefully others can elaborate on that... (Just seen HG said a lot of this)


I think my Royal Rumble will stay the same. Mysterio can win, without Guerrero references. He goes on to Wrestlemania to face Kurt Angle and wins. There, after a hard fought match do they both shake hands and give it up for Eddie or whatever.


Orton is then freed up to do something to rehab his character. We want him somewhere between the Viper and his Legend Killer gimmick. He really could have been a (bigger) star I reckon. I'm gonna do something which people will probably hate...but I think an Orton Undertaker rematch with Orton winning could be special here. We want to rehab Orton and push him back in to the main event picture and I think this could do that. (we're trying to make 2006 good not think of future wrestlemania classics afterall.) The streak HAD become important...however it wasn't what it was so ending it here could have been something to get Randy Orton to the next level.


Over on Raw I am gonna suggest Edge keeps his belt until Wrestlemania (skipping the Foley match) and he defends it in a Fatal Four Way against Triple H, HBK and Cena. Edge's Money In The Bank cash in at New Years Revolution was certainly the high point of the year in real life 2006 so I think it's a good jumping off point for all our storytelling in this re-book. I'm happy for RVD to still win the MITB and we'll keep that on him and build him up. Cena can win at Wrestlemania, then RVD will beat him at ONS. I was never the biggest RVD fan but I think he's certainly worth giving the ball for a while. This will begin the Cena heel turn! 


I want HBK to be drafted to Smackdown in the Spring and our Summerslam main event will be Rey Mysterio vs Shawn Michaels. Then once HBK gets a nice little title reign Orton will be ready with a quick punt and we'll have our feud through Autumn.


Over on Raw Summerslam has RVD on top (see if he can handle it!). Rob Van Dam vs John Cena could be the Summerslam main event and Cena could be the new corporate face of WWE if we have to bring Vince and Shane back. Crowd hte him and ECW ONS was the catalyst for his heel turn. I'd try and change RVD's character a bit here, he's been the same for 10 years so we need a revamp, espescially if he wants to stay near the top of the card. Sleazy ol' Edge is still near the top, feuding with Triple H, while we've also drafted Kurt Angle over to Raw and we'll try and get the belt on him by the end of the year.


I'm not entirely sure where The Undertaker goes in all of this. If I don't book him somewhere he's going to have a bad year...but I don't really know what to do. I guess he can be the first roadblock in Batista's path as the Animal returns, trying to regain his World Heavyweight Championship which Orton will hopefully have. I think thats what we want at Wrestlemania in 2007.


I'd also love to do something more with Booker T, but maybe he was too far gone at this point? I know he became King Booker, but I don't think I'd bother with that. I think I'd have Lashley win KOTR instead and we could go from there. I think Lashley could benefit from a manager as we know he had the raw talent to do something... I don't think I'd put him in ECW either. I think it would be much more beneficial to have him organically grow in the midcard rather than force him into the face of new ECW. Booker well I don't really know. Perhaps he could hold on to the US title and do what John Cena did earlier this year? He had that series with Benoit so we could perhaps turn him face and have him as the wrestler defending the belt anytime/anywhere and just use it to put over someone else, maybe Jonny Nitro? JBL was getting on my nerves at this stage so we'll job him out to Lashley and whoever else.


Any sort of DX reunion can fuck off...at least until 2007... I think given my booking...I'd have Rated RKO form and after they get the better of Hunter and Michaels respectively in singles competition, HHH and HBK know what they have to do to beat thse young upstarts...reform DX... Could be a good match for Rumble 2007 or even Survivors 2006 if we want to add people on teams. A reunion I'd keep however, is the Hardy Boys. I liked it at the time but they tag division was shocking so I'd have the Spirit Squad built up for them, maybe a feud with London and Kendrick where the Hardys put them over. There was the Bashams too at this point? Cade and Murdoch? OH and Damien Sandow as Idol Something with the other guy and Michelle McCool? Okay, so quick nostalgia pop fort he Hardyz and then towards the end of the year they can go thier seperate ways.


Well...I tried...sorry.

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Are the suggestions supposed to be vaguely realistic/plausible? What level of fantasy is allowed? Shawn Michaels agreeing to be traded to Smackdown seems about on par with bringing Austin back as a full time wrestler in terms of realism.

Fuck off, I'm the boss.

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Are the suggestions supposed to be vaguely realistic/plausible? What level of fantasy is allowed? Shawn Michaels agreeing to be traded to Smackdown seems about on par with bringing Austin back as a full time wrestler in terms of realism.




"Bro! When you book you can do what you want"


Whats the story on Michaels? Did he not want to go to SD!?

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