There is no more exciting time of the professional wrestling year than WrestleMania season, the months leading up to the biggest annual event on any World Wrestling Entertainment calendar. Feuds build up and are settled at what is commonly referred to as the “Showcase of the Immortals.” Championships almost always change hands at WrestleMania. The biggest names in WWE history — stars such as Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Triple H, The Rock, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and, of course, The Undertaker — have all enjoyed what have become known as “WrestleMania Moments,” wins and matches that defined their careers and cemented their legacies. AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, two of the best wrestlers in the world today, will look to steal the show when they meet at WrestleMania 34.
WrestleMania may serve as the unofficial conclusion of each WWE year, but there is no offseason in that promotion. Superstars immediately get back to work the week after WrestleMania performing at Raw, SmackDown, Live 205 and NXT shows. It is, thus, understandable that rumors and supposed leaked storylines about what may occur after WrestleMania emerge in newsletters, on Internet forums and via social media platforms. The WWE landscape changes on a weekly basis, meaning some or even all of these storylines may not play out on television following WrestleMania 34. Who knows? Maybe Vince McMahon will finally realize that pushing Roman Reigns as his next big babyface isn’t going to work out; eh, who are we kidding? The WWE may still be trying to get Reigns over as a face in 2020 at this rate.
17 Authors of Pain Join SmackDown
The duo of the Authors of Pain have done all there is to do while wrestling in NXT. They’ve won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, they served as the dominant champions of that brand and they have destroyed just about every babyface opponent before them. AOP even worked as a babyface team when facing members of the Undisputed Era.
Following the NXT Takeover event that precedes WrestleMania, they need to be called up to the main roster both for their career paths and for the betterment of the main roster. It has been rumored for some time that the Authors will be added to SmackDown as part of an upcoming shake-up that may see The Usos transition over to Raw. Before that happens, we’d like to AOP establish themselves with a big win over the current SmackDown Tag Titles holders.
16 Big Cass Goes Babyface
Back in the summer of 2017, the WWE had Big Cass turn heel and destroy Enzo Amore, his former tag team partner with whom he got over while in NXT before the duo were called-up to the main roster as a unit.
Knowing all we know now, Cass probably deserved better in that storyline and in real life, as a legitimate knee injury sidelined any push he was set to receive following SummerSlam. The seven-footer is set to return at some point after WrestleMania, and it has been rumored that he could be given a chance to make it on his own as a babyface. A babyface Cass feuding with Miz, Samoa Joe and some others could be buys assuming he makes a full return to fitness and continues to show improvement inside of the ring.
15 Brother Nero Left Out of Matt Hardy-Bray Wyatt Feud
This one isn’t necessarily a leaked storyline as much as it is an unfortunate occurrence that could leave fans wanting more before, during and after WrestleMania. Jeff Hardy made headlines in March when he was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, and that incident occurred not long before the WWE was set to air the Ultimate Deletion match between WOKEN Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt that included Jeff’s Brother Nero character.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and others have suggested the WWE may remove Jeff from the Ultimate Deletion and also from future segments of the feud because of his troubled past. Meltzer added that the WWE may need to consider sending Jeff to rehab before allowing him to play Brother Nero on WWE television.
14 The Miz to Feud with Roman Reigns
One of the leaked storylines ahead of WrestleMania that apparently is not going to play out involved the Miz competing with Braun Strowman over the Intercontinental Championship at the biggest show of the year. As of the posting of this piece, WWE writers have seemingly inserted Strowman into the tag team picture, while the Miz is scheduled to face both Finn Balor and Seth Rollins over the IC Championship at WrestleMania.
Even if Miz does drop that strap, do not assume that means he is about to be dropped down the card. In fact, it has been rumored the WWE wants to put Miz into a main-event feud with non other than Roman Reigns after Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. We expect Miz will be the face in the eyes of many during that storyline.
13 Rusev Becomes Top SmackDown Babyface
Those of you thinking that Rusev may be out of things to do on SmackDown and is headed to Raw whenever the next Superstar shake-up occurs should pump the brakes heading into WrestleMania. The WWE continues to tease that Rusev will make the official turn to babyface, and the rumor is that will be the case following WrestleMania. That shouldn’t be too surprising to those who watch weekly WWE programming.
