Alternate Universe

Professional wrestling wouldn't exist without an active imagination. In fact, it's almost cursed in how much it depends on it. Most sports can get away with re-enacting the same scenario or storyline week in and week out to a nauseating degree without an imagination. But professional wrestling thrives, and most often times, dies by it.

As wrestling fans, we have a right to be displeased with what sports entertainment puts on our TVs. 'Entertainment' is in the description, for crying out loud! If we're not entertained, it's often because the writers or creative directors don't give their fans' imaginations enough credit. Stories fall short of a desired payoff. An electrifying and talented wrestler dwells in obscurity or no-man's-land until their passion is gone. More often than not, too many cooks in the kitchen end up ruining the final product and leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths.

But the glory of the wrestling fan's active imagination is their ability to ponder 'what-if?'. With one, small stimuli, a story or wrestler can often go in a myriad of directions too endless to count. Some call it day-dreaming, others call it fantasy booking. Here on Wrestling With Friends, we take everything to a more cosmic level. And that's why we choose to take you, our friends, to an Alternate Universe.

List of Episodes

Episode 01: The Invasion
Episode 05: The Nexus
Episode 09: Ending Goldberg's Streak
Episode 13: Wrestlemania Dream Cards
Episode 17: Ending Undertaker's Streak
Episode 23: Must Add One: Stables
Episode 29: The Third Man
Episode 33: Modern Day nWo
Episode 39: Reversed Decisions
Episode 43: Survivor Series Dream Teams
Episode 48: Sting Arrives

Episode 01: The Invasion.

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: The Invasion was a professional wrestling storyline in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as WWE) that ran from March–November 2001 and involved stables of wrestlers purporting to represent World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) – which merged to form The Alliance – placed against a stable of wrestlers purporting to represent the WWF. The storyline began shortly after the WWF's acquisitions of WCW and ECW in March and April 2001, respectively, and concluded with a "winner takes all" match between The Alliance and the WWF at the 2001 Survivor Series.

From the dawn of the Monday Night Wars to its twilight that day Shane McMahon bought WCW, perhaps the biggest fantasy booking concept was what would happen if the two major promotions clashed. Each roster was stacked with talent and memorable faces, from Hollywood Hogan to Psicosis in the WCW and The Rock to Taka Michinoku in the WWF. It was easy to picture who would square off against who, since the two companies tended to borrow ideas from each other. Could Ernest "The Cat" Miller out-strike Ken Shamrock when it came down to brass tacks?

Of course, this was a pipe dream from the start. It was never Eric Bischoff's WCW versus Vince McMahon's WWF. Instead, the WCW was used as yet another tool in the long-running yet short-winded McMahon family feud. Add to that the guaranteed contracts from WCW paying the biggest names in the company the same money to sit as it would for them to wrestle, and you've got a recipe for disaster. Here on Wrestling With Friends, we ponder what might have been had those big names come over and if Vince's ego was even-keel enough to possibly let WCW get away with a few battles.

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Episode 05: The Nexus

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: The Nexus were a heel professional wrestling stable that originally consisted of all eight rookies of NXT season one and shifted their roster several times throughout their existence. Their initial goal was to obtain WWE contracts for all members—save for original Nexus leader Wade Barrett, who was already guaranteed a contract for winning NXT. The group went on to antagonize the Raw roster, with John Cena as their main focus, who forcibly became a member of Nexus via a match stipulation at Hell in a Cell. By the start of 2011, Wade Barrett was exiled from the group by CM Punk, who became the group's new leader. Under Punk's leadership, the group was renamed to the New Nexus and became a tight-knit group dedicated to one another by faith.

They were the outsider group the WWE Universe was looking for; an invading faction to spice up a bland promotion. With many of the superstars having seen the same face across from them in the ring over the years, Wade Barrett, winner of NXT season one, arrived to fulfill his new contract. But he had some friends with him. The rookies from NXT soon made it a point to take over the promotion, looking for jobs and setting their sights on taking down the champion John Cena. It was perhaps his biggest threat in a decade of dominance; but is that where this all went wrong?

