The Royal Rumble has always billed as the start of the road to WrestleMania and that kicked off in San Antonio in front of a little over 50,000 fans. The event itself had its high notes and it’s low points but no matter how you felt about the Rumble, there is no doubt that we now have a clearer picture of what the showcase of the immortals may look like. Below are just a couple of the obvious and the not so obvious matches that could take place in Orlando this April.
Randy Orton .vs. Bray Wyatt
The Viper has finally been thrusted back onto the main event stage as he was able to withstand a Roman Reigns rally to win the Royal Rumble. Much like Raw with Owens and Jericho, Smackdown has spent a healthy margin of television time on the Wyatt Family. So much time being invested into a story deserves its proper ending and what better way to put an exclamation point on it then with a title match at Mania. I can see Bray Wyatt winning the title at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and opening the door to the Orton/Wyatt feud. It’s a great opportunity for Wyatt to work on the big stage with another future hall of fame star.
Kevin Owens .vs. Chris Jericho
It just makes sense for the Canadian honeymoon to eventually come to a crashing halt and I’m buying into what the internet wrestling outlets have been alluding to, we will see Owens and Jericho battle at Mania. The only question I really have is how things will reach a boiling point between the two friends. I’m rolling with one of two ways here. The first way is that Reigns will wrestle Owens at Fastlane in March. Jericho could accidentally cost Owens the belt which would one create the feud and two, make Reigns and Taker a title match. The second way is that someone Owens cost Jericho the US title and or Jericho gets tired of playing second fiddle to Owens’ title run. Either way, this much like the Wyatt story has been front and center on WWE programming for a long time now and it just makes too much sense to not do it.
Seth Rollins .vs. Triple H
This is one of the more obvious matches on the card as the wheels had been set in motion back in late August. It started when Triple H turned his back on Rollins in the form of a pedigree which helped Kevin Owens win the Universal Championship. Rollins has been demanding a face to face with the king of kings and after Rollins lost his spot in the rumble due to being distracted by Triple H’s music, Rollins decided to take the bull by the horns. Rollins invaded the NXT Take Over event in San Antonio and called out Triple H. It was a rather anti climatic ending though as HHH had Rollins escorted out by security but their WrestleMania match is most definitely picking up speed. Rollins has always been an above average talent in the ring but has also been getting better with his promos as well. This match will have a big fight feel for sure.
Roman Reigns .vs. Undertaker
Once it was made clear that the Undertaker would not be retiring the question then became, who will go against the deadman at WrestleMania. It was expected that whatever happened in the Rumble would be a clear indicator of who the Undertaker would end up wrestling. It looks as if we have gotten that answer and it looks to be Roman Reigns. Earlier in the Rumble, Braun Strowman attacked Reigns and cost him the title. At that point it looked like the road was paved for a Reigns and Strowman showdown in Orando but all of that changed towards the end of the night. Reigns found a way to make himself a little more hated by the WWE universe when he eliminated Taker from the rumble. The stare down was long and the electricity is real. Bray Wyatt was the only younger star that Taker has gone up against in Mania over in the last eight years. It is time for a superstar under 35 years old to get a shot and Reigns appears to be the guy.
The Miz .vs. John Cena
There have been plenty of noteworthy superstars within WWE that to me, made some serious headway in 2016 and deserve a good spot in WrestleMania this year. Two of the names in particular are Chris Jericho and The Miz. As previously mentioned, I think Bray Wyatt will win the title at Elimination Chamber so obviously they’ll need to do something with John Cena. That creates a perfect storm for a huge draw like Cena and a guy like the Miz that has really brought himself back to relevancy with awesome promos and hard work in the ring. Miz has already shown that he can hang with Cena in the promo department as they previously faced off back in WrestleMania 27. Miz has no issues what so ever in regards to generating heat from the WWE universe while Cena is the man who can do no wrong. I think this is also a matchup that can keep Miz’s relevancy afloat as I feel he has a title run coming to him in 2017. Love him or hate him, the Miz has been impressive since the day after WrestleMania 32 and it would be a shame for WWE to not capitalize on that. I’m just going to go on record now and say that if Samoa Joe doesn’t show up before Mania he will definitely make his presence known on Raw the night after and attack Cena.
Goldberg .vs. Lesnar
This is another feud that has been long expected to come to an end at WrestleMania. After the Survivor Series shocker, I for one expected Lesnar to get the upper hand on Goldberg in the Rumble and even the playing field heading into Mania. That didn’t happen as Goldberg marched into the Rumble and make quick work of the Minnesota native. Lesnar is going to have to even the playing field in beast like fashion soon as the WWE universe could potentially start to get behind Lesnar and against Goldberg. It will be at a Raw sometime soon or Fastlane but Goldberg will catch a serious beating which will then make the WrestleMania matchup one worth having.
Dean Ambrose .vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin has been built to look like an absolute force by any means necessary. His reckless abandon when fighting opposing superstars is something that could mesh well with Ambrose’s style. Despite Ambrose’s funny side, there is no doubt that these two are all about less talk and more action. This could be a brutal and hard-hitting matchup and that could have the crowd screaming ‘this is awesome’ in no time. Injecting the Intercontinental title into things would hurt the build up one bit. While Ambrose has consistently been in the top spot on Smackdown while Corbin has just recently thrown himself in some quality matches with Styles and Cena. If they’re looking to not bury Corbin I think this is the way to go. Ultimately, they’ll likely go with some sort of gimmick ladder match to get more bodies involved but really it just waters down any potential storylines. Welcome to WWE programming.
Charlotte .vs. Bailey .vs. Nia Jax .vs. Sasha Banks
Charlotte is an absolute beast and it’s been much discussed how she is 16-0 in pay per view title matches. Making the Women’s title a fatal four way matchup is a perfect way to get Bailey over and have her WrestleMania moment with Charlotte still looking strong in pay per views. You could easily have Bailey pin Jax or Banks to create the storyline where Charlotte gets the rematch for ‘the title that she never lost’. Sasha undoubtably deserves her spot here and I think it is also a great opportunity for Jax to showcase herself in something besides a kickoff show or squash match. The triple threat match worked at Mania last year and I think the fatal four-way can work well this year. If it ends being half the match that last years was then we are in for a serious treat.