WrestleMania has come and gone, and we were treated to a nice opening bout between Smackdown's two biggest stars in "The Essence of Excellence" Alberto Del Rio and the World Champion "Rated R Superstar" Edge, who won the 11-minute match with his patented spear.
Edge continues to cement himself as the top of the blue brand roster, but that wasn't the only story for the Smackdown crew coming out of the Georgia Dome. Although the opinions of fans have varied on what occurred last night, it is important to note that there are actually more questions than answers that need to be addressed for the future of everyone's favorite Friday night program.
1) Will Christian finally get the chance to win the World Championship?
Although Edge came out as the victor in his match with Del Rio on Sunday, it can be argued that he wouldn't have won without the aid of his former tag team partner Christian. It should be noted that Christian has two clean wins over ADR, and now may decide to insert himself into the World Championship picture.
To the delight of many within the IWC, he may finally get that chance. Yes, I know he had a whiff in the main event scene on Raw back in 2005, but no one actually believed he had a shot to win it all. Expect him to respectfully request a title shot from Edge and the expected turn to take place. If there was ever a time for the WWE to finally give this man a chance to win the belt for his "peeps" it is now!
Will Del Rio win the championship in 2011?
2) How will Del Rio rebound from his loss?
Many people may view Del Rio as a choke artist after losing clean to Christian twice and blowing his chance to achieve his "destiny" as World Champion. We should be careful to label him as such, as time has proven over and over again that just because someone loses at WrestleMania doesn't mean they won't have another opportunity to hold the gold again (re: Randy Orton).
ADR will find some way to get back into the mix, maybe via a "Beat the Clock" challenge which they usually do after WM. It could potentially lead to a three-way match between himself, Edge, and the aforementioned Christian at Extreme Rules in May. All is not lost here, Del Rio fans, as I predict that he will still win the championship this year, even at the expense of the Christian-Edge relationship.
3) Will the Undertaker return?
The "Last Outlaw" fought HHH to a hard-fought 30-minute classic yesterday, leaving both men lying in pain on the ground and the Deadman having to be carried out. As he ran his undefeated WM streak to 19-0, he didn't leave on his feet, which left many fans wondering if this was the last time we would see him in a WWE ring.
I believe we will see him come back later this year. Once Del Rio wins the World Championship he will have a strong reign which will open the door for The Phenom to come and take his shot. I still believe that he will take this streak to 20-0 next year in Miami before hanging it up.
Can Wade Barrett establish the credibility of the IC title again?
4) How will the Corre make their presence felt on Smackdown?
These next two questions discuss the only faction in WWE in the Corre. We'll explore the tag team division first, which is minimal at best. Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel should be able to enjoy a long reign with the belts (it would be cool if they used Ezekiel Jackson as well and instituted the old "Freebird rule," but that's just the old school fan in me) since there isn't much competition. Expect Big Show and Kane to continue their feud and still gun for the titles for the foreseeable future.
5) Can Wade Barrett restore the credibility of the IC title?
Last year Wade Barrett went from NXT to becoming the top storyline of 2010 on Raw as he challenged John Cena. He may have came up short for the title, but went over to the blue brand and defeated Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship a few weeks ago on Smackdown.
Even though they lost yesterday in what was basically a squash match to Kane/Big Show/Santino/Kingston, I think the Corre will hold up the IC title/tag team portion of the program, with Barrett fending off all challengers. He is exactly what the WWE needed at this point, a strong heel who has proven mic skills and talent to give a nice rub to whomever beats him for the belt eventually. That answer as to whom will be revealed later in this article.
Will Awesome Kong show up on Smackdown?
6) Will we see Awesome Kong show up on Friday nights?
Right now the Divas division is stagnant at best, and is in desperate need of a shakeup. LayCool have done an admirable job as heels, but there needs to be something to get fans to enjoy them for something other than their looks (although I'm sure that's not a priority for McMahonagement).
I present to you the solution: Awesome Kong! They should bring her along to really make her presence felt and run roughshod over the rest of the women in the division. Should they have her win the Divas championship, it will at least give Gail Kim a reason to go back to the blue brand.
7) Where does Cody Rhodes go from here?
The "Dashing One" has really surprised me with how much he has grown into a complete wrestler, culminating with a WrestleMania victory over Rey Mysterio that took his darker character to another level.
Does this mean we should expect Rhodes to make a splash in the main event scene? Not yet, as he still has to continue getting his character over new challengers and may actually insert himself into the upper-mid card slot since beating Mysterio. I just hope they don't put him back into the tag team ranks again, as that was just dreadful.
Will Rey Mysterio leave SD for Raw?
8) Where does Rey Mysterio go from here?
He's lost his feud with Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes. He is no longer a threat to win the World Championship, and his career looks to be fading into the sunset. What is the Captain America-clad superstar to do?
The answer is simple: hope to get drafted to Raw, especially with Sin Cara coming on board. You just know that this matchup will happen, even if they are on different brands, but it may suit Mysterio to have one last moment on the red brand. I think that it will give him a chance to take on guys such as the Miz and renew acquaintances with CM Punk and dozens of the A-show stars.
9) Who will come over to Smackdown during the draft?
Sometimes the draft produces great results, and sometimes it doesn't. I think that this is the year that the draft will produce new stars on different brands and really create new storylines.
I think that Evan Bourne would benefit greatly in the draft going to Smackdown. Having him team with Kofi Kingston to challenge the Corre for the tag belts would be nice, or even having him take on Barrett will finally allow him to get a shot at WWE gold.
For me, the person who needs to make a move should be John Morrison. He has gone from opening 2011 as a potential championship contender to sharing top billing with Snooki at WrestleMania. He could challenge Sheamus for the US belt but for what purpose? I could see him mixing it up with Del Rio or even getting into the Edge/Christian storyline since Smackdown seems to be the home where first time champions have a better chance to shine.
Will the Undertaker return?
I do think that Daniel Bryan will also show up on the blue brand before the year is out. He's reached his ceiling on Raw and I think he will go over to Smackdown to establish it as the true wrestling show.
10) Will we see any new debuts on Friday nights after WrestleMania?
We've already discussed Kong's probable appearance, but I think we may see guys such as Tyler Black from RoH and maybe a return of some of the other FCW guys who were on the New Nexus such as Mason Ryan and Ax Mulligan (the former Husky Harris).