10 Big Stars Still Searching for WWE WrestleMania 2018 Spot
WrestleMania is the biggest pay-per-view of the year, and performing on the show is every talent's dream, but even though it has seven hours to fill, not everybody can make it onto the card.
This year, there are even two matches that serve the purpose of finding a spot for everybody who has nothing else going on: the women's and Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal contests.
Still, with 14 matches in the works and time that must be allotted for a musical performance by Kid Rock, the Hall of Fame inductees parade, video packages, promos, backstage segments and pre-show panel analysis, time is running out to find a role on the show.
In fact, there are plenty of Superstars who are still waiting in the wings to be officially booked for the pay-per-view, for one reason or another, even while ignoring those who are taken out of the equation due to injuries like Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose, Jason Jordan and Big Cass.
There are only two more episodes of Raw and SmackDown to figure this out, so over the course of those two weeks, everybody should be paying attention to these particular Superstars to see if they work their way onto the WrestleMania 34 card.
The Undertaker, John Cena and Kane
Technically speaking, The Usos, The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers have not settled on a match together at WrestleMania, but it's pretty obvious that the Triple Threat match between them just hasn't been announced yet.
Likewise, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon will team up to face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, so they can be crossed off the list.
When it comes to the John Cena situation, it's somewhat the same but also slightly different.
Yes, the obvious conclusion to all of this is merely on hold, and we're all just waiting for The Undertaker to accept Cena's challenge to make the match official, but the major difference is that there is an actual storyline dictating their presence on this list.
It would be one thing for WWE to just not make the announcement like they have with the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. That is a product of oversight and WWE probably wanting to keep at least some announcements for next week just to keep it from feeling like the card is set in stone two weeks in advance.
Instead, the actual story being told here week-to-week is that there actively is no match right now and will be no match unless The Deadman changes his mind.
As it stands, Cena continues to refer to his options as being a match with The Phenom or that he will have to buy a ticket to sit in the stands, ignoring that he could enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This is a gross oversight of character that implies he considers it so far beneath him that he'd rather sit out the show than be involved.
If The Undertaker does not say yes in the next two weeks, Cena has no spot at WrestleMania, but even if that match gets confirmed—which it will—that still leaves Kane out in the cold.
The Devil's Favorite Demon made his return to WWE television this week on Monday Night Raw to attack Cena as a mysterious response to the perpetual tongue-lashing of his brother.
Right now, we as fans should be questioning if this means The Big Red Machine will challenge Cena, or if he's accepting on behalf of The Undertaker and then going off to do something else on his own.
Realistically, Kane will either compete at WrestleMania in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, interfere in Cena's match with The Undertaker, or skip out on the card, but none of those three options have been made official by any means right now.
The Undertaker, Cena and Kane are all tied into this together, now, with two of them heading in a direction of a match and the other possibly just being a temporary side character in all of this.
Next week's confrontation between Cena and Kane should provide more insight into the situation, but it's doubtful it will fully clarify what all three will be up to. Even if it ends with The Undertaker accepting the challenge, WWE will probably hold back on announcing Kane as a Battle Royal participant until another time.
The Hardy Boyz and Bray Wyatt
If you showed The Ultimate Deletion to someone who was just a casual wrestling fan, they would be confused at what they were watching, as even the more dedicated fan base still has reason to wonder.
By the end of whatever that was, a few questions lingered in the air.
Matt Hardy claimed The Great War to be over, so if he's no longer feuding with Bray Wyatt, what is the next thing in store for him?
With Jeff Hardy's quick appearance in the segment, does that mean he's cleared to compete in the ring soon enough for availability at WrestleMania?
After falling into the Lake of Reincarnation, but disappearing, when and how will Wyatt resurface, and are there plans for that to take place before, during, or after WrestleMania?
New Orleans has a history with voodoo, so it would make perfect sense for something to happen to spawn the rebirth of Wyatt in some fashion, either with tweaks to his character or a new revamp.
This would have to be done sometime in the next two weeks, though, if he were to compete in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, as it would be too confusing to bring him back with massive changes just one of many people walking to the ring together for that match.
