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Court Bauer talks how he would book top 'Mania bouts, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns' spot, WaleMania

This interview was conducted before the passing of Perro Aguayo Jr. However, please note that Rey Mysterio is still confirmed to appear at WaleMania tonight. I spoke to former WWE creative writer Court Bauer last week, who will be a part of WaleMania tonight at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. In the second and final part of the interview, Bauer discussed this year's WrestleMania and h

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This interview was conducted before the passing of Perro Aguayo Jr. However, please note that Rey Mysterio is still confirmed to appear at WaleMania tonight.

I spoke to former WWE creative writer Court Bauer last week, who will be a part of WaleMania tonight at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. In the second and final part of the interview, Bauer discussed this year's WrestleMania and his thoughts, if Roman Reigns should be in his current spot, if Brock Lesnar should retain at 'Mania, Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker, Sting vs. Triple H and more. Click here for part one of the interview, where Bauer talked about working with WWE, the decision to have Rey Mysterio win the title at WrestleMania, Vince McMahon having Rey squashed after winning the belt, Daniel Bryan's title reign and more.

WaleMania is tonight at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. Tickets start at $15, while VIP tickets are $60 and include a special meet and greet with Rey Mysterio and friends as well as Don Julio Tequila. There will be a fan Q&A with Mysterio and the panel where fans can ask any and all questions. There will be a major after party featuring Rey and other wrestling luminaries after the live in-person MLW Radio session where Wale will perform songs from The Album About Nothing. The event begins at 6:30 and goes to the club's closing. You can purchase tickets for WaleMania at WaleMania.com.


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Put on your booker hat. This year's WrestleMania, how do you feel?

I think there's a lot of problems with this WrestleMania. The road has been full of black ice for WWE creative going into WrestleMania. You look at Daniel Bryan, why did he come back two months early if they really didn't have something creatively fertile for him. I know they'd make an argument that you want to heat up the show, but I'd say that two months would let him rest and heal up a little bit more. I would have suggested doing a press conference that would air at Axxess on the Network, that he makes a statement that he'll be returning on the Raw after WrestleMania. This gives you a fresh face, fresh matchups, something to tune into on Raw, and gives you great content on the Network. You also have something in the San Francisco bay area where he's a huge darling becuse of the San Francisco Giants run, where he did the whole "Yes" thing with them in the fall. It seems like a really good place to bring him back in the system. Instead, they had him lose when he returned, then had creative disappointment at the Royal Rumble. Since then, he's just kind of been there. Nothing of consequence, and you put a guy with issues with his neck in a ladder match. To me, that's not taking care of talent. That's being creatively reckless with him. You should be looking at other ways to utilize a talent like this, to get the most out of him and preserve him. I don't think they really thought this one out. This match, the IC title is on the line, which would be fantastic if this were a year from now and they continued rebuilding the title like it seemed like they were going towards at FastLane. I loved the Dean Ambrose stuff where he called it the workhorse title and talked about bringing it back. If you had a year of him and other guys and it's not hot potatoed like it has been, either literally or figuratively, then you have all these guys in a match and it's huge, whereas this year it's like the IC title doesn't have that impact. It's a very flawed concept behind that match.

You're close with a lot of members of Roman Reigns' family in the past. What are your thoughts on how he's come up? Is the way he's been booked helping or hurting him? Should he be in this spot?

I honestly think they shouldn't have broken up the Shield. They were about to take off as a massive babyface trio that could rampage through everyone in 2014. Then maybe at the Royal Rumble you start to break them up and play that out at WrestleMania 31. I think a lot of people were dying to buy Shield merch, and they could have had a Road Warriors-esque run last year. They could have done it for months with the Wyatts and these other guys. It seemed premature to break them up. Seth Rollins has obviously done the best out of this. Roman Reigns was very camoflauged because he was very new to this scene and was fast tracked. When a guy is fast tracked and he's competing for the title, you lose out on money because there's the most money in the first chase with the belt. Ric Flair's "Flair for the gold." Steve Austin's in WWF. Big chase's in UFC, you always remember that. Re-matches can mean a lot, too, but the first chase is the best. I think it's a year, 18 months too soon and you're hurting a valuable piece of your puzzle when you take a guy like that and fast track him. You see the results with the fans.

