It is every pro wrestler’s goal to make it to WWE and become a WWE Superstar. It is also every pro wrestler’s dream to headline WrestleMania. Few achieve both their goal and dream of becoming a WWE Superstar and headlining WrestleMania. A spot so prestigious as headlining WrestleMania can be a hot topic of debate. In recent years, part time wrestlers such as The Rock,Brock Lesnar, and Triple H have headlined WrestleMania despite sometimes only wrestling a few matches in a calendar year. Some might say drawing power rules the day while others feel such a limited schedule should disqualify part time stars from headlining the biggest wrestling event of the year. Other debates center around a WWE Superstar’s ability to wrestle at a high level over those that rely more on their gimmick or mic skills. Should the WrestleMania main event be more about wrestling or more about spectacle is an interesting question for fans to ponder. Then there are the interesting cases of the WWE machine trying to dictate to fans which WWE Superstars belong in the main event of WrestleMania. Recent history hasn’t been kind to WWE’s anointed chosen one, Roman Reigns. Should Reigns continue to be forced down our throats by WWE? These are all interesting thoughts that will surely be more hotly debated as we get closer and closer to WrestleMania 33. With that said, let’s take a look at 8 WWE Superstars who deserve to headline WrestleMania 33 and 7 that don’t.
15 Deserves: Finn Balor
Despite Finn Balor’s thin WWE resume, he showed enough promise during his WWE Universal Championship victory over Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016 that he would be deserving of headlining WrestleMania 33. Balor injured his shoulder during that match and it required surgery. He vacated the title and hasn’t returned to action yet. Reportedly the injury should take four to six months for him to return from. Balor could be returning soon and just in time for a WrestleMania angle. However, it is highly unlikely that he would somehow slip into headlining WrestleMania 33. A more realistic scenario could see Balor square off with his former NXT rival Samoa Joe or possibly (and ironically) replace Rollins as Triple H’s WrestleMania opponent. Regardless of how things turn out for Balor this year, he is certainly a future WrestleMania headliner.
14 Doesn’t: Big Show
The Big Show is well past being a main event caliber wrestler and doesn’t deserve to headline WrestleMania 33. Is Show even being considered to headline WrestleMania this year? The answer to that question may not be as easy as it appears. It is no secret (despite WWE programming not talking about it yet) that one of the planned WrestleMania 33 matches is Big Show vs Shaquille O’Neal. Would WWE ever have a wrestler vs pro athlete match headline WrestleMania? The answer is yes and this type of match has already headlined a WrestleMania. Bam Bam Bigelow vs Lawrence Taylor headlined WrestleMania XI back in 1995. In fact, Bigelow vs Taylor closed out the show over Diesel aka Kevin Nash vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship. Let’s not forget that WrestleMania 33 is in Orlando where Shaq played for the Magic from 1992 to 1996. Although probably still a long shot, if Show vs O’Neal turns out to be the main event of WrestleMania 33 then it could go down as the least popular main event in WrestleMania history.
13 Deserves: AJ Styles
AJ Styles not only finally made it to WWE as a full time member of the roster, but has proven from day one that he belongs. Styles has helped to elevate every opponent he has been in the ring with since arriving in WWE as a part of the 2016 Royal Rumble match. He has excelled as both a baby face and as a heel. Styles’ matches with John Cena have been instant classics. He also made the most out of a ridiculous feud with James Ellsworth. Over the past year, Styles has more than proven his worth as a main event caliber wrestler. However, after losing the WWE Championship to Cena at this year’s Royal Rumble, it looks like Styles will be shut out of headlining WrestleMania. Styles is not only one of the best wrestlers in WWE but he has proven to be one of the best wrestlers in the world over the last five years. It would be a shame and a huge mistake for WWE not to take advantage of Styles headlining a future WrestleMania.
