Editors' Choice: 8 dream WrestleMania 30 matches
On and on, The Road to WrestleMania goes, at least until April 6. The date of The Show of Shows is about the only thing the WWE Universe knows for sure, though; the majority of the evening’s matches are as up in the air as a Five-Star Frog Splash. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun guessing, now, can we? Half the fun of the march to The Showcase of the Immortals is playing armchair quarterback. Who will be the Superstar to face No. 1 contender Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Who’ll get the big breakout moment? Who will the crowd rally behind a la Daniel Bryan and Fandango?
These are the games every WWE fan plays as The Show of Shows approaches. It’s part of what makes being in the WWE Universe so much fun. And here at WWE.com, we’re fans, too. So, if WWE.com held the directions on The Road to WrestleMania, these are eight destinations our editors would pick.
Big E vs. Roman Reigns - Intercontinental Championship Match
Get used to seeing these two juggernauts colliding in the squared circle. They’re going to be battling each other for a long, long time. It’s destiny. And what better place for the future of WWE to start their rivalry than WrestleMania XXX?
Big E and Roman Reigns have dominated since arriving on the scene in late 2012. Reigns emerged as the unstoppable force behind The Shield, anchoring The Hounds of Justice during the most impressive rookie year of the past decade. E, on the other hand, found out what he was truly capable of after breaking away from Dolph Ziggler. Big E has steamrolled over the competition on his way to taking the Intercontinental Championship and bringing the fight to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton.
I have little doubt that Big E and Reigns will be the rivalry that defines the next generation of WWE. Unlike Hogan vs. Andre or Rock vs. Austin, there won’t be room for theatrics, simply two big dudes throwing bombs at each other.
That’s why I want to see Big E and Roman Reigns collide at WrestleMania XXX for the Intercontinental Title. The two have the potential to put on a show-stealing brawl for the ages inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. If WWE officials let the champion and The Hound of Justice loose in the squared circle, there might not be a ring left by the end of the match.
If you like hard-hitting, smash-mouth, in-your-face wrestling, this is the match you’ll want to see over and over again. Just brace yourself, because you’re probably going to feel the impact. — BOBBY MELOK
Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Dean Ambrose
Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Dean Ambrose: They're two of the most venomous talkers in WWE history and they’re both experts in the art of waging psychological warfare. A rivalry between them is exactly the kind of thing I love about sports-entertainment — an amazing buildup (just imagine the back-and-forths these guys would have) followed by an in-ring encounter destined to become a WrestleMania classic.
It would be a chills-inducing affair, for sure, and after their recent Raw encounter left Ambrose with a snake in the face for his troubles, this battle upon The Grandest Stage of Them All would be a personal one, too.
For his part, Roberts looks great, and appears ready to go. Ambrose, of course, is at the top of his game as WWE’s longest-reigning titleholder. But if anyone can even the odds skewed by time and age, it’s “The Snake,” one of the ring’s shrewdest strategists.
Throw in the fact that — just one night before The Show of Shows emanates from New Orleans —Roberts will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, adding just the right amount of panache to an already epic showdown. Trust me. — ALEX GIANNINI
10-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Once an annual highlight of The Show of Shows, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match has been absent from the WrestleMania card since 2010 when it got its own spotlight pay-per-view. But WrestleMania XXX is the year we bring the money back. With the WWE World Heavyweight Title now standing as the most prestigious prize in WWE, the bout’s stakes would be higher than ever, and we know these 10 Superstars would go all out to become Mr. Money in the Bank.
Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and The Miz are three Money in the Bank winners that successfully cashed in their contracts to win a World Championship, thus making them ideal candidates — and potential favorites to win the battle. Included in that category — though his cash-in was unsuccessful — is Damien Sandow, a crafty and narcissistic Superstar that truly understands what it takes to ascend the ladder and collect the coveted briefcase.
Experience certainly helps, but isn’t necessarily key to winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. However, having no fear of taking risks is a prerequisite, making Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins two Superstars whose unpredictability and athleticism would no doubt play in their favor. Similarly, Bray Wyatt — who could use the opportunity to prove he is everything he claims to be — could bring an unorthodox unpredictability to the bout. And, with no disqualifications, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would surely be lurking in the vicinity.
