WrestleMania is the biggest pro wrestling show of the year. With over 70,000 fans in live attendance for most recent years and estimates of a million-plus viewers from home, it’s the show most synonymous with the WWE brand and wrestling in general. It’s the show casual or past fans might come back to WWE programming for, and the one that new fans are most likely to get hooked on. It’s the show that hardcore fans begin speculating about months in advance.
Though we’re still less than three months removed from WrestleMania 33, the rumor mill is already hard at work imagining what WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans might look like. There are those matches that naturally, logically follow from the storylines WWE has set in motion for the year. And then there’s speculation. Some of it dream matches fans just want to see. Some of it real scenarios that could produce excellent matches or tell compelling stories.
No one knows for sure what next year’s WrestleMania might bring, but we can begin to make some educated guesses about the year long trajectory for particular stars, whom might get the call up from NXT, what part timers and celebrities might enter the fray, and what good, old-fashioned match ups might organically come together over the next nine months. This article looks at 15 separate matches we all ought to keep an eye out for at WrestleMania 34 as WWE pulls on a deep roster to assemble a legit supercard. We should point out some of these matches are rumored to happen, hence their inclusion – after all, we have to keep some form of realism here!
15. Randy Orton Vs. Bobby Roode
A few years ago, this clash might have been a minor dream match for hardcore fans between a WWE and a TNA main event level star. It’s still a fresh matchup between guys who haven’t occupied the same roster space, but it’s a lot more realistic at this point given Bobby Roode is under a WWE contract with NXT. WWE has treated him like a big deal in developmental and while not every NXT star thrives on the main roster, WWE generally has a good track record with guys who were the NXT Champion.
Orton vs. Roode could be a rock solid in ring encounter between two ring savvy veterans. It’d be a great match for Roode to win to establish himself as a top player on the main roster. Alternatively, it could be another big feud for Orton to get the upper hand in as he inches closer to the twilight of his career.
14. AJ Styles Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was the talk of the wrestling world after they paired off in Japan for an epic match at match at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10. These men are two of the very best in ring practitioners WWE has who’ve proven they can steal the show, but never in front of a WWE audience (at least not one on one).
The main strike against WWE pushing either of these guys to the moon is that they each came to WWE with a lot of miles on their bodies, and may not be long term investments. Pairing them off for one last match of the year contender at WrestleMania could be the perfect way to get the most out of them at this stage.
13. Shane McMahon Vs. Kevin Owens
Based on his performance opposite AJ Styles at WrestleMania 33, Shane McMahon seems to have settled into a role, as a wrestler, that makes everyone happy. He’s still deceptively capable, on a physical level, of putting on a solid performance, especially with the right dance partner. His Coast-to-Coast finisher remains a spectacle. Add onto all of that that his last name and only appearing in the ring once or twice a year makes his matches feel special.
Owens could easily fill the space on the card as McMahon’s opponent—a still relatively young performer who could benefit from McMahon’s rub, and a good enough talker to carry the feud without actually wrestling McMahon prior to ‘Mania. In addition, Owens is just as capable of delivering a brutal looking beat down as McMahon is able and willing to take one, making them an excellent pairing to deliver a stiff, decisive finish.
12. Bayley Vs. Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship
Bayley and Sasha Banks had a pretty epic rivalry in NXT that culminated in a pair of truly great matches a NXT TakeOvers Brooklyn and Respect. On the main roster, they’ve played friends and only briefly teased dissension going into WrestleMania 33.
In the end, Bayley is the women’s division’s ultimate face. Banks has played a face most of her run on the main roster, but is arguably a fair bit better as a heel. Between their character dynamics and their special in ring chemistry, this is a pairing just waiting for WWE to revisit it. As we approach WrestleMania 34, the two will be going on a year and a half to two years of playing friends, and I predict WWE finally pulling the trigger on the Banks heel turn. I predict Banks winning the Raw Women’s Championship via nefarious means, only for Bayley to chase her leading into this big time one-on-one match.
11. Chris Jericho Vs. Jinder Mahal – WWE World Championship
Chris Jericho is a true legend in the wrestling business. Jinder Mahal? A few months ago, he was a lower card guy whom no one would peg for a singles match at WrestleMania. Now, he’s the reigning WWE Champion. While I don’t predict Mahal will stay champion up to WrestleMania, the world title reign does seem like a vote of confidence in him.
