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WrestleMania 29 will go down as one of the greatest professional wrestling events in history. Now, we immediately look forward to next year’s spectacle when the WWE invades the Superdome in New Orleans.
Since the WWE just held WrestleMania weekend in the New York and New Jersey area, it will be bucking tradition of holding a WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden every decade. This knock on tradition may not sit well with some fans, but we know WWE will look to produce the most electric and exciting extravaganza the wrestling industry has ever seen next year in New Orleans.
The WWE looks to break records and set new ground each year at the "Showcase of the Immortals," but the 30th anniversary show will surely be unlike anything we have ever seen, and that's one thing we can take to the bank knowing how Vince McMahon operates.
The event may take place on April 6, 2014, but speculation surrounding next year’s main events and undercard begins right now. Here's a look at a reasonable and logical WrestleMania XXX card, beginning with the pre-show and placement of every match on the card from opener to main event.
WWE United States Championship
Wade Barrett vs. Antonio Cesaro (c)
Despite being main-event-caliber performers, Barrett and Cesaro fail to break through the glass ceiling and are relegated to the WrestleMania pre-show in 2014 due to a stacked card. Both men have a ton to prove over the next 12 months if they want to become main eventers. This match, despite time limitations, would be a good test for both men to prove they want it.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
WWE Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (c)
We’ve seen WWE split tag teams only to put them back together, no more recently than Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. The same will be done with Kingston and R-Truth when the WWE realizes they are floundering in the midcard with no direction and have no true plans for them to go any higher in the company.
Every promotion needs a solid tag team division, and these four men aren’t just skilled in-ring workers, but also skilled entertainers outside of the ring. This wouldn’t be the first time we see them go against each other, I’m sure, but it’d still be a solid pre-show matchup.
Winner: Team Rhodes Scholars
15-Diva Battle Royale for WWE Divas Championship
Alicia Fox vs. Natalya vs. Rosa Mendes vs. Summer Rae vs. Charlotte vs. Cameron vs. Naomi vs. Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella vs. Layla vs. Paige vs. vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Aksana vs. Kaitlin vs. AJ Lee (c)
WWE’s Divas division has been in shambles for the past year and is far from its glory days featuring Trish Stratus, Lita , Victoria and company. Thankfully, there is a solid crop in NXT right now and some hidden gems on the current roster in Cameron and Naomi. With AJ Lee and Kaitlyn leading the way as the top stars by next year, this would be a Divas battle royale set to impress instead of depress.
The opening match of any show is nearly as important as the main event because it sets the tone for the rest of the event.
This may be a step down for Alberto Del Rio, but he doesn’t need to be pushed at the top of the card to be a successful babyface for WWE. Rey Mysterio often fluctuated between the midcard and main-event scene during his run as WWE’s top Latino wrestler, and it is safe to assume Del Rio will do the same after his stint in the World Heavyweight Championship scene comes to an end.
Rollins is a fantastic in-ring worker and his style would mesh well with Del Rio's. Rollins will be a breakout star this year and would instantly bring credibility back to the Intercontinental Championship. These two would be able to put on a high-quality mat-based match while also adding in some high-flying maneuvers to wow the audience out of the gate.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Randy Orton will be a top heel in the company by 2014 after disappointing the past several years, but this match is more about the WWE looking to cement The Miz as a reliable babyface.
This year we’ll see the WWE building The Miz back to the main-event scene since he is still one of its best performers on the promotional circuit. His face run has been disappointing, but when the WWE doesn’t have The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker to rely on this spring, it will look to push somebody like The Miz, who has some cachet outside the company.
Orton is one of the most skilled in-ring workers, but his promo work leaves much to be desired. He is better off as a loner heel that doesn’t do anything but prey on his opponents, as his nickname "The Viper" suggests.
The Miz would be able to do most of the mic work in this rivalry, which would leave Orton to the sneak attacks and psychological mind games to create great build-up for this undercard bout.
Winner: The Miz
Kane has had few "WrestleMania moments" and this match with Sheamus has more to do with the WWE allowing him to wrestle another main-event-caliber wrestler as his career draws near its end. Sheamus is one of the most popular performers on the roster and one who compares favorably to Kane in terms of appeal both in and out of the ring.
These two would begin their rivalry at the Royal Rumble when they both eliminate each other after heading in as two of the top dogs. This would force fans to choose their allegiance at the grandest stage because neither has to turn heel to fight at WrestleMania, which would make this match even more intriguing.
Their size and strength would immediately captivate fans in the ring, but it is their abilities on the microphone and in backstage segments that would have fans craving more every week. These are two of the funniest and entertaining performers in the business right now, so to see them go back and forth in a game of wits would be phenomenal.
