WrestleMania XXX has been subject to more speculation concerning swerves and heel turns than any in recent memory. That's saying a lot for a time when WWE is under immense pressure to deliver a memorable, climactic show.
During the Kings of Sport WrestleMania XXX preview, talk quickly surfaced as to whether or not CM Punk would shock the wrestling world and appear, which would be the swerve of all swerves after a very real departure. This stemming from surprising comments from Steve Austin during his podcast (h/t Marc Middleton of Lordsofpain.net), who believes he will:
I'm telling you, I'm going to stick to my prediction that CM Punk is going to make his return at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. I made this prediction two months ago here on the show. It's been a long time, I think he's cooled his jets, he's got some rest, and I think it's time to get back to work.
I don't see him participating in a match but it would be great to see him in a run-in to establish himself, to entrench himself immediately in a memorable and just a great moment, and I would say plant himself firmly in the middle of an angle, because he would be the angle, by attacking whoever he sees fit to attack or asserting his presence rather, whatever the case may be.
The chances of CM Punk returning to WWE should be considered slim to none. To shoot an angle with Punk at this point would come off as forced.
The card was actually able to settle into a fan-friendly groove with Punk's departure. A recent appearance on AMC's The Talking Dead offered a glimpse at Phil Brooks—Punk's real name—whose affiliation with WWE was not mentioned. For all intents and purposes, dude's done.
If anybody knows more about the psychology of a shoot walkout and subsequent return, it's Steve Austin. In this case, however, his prediction is a stretch to say the least.
One angle that won't be a stretch is a Shield heel turn of some variety. Since its face turn, The Shield seems to have extended its shelf life after previously being marred with turmoil.
This is likely being done to set up for a swerve. If The Shield members would have turned on each other as heels or tweeners, the impact is decreased because this is what is expected from these types of characters. But now with a kinder, gentler Shield, a double cross means much more.
According to F4WOnline (h/t Wrestling Inc.), plans call for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to turn on Roman Reigns, which sounds about right.
No sounds have come from Alexander Rusev or Lana in the past few weeks. Despite radio silence from the once-surging monster heel, he should still be considered a favorite to win. Rusev's silence appears to be by design.
With all the focus currently on Big Show, and Rusev still not announced, a Rusev victory will come off as more surprising and eventful.
Three spots still remain in the Andre Memorial Battle Royal, creating a few opportunities for surprises. The ultimate surprise would be seeing the Warrior sprint down the elongated WrestleMania ramp through the Mercedes Benz Super Dome and into that Battle Royal.
What's the most likely scenario for Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX?
The presence of Triple H, Warrior's WrestleMania XII opponent, near the top of another WrestleMania card makes many fans uneasy.
It is a foregone conclusion that there will be a title change in the main event of WrestleMania, but will Daniel Bryan really walk out as champion? What if there's a Fatal 4-Way? What if Triple H wins?
Given the direction of the Bryan saga, anything outside of Triple H losing can safely be considered a swerve. This storyline, despite being altered at points, has set up perfectly for Bryan to conquer at WrestleMania. Triple H is no stranger to lying down at WrestleMania.
Triple H spent four consecutive WrestleMania appearances doing just that. Ten years after Triple H's tapout loss at WrestleMania XX, Bryan's story will end on a high note.