WWE WrestleMania 29 has yet to officially announce its first match. But with part-timers returning abound, and limited spots on the card, a handful of mid-card wrestlers are presented with a coveted opportunity.
With names like The Rock and Brock Lesnar returning for WrestleMania season, there are more eyes on the WWE product now than ever before.
Speculation has basically penciled in Punk-Taker, Rock-Cena and Brock-Triple H, however the cliche of stealing the show never meant so much.
Wrestlers with the opportunity to compete in money-drawing, mid-card matches may have the opportunity to be paired with veteran superstars at WrestleMania. Veterans could make them bigger stars by putting them over.
Some matches could even feature fluent storytelling that will benefit stars on the cusp. This year presents a chance for mid-card ascension, maybe even to the tune of not needing part-timers to draw money in April.
While their tag team has been start-and-stop due to injuries, a match between Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio would draw interest on name brand alone.
As Místico, Sin Cara was one of the biggest box-office draws in all of Mexico. Meanwhile, Rey Mysterio is arguably the most successful Lucha Libre competitor in the history of mainstream wrestling.
The tag-team division is quietly beginning to fall apart again with the breakup of Rhodes Scholars and the ongoing battle of one-upsmanship between Team Hell No.
As a result, a Cara-Mysterio split would mean very little. However with both superstars healthy (enough), a WrestleMania match could mean so much more.
Ryback and The Shield are two of the hotter babyface and heel acts, respectively, in the WWE. Their feud dates back to Survivor Series when The Shield cost Ryback the WWE championship upon debuting.
The two entities seem to be on track for a WrestleMania showdown of some sort. By then, The Shield will be long overdue for comeuppance.
Hopefully, The Shield is not a victim of shortsighted booking and they extend their one-match win streak at The Elimination Chamber. If this is the case, they will maintain much-needed heat headed into Mania.
Jack Swagger's new alliance with Zeb Colter has some real potential. All signs point to a match with Alberto Del Rio, pitting the race-baiting duo against the pro-immigration version of Swagger and Colter in Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez.
The fact that a World heavyweight championship match is considered mid-card speaks just as many volumes about the World title itself (thanks John) as it does the stacked WrestleMania 29 card.
Chris Jericho's return was the highlight of the 2013 Royal Rumble. But after losing clean to CM Punk and being a long shot to win the Elimination Chamber, Jericho seems to be back to his losing ways.
The losses, while they will do nothing to affect Jericho's legacy, will hurt his stock for WrestleMania.
And while Dolph Ziggler would stand to benefit from a WrestleMania win over Jericho, his stock hasn't been too hot either following another TV loss to Kane.
In any event, matches like these were made to change the guard. Ziggler will have the opportunity of his career to transcend his game to the next level. The make-or-break implications in and of themselves make this match intriguing.
After a white-hot run that directly correlated with a ratings surge on SmackDown, Mark Henry is back to being the money-drawing killer he was late in 2011.
Henry's instincts as a performer are as precise as ever. His path may lead him to a world title match against Alberto Del Rio or maybe even a compelling clash against Ryback.
Whatever the case, Mark Henry has made himself a key figure in the WrestleMania picture in just two short weeks.