With SummerSlam in the rear view mirror, it’s time to turn our eyes towards next year’s WrestleMania. Yes, it’s over half a year away, but you can be sure that most of the booking decisions going forward are done with an eye towards building big feuds for WrestleMania. WWE is taking over the massive Texas Stadium, capable of holding well over 100,000 people (which would legitimately be the largest WWE Pay-Per-View audience of all time), so they cannot afford to put on a disappointing show. It’s expected that we’ll see an even greater assortment of legends from the past combined with the stars of the current WWE roster, all in the name of putting on the most spectacular show WWE has ever done. So, what sorts of matches might WWE decide to put on at WrestleMania? Well, we have some ideas. Some of these matches are already rumored, some are just crazy flights of fancy and speculation, but all of them could help make WrestleMania a must-see event.
Before we start, if you don’t see your favorite wrestler here, just assume they’re in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Sorry, but for some wrestlers, that’s just the way it goes.
10. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar
After the events of SummerSlam, this one is pretty obvious. Also, apparently Undertaker’s not returning to TV until the build for WrestleMania begins, and Brock has nothing scheduled outside of the October 3rd live event at Madison Square Garden that will be airing on the WWE Network, so it seems like the next match will have no other option but to take place at WrsetleMania. With that in mind, though, and given Undertaker’s recent proclivities for kicking Brock in the crotch in order to get an advantage, would WWE dare to have Undertaker as a heel in his home state? Would they possibly put his career on the line in order to goad Brock into the match? How about the ultimate question, would they really let The Undertaker beat Brock Lesnar a second time? On the other hand, with The Streak dead and general concern for Taker’s health through all his recent return matches, at least there’s genuine intrigue about the finish for an Undertaker match at WrestleMania for the first time in a very long time.
9. Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
If you haven’t been watching NXT over the past year, first of all, what the heck is wrong with you? Secondly, if you’ve been watching, you’ve undoubtedly been following the lifelong blood feud between Kevin Owens and the currently injured Sami Zayn (an injury for which Owens takes partial credit, just to give you an idea of how deep the hatred runs). These two men have both teamed up and fought each other for years on the independent wrestling circuit, and on television, Owens has made no bones about the fact that he is insanely jealous that Zayn got the call to go to WWE years before Owens got his shot. In Owens’ first appearance on NXT, he turned on his former friend, savagely powerbombing him on the ring apron. He then defeated Zayn for the NXT Title by literally beating him until Zayn could not continue. A rematch solved nothing, and Zayn suffered a shoulder injury wrestling John Cena on Raw before the two men could have a third crack at each other. A week later, Owens also debuted on the main roster and entered into a feud with John Cena. While he was ultimately unsuccessful at winning the United States title from Cena, he did accomplish what Zayn could not, by netting a pinfall victory over the champion in their first match. With Owens now ensconced in WWE and likely not to return to NXT, it would only make sense that his nemesis would also make a permanent jump and look for some measure of revenge against the man who has cost him so much over the past year. Zayn is currently scheduled to return sometime near the end of the year, so could the timing be right for, say, a Rumble return, costing Owens a shot at the WWE Title and re-igniting their feud?
8. Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose
This is the blowoff that we never really got. When The Shield imploded, these three men went their separate ways, and while they did have some matches against each other, we never really got a full-out knock-down, drag-out fight between all three to determine who the better man really is. With so many forces working against him, it’s unlikely that Rollins will make it to WrestleMania as the champion, but there are a multitude of ways in which the former Shield could all cross paths at the same time in pursuit of the same goal. After all, the Royal Rumble match is all about creating rivalries, as people cost each other the match and their chance to main event WrestleMania. It probably wouldn’t take much to get all three men on separate sides of an argument (after all, we’re not even sure that Dean Ambrose knows what side he’s on at any given moment), and this could finally be a chance to find out who was really the power behind The Shield.
7. Sheamus vs Randy Orton
This isn’t entirely a serious choice, but it would justify a lot of the fears that have existed ever since Sheamus won the Money in the Bank briefcase and moved into a feud with Orton. This pairing has provided us with some of the most shining examples of two wrestlers raised in the WWE style wrestling the most boring matches in the history of the planet. Both men are fine wrestlers, but when they face each other they create some sort of “anti-charisma” that puts everyone who watches the match to sleep. Anyway, what if Sheamus cashes in Money in the Bank, wins the title, and then his first World title feud turns out to be Randy Orton? Because when you need a World title contender but don’t necessarily want to put the title on him, you call Randy Orton. Also, they’re two Superstars who are big enough names that WWE is going to feel like they have to be on the WrestleMania card in something resembling an important match.
6. Stardust vs Stephen Amell
In case you were wondering if everything had been settled between the star of Arrow and the Prince of Dark Matter, it seems like they’ve taken their war back to Twitter.
Working on my ring wind. You know… Just in case somebody can’t come to grips with the fact they lost.