Jericho has proven himself as not only a talent who can constantly evolve as a character and as a performer, but also as completely selfless in putting over younger talents. Jericho is the ideal man to help solidify Mahal as a an upper card guy, if not a main eventer, and there’s no better stage than WrestleMania to shore up that prospect.
10. Sami Zayn Vs. Neville – Cruiserweight Championship
There’s a reason why WCW used to open Nitro and so many PPV shows with the cruiserweights. Their high flying offense, fast-paced action, and tendency toward technical precision in lieu of relying on size and power all make them entertaining, accessible, and a great way to draw in fans. Admittedly, it’s a leap to think that Nevill will retain the Cruiserweight Championship for a year, and that Sami Zayn would transition into the 205 Live crowd, but with a crowded upper card face scene on either brand, and given Zayn’s size and style, it’s not unrealistic he would transition over to provide a valiant challenger for the heel King of the Cruiserweights.
Zayn and Neville have already proven they have chemistry via their NXT matches, and they can be trusted to tear the house down on the pre-show or to lead off the main card at next year’s WrestleMania.
9. Kurt Angle Vs. Triple H
Kurt Angle has made it clear in a tour of shoot interviews that he’d like to wrestle again for WWE. WWE seems to recognize how special a talent the Olympic gold medalist is in inviting him back into the WWE family, inducting him into the Hall of Fame, and most recently appointing him as GM of Raw. And if Angle can pass a WWE physical? There’d be no better place to showcase his abilities one more time than WrestleMania.
Who to pit Angle against in the ring? It needs to be someone with comparable marquee value. Someone who’s a believable kayfabe threat. Someone who can hang with Angle on the mic in a non-physical build to their match. Take all of those factors and add in a ready made kayfabe power struggle between management figures, and Triple H vs. Kurt Angle makes perfect sense. You also want someone who will be safe with Angle in the ring and Triple H would do that. This match is already rumored to happen so we feel we had to include it here. The sweetest prospect of all? Angle making The Game tap clean at WrestleMania with one last ankle lock.
8. John Cena Vs. Baron Corbin
After consistently main eventing and/or competing in world title matches at WrestleMania for nearly a decade, John Cena has slipped into the role of upper card legend in recent years, working up and comers like Bray Wyatt and Rusev, and in special attractions like the WrestleMania 32 mixed tag match.
Baron Corbin’s a rising star with the size and ever improving skills to potentially emerge as a main eventer whenever WWE decides to pull the trigger. A program with Cena could do the trick of getting Corbin over at the next level. As Cena increasingly inches toward a part time schedule, he could quite feasibly put over The Lone Wolf to cement him as a new top guy without damaging his own legacy at all.
7. ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy Vs. Bray Wyatt
As Bray Wyatt has slipped into increasingly odd and esoteric territory like projecting worms on the surface of the ring, staging matches on location, and having filmic segments dedicated to him and Sister Abigail, fans have noticed parallels to another star. While Wyatt had the big stage of WWE to ply his trade, it was veteran Matt Hardy who captured hardcore fans’ imaginations. From TNA and across the indies his broken gimmick was strange, funny, and totally unique. Despite better production value, Wyatt’s work largely came across as a less entertaining version of what Hardy was doing.
Now that Hardy is back in WWE, and has been booked strongly in these first few months, Hardy vs. Wyatt looks like a natural pairing. Give them an off-site location to shoot from and let Hardy have some autonomy to plan things out, and we just might wind up with something special.
6. The Rock Vs. Samoa Joe
One might ask if Samoa Joe is a big enough star for WWE to book him against The Rock? It’s a fair question, but consider Joe’s rise. He went from an indie talent whom WWE never gave the time of day, to NXT to champion, to main roster threat, to–most recently, and most surprisingly—a PPV main event winner and number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship.
While Joe is unlikely at this advanced stage his career to actually get a world title run, he’s both kayfabe credible enough and skilled enough as a performer to be a great opponent for a visiting part timer. Rock-Joe would represent a culture clash between the most mainstream WWE star of all time, to a hardcore wrestler, and has the potential to create some magic.
5. Charlotte Flair Vs. Alexa Bliss – SmackDown Women’s Championship??
For her first year on the main roster, Charlotte Flair was the undeniable star of WWE’s women’s division. While other women held the title, it kept finding its way back to Charlotte’s waist as she got the better of Nikki Bella, Paige, Becky Lynch, and ultimately Sasha Banks. Things have taken a turn however. This spring, Alexa Bliss became the first woman to have held both the Smackdown and Raw Women’s Championships, and she’s decisively gotten the better of Bayley—the one face Flair couldn’t keep down.
