Craig Wilson & Jamie Lithgow
With the dust settled on SummerSlam 2013, what better time is there to look towards Wrestlemania 30. For the first time in several years, the main event hasn’t been locked in so everything – well certainly a lot of stuff – is still up in the air. That said, that didn’t stop Jamie trying to predict the card right after Wrestlemania 29.
Today will give consideration to what to expect in the next few months leading to next year’s Wrestlemania. Who will be the various champions and who will be going in as Royal Rumble winner. These topics, and others, will be covered in this Sunday Sermon.
Craig: A very interesting topic here. For the past few years the main event had been set in stone since the previous year’s event. This year is different, although it’s worth noting that had Rock v Cena II gone better there’s every chance that the rubber match would conclude next year’s supershow.
For the coming month or so I think the focus of the WWE programming will be on the new corporate champion Randy Orton and the underdog challenger Daniel Bryan. I think the two will put on a series of very solid matches – largely owing to Bryan but helped by a rejuvinated looking Orton. As for Cena, I don’t think he’ll be thrust straight back into the title picture. I think that with The Rock, Stone Cold and even The Undertaker not yet set in stone for next year’s Wrestlemania, the WWE may be keen to have a WWE title match not involving Cena so that they can have him in another main event role. Perhaps a match against Brock? I certainly think that would be a wrestlemania calibre match.
Jamie: I’m inclined to agree with you here, I don’t see Cena being involved with the WWE Title at ‘Mania. In fact, I don’t even see Cena going on last this year. I am going to stick with my original prediction and say that he faces The Undertaker.
I feel like the torch has been passed to Bryan, but Cena will continue to hover as a back up plan. I think they will do what they did with CM Punk, only with more conviction this time. Punk may have been champion but Cena still headlined. This time I see someone else genuinely becoming the focal point.
Cena will no doubt take time off to repair his gross looking elbow, and upon his return I see him focussing on the one thing bigger than the WWE Title; The Streak. The Undertaker’s match is considered in the same regard (if not higher) than the WWE Title match so it won’t be a departure from the main event scene for Cena.
Craig: What about returning stars, who do you think will come back and who can we pretty much bet against? I think Stone Cold is very unlikely. There have been warm words regarding a return but I read that he’s off on a 3 month hunt so doesn’t sound that interested in getting himself in shape for a ring return. The Rock? Am not so sure if he’d be all that interested. He’s certainly hinted strong enough that he doesn’t plan on wrestling again but that’s not to say he won’t.
I think one person that’s got to be in with a shout is Batista and the Evolution reformation – if that’s what is was – helps fuel that speculation a bit. I think you could be right regarding The Undertaker v John Cena so there’s one of the main events booked. Got to wonder though, who will be involved in the WWE title scene come Wrestlemania 30. Is Orton v Bryan, or indeed against anyone, big enough to headline the show?
Also, what about Brock Lesnar? He’s scheduled for the next few Wrestlemanias at least. I can’t say him being anything other than upper midcard/main event for the show. Asfor who he faces, well that’s a bit trickier. It’s highly unlikely his feud with Punk will run that long so that’s probably out of the equation. Jamie, you’d fancied him facing The Rock for the WWE title come ‘mania and when you wrote the post I was in agreement. What do you think now, though?
Jamie: In terms of returns I think you may have something there with Batista and the whole Evolution thing. He’s currently filming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, which is due for release next year. I can see him coming in, promoting his movie, reforming Evolution and having a match at ‘Mania. That’s the kind of mainstream crossover WWE likes.
As for an opponent, well, how about Lesnar? Rock/Lesnar is a shout, but Rock’s status is far from settled. Punk/Lesnar II is also a shout, but Heyman (Punk’s real nemesis) is a weekly character and there’s no way they can milk this feud until then. A Hell in a Cell rematch would be more fitting for them. That doesn’t leave too many big name options for Lesnar, but if Batista returns then you have a ready made dream match right there.
The story writes itself, The Animal vs. The Beast. Lesnar is the real life tough guy while Batista is the Hollywood poser who dipped his toe into the MMA waters. It would work with both men as heels, but a Lesnar face turn wouldn’t be out of the question.
As for the WWE Title, my hope is that Wrestlemania 30 is Daniel Bryan’s night. He’ll get his rematch at Night of Champions, and get screwed. Then in true Austin/McMahon style he’ll be forced out of the title picture, until he wins the Royal Rumble from the number one spot thus setting up his Mania match. With the involvement of the McMahons, The Shield and the predicted reformation of Evolution there could be enough obstacles in Bryan’s way to get this story all the way to ‘Mania.
