WWE WrestleMania 2012: 12 Additional Matches We Need to See in Miami
The Royal Rumble hasn't even taken place yet, but it's never too early to look ahead to the WWE's flagship pay-per-view, WrestleMania.
We already know that we'll witness The Rock take on John Cena in one of the most anticipated matches ever, but that's all we have confirmed so far for WrestleMania 28.
There is just a little more than two months until the WWE invades Miami, though, so we're starting to get a better picture of what we'll see at the biggest pay-per-view of the year.
And it's definitely shaping up to be a huge WrestleMania to say the least.
While we've still got a ways to go until the pay-per-view takes place (and anything can happen between now and then), there are plenty of matches that look like they could be on our menu come 'Mania time.
Here are 12 additional matches we need to see on the grandest stage of them all.
Note: These are matches I think can actually happen, not ones that don't realistically have a shot at taking place.
12. The Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
The Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal has been rumored for quite a while now, and at last word, it looks like these two behemoths are penciled in for a match at WrestleMania 28.
Word is that basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is either very close to signing or has already signed a deal for WrestleMania 28. WWE creative has been told to come up with ideas for him.
I've seen some mixed reaction about the possibility of this match going down, but I'm a big supporter of it.
Vince McMahon is going to have some sort of celebrity involvement at WrestleMania pretty much no matter what, and Shaq makes more sense than most.
Shaq is a former professional basketball player (and therefore athletic), he's got a huge fanbase and he will get the WWE a ton of exposure on networks like TNT and ESPN.
This is a smart business move for the WWE, and it will probably be a pretty entertaining match between two of the biggest athletes on the planet.
11. Christian vs. Sheamus
Although we've already seen Christian vs. Sheamus before, I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.
These two had one of the top feuds in the WWE in the Fall, and due to Christian's untimely injury, it never really got a proper ending or the great match that we expected to see from these two.
But that could change in the near future.
I can definitely picture Christian returning during the Royal Rumble match, eliminating Sheamus, getting eliminated himself and then going on to reignite his feud with the Celtic Warrior.
Christian has been on the shelf for more than two months now, and he could put the blame for his hiatus on Sheamus.
It's an easy setup, one that makes sense and one that could result in a show-stealing match at WrestleMania.
That being said, both Christian and Sheamus could be wind up being in the World Heavyweight Championship match if the creative team decides to go that route.
10. Career vs. Intercontinental Title: Cody Rhodes. vs Goldust
If you've been watching SmackDown lately, you know that the creative team is undoubtedly building toward a match between Cody Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes (aka Goldust).
We know that these real-life brothers will face each other at some point, but we just don't when or what the stipulations will be.
While there's a chance that the match takes place at the Royal Rumble, I think the WWE can hold off on this match until WrestleMania, especially if Cody isn't expected to be involved in any bigger plans at the show.
If Goldust vs. Cody takes place at Mania like I think it will, then I'd expect to see Cody put that Intercontinental Championship of his on the line against Goldust's career.
Goldust is undoubtedly almost ready to hag up the boots, and a big win over a staple of the Attitude Era could certainly help Cody in the long run.
Plus, Goldust is really underrated in the ring, and Rhodes is a hell of a wrestler as well, so these two could have a really nice match on the undercard.
9. Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya vs. Kharma
It's really hard to get excited about anything involving the Divas division lately, unless it's watching Rosa Mendes look ridiculously sexy.
But there are a few potentially great Divas matchups that we might actually pay to see, and pretty much every single one of them involves Beth Phoenix, Natalya and/or Kharma.
So, my thought is this: Why not just put those three in one match for the Divas Championship?
Given how thin the Divas division is, a split between Beth and Natalya is likely right around the corner, and so is the return of Kharma.
I'd have Natalya turn on Beth (and thus, go face), let Natalya win the Divas title and then bring Kharma back (as either face or heel) to destroy them both and set up a Triple Threat match for the Divas Championship at WrestleMania.
Don't shoot me for saying this, but I honestly believe that bout could be the best Divas match in WWE history.
8. Zack Ryder vs. Kane
Zack Ryder has been as big a part of the feud between Kane and John Cena as The Big Red Monster and The Champ have.
He's gotten involved in the feud in some way or another just about every week since its started, and I can't help but think that there's a reason for that.
That reason? To build up to an eventual feud between Ryder and Kane.
We all know that Cena is likely going to get the best of Kane during their feud, but that doesn't mean that Kane has to stop going after Ryder.
Ryder is someone the WWE seems to be building its future around, but in order to do that, he needs to build up his resume with some impressive wins over the company's bigger names.
Losses aren't really going to hurt Kane at this point in his career, so it could make sense to have the beef between Ryder and Kane continue after Kane's feud with Cena is done for good.
After all, Kane is the primary reason why Ryder is longer the United States Champion.
7. The Miz vs. Triple H
I know that just about everyone is expecting to see Triple H face The Undertaker again, and they might be planning on seeing The Miz vs. R-Truth, too.
But Taker vs. Triple H from last year's WrestleMania can't really be topped, and we already saw The Miz and Truth feud back in 2010.
So, I'm thinking that the WWE should reignite the feud between The Miz and Triple H, who had a lot of beef with each other throughout the latter half of 2011.
The Miz thought Triple H was heading up the conspiracy against him, which resulted in Triple H teaming up with CM Punk to take on Miz and Truth.
That feud never really got a proper conclusion, though, because Triple H transitioned into his feud with Kevin Nash, while The Miz turned on Truth shortly thereafter.
