As soon as one WrestleMania ends, anticipation for the next installment begins. The WWE Universe waited not hours after The Rock nudged by John Cena at WrestleMania 28 to speculate about which Superstars will muscle their way into The Show of Shows at MetLife Stadium.
One of the most purely fun aspects of The Road to WrestleMania is trying to map out which pieces go where. Where does CM Punk go after besting Chris Jericho on The Grandest Stage of Them All last year, and how will Cena rebound on The Grandest Stage of Them All following his narrow loss to The Rock?
As the entire WWE Universe waits for WrestleMania 29 to take form, WWE.com offers its choices for five dream matches that would surely excite not only MetLife Stadium, but also WWE fans around the world.
Booker T and Vickie Guerrero, please take notice. These five matches are almost too appealing to pass up.
Rock 'n' Sock Connection vs. Team Hell No
Imagine, if you will, two diametrically opposed Superstars — former World Champions, let’s say — joining forces and, against all odds, overcoming their seemingly insurmountable differences to win the WWE Tag Team Titles. Not only are the odd couple’s mutinous tendencies strangely conducive to winning, but they also make the duo’s on-screen interactions insanely fun and entertaining.
Sound familiar? Today, of course, your mind races immediately to Team Hell No, but if you were to turn back the dial to 1999, the obvious answer would be The Rock & Mankind — the loosely-knit pairing known as The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. Given the obvious parallels, a match between these two teams would be a fitting addition to The Show of Shows.
Though the match would require WWE Legend Mick Foley to step back in the ring as a competitor, Team Hell No vs. The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection has plenty of fascinating components.
Even if it's in tag competition, the notion of Daniel Bryan facing The Rock on The Grandest Stage of Them All would be enough to make most longtime Bryan fans' brains explode. Beyond the contest itself, however, part of the fun would be in the epic build-up. (The Rock would no doubt see the more farcical aspects of Team Hell No as nothing more than smack-talk fodder.)
The main obstacle to getting this match made may be the retired Foley. Or it could be the fact The Rock has a WWE Title Match with his name written on it at the Royal Rumble, and that could easily portend a main event position at WrestleMania 29. Then again, there's also Team Hell No's obvious combustibility to consider, as well.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Who wouldn't love to see what happens when two "Paul Heyman guys" collide? Common sense dictates Heyman would do anything and everything to keep his two biggest clients away from each other in the ring. Then again, the mastermind behind ECW has a well-honed eye for money match-ups, and he must realize —albeit reluctantly — that Punk vs. Lesnar has box office appeal written all over it.
The style clash makes it a tough match to predict. Lesnar is a juggernaut who has competed (and excelled) collegiately, in mixed martial arts and inside the squared circle. Punk took a completely different route to the main event, evolving from a scrappy, undersized heavyweight into one of the five longest-reigning WWE Champions of the last quarter-century. Other than each Superstar’s outspokenness, Lesnar and Punk share one common bond: their sly manipulator, Heyman.
Here's the rub (besides the seeming conflict of interest that this match would hold for Heyman): When the WWE Universe last saw Lesnar, he quit WWE on Tout. Now, his stern countenance appears front and center on the WrestleMania poster art. It is a development that has not been acknowledged on Raw, but begs the question, “What gives?”
The silence of WWE officials has only fueled speculation as to what it all means. Would Lesnar reconsider his abruptly announced retirement for a return to WWE and The Grandest Stage? Or has WWE put out feelers, via Heyman, for Lesnar's return? Whatever the impetus, this much is clear: WWE has not released outdated promotional materials to hype the biggest show of all time. Lesnar’s face on the WrestleMania 29 poster is no mistake.
Ryback vs. John Cena
By endorsing Ryback as a WWE Championship contender, John Cena gave a huge vote of confidence to the insatiable monster. Yet, in doing so, the Cenation leader also — perhaps unwisely in the long run — put another obstacle between himself and the WWE's richest prize. Cena ostensibly invited as competition the 291-pound beast with a proclivity for leaving Superstars Shell Shocked.
For Ryback, a metaphorical pat on the back from Cena means far less than if he were to score a clean 1-2-3, in the ring, over the first-ballot WWE Hall of Famer. WrestleMania 29 could be just the event where Ryback gets his chance. Alternatively, a match against Ryback would give the 12-time World Champion an opening to put his strength and intensity to the test against the new monster on the scene.
A reprisal of the dynamics that made the WrestleMania VI main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior so remarkable, the WWE Universe would witness two popular powerhouses — one established and the other a fast-rising up-and-comer — who respect each other but whose showdown seems inevitable. In the Cenation leader, WWE fans have a Superstar who, according to perception, is all but unbeatable. Then there’s Ryback, who appears literally unbeatable. Based on power maneuvers alone (and both Superstars’ unworldly strength), this match would be a spectacle to watch.
A Greco-Roman knuckle lock has never sounded so enticing …
AJ Lee vs. Trish Stratus
The in-ring endeavors of former Raw General Manager AJ Lee were derailed for the better part of 2012, thanks to her on-again/off-again relationships with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Kane, not to mention her three-month stint as Raw’s top decision-maker. Yet, if her exploits away from the ring have proven nothing else, AJ is not easily intimidated.
For that reason, one of WWE’s most petite Divas could well hold her own in the ring against seven-time Women’s Champion Trish Stratus. Though the venerable Diva retiree would undoubtedly have the experience advantage, AJ would likely have the support of the WWE Universe in MetLife Stadium. (Having grown up in nearby Union City, N.J., AJ would be the hometown heroine.)
The basis for this dream match is simple: AJ is one of WWE's most popular Divas, and Trish was the ultimate Diva of her time. But for this bout to come to fruition at The Show of Shows, AJ would have to decide to commit to in-ring competition, not politics, and Stratus would have to entertain a return to action. Given that Stratus lent a hand to Snooki during a tag team match at WrestleMania XXVII, the latter option does not seem out of the question.
Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. HBK
One of WrestleMania’s many nicknames is The Showcase of the Immortals, and no contest would better fit that description than a Triple Threat Match between The Undertaker, Triple H and a returning “Mr. WrestleMania” Shawn Michaels. An all-encompassing match with these three WWE icons would be a thrilling culmination to their various battles over the past four installments of The Show of Shows.
The Phenom pinned HBK at WrestleManias 25 and 26 (retiring The Showstopper in the latter), and he forced The Cerebral Assassin to submit at WrestleMania 27. Michaels unwittingly became swept up in The Undertaker and Triple H’s Hell in a Cell duel at Wrestlemania 28, serving as the battle’s special referee who counted down The Game’s shoulders. In the WWE Universe’s collective memory, though, the lasting image from that night was the heartfelt embrace shared by Michaels, Triple H and The Undertaker following the merciless fight.
Of course, the tagline for last year’s Hell in a Cell Match was “End of an Era,” and HBK is technically retired. Still, the WWE Universe can’t help but wonder how these legends would react to this match being proposed. Would their competitive fires allow them to pass up such an assuredly epic encounter?
What do you think? Would these Superstars be better suited facing other opponents on The Grandest Stage of Them All? Visit the Wrestlemania 29 Facebook and Twitter pages and voice your choices for WrestleMania dream matches!