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The Top 10 Missed Opportunities in WWE History

Rey Ca$h returns with help from friend and frequent collaborator Clive to break down 10 of the biggest missed opportunities in WWE history



Rey: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, chickens, ducks, scamps, scalliwags, and yes…Jim Cornette fans…I’m back!  I know you guys here my oh so un-radio-esque voice once a week on the Outsider’s Edge, but yes, I was originally and still am a columnist!  Right here…on The Chairshot!  (Insert cheap pop).  But no, I’m not alone.  As has become standard, I’ve started a bit of a collaboration with one of my best friends, Familia member, and Scotland’s most dangerous man…from Social Suplex’s The Ricky and Clive Show…Clive!

Clive: That little caveat right at the end there severely hampered my danger credentials. Especially when Ricky is clearly the heel of the outfit. Nevertheless, thanks for the grand introduction, Reymond. 

Rey: Ricky is the face and I’ll hear nothing else to the contrary!  Still, I have you with me, not Rick, and you’re the accomplished writer among the two of us.  So, let’s say we get down with the gettin’ down, eh?

Clive: Please, let’s. With time on both of our sides, it’s not an OPPORTUNITY we want to MISS…..

Rey: It’s gonna be one of THOSE columns, huh…




Rey:  So let me explain the premise of this here piece of art that me and my brother Clivert are writing.  When we speak about missed opportunities, we’re talking about moments where WWE dropped the ball on something that could’ve been massive.  It could be a storyline, a match, or quite simply a wrestler’s gimmick.  And we’re trying to keep it current, so miss me with your “Roddy Piper should’ve been world champion” messages.  That may be true, but still.

Clive: This idea was your brainchild, Rance. Birthed from a specific example. But there is one more recent than that. One that, probably through recency anti-bias (is that even a term?), sticks in my craw the most. So, if it’s alright with you, good sir, I’d like to get stuck in while the frustration is fresh in my mind. 


Enzo and Cass


Rey: So, I know it’s not the most popular thing to talk about these two in the current day and age, but revisionist history aside, you can’t ignore how MASSIVELY huge that these two were in their day.  Enzo and Cass were legitimately one of the biggest acts in the business, and they NEVER won.  A very impressive feat, no doubt.  But the frenetic energy of Enzo, the size and strength of Big Cass, and the catchphrases…my God the catchphrases.  What happened here?

Clive: I think we know the answer to that one. Vince saw Big Cass. Looked him up and down, and said “Goddamit, pal!! Look at you!” Probably something Vince has said when looking at the bigger of a tandem throughout history. 

Rey: So I think about this team, and I think about the most successful tag team in the Attitude Era.  No, not Edge and Christian…not The Hardyz, and not the Dudleys.  The New Age Outlaws.  They were created directly from that template.  And they drew money and ratings.  They sold a TON of merchandise, they got good quarter hour numbers, but Enzo lived the gimmick a BIT too much.  That coupled with Big Cass’s oncoming breakdown and mental health and addiction issues, and they became a never was instead of a legendary act.  Damn shame too.  I still laugh at the “Zero Dimes” line from time to time.

Clive: And what did we get out of it? A severely lackluster heel push for Cass (with awful music to boot), and a Cruiserweight Championship run for Enzo which, if people don’t know by now, was not an enjoyable time for Mr 205 Clive. It’s crazy that their exits from the company happened close to each other, but less than eighteen months after seemingly being at the peak of their infallibility. 


Braun Strowman at No Mercy 2017


Clive: While we’re on the subject of big guys, let me ask you a question. The kind that marks a milestone in life. The wrestling equivalent of “Where were you when JFK was shot?” Or “What were you doing when you found out Princess Diana died?” Rance, I ask you, what were you doing when Vincent Kennedy McMahon shat the bed and did not strike while the iron was red hot by having Braun Strowman beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at No Mercy 2017?

Rey: Probably writing Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose fan-fic.  But seriously man, you make Braun losing sound like a national conspiracy or something.  Like he lost because of the Illuminati.  All jokes aside, it may not be as memorable as Princess Di or JFK, but it was still pretty damn egregious.  Braun was as sure of a sure thing that comes around to the Fed, and Vince was like “Nah son, I disagree.”

Clive: I just felt that, after that epic display of brutality at Summerslam, all the momentum in the world was on Braun’s side. Bear in mind this was in the heat of my “Fook Brock” face, and I was being worked silly. But by God did I NEED Braun to win that title.

