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Tony Khan kicked in the Forbidden Door and created a pro-wrestling multiverse where everyone wonders, “What If…?”
Everybody loves to fantasy-book their favorite promotions. Supposed “dream matches” are becoming more common with each passing day, too. With WWE’s rash of releases coupled with the rest of the wrestling universe seemingly working together to create a better overall product, reality blurs with fantasy.
Last week, the WWE held the second half of its annual cross-brand draft. What if Vince McMahon finally decided to acknowledge the wider wrestling world and opened up the possibility of a legitimate brand split between different promotions?
OK, that’s never going to happen. Still, it’s fun to imagine because people enjoy pro wrestling and watching the very best at what they do in the ring.
Keeping in the spirit of a true cross-promotional event, Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski, “Doc” Chris Mueller and Erik Beaston conducted a 30-round mock draft with the following rules:
- Order determined by random generator.
- Snake draft [conducted on Sept. 28].
- Only WWE and All Elite Wrestling names were included, except for a specified bonus round.
- Bonus 30th round allowed a selection of any wrestler from any promotion around the world.
- Tag teams constituted one selection, though they could be broken up for a specific individual.
- Entire stables could not be chosen as a singular pick.
- Part-time wrestlers weren’t included unless specifically noted.
- Each of the participating “promoters” pieced together an explanation of their approach and a supercard to feature their newly minted rosters.
- Fans will then determine the best promotion by voting in the B/R Wrestling stream.
From the cross-dimensional void, the International Wrestling Expo (Sobleski), Pro Wrestling Continuum (Beaston) and Beat ‘Em Up Wrestling (Mueller) emerged. Now, the Bleacher Report community can assess, discuss and even vote for whichever newly built promotion stands as the best.
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1. Kenny Omega (IWX)
The No. 1 overall pick really wasn’t difficult. Reigns is the best character in wrestling today but Omega is the best actual wrestler. When other wrestlers talk about potential dream matches, his name almost always enters the conversation. Why? He’s capable of working with anyone, any style and any promotion. He’s a wrestler’s wrestler, who thinks of the art form in a completely different manner. His vision of long-term, intricate storytelling coupled with The Best Bout Machine aura is part of the reason why he’s been named Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s No. 1 wrestler on two different occasions. Furthermore, his alliance with The Young Bucks remains intact to take on those they’ve wronged over the years, which will serve as the overarching storyline in IWX.
2. Roman Reigns (PWC)
Few performers have the presence, in-ring resume and household recognition The Tribal Chief does at this point. He has had the machine behind him, is arguably the most over star in the industry regardless of whether he is loved or hated, and he is on the hottest in-ring streak of his career. I couldn’t NOT pick him first.
3. CM Punk (BEUW)
I knew I had to get CM Punk in the first round because he is somebody who is guaranteed to draw fans, put on good matches and be a valuable teacher to the younger generation. His popularity is undeniable, and based on his first couple of matches, he still has the skills to put on stellar performances. Punk would be a pillar of the company from Day 1.
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4. Bryan Danielson (BEUW)
As one of the greatest technical wrestlers on the planet, Danielson was a definite selection here. The fact that he didn’t go in the first round was shocking, so I knew I had to snatch him up before he was gone. He is the kind of guy who can be a top star or a stepping stone for others. He is at a point in his career where world titles don’t mean as much as telling great stories, so he would be more than willing to put others over to help the brand.
5. The Usos (PWC)
To ignore Jimmy and Jey’s impact on the Roman Reigns character would be tantamount to ignoring how significant Mr. McMahon was in elevating the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin character. Whether backup, lackeys or emotionally abused cousins, they have helped enhance The Head of the Table and are key to maintaining the value of that package.