As much as athleticism matters, sheer power and resilience are important qualities needed to absorb punishment and stay in the heat of battle. Mark Henry and Big Show — two of the largest and strongest WWE Superstars ever — have both previously competed in Money in the Bank Ladder Matches. They understand the risks involved and their size and power is enough to keep even the most agile high-flyer grounded.
However, power isn’t relegated to only size. Pound for pound, Cesaro is the strongest Superstar in WWE. His abilities and strength are uncanny, as evidenced by his knack for Cesaro Swinging everyone from The Great Khali to Tensai with relative ease. So long as he stays focused on the prize, Cesaro would grab the ladder and spin it around, taking out everyone in his way before ascending it to claim the Money in the Bank briefcase. — KEVIN POWERS
AJ Lee vs. Stephanie McMahon - Divas Championship Match
Being a power hungry, self-obsessed, obnoxious owner at most companies isn’t that dangerous. The worst I’ve ever seen happen outside WWE was some screaming and finger flipping before an enraged employee quit and told their employer in what uncomfortable place they could stick their job. However, the consequences in WWE can be much worse.
It’s not hard to imagine that the infamous McMahon pride would drive Stephanie to attempt to prove that she is, in every way, the most powerful woman in WWE. Stephanie once won the now-defunct WWE Women’s Championship, but not the newer Divas Championship. AJ Lee is the longest-reigning Divas Champion in WWE history — just check the tattoo on her neck — and has beaten every woman in WWE, except one: her boss.
Watch: Stephanie meets AJ on Raw
If WWE’s alpha females squared off on The Grandest Stage of Them All, each woman’s drive for dominance could get them to put up what they hold most precious. For Divas Champion AJ Lee, it’d be her ongoing and record-setting championship reign. For WWE Principal Owner, Stephanie McMahon, it’d be her billion dollar ego.
I’d wager that the match would end with Stephanie ensnared in AJ’s Black Widow submission hold and tapping out. Even if an official, fearing for his job, refused to call for the bell, the screams of Stephanie heard throughout the sold-out Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans would have AJ skipping and saying, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” — JOEY STYLES
Brock Lesnar vs. Batista - Last Man Standing Match
We’ve seen an irresistible force meet an immovable object on The Grandest Stage of Them All before, but what would happen if an Animal met an Anomaly? Although Batista and Brock Lesnar have yet to battle one another in WWE, both of these imposing gladiators bring to the ring a formidable combination of brute strength and mixed-martial arts training that would make their match a true spectacle befitting The Showcase of the Immortals. It’d also be terrifying in the best way possible if these goliaths were to meet in a Last Man Standing Match. No pinfalls. No submissions. No mercy. No way I’d miss that!
Each making massive returns to WWE in 2014 — Batista re-emerging in the ring after a four-year-absence — both The Beast Incarnate and The Animal have made clear their shared Darwinian desire to ascend to the top of WWE’s food chain. And, as anyone who’s ever seen a Toho flick will tell you, monsters (thankfully) aren’t into sharing all that much.
Would the match ultimately be decided with an F-5 or Batista Bomb? Kimura Lock or Batista Bite? With an evenly matched arsenal of power moves and octagon-worthy, bone-shattering takedowns, a Last Man Standing Match between Batista and Lesnar would be one of the most unpredictable collisions ever witnessed at The Show of Shows. Add in the Paul Heyman factor — and why wouldn’t you? — and you’ve got all the makings of an instant and potentially show-stealing WrestleMania classic. — JAMES WORTMAN
The Undertaker vs. John Cena
Who will challenge The Undertaker’s Streak? This question is foremost in the minds of WWE fans as they gear up, year in and year out, for The Road to WrestleMania. With WWE’s one and only Phenom having defended his spotless record a remarkable 21 times, there still remains one glaring omission from the list of Superstars who’ve tested The Deadman on The Grandest Stage of Them All: John Cena.
