Wrestling Inc.'s Dream Card For WWE WrestleMania XL

We're not far away from WWE's WrestleMania XL Kickoff press event in Las Vegas, where we will (presumably) finally learn who will challenge Roman Reigns at "The Grandaddy Of 'Em All." Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject, along with all the other matches they want to see on this year's Mania card.

That got us thinking — what about our staffers? What's their ideal WrestleMania XL? And what would happen if we asked them all for their dream Mania cards, then combined them to see what the show would look like if we went with the most popular matches? After that, it was just a matter of time before we sent the word around — though we did give our staff three guidelines:

  1. No more than 10 matches. This assumes five matches per night; yes, there will probably be more than that, but we didn't want to be doing this all day long.
  2. Everyone was to assume WWE would begin building to their ideal Mania XL card at tonight's press event. We're not re-writing what has already been done, but rather putting out our preferred version of how things could go from here. Which leads us to...
  3. Our staff were asked to keep things at least somewhat realistic, by which I mean, a magically healed CM Punk was not allowed to appear on anyone's dream Mania card.

We didn't end up breaking things down by Night 1 and Night 2, though there would be a few different ways to mix and match. What we have here are 10 matches that represent the aggregate version of Wrestlng Inc's ideal WrestleMania XL. Disagree? Tell us about it in the comments.

WWE Women's Championship: Bayley vs. IYO SKY

Not much to say about this one. As of this writing, Bayley vs. IYO SKY is the only official match for WrestleMania XL, and while our staff had the chance to add to that match or make any other realistic change, nobody wanted to. This was the one match that appeared on every single dream card ballot, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

In a world where there's a lot of tension in the wrestling community about who will be in the main event of WrestleMania, it's nice that there's at least one match that everybody is happy to see happening, and it's nice that in a company currently getting hammered by scandal at the highest levels of management, the best and most clearly thought-out story of WrestleMania is for the WWE Women's Championship. Bayley vs. IYO forever.

Oh, and make this the main event of Night 1, cowards.

Women's World Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Liv Morgan

There was a strong push to put Becky Lynch in this spot, and we understand why. But there was a different match that several of us envisioned for Becky, and putting her in that match allows us to give Liv Morgan her first-ever singles match on the main card of WrestleMania. As someone who had untimely injuries and inconsistent booking cut the legs out of a really promising singles run in 2022, Morgan deserves this spotlight — one that Lynch has already had several times — and she also has the far deeper and better story with Ripley, her former tag team partner who (in kayfabe) is responsible for putting her on the shelf.

Liv still needs to get past Zoey Stark on Monday to get her chance at Ripley via the Elimination Chamber, a match she's pretty likely to lose to Lynch. But our ideal Mania puts Ripley vs. Morgan on the marquee.

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Judgment Day vs. The Awesome Truth

As for Ripley's cohorts in The Judgment Day, our crew came up with a lot of options for that group heading into WrestleMania, mostly in tag team, six-man, or even eight-man scenarios. In fact, almost every individual participant had a different idea for a Judgment Day match. Some of us had Priest and Balor defending their tag titles against teams ranging from The Street Profits and The New Day to The Creed Brothers and DIY. One person split them all up into various singles matches; another person put them together against the superteam of Kevin Owens, LA Knight, Randy Orton, and R-Truth. One of our staffers even had Balor, Dominik, and McDonagh taking on Truth, The Miz ... and Priest, who presumably turned babyface sometime before Mania.

That said, the only option that got multiple votes was Balor and Priest defending the tag titles against Truth and Miz, aka The Awesome Truth. This one seems pretty well telegraphed on "WWE Raw" at the moment — it makes complete sense in current storylines, with the only question being how they would realistically drag this thing out until April. Given the amazing work that Truth has done with The Judgment Day in recent weeks, he more than deserves to challenge for (and potentially win) a title at WrestleMania, and this match gives him that spot.

Of course, Priest also showed up a few other times on the margins of our ballots to cash in his briefcase on a champion, the most hilarious example of which was Priest beating Cody Rhodes immediately after he "finishes the story."

WWE Women's Tag Team Championship: The Kabuki Warriors vs. Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill

We had almost as many options for The Kabuki Warriors as we did for The Judgment Day, from huge multi-team affairs that get more women on the card to story-driven slow burns like a two-out-of-three falls match with former champions Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. One staff member even floated bringing Jordynne Grace back in after her memorable Royal Rumble appearance, teaming with Naomi to create a sort of "Team TNA."

But Grace wasn't the only newcomer who showed out at the Rumble, and the allure of teaming Jade Cargill up with Bianca Belair was too much for most of us to resist. Obviously they would eventually have to break up and feud, but for now, why not get Belair the tag title reign she needs to keep up with the Four Horsewomen's records, especially since her previously presumed Mania opponent, Charlotte Flair, is out with an injury? None of the current women's teams are as exciting as Cargill or Belair on their own; together, they are a spectacle worthy of "The Showcase of the Immortals."

Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Our 10-match card only has room for three non-title matches, and the only thing we agreed on more readily than "Bayley should definitely wrestle IYO SKY" was "Jey Uso should definitely wrestle Jimmy." Maybe it's because the match has seemed like such an inevitability since SummerSlam, but we just can't quit the WrestleMania singles match with one another that Rikishi's twin sons have wanted so badly.

