Vince McMahon has ripped a page out of the Kevin Sullivan school of booking pro wrestling.
Personally, I was a fan of Sullivan’s booking in WCW, especially in the mid-’90s when Nitro first hit the airwaves and the NWO was running roughshod over the entire show.
Sullivan’s style was to book as much heat as possible. Kevin Nash once described it in an interview as a balloon. You needed to book heat to get the balloon to rise, and then once that balloon is full of heat, you get the loudest pop possible when the babyface finally comes back and gets their win in the end.
Let’s start first with Kofi Kingston, who was supposed to receive his first one-on-one WWE Title match against AJ Styles on this show, only to have it ripped out from under him by WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
Then last night, McMahon promised the New Day that Kofi would be added to the championship match in order to make it a triple threat match. However, after Kingston was introduced to the crowd, the ring announcer had someone come into his earpiece and he announced that the WWE Title match would take place later in the show, and instead, Kingston would be in a handicap match against The Bar.
This put major sympathy on Kingston and it put major heat on McMahon, who is presumably standing in the way of Kingston receiving his one-on-one title match against Styles.
There is a reason for concern, though. The heat is being put on McMahon, who won’t be part of the match. I still think everyone will be thrilled to see Kingston get his WrestleMania match, and maybe even a title win, but there won’t be a lot of heat between Styles and Kingston. Hopefully, their athleticism can carry the match with the heat on Vince.
A very similar storyline is playing out with Becky Lynch and the Raw Women’s Title. Again, the McMahon family (Vince himself as well as Stephanie) have stood in the way of Becky Lynch getting a Raw Women’s Title match against Ronda Rousey.
This was solved last night when Lynch (on one leg) was facing Charlotte for the right to be added to the match and making it a triple threat match at WrestleMania. Lynch was locked in Charlotte’s submission finisher when Rousey hit the ring and attacked Lynch, forcing the disqualification and adding Lynch to the WrestleMania match.
Rousey, who turned heel on Raw just six days ago, was cheered for her interference because it added the babyface to the WrestleMania match. They should be able to get their heat back quickly, because Rousey and Lynch have been taking jabs at each other on social media for the last few weeks and they played out a hot angle to close last week’s Raw, but it’s striking how similar Kingston and Lynch’s paths have been to their WrestleMania title matches.