WrestleMania is the grand daddy of all PPVs in the WWE and the biggest show in wrestling period. The famed event has given way to iconic moments such as Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre The Giant, Shawn Michaels reaching the culmination of his boyhood dream, and dream matches like The Rock versus Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan, and Shawn Michaels versus The Undertaker. And those are only a few of the moments that will be remembered for decades to come.
This year's WrestleMania has the potential to be the biggest one yet with a much-anticipated match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura looming, not to mention the undefeated streak of Asuka on the line, the presence of Rowdy Ronda Rousey, and what is sure to be several returns from legends and/or exciting debuts. However, there's a sense that we already know much of what might transpire at WrestleMania, at least when it comes to the Universal Championship and the WWE's plans for Roman Reigns to win the title from Brock Lesnar. So that's why we're looking beyond WrestleMania and wondering what Vince, Triple H and the rest of creative might have in mind. The Raw after WrestleMania generally signals the start of a new year and fresh storylines. So what might the WWE have in mind for its Superstars?
15 Jeff Hardy As Brother Nero
Another injured Superstar who is set to return in the near future is Jeff Hardy. The future WWE Hall of Famer returned to the company at last year's WrestleMania with his brother Matt and won the Raw Tag Team Championship. The Hardy Boyz were mostly used to put over other teams following that win, but plans changed when Jeff suffered a torn rotator cuff in September. That led to Matt adopting the Woken Matt Hardy gimmick.
Now, it would seem a little strange for Matt to go back to being normal Matt Hardy following the Woken gimmick, so it stands to reason that, if the two are going to continue to work together, Jeff would probably need to return with the Brother Nero gimmick he used in TNA. Jeff is expected to return in late March or early April so a WrestleMania appearance as Brother Nero is even possible.
14 Main Event Push for The Miz
You have to really hate The Miz to not be on board with a major push for the Intercontinental Champion in 2018. Rolling Stone named him the Wrestler of the Year in 2017 and there's no denying he has a ton of momentum in the WWE right now. While he could hold the Intercontinental Championship for the entire year and stay relevant and entertaining, it would be interesting to see him contend for the Universal Championship, especially if it's eventually won by Roman Reigns.
The Miz and Reigns are capable of delivering entertaining matches and they have done so as recent as Raw 25. The Miz won that match clean, meaning he would have reason to challenge Reigns if he does defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Beyond that, The Miz truly is must-see TV on Raw and he needs to be featured in more prominent stories.
13 A Superstar Shakeup / Draft
This has seemingly been confirmed, not by the WWE itself, but by numerous online publications that report on wrestling. It was first speculated earlier this month when Ticketmaster sent out an email to people who purchased tickets for Backlash. The email stated the event will now be a combined PPV with Raw and SmackDown Superstars, which led several to speculate about the possibility of a Superstar Shakeup taking place at Backlash. Online rumor mills reported plans have been ongoing behind the scenes and it would make sense given the WWE hasn't done a draft in two years, save for last year's slight Superstar Shakeup.
There's also the idea that WWE might need a bit of a boost coming off of WrestleMania and a draft would definitely drive interest to the WWE Network - or at least, a Superstar Shakeup.
12 End of The Shield?
The WWE was on the verge of something massive when it reunited The Shield seemingly out of the blue. Regardless of the lack of a slow build up, the reunion was loved by fans, who even began cheering Roman Reigns by association. It was the perfect vehicle to get Reigns over as a true babyface, while also pushing Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as a formidable tag team. However, Reigns was held out of the faction's Survivor Series reunion match due to suffering from viral meningitis. He returned weeks later only for Dean Ambrose to suffer an injury that would keep him sidelined for upwards of one year.
By the time Ambrose is back, Reigns may hold the Universal Championship and, even if he doesn't, the ship would likely have sailed on The Shield. It's a shame because fans never really got the much-anticipated reunion or the stories that would have came from it. Instead, there's a strong possibility one or two of the three might be heel by the time Ambrose returns.