12 Doesn’t: The Undertaker
The Undertaker, despite not winning the 2017 Royal Rumble match, may still be in the running to headline WrestleMania 33. He really shouldn’t be. The Deadman is reportedly as banged up as he’s ever been and is just waiting for his in ring career to end to have hip replacement surgery. He didn’t look like his menacing self during his short stay in this year’s Rumble match. Taker appeared very out of shape and looked extremely slow. He eliminated Goldberg to a huge pop before being quickly dispatched by Roman Reigns. That elimination appears to be setting up a showdown between Taker and Reigns at WrestleMania 33. This match should be in the mid card where it belongs and not closing the biggest show on the WWE calendar.
11 Deserves: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins has proven to be one of the best wrestlers in WWE since splitting from The Shield and going solo in 2014. Unfortunately, Rollins’ solo run has been hampered by injury. His first WWE Championship reign ended after a severe knee injury that required surgery and prevented him from wrestling for about seven months. Recently, he suffered yet another knee injury in an altercation with the debuting Samoa Joe on Raw. The rumor mill didn’t have Rollins headlining WrestleMania 33 but this recent injury might knock him out of WrestleMania all together. Hopefully, these back-to-back knee injuries in such a short period of time are not career threatening. Although Rollins would certainly be deserving, it doesn’t appear that headlining WrestleMania 33 is going to be in the cards for him.
10 Doesn’t: Goldberg
Goldberg probably doesn’t deserve to headline WrestleMania 33. He’s in a position to do just that because his pro wrestling resume speaks for itself and nostalgia sells. Goldberg is one of the all time greats in professional wrestling and was a dominant figure on the side of WCW during the Monday Night Wars. However, after 12 years away from WWE,Goldberg returned to action at Survivor Series 2016 in a stunning squash victory over Brock Lesnar. He followed that with a less than impressive performance in the 2017 Royal Rumble match despite once again embarrassing the Beast Incarnate. The 2017 version of Goldberg hasn’t proven that he can give fans a compelling match that lasts more than a few minutes. But even in his heyday in the mid to late 1990s, he was the master of the short but sweet match while his longer matches usually varied in quality depending on the opponent. Recent WrestleMania main events have been around 20 minutes or longer. At 50 years old, can Goldberg have a 20 plus minute WrestleMania quality main event match with Brock Lesnar is the question.
9 Deserves: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is the reigning WWE Universal Champion and his title run has been an entertaining breath of fresh air. Owens isn’t the stereotypical WWE Superstar. He has a throwback look that stands out among the “24/7 in the gym” look that dominates WWE. His unique look doesn’t stop him from going toe to toe from bell to bell with the likes Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler. Owens is also extremely talented on the mic and his alliance with Chris Jericho has by far been the most entertaining angle in WWE the last several months. However, if the rumors are true, the talented Owens will not be headlining WrestleMania 33. He certainly deserves to based on his work since becoming WWE Universal Champion. With that said, Owens should be a WWE cornerstone for years to come and should get his chance to headline a WrestleMania some day down the road.
8 Doesn’t: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose could win the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship and move onto WrestleMania 33 to defend against the 2017 Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton in what could be the main event of WrestleMania 33. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Based on Ambrose’s recent WWE Championship reign and return to the midcard, he simply doesn’t deserve it. Ambrose’s run with the WWE Championship was mediocre at best. After losing the belt to AJ Styles, it wasn’t long before he was in midcard feuds again. Ambrose has really taken a few steps back in the last couple of months despite winning the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz. WWE shouldn’t be considering Ambrose for WrestleMania main events until they can figure out and fix what went wrong with his failed WWE Championship run.
7 Deserves: Bray Wyatt
WWE has spent a great deal of time building up Bray Wyatt as a top heel. However, every time Wyatt appears on the verge of something great, he has the rug pulled out from underneath him. The argument can be made that it should have been Wyatt and not Triple H that should have won last year’s Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns might have been a better WrestleMania 32 main event but fans will never know. Wyatt is long overdue for a shot at headlining a WrestleMania and may actually get to at WrestleMania 33. If he can win the Elimination Chamber match then he will likely walk into WrestleMania as WWE Champion. However, the WWE Universal Championship match or Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg could knock the Eater of World’s out of the actual WrestleMania 33 main event.
