So it’s been a while. Sorry bout that. But hopefully you can look forward to a real plethora of articles coming at you in the month of November! I have so much planned, fingers crossed I can actually get through it. My return to typing here is for something that I will make an annual feature – it is time to predict the card for Wrestlemania 31. Last year I did this column and got nowhere near the actual card, but this time round I’ve given myself about two extra months to analyse the rumours, and current storylines, and make a better call for what we will see on the night of March 29th. Just like last year, this will be a mix of likely matches, possible matches, and things that will never happen but I really want to see. So, let’s get right into it, starting things off with our WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match!
WWE Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (C)
This is the very boring choice. But it is also the one I think is just about guaranteed to happen at this stage. Lesnar quite frankly isn’t going to be about enough to lose the title between now and Wrestlemania, and Reigns is far and away the number one pick to win the Royal Rumble. I did see an idea online that I loved, where these two are joined by Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in a four way elimination match, but that for me is just too good to be true. I really do think Reigns’ injury is a blessing in disguise, as I was among a sizeable portion who were starting to say he was getting stale. This will keep him fresh for when it matters most. And much like Stone Cold vs Shawn Michaels in 1998, this will be the start of a new era of main eventers. To slightly amend the famous JR quote: the Reigns era will begin!
The Rock vs Triple H
They teased it on Smackdown when Rock made that memorable comeback a few weeks ago, and I think it could happen very easily. I actually predicted this last year, and they could just do the same storyline that was rumoured around then. My thinking behind this is that these two are old rivals that maybe didn’t quite get the spotlight for one big, final match that they really deserved. You know Triple H would want to work with someone as big as Rock too. The only question mark really is whether we are going to see The Rock at Levi’s Stadium next year. If he doesn’t want to wrestle, then obviously this match has no chance of happening. But if he does, then I think this is a very likely matchup for him.
Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
Ok, ok, I know they have just “finished” their rivalry. But, what you may have noticed is that there wasn’t a clear ending to it. Bray Wyatt made sure of that. These two have a very personal feud going on – Rollins turned his back on Ambrose just when The Shield were at the peak of their careers, and let’s not forget Rollins put Ambrose out of action for a month. I would re-ignite this feud by having Rollins eliminate Dean from the Royal Rumble – maybe the former Shield brethren could be the final three. This would need some sort of stipulation, something like a Last Man Standing match to give this feud a definitive ending. Give them around 18 minutes in a match like that and it could be a match of the year contender, and a career definer for both men. Give them the chance to tear the house down on the grandest stage of them all.
4-Way Elimination Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs The Dust Brothers vs The Ascension (C) vs The Dudley Boyz
This is actually quite an out there suggestion when you think about it. Half of the teams in this match aren’t currently on the main roster. The thing is, The Dudleyz have long been rumoured to be coming back to the WWE, and Bubba Ray himself even tweeted about going after the “other” titles. It would be a popular return to say the least. On the other hand, there have been rumours for even longer about The Ascension being called up to TV, and the expectation is that they will get the titles fairly quickly. The other factor in this matchup is that it is unlikely that the two teams currently feuding over the belts will be in a match for them in 5 months’ time, but these two have carried the division for the last two years and deserve this kid of showcase. As for how the match would pan out, I would have The Dudleyz eliminate the Dusts, The Ascension eliminate The Usos, and then The Ascension eliminate The Dudleyz to win. There would be no reason to move the titles off them, and a win over three top teams can only boost their credibility.
United States Championship Match: Rusev (C) vs Ryback
There have been a lot of rumours about John Cena eventually going up against Rusev, but I can’t see him dropping down to US Title level, and that’s where it looks like Rusev is headed. Ryback on the other hand, is exactly at that level, is newly a face, and is the American cyborg. Have Rusev beat Sheamus for the belt, and have him dominate the competition. But have these two face off at the Rumble, before they are both eliminated by someone like Roman Reigns. Have them both be undefeated from now till Mania (aside from the Rumble of course), and sell it as a streak, a title, and the pride of a nation on the line. Keep the match short, make it a hard hitting affair, and have Ryback go over.
The Wyatt Family vs John Cena & Randy Orton
This may just be my most unlikely choice yet, but hear me out. Randy Orton is turning face. He is rebelling against the Authority, something Cena has been doing in one form or another for years. These two have been about for over a decade now, they have transcended eras. They see these new kids coming up all the time, and taking their spots in championship matches. They decide that in order to survive in these younger and hungrier waters, they need to put their past differences aside, and work together towards the same goal. The Wyatts of course take exception to this, since they’re exactly the kinds of up and coming competitors that will be held back by this move. Boom. Wrestlemania match right there. There is always the possibility with this setup of making it a 6-man, adding in Bray and a returning Batista to the mix. But I have bigger plans for Bray…
Bray Wyatt vs Sting
Yes, you read that right. The Eater of Worlds vs The Icon. Obviously Sting has long been rumoured to face The Undertaker, but in all honesty I think Taker is done. In a way, I hope he is. And with him out of the picture, who is left to face the legend that is Sting? The obvious answer may actually be Kane, Taker’s storyline brother and a seasoned veteran. But I would suggest that the better matchup would be Wyatt. Bray can talk more about how no one understands him, while Sting can make the point that he’s been there – he once felt so isolated that he didn’t speak to anyone for months. And more importantly, if Sting is only going to have one match, he could be used to put over someone like Wyatt instead of getting a token win in a match that will mean nothing. Seeing Sting wrestle in a WWE ring is a big enough moment in itself that I don’t think he particularly needs the win, and the ovation he could get if it is built up as his last match would be similar to Ric Flair’s retirement match a few years back. It would be a truly memorable Wrestlemania moment.
I think I’ll wrap it up there. I am very aware that I haven’t mentioned some big names, including some internet darlings. The main one being, of course, The Undertaker. As I said above, there is a part of me that almost hopes he doesn’t wrestle again, and I really don’t think we’ll see him at the Showcase of the Immortals in March. There is also Daniel Bryan. The thing is, we don’t know when he will be back, we don’t know where he will fit into the card when he does come back, and we don’t know if he will get lost in the mix of the annual returning stars around Wrestlemania season. Based on how he was written out, the logical match for him to have would be against Kane, though there has to be better uses of him than that.
Other names I haven’t mentioned include Cesaro (imagine the matches he could have against Bryan) and Dolph Ziggler, as well as not mentioning his Intercontinental Championship. You could even make the Ryback-Rusev match a unification match I suppose. There is always the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal to get these guys on the card, even though they deserve a much bigger spotlight. It is just difficult to fit so many names onto one card around that time of year, all the while giving them a fair spotlight.
So there’s my potential card. How likely do you think my matchups are? Is there anybody else I’ve forgotten about that you think should be there? And what would you like to see at Wrestlemania 31? Let us know by the usual methods, by email, commenting or via our Facebook page.