Likewise, if Jeff is ready to return, that would make too big of a splash to do the same, particularly if he's to be portraying the Brother Nero character.
With The Woken Warrior himself, he's had a prominent enough spot as of late and it would feel strange for him to not be featured in some way at WrestleMania, yet even he who is not injured or floating at the bottom of a lake is still not confirmed for anything on the card.
All three or a mixture of them could be thrown into the Battle Royal, but that would be underwhelming, and there exists a possibility that a non-wrestling segment is scheduled for the pay-per-view pertaining to them, but that is all up for speculation at this point.
At the moment, none of them are being advertised for WrestleMania, so these next two weeks will be interesting to see what develops.
A few months back, Dolph Ziggler left the United States Championship in the ring and took his absence from WWE, only to return shortly after and accomplish nothing in the meantime.
His attempts to win the Royal Rumble and the Six-Pack Challenge were in vain, but one goal has yet to be extinguished, which was his mention that he's never wrestled a singles match at WrestleMania.
Sadly, things aren't looking quite so promising for The Showoff, as there aren't any opponents noteworthy enough to pair him up with for that type of a match, nor the time one the lineup to make room for another segment like that.
For a brief moment, it seemed like there was a chance he and Daniel Bryan could square off, yet that was quickly pushed aside by the end of the night with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn taking the leader of the Yes Movement out of commission.
Ziggler didn't even run in to make the save during that beating, which could have at least alluded to a possible teaming between he and Bryan against Owens and Zayn, with Shane McMahon sitting this out.
Instead, Ziggler has nothing new going for him, including not even being one of the Battle Royal participants yet.
That is likely where he'll find himself—in the land of forgotten souls—which is nowhere near what he would be striving to achieve and hoping to be booked for.
It's this lack of a purpose that calls into question why The Showoff even bothers to show up if WWE is going to dangle a carrot in front of him all the time only to yank it away when he starts to get close.
After being dismantled by Braun Strowman in the Symphony of Destruction match, Elias hasn't quite been himself.
He chose not to do his regularly scheduled performance in front of the crowd and opted to walk out instead.
It seems like a guarantee that there would be some time given to him at WrestleMania to do a musical performance, but that has yet to be made official and it might even be cut due to time constraints and making room for Kid Rock to do something.
Then again, that might be just what the plan is: for Kid Rock's performance to be interrupted by Elias and possibly even Jeff Jarrett, mixing everything together in a combination of guitar hits and songs.
An alternate route could be that Elias will be forced to team up with Strowman to be his tag team partner in The Monster Among Men's quest to obtain the Raw Tag Team Championship belts against The Bar.
All of that is just speculation at this point, though, with Elias even possibly just being relegated to the same graveyard as everyone else in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Right now, The Drifter is doing just that: drifting along aimlessly without any true purpose.
Rusev and Aiden English
Last but not least is The Bulgarian Brute, who has been one of the most consistently cheered people in recent months but hasn't been able to turn that into any momentum heading into WrestleMania.
Rusev Day has gone from being a passing joke to a slogan that is so popular with the crowd that it seems ludicrous that WWE hasn't capitalized on it by pushing him in some fashion, yet he remains just as inconsequential to the card as someone like Goldust.
Being used as a stepping stone for someone to beat so they can look strong isn't the same as being worked into the plans for WrestleMania, so Rusev and Aiden English aren't accomplishing much of anything by losing to Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles every week.
This can be rectified if Rusev in particular is able to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but even if their inclusion in that match seems like a certainty, a win is far from something you should bet on.
He's been campaigning for a celebrity opponent, but since that hasn't been mentioned on the air, it's likely just a means for him to keep himself busy on social media and stir up some buzz to avoid being completely forgotten about.
If a match was in the works with a celebrity, it would have already started to be heavily promoted by now.
Clearly, there isn't enough room on the card to give them a featured match of their own, even against any of the other tag teams who are still missing from the card like Breezango, The Ascension, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, The Miztourage and The Balor Club, but a Battle Royal victory would at least give the fans an opportunity to cheer.
It wouldn't be the biggest thing in the world, but it would suffice for keeping Rusev's fans happy enough that he was still someone who could make a highlight reel on the most important show of the year.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.