WWE WrestleMania 29: How the Card Could Look a Year from Now
On April 7, 2013, the WWE will be taking its annual extravaganza to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. And although it's exactly one year away, just the thought of WrestleMania XXIX is undoubtedly exhilarating.
Since it's never too early for WrestleMania speculation, we must wonder how the card will look a year from now.
Who will work the main event?
Is Brock going to be there?
Is Rock going to be there?
What about Undertaker's next opponent?
All of these questions and more are answered in my following proposal of the WrestleMania XXIX card.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. the Rock
On Aug. 25, 2002, a new force cemented his name amongst the industry's elite after just five and half months in the WWE. That man was none other than "The Next Big Thing," Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar defeated The Rock for his WWE Undisputed Championship at one of the greatest SummerSlam pay-per-views of all-time. As "The Great One" began to ease himself out of the company and into Hollywood, he handed off the company's reins to Lesnar with the surprising defeat.
Unfortunately for both Rock and Brock fans, the two megastars wouldn't stick around much longer. Lesnar and Rock left the WWE after their respective matches at WrestleMania XX.'
Brock completely vanished from the company, trying his hand in the NFL and the UFC.
Rocky wasn't exactly there, either. Despite making sporadic appearances, "The People's Champ" found a ton of success in the movie world.
That, however, has just changed. With The Rock's victory over John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII and Lesnar's return to Monday Night Raw the very next night, we now know that both guys have brought their presence back to the WWE ring.
So what's next?
Well for Rocky, we already know of his future plans in the business. Right before taking another break from wrestling, Rock revealed that he will once again return to start his road to the WWE Championship.
For Lesnar, on the other hand, it may be a bit different. Brock signed a one-year deal with the company which entails a limited number of appearances on shows and pay-per-views. This means he'll probably be around much more than The Rock.
Either way, this would be a main event of epic proportions. Both are WWE legends, big-time celebrities and two guys we would certainly want to see in the ring again.
Although the Rock vs. Cena match was dubbed as "Once in a Lifetime," this potential matchup would bring about a lot more interest within the wrestling community as well as the rest of entertainment business.
If I were booking this feud, I would have Brock enter WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. I would have him pick it up anywhere from the Royal Rumble to Elimination Chamber.
The Rock would gain No. 1 contendership after making his first reappearance as the 30th entrant of the traditional Royal Rumble match. His return and subsequent victory at the pay-per-view would undoubtedly deliver some of the greatest pop the industry has ever seen.
This would then set the stage for the most star-studded WrestleMania main event since Hulk Hogan teamed up with Mr. T to face Roddy Piper and Mr. Wonderful himself, Paul Orndorff.
As far as determining a winner, it may not really matter. Even if creative books Lesnar as a monster heel, there's no way the crowd will be turning on him. Both would be faces in the crowd's mind and would receive huge pop from the New York/New Jersey crowd no matter what.
If I had a preference, I would give it to Rocky just to complete a final title run if he doesn't have the strap by then.
CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
This is an angle that has been garnering the support of the Internet Wrestling Community for quite some time now. And why wouldn't it?
We would have an absolute dream match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and today's Stone Cold Steve Austin. Given Punk's gimmick isn't nearly as edgy nor entertaining as Austin's, he is still the popular rebel of the WWE.
As far as Austin's chances of returning to a ring, it'll only happen with Punk. Austin has gone on the record multiple times, saying he would only make a comeback if it meant working a WrestleMania match with the current WWE Champion.
But if this is going down, it must happen at this WrestleMania or even the next if Austin is lucky. Austin hasn't wrestled a match in a WWE ring since WrestleMania XIX against The Rock. So we can imagine there's not exactly a full tank of gas left for the 47-year-old.
The booking for this match would not have to be very elaborate.
It would be somewhat similar to the Rock-Cena build. Punk and Austin would engage in some war of words sometime around the Rumble and would lead to another one of those dream matchups we've all been salivating over.
Hell, they could even incorporate their recent Twitter war to build the feud.
Although I do prefer Austin over Punk, as many of you also do, I would book Punk as the winner to further solidify his main-event status.
I believe his recent win over Jericho did help that a little. It would have been more meaningful, however, if the company had Jericho actually win some matches before WrestleMania. It is Jericho, but I did not really buy into a potential victory over Punk from a fan standpoint.