6. Becky Lynch (IWX)
The fact that Lynch fell to No. 6 overall is nothing short of stunning. Plans of investing early in the tag division or a big-time male babyface went by the wayside when The Man came around. She is a true pioneer and fits every definition of a superstar. As the first woman to win a Wrestlemania main event, she immediately becomes the IWX’s top attraction and will be treated as such, though her current run as a heel probably has to go. She can go back to the scathing and super-over version of herself before she took a sabbatical from WWE.
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7. Britt Baker (IWX)
Mike Tyson famously stated, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The help of a dentist is probably needed after that point. Enter Britt Baker. A combination of AEW’s top female talent working alongside one of the WWE’s biggest stars in Becky Lynch became too tempting to go in any other direction. It wasn’t the original plan. Sometimes, you just have to take advantage of a situation, because a showdown between the two is a stadium-filling main event for the industry’s two most popular female wrestlers.
8. ‘Hangman’ Adam Page (PWC)
The brightest, most over young star in the business thanks to the storytelling that has accompanied him in AEW, Page is a building block for the future. He is the surest thing to run at the top of the card and potentially take the title off the seemingly unbeatable Roman Reigns. His work and connection with the audience are undeniable and too valuable to pass up.
9. Big E (BEUW)
The WWE champion has been my favorite Superstar in the company for the last three or four years. Everything he does is entertaining. His promos, in-ring work and massive physique make him more valuable than can be put into words. If I hadn’t been able to get him on my roster, it would have thrown everything off.
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10. The New Day (BEUW)
There was no way I was going to be responsible for breaking up The New Day. Kofi Kingston is a former WWE champion and one of the company’s most endearing Superstars, but Xavier Woods is arguably the most underrated star in all of WWE. He is somebody I would position as both a tag team wrestler and a potential singles star. He would definitely win the inaugural Emperor of the Squared Circle tournament.
11. Adam Cole (PWC)
There are some wrestlers so immensely talented that passing them up isn’t an option. When Cole fell to this point in the draft, it was imperative that I add him to the roster, with matchups against Adam Page, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Jon Moxley, Cesaro and Drew McIntyre all awaiting him.
12. The Young Bucks (IWX)
The Young Bucks are divisive. They’re controversial. Their style isn’t for everyone (both in-ring and attire). Yet no one can deny how successful they’ve been throughout their career. Matt and Nick Jackson are masters at manipulating marks and staying relevant. More importantly, they consistently produce some of the best tag team matches of the past 20 years. They’re a must for any organization that prioritizes tag team wrestling. Their partnership with Kenny Omega makes them even more valuable as top heels.
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13. AJ Styles (IWX)
No, Styles isn’t bringing Omos with him, because the former Bullet Club member will go after The Elite since Kenny Omega turned on Styles. He’ll join The Outcasts and war with The Elite.
14. Sasha Banks (PWC)
There is no better big-match performer in women’s wrestling than Sasha Banks. With the opportunity to position her as the face of a women’s division that will take on a greater role in PWC than any other wrestling company to date, this was a no-brainer.
15. Ruby Soho (BEUW)
I consider Soho to be one of WWE’s biggest oversights. She is great in the ring, has a unique look and solid promo skills. This was an easy choice.
16. Bayley (BEUW)
The Role Model is one of the most consistent performers in all of wrestling. She can work as a heel or babyface, and the crowd always reacts exactly how she wants it to.
17. Seth Rollins (PWC)
Rollins is among the best in the game and a versatile performer who can be an effective babyface or heel, depending on creative needs. He’s a fantastic worker and the type of wrestler you can program against a young star.
18. Finn Balor (IWX)
One can say this is a princely addition because Balor’s inclusion dates back to his days as Bullet Club’s founder and leader only to be betrayed by The Young Bucks. He leads the newly formed Outcasts.
19. WALTER (IWX)
The longest-reigning WWE champion of the modern era is the closest we now have to Andre the Giant. Though not as big, WALTER’s presence brings a sense of foreboding and unmatched in-ring physicality.
