Fantasy booking has always been a staple of ‘internet wrestling fans,' despite the fact that it's often reviled and dismissed by most people ‘in the industry' (including, at times, writers of the major dirtsheets). In my opinion, fantasy booking is not all that dissimilar from fans discussing theories or outcomes of any other ongoing fictional or 'reality' series. For instance, if you're a fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, a quick glance at any discussion board will reveal tons of fantasy booking.
Fantasy booking is simply another way for fans to speculate, critique, and show their appreciation of the source material. Around Cageside Seats, they're always examples of interesting and thoughtful fantasy booking.
But what if we went the other way?
I thought it might be fun to invert the fantasy-booking model to see what humorous and horrible ideas popped-out. Instead of trying to articulate what might be a great angle for a character or event, I thought about what booking decisions would make me physically ill. I call this ‘nightmare booking.' It's a masochist endeavor where you try and discover what is the worst way something could be booked. AJ Lee is revealed as ‘the true Sister Abigail' and makes Bryan tap to her finisher? Mr. T eliminates CM Punk from the Rumble? The New Age Outlaws win the tag belts and hold them through SummerSlam? Oh, wait. That last one could actually happen....
Here's my piece of nightmare booking for the 2014 Royal Rumble (and, no, it isn't just CenaWinsLOL):
‘So, things are proceeding as expected for most of the Rumble. Punk was the Iron Man, Reigns went on an early tear of eliminations, Cody accidentally eliminated Goldust, and so on. At #25, Big Dave enters the fray and quickly thins out the herd. Punk, Big E, and Sheamus, however, are still around, along with Reigns and few other guys. Next, at #26, ‘Behold! The King of Kings!' hits and Triple HHH joins the Rumble. He and Big Dave share a look, and then they team-up to start a run of eliminations. Goodbye, Big E and Sheamus. So long Roman. It doesn't really matter who comes out next, as it's the HHH & Dave show, with Punk just barely surviving. At #30, surprise, here's Orton! It doesn't matter that he retained the title because he just wants to make sure nobody gets a title shot (remember: this dumb booking). Orton, HHH, & Dave toss out the remaining Rumblers, including a valiant but defeated Punk.
Now, Orton, HHH, & Dave have a Mexican standoff in the ring as nobody seems quite sure where this is going. After a few seconds, HHH & Dave share another knowing look and join forces again, this time to get rid of Orton. So we're left with HHH & Dave staring each other down in the middle of the ring. What's going to happen? They drag out the tension a bit before HHH puts on his most annoying fratboy-meathead smirk. He gives Dave a big hug and then voluntarily steps over the top rope, eliminating himself. Big Dave is the winner of the 2014 Rumble! As he points to the Wrestlemania sign, you can hear the entire audience-including the many sweatband wearing 9-year olds-loudly declaring ‘Bullshit!'
This booking is a nightmare because it's an awful way to reinforce HHH as the alpha dog of the WWE (remember, HHH told Orton that he is simply holding ‘his [HHH's] title'). It offers no closure to the event and sends nobody home happy. Also, it hammers home the belief that no storyline can exist without some form of overt McMahon-Helmsley Shenanigans.
So Cagesiders, feel free to channel your inner Freddy and share some of your own nightmare booking ideas!