The Cenation leader’s legacy at The Show of Shows — while certainly impressive — cannot touch The Undertaker’s. Yet, there is hardly a more serious threat to the venerable Streak. Cena is the most decorated World Champion of his generation — the second-most decorated of all time, behind Ric Flair — and, arguably, the unofficial “Face of WWE.” To upend The Undertaker on the one night of the year when he appears wholly unbeatable would all but cement Cena as the most dominant Superstar of all time. Moreover, Cena-Undertaker showdowns have been few and far between, adding a genuine air of rareness to the ceremonies.
By now, The Undertaker’s Streak is simply beyond reproach. But if The Phenom wants to indulge the WWE Universe with a true WrestleMania dream match that’d no doubt have a big-fight feel, he need look no further than WWE’s biggest advocate for hustle, loyalty and respect: John Cena. — JOHN CLAPP
Attitude Era Gimmick Battle Royal
Levity has always been the least appreciated aspect of sports-entertainment. Give a WWE fan the opportunity to create his or her own fantasy card and they’ll stack the thing with hardcore stipulation matches and blow offs to blood feuds. But where are the valleys in between the peaks? A roller coaster can only operate with those brief moments of tranquility before you’re flipped out of your sneakers.
So this is where we give the crowd a chance to towel off, let their heart rates return to normal and maybe even have a laugh or two. The Gimmick Battle Royal was an unexpected highlight of WrestleMania X-Seven — arguably the greatest WrestleMania of all time — and WrestleMania XXX would be the perfect place to bring it back. Only this time, instead of stocking it with old-school WWE Hall of Famers like The Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter, we’re calling for it to be a strictly “Attitude Era” affair. Our lineup? As follows: The Godfather, Val Venis, The Headbangers, Steve Blackman, Gangrel, Viscera, Mideon, Kai En Tai, Kurrgan, The Mean Street Posse, Hardcore Holly and — why the hell not? — The Blue Meanie.
This match wouldn’t be defined by brutality (although wouldn’t it be great if someone came down holding the Hardcore Title and a match inside the match broke out?). Instead, it’d be a lighthearted opportunity to reminisce about WWE’s greatest generation, which just so happens to be personified by kung fu movie villains and an actual vampire. Val Venis will say something inappropriate, Rodney, Joey Abs and Pete Gas will pratfall like three Mr. Beans and everyone will band together to chuck the 500-pound Viscera over the top rope — it’ll be just like watching Raw in summer ‘99 without the JNCO jeans and frosted hair.
When it’s all over, Steve Blackman will be the last man standing — because that dude is a serious badass — and the crowd will be happy and ready for the next ominous, complicatedly stipulated, blood feud blow-off that’s headed their way. — RYAN MURPHY
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H - WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
So, you take your reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton — the handpicked standard-bearer for all of WWE — and you put him into the biggest fight of his life. His first opponent should be the man who’s given him hell ( sometimes in a cell) on numerous occasions; the man the WWE Universe seemed to choose as its uncrowned champion sometime around the fall solstice: Daniel Bryan.
Not bad, right? Well, here’s the thing: Orton hasn’t been able to beat Bryan on his own for a while. Anybody who talks about what’s “best for business” has to know a thing or two about an insurance policy. Enter a walking, talking, sledgehammer-swinging contingency plan in the form of Triple H. The Game’s presence ensures The Authority holds the 2-on-1 edge and, if Orton should fail against the “Yes!” Man, Triple H at least has the opportunity to pick up the pieces and keep the supreme prize in his own camp.
Watch: Triple H's weekly addresses
That’s a hell of a fight by anyone’s odds, and given both Orton’s and Triple H’s propensity for treachery — particularly against each other — it’s really anybody’s game. But if we’re talking about dream matches, there’s really only one ending the WWE Universe likely cares to see: Daniel Bryan doing what he does best, dishing payback to both The Authority’s leader and its champion for all the hell they’ve put him through, throwing on a “Yes!” Lock and finally —finally— capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, celebrating in a sea of “YES!” chants as WrestleMania XXX goes off the air. Will it happen? Who knows? But, hey, a guy can dream. — ANTHONY BENIGNO