11 Rusev Day Push
This is more so speculation rather than actual reports out of the WWE camp, although it doesn't take a genius to suggest the WWE might soon give in and vault Rusev - or at least the Rusev Day tag team - to the top of the card. Whether it's on Raw or SmackDown, it's become quite evident that Rusev needs to be battling for a championship. Along with Aiden English, the Bulgarian Brute has gotten over as a face, which is unfortunate as the two top champions on SmackDown, Bobby Roode and AJ Styles, are also fan favorites.
Could Rusev still work a great program with either? Absolutely. But it might make more sense to pair him with The Miz in the Intercontinental Championship picture. Either way, it'll be interesting to follow him following WrestleMania as Rusev Day is arguably the loudest and most frequent chant among fans these days.
10 Carmella Unsuccessfully Cashes In
It feels like years ago that Baron Corbin unsuccessfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against Jinder Mahal. Clearly, the WWE felt he wasn't ready for main event status and it was probably the right call, despite many feeling the same way about Mahal. This begs the question as to when will Carmella attempt to cash in? There have been times in which it appeared she might, most recently on the January 30th edition of SmackDown, but she ultimately decided to hold onto the briefcase.
The WWE has an interesting dilemma on its hands in regard to Carmella. The women's roster keeps improving and there hardly seems a way to make Carmella a believable champion, yet it would seem a bit odd to have the first ever Women's Money in the Bank winner not be successful in cashing it in. Still, that seems to be the logical approach and we're worried it could ruin her career.
9 Rey Mysterio Return
Given how long he has been a major figure in the wrestling industry, it's hard to believe Rey Mysterio is still only 43 years old. What's even harder to believe is the incredible shape he is in; when he surprisingly returned at Royal Rumble, the former WWE Champion looked better than ever and performed at an incredibly-high level. It certainly looked like he could come back and work a full-time schedule with ease, but that isn't what he wants.
Mysterio reportedly had a deal on the table with Impact, but that fell through, leaving open the possibility that he returns to WWE. He also added fuel to those rumors when he recently replied to a WWE tweet stating he would love to work a dream match against AJ Styles. It feels like it's something that's bound to happen at this point.
8 Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Feud
Regardless of how you feel about her, Ronda Rousey is going to be put in positions to succeed in the WWE. Despite having no wrestling experience, she has been called a game-changer by Triple H and, as such, there's absolutely no way she doesn't contend for either the Raw or SmackDown Women's Championship in 2018. While it appeared as though she might do so at WrestleMania after debuting at Royal Rumble and pointing to the sign, it now seems as though she'll work a tag team match alongside The Rock, Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, or Shane McMahon against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
That's fine for WrestleMania, but she's going to need a legitimate feud within the division post-WrestleMania and Charlotte seems like the ideal partner. In fact, The Queen has been hinting at it on Twitter. Rousey is signing with Raw at the Elimination Chamber, but a Superstar Draft or Shakeup could make the match possible.
7 Bobby Lashley as Brock Lesnar's Replacement
Given how quickly news is leaked these days, it's impressive the WWE has been able to keep any news regarding Bobby Lashley under wraps. While it's widely speculated the former TNA/Impact star is going to return to the WWE - he even expressed his desire to months ago on an episode of Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast - there has yet to be any confirmation of a contract signing or information on when his return might be. Regardless, it does appear likely that he'll be back in a WWE ring in the near future.
Once he is, he would serve as the perfect replacement to Brock Lesnar, who is expected to leave WWE following WrestleMania, at least according to some with inside information. Given both have wrestling and MMA experience, Lashley could easily pick up where Lesnar left off; heck, he would only need to wrestle a few times a year to do so.
6 Big Cass Face Push
Big Cass was en route to a major singles push as perhaps one of the top heels on Raw before his untimely injury in a match against Enzo Amore in August. Cass tore his ACL after going over the ropes and was unable to continue the match. It wasn't hard to tell right away that he was truly hurt and it was serious. He was said to be out of action for nine months, which would have him returning by May, but he has recently been spotted at the WWE Performance Center moving without assistance and could be ahead of schedule.
