Stars with the Potential to Have Legacy-Defining Matches at WWE WrestleMania 36

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2020

Stars with the Potential to Have Legacy-Defining Matches at WWE WrestleMania 36

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    Every WWE show is a chance for someone to get over, but nothing is as important throughout the year as being part of WrestleMania.

    It's called The Showcase of the Immortals for many reasons: The spotlight is bigger than ever, the energy is palpable, and everything matters more in the eyes of fans.

    While not everyone can main-event, anyone on the show has a chance for a WrestleMania moment—arguably the most coveted thing for any professional wrestler.

    The card for WrestleMania 36 is nowhere close to set in stone, but there are already a handful of Superstars set up for matches that could define their career.

    Let's look at some of the Superstars who may be in store for a noteworthy night come April 5.

AJ Styles

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    The feud between The Undertaker and AJ Styles is far from the most intricate story WWE has ever told.

    For the most part, all the company had to do was say their names and fans would have been sold with no build, but the kayfabe reason for their fight is The Deadman winning the Tuwaiq Trophy from his rival at Super ShowDown.

    Since then, it's gone in a strange direction with Styles adding Michelle McCool's name to the mix and suggesting she's been manipulating her husband to keep wrestling. It's an odd turn that could go either way, but ultimately all fans will care about is the WrestleMania showdown.

    The Phenom vs. The Phenomenal One is better on paper than what the match itself will probably be. Understandably, Undertaker isn't the same performer he was, so no one should expect a five-star classic.

    But the fact that Styles was chosen to be in such a prestigious match means he's in a win-win situation.

    If he loses, he's still in a rare club of Superstars who have fought one of the greatest of all time at WrestleMania; if he wins, he's one of only three people to beat Undertaker on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    Both men are first-ballot Hall of Famers-to-be, and since Styles was handpicked to stand across the ring from The Deadman, it further proves he is viewed as one of the top talents of the past two decades.

Roman Reigns

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    Few Superstars have been anointed as the top star in WWE as many times as Roman Reigns.

    He won a Royal Rumble, main-evented WrestleMania several years in a row, is a multi-time world champion, beat The Undertaker at The Show of Shows, and he has taken down other legends such as Triple H, John Cena and Brock Lesnar.

    Whether you wanted him to be the biggest star of this era or not, he's already collected so many achievements that it's undeniable he's an active, living legend.

    Imagine if, on top of all those accolades, he's also able to beat Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36.

    Goldberg has only lost to a handful of Superstars throughout his entire time in WCW and WWE, and he has one of the best win-loss records of all time.

    After over a full year of being out of the title picture, winning this match will put Reigns back on top and put him in an elite class of stars who were able to stop the Hall of Famer.

Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler

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    Whoever walks out of WrestleMania 36 with the Raw Women's Championship will have had a legacy-defining match, no matter if it's Becky Lynch or Shayna Baszler.

    Of course, The Man's biggest achievement happened last year when she beat Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey to win both that title and the SmackDown Women's Championship in the main event. There's no argument that will be her top accolade.

    If she retains at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 5, though, she'll be in a class with only Hulk Hogan and Brock Lesnar as Superstars who held the top title from one WrestleMania to the next and remained champion by the end of the night.

    On the flip side, if The Queen of Spades beats Lynch, she'll be able to say she's not only a two-time NXT women's champion with the longest combined title reign, but is also undefeated on the main roster and the fighter who ended The Man's lengthy hold on the belt.

    Either Baszler goes from likely Hall of Famer to future inductee, or Lynch ascends to an entirely new level previously unseen in women's wrestling.

Bray Wyatt

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    When Bray Wyatt won the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber in 2017, he broke through the ceiling that kept him as an upper-midcard act. However, he quickly slid back down the totem pole.

    By WrestleMania 33, he lost the title and followed it up with a problematic House of Horrors match. That sent him on a downward spiral that would lead to teaming with Matt Hardy, failing to get over as a pair, dropping the belts to The B-Team and taking many months off.

    Since returning as The Fiend in 2019, he's had a major resurgence in popularity that catapulted him to the Universal Championship before it was snatched away from him at Super ShowDown by Goldberg.

    History has shown that one success doesn't last forever with Wyatt, and WWE has to turn his career around and rehab his title loss.

    Thankfully, he'll have a chance to take on the biggest star of the past 15 years, John Cena, at WrestleMania 36.

    A win over The Cenation Leader is as meaningful as one could get without gold being on the line. Plus, it would offset Wyatt's loss to Cena at WrestleMania 30, which was the first real momentum-killer of his career.

    Beating Cena this year can firmly establish Wyatt as an upper-echelon talent for good, rather than just a hot act for a few months here and there.

Drew McIntyre

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    Considering Brock Lesnar's trend for being nearly unstoppable for his entire career, Drew McIntyre has his work cut out for him this year.

    However, the Scot did take out The Beast Incarnate at the Royal Rumble and he will confident he can etch his name in the history books at WrestleMania 36.

    If The Scottish Psychopath does come out on top, he'll have not only fulfilled his prophecy that 2020 will be his year, but he will also fulfill his destiny, after being billed as The Chosen One from his WWE debut in 2007.

    This will be the first WWE world title for McIntyre, meaning he'll be joining the elite list of Superstars who are able to say they were once considered the best in sports entertainment.

    If McIntyre wins on April 5, it will be the most important thing he's done in his career.

Rhea Ripley

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    It may be premature to say a win at WrestleMania 36 will be legacy-defining for Rhea Ripley, but if she's able to beat Charlotte Flair, it will be an achievement that will officially crown her as the "next big thing."

    The writing is already on the wall in some ways: She was the first NXT UK women's champion, the one to beat Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship and has been on a tear the past few months.

    But Flair is likely to go down in WWE history as the most successful female talent of all time. She's already won more women's titles than anyone else and is far from done collecting gold.

    If The Queen puts Ripley over, the 23-year-old will have accomplished a Hall of Fame-level achievement years before her prime. The keys to the kingdom will be hers, and this match will have been her launching pad.


    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.