WrestleMania XXVIII is set to take place on April 1, 2012, in Miami. We already know we'll be seeing The Rock square off against John Cena, but what about the rest of the card?
From now until those final matches are booked, we will be eagerly anticipating the card for the industry's most extravagant event. In addition to the anticipation, there were also be quite a few questions.
Who will be Undertaker's 20th opponent? Is Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, going to appear? Will Stone Cold Steve Austin play a role? And will Justin King ref the main event as he should?
Well through a bit of logic and a little wishful thinking, here is what I would book for WrestleMania XXVIII.
Wishful Thinking: Already Booked
Logic: Already Booked
Build-up: It'll be The Great One vs. The Fruity Pebble on the industry's biggest stage. It'll also be The Attitude Era vs. The PG Era, the 18 and older demographic against the kiddy demographic and the "If ya smell what The Rock is cookin'" against "You can't see me."
Whatever it is, this dream matchup has the potential to define the company.
Wishful Thinking: If there ever were a mark out moment, this would definitely be it. We would have today's Stone Cold Steve Austin against, well, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Given that their characters are considerably different, both still carry the "I don't give a damn" mentality. Both also are or were two of the best in-ring technicians in wrestling history. Austin-Punk, need I say more?
Logic: When repeatedly asked who Austin would want to work with today, he constantly responded with CM Punk. So if Austin is willing, is Punk? Hell yeah! Punk idolized this man growing up. Do you remember the shirt he wore during his epic shoot? How about the picture of him as a teenager alongside Austin?
Build-up: From now through Survivor Series, we may see these two take an interesting angle. Punk is scheduled to have a feud with Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Title and Austin is one of the rumored names for Triple H's Survivor Series team. But regardless of what they do until 'Mania, the appropriate build-up should start somewhere near the Royal Rumble.
This match can come about through the Rock-Cena bout. Punk and Austin can bounce off of that dream matchup to make one of their own.
Wishful Thinking: Taker and Trips put on quite a match at last year's show, so why not again? Plus, this would be Taker's 20th win at WrestleMania. Capturing that 20-0 record against a legend like Triple H would only be fitting.
But to make this year's different from last, we'll throw in none other than Mr. WrestleMania himself to officiate it. That's right, Shawn Michaels could be the special guest referee for this big time match.
Logic: The conclusion of the match left this angle wide open. Although Undertaker came out on top, he could not manage to get backstage under his own power. His inability to do so may motivate him to lock up with The Game again. Plus, Triple H did leave a possible rematch on the table the night after the match.
As far as Michaels being the referee, why not? He's always open to doing some WWE related stuff.
Build-up: Since this already happened and a rematch was left on the table, a bunch of build-up isn't really necessary. The only angle that needs build is HBK as the ref. If that's the case, then Triple H and Shawn can have an in-ring confrontation prior to the event. They can refer back to when Shawn claimed Triple H couldn't beat Taker and use that to catapult in the middle of things.
Wishful Thinking: Y2J!
Logic: Since he's Chris Jericho, we'll start with him. Although he is currently involved in other endeavors, Jericho has always been open to returning, In fact, there are numerous reports of his potential return. As far as I'm concerned, it's a matter of when, not if. That 'when' may be very soon.
My choice of Del Rio here does warrant a few answers. You may ask why he still has the strap up to this point. To that I say, why not? The WWE Title is supposed to be the most coveted prize in the history of this business. Instead, it has become nothing less than a prop over the last handful of months. It has been paraded around more than Kelly Kelly in the locker room. The only way to bring it's glory back is to keep it on someone for a while.
You may also ask, why does it have to be Del Rio? And to that I say again, why not? The company currently lacks any sort of variety in their championship picture. It's John Cena, Randy Orton, and _______. Given Mark Henry has made quite the push, it's still a very thin group. Del Rio can work a mic, he's more than decent in the ring, and he could become a very solid heel in the WWE.
Build-up: For Del Rio, he can just hold the strap until 'Mania. He can engage in a few feuds with the likes of CM Punk and John Cena and retain the belt by the skin of his teeth each time.
For Jericho, well, that's another story. I would have Y2J return at the Royal Rumble and end up winning the traditional match, earning him a title shot at 'Mania. He would immediately peg Del Rio and his WWE Title as his target. And just as he did with his WWE debut and return in 2007, he can run a "Save Us" angle against ADR. (He "saved" us from The Rock in his debut and Orton in his return.)
Wishful Thinking: If you internet nerds are done changing your underwear, I'll begin.
Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan are undoubtedly two of the best wrestlers in the business today. If Randy Orton can turn heel at some point before the show, this could be one of the David vs. Goliath matchups.
Logic: Let's get Orton out of the way. He's Randy Orton, of course he'll be in the title picture. Next...
