Brock Lesnar may not get the WrestleMania showdown many are expecting, while Bray Wyatt is primed for big things, according to the latest WWE rumors.
Before Royal Rumble 2014 even kicks off, the majority of the online WWE buzz surrounds WrestleMania XXX. What battles will be a part of the huge show? How will part-timers and legends fit into the card?
Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam, Wyatt and Lesnar are being discussed in various scenarios for "The Showcase of the Immortals."
Plans can shift in the next months, of course, but the backstage reports attempting to figure out what the 30th WrestleMania will look like are worth soaking up.
The Wyatt Family
Wyatt not only has a new member in his "family," but reportedly, he has WWE's backing in a big way.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that Wyatt "is considered one of WWE's top projects right now. Officials really want him to become a top guy in the company." Tangling with Kane at first and now with Daniel Bryan is a sign of this being true. Where Wyatt is placed at WrestleMania will be a major indicator of how much the company believes in him.
Bryan's involvement with Wyatt's brood is apparently the brainchild of Vince McMahon.
Per PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, "Regarding Daniel Bryan turning and joining The Wyatt Family, word is that it's all Vince McMahon's doing. There is no clear picture as to where the storyline is going but it's all Vince's ideas."
The last statement is unsettling. As promising as this story is, the last thing WWE fans want to read about is that the company has little direction in mind for it.
That normally spells sputtering finishes to stories that begin well. It's a story that may end with Bryan breaking away from Wyatt and facing his current clan at WrestleMania.
Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania
Despite Hogan being 60 years old and several miles past his prime, rumors persist about his involvement with this year's WrestleMania.
One report, per F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, has Hogan going up against Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
Another idea that was discussed for Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XXX is to have him team with John Cena and Daniel Bryan to face The Wyatt Family in a six-man match.
There's a feeling that Hogan won't be able to pass the physical so he won't end up wrestling but it's possible WWE doctors can let him go out and do very limited physical work.
While a six-man tag is logical in terms of Hogan's physical state, sticking Cena in a tag match like this is a waste of his drawing power. Cena vs. Undertaker, Lesnar, Batista or Bryan would all be far more enticing options than something that feels like a Raw main event.
Besides, with how hard-hitting Harper and Rowan are, it's hard to imagine Hogan holding up in a bout against them.
WWE's reported other ideas are flawed as well. PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports the following.
WWE has discussed Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and John Cena working together in the main event at WrestleMania XXX. Ideas discussed include Cena and Hogan vs. Piper and another heel, Hogan and Piper vs. Swagger and Cesaro or Hogan vs. Piper in a Legends singles match.
The Hogan and Piper vs. The Real Americans match makes more sense than having Bryan and Cena working a tag match, as Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger aren't the draws that those men are. There's an obvious story about differing concepts of what a real American is.
Hogan vs. Piper was hard to watch in 1996. The 2014 version is destined to be a disaster.
"The Hulkster" is best suited at this age as a cornerman the way that Dusty Rhodes supported his sons during their match at Battleground. Any in-ring action he gets into is likely to be either a danger to his health and/or a clunker.
Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker?
Undertaker is running out of worthy opponents to challenge him for his undefeated WrestleMania streak. Lesnar is the type of formidable foe who could make ending the streak a plausible though unlikely scenario.
Those two powerhouses have met before, including a memorable Hell in a Cell clash in 2002. The latest word is that WWE is shying away from that matchup, though.
Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "there had been some concern because Lesnar works such a physical style and Taker is in really rough shape physically. This is why there was some talk of Sheamus facing Taker."
The difference in star power between Lesnar and Sheamus is immense. He's less of a threat to dethrone Undertaker than "The Beast," but it's an intriguing option in terms of what the match could do for Sheamus' career going forward.
If the biggest concern is Undertaker's inability to withstand a physical match, though, pitting him against a chest-reddening brawler like Sheamus seems like a bad idea.
Van Dam looks to be a part of the WrestleMania mix as well.
According to PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, "current plans call for Van Dam to return to the company for WrestleMania XXX season at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view later this month. WWE wanted to lock RVD in through Extreme Rules in April, but that was longer than the 90 day window he had agreed to."
What happens with the former ECW favorite at the Royal Rumble will give fans a major clue as to what direction WWE has in mind for him at WrestleMania.
While he's not likely to challenge for the WWE title or attempt to knock off Undertaker, he's a valuable piece that the company can plug in. He will produce an exciting match against just about anybody.
He could also provide a big boost for an up-and-comer, much in the way Chris Jericho did for Fandango last year.
As for Jericho, there's little word about him coming back. Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that, "People in the know, who knew about Chris Jericho's previous WWE returns, say they have heard nothing about a return happening any time soon."
Jericho surprised everyone with a return as recently as the 2013 Royal Rumble. Don't count him out of the WrestleMania picture yet.
For anyone wondering where JoJo has been, PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, offers the following report.
Regarding JoJo's current status with WWE, she is still signed to a deal and still training at the Performance Center in Orlando. Word is that she has been downplayed in favor of Eva Marie because WWE officials feel Eva is really shining as a star.
The good news here is that WWE is making the wise decision of sending someone as green as JoJo back for more training. The bad news is that the company somehow sees stardom in a woman that was a part of the worst match of 2013.
Eva is certainly attractive and would thrive with the photo shoots required of the Divas, but her ring work is so awful that she needs a long stay at the WWE Performance Center more than anyone.
Hopefully she doesn't get a spot on the WrestleMania card at the expense of more talented women like AJ Lee, Natalya and Tamina Snuka.