With the nWo as a template, WWE had a chance to strike gold with this angle and prolong some feuds with new talent into the next year. Unfortunately, their threat didn't last long; the team lost in their first PPV showcase at Summerslam and Wade Barrett's monthly quest for the WWE Championship was continuously foiled by Cena and Randy Orton. Eventually, WWE's biggest stars looked like niners beating up some fifth graders in the schoolyard and the Nexus fractured quicker than it should have. Though CM Punk appeared to be the right man to take the top spot in the group at the turn of the new year, even his iconoclasm couldn't save the group from the damage that was unnecessarily done.

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Episode 09: Ending Goldberg's Streak

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: Goldberg's succession of wins saw him quickly advance up the card, and pushed as a singles wrestler. Goldberg made his pay-per-view debut at Starrcade 1997, and defeated Steve McMichael. In early 1998, Goldberg defeated the likes of Brad Armstrong at SuperBrawl VIII and Perry Saturn at Spring Stampede 1998 in squash matches. On April 20, 1998 edition of Nitro, he won the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, by defeating Raven. Goldberg was getting over as a main eventer, after he easily defeated the legendary Hollywood Hogan on July 6 edition of Nitro to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and gain an unheard-of undefeated record of 108-0...Both his reign and his streak of 173 wins and 0 loses ended at Starrcade 1998 when he lost his title to Kevin Nash after Scott Hall made a run-in and shocked Goldberg with a cattle prod.

Goldberg was a wrestler with one gimmick: an undefeated streak. Like an economic bubble or fleeting summer romance, everyone knew it was unsustainable. We wouldn't talk about it though; all we wanted to do was sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, when the inevitable did occur, it wasn't how we all thought the ride would end. Instead of coasting into a believable finish against a formidable foe, we smashed headlong into the brick wall of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall's cattle prod. Now your friends are here to answer three simple questions: Was the streak necessary? When should it have ended? And who was truly built to handle the load?

There's a valid choice for ending the streak early, and also for extending it even longer. It all depends on whether Goldberg was up to the task or not. Should he have had more to look to, like a World Heavyweight Championship? Should he have been set up as an unstoppable champion for some up-and-comer to gain an enormous push by putting him down? WCW had multiple guys that could have been believable foes to stop him, from Booker T to DDP even to Chris Jericho. Any one of these guys arguably would have been made a star, while Goldberg would have remained a main event superstar still in the title hunt. Anything, but anything, other than how it truly did end...which is sadly said far too often when it comes to late 90s WCW/nWo storylines.

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Episode 13: Wrestlemania Dream Cards

Erik's Dream Card:
  1. US Title Match: '83 Roddy Piper vs. '97 DDP vs. '96 Stone Cold Steve Austin
  2. Caribbean Strap Match: Savio Vega vs. Bruiser Brody
  3. Cage Match: Bray Wyatt vs. '85 Dusty Rhodes
  4. Tag Team Title Match: Real Americans vs. Allied Powers
  5. Women's Title Match: Emma vs. Bull Nakano
  6. Four Corners Elimination Tag Match: Sami Zayn & Rey Mysterio vs. Adam Cole & Matt Hardy vs. Tomasso Ciampa & Raven vs. Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit
  7. Intercontinental Title Match: '98 Chris Jericho vs. '92 Bret 'Hitman' Hart
  8. '89 Hulk Hogan & John Cena vs. '92 Undertaker & '86 Jake 'the Snake' Roberts
  9. World Title Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior

Andy's Dream Card:
  1. Cruiserweight Title Match: Ultimo Dragon vs. Blitzkrieg
  2. '08 Undertaker vs. '08 Sting
  3. nWo (Nash/Hall/Giant/Syxx/Savage) vs. D-X (Michaels/HHH/New Age Outlaws/Rick Rude)
  4. Women's Title Match: Trish Stratus vs. Daphne
  5. Tag Team Title Match: Demolition vs. KroniK
  6. Intercontinental Title Match: The Rock vs. Big Poppa Pump
  7. Hardcore Match: Bruiser Brody vs. Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk vs. Raven vs. Abyss vs. Sabu
  8. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Goldberg
  9. World Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. John Cena

