From the NAI Archive - January 24, 2015 - Anything Can Happen - Projecting Probable Winners from Sunday, and how it shapes Wrestlemania

The Royal Rumble is this Sunday!

I probably didn’t need to tell you that.  Hasn’t always been the case - in fact, for a lot of recent WWE PPV’s, the overwhelming emotion has been apathy above all else.  But not this time.

For the first time in forever (Sorry, but I’m an elementary school teacher; there are times I’m going to quote Frozen), it feels like the writing, the booking and the performances have been clicking on all cylinders, resulting in the most exciting PPV since I’ve been back in the WWE fold.

Nobody is quite sure who is going to win the Rumble and nobody is quite sure who is going to win the World Heavyweight Championship.  This makes Wrestlemania 31 practically impossible to predict. . .

But that didn’t stop me from trying.

Looking at the most likely Rumble winners and their most likely Mania opponents, I went ahead and booked some prospective cards for March 29’s Grandaddy Of Them All!   Am I wrong?  Almost certainly!  Does it matter?  Not in the least!

Before Booking:

Looking back over the last few Wrestlemanias, we can presume that at most, there will be only 9 matches (including the pre-show).  That makes our life a little easier, when you consider that some of these matches are “locks” - We can pretty much guarantee we’ll see these things…

A Diva’s title match - Given that it’ll be only one match and I frankly don’t much care for the WWE women’s division, I’ll let you book your own title match here.

Sting vs. HHH -  Based on what we’ve seen since Survivor Series, this is happening.

A Tag Team Title Match -  Some combination of New Day, Dust Brothers, Usos, KiddAro and Ascension.  Anyone not in this match will likely be in the. . .

Andre Battle Royal -  Featuring most every WWE talent who didn’t deserve their own match!

I also had to go ahead and make some assumptions in order to do this booking.

Miz and Sandow will have broken up, settling their feud at Fast Lane.  Both in the Battle Royal.

As I mentioned, Dust Brothers remain a team until later in 2015, so no Rhodes vs. Rhodes.

There will be no Undertaker presence. . . For most of these.

Either Kane, The Big Show, or both will need to have a retirement match.  Just a hunch on my part.

If Cena wins the title at the Rumble, Brock is done and will not be part of Mania.

You got all that?  All set?  Good.  On with the fantasy booking!

If Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar win:

Reigns vs. Lesnar for WHC

Rollins vs. Orton

Cena vs. Rusev

All three of those are pretty much self explanatory, as are a lot of these matches.  In the interest of time, I’ll keep most exposition to a minimum.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane (Retirement match)

DB makes a lot of sense as the guy to end Kane’s active career, and if we’re going to be forced to see this feud continue, it should pay off with Glenn Jacobs getting his well deserved retirement.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt

This one was a shot in the dark.  Could see Bray feeling Dolph is the next person WWE needs to be 'saved' from.

In the battle royal:  Ambrose, Big Show, Ryback, Sheamus, Barrett

No IC title match, which is a shame (and fixed later), but it would make for a good Battle Royal, especially with the likelihood that Cesaro is in the tag picture.

If Reigns and Rollins win:

Shield Triple Threat

I’m assuming if Rollins win the WHC, the only way Reigns wins the Rumble is if there is some sort of “Hart and Luger” style double elimination with he and Dean Ambrose, leading to the Triple Threat I can’t seem to stop yelling about.

Cena vs. Lesnar

This time, they mean business!

Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev

If Cena isn’t going to be the guy to take Rusev down, Bryan is the next logical choice.

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton

Again, shot in the dark.  Trying to find ways for Wyatt to be relevant.  Sadly, it's not easy.

Ziggler and Ryback vs. Kane and Big Show (Careers on the line match)

We’ve seen Dolph and The Big Guy fired once before, it could make sense to threaten it again.

In the battle royal:  Sheamus, Bad News Barrett

If Reigns and Cena win:

Reigns vs. Cena
Rollins vs. Orton
Bryan vs. Rusev

Again, self explanatory.

Barrett vs. Ziggler vs. Sheamus vs. Ambrose for IC title

Trying to get the “lower top tier” guys a chance to shine with these multi-man IC title matches.