20. Jon Moxley (PWC)
Moxley brings the edge, attitude and unpredictability a company needs to remain relevant and multi-dimensional. He’s a strong worker, beloved by fans but above all, he has that “it” factor to change the mood of any card he appears on.
21. Bobby Lashley (BEUW)
The former WWE champion is a powerhouse with legitimate amateur wrestling and MMA skills. His accolades speak for themselves. The fact that he went undrafted until the seventh round shocked me.
22. The Hurt Business (BEUW)
The moment The Hurt Business reunited on Raw, I knew I had to have the whole stable in my promotion. These men are valuable in a tag team and as individual performers.
23. Drew McIntyre (PWC)
McIntyre is one of the best babyfaces in wrestling. He still manages to be menacing and serious, despite being handed some terrible material and a stupid sword that has made him the butt of the joke of late.
24. Bianca Belair (IWX)
The EST of WWE’s run as SmackDown women’s champion didn’t go as well as expected, but she clearly established herself as a headliner. She’ll lead the IWX women’s division in short order.
25. Cody Rhodes (IWX)
Not so long ago, Rhodes worked as pro wrestling’s top babyface. The shine has worn off a bit but he’s still an excellent performer and mouthpiece. A trio of Balor, Rhodes and Styles is just too sweet.
26. Charlotte Flair (PWC)
Flair is women’s wrestling’s most consistently excellent performer. Her ability to elevate opponents, of all styles and experiences, is invaluable.
27. Liv Morgan (BEUW)
The way the fans have gotten behind Morgan is a testament to how hard she has worked to improve over the years. She is a future women’s champion who just needs that opportunity to present itself.
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28. Big Swole (BEUW)
Swole could be considered one of AEW’s best-kept secrets. She has charisma to spare and the physique of a bodybuilder. She’s going to be a huge star, and I’m glad I was able to get her on my roster.
29. Malakai Black (PWC)
You cannot make up for presence and Black has it endlessly. Like The Undertaker, he captivates an audience with a character wholly unlike anything else in the sport. The presentation and his understanding of it set him apart.
30. The Lucha Bros. (IWX)
The Lucha Bros. are champions of the world’s best tag team division. Both Penta El Zero Miedo and Rey Fenix ooze so much charisma plus mind-boggling in-ring abilities. Death Triangle remains intact.
31. Miro (IWX)
“God’s favorite champion” may no longer hold the TNT title, but he is doing the best character work of his career. He’s a believable monster heel whose size and strength add a completely different element.
32. Randy Orton (PWC)
Randy Orton is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and a star who can lend credibility to anyone he works with. His experience is invaluable, and the connection he has with the audience is too important to let him slip any further.
33. John Cena (BEUW)
Despite Cena being a part-time performer who might only be good for one or two matches per year, his star power makes him as valuable as anyone else. When he does wrestle, it will feel like a big deal.
34. The Street Profits (BEUW)
Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins have already proved their worth as a tag team. The future for both men is bright whether they remain together or try their hand at singles competition.
35. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (PWC)
A brash, arrogant building block for the company and one of the performers tapped to carry PWC into the future. A big-money player.
36. Darby Allin (IWX)
Allin is easily one of pro wrestling’s best young babyfaces. He has a distinctive look. He’s the ultimate underdog and takes a ton of punishment. Plus, he can lose without hurting his standing.
37. FTR (IWX)
FTR’s Pinnacle mate, Shawn Spears, once worked a storyline in which he hated being called a “good hand.” The term isn’t derogatory and FTR is the tag team equivalent. They just know how to work, especially against clashing styles.
38. Eddie Kingston (PWC)
As strong a wrestler as he is, Kingston is a great hype man who could easily transition right into the commentary role, as we have seen with his stint on AEW Dark Elevation.
39. Jeff Hardy (BEUW)
The Charismatic Enigma proved he can still put on exciting performances at Extreme Rules. He would be one of the veterans who helps the younger talent in and out of the ring.