Even if he doesn't return until May, he could still pick up right where he left off, however it might be as a face. Sure, there's a lack of truly great heels in the company right now, especially with Braun Strowman occupying the monster face role, but Cass will almost certainly be cheered upon returning and, given how Enzo transformed into a heel - not to mention his legal troubles - it might make more sense for Cass to come back as a face.
5 More In-Ring Work for Kurt Angle
This might be good news to those who despise Kurt Angle as a General Manager, which is probably just about everyone. The Olympic Hero looks like a shell of his former self on the mic as he often forgets lines and even mispronounces the names of WWE Superstars. He's cringe-worthy at times. We've only seen him return to the ring twice since re-joining the WWE and that was at Survivor Series as part of Team Raw and at TLC alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Yet, Angle himself recently teased an in-ring return on his Instagram account, asking, "Will the 'wrestling machine' make a return? Stay tuned..." and followed it up with an It's True hashtag. He didn't look particularly great at Survivor Series, but he does appear in decent shape. It'll be interesting to follow storylines leading up to WrestleMania to see how a potential in-ring return plays out.
4 Dual-Branded PPV Shows
This goes back to the idea of the Superstar Draft we suggested that might be happening at Backlash. That news stemmed from a report of a dual-branded Backlash PPV and, while WWE has yet to confirm that news, it seems to be accepted as truth given it was leaked by Ticketmaster. It would be rather strange for Backlash to be the only non-big-four dual-branded PPV, unless it is solely for the Superstar Draft.
The WWE already released its list of PPVs in 2018 and they weren't dual-branded then. If all PPVs are going to be dual-branded, you would think they would be more spread out instead of instances in which there are two within a month. We'll have to wait for confirmation on this idea, but it would certainly make each PPV more stacked with unique matches instead of three consecutive shows headlined by Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.
3 New Day Split
Big E attempting to break a pancake-eating record on last week's SmackDown may have just been the final straw for The New Day. While the group brings some humor to SmackDown, it's clear they are directionless as of right now with The Usos dominating the tag team scene on SmackDown and up-and-coming teams like Rusev Day, The Bludgeon Brothers, and Gable and Benjamin ready to contend.
All three members of the group are talented in their own right and could definitely work as singles stars; it's just a matter of creative deciding on who would make the most effective heel. Big E or even Xavier Woods might be a good choice, while Kofi Kingston could embark on an upper-card singles run. In fact, it would make for a great WrestleMania moment to see one of the three turn their backs on the other two.
2 Women's Tag Team Championship
Last year was a year of firsts for the women's division. The WWE had the first ever Women's Money in the Bank match as well as the first ever Women's Royal Rumble. Instead of a Diva's Championship, there is now a Raw and Smackdown Women's Championship for which there is several legitimate contenders. Additionally, the first ever Women's Elimination Chamber match will be held this coming Sunday. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see as many as three or four women's matches on the upcoming WrestleMania card.
However, with a growing women's roster and only two titles, most women are left with very little to do in the way of story. That's where a Women's Tag Team Championship would come into play. Sasha Banks has already been quite outspoken about adding the titles and it would not at all be a shock to see the WWE host a tournament to determine its first ever winners.
1 Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar Feud
As great as it would be to have someone like Lashley slide in and replace Lesnar, imagine the possibility of a Lashley-Lesnar feud that could culminate at any of the big four PPVs. It isn't exactly confirmed Lesnar will leave after WrestleMania and perhaps he can be enticed to stick it out for one more dream PPV match against Lashley. If that were the case, the WWE could really build something that would drum up significant interest both among wrestling and non-wrestling fans.
As previously mentioned, both athletes have wrestling and MMA experience and, if marketed correctly, their feud and resulting match could be one of the most-hyped fights of the year. It could also be a way of keeping Lesnar busy while someone like Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman carries the Universal Championship.
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