Having Austin do the job would be ultimate complement to Punk becoming the one of the company's biggest superstars in quite a few years.
John Cena vs. Undertaker
Let me start off by saying that this article pertains to what "could" happen, not necessarily what I want to happen. (Regardless, I would still want to see this match.)
But I digress back to the "could." I apologize for being the spoiler here (stop reading if you don't want to be completely spoiled), but it is rumored that the WWE is already planning three huge matches for WrestleMania XXIX.
Two of those matches were the ones that preceded this slide, Rock vs. Brock and Austin vs. Punk. The third, obviously, would be John Cena vs. Undertaker.
And just like the Punk/Austin matchup, this potential angle has been talked about amongst the IWC for quite some time. And for those who don't believe this match has any appeal, just look into it bit more.
Sure, it seems unlikely Undertaker's streak will die after defeating both Triple H and Shawn Michaels twice in the past four years. But isn't it also unlikely Cena would lose his third consecutive 'Mania match?
I know it's much more realistic to have Cena take the hit for yet another WrestleMania. That intrigue should, however, place at least a small bit of doubt in many fans' minds.
And above all, a Cena-Taker match will certainly be very refreshing.
It's new, it's different and it's something we have yet to see on the biggest stage of the industry.
I would have Taker win for obvious reasons. Not only for the sake of the streak, but for Cena's likability as well. If the older demographic continues to see Cena lose, perhaps they'll ease up on him a bit.
If they don't witness him winning every match like some sort of super-being, many older males may begin to relate with his character. A loss would prove that Cena does have weaknesses and isn't untouchable.
Title vs. Title Match: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
Two of the goals the WWE should be aiming to hit this year are building up some stable heels and restoring the credibility of its title belts.
More specifically, they should be looking to make Cody Rhodes a main eventer and bring back some prestige to both the World Heavyweight and the Intercontinental straps.
By evidence of the 18-second World Heavyweight Championship match between Bryan and Sheamus at 'Mania, that title didn't get much respect on the biggest stage of the industry. And it goes without saying the IC title hasn't been exactly coveted despite Cody's efforts in recapturing its classic look.
So I say they go old school here and give the fans a Hogan vs. Warrior-esque match here. That's right, a title vs. title match at WrestleMania XXIX.
This match would do absolute wonders for everyone and everything involved. It would make Orton relevant again, build Rhodes as a legitimate heel main eventer and return some honor to both of the straps.
I would have Orton entering as the World Heavyweight Champion and Rhodes as the Intercontinental Champion. As far as who comes out the victor, it could easily go both ways.
If Orton wins, it'll help the status of the IC title. If the title is big enough for Orton to hold, perhaps it'll be considered much more important for the future.
And if Rhodes wins, the company will immediately have a top heel for years to come.
These two certainly deserve a match of this magnitude given their previous work together.
Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho
I can see it now...YES! YES! YES!
After absolutely shunning Daniel Bryan and Brian Danielson marks all over the country, I think it's safe to say they're owed something, If it weren't for the spectacular Miami crowd and their cavalcade of "YES" chants, that entire opening segment for WrestleMania XXVIII would have been a total loss.
In an effort to make up for the past two 'Manias, perhaps Creative can give Bryan a very worthy match with the actual "Best in the World," Chris Jericho.
As we all know, both men are two of the craftiest workers this business has ever seen. Bryan may be the best technical wrestler in the industry today and Jericho, of course, is the man of 1,004 holds. So they'll be no shortage of in-work ability there.
But for this match to happen, there are two roadblocks the company must knock down. First, one of the two has to be a heel. The three matches before it (Brock/Rock, Punk/Austin, Cena/Taker) would all presumably run under a face vs. face type of angle.
We can't have a card full of face vs. face and heel vs. heel matches. So being that these "YES" chants are spreading like wildfire, it's hard to imagine the company not turning Bryan face eventually.
Although I love Bryan's heel persona, it seems more likely he'll be the face out of the two come 'Mania.
The second obstacle this match will face is Jericho's schedule. Quite frankly, Jericho has been yanking all of us the past few months or so regarding his immediate future with the WWE. Initially we thought he was going away during the summer and now it appears as if he's sticking around.
