By this point in the buildup to WrestleMania, many fans have a good idea what to expect from Sunday’s pay-per-view.
Every word and action on Raw and SmackDown has been explored over the past few weeks. Alongside this, a continuous flow of rumors have helped build the picture further until a few ideas on what might happen have become prominent.
Yet this is the WWE, where anything can happen.
This article contains five possible scenarios for prominent WrestleMania outings that diverge from the popular consensus. These theories are all based on logical thought processes that are explained within each slide.
There are no guarantees that any of these will come to pass at WrestleMania, but the analysis does show how many possible outcomes can arise.
Such uncertainty makes WrestleMania even more exciting.
The conversation often boils down to the simple question, “Who can most afford to lose?”
Cena took the loss at WrestleMania XXVIII, and the buildup to this year’s event has focused on his retribution. If Cena loses, he will either go on a highly unlikely heel turn or look like he cannot compete with the best from the Attitude era.
The Rock would not lose any prestige within the wrestling business if he lost to Cena, as he has already ascended to legendary status. However, his movie career is built on his tough-guy image and his ability to win against all odds.
Despite the Rock’s denials to the contrary, his performance with the WWE will have some effect on that other side of his life, so a loss could be problematic.
The obvious solution to this is for another wrestler to become involved in the match and cause the fight to have a disputable result.
This scenario has a lot of advantages.
The Rock could lose without losing face. Cena could win or lose without losing any prestige, and the situation could be set up for a third encounter somewhere down the line.
Even more interestingly, the WWE would be presented with its first dominant heel since Big Show’s turn last year. Taking out both Rock and Cena would give that wrestler instant hate from all sides and the power to look strong against any of the WWE’s superhero faces.
As unlikely as a contested finish may seem, this might actually happen.
The last few weeks for Team Rhodes Scholars has not been their most successful.
First they were bypassed for a shot at the tag team championships. Now they have been booked into a eight-man mixed-gender tag match alongside The Bella Twins against comedy team Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls.
This certainly appears to be beginning of the end for the team.
It has been suggested that these two have been interacting backstage, but that they have been kept apart by the arrival of The Bellas.
Losing to Tons Of Funk at ‘Mania could be the last straw for Sandow. The Intellectual Savior of the Masses would then show his displeasure with a vicious beatdown of Rhodes. Although it may be that such a scenario could be initiated on the Raw following WrestleMania as well.
The best part of all this would be a feud between the former tag team partners. Both are accomplished in-ring and need a notable feud to elevate them into the title picture.
This could well begin at WrestleMania.
Many fans expect Big Show to turn his back on his tag team partners at WrestleMania.
He joined the pact to take on The Shield despite his being a heel, and much of the story going into WrestleMania has been over whether the other two can trust him.
Another prominent theory is that Randy Orton will be the man who betrays his tag team partners. There have been rumors for some time that he wants to turn heel, and there is certainly a need for a dominant heel on the WWE roster.
This leaves Sheamus, who appears to be unquestionably good.
The Celtic Warrior was the second most successful wrestler of 2012 behind CM Punk and has fully established himself amongst WWE’s elite. In many people’s eyes, he is the No. 2 face on the WWE’s permanent roster.
This is, somewhat perversely, why he may be the man to turn on his partners.
A Sheamus turn would be truly shocking and completely unexpected. The buzz this would cause would be huge, and WrestleMania would have another moment the WWE can point to that proves that anything can happen.
It would also explain why Sheamus has been so aimless since losing his championship to Big Show.
Sheamus may win a lot, but he has not been in a long-term feud since his title loss. The Shield don’t really count, as they have not solely turned their attention to Sheamus. They have also affected others in far more important ways.
As has been noted, there is a place for a dominant heel. Sheamus could well be the man to take that role.
Their posturing and exhibitions of strength has made the average fan truly wonder who will come out on top in this fight. Adding a non-contact clause into the mix was also a great decision, as fans have not yet been tipped off on who has the advantage.
The only problem the WWE really has is limiting the potential damage caused to the loser of this bout.
Both men have based their careers on their power. If the other man is that much stronger, then they can no longer be considered a main-event player. WWE really needs to keep both men around to either build up others or have a run as champion.
The obvious solution is to find a situation where the attribute they are fighting over—namely strength—becomes the undoing of both men.
This could come in the form of a double knockout as they hit each other simultaneously. Alternatively, there could be a fall off or through something—such as the stage area—where a physical component gives out before either man’s strength.
Either way, this result may be as likely as the much-predicted Ryback victory seen in a lot of WrestleMania previews.
There are currently two prevalent thoughts around the WWE Universe over how the WrestleMania clash between Brock Lesnar and Triple H will play out.
The WWE is selling this match as a tale of redemption.
Triple H was taken to his lowest point after his loss to Lesnar at SummerSlam. He has seen his and his best friend’s—Shawn Michaels'—arms broken at the hands of The Beast. He has also seen his father-in-law Vince McMahon forced into hip surgery by the former UFC Heavyweight champion.
Everything is pushing towards Triple H winning the match and being able to stand tall over the evil that is Brock Lesnar.
The other school of thought is that Triple H has been so dominant over recent weeks he is bound to lose at ‘Mania.
It is not unusual for the WWE to push one wrestler over the other, only for the apparently weaker individual to rise up and gain the victory at the pay-per-view.
Add the rumor that Brock Lesnar has been guaranteed a run as champion in his new contract, and it would appear that The Game is coming to the end of his in-ring career.
Yet these two situations can happen simultaneously.
A no-holds-barred contest has the obvious advantage that the match can change momentum very quickly indeed. It also makes Triple H’s legendary sledgehammer a completely legal weapon.
No one in the modern era is so well connected with an individual weapon, and it is likely to be the difference-maker.
Yet fans can look to just two years ago when the no-holds-barred match between Triple H and The Undertaker saw one man win the match, but the other win the war. ‘Taker could barely get out of the arena on his strength and was not seen again for an entire calendar year.
If Lesnar put a similar beating on Triple H, then he top would get an enormous boost despite losing.
In this situation, Triple H being carried out of the arena is likely to be the last WWE fans see of The Game for several months.