WWE is still several months away from WrestleMania 35, but the company is already setting the stage for a number of dream matches at its flagship pay-per-view.
According to WWE.com, WrestleMania 34 “hit a record 2.12 million global households on WWE Network alone, making it the most-watched WrestleMania in history” while the pay-per-view also “broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event at $14.1 million, attracting 78,133 fans.” WrestleMania 35 will emanate from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and is expected to continue WWE’s recent trend of its biggest PPV shattering a number of company records.
In 2018, WrestleMania 34 was loaded with a number of marquee dream matches, ranging from John Cena vs. The Undertaker to Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey, many of which had been several years in the making. Even though WrestleMania 35 does not take place until April 2019, WWE has planted the seeds for several massive WrestleMania 35 bouts that could ultimately result in the PPV surpassing WrestleMania 34 both financially and in terms of its overall quality.
Of course, plans can (and likely will change), but for now, WWE is establishing the beginning stages of these blockbuster WrestleMania 35 bouts.
Kurt Angle Vs. Brock Lesnar
Prior to Kurt Angle’s TV absence, WWE had clearly laid the foundation for a reincarnated rivalry with Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar savagely attacked Angle on Raw this summer while Angle routinely bashed Lesnar for being an absentee Universal Champion, two undeniable truths that strongly hinted at Lesnar and Angle reigniting one of the best feuds of the early 2000s, a rivalry that produced some of the best matches in WWE history. What’s more, “The Beast” recently signed a “seven figure” deal to return to WWE and is expected to wrestle at “major events going forward,” while he will likely end his run in the Universal title picture after Crown Jewel, where he’s expected to lose to Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman.
One of the biggest fan complaints about Lesnar’s most recent WWE run was that he dominated Raw’s world title scene, so his presence on the red brand would be much more palatable if he consistently competed in non-title feuds instead. WWE has made it quite apparent that it, at the very least, considering an Angle/Lesnar match amidst reports that Angle is expected to work as either a full-time or part-time in-ring performer going forward.
With Angle set to resume a role as an active superstar, his long and storied history with Lesnar and the recent beef between the two, WWE has a ready made feud that would allow the company to utilize both Angle and Lesnar, a massive draw, in a part-timer vs. part-timer rivalry that wouldn’t hog the world title picture but could potentially bring back some lapsed fans.
The Shield Triple Threat Match For The Universal Championship
WWE has been not so subtly teasing a Dean Ambrose heel turn, which was reportedly planned for the fall of 2017 when The Shield’s brief reunion was cut short due to Reigns’ viral illness and Ambrose’s injury.
Now, it’s evident that WWE is planning on having The Shield implode in the near future, and as obvious as it may seem, an Ambrose heel turn is still what will likely get us there. There is money to be made with The Shield competing in its second-ever triple threat match, especially after the first one was somewhat ruined by the absence of Reigns during much of the buildup to their Battleground 2016 match. The star power of all three stars has grown significantly since then, with Reigns passing Cena to become WWE’s No. 1 merchandise mover and Rollins solidifying himself as a top five merchandise mover and arguably WWE’s most popular star.
Fans have been clamoring for Rollins to become the Universal Champion and for Ambrose to turn heel, and it would make for a wonderful story if both of those things happened in route to a clash at WrestleMania 35. In fact, Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Ambrose has been positioned as one of the early betting favorites to headline WrestleMania 35, and those odds were released even before The Shield reunited, suggesting the odds are even higher now.
Although WWE is reportedly trying to secure The Rock for a match with Reigns at WrestleMania 35, that’s far from a lock given The Rock’s famously busy schedule and the likelihood that he won’t be able to commit to a WrestleMania feud. If that’s the case, then a Shield triple threat match sure feels like a nice consolation prize.
The Miz Vs. Daniel Bryan For The WWE Championship
As personal as the very entertaining rivalry between The Miz and Daniel Bryan has been, both superstars have also let it be known that their ultimate goal is to win the WWE Championship again after lengthy championship droughts.