If the Miz/Truth feud continues until WrestleMania, then I guess that's fine. But why not go with a feud that more people will be interested in like The Miz vs. Triple H?
I think they could surprise a lot of people with a really good match, one that would almost assuredly be better than Truth vs. Miz and would also help Miz regain the momentum he continues to lose.
6. Dolph Ziggler vs. Mick Foley
Anyone else think that the WWE was teasing this match on this Monday's Raw?
I know it can't just be me.
While Dolph Ziggler is currently feuding with WWE Champion CM Punk, I don't think there's any realistic shot of Ziggler winning it or of him even being involved in the WWE title match at WrestleMania.
So, perhaps the interaction between Ziggler and Mick Foley on this week's Raw was done as a means of foreshadowing a possible Ziggler/Foley match at WrestleMania 28.
Foley dropped a lot of hints that indicate that he might have one more match at this year's show, and Ziggler was clearly disgusted by it.
Therefore, an easy way to build toward a match between the two would be to have Ziggler lose the WWE title match to Punk and then have Foley eliminate Ziggler from the Royal Rumble match (or vice versa), leading to their WrestleMania bout.
While Foley is clearly past his prime, he could still help the WWE by putting Ziggler over on the grandest stage of them all.
5. The Return of Money in the Bank
Participants (Though this could and should obviously change, depending upon the rest of the card): Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio, Kane, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, R-Truth, Jack Swagger, Ted DiBiase
I absolutely love the Money in the Bank match, so as you might imagine, the possibility of the match returning to WrestleMania definitely excites me.
WWE is currently discussing bringing back the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 28. If the match does return to WrestleMania, it’s a good sign the Money in the Bank themed pay-per-view could be rebranded in 2012.
I'll be a happy camper if this happens because I think the MITB is a heck of a way to open the show and get some deserving mid-card talents on the card.
It's as exciting of a match as there is in the WWE, often filled with a number of incredible spots and memorable moments, and it doesn't take a whole lout of build because it's just a bunch of mid-carders thrown together.
Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt like Money in the Bank should have stayed at WrestleMania to begin with.
So, let's hope the WWE brings it back to its home this year.
4. Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara
While certainly not everyone is thrilled about the prospects of this match, I am.
Though Sin Cara has been a major disappointment in the early portion of his WWE career, Rey Mysterio is the one man who can be Sin Cara's saving grace.
Whether you like Mysterio or not, it's hard not to respect what he's done for the business and what he's capable of doing in the ring, even as he approaches age 40.
He's definitely skilled and experience enough to help Sin Cara get out of his rut and step his game up to the highest point of his career.
Mysterio vs. Sin Cara would be a battle of the two most popular and well-known luchadores in the world, and this match would generate a ton of buzz across the planet.
You'd have Mysterio taking on the man who is supposed to be the "next Rey Mysterio" in a high-flying match that could absolutely tear the house down.
Plus, Vince McMahon could throw a party for breaking some mask record that no one really cares about.
3. The Undertaker vs. Wade Barrett
The dream matchup that everyone seems to be talking about is Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker, but I just don't see that match coming to fruition.
Not so soon, at least. Maybe next year, though.
If not Undertaker/Lesnar, then everyone is banking on a rematch between Undertaker and Triple H, which would be the third time these two have faced off at WrestleMania.
Honestly, I just don't want to see that again, so I'm throwing a wild card out there for Undertaker's possible opponent: Wade Barrett.
If the WWE chooses to acknowledge history, it can use Barrett's attacks on Undertaker while part of the Nexus--remember what he did to Barrett at Bragging Rights in 2010?-- as the basis of the feud and then take it from there.
Theoretically, Barrett could win the Royal Rumble and choose to forego a World title match in favor of going after "The Streak," or he could find another way to go after The Undertaker.
Regardless of how he gets there, I'd rather see Barrett face Undertaker, give him one hell of a match and lose than see Taker vs. Triple H: Part Three.
Barrett can benefit a lot more from pushing Taker to the limit and losing than Triple H ever will from this match.
2. World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
The heel turn of Daniel Bryan is official in full effect, and might I say it is working marvelously.
The crowd is really starting to despise Bryan, who's quickly becoming the top heel on Friday Night SmackDown.
When Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship at WWE TLC, I honestly didn't think that would happen, though. I thought it would be Big Show who turned heel by turning on Bryan.
Now that Bryan's going bad, though, I can see why the creative made that decision: To build toward a WrestleMania match against Randy Orton.
Orton hasn't had a World title match at Mania since 2009, he's as over as ever right now, and he has the perfect potential opponent in Bryan.
As far as I can remember, Bryan and Orton have never wrestled each other, meaning that this would be a fresh, exciting match between two of the best pure wrestlers in all of the WWE.
Orton vs. Bryan is my early favorite for match of the night, one that I think could seriously approach that five-star rating if booked correctly.
1. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jerico
This is the match that just about everyone wants to see.
When Chris Jericho parted ways with the WWE in 2010, many considered him to be the best overall wrestler on the planet, and Jericho himself even thought that that was the case.
But when Jericho bolted the WWE two years ago, CM Punk stepped up in his absence, and now, many are labeling Punk as the top wrestler on Earth.
Now that Jericho's back, it's time to settle the debate.
Is Jericho really "the best in the world at what I do," or is Punk actually "the best wrestler in the world?"
We should find out at WrestleMania 28, when both bragging rights and the WWE Championship are on the line.