The Monday night after WWE’s Royal Rumble is always an interesting show, as it usually gives some more hints as to what the top storylines and matches will be that will carry the company into Wrestlemania. Now, there is still the Elimination Chamber Pay-per-view in a few weeks before we get to April 7th, and matches need to be set up for that event as well, so not every storyline is going to last until we arrive at MetLife Stadium. However, it isn’t hard to figure out who the major players will be on top of the card.
John Cena revealed on Raw that he is planning to challenge for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania as a result of his Royal Rumble win. This puts him against current champion The Rock, in a rematch of the “Once In A Lifetime” battle from last year (“Twice In A Lifetime” doesn’t have the same ring to it, so I guess they’ll need a new subtitle), unless WWE shocks everyone and switches the title back to CM Punk at the Elimination Chamber show. That would be a rematch also, but after seeing it so many times in 2012, there is little to make it “special” enough for the biggest event of the year, so we’re looking at Cena-Rock.
Brock Lesnar’s return last night, and subsequent destruction of Vince McMahon with a F5 that gave him a “broken pelvis” seems to all but guarantee the return of Triple H. It isn’t a stretch to assume “The Game” will defend his father-in-law, and his company, against the terror of Lesnar in a rematch from their Summerslam battle from last August. Again, we’re looking at a rematch in a prominent position at Wrestlemania, since I don’t see WWE putting this one on the Elimination Chamber PPV, although I suppose it is possible.
If WWE goes with Cena-Rock and Lesnar-HHH as the top Wrestlemania matches, which appears to be the direction we are heading in, there is a positive and negative to be looked at. The positive is that both matches were well received the first time, and only happened once before, so they haven’t been driven into the ground like Cena-Punk has over the past few months. The negative is that other than Cena, none of these performers work a full-time schedule, which means WWE will reinforce the idea that the performers we see on a regular basis aren’t on the same level as these megastars who only show up for the “really big” events.
It could be said that WWE is pushing Wrestlemania at the expense of the rest of the year, which isn’t shocking. What is surprising is that they are choosing to do it without mixing up the stars into fresher matches (Rock-Lesnar, for example) and instead relying on headline bouts from the past 12 months.