Marquee names from the past continue to be a huge part of the buzz around WWE WrestleMania XXX.
Sting, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior all have reported roles in the works at the pay-per-view. Whom among them will just be making an appearance at WrestleMania, and who will be joining what looks to be a stacked schedule of matches?
Backstage reports offer insight on what bouts to look forward to, from who Daniel Bryan is said to be facing to the surprise opponent in mind for Ryback.
Welcoming Legends in Various Capacities
WrestleMania is set to stimulate fans' nostalgia glands in a big way.
Not only will The Ultimate Warrior be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on the night before the premier event, but there is discussion about him getting in the ring and shaking the ropes once more.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports the following:
There has been talk that The Ultimate Warrior may be working one more match as part of his new deal with WWE. Word being talked about backstage is Warrior vs Ryback, likely at WrestleMania XXX. As noted, it's believed the deal with Bill Goldberg is pretty much dead because of money issues.
Ryback trades one powerhouse name from the past for another in this scenario. Should this happen, one has to wonder if the company will use it as an opportunity to elevate Ryback with a win over a legend or if "The Big Guy" will just serve as fodder here.
There is also a big question about how much Warrior can offer at age 54. His former tag team partner Sting appears headed for a spot at "The Show of Shows" as well.
An increasing number of reports roll in about the WCW and TNA star making his way to Vince McMahon's company. The latest word includes potential plans for "The Icon" at WrestleMania. Those fans dreaming of a Sting vs. Undertaker showdown won't be happy.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports the following:
The impression was also given, within WWE, that there will not be a match against The Undertaker, at least at this year's WrestleMania event. However, the idea of Sting debuting at WrestleMania XXX with some kind of cameo or vignette has been discussed.
It's both too soon and too late to put Sting in the coveted spot of trying to break Undertaker's streak.
Despite his accomplishments elsewhere, too many fans won't know much about him. Even if WWE were to sign Sting today and push him heavily up until WrestleMania, it would be hard to integrate him enough into WWE-only fans' consciousness enough. At age 54, though, it's not as if the company can be patient with plugging him in.
Introducing Sting at WrestleMania is a better, more plausible idea.
Rumors had been circulating about WWE pitting two other aging stars against each other in a marquee match. Roddy Piper told Steve Austin on his podcast that he'd been pushing for a WrestleMania match against Hogan.
That showdown won't happen after WWE's medical staff didn't clear Hogan for competition, per Wrestling Observer (h/t CagesideSeats.com). Wrestling Observer, via PWMania.com, now writes the following of WWE's other plans for "The Hulkster":
As of this past weekend, the plan is for Hulk Hogan to be the host of WrestleMania XXX. Right now Hogan isn't scheduled to do anything physical and the story is he won’t be allowed to do so based on his physical.
At this point in his career, this is the best route for him. WWE will benefit from Hogan's star power and charisma without taking up a spot on the card with a dream match destined to disappoint.
Should Hogan, Warrior and Sting all appear at the event, the little kid inside many fans is going to be jumping up and down.
Developing Match Card
The only certainty about WrestleMania XXX's lineup so far is that Batista will face the WWE champ. The remainder of the card is just beginning to take shape. CM Punk's sudden departure is certain to have a great effect on that process.
Early reports had Bryan battling Sheamus in a rematch of their WrestleMania 28 title bout. PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, wrote that this match was "pretty much 'set in stone' at this point."
That was until Punk left the company, halting his intensifying storyline with The Authority and stunning his fanbase.
A new PWInsider report, via WrestlingInc.com, notes that, "While Punk vs. Triple H was planned for WrestleMania XXX, word now is that Triple H will be facing Daniel Bryan in New Orleans this April." That clash won't satisfy the fans who believe that it's WWE title or bust for Bryan, but it represents a major opportunity.
Should Bryan be booked to win, it would give him his biggest WrestleMania moment by far and provide some catharsis for an often heart-twisting narrative where Triple H has abused and cheated him time and time again.
For the man who beat Bryan at the Royal Rumble, previous rumors of who he'll be battling at WrestleMania appear to be true. Bray Wyatt attacked John Cena both at the Rumble pay-pay-view and on Raw the following night. Does that mean those two are going to face off at the biggest show of the year?
Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com believes so. He writes of WWE's current plans for the two Superstars, "the latest word is Cena vs. Bray Wyatt."
If Cena and Bryan are both booked elsewhere, where does The Undertaker turn for an opponent? The man fans have suspected all along, apparently. Recent information from Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, not only confirms the expected WrestleMania showdown with Brock Lesnar, but that "The Beast" won't be competing at Elimination Chamber.
Earlier concerns about Lesnar's hard-hitting style being a mismatch for Undertaker appear to have quieted. F4WOnline, via WrestleZone.com, reports that "Lesnar vs Undertaker is being considered 'set in stone' for the PPV."
Of course, that was the description of the Sheamus vs. Bryan bout which has since been far less of a lock.
That proposed card is a mighty enticing one. Wyatt vs. Cena, Bryan vs. Triple H and Lesnar vs. Undertaker is almost thrilling enough of a lineup to pacify fans unhappy with Batista's likely headlining match with Orton.