Superstars such as The Undertaker, Triple H and John Cena have built their legacies over the years at WrestleMania, but The Showcase of the Immortals also has a way of taking relative unknowns and making them household names.
Several wrestlers will have an opportunity to take the next step in their respective careers at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. Some of them may buckle under the immense pressure of performing on professional wrestling's biggest stage, while others will flourish.
Here is a close look at three up-and-coming stars who will use WrestleMania XXX as a springboard to greater success in the near future.
|Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan/Triple H||WWE World Heavyweight Championship||Triple Threat||Daniel Bryan|
|Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H||N/A||Winner added to main event||Double DQ|
|The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar||N/A||N/A||The Undertaker|
|John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt||N/A||N/A||Bray Wyatt|
|The Shield vs. Kane & New Age Outlaws||N/A||Six-Man Tag||The Shield|
|Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal||N/A||N/A||Alexander Rusev|
|Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational||Divas Championship||N/A||AJ Lee|
|The Usos vs. Real Americans vs. Los Matadores vs. Rybaxel||Tag Team Championships||Fatal 4-Way||The Usos|
Bray Wyatt has only been on the WWE roster since just prior to SummerSlam, but there is already little doubt that there are big things on the horizon for the patriarch of the Wyatt Family. Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have run rampant through WWE since their debut, and they have set their sights on the biggest fish in the pond.
Wyatt gained a great deal of credibility by beating Daniel Bryan cleanly at Royal Rumble, and that gave him enough stature to go after Cena. Whether you love him or hate him, there is no question that Cena is one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Fans are always interested in what he is doing at WrestleMania, which means that all eyes will be on Wyatt.
Over the past few months, Wyatt has made Cena's life a living hell and cost him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. Wyatt has since tried to out Cena as a phony, and his promos against the leader of the Cenation have gotten progressively better.
Their feud has been heavily based in psychology, and it has exceeded the expectations of many in terms of quality. Wyatt and Cena now face the tall task of making their match live up to the build that has preceded it.
Both men seem ready to cease the moment in New Orleans, especially Wyatt, who has issued several words of warning toward Cena on Twitter:
Louisiana is my Home Nobody takes from me in my Home Sharpen your sticks Or................ #RUN— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) April 3, 2014
Cena is essentially always considered the favorite because of his long track record of success, but that isn't necessarily the case at WrestleMania XXX. The expectation is that Wyatt will win the match since he would benefit far more from doing so than Cena.
Simply picking up a win isn't enough, though. Wyatt must prove that he is capable of putting on an entertaining and compelling singles match without the aid of an elite worker like Bryan. Cena tends to rise to the occasion when the lights shine brightest, so look for him to elevate Wyatt, which will put Wyatt on pace to become WWE's next top heel.
Aside from a brief cup of coffee in the 2014 Royal Rumble match, NXT star Alexander Rusev has yet to make his official in-ring debut for WWE. The Bulgarian Brute has already conquered WWE's developmental program, but now he has to prove that his skill set can translate to the big time.
Rusev has to overcome the stigma attached to many Eastern European wrestlers since WWE tends to book them all similarly. They generally come in, dominate lesser competition for a few months, get fed to a top face and revert to the midcard. Rusev has drawn comparisons to former WWE Superstar Vladimir Kozlov, but both Rusev and the creative writers must make sure that he doesn't go down the same path.
One thing that Rusev has working in his favor is the presence of his valet, Lana. Her character is quite reminiscent of the one played by Brigitte Nielsen in Rocky IV. Nielsen's character served as the mouthpiece for boxer Ivan Drago, and it felt like the perfect combination of brawn and beauty. As seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account, it's easy to see the parallels:
Rusev isn't currently scheduled to compete at WrestleMania XXX, but there are still three spots up for grabs in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Lana has been heralding Rusev's impending debut for weeks, and there would be no better place for him to emerge than WrestleMania.
It would be his first match, Royal Rumble notwithstanding, and it certainly isn't unprecedented for a Superstar to debut at The Show of Shows. Fandango did so last year in a winning effort over Chris Jericho. Fandango was immensely popular after that, but his momentum was derailed due to injury.
The moral of the story is that giving a new Superstar a big win at WrestleMania can be effective, and having Rusev overcome fellow monsters such as Big Show, Sheamus and Mark Henry at WrestleMania would be a major coup for the Super Athlete.
In terms of overall talent, it can be argued that nobody on the entire WWE roster can hold a candle to Cesaro. He is a fairly big man, but he seemingly has the strength of Superstars who are twice his size. He also has the technical ability to work a fantastic match with opponents of all shapes, sizes and skill levels, which makes him a huge asset to WWE.
Which potential breakout star will make the biggest impact at WrestleMania XXX?
Forgive the obvious pun, but Cesaro truly is WWE's Swiss army knife. He is incredibly versatile and capable of thriving in almost any role. He is currently blocked from gaining individual superstardom since he is part of the Real Americans tag team with Jack Swagger, but the fans are starting to respond to Cesaro in a big way, and the dissolution of the Real Americans is pretty much inevitable.
Cesaro and Swagger have been at odds lately, with manager Zeb Colter seemingly siding with the All-American American. The fans are begging for Cesaro to branch off and turn face, and it could very well happen at WrestleMania.
The Real Americans will face The Usos, Los Matadores and Rybaxel in a Fatal 4-Way match for the Tag Team Championships on the WrestleMania pre-show. While it is likely that The Usos will retain, this match will be a showcase for Cesaro, complete with European uppercuts and Cesaro swings galore.
After losing the match, look for Swagger and Colter to degrade Cesaro, which will lead to Cesaro swinging both of them in succession and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Many see immense potential in Cesaro, including WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley. After appearing on the Legends of WrestleMania roundtable on WWE Network, Foley posted a prediction regarding Cesaro on his Facebook page.
As huge as WrestleMania is, it is often the Raw following Mania that raises a deserving talent up a rung on the ladder to success-- no easy feat in the competitive world of WWE. I just get this feeling that this Monday's Raw is going to be that magic night for Antonio Cesaro. ... Suffice to say, the unique atmosphere that always accompanies that post-Mania Raw-- where fans from around the world state very loudly and proudly who it is they want to see, often serves as a harbinger of things to come. It's just a hunch.
It feels like Foley's hunch has a very realistic chance of coming to fruition, particularly if Cesaro does something special at WrestleMania. He may not leave New Orleans with gold, but the fan reaction he receives will be even sweeter.
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