40. Matt Hardy (BEUW)
Having both Hardy brothers gives me the option to reunite them as a tag team or keep them as individuals. They have value in both divisions.
41. Io Sharai (PWC)
Shirai is a phenomenal professional wrestler who, like Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, will be leaned on to help bring along the next generation of stars to eventually supplant them.
42. Thunder Rosa (IWX)
Rosa brings even more credibility to IWX. With her, Shayna Baszler and Leyla Hirsch, a sense of legitimacy reverberates throughout the women’s division. The plan is to use all three as a stable known as The Fight Squad.
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43. MSK (IWX)
The reigning NXT tag team champions are a blast to watch. They glide and fly inside and outside the ring. They’re a match-of-the-night contender every time they enter the squared circle.
44. Asuka (PWC)
Asuka proved she can step up and carry an entire division during the pandemic. She is another veteran competitor, with a championship resume, tasked with propping up the division and the talent around her.
45. Naomi (BEUW)
The Glow has been underused for years despite a clear desire from fans to see her pushed. In my promotion, Naomi would be a major player.
46. Sonya Deville (BEUW)
Watching Deville grow from her time on Tough Enough until now has been a joy. I would position her as one of the most dangerous people on the roster.
47. Mandy Rose (PWC)
Rose is one of those performers everyone keeps waiting on to break out. PWC will give her the opportunity to do that as the leader of the women’s division’s villainous lead faction.
48. Ilja Dragunov (IWX)
NXT UK doesn’t get enough love. However, Dragunov and WALTER have put together arguably the best match in each of the last two years. The former’s ability to take punishment is staggering. Fight forever!
49. Kevin Owens (IWX)
What can’t Owens do? He’s intense or funny whenever necessary. He works great as a face or heel. He’s dynamite (pun intended) on the stick. In this case, a return to Steen-like tendencies put him over the top.
50. Toxic Attraction (PWC)
Toxic Attraction is complete with this pick-up and the trio figures to be central to long-term booking plans for the women’s division. Working with Asuka, Io Shirai and Sasha Banks will help get them where they need to be.
51. Viking Raiders (BEUW)
The first order of business would be changing their names back to War Machine. After that, all Erik and Ivar would need to do is kick ass.
52. Jurassic Express (BEUW)
It’s clear to everybody that Jungle Boy will be a big star in the business, but I believe having Luchasaurus will be just as valuable. His unique gimmick allows him to appeal to every demographic.
53. Cesaro (PWC)
The best wrestler in the world was inexplicably available at this point in the draft. Thankfully, because championship opportunities that have rarely come his way will be more prominent in PWC.
54. Santana and Ortiz (IWX)
The Inner Circle’s machinations failed to elevate Santana and Ortiz’s standing in the world’s best tag team division. Make no mistake, they’re every bit as talented as The Young Bucks, FTR, etc.
55. Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. (IWX)
A two-for-one fleshes out the women’s division. This odd couple works well together, though real value lies in maximizing Ripley’s once-promising career. She’s only 24 and once served as the crown jewel of the Wednesday Night War.
56. Riddle (PWC)
A hybrid fighter with a personality to boot, Riddle is a potential big-money player…if he can resist the urge to piss off the rest of the locker room. A project, but someone who could pay big dividends.
57. Keith “Bearcat” Lee (BEUW)
The Bearcat still being available this late in the draft made him an easy pick. Who wouldn’t want a 300-pound Superstar who hits moonsaults?
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58. Mia Yim (BEUW)
Not only is Yim one of WWE’s best-kept secrets, but she is also versatile enough to work as a heel or babyface. How she continues to go unused is mind-boggling.
59. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (PWC)
The first pick in a carefully orchestrated plan to lay the groundwork for the future of PWC.
60. PAC (IWX)
PAC’s availability this late in the process shows how deep the WWE and AEW rosters really are. The Master of the Black Arrow could and should be treated as a world title contender. The Bastard is that good.