We talk about John Cena and WrestleMania 21, he had been U.S. Champion and chased that title for a while, and chased the WWE Title, so he climbed a ladder. Roman Reigns didn't climb the ladder, so the fans aren't organically going to take to him. He came back from surgery, they overexposed his promos, which were a weakness, and he won the Rumble. You didn't set this guy up to be as successful as he should be. It was very lazy booking. You gave him a band-aid in The Rock, and that didn't work because it's a Philly crowd. Now you took a magic bullet in The Rock putting over a guy, and it failed. Now Rock's going to be more suspicious of everything they pitch to him. You have all of this negativity coming out of the Royal Rumble, and you've done a disservice to Roman Reigns, you didn't help them. A lot of what they've done in the past 18-24 months was impulsive. Breaking up the Shield was impulsive. Lesnar breaking the streak is very impulsive. You could ask why they didn't do it with CM Punk or Bray Wyatt, who's going to be the next creeper. There's a lot of people you could have debated should've. They went with a guy who now has about 10 days left on his contract. For what? They've been impulsive, and that leads to inconsistent booking. It's hard to follow as a linear story. It's a very disjointed presentation. I look at WWE as a power hitter in baseball. When they connect, they hit the ball out of the park, but they strike out a lot, too. But when they hit it out of the park, it's way out of the park.

It seems like they're phasing John Cena out of WrestleMania main events. Last year he faced Bray Wyatt in a match that sort of killed Wyatt's momentum, and it looks like the same may be happening with Rusev. What are your thoughts on that match?

I think Rusev is someone you need to continue to groom for a year or two. I think you could do Brock Lesnar as a babyface vs. Rusev for a future Summerslam or WrestleMania. I think babyface is where I ultimately want to see Brock to go. He's an anti-authority babyface along with Paul Heyman that they've been missing for a long time. That duo is very interesting. I'd continue to groom Rusev for a long time. I didn't like that tap out visual, I thought that was very, very bad decision making, but I think you can bounce back. I think Stephanie emasculating Lana a few months back was a bad move. You want to keep them as strong as possible on their ascension. They've done a good job with it besides those two critical moments, but hopefully people look past it because he has incredible potential. He works different, he looks different, and I think he'll get better with time. He's still maturing and we're seeing it before our eyes. Cena and him could have a nice run, and it's very topical to have a heel Russian in 2015. I think he could be of great use and value over the next 2-3 years. Beyond that, who knows, but he works a style that's very unique for what you see in wrestling. I think there's a lot of fresh matchups to come. John Cena I would anticipate doing the honors. Otherwise, Rusev loses and then what? You look at monster builds like Vader's WCW introduction or Yokozuna in WWF. Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the first guy just to knock Yokozuna off his feet months after his debut, he didn't take bump for months. They made it out to be a huge deal. Rusev can take bumps but you wanna build him until he has this huge collision course with someone for big money, and that's the world title. Maybe you give him the world title. Maybe he beats Brock Lesnar and has a long, dominant reign. There's a lot of interesting creative with a Russian champion. Send him to Europe and film some vignettes. It's endless potential.

What are your thoughts on Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt?

It could go a million ways, but I sense they're going to give Undertaker a win here. Not what I would do, but my instincts say he's going over. You never know, it would be very shocking for him to lose twice. Then the story comes down to WrestleMania 32, and Dallas, and you ask if he still has it in him? Then he goes out and wins and that's a compelling story. Bray Wyatt needs that statement match that he didn't get at last year's WrestleMania. Is it time to cash out on Undertaker and pay it forward with Bray Wyatt? I think there's a very strong case to be made for that.

How about Sting vs. Triple H?

Triple H has a tendency to just be as good as his opponent. Rarely do you see something beyond what his opponent's abilities are. He's not like Ric Flair, who could adapt to his opponent. You look at his matches with guys like Scott Steiner. That was a match that wasn't good, but he changed his style. Same with matches against Booker T. You could have that situation here, where he's only as good as Sting, and how good is Sting in 2015? I don't know. Other than the weird voiceover thing, they've done an admirable job in building Sting up. Less is more in this case. We'll see if they can squeeze some WCW/WWE rivalry money out of this. It's 2015, maybe half your audience never watched WCW before getting the Network. That was 14 years ago, it wasn't yesterday. A lot of people at WrestleMania weren't even born or were in diapers at that point. It'll be interesting to see what kind of reaction Sting gets. We'll see. And where do you go from there with Sting. It's a wait and see kind of proposition with Sting.

