WrestleMania 31: Projecting Next Year's Main Events, Undercard and Winners
Just after the last speck of confetti had fallen in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the journey to WrestleMania 31 officially began.
Brock Lesnar is need of new prey after besting The Undertaker, Roman Reigns needs a way to catapult himself toward the mountaintop after two wins with The Shield at consecutive WrestleManias and Daniel Bryan's opponents at "The Show of Shows" will have to be of a high caliber from this point forward. The company has to balance part-timers with rising stars in the puzzle that is the WrestleMania card.
Undertaker's loss likely means it was his last WrestleMania. His defense of the streak is one attraction fans can no longer count on. Up-and-comers will have to step in and deliver instead.
A look at who is trending upward and whose star power is shining brighter after WrestleMania 30 gives us a glimpse of the future, of what to look forward to when WrestleMania hits Santa Clara, Calif.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Cesaro's win in the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will likely push him up a few rungs. He was one of the night's biggest stars by way of uppercutting Rey Mysterio out of the ring, bodyslamming Big Show and being the first man to take home the Andre trophy.
Expect WWE to nudge someone else forward next year when the company revisits this concept.
While the Battle Royal was messy and cluttered at first (as they usually are), it dwindled down to an impressive collection of athletes. That's something WWE can revisit, allowing it to cram quite a few wrestlers onto the card who might have otherwise been left off.
Alexander Rusev is the ideal winner for the second time WrestleMania hosts this Battle Royal.
Tearing through that match, tossing out giants and emerging the victor would solidify him as a powerful rising star. By March 29, 2015, Rusev will have likely moved from bragging on a podium to bashing folks in the ring.
A Battle Royal win is a smart way to further the momentum he gathers from now until then.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns took part in the decimation of The New Age Outlaws and Kane at WrestleMania 30. By the time next year's event rolls around, count on him doing his hunting minus the pack.
WWE has been highlighting him significantly as of late.
He followed his spear frenzy at Survivor Series with a historic performance at the Royal Rumble. He boasts an easy win over Mark Henry as well. Superstars on the verge of becoming megastars have had to go through Triple H before.
Triple H battled Sheamus at WrestleMania 26, and just as CM Punk's career trajectory took off thanks to The Summer of Punk in 2011, he too found himself in the ring with "The Game." Daniel Bryan's most recent triumph began with a tough win over the COO.
WWE can shoot Reigns into the main event scene by having him follow those wrestlers' leads.
Unlike Sheamus, though, Reigns will win. The company continues to thrust him forward, and this would be just another long stride in his journey.
Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus
At WrestleMania 30, Sheamus just lost out on becoming the first man to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Bray Wyatt saw victory against John Cena slip from his fingers.
Both men get a fresh opponent in California. Wyatt's loss saw him push Cena to the proverbial limit. That's a sign of how highly WWE views him.
It didn't think he was ready for defeating Cena, but Sheamus is a lower-level prey whom a win over still has value. WWE can rely on these two to deliver an intense collision, one that elevates Wyatt much like the hard-fought battle against Cena did.
Cesaro vs. Randy Orton
Cesaro made WrestleMania 30 his launching pad.
After an entertaining performance in the tag match on the pre-show, he seemingly split from Jack Swagger. Swagger attacked him and then tried to offer a reconciliatory handshake. Cesaro responded by swinging him around instead.
The Swiss strongman's first WrestleMania then saw him win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Next year, expect him to be on a higher tier. He's gathering momentum in stockpiles and will be adding a victory over a former world champ to his resume. Orton should be out of the title picture by that point after his rematch clause is used.
He's still be a marquee name, and one WWE knows will produce a great match with Cesaro.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
John Cena didn't pull a Chris Jericho and put Bray Wyatt over at WrestleMania 30. Apparently, a clean win over the leader of the Cenation at WrestleMania is an honor bestowed onto only a precious few.
After Bryan's glorious pair of victories in the Superdome, Cena can serve as his next WrestleMania conquest. Winning the WWE title at WrestleMania puts Bryan in a select group of Superstars. Pinning Cena like he did at SummerSlam 2013 would make him a superhero.
With as fervent as Bryan's fans are, it's hard to see them quieting any time soon.
Look for WWE to try and have him climb even higher, battling a headliner with an impressive WrestleMania record and coming out on top. WWE assures itself raucous crowd reactions and a classic match with this pairing.
The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Brock Lesnar broke Undertaker's WrestleMania streak.
That stunning win puts him in a category all his own. He can't settle for anything other than an all-time great at WrestleMania 31.
Had he not needed surgery right after losing to John Cena last year, The Rock likely would have been battling Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 instead of just appearing in an opening segment with Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin.
The Rock told Peter Rosenburg that the original plan was for WWE to begin building toward Lesnar vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 30 right after WrestleMania 29. The Great One, though, suffered an injury to his abdomen.
A rematch of their SummerSlam 2002 WWE Championship bout would be an even bigger matchup now. The Rock has gone on to become a household name through his movie career, and Lesnar upped his profile via winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship, not to mention knocking off The Deadman.