The Royal Rumble, disappointing as it may have been (none of my 'should be' surprise entrants made an appearance), is in the books.
That means Wrestlemania is right around the corner. Batista seems set to be in the main event at 'Mania. WWE has traditionally put that number one contendership on the line at some point in February, however, so things could still change.
C.M. Punk changed the Wrestlemania card the day after the Royal Rumble by essentially handing in his resignation (that's another blog for another day...I don't think it's a work though).
WWE has several weeks worth of buildup ahead of them. I'm hoping they end up with an awesome card, but there's been more than one Wrestlemania lineup in recent years that have been lackluster. That's why I'm offering my help. These are the matches I'd like to see at Wrestlemania.
Actually, I should amend that statement. These are the matches I'd like to see that have a realistic chance of happening.
A.J. Styles, C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan in a triple threat at Wrestlemania 30 would be amazing, but there's zero chance of that going down.
So, realistic matches that should happen at Wrestlemania 30:
Ryback vs. RVD
Goldberg wants millions of dollars for one Wrestlemania match? Meh. Who needs Goldberg? RVD vs. Ryback would definitely provide more athleticism anyway. RVD isn't about to walk into Wrestlemania and main event it.
He didn't come close to main eventing 'Mania when he was a regular member of the roster.
He's still got legions of fans and WWE knows that, so RVD could easily deliver a hot opening match or pick up the pace in the mid-card. RVD and Ryback squared off on the September 9 edition of Raw last year. There's still a lot that could be done between those two though.
A full-on feud would definitely help Ryback get back on track and would give us a fresh RVD feud. As much as I like RVD, I don't want to see him do battle against Batista, Chris Jericho or John Cena. Been there, done that.
Give Ryback the victory and then have both superstars move on from there -- or follow it up with a rematch at Extreme Rules in May.
Big E. Langston vs. Fandango (with Summer Rae)
I can't stand Fandango. I thought Johnny Curtis was one of the underrated talents on NXT, but the Fandango gimmick is horrible. It's such a blatant rip-off of Dancing with the Stars and serves no real purpose.
His dance? Alex Wright, Disco Inferno and Emma all have better trademark dances than Fandango.
That being said, I hope this match happens. The Intercontinental Title should be defended at Wrestlemania. Let Big E. plow through Fandango in a quick, 3 or 4-minute match.
WWE will probably want to feature Summer Rae on their biggest pay-per-view since she's going to be on the next season of that God-awful Total Divas, so give her a comedy spot or two.
Boom. There's your match.
The New Age Outlaws vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs. The Usos vs. Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger (WWE Tag Team Title Match)
The reason for this four-way match? Easy -- Antonio Cesaro needs to be on the Wrestlemania card and I think this would be his best chance at making it. There are several other purposes to this match though.
1. The Usos should be given a title reign. A Wrestlemania win would be a nice reward for their years of hard work, despite no real direction in the tag division.
2. Rowan and Harper need to develop a little bit without Bray Wyatt.
3. The New Age Outlaws would provide a little bit of feel-good nostalgia competing at Wrestlemania.
Getting everyone on the card at Wrestlemania is always a challenge. The four-way format would be an easy way to get 8 guys on the card in one match.
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus
Who could make Sheamus interesting? Damien Sandow, of course!
Fans suffered through a force-fed Sheamus push and, as a result, Sheamus became less popular than he was when he first turned face.
He's a talented wrestler, but he needs to be doing something other than teaming with John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Isn't that basically what he was doing before he got injured?
There's no developed history between Damien Sandow and Sheamus, but give Damien Sandow the mic for about three minutes and he could easily change that.
No titles need to be involved. A good, old-fashioned 'I don't like you and you don't like me' feud is all that's required. If this match were to happen, it would help elevate Damien Sandow, give Sheamus some time to get a few fans back, and it would prevent another Sheamus/Daniel Bryan squash.
Screw Sheamus, give Sandow the victory here!
A.J. Lee vs. Emma (or Mickie James or Tamina or Natalya or Trish Stratus or Lita)
A.J. Lee rejuvenated the women's division in 2013. The problem (one WWE typically runs into with their Divas) is that she's the only Diva fans give a shit about.
I would've included Naomi as a possible contender, but she's so inconsistent with her in-ring performances that I don't know she'd be able to deliver at Wrestlemania. People used to rag on Lita for being sloppy, but she's practically Bret Hart compare to Naomi.
