In the current Covid-19 climate, and a lack of crowd to react to in-ring competition, we have seen a rise in the Cinematic match format within wrestling. This began with The Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles, as well as the Firefly Funhouse match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena at this year’s WrestleMania. These were followed by a Corporate Ladder match at Money in the Bank and a Stadium Stampede match at AEW’s Double or Nothing PPV. With Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman scheduled to face off in a Swamp match at Extreme Rules and cinematic matches becoming a staple in the current wrestling climate, we look at five cinematic matches we want to see.
Dexter Lumis Vs Adam Cole/Undisputed Era
Whilst Dexter Lumis may not be the first Superstar that springs to mind when thinking of a high-profile match against the NXT champion, his recent interactions with the Undisputed Era would make a cinematic match an interesting option. Lumis’ creepy character could lend itself well to a more cinematic style and would give him a chance to showcase his ability, both inside and outside the ring. A short set-up to this match would allow him to be placed in an NXT title match with Cole naturally, instead of seeming forced. Cole could cut promos for a few weeks saying that he no longer had any viable opponents left. On the go-home show to a TakeOver, the other members of the Era slowly start disappearing, until only a paranoid Cole remains demanding to know what’s going on and shouting at Regal about conspiracies. Cue Dexter Lumis on screen, with the 3 UE members tied up (or the WWE PG equivalent) telling Cole that if he wants to ever see them again, he will have to compete against Lumis in a Title match on Sunday…
The match itself could take place in a warehouse of some sort, in a blend between the puzzles of the Saw movies, and the style of Showtime’s Dexter series. Perhaps Cole will have to save each of his friends one by one? Perhaps Lumis will torment Cole with artwork showing the Undisputed Era’s fate? Maybe Cole will end up disappearing as well? Whatever the case, this would allow Dexter Lumis some valuable PPV time against a top star and would also help cover any deficiencies he potentially has in the ring, as well as being the final piece to a long-term feud.
The Fiend Vs Aleister Black
Back in August 2019, Aleister Black and Bray Wyatt had a short interaction on Twitter, started by Black stating he would like to talk to Bray about a door he had. This was of course when Black was on Smackdown, asking superstars to knock on his door and pick a fight with him, and this tweet was definitely hinting at a match with the Fiend. Sadly, this interaction came to nothing, with Wyatt moving on to the Universal Title picture, and Black continuing his impressive singles streak, notching up only two singles losses since his main roster debut. The two superstars are currently on separate rosters, and Wyatt’s current program with Braun Strowman means it is unlikely that this match will happen anytime soon. Still, with Black’s incredible singles record, and The Fiend also seemingly unbeatable (save a one-off loss to Goldberg, which we aren’t going to mention), a match between the two is hopefully in WWE’s plans further down the line. Wyatt’s cinematic match with John Cena at this year’s WrestleMania, albeit more of a movie and less of a match, received high praise, and Black’s satanic character could slot seamlessly into the Firefly Funhouse world. Maybe we could see some more of what’s inside the Funhouse during this match? Or see Black participate in a three stages of hell match against 3 different eras of Wyatt?
The Usos Vs The New Day
During 2017/18, the ongoing feud between The Usos and The New Day was one of the best things happening in WWE. Fast forward to 2020, and the fortunes of the two teams have arguably changed. Whilst Big E and Kofi Kingston are the current Smackdown Tag Team Champions, Xavier Woods has been side-lined since October with an Achilles injury. Meanwhile, The Usos haven’t really been near the tag titles since dropping them to The Hardy Boyz in April 2019, and their momentum has been stop-start due to injuries and personal issues.
Despite this, both teams can put on fantastic matches, and have proven time and time again that they have fantastic in-ring chemistry. Upon both The Usos and Xavier Woods return, WWE should push both teams back to the forefront of the division. A cinematic style would allow the two teams to offer fans a match they haven’t seen before, and could also introduce us to The Usos Penitentiary, and a hardcore version of their superb 2017 Hell in a Cell match. What does the Uso penitentiary contain? Handcuffs, Flashlights, Batons, Leg-irons… The two teams can put them all to good use. This match also opens up opportunities for the future, such as a Roman Reigns heel turn to side with The Usos and make this a 6-man match (although this is probably just wishful thinking), and a return New Day match inside a booty-o’s cereal box.
Karrion Kross Vs Demon Balor
Kross’ PPV debut against Tommaso Ciampa was nothing short of impressive and presented him as a legit threat to anyone and everyone on the NXT roster. Watch Kross’ entrance, and you can see that WWE have already invested some cinematic efforts into his character as well. From the flapping wings seemingly emerging from the accompanying Scarlett, down to the flashing red lights and smoke surrounding Kross as he hits the ring, he has been provided with some polished imagery straight from the start of his WWE tenure. A little research into his new ‘Karrion’ moniker also reveals something about the character, with suggestions that this may be a reference to Charon, the ferryman who takes souls to the land of the dead in Greek Mythology. There may be something more to Kross than just being a large guy who brutalises other competitors. Perhaps something more mythical.
Another superstar on the NXT roster who is something more is Finn Balor. We have yet to see the Demon make an appearance since Finn’s return to NXT, and it’s been over a year since we last saw his alter-ego in WWE at all. However, a match with Karrion Kross could be the perfect time for the Demon to make a reappearance. Given Kross is being booked as the next huge superstar on NXT, a match, and potential victory, against the demon could solidify this. A cinematic match would allow for more supernatural elements to be included, which can only be a bonus for both superstars. Could we see a type of Underworld match as Kross attempts to trap the Demon in the land of the dead? Could some of Balor’s powers come into play, like the eye of the destruction we sometimes see Finn paint on his back? A cinematic match would not only look spectacular but would allow both wrestlers to add some extra layers to their characters.
Sonya Deville Vs Shayna Baszler
Whilst Sonya Deville and Shayna Baszler have similar fighting backgrounds, they have had varying levels of success thus far. Baszler competed in 26 MMA matches, winning 15 of these, whilst Deville only recorded 3 matches in total. In WWE, Baszler is a 2-time NXT Women’s champion, was named 2019 female competitor of the year, and was a part of the first ever women’s WarGames. Meanwhile, Deville’s tenure pales somewhat in comparison, having won no titles, and spending the last couple of years in a tag team with Mandy Rose. However, the recent dissolution of Fire and Desire allowed Deville to branch out as a singles competitor, and a match against Baszler would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase both superstar’s talents. Whilst this doesn’t need to be a fully cinematic experience, a cage submission match produced in the same style of Edge and Orton’s recent bout at Backlash could help shine a spotlight on what would surely be a main event worthy match if booked correctly. A Cage match would lend itself nicely to both Superstar’s styles, highlighting the Tap, Snap or Nap style of Baszler’s wrestling vs the hard hitting ‘Put Your Hair Up and Square Up’ nature of Deville. A cinematic element would allow WWE to zoom in on the brutality of the match and would give the fight a bit more realism.
All images courtesy of WWE