61. Shayna Baszler (IWX)
The real Baszler is finally starting to reappear on WWE’s main roster. When booked properly, the former MMA fighter is a near-unstoppable submission machine. Treat her as such.
62. Jade Cargill (PWC)
Cargill is going to make a ton of money and be an enormous star one day. Why not in my company, as the eventual face of the women’s division?
63. Lucha House Party (BEUW)
Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado have nothing left to prove. They are an incredible tag team who could be considered as good as The Lucha Bros. if given the right opportunity. They are that good.
64. Toni Storm (BEUW)
At just 25 years of age, Storm has her whole career ahead of her. The fact that she is as good as she is at such a young age means she could end up being one of the greatest of all time by the end of her career.
65. Hit Row (PWC)
Ashante Adonis and Top Dolla make up the rest of Hit Row, a faction that will be at the top of the promotion within a year.
66. Franky Monet (IWX)
OK, forget Franky Monet. Taya Valkyrie will ride again. Her lackluster NXT run aside, she is one of the world’s best female wrestlers. Her Impact Knockouts reign is still the longest in the company’s history.
67. Imperium (IWX)
Imperium’s inclusion is important on two levels: First, WALTER’s stable remains intact. Secondly, Fabian Aichner (Italy) and Marcel Barthel (Germany) add even more international flavor to the entire promotion.
68. B-Fab (PWC)
Hit Row are about to light up PWC and become the stars they’ve had the potential to be from the moment they set foot in NXT.
69. Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart (BEUW)
While there would be no official women’s tag team division at first, Nox and Blackheart would remain allies on my show. They would be easy to book as fan favorites.
70. MVP (BEUW)
I couldn’t draft Lashley, Alexander and Benjamin without getting the mastermind behind The Hurt Business, too.
71. Dakota Kai (PWC)
Kai is too talented not to be a massive star in wrestling and the fact that she fell to where she did here is an indictment on booking in WWE. In PWC, she will have the chance to prove her talents, work with the best and introduce her kick-heavy offense to the wrestling world.
72. Moustache Mountain (IWX)
The 24-year-old Tyler Bate is the real star here, though Trent Seven brings a veteran hand into the fold. The two can continue to work as a tag team until Bate is ready for his big singles push.
73. Powerhouse Hobbs (IWX)
Who couldn’t watch Hobbs’ spinebuster on a loop all day long? More potential than anything right now, he has a chance to be a modern-day “Enforcer” if utilized properly.
74. Zelina Vega (PWC)
A package of Vega and Malakai Black is one that can draw eyes, sell merchandise and star atop the company for a long time as something completely different.
75. Sami Zayn (BEUW)
He’s great in the ring and on the mic. He can work as a heel or babyface. Who wouldn’t want Zayn on their roster. Waiting until Round 25 to grab him was an oversight on my part.
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76. King Nakamura (BEUW)
The King of SmackDown is one of those guys who can have a great match with just about anybody. I couldn’t believe he was still available by Round 26.
77. Edge (PWC)
Maybe it was the uncertainty of his health, but Edge falling to this point is a godsend. His passion remains strong and his leadership is undeniable. He has inspired an entire generation of stars and his contributions in (and out) of the ring are too important to pass up.
78. Hikaru Shida (IWX)
Shida doesn’t get enough credit as the longest-running champion in AEW’s short history. She proved to be the workhorse of the women’s division since she can deliver an excellent match with any opponent.
79. John Silver and Alex Reynolds (IWX)
The Dark Order is wonderful. At the same time, its use as a stable overlooks the fact Silver and Reynolds, aka The Beaver Boys, form one of the world’s smoothest operating tag teams. Plus, Silver is a star in his own right.
80. Sammy Guevara (PWC)
Like MJF and “Hangman” Adam Page, Guevara is one of the pillars of AEW and one of the youthful stars PWC will hope to build around.
