It was all settled. The top four matches were set on the grid for Wrestlemania. We’d get rematches of Rock-Cena and Triple H-Brock, along with Punk-Taker and Orton-Sheamus. This was in stone. This was set. No changes. Print the posters. Count the money.
Now with the news that the Undertaker may not make it to the show, the entire plan may be jumbled. Well, except for Rock-Cena II and Triple H-Brock II. Those are happening whether anyone asked for them or not.
Below is my vision for an Undertaker-less Wrestlemania 29 card. The matches are listed in the order they would appear on the card. They incorporate current storylines, realistic expectations and my own fantasy booking. Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.
IC/US Title Unification Ladder Match
Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas
WWE has a serious problem right now with the midcard. Too many wrestlers remain directionless, and it doesn’t help that there are two belts without clear meaning and definition. It’s time to establish a single, top midcard belt.
After signing Brock Lesnar, Vickie Guerrero’s authority has been suspended and Booker T is temporarily given jurisdiction over both brands. A few weeks before Wrestlemania, these four men are put into a Teddy Long special tag team match, pitting the champion heels against the babyface challengers. During the match, everything breaks down as everyone begins fighting each other.
Booker T steps in and announces that since these four men can’t get along in even a tag match, they are going to face off in a unification four-way at Wrestlemania. Oh yeah, and the belts will be hanging from a ring and need to be retrieved with a ladder.
We get a fast-paced opener with a number of high spots. The three veterans are able to make Bo Dallas look strong. He hits one of the biggest spots of the night, nailing Barrett with an Edge-esque spear that takes out both men. Kofi pulls down the belts and is the new champion.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
(Fallout: Furious he no longer has gold after possessing the title for so long, Cesaro begins carrying the European Title as a vanity belt, claiming the US Title wasn’t good enough for him anyway. Barrett moves up the card. Dallas goes back to the bottom for some more seasoning.)
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show
There has never really been a good strap match, but there really isn’t much else I could think of doing with these two after they’ve had two Last Man Standing matches. This plays into their styles, allowing Big Show to overpower Del Rio while giving ADR a chance to show his aggressive side with some vicious strap spots.
At Elimination Chamber, they have another brutal match that results in Del Rio winning with some assistance of a returning Ricardo Rodriguez at his side. After the match, though, Big Show still gets the last laugh, drilling Del Rio with a WMD. Dolph Ziggler hits the ring and cashes it in while Big E Langston dispatches Ricardo Rodriguez.
The Show-Del Rio feud must continue, and the stakes must be raised. Something stupid like Alberto Del Rio’s work visa is up for renewal, and if he loses the match, he will return to Mother Mexico. But if Big Show loses, his ironclad contract is torn up and tossed out.
In the match, we get an homage back to the Rumble Last Man Standing match with Del Rio wrapping the strap around Big Show’s legs and taking him to the ground. We get some isolation on the shoulder and elbow before making Big Show tap to a cross armbreaker.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
(Fallout: Del Rio is now hopefully more over after looking strong in a definitive end to this feud. The storyline carries forward with Big Show being offered a new contract by Booker T that includes a number of more embarrassing items that he would never have agreed to otherwise.)
WWE Tag Team Championship
Sin Cara/Mysterio vs. Hell No vs. The Shield
And finally, Kane and Bryan implode. I want to keep them together as tag partners that hate each other, at least until Wrestlemania, because they would otherwise only make sense feuding against each other. With an already tight squeeze to get everyone on this show, it fits better as a tag team.
Mysterio and Sin Cara earn a tag title shot. The Shield attacks and attacks until they are added to the match. Ambrose and Rollins represent The Shield, with Reigns as a menacing ringside enforcer.
Kane and Bryan lose it, breaking up mid-match. Reigns gets involved, which leads to Ambrose scoring the pinfall. Mysterio and Sin Cara are further dismantled after the match in devastating fashion.
Winners: New Tag Team Champions, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
(Fallout: With a more open card heading to Extreme Rules, Kane and Bryan can have their first singles match with a stipulation and proper focus. It could actually be one of the focal points of the card.)
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
With the main event of the first half, we get the rematch from SummerSlam. Triple H returns to avenge his broken father-in-law against Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. It’s announced as a Street Fight, which means newly crowned tag champions, The Shield tries to get involved while members of the Triple H support roster fight them off.
It all ends with a third Pedigree from Triple H that finally pins Lesnar. Order is restored. The corporate suit has defeated the renegade. This is the mindset of WWE in a nutshell.
Winner: Triple H
(Fallout: Nothing really happens from here.)
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
A few months ago it was reported that Sheamus and Orton were to face off for the World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania. Thankfully, it looks like plans have changed. Neither is being positioned at the moment to gun for the title.
Also, the concept that Orton would actually be a heel in a match against Sheamus is laughable. The crowd would have turned on Sheamus immediately, only making Orton a more over face.
Instead, we have the return of Mark Henry. This isn’t so much a feud as it is a way to get people onto the show. Much like Orton-Kane last year or Batista-Umaga from a year earlier, this is a chance for the crowd to see some major faces on Wrestlemania.