Much like The Shield triple threat match, The Miz vs. Bryan is one of the early betting favorites to main event WrestleMania 35, and even though that would mean it would be close to a year between their first match (at SummerSlam) and the culmination of their feud at WrestleMania 35, this is one of those rare rivalries that is interesting enough to continue for that long without getting stale. After all, this feud has been off-and-on for close to a decade, and it’s still one of the best rivalries in WWE, which is why the company apparently has plans to continue it all the way through the end of the year at the very least.
The Miz vs. Bryan was advertised for WWE’s Madison Square Garden live event on December 26th (before being changed to a Raw show), which indicates that WWE will indeed extend this feud for another few months, if not more. With Bryan recently earning a WWE title opportunity by beating The Miz at Super Show-Down and set to face AJ Styles at Crown Jewel, that could serve as the catalyst to keep this rivalry going strong, either with Miz costing Bryan his title match or Bryan ultimately winning the WWE Championship and having The Miz chase him to add a new level to this rivalry.
There is also the very real possibility that Miz or Bryan wins the Royal Rumble match (and that the other star wins the WWE Championship during Royal Rumble or WrestleMania season) to continue this feud, but do so with something substantial at stake so that their WrestleMania clash means even more.
Ronda Rousey Vs. Charlotte Flair
The early betting favorite to main event WrestleMania 35? That would be Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey in a match between two arguably the two top female stars in all of WWE.
According to PWStream (h/t Daily DDT), Rousey vs. Flair has been penciled in as the main event for WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of 2019, and that bout, of course, could be perhaps the biggest bout in the history of the women’s division. Rosuey is, far and away, the most recognizable female superstar in the company, a proven PPV draw and a star who creates a buzz that can’t be matched by anyone else currently in WWE, male or female. Thus, it’s a no-brainer on WWE’s part to be even considering this match for WrestleMania.
WWE has made a plethora of subtle moves that could all be leading toward Flair vs. Rousey, too. For starters, Rousey is now the Raw Women’s Champion while Flair recently lost the SmackDown Women’s title, which now belongs to Becky Lynch. We are also rapidly approaching the Royal Rumble, which is expected to play host to just the second-ever women’s Royal Rumble, a match that a title-less Flair will almost assuredly be the favorite in.
With Rousey expected to hold the Raw Women’s title for a lengthy run that may last a year or more, she’s virtually a lock to be holding the title come WrestleMania 35, which paves the way for Flair to win the Royal Rumble, and just like Asuka did last year, choose to challenge the champion from a different brand. Although Rousey vs. Flair is not set in stone for WrestleMania 35, it’s about as close as it comes to being a lock and makes sense as the No. 1 dream match for WWE’s stacked women’s division.
The Undertaker Vs. Shawn Michaels
With Shawn Michaels likely getting a massive payday to come of retirement and team with Triple H against The Undertaker and Kane at Crown Jewel, the next step is obvious: The Undertaker vs. Michaels in a singles match.
In fact, WWE is reportedly considering “The Heartbreak Kid” vs. “The Phenom” for Survivor Series, though one would think a match of that magnitude is best reserved for the grand stage of WrestleMania. Yet another report indicates that WWE is considering doing Michaels vs. Undertaker in the near future, which only adds more fuel to the fire in regards to rumors of Michaels having one last lengthy run as an active in-ring competitor.
The belief is that a big money deal that was too good to pass up is the motivating factor behind Michaels’ sudden 180 regarding retirement, and if there’s a match WWE must do when he steps back into the ring, it’s another encounter with Undertaker that fits the story that is being told with Triple H and Kane. Although a Michaels in-ring return won’t sit well with some fans due to disappointment over HBK going back on his vow to stay retired, that has happened with a number of other legends countless times in the past and shouldn’t be a long-term issue.
Ultimately, excitement over Michaels’ in-ring return will supersede any sort of disappointment over that cheapening his WrestleMania 26 sendoff, and a dream match in Taker vs. HBK that most never expected to see again could serve as one of the biggest matches on what may be a loaded WrestleMania 35 card.