The biggest show on the WWE calendar every year is WrestleMania. We've known that for the past 30 years. Even the non-wrestling fans know what WrestleMania is and that it's considered the Super Bowl or Oscar night of professional wrestling. What we don't know is how good WrestleMania is going to be when it takes place in five weeks on April 6th at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Since I plan to be at the event, I try to look on the bright side and get excited about some of the matches. Bitching and moaning about things isn't that fun. Plus, there's no sign of Snooki at the show or Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler, so at least we have that to be happy about.
Within the last few days, there has been some info released in terms of what matches are at least being discussed internally by WWE. Some have been made official on television already while others have not.
The rumored matches come from Bryan Alvarez and his Figure Four Weekly Newsletter, which is a subscription based newsletter at F4WOnline.com. I've been a subscriber for many years. It's not perfect and neither is Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer on the same site, but I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.
Here are the confirmed/rumored matches with some thoughts on all of them.
WWE WHC: Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. ?: That's how Alvarez listed it because he wasn't told who it might be. Earlier on Sunday, it was revealed on Meltzer's radio show with Alvarez that CM Punk was going to return on Monday. Could the ? be CM Punk? It's highly possible. My opinion is that Daniel Bryan is the right person to be in that match. That's the right story. He's been told he's not good enough for so many months. Give him the shot to be in the main event and he'll prove himself.
The Orton vs. Batista match has to change. They're both heels now. No reason to do that match. How they add Bryan (or Punk) to the match could easily be done by having him win a match or maybe Vince McMahon shows up as a babyface owner to say things haven't been handled right as far as Bryan goes. Even Hogan as the babyface host of WrestleMania could do it.
There was no mention of a Triple H match although the original plan from months ago was a match against CM Punk. If you'll recall, just before Punk went home he was attacked by The Shield and then Kane regularly (Kane cost him the Rumble match), so that's obviously the direction they were going in. Assuming Punk is back in the fold, I think we can pencil in Triple H vs. CM Punk for WrestleMania.
If Punk wasn't going to return then they could have had Bryan beat Triple H early on the WrestleMania 30 card and then get a title match later in the show. With Punk back in the mix, they don't need to go that route.
There are so many interesting things about CM Punk's return that warrant a whole other column that I'm sure other TJR writers will think about writing this week as well. If he's back, does that mean the whole thing wasn't a big deal in the first place? Will he sign a contract extension for the deal that is set to expire in July? Will he receive a push or will he be punished for leaving the way he did?
My thinking regarding Punk (and this is really guesswork) is that the whole thing wasn't viewed as a major situation by Vince McMahon. They likely thought he would be back when he's ready, so maybe there was some sort of conversation with Vince and Punk where Vince told him it was okay to go home for a month, but they needed him back for the Chicago Raw. It could be deeper than that. We may never know.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: This was rumored probably since the day after WrestleMania last year. They have a history. Undertaker even showed up at a UFC show to challenge Lesnar a few years ago. Hopefully Undertaker can handle the physical toll that comes with wrestling Lesnar. If you're wondering, I pick Undertaker to win.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt: It's not official, but it was pushed strongly at Elimination Chamber as well as last week's Raw. Cena's currently selling a knee injury as well as a groin injury. Maybe he'll just pick a different body part every week. I can see either guy winning. If the feud continues past WrestleMania then Wyatt should win. There will be enough babyface wins elsewhere. It would be the 4th straight PPV with Cena not winning, though, so it seems unlikely.
Sheamus vs. Christian: Heel Christian is better than face Christian, so I'm glad he's back in the heel role. It's a match between two veterans who should be on the card. Sheamus will likely win that one.
I think those matches mentioned above seem very likely. What we have below are strong rumors at this point.
Big E vs. Dean Ambrose to unify the IC/US Titles: Since the US Title is barely defended and treated like a joke on TV, there's no reason for it to still exist. It would be nice if they booked it right, but since WWE seems incapable of doing that then it's for the best to eliminate the US Title. Big E for the win.
Luke Harper & Erick Rowan vs. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins: I know fans want to see a three way between The Shield, but if there's already a three way in the main event it makes sense not to do another one. That breakup of The Shield could be a feature storyline in the later in the spring and summer. Reigns and Rollins win that.
Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust: If it's going to happen they need to get going on it quick because at this point there's been no indication of any match between the brothers. Goldust noted on Twitter that they're not having a match, but that's because he's a babyface tweeting about storyline stuff. It's not like he'd openly tell the world one of them is going heel. I also have my doubts about this happening because they seem to be a cohesive unit and they might just save the split for a couple of months down the road. Hopefully they are in a multi-team tag title match, though.
NXT Match: We don't know who would be featured, but it's a smart move because WWE Network is showing NXT now. Fans will be more familiar with NXT performers. A tag match perhaps with six performers would work. Get more people on there to let them experience performing in front of 70,000 people.
That's all that was listed in the newsletter. There will likely be more matches too, so here are a couple of guesses.
Tag Team Titles: I've said for weeks that they should do a multi-team elimination tag match. They could include the New Age Outlaws, Usos, Real Americans and Ryback/Curtis Axel in the match. If the Real Americans are broken up by them (it's coming) then add another team in there. The Usos will likely become the tag champs at WrestleMania 30 as they should.
Divas Title: Either a battle royal kind of match or a Six Pack Challenge. It could be AJ Lee defend against women from Total Divas like Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Nikki & Brie Bella in a six diva match. It's time for AJ to lose, so put it on Naomi and if not her then Natalya would be my choice.
That's 11 matches right there if all of that goes through. It's a full card even with four hours of time to fill. Unfortunately a lot of talented people would be left off, so that's a shame. They could always do the typical battle royal to involve a bunch of people, but it's that necessary either. It would be nice to find a spot for talented guys like Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow. Once again, it's not easy to involve everybody.
While I would like to see guys like Reigns and Cesaro in bigger roles, it's hard to find spots for them. The top three or four matches seem set and they're the ones that will be given more time at WM30 while receiving the biggest build out of anything on the card.
I think WrestleMania 30 needs to be the kind of show with a satisfying ending that the fans love. The best way to do that is to add Daniel Bryan to the WWE WHC match and end the night with 70,000+ people chanting "yes" as their way of celebrating a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. And I don't mean you, Batista.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org