The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of WrestlingINC.com or its staff.
Wrestlemania 29 was a disappointment, mainly because it was very similar to Wrestlemania 28. The main event was the exact same, and the wrestlers were mostly the same with the exception of Brock Lesnar. With the 30th installment of Wrestlemania coming up sooner than you may think, you can be damn sure that WWE is going to pull out all the stops for this one. Here is my mock-card for the show that is only 20 weeks away.
There has been a lot of talk of Goldust and Cody Rhodes facing off against each other at Wrestlemania, and while I do think that we eventually will see that, I think Wrestlemania is not the right place to do the match. I think WWE is surprised about how well Goldust is doing right now, not only with his in-ring work, but also with his popularity with the crowd. I would dare to say that he is much more over right now than Cody is. I think that Cody's best bet for the future is as a face, and if they turn Goldust heel to feud with Cody, I think it may backfire and many fans will still support Goldust. It will take a little more time for the Rhodes Family to split and work a feud.
Kofi and The Miz are currently in a little bit of a feud. With Miz clumsily turning heel in a few times and Kofi giving him a little bit of attitude back. This seems different than the standard heel/face feud that Kofi has been doing over the last few years, so there may be something more to it. Kofi and Miz may end up having a few matches, but eventually, they will attain a mutual respect for each other, and Kofi will turn heel. I think this would breathe a lot of life into Miz and Kingston, and it will give The Rhodes Family a decent opponent to work with for Wrestlemania.
Ryback vs Sheamus
Sheamus has sort of flown under the radar since he went out in July because of injury, and he should make his way back by the Royal Rumble, setting him up for Wrestlemania. His absence might actually help him in the long run, as his time on top of the card on Smackdown was beginning to get very dull. When he comes back, he might have a new energy from the crowd behind him, and WWE will likely want to capitalize on that momentum.
Ryback is someone that has finally crashed back down to earth after receiving a push to the moon for most of 2013. He will likely be still working through a booking slump by Wrestlemania, and he may seem like a decent place for Sheamus to get his start climbing back up the card.
A tag match would prevent the oft-injured Mysterio from destroying his knee again, and RVD will need a WM match, as will ADR. The WWE has teased Cara and Mysterio wrestling each other, and I find it VERY unlikely that they will turn Mysterio heel so I can see Del Rio manipulating Sin Cara into joining him in the fight against Rey Mysterio.
Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio have a history teaming together, and RVD and Del Rio certainly have some unfinished business to take care of, so this match works in a multitude of ways.
I believe that Jericho/Ambrose and Ziggler/Rollins could work feuds solo against each other, but since this is Wrestlemania and there are so many other matches that are going on, they work a tag team match to help set up their respective feuds. Jericho and Ambrose seem like a really intriguing pair to see compete against each other, and working with a legend that is always really-over in Jericho could really elevate Ambrose's career.
Ziggler has been in a rut since his horrendously booked WHC run, and now he is in danger of being swept up in mid-card hell. For whatever reason, WWE seems to have higher hopes for Reigns and Ambrose than they do for Rollins, but maybe Ziggler and Rollins can work together to prove them wrong. Both men are among the best workers WWE has, and are underrated on the microphone.
If there is one thing WWE loves, it is to have two big guys go at it. Well, this is even better! Now they will have three guys go at it, and for added measure the IC title will be on the line. WWE will book this one as the ultimate match to determine the most destructive force in WWE, with Langston going over as they continue to look for their next big face.
Mickie James vs AJ Lee-Diva's Championship
AJ has been in no-mans land as Diva's champion. Too talented and popular to be dethroned by just anybody, no Diva has risen in popularity enough to seriously make WWE consider taking the title off of her. That leaves the best option being the return of a former Diva. Trish or Lita are probably out of the question, but Mickie James makes a lot of sense. Mickie is currently a FA and has shown interest in re-joining WWE, and she would be an excellent foil to AJ. This would probably be the biggest Diva's match in several years, so I think it makes the most sense for WWE to go ahead with this one.
