Road To WrestleMania: 10 Potential Matches for the Big Event
The Royal Rumble seems like ancient history. Elimination Chamber is in the books and "2.21.11" has come and gone. In the last eight days, we have seen three Hall of Famers return to the WWE Universe.
It must be WrestleMania time.
It's that time of year again, when the stakes are through the roof and every match seems to take on added importance leading up to the big event.
For the past few years, we've seen between eight and 10 matches on the live card. With that being said, let's take a look at 10 matches we may see on the card come April 3.
U.S. Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
It was good to see WWE creative actually remember to have the U.S. title defended at Elimination Chamber, and it should likewise be defended at the biggest event of the year.
Unfortunately for those fans looking for a change, I don't think you'll find it.
There aren't too many people available for a program with Bryan, so it looks like we may be getting a repeat of the U.S. title match from last weekend's pay-per-view.
Bryan is still stuck in the ridiculous program with Gail Kim and the Bellas, so hopefully a feud will develop in the near future for the talented champion.
LayCool vs. Trish Stratus & Kelly Kelly
Trish Stratus was one of four Hall of Famers to return to the WWE Universe since last Monday night, as she was announced as one of the trainers for the reincarnation of Tough Enough.
She made her presence known in the ring later in the night by coming to the aide of Kelly Kelly, who was attacked by LayCool.
Stratus is reportedly open to working a few matches now that she's doing some more work for WWE, which could very easily lead to a tag-team match in Atlanta.
WWE has been toying with the idea of pushing Kelly Kelly for weeks, and a high-profile Divas match would be just the way to get the youngster headed down the right path. It wouldn't hurt working with one of the most accomplished female wrestlers in all of professional wrestling history either.
Big Show vs. Wade Barrett
If you believe Internet reports, Wade Barrett was headed for a much bigger WrestleMania match-up as early as last month—but as they so often do in WWE, plans changed.
Barrett was widely considered the favorite to be the latest man to challenge The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania, but it now appears that the slot belongs to another superstar.
Therefore, the on-again, off-again feud with Big Show may be back on.
Fellow Corre member Ezekiel Jackson may be in the fray as well, possibly in a triple threat or handicap scenario.
There is at least some history to build upon, as Barrett made his SmackDown debut by attacking Big Show. It could give some meaning to a match that many may see as just a filler.
Tag Team Championship: the Corre (c) vs. the Nexus
We've seen a feud between the two factions teased here and there, but now is the perfect time to charge ahead with a full-fledged Corre-versus-Nexus program.
After last night's baffling main event, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater are now three-time WWE Tag Team Champions. They may be among the few, if not the only only, remaining tag teams with any sort of credibility.
Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris were a solid tag team, and could have done well competing against their former Nexus mates, but Harris was sent down to FCW to work on his look. This likely leaves David Otunga to team with McGillicutty to challenge for the tag titles.
The match would have some added heat, as the four men competing in the match were four long-standing members of the original Nexus faction.
There is plenty of history—and bad blood—to build a pretty solid program over the next six weeks, culminating with the title bout at WrestleMania.
Rey Mysterio vs. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes
Rey Mysterio's career is in its twilight.
The notion is reinforced by recent Internet reports stating that Mysterio will not renew his WWE contract when it expires next winter. This may be his last go-'round on the biggest stage in professional wrestling.
Similar Internet reports from late last year stated that Mysterio hand-picked "Dashing" Cody Rhodes to be his WrestleMania XXVII opponent. If Mysterio selected Rhodes because he wanted to put the next generation over, it goes to show what type of guy Mysterio is—and the eye for the future that he possesses.
The program will obviously build off of Mysterio's putting Rhodes out of action with a broken nose. A WrestleMania challenge may even be issued when Rhodes returns to SmackDown this Friday night.
It's a good program for both wrestlers. Mysterio can put over a youngster like Rhodes, while Rhodes can gain a lot of experience by working with one of the WWE's top performers.
Working with Mysterio, who is immensely popular on Friday nights, will only further the heat that Rhodes' heel character earns each week.
Money In the Bank
It doesn't matter if there is a Money in the Bank pay-per-view—WrestleMania XXVII needs to have a Money in the Bank ladder match.
This year's event will likely provide a top chance to establish a new main event-level superstar, which WWE needs to continue doing. Especially with the retirements of Triple H, The Undertaker, and Rey Mysterio in the not-so-distant future.
Looking at the rosters and current programs, it looks as though this year's match will have eight men: Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston (unless he misses WrestleMania after Monday's injury), R-Truth, Sheamus, Kane, Mark Henry and John Morrison.