While these two are on separate brands, they’re something of a dream pairing of dominant female stars who have spent significant time as champions. With Flair recently recast as a face, it seems entirely reasonable to pit them against one another as an inter-promotional bout, or perhaps if Bliss were to hop back to SmackDown to challenge the second woman to have held both brands’ titles. Splice some footage of the two of them taking part in Triple H’s WrestleMania 30 entrance into their hype video and you’ve got some killer drama.
4. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Finn Balor Vs. The Miz and The Authors Of Pain
I have a theory about Seth Rollins that WWE views him as the backup to Roman Reigns. He’s been booked strongly and kept in or around the main event picture. There’s little argument that he’s one of the best in ring performers of his generation. While the powers that be seem dead set on Roman Reigns ultimately being the guy, Rollins could ably step into that role if Reigns ever suffered a truly debilitating injury, or if management ever were to give in the boos fans rain down on him.
In the meantime, Rollins is the leader of a pack that also includes Finn Balor and Dean Ambrose as guys who could be main eventers and may rotate into that picture, but seem a step behind Reigns. For this feud, I see Rollins, Ambrose, and Balor feuding with The Miz, and getting the better of and embarrassing him until he calls in some serious backup in the form of NXT’s Authors of Pain. The big guys have been coming along nicely in developmental, and their size and stiff style make them an optimal choice for WWE to introduce as big deals and debut with a major program like this.
3. Batista Vs. Braun Strowman
While it’s clear WWE wanted Braun Strowman to be a big deal, I don’t know that the company accurately predicted just how big of a deal he might be. This spring he got super over in his monster role, and though injuries derailed him temporarily, all signs point to a come back and challenging Brock Lesnar in a highly anticipated match at SummerSlam.
I don’t foresee Strowman winning a world title prior to WrestleMania, but I do see him remaining in the upper card mix as a unique spectacle and draw. He’s a perfect fit, too, to hold his own against a returning part time talent.
Batista has spoken recently about an interest in getting back into wrestling, and Strowman-Batista would be an awesome spectacle if handled appropriately—kept reasonably short and booked to showcase each man’s feats of strength. Best of all, in his most recent WWE run Batista proved himself to have no ego about putting over younger talents, and this could be a great way of building Strowman’s legend as he gets ready for a world title push in the year to follow.
2. Ronda Rousey Vs. Stephanie McMahon
Ronda Rousey is a self-professed pro wrestling fan who has been seen at WWE shows and PWG events. At WrestleMania 31, she actually got into the ring to back The Rock in a confrontation with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. From there, the rumor mill was off and running, in particular suggesting a mixed tag match among the four of them.
Rousey’s UFC career seemed to preclude her mixing it up in a WWE ring, but after losing her comeback fight quickly and decisively, there’s every reason to believe Rousey’s days as a legit fighter are done and she’ll transition to acting and various celebrity appearances. Her working with WWE no longer seems like a pipe dream. Stephanie McMahon is uniquely situated as a recognizable long term female figure who could work with her.
While Rousey’s fall in MMA could diminish her drawing power, it could also be cast as part of a redemption story with McMahon playing up how Rousey lost her last two fights, only for the Rowdy one to shut her up in short order at ‘Mania.
1. Roman Reigns Vs. Brock Lesnar – Universal Championship
Yes, this is not the match fans really want, but all signs and reports point to it, so we’re forced to include it here. At WrestleMania 31, Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar was a surprisingly great main event match. WWE had booked itself into a bit of a corner, though, given Lesnar winning wouldn’t give ‘Mania a happy ending and The Beast Incarnate would have no one left to challenge him at that point. Meanwhile, if Reigns won, he’d likely squander all the good will he’d earned in the brutal match, because fans weren’t ready to see him go over Lesnar clean. Seth Rollins and the Money in the Bank briefcase solved that problem. This year, all signs point to WWE feeling Reigns will be ready.
Reigns has spent much of the last two years as a main event guy and has now held world title gold three times. While Lesnar is still a draw, time has worn away at a bit of his mystique. So, the main event of WrestleMania 34 looks to be a re-do of WrestleMania 31, with Reigns a bit more over and ready for the top spot and Lesnar a bit less over and ready to move out of the main event picture via one more stiff battle.
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