Although I would love to find a place for Punk in the main event, I just do not see it happening this year. That being said, wrestling the inflammatory Bray Wyatt is no small match, especially if they add in a nice gimmick in the match such as a Steel Cage. Currently, Daniel Bryan is feuding with the Wyatt family, but I see things changing soon, with Bryan going elsewhere and Punk stepping in.
If done right, this could be a really terrific program. Punk should be his anti-hero best, using any means necessary to incapacitate Rowan and Harper before the match. That will set up Bray, finally flying solo, locked inside a cage with one of WWE's best. This is where the Wyatt family could really start to scrape the ceiling of their potential. Punk is at the level where he can take a loss and still come back swinging in a world-title match without taking a hit, so even if he lost to Wyatt, it would not damage him a lot, while also giving Wyatt a huge boost.
Hulk Hogan and John Cena vs The Real Americans
Clearly this is a long shot, but if WWE were to bring back Hogan (remember this is Wrestlemania 30) this is the type of match they would have him wrestle in. I heard this idea from David Shoemaker over at Grantland.com, and it sounds perfect on paper. A tag match prevents Hogan from doing anything other than Hulking up, and who better to team him with than John Cena? Cena and Hogan are mostly the same wrestler, with Cena being the 2013 equivalent to 1991 Hulk Hogan. Having them team together for a tag match would make perfect sense.
The Real American's obviously do not have one iota of a chance of winning this match, but I do think they could make this interesting. Cena and Hogan are the real "Real" Americans, with Hogan's intro being the most obvious example of that. Imagine Zeb talking trash about Hogan being a traitor to America, or the total-awesomeness of seeing Cesaro put Hogan in the giant swing? Yeah, I don't like Hogan, but I would be interested in seeing this match.
With The Authority and The Shield having some form of a falling out, it would be smart to have Roman Reigns, arguably The Shield member with the most up-side, take on HHH, who had made a mockery out of what The Shield originally stood for. WWE has done a really good job keeping the strengths of Reigns prominent and hiding his weaknesses. He still leaves a little to be desired as a wrestler in singles matches, and on the microphone. Working with a veteran such as HHH could really help him in that department.
Reigns has risen up pretty quickly over the last two months or so, and a match against HHH, especially a victory over HHH, could really cement his status as a main event player in WWE. It would seem obvious that Reigns should pick up the victory, but in the wacky world of WWE, you never know what is going to happen in a Triple H match.
Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar-No Disqualification
Personally I do not believe that The Rock is going to return this year, so that leaves the marquee match concerning part-time performers being The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar, with Undertakers Wresltemania streak being on the line of course. I really believe that this could be Undertaker's last match ever, so this year, more than any other, I could see the streak coming to an end, and there a few men with a better case to end the streak than Brock Lesnar.
Brock and Undertaker have history together, with Brock beating 'Taker in a memorable feud over the Undisputed World Championship on several occasions, including an awesome Hell in a Cell match, where Brock beat Undertaker fair and square inside the Cell. That means Brock is one of the only people who really got the best of 'Taker, setting up a match that should be fantastic at Wrestlemania 30.
Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton-Unified Championship
WWE has gotten a lot of spite thrown towards it because of how they screwed up Daniel Bryan's WWE Title victories. While they probably deserved a lot of that criticism, they can still salvage Bryan's popularity and finally make him the rightful champion that he deserves to be. By having Bryan win the Royal Rumble and finally get one more chance at taking down Randy Orton in the main event of Wrestlemania 30, WWE could make up smoothly for all of their wrongdoings concerning Daniel Bryan.
I'm not even going to begin to speculate on the status of the world titles, but I am just going to assume that Orton will have the title, or they will be vacated after something happened between Orton and Cena. This could very well be the first match to actually crown a unified champion, which would make the match even bigger.
You could make the argument that Brock vs Undertaker, or even Hogan and Cena teaming up would be a more important match and thus be the main-event, but I believe that WWE should have Orton and Bryan go on last. Not only are you justifying the idea that the Unified Championship is the most important thing in the company, but you are also letting two FULL-TIME wrestlers that spend 300+ days on the road main event Wrestlemania, which I think is important.