Speaking of Harts, everyone knows that Natalya can wrestle, but she had her big title match at TLC and, to be honest, she's stale. The whole 'I want to be a pretty girl' vibe that she gives off isn't anywhere close to the bad-ass, technically trained grappler who first debuted in WWE almost five years ago (yup, it was that long ago).
Trish Stratus vs. A.J. would be a no-brainer. The former 'golden girl' of WWE vs. the new blood. It would probably be a decent match. Since Trish just delivered a baby in September, I'm not sure she'd be ready for a match at Wrestlemania.
Lita vs. A.J. would require almost zero effort from WWE's creative team. A.J. facing her former idol at Wrestlemania for the Diva's Title? Disney couldn't make up a better story than that! Given that A.J. is now dating C.M. Punk, I'm not sure Lita would be up for that match.
If Lita and Punk had an amicable split and she'd be willing to do business, then that's the match that should happen, no doubt.
A nice back-up to Lita would be a feud with Mickie James. If anyone could outdo A.J. Lee in the crazy department, it's the once-obsessed Trish Stratus fan: Mickie James.
She's a respected woman wrestler and she's entertaining in backstage segments or in-ring promos, too. Meanwhile, she's still fondly remembered by some of WWE's younger fan base. April 22, 2014 would mark four years since Mickie was released from WWE. Even those little 10-year-olds who make up a good portion of WWE's live audiences know who she is.
Emma, who has been making appearances on television lately, would be a great feud for A.J. -- if it was in NXT. Emma has evolved into a hilariously awesome character on NXT. The task WWE now has is translating Emma's NXT success onto Raw and Smackdown. There is enough time before Wrestlemania to introduce Emma into the women's division and build her up as a legitimate contender, but I don't have a lot of faith that WWE will do it.
Lastly, there's Tamina. If WWE is serious about the A.J. Lee/Tamina pairing mimicking Shawn Michaels and Diesel, then split them up and give them a match at 'Mania. The problem is: I'm not sure how they'd go about that feud.
Would Tamina go face? Even if A.J. treated Tamina like dirt (the way Ted DiBiase did with Virgil), I don't know that fans would clamor for Tamina winning the Diva's Title, especially at Wrestlemania. There are a lot of smarks at Wrestlemania. A.J. will likely be the one getting pops unless she faces Lita or Mickie James.
Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes
I know that Goldust recently said he no longer was pushing for a Wrestlemania match with his brother, but if he wants to help Cody Rhodes make it to the next level, a feud between the two may be the best option.
A brother vs. brother feud is as easy to write as Lita vs. A.J. Lee.
Cody Rhodes seemed to be doing making that next step to superstardom, getting great reactions when he was fired and then returned to WWE last year. Then he and Goldust won the tag team titles. I'm sure that was a great moment for both of them, so I have no complaints with that.
Since then, however, Rhodes seemed to have gone back to a tag wrestler instead of a singles star that happens to be holding the tag team titles. With The Brotherhood dropping their titles to The New Age Outlaws at the Rumble (odd booking decision there...), I'm hoping Cody is in line for a push as a singles wrestler.
Goldust is arguably the best veteran wrestler there is. He's in great shape and he understands how to make feuds work, even when the material he's given isn't the best. A Goldust/Cody Rhodes feud would have no problem getting over with the fans. Goldust could easily turn heel and make fans despise him because, like I said before, he's the best veteran wrestler in WWE today.
If Goldust feuded with Cody, who would walk away with a Wrestlemania win, Goldust would be giving his brother the best chance he has at making it to that next level.
Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler
If there's one man who could potentially give Bray Wyatt as good a match as he had against Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble, it's Dolph Ziggler.
The dude hit a road block last year when he apparently bad-mouthed Randy Orton. A four-star match with Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania would be a big step in redeeming himself in the eyes of WWE officials.
It could be the Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels/Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio/Eddie Guerrero match of the night. I'd probably give the win to Wyatt, but give an after-the-match standing ovation moment to Ziggler, helping both men climb a little further up the ladder of success.
There's no real feud brewing between these two, but it shouldn't be too hard to start one up.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
If you've read my blog about the greatest matches that never happened at 'Mania, then you know that Sting vs. The Undertaker is one match I've been dying to see.
Last week I was one of the fans who was pushing for a Sting/Taker match at Wrestlemania 30. If Taker has more than one more Wrestlemania match in him, however, I'm good with waiting.
Brock isn't a bad choice this year. I've been wanting to see Lesnar vs. Taker since the seeds were planted in The Undertaker's interview with Ariel Helwani.