Regardless, this is will be addressed when the time comes. All the hardcore IWCers can do now is just hope this promising feud and match is something the company goes through with.
I would book this match as the opener to the event. It'll get the crowd going and set the tone for the rest of the pay-per-view.
U.S. Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder vs. Santino
Please allow me to explain that crazy picture.
Think of it as a newer version of the McMahon-filled WrestleMania 2000 main event, just a little less star-studded. When For that WWE title match, Rock had Vince, Big Show had Shane, Triple H had Stephanie and Mick Foley had Linda.
This time, however, it'll be for the United States Championship. Ziggler will be managed by a returning Ric Flair, Swagger by Vickie, Ryder by Booker and Santino by Foley.
While three of the four pairs seem very possible, you will of course be questioning my matching of Ziggler with Flair. Vickie is already with Swagger, Santino and Foley have teamed up for some great segments and I'm sure you can draw some sort of link between Ryder and Booker with that whole "Fave Five" stuff Book runs on about.
Ziggler and Flair, however, do warrant some more explanation. The gist of it is that Ziggler is going absolutely nowhere with his current gimmick and he needs someone to put him over. Given his handstands and in-ring gloating is quite fun to watch, this is a guy who should be at the next level by now.
Ric Flair's current contract is almost up at TNA, making him a very appealing managerial prospect for Ziggler. Since they're both showoffs, Flair could play the mentor role for Dolph and really feed some credibility into him as a main-event talent.
(For more on Ziggler and Flair, click on this link for my latest article about this potential pairing.)
I'm sure this match could entertain both from an in-ring as well as a comedic standpoint with these four men and their respective managers.
10-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Every year, a handful of deserving talent gets left off the WrestleMania card. Creative's brilliant response to this problem was the introduction of the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21.
And every year they booked the match at the event, it certainly delivered. The match is always money in the bank, dare I say.
Unfortunately, the MITB match has not been featured at the event in recent years. But with the potential of a star-filled WrestleMania coming up next year, the WWE should look into reinserting the match.
If the Brock-Rock, Austin and Undertaker rumors are true, it'll force a lot of talent to watch from the sidelines. And with the company lacking depth in terms of top-tier talent, they simply cannot afford to leave their full-time employees off the card.
I would propose a 10-man match which features Alberto Del Rio, Kane, Wade Barrett, Christian, Miz, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry.
My personal favorites for the winner would include Barrett, Miz and Sheamus.
Divas Championship: Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Trish Stratus
I guess we need a Divas match.
The only thing holding this back from being a one-on-one with Kharma and Beth is the fact that the company will probably book this match before 'Mania even comes.
I'll add some more spice into it by throwing in the most decorated women's wrestler of all-time, Trish Stratus.
Maybe a triple-threat match with these three capable talents can bring some credibility to an otherwise dead division.
*Matches in order from main event to curtain jerker.
8. WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock
7. Divas Championship: Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Trish Stratus
6. CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
5. John Cena vs. Undertaker
4. Title vs. Title: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
3. U.S. Championship: Ziggler vs. Swagger vs. Marella vs. Ryder
2. 10-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho
Notables Left off the Card
Triple H: The Game has missed just one WrestleMania since 1996. (WrestleMania 23 to injury.) But with him taking on an executive role with the company, perhaps he takes a backseat. With so many stars potentially making their way on the card, their may be simply no room. If they do try to include him, it'll be a case of overbooking. As much as it hurts to say, WrestleMania XXIX may not need Triple H.
Big Show: I think Show's tank is just about on empty now. With his recent Intercontinental Championship victory, perhaps a retirement may soon be in the cards for the World's largest athlete.
R-Truth: I tried to find a spot for him in MITB but what's the point? I don't see any type of push coming for Truth and Little Jimmy.
Lord Tensai: By the time we get to 'Mania, A-Train, I mean Lord Tensai, will probably be built as a monster heel. I cannot, however, find a spot for him with all the other talent on the card.
Brodus Clay: Although he won't get a match on my card, maybe the Funkasaurus will dance alongside his mama's bridge club again. (I hope not.)
What Do You Think?
Like the card? Hate the card? Think you can make a better one?
If so, feel free to leave a comment or your dream card for WrestleMania XXIX below.
Thanks for reading!