After all, Rusev is already adored among pockets of the audience thanks to the work of Aiden English and a popular two-worded saying that celebrates the company’s best holiday. Whether he feuds with Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal or somebody else after WrestleMania, it’s a safe bet we will all be celebrating a happy Rusev Day during the spring and summer months.
12 Carmella Loses MITB, Goes to Raw
Carmella is going to have to cash in her Money in the Bank championship contract either at WrestleMania or not too long after the biggest show of the year if anybody is still going to care about her ever winning that briefcase in the first place. The WWE has done well to condition fans to the idea that somebody winning that briefcase doesn’t mean they will automatically become a champion.
Carmella has improved her in-ring work and as a character, but she is nowhere near at the level of an Asuka, Charlotte or Alexa Bliss. With that said, it is rumored that she could cash-in on Nia Jax and serve as the top heel of the Raw women’s division in the months following WrestleMania. It’s not the worst idea.
11 Johnny Gargano Headed to 205 Live
The WWE often finds babyface wrestlers in what the company would consider the wrong places. It famously occurred with Daniel Bryan all those years ago, and it is once again taking place in NXT, this time in the person of Johnny Gargano. Johnny Wrestling, as he is affectionately known during television tapings and at live events, is on his way up to the main roster following the NXT Takeover show and WrestleMania Weekend, and 205 Live and the Raw brand seem to be the perfect homes for him.
Gargano will immediately become one of the most popular wrestlers on the brand the WWE is attempting to resurrect during the spring, he can wrestle on editions of Raw and, potentially, be the next Bryan who feuds with larger heels. We can’t wait to see Johnny Wrestling on the main roster.
10 Andrade Drops NXT Title, Heads to SmackDown
Much like the previously mentioned Authors of Pain, Andrade "Cien" Almas is running out of things to do in NXT. Dropping his championship to Aleister Black at NXT Takeover: New Orleans should serve as the beginning of the end of his run on that brand, and his inevitable call-up will only be delayed if the WWE decides to extend a feud between Almas and Black for a second match.
Almas is clearly ready for the main roster, as he has the in-ring goods to compete with anybody and one of the best mouthpieces in the company in manager Zelina Vega. SmackDown needs an influx of star power and talented wrestlers, which is why Almas is rumored to be headed to the blue brand not long after WrestleMania.
9 Seth Rollins Jumps to SmackDown
We may never know, for sure, what the long-term plan was for The Shield trio of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, as Ambrose suffered a triceps injury during the holiday season that will sideline him for the better part of 2018. While Reigns was always headed toward a WrestleMania main event match against Brock Lesnar, Rollins has been left in midcard feuds. He needs a change, which is why the leaked roster shake-up that showed The Architect making a move to SmackDown excited fans.
Rollins needs some fresh match-ups, and he has never had a WWE encounter with Shinsuke Nakamura over a major title. Sadly, a dream match between AJ Styles and Rollins with the WWE Championship on the line may have to wait. More on that later.
8 Shayna Baszler Becomes Monster NXT Heel
Those who pay attention during phone conferences and other NXT-related press events probably shouldn’t be surprised by this leaked storyline. It has been made abundantly clear that the company is high on Shayna Baszler and wants to push her to the moon (pun intended) as the top heel of the NXT women’s division.
The next logical step is to have her defeat Ember Moon for the championship at NXT Takeover: New Orleans to bring closure to that storyline, allow Moon to make a much-needed switch to the main roster and elevate Baszler as the type of heel NXT has never featured among their female wrestlers. For what it’s worth, the WWE needs to make Baszler look strong if the company is going to eventually link her with Ronda Rousey.
7 Ronda Rousey vs The Authority Continues
Knowing that Dave Meltzer has suggested that the WWE is going to use the signing of Ronda Rousey as a way to get Stephanie McMahon more mainstream press and also that the WWE has a long and exhausting history of having certain acts feud with heel authority figures, the rumor that this storyline isn’t going to end at WrestleMania shouldn’t shock anybody.
In time, the WWE will likely have Rousey compete with either Nia Jax or some other wrestler over the Raw Women’s Championship, but pushing her directly into the title picture could backfire. Yes, that may mean a one-on-one contest between Rousey and McMahon could be on the radar. Hopefully, that ends in a squash that takes only a handful of seconds to complete.