Back in July, Daniel Bryan won a little thing called the Money in the Bank briefcase. As you know, this particular prize allows the winner to setup a title match at any time of his choosing. Bryan has already chose to cash-in his opportunity at WrestleMania XXVIII.
There have also been a few signs of this potential matchup. One was the incident involving two Sun Life Stadium ticket holders receiving an advanced e-mail regarding the event. One man claimed the e-mail advertised for Orton vs. Bryan and the other claimed it just said Orton and Bryan. Either way, it looks a bit suspicious to advertise Bryan outside of a World Heavyweight Title match.
Another bit of evidence comes from a interview with Bryan. When asked who he would like to face at 'Mania, he said Orton. Perhaps he is hinting at it.
Build-up: Randy Orton will finally conquer the force that is Mark Henry at Royal Rumble. This would have given Henry a legitimate amount of time with the strap and would transition nicely into another Orton reign. The Rumble is also in St. Louis, Missouri, Orton's hometown.
Again, none needed for Bryan. He has the contract and has said he wanted his match on the biggest stage in the company.
Wishful Thinking: Giving Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett and nice feud would do wonders for these two future main eventers.
Logic: If Rhodes and Barrett have to stay relevant, which they most certainly should, they must have a match at WrestleMania XXVIII. Both are the future of the WWE and should not be shoved aside for undeserving guys like Sin Cara or John Morrison.
Build-up: With the revival of the classic Intercontinental Title look also came the revival of its importance. In an effort to build Cody and the IC title, Rhodes should hold it for an extended period of time. This would enforce Rhodes as a top talent and bring back the glory of a well-respected championship belt.
As for building a feud between them...
Rhodes would eventually drop the mask and transition into a face. Wade Barrett would still remain in his disgruntled, uppity heel character.
Barrett can complain about the lack of opportunities he receives and challenges any champion to a match. That champion, Cody Rhodes.
Wishful Thinking: Keeping Mark Henry, Sheamus, and Christian in the thick of things would be great. With the lack of major main event talent, these three can still remain relevant.
Logic: When I slated all the other matches, I was extremely bent on putting all of these three in the event. But since each of them have main event talent and each have held a major title at least once, you can't just kick them to the side. This may be a little but on the side. But performing any match at 'Mania is better than not performing at all.
In order to keep Henry, Sheamus and Christian around, they have to be involved in the company's biggest show.
Build-up: Henry, Sheamus, and Christian have all held the World Heavyweight Title. However, each of them can approach the angle as if they were all cheated out of another shot for the WHC. By my booking, Henry would have lost it to Orton at the Rumble. That would justify his anger at wanting another match. Sheamus can hold claim to a shot, saying Henry and Christian have already blown their chances. And Christian, of course, can keep the "One more match" craze going.
In the segment that would start this feud, Mark Henry would start demanding a match in the middle of the ring on a SmackDown! episode. Christian would then interrupt and push his rematch campaign at Henry. After that, Sheamus would also come out and give his case for it.
But since Bryan would be the opponent for Orton already, they would all engage in a three-way feud leading up to their triple threat at WrestleMania XXVIII.
Wishful Thinking: Can we please have a tag team match at WrestleMania? PLEASE!!!
Logic: It looks like the Tag Team Championships are on their back to relevance. So what better way to reintroduce these once highly sought after belts than giving the division a match at WrestleMania? A tag team title match has happened just once in the past events.
Each of the four teams is already established and each man in the match should be included in WrestleMania.
Build-up: Although you see the team of Air Boom holding the titles in the picture above, it wouldn't really matter who has them at that point. Hoping some sort of tag team division would be ready by April 1, 2012, maybe all of these pairs could give us an entertaining opener.
The build-up wouldn't have to be much, In fact, as long as they're linked together, there doesn't have to be any build.
This would be a Four Corners Elimination match, similar to that of the one held at WrestleMania X8. Billy and Chuck defended their titles against the APA, The Dudley Boys, and the Hardy Boyz. (Your welcome for bringing you back to a time where tag teams mattered.)
Rey Mysterio: Nagging knee injuries could keep him out. I hope he's back for then, but let's assume not.
Sin Cara: The less we see of this, the better.
Alex Riley: He'll be there soon, but just not ready yet.
John Morrison: Looking more and more like a jobber.
Mason Ryan: Baby Batista is still in the making.
Divas: Shall I even explain?
Zack Ryder: Sorry internet nerds, he's not there yet.
Ted DiBiase: Soon.
Drew McIntyre: Eventually.
Justin King is undoubtedly the greatest referee in the history of the business.
So with your help, let's get Justin as the referee for the main event at WrestleMania XXVIII. Write letters, send e-mails, do what you have to do!
Otherwise, thank you for viewing and feel free to leave any comments or opinions below.