Lesnar is easily The Undertaker's most intimidating opponent in years. Lesnar is rough and tough. Taker is getting up there in age too. I think WWE would be foolish not to highlight those two points when promoting this feud. 'How will The Undertaker defeat Brock Lesnar?' 'The Undertaker could be seriously injured in a match with Brock Lesnar!' "Will Brock Lesnar end the streak?'
To me, those are the selling points of this match.
What would be cool to see is The Undertaker and Lesnar delivering a UFC-style match with a little pro wrestling thrown in. I'd like to see The Undertaker barely finish with his entrance and then immediately bring the fight to Brock -- fast and furious -- targeting any body parts he can, working them over from there.
Given his background in MMA, it's wouldn't be unrealistic to see Taker bust out some submissions. It's been a while since he's had this much of a threat, so I think The Undertaker needs to take Brock by surprise and go on the offensive from the moment the bell rings.
After The Undertaker escapes with a victory (sorry, Brock, but you're getting paid millions of dollars a year for wrestling a few matches...you lose this one), set up Wrestlemania 31 with Sting. Whether the lights go out and Sting is suddenly in the ring or a spotlight is on him in the rafters, Sting shows up and, without words, challenges The Undertaker.
I guess it could happen on Raw, but I'd rather see it happen at 'Mania. That's your big pay-per-view. That's where it should happen.
The Undertaker can accept Sting's non-verbal challenge on Raw.
John Cena and C.M. Punk vs. The Shield
I think C.M. Punk and John Cena teaming to take on The Shield in a handicap mach is a better option than Triple H vs. C.M. Punk in a match that doesn't mean anything.
I'm not sure C.M. Punk would've been happy with my idea either. However, I think it's a nice use of Punk and Cena without being in a title match or in the main event.
Two of WWE's biggest superstars teaming together to take out The Shield. Obviously, this would be the chance to turn Roman Reigns face. Turning face in a match with Cena and Punk would definitely give Reigns a nice rub. Of course, C.M. Punk's status with WWE is up in the air, so it seems that this match won't be happening.
It could still work as a three-on-one handicap match though. John Cena vs. The Shield would definitely work. Could you imagine an attempted three-person FU? That'd be a little clip for the highlight reel.
I'm fine with Cena winning as long as WWE doesn't use it as a chance to show us all how super-human Cena is. Cena wins because of dysfunction amongst The Shield. Roman Reigns allows Cena to win when Reigns turns on Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. That's how this match needs to go down, whether C.M. Punk is involved or not.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. Batista (WWE World Heavyweight Title Match)
Rumors amongst wrestling insiders are that C.M. Punk was supposed to face Triple H at Wrestlemania. Personally, I had no interest in seeing that match. Punk walking out the door and ruining a Trips/Punk match could actually be a blessing in disguise -- so could Daniel Bryan's reaction at the Royal Rumble, for that matter.
If WWE really wants to run with this idea of having DBry overcome the odds, then there's no better match to have than this one. The three Evolution members standing in the way of Daniel Bryan's chance at winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title? Talk about overcoming the odds!
Batista has already made it known that he's not back to pal around with Orton or Triple H. He wants the gold. Orton obviously wants to hang onto that title. Given Triple H's issues with more than one member of the WWE roster, why not go back into active competition and try to become the champion again. After all, from his perspective, it would be 'best for business' right?
Now, how would we get Daniel Bryan into the match? It's got to be through Batista putting his number one contendership on the line. It could be a match that doesn't have a clear finish. Maybe it looks like Daniel Bryan is about to win, so Triple H interferes, giving Batista a DQ victory? Triple H could then set up a triple threat match -- Batista vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H.
Cue Vince McMahon. He gives Triple H (and Stephanie) a verbal lashing. He doesn't hate the idea of Triple H being in the title match at Wrestlemania though. No, he's going to let that match stand....with one change: Daniel Bryan will be the fourth man involved. Daniel Bryan makes his way out to thunderous "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chants. Could you imagine that ending an episode of Raw?
Of course, to complete this story, Daniel Bryan needs to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania. Daniel winning the title could be the equivalent of Steve Austin's Wrestlemania 14 win. They could usher in a new era with that match and the result of it.
WWE, give your fans (and more specifically the Internet Wrestling Community) their Wrestlemania moment with a Daniel Bryan victory! The Royal Rumble is a perfect example of what happens when you ignore them.
• Countdown to 'Mania: the greatest matches that never happened
• Kassius Ohno gets released; the story of my failed WWE storyline pitch
• TNA's Road to Slammiversary World Tour - reviewed.
• Would women's tag team wrestling work?