My knee-jerk reaction would have WWE creative giving Sheamus the briefcase. Of the eight men mentioned, he and Kane would likely have the least to gain from winning.
The match could also be hyped as having two former winners—Kane and Swagger—as well as the parkour style Morrison uses (which we've been pounded over the face with as of late) and Sheamus, the former two-time WWE Champion and reigning King of the Ring.
Morrison and McIntyre would be my two personal preferences, with Morrison a bit more likely to win with the quasi-push he's been receiving as of late. Both men have shown they can hang with the big boys, and both are definitely deserving of a shot at the world title.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
This match is the first of four matches that are either confirmed, or everything but, for the April 3 event.
CM Punk may be the best heel in the company, and Randy Orton may be the biggest face in the WWE Universe. It only makes sense that the two clash at WrestleMania.
The gauntlet was essentially thrown down last night, when CM Punk threatened Orton by telling him he doesn't deserve to wrestle at "The Granddaddy of Them All." Orton, as expected, responded by attacking Punk, sending the Nexus leader running scared.
Punk and Orton may be the two men that can tell the best story without having any title, streak or career on the line. There will be plenty of animosity to go around come April 3, and the story built by these two men may be the best heading into WrestleMania.
Streak vs. Career: The Undertaker vs. Triple H
In one of the most unique ways in recent memory, two of the biggest stars in WWE history may have silently challenged each other to a clash at WrestleMania.
Few were surprised when The Undertaker was the man revealed as the subject of the "2.21.11" promos, but many were surprised when Triple H's music hitshortly after The Undertaker made his way to the ring.
All signs point to another Streak vs. Career match for The Undertaker. The story will likely be that Triple H is putting his career on the line in an attempted act of vengeance for The Undertaker's ending Shawn Michaels' career at last year's WrestleMania.
The biggest question to answer will be this:
Who does Vince McMahon hold in a higher regard in the WWE Universe? The Undertaker, or McMahon's real-life son-in-law, Triple H?
McMahon has long been considered the biggest Undertaker fan of all, and The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak is a hallowed mark in the professional wrestling world.
But Triple H is widely considered Triple H's biggest fan, and there are few that would deny that The Game would book himself to end The Streak—and add another accolade to his already loaded resumé.
There may very well be a booking war over the next few weeks as to the outcome of this match.
The rumored inclusion of Shawn Michaels as special referee does nothing to further The Undertaker's chances of reaching 19-0.
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
In the first main event of the night, we will see the 2011 Royal Rumble winner, Alberto Del Rio, take on the Rated R Superstar for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Del Rio has been on an absolute tear in 2011, beginning with his win in the Royal Rumble match. It has continued with win after win, and, most recently, with the apparent injuring of Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston.
Edge has been one of the top faces on Friday nights since arriving on SmackDown last year. His most recent success came with outlasting five other superstars, including three former world champions, in SmackDown's Elimination Chamber match last weekend.
The biggest question surrounding this match-up is whether or not WWE creative will sign off on giving Alberto Del Rio his first world championship at the biggest event of the year. Creative may opt to wait until Extreme Rules or Over the Limit before giving Del Rio the first of what may end up being many world title reigns.
On the other hand, WWE has been fast-tracking Del Rio for the last couple of months, and that fast track may lead him straight to the World Heavyweight Championship April 3.
One factor to keep in mind is the presence of Christian. He made his WWE return on Sunday night at Elimination Chamber, becoming involved in the post-match altercation between Del Rio and Edge.
Might Captain Charisma make the match a Triple Threat contest?
WWE Championship: The Miz (c) vs. John Cena
As I said earlier in the week, it apparently wouldn't be WrestleMania without John Cena competing for one of the company's two world championships.
For the seventh year in a row, Cena will main event WrestleMania; this time against The Miz.
Heading into Elimination Chamber, countless members of the WWE Universe asked: can Jerry Lawler realistically beat The Miz?
Now, heading into WrestleMania XXVII, we are left asking ourselves: can The Miz realistically walk out of Atlanta with the WWE Championship?
That is the question WWE creative will be left to answer in the next 40 days. Few members of the IWC think that The Miz will retain, as SuperCena will be booked to once again overcome all the odds to become WWE Champion.
The more intriguing facet will be the progression of the angle between Cena and The Rock.
The feud has an added element, as the comments The Rock vaguely referenced in his return promo were out of character for Cena. The "shoot" is a hot-button way to bring a real sense of importance to a feud, and whether the words being exchanged are kayfabe or not, plenty of eyes will be on WWE programming through WrestleMania XXVII to see just what The Great One meant when he said he would see John Cena at WrestleMania.