The entire storyline is built around the idea of Mark Henry claiming he’s the most dangerous man in the WWE. Sheamus first turned face at time when Henry was making this claim, so they can rekindle this feud. Orton steps in and laughs at both, telling them that everyone knows the Viper is the single most dangerous man on the roster.
Three that like to fight are out to prove their dominance.
In a triple threat match, we'll have our moments of clichéd boredom. This match won’t last long, eight minutes at most. The close comes, though, when Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick on Mark Henry, who ducks, setting up Orton to take the kick to the face. Sheamus turns and is smashed with the World’s Strongest Slam.
Winner: Mark Henry
(Fallout: This is where we kickoff the Sheamus-Orton feud. They meet in the ring to talk about what happened in this match and Sheamus puts out his hand in a sign of respect. Orton RKOs him to the mat.)
World Heavyweight Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho
At the Elimination Chamber, Ziggler cashes in the Money in the Bank on a fallen Alberto Del Rio. Later in the show, Chris Jericho wins the Elimination Chamber match to earn a shot at the title at Wrestlemania.
The story writes itself. We get a few heartfelt promos from Ziggler about how he grew up wanting to be Shawn Michaels. He wanted to be Chris Jericho. He remembers watching Wrestlemania X-9 when Jericho faced his idol, HBK.
For Ziggler, he was watching two of his heroes battle. But unlike Jericho, Ziggler will follow through and defeat his idol on the Grandest Stage Of Them All.
This match is given 18-20 minutes and steals the show, ending with Dolph hitting the Zig Zag for the win. After the match, as the crowd is rabidly cheering for Ziggler, Big E. and AJ enter the ring. While Dolph is on the turnbuckle celebrating, AJ and Big E. get in Jericho’s face and slap him around while he’s on the ground. Big E. starts laying fists into him until Ziggler jumps down and pulls him off.
Big E., confused, shoves Ziggler back.
Dolph isn’t happy about that and steps into a big superkick right to Big E.’s jaw. Jericho, now on his feet, looks at Dolph and applies the Walls of Jericho to Big E., which sends the crowd into even more of a frenzy.
Jericho releases him and AJ pulls Langston from the ring. Jericho and Dolph shake hands, while Jericho raises Dolph’s arm.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
(Fallout: Ziggler is now a major babyface. The turn is organic and brought about by the crowd reaction. AJ, though, makes it her mission to bring him down. She brings in Mark Henry to join Big E. as they challenge Ziggler for the World Title.)
Tamina vs. Kaitlyn
Cool down match. Tamina keeps going after Kaitlyn and losing, and it happens again here in a match that gives everyone a chance to run to the restroom.
(Fallout: Have they resigned Kharma yet?)
CM Punk vs. Ryback
Without the Undertaker on the card, we revisit the rivalry that had begun between CM Punk and Ryback. After Punk loses his rematch against The Rock at Elimination Chamber, he’s incensed. Punk cuts a promo about all of the people he’s beaten in the last 400+ days, which leads to Ryback coming to the ring.
Ryback says the only reason he doesn’t have the WWE Title around his waist today is because CM Punk’s friend Paul Heyman paid off men to take him out. First it was Brad Maddox at Hell in a Cell. Then it was The Shield at Survivor Series. Booker T steps out and announces that Punk will face Ryback at Wrestlemania in a match that will be for the No. 1 Contender to the WWE Championship.
At Wrestlemania, with Heyman in his corner, Punk carries Ryback through a solid 12 minutes of wrestling. That’s when The Shield re-emerges. Licking their wounds after being beaten back in the match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar, they surround the ring as the match continues. Ryback charges for a Meat Hook Clothesline that connects flush with the referee.
The Shield slides into the ring and, after a brief standoff, all three men attack CM Punk. They pummel the man they had protected for months.
Meanwhile, Ryback backs into a corner and watches. Paul Heyman steps up onto the ring apron and pats him on the back as The Shield lifts him up for the big triple powerbomb. The ref begins to come to as Punk gets to his feet.
Another Meat Hook Clothesline is soon followed by Shellshock for the pinfall.
(Fallout: Paul Heyman ALWAYS turns on his top clients. It’s explained that Heyman believes he witnessed Punk’s peak, but isn’t going to stand around and wait for him to fall even further off the cliff. Punk is done and Heyman is a businessman.He knows he took Punk to the pinnacle and now he’s going to do the same for Ryback.
Despite misgivings of the past, Ryback understands it was business and nothing personal. He likes the way The Shield kicks ass. He likes to kick ass. Now, they will dominate the WWE together.)
John Cena vs. The Rock
Blah Blah Blah. Rock doesn’t like Cena. Cena doesn’t like Rock.
Wrestlemania comes and John Cena beats The Rock to regain the WWE Championship.
Winner: John Cena
(Fallout: These two are now 1-1, which obviously means that the main event of Wrestlemania 30 will feature a rubber match between the two icons. Yayzies.)