— Stephen Amell (@amellywood) August 27, 2015
. . . the boy wouldn’t last 10 minutes, so I encourage Oliver’s passionate fanbase to no longer encourage this madness. I would hurt him
— Stardust (@StardustWWE) August 27, 2015
Yeah, this totally isn’t over. Clearly, Amell has caught the wrestling bug pretty badly and wants to get his hands on Stardust in a more one-on-one capacity. And while he might prefer sooner rather than later, WWE might be better served to wait until their biggest show to get Amell back in the ring again. This gives them more time to promote the hell out of both the match and Arrow, which should be well into the climax of its fourth season around WrestleMania, and it gives Amell months to prepare while still leaving him time to do his own promotional work for the show. Plus, there’s always a chance WWE could finagle a guest shot for Stardust as a “Villain of the Week” for The Arrow. Hey, if they can manage to work a credible way to put Grodd into the Flash, they can put Stardust in Arrow.
5. Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor
This one might take some work, and would have to get started soon in order to climax appropriately at WrestleMania, but it could be great. While everyone loves Finn Balor in NXT, there is no question that his alter-ego, The Demon, is decidedly not a nice person, and is something that Balor struggles to keep locked away inside of him unless he absolutely needs it. What if, instead of bringing Balor up to WWE as a good guy, Balor lets The Demon loose instead? Perhaps by his own choice, perhaps because a certain someone who also claims to have a demon inside of him gains control over Balor? On paper, it makes a lot of sense. Bray Wyatt could always use a new convert, and WWE could claim that he’s somehow exerting his will over Balor through his demonic persona. Eventually, Balor could break free of Bray and regain control over himself, at which point they have a match at WrestleMania, where two supernatural forces collide in what would definitely win some sort of award for best combined wrestler entrances on a Pay-Per-View.
4. Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
Sooner or later, this whole “team” nonsense is going to collapse, because in the end there can only be one Divas Champion. And when it does, the feud most likely to come to a head at WrestleMania has to be the one between Charlotte and Sasha. The two had excellent matches in NXT, including a one-on-one classic where Sasha defeated Charlotte to solidify her NXT Women’s title reign after winning it in a Fatal Four Way match at NXT Takeover: Rival. With even more experience under their belt, these two women could deliver the best Women’s match ever seen in WWE, and yes, we say that every time the NXT women get in the ring, but with their history, at the biggest Pay-Per-View of the year, in front of the largest crowd in WWE history, you can be sure that they will pull out all the stops to make people sit up and take notice of just how far women’s wrestling has come in the past couple of years.
3. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs
The instant Bubba Ray and D’von returned, the first thought to enter many fans’ heads had to be “TLC”. The Hardy Boyz, Edge, and Christian may be gone, but as long as at least one of the architects of WWE’s craziest gimmick match is under contract, there’s always the possibility that they’ll bring back this gimmick for old times’ sake. Obviously, the Dudleyz are in, and if one of their opponents isn’t The New Day, then something will have gone tragically wrong for them in the months leading up to WrestleMania, because their act is incredible and deserves to be long-lived. Plus, it’s another match that would give Kofi Kingston a chance to show off some crazy moves, they won’t be able to resist. But TLC tag matches are, almost traditionally, a multi-team affair, and while a couple attempts with four teams proved to be just a little too chaotic, the classic three-team TLC matches that started the entire genre would probably still hold up today. So, who would be that third team? Well, if we’re looking for a hardcore-style team that would fit well into that sort of environment, look no further than the newly expanded Wyatt Family. Luke Harper has already shown that he thrives in the craziest brawls, and with the new member, Braun Strowman, acting as an unstoppable force, they would be the perfect addition to one of the most brutal match types in WWE history.
2. Triple H vs The Rock
They need to sell 100,000 tickets to sell out the stadium and Dana White won’t let them use Ronda Rousey. Which is probably safer for all involved, but WrestleMania’s going to need star power, and as we learned from SummerSlam, star power equals old wrestlers. Not that we’re looking at an Undertaker or Sting situation (although they’ll both definitely be on the card as well), both the current Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative and the guy who stars in ridiculous blockbuster movies can still wrestle a decent match. Of course, it’s two semi-retired wrestlers taking TV time and a WrestleMania spot away from the younger, full-time talent, but that’s going to keep happening as long as there are former main event stars willing to make a comeback for big shows and a guy in charge who thinks they’re better draws than his current roster.
1. John Cena vs Sting
With everyone else getting matched up with appropriate dance partners, it’s actually difficult to determine just who the biggest active star in WWE should wrestle. In past years, he’s been paired with younger talents in an attempt to raise them up (with mixed results), but with WWE planning to make this WrestleMania a massive, star-studded event, it’s possible that Cena finds himself staring across the ring at a man that he was once compared to when he first entered WWE. As for why Cena might want to face Sting, when both men are ostensibly on the same side? Much like his first bout with The Rock, maybe it’s just another test for Cena, to see if he’s as good as the icons of the past. Maybe Sting will inadvertently get in the way of Cena’s path to the WWE Title. Hey, maybe Cena turns heel. No, probably not that last one. Whatever the reason, the dynamic, and the match, could be interesting.