Kane is one of the most unselfish wrestlers in the history of the business and would look to put Sheamus over as a major star.
A match made for Vince McMahon himself as four of the strongest, toughest and meanest wrestlers in the game today square off in the ultimate test of strength.
This match may not be appealing to the majority of the Internet wrestling community, but it is everything professional wrestling was built on as far as trying to captivate an audience with larger-than-life individuals.
Four immovable objects in the ring at the same time would allow the WWE’s creative and booking teams to have a lot of fun when planning this match. Furthermore, the lead-up into the match could see the WWE break even test-of-strength records as we’ve seen Ryback and Mark Henry do recently.
The allure at WrestleMania would be to see which man could successfully connect on his finish move against the other behemoths of the WWE. It may not be the best match on paper from a work-rate perspective, but it certainly would be one of the most jaw-dropping matches in WrestleMania history.
Seth Rollins would be a better fit here than Roman Reigns for the Internet wrestling community, but Reigns would offer this triple-threat match a completely different dimension than Rollins would.
Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan are easily two of the most versatile and well-rounded in-ring performers. Reigns would offer them the powerhouse they need to add even more versatility to the booking of the actual match.
Bryan and Ziggler would offer the high-flying and technical aspect of the triple threat, while Reigns brings the high-impact offense and power to offset his opponents' quickness and agility.
Reigns has also proven that he can hold his own in the ring and may even be The Shield’s most impressive member. Most weren’t aware of what he was capable of doing inside the ring coming from NXT.
With Bryan and Ziggler carrying the match, Reigns would be able to showcase his own abilities and have two veterans to rely on to come across as an even bigger presence in the WWE.
Reigns also has the dominant look and heritage that the WWE craves, so putting him in the World Heavyweight Championship match would do wonders to build his credibility. In the end, the match is about propelling Reigns to superstardom.
Winner: Roman Reigns
It’s cliché, but Chris Jericho, like fine wine, is only getting better with age. He appears to be in the best shape of his life, and aside from WrestleMania 29, he has been part of the best match of every show he’s appeared on since returning at the Royal Rumble in January. That’s impressive.
Dean Ambrose possesses technical and methodical in-ring abilities and combines them with psychological, perfectly timed and borderline deranged mic skills and mannerisms to create a Hall of Fame package. He would mesh perfectly with Jericho’s all-time great skills in and outside of the ring.
On paper, this rivalry has what it takes to not only steal the show at WrestleMania in the ring, but also push the envelope as far as building toward a match. The promos would be at an all-time elite level and quite possibly embarrass the work seen by other feuds in recent years.
Fans that thrive on intensity and intelligent promo work would surely be blown away by their interactions.
Jericho said he doesn’t care about winning or losing as long as he puts on a great performance. With Ambrose across the ring, that would be a guarantee instead of a possibility. This would be a defining moment for Ambrose.
It would not only propel him to the main-event scene, but also serve as a defining moment for Jericho because he could make Ambrose a guaranteed future Hall of Famer in one evening.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Let’s be real: Does anybody think Triple H won’t wrestle at the 30th anniversary show of the most important event in wrestling history? Exactly.
Better yet, could you imagine Shawn Michaels not wrestling at WrestleMania XXX? The "Heartbreak Kid" may be "retired," but it is difficult to believe he’ll be able to resist the itch of wrestling his good friend in a potential show-stealer at the biggest event in history.
Michaels and Triple H have wrestled at what feels like every major event over the past decade, from SummerSlam to Survivor Series to Royal Rumble to WrestleMania and in nearly every top gimmick match in the business.
Still, they have never wrestled one-on-one at the "Showcase of the Immortals." Their rivalry deserves a WrestleMania finale and they need to make it happen in New Orleans.
Even better, we have yet to see this rivalry with Shawn Michaels playing the villain and Triple H as the heroic babyface because the storyline never lent itself to that.
This time, they would be able to flip the script on the fans and add a completely different element with Michaels playing the cocky villain and Triple H playing a more sympathetic hero looking to bring his best friend back to the light side.
Fans may not enjoy seeing these two men fight again, but aside from The Rock for Shawn Michaels and somebody like Roman Reigns for Triple H, there aren’t many opponents left for either man in today’s company. It only makes sense for Michaels to come out of retirement to wrestle his friend Triple H at WrestleMania.
With the main events lined up for this show, the pressure would be off Michaels and Triple H to draw and steal the show.
Winner: Triple H
Many fans were worried heading toward WrestleMania 29 that The Undertaker wouldn’t participate in the event, which is understandable as he inches closer toward 50 years old.