81. Tay Conti (BEUW)
Conti is only 26 years old. Like Storm, she is the future of the women’s division. Her Brazilian jiu-jitsu experience would make her a great rival for Sonya Deville.
82. Mansoor and Mustafa Ali (BEUW)
The odd-couple dynamic makes these two a fun tag team, but it’s in the ring where Ali shines the brightest.
83. Anna Jay (PWC)
The upside is so high with Jay that a few high-profile matches with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Io Shirai or Asuka will have her competing with them for screen time sooner, rather than later.
84. Ricochet (IWX)
At this point, everything that made Ricochet special has been destroyed by WWE’s atrocious booking. A return to Prince Puma might be exactly what’s needed to reignite excitement for this breathtaking talent.
85. Leyla Hirsch (IWX)
The “Legit” one’s 4’11”, 125-pound frame is packed with potential. Hirsch needs a gimmick similar to Taz in ECW. With her size and amateur wrestling background, she can be a suplex machine and submission master.
86. Damian Priest (PWC)
The Archer of Infamy is destined for big things and his Scott Hall-inspired style, mixed with a little of that aerial assault, makes him one of the most intriguing wrestlers in the business.
87. Andrade El Idolo (BEUW)
El Idolo is an accomplished wrestler with a great pedigree and the potential to be a world champion someday. I would put him with Lucha House Party and make them a heel faction right away.
Round 30 (bonus round)
88. Kazuchika Okada (BEUW)
Picking Okada as my wild card was easy. He’s 33 and already responsible for some of the best matches in New Japan Pro-Wrestling history. There are plenty of dream matches for him on my roster.
89. Deonna Purrazzo (PWC)
Purrazzo has been every bit as great as Sasha Banks or Charlotte Flair over the past year and could easily claim the title of best women’s wrestler in the world. Picking her up to work alongside those women was the easiest pick in this draft since the first one.
90. Kota Ibushi (IWX)
Only seven months have passed since Ibushi united the IWGP heavyweight and intercontinental championships. He’s an amazing worker, and his ties to Kenny Omega will certainly play a major role.
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Street Fighter serves as the inspiration for the International Wrestling Expo. The fighter select screen from the video game showed where all the individuals lived before they flew to their next destination once an opponent had been chosen. The same principle applies here but in a pro-wrestling format.
A quick glance over the IWX roster shows the global influence currently found within the business. In total, 13 distinct regions—the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Russia, Japan and Australia—are represented throughout four different continents.
The international flavor serves as a backdrop to the promotion’s booking with every match featuring at least two different countries and the creation of the International Cup, which is a Survivor Series-like match built as a Ryder Cup-style clash.
A triple main event headlines the show with the women’s championship match going on last. However, The Elite’s battle with those they previously cast out of their little club may be the most hotly contested match.
Not every draft selection found its way into a skirmish, but post-match run-ins are included as part of the show. They’re highlighted in italics.
Without further adieu, IWX’s presents Global Carnage from the O2 Arena in London (winners are in bold):
- Becky Lynch v. Britt Baker (Women’s World Championship)
- The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) v. The Outcasts (Finn Balor, AJ Styles and Cody Rhodes). Kota Ibushi comes down to help the losing faction after the match and show his disdain for his former best friend, Omega.
- Kevin Owens v. PAC v. Kota Ibushi (Men’s World Championship)
- International Cup (Europe v. United States): WALTER, Imperium, Mustache Mountain v. Darby Allin, FTR and Santana & Ortiz
- Femme Fatale Four-Way (Women’s No. 1 Contender match): Bianca Belair v. Hikaru Shida v. Thunder Rosa v. Franky Monet. Stable formation: Rosa is joined by Shayna Baszler and Leyla Hirsch to beat down the other three participants, who are saved by Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley.