Having said all that, what on Earth do we do with CM Punk then?
Craig: I’d agree with all that. Plenty of scope for Bryan to continue to be built up as the underdog as he becomes a huge star in the company. What a pay off that would be on the back of this run and a Rumble win if he was to snatch back the title at Wrestlemania 30.
So, we’ve got the three main matches booked:
WWE Champion Randy Orton v Royal Rumble winner Daniel Bryan
John Cena v The Undertaker
The Animal v The Beast: Brock Lesnar v Batista
As for Punk, what about inserting him back into the WHC title scene. Say Sandow was to win the title and feud with Punk. Not only would we get some very solid matches but think of the quality of promo there as well. It would probably involve a transitional champion between now and then but I guess with Cody and Sandow currently feuding it would make sense for them to feud over that belt and then have Sandow move into a programme, as champion, with Punk.
This is certainly starting to take shape.Many of the other matches tend to get booked nearer the time so instead of actually picking individual matches it may be worth trying to work out who else on the roster will be big players come that point. Will Dean Ambrose have split from The Shield and become the break-out star and just how much life does the Bray Wyatt gimmick have and will it take him all the way to Wrestlemania?
Jamie: Again, I’d agree with you regarding Punk. Rather than him lowering himself to the WHC level, he could bring the title up to his level, there is no doubt that the WHC requires a re-injection of prestige. Coming out of ‘Mania we could see Bryan and Punk holding the two major championships. All being well, Bryan (and Punk) will become massive draws, creating the realistic possibility of the most anticipated heel turn in decades; John Cena.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, back to ‘Mania…
I would imagine that before The Shield go their separate ways they will have a face run. There is a lot of untapped potential for making some cash out of these guys as a group. They are still really over, despite falling into the corporate security/hired gun role, and could sell a ton of merchandise. How about a babyface Shield vs. The Wyatt Family? The jury is still out on The Wyatts, I was not at all convinced by how Bray’s match with Kane was booked at Summerslam. Depending on how they are received as good guys this could also provide the platform for an Ambrose heel turn.
Who else might be knocking at the door by next year? What do we make of Cody Rhodes? Is this a false dawn or is his current singles push the real deal? Oh yes, and Dolph Ziggler. Will he still be literally bouncing around in the mid-card or will he have made the leap to genuine player by next year?
Craig: I think with Cena and Sheamus both out for the considerable future, this gives the opportunity to Rhodes to make the step up. I like the guy a lot and hope that he can use this opportunity. I think he could be a future main eventer but needs to put in a lot of work to get there. There’s not been a better chance for him.
As for Ziggler, I don’t think the company are that hot for him. I think the WHC run recently was something that was given to the fans for the amount that they had cheered for him. I can’t imagine anyone will be that impressed by his recent run, that’s for sure.
I like Bray Wyatt though. I find his laugh a bit forced but his style is very different in-ring to anyone else and obviously the gimmick makes him stand out. I have my doubts over the longevity of it – as stated about – but who expected Kane, when he debuted in 1997, to still be wrestling some 16 years later? I don’t see The Shield v Wyatt Family though. I don’t see much of a future for the Wyatt Family, they are there to boost Bray Wyatt not as a trio like The Shield are. I still, though, think Dean Ambrose will be the break out star there. A feud with Punk would be good, again owing to their promos skills.
Jamie: So you’re thinking Bray Wyatt might slot into a more high profile role in a singles match? Well his feud with Kane will likely conclude at the end of this year, when the Big Red Machine returns from filming his movie. I guess the success of those matches will have a bearing on where Wyatt’s future lays. If Rhodes is going to step up then maybe he’ll be in Wyatt’s sights by Wrestlemania time? It would provide a vehicle for both men to raise their profile, and a change of pace for Wyatt coming out of a Kane feud.
After that I’m guessing the likes of Dolph Ziggler, The Shield, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, Ryback and Big Show will fall into card filler roles? There’s also the probability of Chris Jericho taking a spot on the card.
Jamie: The thing with Bray is that he could be a huge star or repackaged by then… It really could go either way… Or is that a cop out answer from me?!
As for Sheamus, it’s impossible to book him now. I mean, how do they reintroduce him to TV? Is he back as the smiley good guy then he’s not a prominent part of the WWE. Does he return as something else? If so, then we’ll have to reassess that. Based on him returning as a face, I think he’s not going to be a prominent part of the booking ahead of Wrestlemania. A heel though. Well…
All previous Sunday Sermons can be read here.