Blake's Dream Card:
1. Cruiserweight Title Ladder Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Sami Zayn
2. The Wyatt Family vs. Right to Censor
3. People's Champion Match: The Rock vs. DDP
4. Tag Team Title Match: New Age Outlaws vs. The Outsiders
5. 24/7 Hardcore Title Match: Mankind vs. Steve Blackman vs. Raven vs. Al Snow vs. Sandman vs. Crash Holly
6. CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
7. Intercontinental Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro
8. Undertaker vs. Eddie Guerrero
9. 60-Minute Iron Man Match for the World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Daniel Bryan

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Episode 17: Ending Undertaker's Streak

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: When The Undertaker first came in the WWE in the cartoon character era, not too many people would have predicted that he would start an undefeated Wrestlemania streak that would last for over a decade. From the time it started back in 1991 until Wrestlemania XXX nearly 25 years later, it was one of the reasons why The Undertaker became one of the premier superstars of the WWE. His undefeated streak had become a big enough part of his career that a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania was, and still is, considered to be the same, or even bigger than, a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Whether it's a marquee meet-up with another big name, or a star-making opportunity for a young gun, everyone wanted to be the one to end Undertaker's vaunted Wrestlemania streak.

In sports, there are streaks—and there are streaks. Some last a few weeks, half a season...maybe a few seasons. All of these pale in comparison, however, to the 20+ year streak of Wrestlemania victories for the Undertaker. Though it's now over, it will clearly be talked about for decades to come. The Undertaker has vanquished many top stars over the course of his Streak (and some not-so-top guys *cough cough* Giant Gonzalez *cough cough*). Some feel sadness or regret that it's over—that we will now miss out on that one marquee match every Wrestlemania against one of the company's top guys.

That's why there's an Alternate Universe—to keep playing new Wrestlemanias on the big screen with Undertaker's streak still alive. Whether it's against a new guy to put over, or re-hashing some old, and assumed buried, feuds, the possibilities seem to be endless on who would benefit the most from breaking the Undertaker's Streak. There's old friends like DDP or Stone Cold, some new, fresh blood like Cesaro and Bray Wyatt, and even a certain familial tie that could have snapped it for good. Though we were dealt a different card than we may have liked, there's always new stars to look to—and fly to—for even bigger possibilities.

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Episode 23: Must Add One: Stables

nWo Black and White
Erik: Madusa
Blake: Bret Hart
Andy: Chris Jericho

D-Generation X
Erik: Aldo Montoya
Blake: Chris Jericho
Andy: Val Venis

The Shield
Erik: CM Punk
Blake: Sami Zayn
Andy: Fandango

Camp Cornette
Erik: Doink the Clown
Blake: Sycho Sid
Andy: Goldust

Erik: Adam Rose
Blake: Curt Hawkins
Andy: The Great Khali

The Wyatt Family
Erik: Jack Swagger
Blake: Xavier Woods
Andy: Knux

Too Cool
Erik: Gillberg
Blake: Alex Wright
Andy: Dustin Diamond OR Alex Wright

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Episode 29: The Third Man

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: At Bash at the Beach, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were scheduled to team with their mystery partner against Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger. At the onset of the match, Hall and Nash came out without a third man. "Mean" Gene Okerlund came to the ring confused, demanding to know where their mystery partner was. They simply said he was in the building, but that they did not need him right then. As Hall and Nash took control of the match, Hulk Hogan came to the ring. After standing off with The Outsiders for a moment, he suddenly attacked Savage, thus revealing himself as the third man. Hogan labelled the new faction "the New World Order of professional wrestling," beginning a feud between wrestlers loyal to WCW and the nWo.

Andy's Third Men:
Bret Hart
The Undertaker
Steve Austin

Blake's Third Men:
Paul Wight
Curt Hennig
Owen Hart

Erik's Third Men:
Shawn Michaels
The Undertaker
Vince McMahon

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Episode 33: Modern Day nWo

From Pro Wrestling Wiki: After the WWF bought WCW in 2001, Vince McMahon brought in Hogan, Hall and Nash as the nWo, at the No Way Out PPV on February 17, 2002. In this storyline, the nWo was brought in as McMahon's allies in an attempt to "kill" the WWF so that McMahon would not have to share power with new WWF "co-owner" Ric Flair. However, Hogan left the group after he lost his WrestleMania X8 match with The Rock and was assaulted after that match by Hall and Nash. Hogan's comeback to the WWF after 8 years had fans cheering him, more than even The Rock. As a result, he turned face and began feuding with Hall and Nash, with The Rock at his side. Hall and Nash brought in two nWo members afterwards, X-Pac and The Big Show.