Despite everything seemingly working against him, The Deadman still has the abilities and in-ring knowledge to wrestle another match. Plus, it just wouldn’t be WrestleMania without ‘Taker, and fans aren’t ready to give up on him making another appearance in 2014 after putting together a fantastic performance against CM Punk.
At this point in The Streak, it’s more about the quality of opponent for The Undertaker than just extending it. John Cena would be the perfect man to step up to the plate, as he is the biggest draw of any active performer in the industry right now.
The WWE booking Cena vs. The Undertaker with The Streak on the line would draw fans instantly.
Given Cena’s Hulk Hogan-esque run atop the WWE, fans would legitimately have reason to be concerned for The Streak’s well-being. Cena is the WWE’s resident superhero and could easily end The Streak to further cement his legacy in the industry.
If this were to be The Undertaker’s WrestleMania finale, Cena is an honorable opponent to cap off quite possibly the greatest career in professional wrestling history.
Winner: The Undertaker
I projected this match for WrestleMania 29 when it was announced that the WWE 13 video game would feature CM Punk on the cover and contain a feature dedicated to the Attitude Era, which "Stone Cold" Steve Austin dominated. That didn’t work out for this year, but that’s not to say it will never happen.
In order to hype the video game, WWE conducted a sit-down interview hosted by Jim Ross and Stone Cold. It had nothing to do with any storylines, yet it was one of the greatest moments of 2012 and perhaps of the last decade. The intensity between the two exploded off the screen, just like it would in the build-up to the spectacle.
I firmly believe the match didn’t happen this year because Stone Cold was still working his way back from knee surgery. He has since said that he is healthy, and with another year to prepare for the match, it’s not unreasonable to think he could work the biggest show in the history of the business.
CM Punk said that Austin is a dream opponent at WrestleMania. Furthermore, Austin deserves one final opportunity to leave professional wrestling as a winner since he lost his last match 10 years ago to The Rock at WrestleMania XIX. This match needs to happen and it needs to go down at WrestleMania XXX.
CM Punk, as expected, put together a masterpiece of a match against The Undertaker. He is the best all-around performer in the game today and has cemented himself as not only the best heel in the industry, but a draw as well.
This has been a dream feud for over a decade because of their differing lifestyles—Stone Cold’s rebellious, beer-drinking character and CM Punk’s rebellious, straight-edge lifestyle. Both are two of the most outspoken, intelligent and methodical wrestlers in the history of the industry.
Stone Cold often wrestled under no-disqualification matches, not to mask any ability because he was a fantastic technical wrestler, but because he was an elite brawler at his peak.
The no-disqualification stipulation would obviously mask his abilities at this stage in his career, but that is irrelevant when considering that fans would be treated to an exceptional brawl built on differing opinions between two of the most charismatic and talented performers in history.
The match sells itself and would go down as one of the most compelling rivalries ever.
Winner: Stone Cold
The Rock and Brock Lesnar are international mainstream megastars. They were both made in the WWE, but they have transcended the wrestling industry to become two of the most polarizing sports and entertainment figures in the world today.
The Rock is a worldwide successful actor, while Lesnar saw his mainstream notoriety rise to new heights due to his success in the UFC.
We saw this match at SummerSlam in 2002 when The Rock dropped the WWE Undisputed Championship to Brock Lesnar to solidify him as main-event player in the company. More than a decade later, this is the biggest draw the WWE can offer at WrestleMania XXX because of their contributions to the entertainment industry.
More importantly, it will be seen as The Rock’s redemption for losing that match cleanly to Lesnar more than 10 years ago.
When The Rock confirmed his involvement for WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar's manager and good friend, Paul Heyman, took to Twitter to say that he had the perfect opponent for "The Great One."
Considering The Rock had just defeated Heyman's other client the night before at Elimination Chamber and prior at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship, it only makes sense to assume that Heyman was referring to Lesnar.
In 2012, we had the year-long build leading into The Rock’s first singles match back in the company with John Cena at WrestleMania 28.
This year, we had him hype WrestleMania 29 as the defending and reigning WWE Champion.
In 2014, we’ll have the opportunity to watch The Rock hype WrestleMania as the man challenging for the most coveted prize in the industry’s history.
Lesnar walking in as WWE Champion would be the icing on the cake. The candles on that cake would be none other than the hype The Rock brings as the Royal Rumble 2014 winner.
From a financial perspective, after two (possibly three) main events featuring The Rock vs. John Cena, the next biggest draw to pull in the most viewers is The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar with the WWE Championship at stake.
Winner: The Rock
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