Ryback vs. Big Show (Retirement match)

Ryback gets a push from sending Paul Wight into retirement (and hopefully to the announce booth.)

In the Battle Royal: Wyatt, Kane

If Daniel Bryan and Lesnar win:

Honestly don’t see Bryan winning the Rumble unless Lesnar wins the WHC.  As much as I’d like to see a Bryan vs. Rollins Mania main event (can you say Ironman match?!), it’s not happening.  Ditto Daniel vs. Cena.

Daniel Bryan vs. Lesnar
Cena vs. Rusev
Rollins vs. Orton

Reigns and Ambrose vs. Kane and Big Show (Retirement match)

Even more than Ziggler and Ryback, it makes sense for these 2 Shield Brothers to be the ones to send Kane and Big Show home, especially if Rollins is in the corner of the heels.  People would expect a Shield reunion at some point, and while it would be awesome to see it happen at 31, it’s still much too early.

Barrett vs. Ziggler vs. Wyatt vs. Sheamus (IC title)

In the Battle Royal: Ryback

If Ziggler and Lesnar win:

Dolph Ziggler vs. Brock Lesnar

This can be as David and Goliath as Bryan, injury risk and all.

Cena vs. Rusev
Rollins vs. Orton

Bryan, Reigns and Ambrose vs. Kane, Mark Henry and Big Show (Triple Retirement match)

With Ziggler in the main event, you need something for Bryan to do.  Teaming with Reigns and Ambrose to take out 3 guys (which really would never happen - you’re not going to end these 3 great careers all at the same time) would be fun to watch.

Barrett vs. Wyatt vs. Sheamus (IC title)

In the battle royal: Ryback  (Really, Ryback needs to win this thing.  Am I wrong?)

If Ziggler and Cena win:

Dolph vs. Cena

I really hope WWE doesn’t let the opportunity they have for this match slip away.  Sometime in 2015, these two need to brawl.

Bryan vs. Rusev
Rollins vs. Orton
Ryback vs. Big Show (retirement match)

Reigns vs. Ambrose

Here’s my thoughts on this one.  Cena is the champ, so Lesnar is gone.  Heyman needs a new guy, and nobody needs a manager (and a heel turn) right now more than Roman.  Maybe Ambrose tosses Reigns out of the Rumble, maybe its for no real reason at all, but I like the idea of Reigns turning on Ambrose just like Rollins did, giving Roman some attitude and making Dean even crazier..

In the battle royal: Barrett, Sheamus, Kane, Wyatt

OK, time to go a little crazy.  And by little, I mean a lot, of course.

If Undertaker wins the Royal Rumble:

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

I have to think Vince McMahon knew what kind of backlash he’d get from WWE fans when the decision was made to end the streak such as it did, but even so, I have to believe at some point, they’re going to “make it right.”  Undertaker entering at 30 and winning the Rumble, setting up Taker vs. Lesnar II would make a lot of fans (both of wrestling itself and of NAI) happy, especially since it likely ends with Undertaker winning the WHC and then retiring properly.

Cena vs. Rusev
Rollins vs. Orton
Barrett vs. Wyatt vs. Sheamus vs. Ryback (IC title)

Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler.

I have no earthly idea why these two would wrestle each other, but don’t even lie, you’d watch the hell out of it if it happened.

In the battle royal:  Reigns, Ambrose, Kane, Big Show

With Taker’s inevitable retirement, there’s no need to have Kane and Big Show put their careers on the line.  I feel bad for Ambrose here, though you could make a case that this is the best scenario for Reigns in the eyes of the fans.  He can dominate another battle royal (now this is essentially his “specialty”) and if he wins, he really has some legitimate momentum heading into 2015.  Plus, he’s not forced into the title picture, so I think fans will cut him some slack and appreciate his strengths without lamenting his weaknesses.


I think what this essentially proves is that for the first time in a long time, the old tagline for the WWF holds true - Anything can happen.  For fans, that’s been something we’ve been waiting seemingly an eternity for.

Your thoughts?  What is the likeliest scenario tomorrow night?  Which card excites you most?  Did I miss anyone?  Anything?  Be Heard!
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