With WrestleMania 32 just over four months away, WWE finds itself in a precarious situation. The recent Survivor Series pay-per-view was poorly received, and “Monday Night Raw” is registering its lowest ratings in 18 years. But all hope isn’t lost as WWE prepares for one of the biggest events in the company’s history.
Bad luck and poor decisions have both hurt WWE. Injuries to top stars like Seth Rollins and Randy Orton, as well as a hiatus for John Cena, all happened within a few weeks of each other. With their hand forced to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WWE chose Sheamus, who has failed to connect with the crowd as a top heel.
The Road to WrestleMania begins at the Royal Rumble in January, and WWE must start preparing to set up the top matches for WrestleMania 32. In addition to recent injuries, reports that The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin won’t wrestle have also made it more difficult for WWE to create a card that could break the WrestleMania attendance record.
But when it comes to WrestleMania, WWE usually gets it right. There were plenty of concerns surrounding last year’s show, and it was arguably the best WrestleMania of all time. As long as no more top stars get hurt in the coming months, WrestleMania 32 still has a good chance to live up to many fans’ expectations.
What can WWE do to salvage their biggest event of 2016? Here are predictions for the top five matches at WrestleMania 32.
The Undertaker vs. John Cena
If WrestleMania 32 is the site of The Undertaker’s last WWE match as has been speculated, Cena is the opponent that makes the most sense. Plenty of fans want to see the Deadman step in the ring with Sting, but a match featuring two wrestlers with a combined age of 108 might not be the best idea. Cena has been the company’s top star for a decade and The Undertaker is known for his legendary WrestleMania matches, yet somehow the two haven’t fought on WWE’s biggest stage. Depending on who fights in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match, The Undertaker vs. Cena could close the show.
Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
This can’t happen unless Bryan is medically cleared to wrestle by WWE, but it’s certainly a possibility since Bryan claims an independent neurologist cleared him months ago. It’s the match that should’ve happened at WrestleMania 31, and it might not be too late to put it on the card for the biggest show of the year. Unless Lesnar fights The Rock, which seems highly unlikely, he’s going to find his way into the title match. Since The Undertaker interrupted his rematch with Rollins at Battleground, WWE could give Lesnar a title shot at the Royal Rumble and get the belt off of Sheamus. If Bryan returns, he’s the perfect candidate to win the Royal Rumble match. After the crowd turned on the PPV in each of the last two years when Bryan didn’t win the Rumble, he’ll be the favorite to win the match if he’s healthy.
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H
Sheamus’ cash-in at Survivor Series could be setting up Reigns to win the title at the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania, but WWE also planted the seeds for a match between Reigns and Triple H. The COO has wrestled at every WrestleMania since becoming a part-time performer five years ago, and you can be sure he’ll have a match when WWE tries to sell 100,000 tickets. Reigns has been feuding with The Authority for a year and a half, and the Spear he delivered to Triple H at Survivor Series could be the catalyst for the two wrestlers to face off in April. Now that Rollins is injured and The Rock might not be able to have a match, Reigns is the obvious opponent for Triple H. The fans still aren’t ready to fully embrace him as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and WWE proved at WrestleMania 31 that they will change their plans if that remains the case.
Sting vs. Bray Wyatt
After facing Cena and The Undertaker in his first two WrestleMania matches, Wyatt could take on another legend at WrestleMania 32. Bray Wyatt and “Crow” Sting have been two of wrestling’s most interesting and unique characters in the last 20 years, and the build towards the match could be one of the best on the entire card. A win against a future Hall of Famer `would certainly help Wyatt going forward, since he seems to be on the losing end of all of his feuds against top superstars.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
When Jericho returned for Night of Champions to team up with Reigns and Ambrose against The Wyatt Family, he did so with a purpose. The match ended in a loss for Jericho and the former Shield members, almost certainly setting up a storyline in the future. Ambrose is one of the biggest babyfaces on the roster, and WWE passed up their opportunity to turn him heel at Survivor Series. That will allow Jericho to return as a heel, and he’ll be one of WWE’s top bad guys if given the opportunity.