6 Samoa Joe vs. John Cena
You may be surprised to learn that Samoa Joe and John Cena have a long history that goes back years and to a time well before the company signed Joe to a deal. Back in the summer of 2017, Joe explained in an interview how a match between the two in the early 2000s helped get the leader of the CeNation signed to the largest wrestling promotion in the world. Joe, meanwhile, remained on the independent scene and in promotions such as Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling until he and the WWE came to terms on a deal in 2015.
Months ahead of WrestleMania 34, it was widely rumored that Cena and Joe were going to embark on a feud that would lead to the two working together at 'Mania. That didn’t happen after Joe was sidelined due to an injury, but the two could do something together once Joe is set to return to the ring - it would be the perfect way to write Cena out of the storylines.
5 Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles Introduced
We may be giving certain reporters or Internet sleuths too much credit by suggesting this is a leaked storyline. After all, the WWE is blatantly teasing that the 205 Live show is going to have a tag team division by introducing different unified entities on shows. Why do this if the company isn’t going to introduce Tag Team Championships for that brand after WrestleMania?
Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles are nothing in the world of pro wrestling. They just go by different names in different promotions. These championships should help bolster the division and the 205 Live brand, and they will also give competitors on that show something else to do. Turning 205 Live into a different version of NXT this spring shouldn’t upset any fans who have enjoyed the Cruiserweight division since Triple H took the show over.
4 Neville Returns to 205 Live and Raw
Here is yet another rumored storyline that has emerged in March 2018. Dave Meltzer and others have reported that Neville, who walked away from the company in the fall of 2017 because he reportedly was unhappy with his spot on the roster and the state of the Cruiserweight division at the time, is in talks with the WWE about a return.
That return could involve Neville rejoining the division and the 205 Live and Raw brands. Neville was a revelation after he turned heel and was allowed to thrive as the division’s top star, and he could once again elevate that brand and the show if he and the promotion can come to an agreement. Neville wrestling on multiple shows after WrestleMania is a rumor we can get behind.
3 Bobby Lashley Returns, Waits for Brock Lesnar
There are several parts to this leaked storyline that is currently one of the worst-kept secrets underneath the WWE umbrella. Multiple media outlets have reported that the WWE and Bobby Lashley have agreed to terms on a contract and that Lashley, who found success as the top champion in Impact Wrestling, will return to the WWE main roster after WrestleMania.
It was first thought that Lashley would immediately enter into a feud with Brock Lesnar since both have backgrounds in mixed martial arts. That may have changed, however, if Lesnar is eyeing one more major payday from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. If Brock returns to the UFC, look for the WWE to establish Lashley as a replacement dominant force until Lesnar rejoins the Raw brand for this feud.
2 Asuka to Reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion
Just as with the Bobby Lashley rumors, this isn’t the most exciting leaked post-WrestleMania storyline out there, but it nevertheless needs to be mentioned among the lot. As expected, Asuka completed the jump from Raw to SmackDown to challenge Charlotte for the blue brand’s Women’s Championship in a dream match that will occur at the biggest show of the year.
Asuka’s impressive and historic undefeated streak is scheduled to continue past WrestleMania and well into the summer. In fact, the leaked storyline that is one year in the making involves both Asuka and Ronda Rousey remaining undefeated leading up to the two battling at next year’s WrestleMania. While Vince McMahon is known for changing his mind often, he didn’t pull the Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar WrestleMania bout from the card even though it was first leaked in the spring of 2017.
1 AJ Styles to Raw
Any and all credible rumors about the subject suggest that Shinsuke Nakamura will be crowned the WWE Champion by defeating AJ Styles at WrestleMania 34. The two may have a rematch at a different Pay-Per-View/special event following ‘Mania, and the end of their storyline could signal Styles’ final feud on the brand before he moves to Raw in the upcoming Superstar Shake-Up.
In fairness, Styles has done all he can in carrying the blue brand, and he could use some fresh matches with different opponents. It’s also worth noting he and Roman Reigns could produce great television and memorable matches over the Universal Championship. SmackDown will miss Styles, who will look to become the face that runs the Raw place later this year.