Andy's nWo:
The Enforcer: Samoa Joe
The Outsiders Threat: Kevin Steen & CM Punk
The Leader: John Cena

Blake's nWo:
The Undervalued: Hunico
The Outsiders Threat: Jack Swagger & Ryback
The Leader: Dolph Ziggler

Erik's nWo:
The Financier: A.J. Styles
The Outsiders Threat: Cesaro & Chris Hero
The Leader: Daniel Bryan

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Episode 39: Reversed Decisions

When all the stories and arguments and weddings are over, wrestling is about the decision. Whether it's a championship or a simple blood feud, the ultimate factor in determining the better man or woman is the victor of a match. Wrestling has many moments of glory; however, there are perhaps even more that either left fans scratching their heads or holding back tears.

Andy's Reversals:
3-Minute Warning defeats the Big Show on Raw and a promising, formidable stable doesn't have their momentum squashed.
Brock Lesnar defeats John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012 and gets his monster push before he's at-risk for a heart attack.
Raven defeats DDP at Slamboree 1998 and a 13-year old Andy has his personal people's champion's hand raised.

Blake's Reversals:
Chris Jericho outlasts Sheamus at Royal Rumble 2012 and somehow Wrestlemania remains unchanged.
DDP defeats Goldberg at Halloween Havoc 1998 and saves the WCW from going extinct a few more months.
Wade Barrett defeats Randy Orton at Survivor Series 2010 and the Nexus survives to torment Cena another day.

Erik's Reversals:
1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly defeat the Smoking Gunns on Raw and the Cinderella team puts off midnight a little longer.
Savio Vega defeats Mabel at King of the Ring 1995 and people don't remember this event for the right reasons.
Bret Hart defeats Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XII and the Excellence of Execution executes the Showstopper's crybaby ways.

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Episode 43: Survivor Series Dream Team

At its core, Survivor Series is one of the most exciting and original cards of the year. Pitting teams of 4 or 5 against each other brings out the best in each squad (or, for heels, usually the worst). It's a chance to see men, who usually are battling for their independent supremacy, actually teaming up for a cause. The Friends hearken back to those days with their own "Dream Teams".

Andy's Team: Ghosts of SmackDown Past
Captain: Sean O'Haire
Waylon Mercy
Blake's Team: Team Obey
Captain: The Undertaker
Steven Richards
Bray Wyatt
CM Punk

Erik's Team: Hell's Castouts
Captain: Kane
Adam Bomb
Papa Shango
Bam Bam Bigelow
Bray Wyatt

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Episode 48: Sting Arrives

Sting's arrival to the WWE is an event that many thought they'd never see, and may never see again. The last holdout from the territories, Sting appeared at the 2014 Survivor Series to aid Team Cena in stomping out the Authority once and for...the next few weeks. That's why the Friends have pondered when it could have been even more impactful to place Sting throughout history.

Andy's Arrival:
WCW Invasion (2001). Sting would have been a valuable asset in the WCW & ECW's Invasion of the WWE...a much more valuable asset than Buff Bagwell or Scott Steiner, great as they were. Though the storyline was always doomed to fail with McMahon intervention and egos running wild, it didn't help matters that the boys didn't have someone to rally around in the locker room.

Blake's Arrival:
Post-nWo Dissolution (1998). Sting could have saved himself, and all the rest of us, some heartache if he'd never put on that dog-gone red and black facepaint. His sole purpose for his sabbatical was to terrorize the nWo, so when he was finally instrumental in breaking them up, it just made no sense to join the party. Also: Ministry Undertaker.

Erik's Arrival
Late Golden Age (1989). When Jim Hellwig broke away from the Blade Runners in the late 80s, he would eventually find his way to being the new torch bearer of the WWF after Hulk Hogan. And then, like his character, he was quickly gassed. Blade Runner Sting, on the other hand, could have come in, taken that torch, and still be holding it with the transformational abilities he's proven to have.

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