6 Doesn’t: Shane McMahon
There are actually rumors of Shane McMahon getting a match at WrestleMania for the second consecutive year. Those rumors have involved big name WWE Superstars. McMahon’s Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker at last year’s WrestleMania 32 could have easily been but thankfully wasn’t put in the main event slot. Shane McMahon and WrestleMania main event should not even be mentioned in the same breath. McMahon certainly does not deserve to headline WrestleMania 33. The SmackDown Live GM arguably shouldn’t even be considered for the card. WWE already has an impressive army of part time attractions that take up enough valuable spots at WrestleMania. McMahon will probably get a match but hopefully won’t sneak into the main event like he almost did last year.
5 Deserves: Randy Orton
Some may say that Randy Orton has had his chance to headline WrestleMania and his time has passed. Couldn’t be further from the truth and like it or not, Orton is a main event caliber WWE Superstar. Some also think Orton is over the hill because he has been in WWE for what seems like an eternity. But let’s not forget that Orton is actually only 36 years old and has plenty left in the tank. With the right opponent, Orton would be perfect to headline WrestleMania 33. Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble match so the only thing standing in his way of headlining WrestleMania33 is the WWE Universal Championship match or Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg. It will be interesting to see if The Viper’s match will emerge as the main event of WrestleMania.
4 Doesn’t: Triple H
As long as Triple H wants to lace up a pair of boots, he will always be a threat to headline WrestleMania. He doesn’t deserve to headline WrestleMania 33 and it is debatable if he should have headlined last year’s WrestleMania 32. The Game is still a very good wrestler and a compelling on air villain. However, his days of headlining WrestleMania should be over. Being on the card is one thing but headlining is an entirely different animal. His match with Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 32 was average and forgettable. Fans do not deserve average and forgettable as their WrestleMania main event. At 47 years old, Triple H should concentrate on being a great heel authority figure on Raw and building up new WWE headliners rather than taking their spots at the biggest show of the year.
3 Deserves: John Cena
The haters will continue to hate but John Cena is still a main event caliber WWE Superstar deserving of any main event WWE needs to put him in. Despite what critics may say, Cena is still a very compelling character and a solid wrestler that has the ability to tell a good story in the ring. He continues to have great matches with who ever he is matched up against. Cena’s recent matches with AJ Styles should put to rest any thought that he can’t hang with the best wrestlers in the world. Recent rumors are not in favor of Cena headlining WrestleMania 33. However, if for some reason WWE has to call an audible then Cena is more than deserving of headlining WWE’s biggest event of the year.
2 Doesn’t: Roman Reigns
It is no secret that WWE desperately wants to transform Roman Reigns into the new face of the company. It also appears that WWE is going to attempt to use The Undertaker to get Reigns there. The Undertaker vs Roman Reigns could be in the running to headline WrestleMania 33. This would put Reigns in his third consecutive WrestleMania main event. At this point, he really doesn’t deserve it. It’s not all Reigns’ fault and WWE has to shoulder a majority of the blame for him not already being the face that runs the place. Poor booking and attempting to force feed Reigns to fans has stunted his development. With that said, both fans and Reigns himself need a break from him being in the main event of WrestleMania. This match should be in the midcard where it belongs or WWE will run the risk of fans “hijacking” another WrestleMania.
1 Deserves: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is one of WWE’s great part time attractions and should be in any WWE main event conversation. The Beast Incarnate brings automatic credibility to any angle that he is involved in. His run as UFC Champion made him more popular than ever upon his return to WWE in 2012. Since his return, Lesnar has had some great feuds and matches against top WWE Superstars such as John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, and Randy Orton. Combined with his talented mouth-piece, Paul Heyman, Lesnar is a WWE special attraction that fans consistently buzz about. Lesnar’s WrestleMania 33 match against Goldberg is surely being considered to close the show along with the WWE Universal Championship match and WWE Championship match. WWE knows it can’t go wrong with Lesnar so it wouldn’t be surprising if Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg is the main event of WrestleMania 33.