- Miro v. Ilja Dragunov
- Lucha Bros. v. MSK (Tag Team Championship). Prince Puma confronts Penta El Zero Mideo, an old Lucha Underground foe, with Will Hobbs working as his new partner.
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When assembling the Pro Wrestling Continuum roster, it was important to mix former world champions with young talent, in hopes the established stars would prepare the young crop of performers for the next level of competition.
I also made it a point to emphasize women’s wrestling in a way that it is equally as significant to the overall success of the promotion. With Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks reigning atop the division, the star power is there to ensure people take notice. The rest of the division, like the roster as a whole, consists of veteran performers tasked with elevating the rest of the roster.
For the first pay-per-view in PWC history, I figured it was important to address Reigns, Rollins and Moxley being in the same company so we could move on with the intended direction of the company. A post-match attack by Hit Row on Reigns and The Usos sets the brash young stars and The Bloodline up for the main event feud.
Flair vs. Purrazzo is a dream match based on what The Virtuosa has done over the last year and instantly elevates her. Page vs. Edge is the culmination of the latter’s insistence that Hangman becomes mentally stronger if he wants to A) achieve a world title and B) actually win a high-profile match.
MJF is ready to usurp Orton now, but The Viper isn’t ready to slither away yet, Toxic Attraction are trying to cement their status at the expense of Banks, Asuka and Shirai, and six of the most talented competitors on the roster jockey for a title shot against the winner of the main event. Finally, Dakota Kai searches for a signature win but must first beat the undefeated Jade Cargill.
Pro Wrestling Continuum presents Acknowledge This! (winners are in bold)
- Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Jon Moxley (World Championship match)
- Charlotte Flair vs. Deonna Purrazzo (Women’s World Championship match)
- Hangman Page vs. Edge
- Randy Orton vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
- Cesaro vs. Riddle vs. Damian Priest vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Adam Cole vs. Malakai Black (Six-Pack Challenge No. 1 Contenders’ match)
- Sasha Banks, Io Shirai and Asuka vs. Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacey Jane
- Dakota Kai vs. Jade Cargill
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When I put my roster together, I had several things I kept in mind. I wanted to create a strong base for the women’s, tag team and men’s singles divisions while also having a healthy mix of young and veteran talents.
I also wanted a variety of Superstars who work different styles. Technicians, high-flyers, brawlers and powerhouses were all considered. Having a wide array of unique people with different move sets will make it easy to keep the card fresh for each event. Even though in-ring work is the top priority, I also wanted people with proven track records for playing entertaining characters.
For the first PPV, I wanted to get as many people on the card as possible while still allowing for a couple of standard matches. Booking two of the three title bouts as Triple Threats was a deliberate move to ensure those contests have a feeling of unpredictability.
It was also important to use three of the non-title bouts as No. 1 Contender’s matches to immediately lay the groundwork for the future of each division. Even though most of the bouts have some kind of stipulation, the majority of them will keep the action in the ring. The only one where weapons will be an important factor is the ladder match for the tag titles.
The Showdown in Chicago at United Center (winners are in bold):
- Big E vs. John Cena v. Bobby Lashley with MVP (Triple Threat for the World Championship)
- Woods and Kingston v. The Hurt Business v. Viking Raiders (Triple Threat ladder match for the World Tag Team Championships)
- Bayley v. Ruby Soho (Women’s World Championship)
- Liv Morgan v. Toni Storm vs. Big Swole v. Mia Yim v. Naomi v. Shotzi Blackheart v. Tegan Nox vs. Tay Conti v. Sonya Deville (Battle Royal, No. 1 Contender’s match)
- CM Punk, Sami Zayn and Jeff Hardy v. Andrade, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik (Elimination match)
- Jurassic Express v. The Street Profits (2-out-of-3 Falls, No. 1 Contender’s match)
- Kazuchika Okada v. Bryan Danielson (60-Minute Ironman, No. 1 Contender’s match)
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