WrestleMania XXX and the following night on RAW showed us many things, but one recurring theme stands out. It told us that the WWE is heading for a new era. It showed us the WWE is heading into its next generation and a new crop of talent is going to rise up and take the company by the horns.
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock kicked off WrestleMania to honour the past, and they said themselves, it was time for new stars to be made. The Shield dominating, Cesaro winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, The Undertaker‘s Streak ending and Daniel Bryan standing as the top guy in WWE told us it is indeed a new day in World Wrestling Entertainment.
It continued on RAW with Paige debuting and winning the Divas title. The Wyatts are gaining popularity. Daniel Bryan and the Shield ended RAW having overcome the Authority. If done right, the Monday on RAW following WrestleMania may have given us the start to the build of WrestleMania 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California next year. The WWE has many possibilities next year if they stick to what the plan appears to be. That’s not to say we won’t see some legends sprinkled in. Here are 10 possible marquee matches we could see next March.
10. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena
Whether the championship is on the line or not, this could be a very intriguing match. We saw these two put on one of the best SummerSlam matches in years in 2013, so what better way to elevate a possible rivalry than pitting the two against each other at WrestleMania?
While the WWE is heading for a new era, John Cena will very much be part of it, albeit in a role where he could elevate new stars.
It’s also not uncommon for two babyfaces to clash at WrestleMania. We’ve seen it with Hogan/Warrior, Hart/HBK, Stone Cold/Rock and Cena/Rock.
The two have always put on great matches together. WWE never gave fans the Cena/Punk match many craved as a WrestleMania main event, so they could give fans this as a nice consolation prize. The wrestler vs. the superstar.
9. The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
This was originally the plan for WrestleMania XXX, but due to the injuries The Rock suffered in his WrestleMania XXIX match with Cena, the plans were altered. A Rock/Brock storyline was never able to commence and the WWE had to change their plans.
The Rock did say though, that WrestleMania 31 was possible. While the WWE’s priority will be to establish its new generation, a huge moneymaker like this would be very hard to pass up.
Brock Lesnar is as hot as he can be, as he just ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. His WWE contract extends through next April and so WrestleMania 31 could potentially be his last run. He has expressed some interest in returning to MMA.
The Rock could be billed as the conquering hero after Lesnar has dominated and decimated many superstars. He beat CM Punk at SummerSlam, won two out of three matches with Triple H and of course, beat The Undertaker.
Rock vs Brock happened back at SummerSlam 2002 and WWE would likely do it again if given the chance. This would grab plenty of attention in the mainstream as well.
8. Undertaker vs. Sting
Perhaps no potential match in history has been as painfully elusive as this one. While it’s been reported that Sting has indeed finally reached an agreement with WWE, the fact that Undertaker‘s streak is over, coupled with the fact he appears to be in very rough shape, has cast doubt on this possible matchup.
Had Undertaker beaten Lesnar and remained healthy, I think it’s a foregone conclusion we would’ve seen Sting debut the next night on RAW. Given how things unfolded, it may not happen at all.
Sting will go into the WWE Hall of Fame at some point and will find ways to work with WWE, but the only match fans really wanted to see from him was against Undertaker. The careers of both men have shared so many parallels, albeit in different companies.
The allure of the streak is no longer there, so this could simply be billed as Phenom vs Icon. It also creates more unpredictability as to who would win. This all hinges on Undertaker’s health though, which is why this match isn’t higher on the list.
7. John Cena vs. Cesaro
John Cena and Cesaro had a phenomenal match on RAW a couple of months ago. This seemed to be the night when many started to see Cesaro as a potential major star.
Cena was victorious in the match, but Cesaro was clearly elevated and showed fans he could have a main event calibre match. While I don’t see this kind of match headlining WrestleMania 31, I could see it as a featured mid-card match that would get a lot of people talking. It would also have the ability to steal the show in Santa Clara.
6. Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
With the Wyatt Family and the Shield having built somewhat of a rivalry the past couple of months, many see this feud continuing on and off in the year to come. The Shield is a now a rebellious, babyface group, in the midst of a fresh run for their careers.
The easy matchup between these groups would be to pit Roman Reigns against Bray Wyatt, but WWE might have something even bigger in mind for Reigns. Seth Rollins would be the best choice to face Wyatt, as Rollins is the top wrestler in both of these groups combined.