Finally, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Your thoughts.

If it were up to me, I'd keep the title on Brock for 2-3 years. I'd have a very dominant reign. He doesn't work a lot of dates, so you can keep the matchups fresh. You turn him babyface to ensure that. I'd do a Japanese-style approach where Roman Reigns comes close, but he doesn't have it quite figured out because he's new to the game. Over the next couple of years he finds his mojo, or you find someone else to put in that role and go from there. I'd do a double turn at WrestleMania if you can pull it off. Brock Lesnar is close to being a bonafide top babyface for a few reasons. He's authentic, he's the anti-authority guy they've needed, and he went to UFC and shoved it up WWE's ass. People are ready to cheer this guy at this point. Paul Heyman is like where Ric Flair was when he hit 50, where he's the classic heel and you just boo him because you love him and respect what he's doing. Paul doesn't have to go all babyface, just a subtle adjustment. There's a lot of fresh matchups with Brock as a babyface. You can have Seth Rollins try to squeak one by, he could be a modern day Edge, kind of cowardly. Roman, I think you have to be careful how you present him. You need to put a blanket around him, and not overexpose him. He's a classic example of less it more. A mystique is there, but every time he talks for an extended period of time it hurts that. Other people should talk about him, and when he speaks it should be selectively and mean something. They have to be committed to these paths and that's something they've struggled with for the past year or two.

See also: Rapper Wale Talks How Daniel Bryan Has Been Used, Sting, 'Mania Build, NXT, Seinfeld, WaleMania

You guys have a huge event, WaleMania [tonight]. Wale is going to be there performing, Rey Mysterio fresh off his WWE contract, he'll be there. Tons of stuff planned. Tell us a little about the event.

Wale is a huge student of the game, huge wrestling fan. He wanted to do something in wrestling. He collaborates with so many people across the game, from sports to fashion to music. He recently did some work with Kanye West in Paris. He was looking for the right opportunity to cross over into the wrestling genre. We spitballed for months about what that could be. WaleMania seemed like it would be the perfect opportunity, because he has a new album coming out that he actually worked with Jerry Seinfeld on, The Album About Nothing. I had the idea of doing launch party for the album, but to tie in a wrestling vibe with it. That's when we created WaleMania. It was serediptious that Rey Mysterio left the WWE. I thought it'd be great to have a whole thing where Rey does a meet and greet and signs autographs for ticket holders. Then we'll do a live MLW podcast and we'll talk to Rey and some surprise guests. Then a fan Q&A, and Wale will perform. Then Wale said we should do a big, Vegas-style after party between the podcast and the event. Now it's this big party with all of these things going on throughout the night. I'm still working on the details, but I might actually be doing a grappling session with someone, just a little jiu jitsu. We'll put out mats and I may be rolling. It's going to be a fun landing party on March 26. It's the kickoff for that big 4-5 day run. There's going to be a lot of wrestlers and people from different companies in the house kicking it. Now fans get to be a part of that experience with guys from Lucha Underground and other companies that I shouldn't mention because they'll get in trouble. I know guys from Ring of Honor are going to be there. Guys from virtually every company will be there to check it out. I'm really excited about it.

Click here for part one of the interview, where Bauer talked about working with WWE, the decision to have Rey Mysterio win the title at WrestleMania, Vince McMahon having Rey squashed after winning the belt, Daniel Bryan's title reign and more.

WaleMania is tonight at Taste Nightclub in Santa Clara, CA. Tickets start at $15, while VIP tickets are $60 and include a special meet and greet with Rey Mysterio and friends as well as Don Julio Tequila. There will be a fan Q&A with Mysterio and the panel where fans can ask any and all questions. There will be a major after party featuring Rey and other wrestling luminaries after the live in-person MLW Radio session where Wale will perform songs from The Album About Nothing. The event begins at 6:30 and goes to the club's closing. You can purchase tickets for WaleMania at WaleMania.com.

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