A new era is upon fans now that WrestleMania XXX passed the torch from the old to the new.
The next calendar year has to be filled with smart booking to keep the momentum alive, but WrestleMania 31 in Silicon Valley has to somehow surpass the instant classic that preceded it.
How can next year's major event do so? By continuing to push the young talent on the roster to new heights.
Here's an early look at some of the biggest matches the card can feature to do just that.
AJ Lee vs. Paige for Divas Title
The Divas division matters again.
Not that it didn't the past calendar year, but AJ Lee could only do so much on her own, especially as a pure wrestler (as opposed to the reality television role most of the other Divas occupy).
Now that Paige has been called up from NXT, WWE has a legit feud on its hands that will captivate audiences. Both are strong on the mic and better in the ring, and a year-long feud won't feel like a drag.
Big E vs. Alexander Rusev for the Intercontinental Title
Something has to make the Intercontinental title relevant again.
It's no fault of Big E's that it isn't since he hasn't really been given the opportunity to shine. It's time to fix that. Like the company did with the tag titles, an infusion of talent and actual placement on cards is a start.
Alexander Rusev will be a monster by this point and the perfect challenger to the title. Think what Ryback was supposed to be, except more believable and equipped with a versatile offense.
The thought here is twofold: Rusev is rare to the point WWE won't let him go to waste, and Big E deserves much, much better than a silly elimination in a Battle Royal.
Brock Lesnar vs. Cesaro
Now that Cesaro is officially a Paul Heyman guy—a decision we can all agree is simply brilliant—it sets him up to be the company's next big thing.
Give Cesaro nine months or so to swat Jack Swagger away like a gnat and feud with someone else such as Rusev before WWE pulls the classic "bring in a part-timer" schtick.
That move would be perfect in this scenario, one where Lesnar gets angry at Heyman's support for Cesaro (or vice versa). Cesaro already has the credibility of the guy who beat the streak by associating with Heyman, but he can fully take that credibility with a win over Lesnar at WrestleMania—and not inherit any of the heat in the process.
The Shield vs. Evolution
After a brief flirtation with breaking the Shield up—which will happen at some point given the outstanding solo careers each is assured—Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are once again faces in the battle against the Authority.
With any luck, this angle will continue all year with a culmination in the trio taking on Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton. It gives the vets something to do at the show and puts the young talent over in a big way.
Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker
Maybe. It's hard to imagine Undertaker is coming back. He walked into XXX alone in attire similar to his original look as a montage was played that flashed all of the best moments of his career. He left a loser for the first time at WrestleMania.
Now about a year away from turning 50, the chances Undertaker returns are slim. If he does return, it's hard to imagine a better opponent than Bray Wyatt. The leader of the Wyatt Family has already clashed with John Cena on the massive stage, so what's next has to somehow be bigger.
Wyatt is seemingly the next thing closest to Taker, and the buildup—if done right—could go down in history. It's doubtful Taker would accept another loss, but fans have already seen Wyatt doesn't need a pinfall to win.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
No folks, this isn't projecting a heel turn, although an elongated feud with Wyatt that drives Cena mad would be pretty great.
Face vs. face isn't that outlandish, especially in an era that blurs the lines between heel and face anyway.
The next logical step for Daniel Bryan is to have him defend the strap in a fair manner at next year's show. A full passing of the torch is in order, and these two have put on classic matches together in the past.
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