Some of us had a few other ideas for Jey — in one of our dream cards, he pops up in the main event alongside Roman Reigns and The Rock, which wouldn't destroy the discourse at all — but for the most part we felt this was the story that needed to be told, with many of us labeling it a street fight or giving it some other variety of hardcore stipulation.

Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax

As previously mentioned, we were largely split on where to put Becky, but she slots in wonderfully in this match against her old rival, Nia Jax. This is a story that WWE already started telling months ago, but it was never really finished — Jax defeated Lynch and everyone just kind of moved on. But even with Jax challenging Rhea RIpley at Elimination Chamber, it still feels like we have to go back to the Jax/Lynch storyline at some point, and their rivalry is strong enough at this point to carry a non-title match. Beyond that, Jax deserves the spot based on the largely stellar work she's done since returning to WWE.

While many of the WINC staff just wanted to see this match happen regardless of stipulation, a few people did suggest a Last Woman Standing match, which might be appropriate for WrestleMania season. Both women are often at their best in brawling scenarios involving weapons and blood, so sure, sign us up!

Santos Escobar vs. Rey Mysterio

This was the last non-title match that received multiple votes — other suggestions included Randy Orton vs. Solo Sikoa or Jey Uso, Bianca Belair vs. Jade Cargill or Tiffany Stratton, and even Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada. But once again, Escobar vs. Mysterio is where the story is, and at this point it's a fool's errand to leave the Latino World Order off any card.

It seems unfathomable that Mysterio wouldn't return to get his revenge on Escobar at WrestleMania after Escobar turned on him so brutally and took him out of action. While some sort of multi-man match involving the various other characters who populate this storyline could also be in play, we at WINC prefer the singles match.

WWE United States Championship: Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens

This was a popular choice for a big multi-man ladder match spectacle, with various incarnations including Chad Gable, Pete Dunne, Andrade, Santos Escobar, Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, LA Knight, and Bad Bunny. But we are a story-driven crew, and we think there's a lot more meat on the Paul vs. Owens bone. Their match at Royal Rumble didn't really solve anything, as evidenced by the fact that they were right back in another war of words on Friday, and WrestleMania is the right place to finish off this feud.

Much like Jimmy vs. Jey and Lynch vs. Jax, many people added hardcore stipulations to this one, with our personal favorite being the idea that Paul and Owens should meet inside Hell in a Cell.

WWE Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Bron Breakker

Several WINC staffers submitted their own quirky IC title opponents for GUNTHER, including Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, Sheamus, and even Big E. There was also a strong push for GUNTHER to finish things out with Chad Gable after their acclaimed rivalry at the end of 2023. But it was, after all, Bron Breakker who replaced Brock Lesnar in the men's Royal Rumble match, and we would love to see him replace Lesnar in this match as well. Even if he lost, a WrestleMania showcase against GUNTHER would be the perfect way to make the audience aware of Bron Breakker as he transitions to the main roster. And if he won?  Instant superstar.

There are a lot of really interesting potential opponents for GUNTHER now that his reported original dance partner has gone to ground, but the former "NXT Champion" and the man with the best Spear in the business is ready for primetime and would inject some much-needed youth into WrestleMania XL.

World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn

Okay, we've arrived at the juicy part. If you were wondering where Wrestling Inc. stands on the Cody issue, only one of our staff members had Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins on their dream WrestleMania card. Everyone else had Cody in some version of the main event (we'll get to that momentarily). And as that leaves Rollins without a title defense, the vast majority of us thought it made the most sense to fold Sami Zayn and Drew McIntyre, who seemed likely to be headed toward a WrestleMania match of their own, into the world title picture where they've been anyway of late.

Not only does the triple threat format protect Rollins as he tries to come back from a knee injury, it also would allow for Rollins to be removed, with Zayn and McIntyre fighting over a vacant title, in the event that he can't go. And assuming Rollins either vacates or loses, we either get the feel-good moment of Sami winning the championship, or the sure knowledge that McIntyre is staying in the company. Either way, we all win.

Of course, this can only happen if the side of the ring across from Rollins is empty, which brings us to...

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes vs. The Rock

This match represents a compromise from the WINC staff, just as it would represent a compromise between what certainly seems to be one side advocating for Reigns vs. Rhodes while the other advocates for Reigns vs. Rock. Our writers and editors solved this problem in a variety of ways, from including Rock only as a special referee/special enforcer to having Rock vs. Reigns main event Night 1 while Cody vs. Reigns main events Night 2. For the most part, though, we went with the triple threat, which just seems like the cleanest option that gets everyone the thing they want.

Similar to the World Heavyweight title triple threat, there's one performer in this match (The Rock) would could stand to be protected by the format, and this way there's a middle ground between Dwayne losing a match and Dwayne winning the championship. Even with The Rock involved, Cody can still pin Roman and finish the story, which is really what the two-time Royal Rumble winner should be preparing to do. If anything else happens ... well, let's just say it would be less than ideal as far as we're concerned!