Rivalries have to come to a head at some point. The Shield will likely be broken up at some time this year, as each member has a chance to be an individual star. Given Rollins’ fast-paced, high flying style, he’d make a great babyface.
This would be a good match to give two of WWE’s young stars to make an impact on the grandest stage.
5. Triple H vs. CM Punk
Don’t give up, wrestling fans! He whose name cannot be mentioned can still come back. This match was originally planned for WrestleMania XXX before CM Punk walked out on the company. We still don’t know all the facts, as neither the WWE nor Punk have spoken on the matter.
Regardless of what happened, if Punk does come back, how interesting would this be? The onscreen C.O.O. taking on the rebel who marches to his own beat and left the WWE. Fans would likely still cheer Punk if he came back, as they did for Stone Cold when the Rattlesnake returned in 2003.
They could build the storyline that Triple H forced Punk out of WWE. This is also a feud that ended way too prematurely back in 2011, when Punk was doing some of his best career work. The two squared off at Night of Champions that year and the duo had an epic promo in the ring prior to the event.
This could easily be picked back up. Ultimately it’s all up to CM Punk, errr, Phil Brooks.
4. Cesaro vs. Brock Lesnar
If the WWE roster stands pat 11 months from now, this would be very interesting. Cesaro is now a ‘Paul Heyman guy.’ Brock Lesnar is currently the only other client of Heyman, who has emerged as the greatest manager on WWE programming in ages.
If the WWE’s priority is to launch its next generation of stars, giving Cesaro the task of facing Brock Lesnar in what could be Lesnar’s last match in WWE, would be a huge honour.
Cesaro could have a huge year with Heyman by his side. He has to be considered a favourite to win Money in the Bank in June, or the Royal Rumble in January. If he’s not in a title match next March, have him face the man who just ended Undertaker’s streak.
Heyman would have to pick a side and Cesaro could emerge as a top fan favourite if he beats Lesnar.
3. Roman Reigns vs. Triple H
Triple H‘s role as a wrestler is pretty clear now. He’ll go into the ring to help make a new star. He did the honours for Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania and if he steps into the ring next year, it’ll likely be to do so for someone else.
Given the confrontation between the Authority and the Shield on RAW after WrestleMania, the Shield and Roman Reigns in particular, appear to be set for a huge run.
Reigns has the look and power the WWE covets and the kind of look Triple H has always been a fan of. He helped Randy Orton, Batista and Sheamus become bigger stars and next year, he’ll likely pick Reigns.
Reigns might very well be in the title picture, but if he isn’t, working with Triple H is still a big deal.
2. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
If the WWE decides to keep Cesaro with Heyman by next year’s time, then a match with Lesnar won’t happen.
Perhaps the best way to make Reigns look like ‘the next big thing’ would be facing the guy who called himself that 10 years ago; Brrooocckkkkk Lessnnarrrrr!
Imagine what it would do for Reigns to beat the man who broke the streak?
Next year will likely be Roman Reigns’ first singles WrestleMania match and WWE will want to make it a big deal. Lesnar putting over a new star on his way out would be, as Triple H says, ‘best for business.’
1. Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk
I’m in agreement with what Bret Hart said recently. Given the chance, I would book this as the main event for WrestleMania 31.
Daniel Bryan winning in New Orleans showed that guys like him can be top stars. Him against CM Punk could indeed be a WrestleMania main event. These two have such a long history together, as they were the two top stars in the indies for so long and have faced each other countless times. From high school gyms to the WrestleMania main event. What a story that would be.
Let’s say Punk returns by next year. WWE can bill this as a top face (Bryan) going up against a top heel (Punk). Punk coming back and challenging Bryan could set Punk up to be a hated villain (a role he always plays exceptionally well). Think of how this could be billed. The guy who walked out on the company, on his fans, when he felt he wasn’t being given opportunities. He then comes back to ‘grace us with his presence’ so to speak. On the other side is Daniel Bryan, the guy who dug deeper than anyone. The guy who was given even less opportunities, yet still managed to become the top guy, overcoming every obstacle thrown his way, by simply being the best wrestler and getting the WWE universe behind him.
The self-entitled Punk against the humble everyman in Daniel Bryan. Punk could easily make himself the most hated heel in the business based on his actions this past January. Bryan’s the top guy in the industry right now. Any true wrestling fan would salivate at the thought of this match being a WrestleMania main event.
You have to think Punk could be convinced to come back if he was offered a main event against Daniel Bryan next year, then go off into retirement, the right way.