Rey: I was more insulted with Samoa Joe’s loss, but that’s because I felt that Joe deserved it.  But there’s a huge difference between deserve and need, and Braun absolutely NEEDED to win it.  Yes, Brock was in a bit of a rut.  He was still having good matches, but he was in the heat of his Eat, Farm, Squash, Repeat pattern, and unfortunately Braun had to face the biggest loss of that time.  But hey!  We still got WrestleMania 36, right?!


Bray Wyatt VS Triple H


Rey: The road to WrestleMania 32 may be the most unfortunate, underutilized, misdirected build in Mania history.  Everybody was injured.  Roman Reigns, who finally won the title to cheers in Philadelphia no less, lost the title in the Royal Rumble match to Triple H.  Dean Ambrose, who’ll be talked about later, was at the peak of his popularity and got a shot at Hunter’s WWE Championship.  Bray Wyatt, with Wyatt Family in tow (sans Luke Harper, who was also injured) had beef with Brock Lesnar.  And then, that one fateful episode of Raw, everything pretty much all changed with one staredown.

Clive: I’m going to throw a spanner in the works here, sir. Undoubtedly, this is another instance of something in WWE being teased without any payoff whatsoever. On this occasion, however, I just don’t think it would have worked if there was a program between the two. I appreciate Bray’s penchant for storytelling, I do. But the story he tells just never floats my boat. It would have been a clash of styles, personally. It would have been a face turn of an entire stable, not something you want to handle just for the sake of a Mania program. I know this is supposed to be a collaborative piece, but I didn’t want the readers to leave reading this without a little dissension within the ranks!

Rey: Only 3 missed opportunities in, and you’re already turning on me. For shame, sir! Nonetheless, you make good points. The prospect of the Wyatts as faces would’ve been dicey, and Bray’s stories do end up being too elaborate often, but it still would’ve been an amazing spectacle. The preeminent cult leader preaching down with the machine versus the heir apparent who has the full power of the machine behind him. At least it would’ve been better than Ambrose VS Lesnar.

Clive: It’s just a personal preference with Wyatt, or lack thereof. Personally, there are a finite amount of wrestlers or outfits who could merge well with a reality bending entity like him. And I don’t think Authority Paul is one of them, I’m afraid. Plus, HHH had beef with Mr Reigns dating way back, so that would have muddied the waters. 


Dean Ambrose’s 2016


Clive: So, one of my favourite Royal Rumbles is 2016’s. So many moments in that much that it could birth a column in itself. But the icing on the cake would have been the potential shock but very welcome win for Dean Ambrose. It was right there, begging to be done. He was on top of the world. He was lost in a swarm of fans after winning the IC Title a month prior. Earlier that night, he was in Last Man Standing match with Kevin Owens that’s still talked about today. Momentum was all up on Ambrose’s shoulders. Evidently, it wasn’t meant to be, due to other Brock Lesnar shaped plans in mind for the Lunatic Fringe. And…well…..sigh….

Rey: So, I have to say that he really made himself relevant during that time, because he went from having no plans to being last eliminated in the Rumble, a banger of a match with Triple H for the title, and the Lesnar match at Mania. Before we acknowledge the bad, we have to acknowledge the good. Lesnar was slated to face Wyatt. Hunter was gonna have tunnel vision towards Roman. By sheer force of will and audience participation, he changed the entire Road to WrestleMania.

Clive: The title match with HHH has to get a special mention. For purists, that might be the best WWE title match in 2016. It’s certainly up there. It’s just the whole Brock thing. It was one of a good few examples where the story has been told that Lesnar is going to be in for the fight of his life, and we get nothing of the sorts. A hugely anticlimactic end to what was a great build. Ambrose was lucky to keep relevant through spring and into the summer when he won the WWE Title. But then along came what was supposed to be a casual shoot the breeze conversation between two antiheroes.

Rey: That’s the irony of the situation.  If we’re looking on paper, Ambrose had a HUGELY successful 2016.  The aforementioned Lesnar and Triple H matches, and then winning MITB, winning the Shield triple threat, and holding the WWE Championship going into the summer and fall.  And no offense is meant here Clive, but sticking to our fickle nature as fans, we see the entire year almost as a bust because of two really sour spots – the Lesnar match and aftermath and his appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast.  Even the Jericho feud gave us Mitch the plant, and the death of the light up jacket.

Clive: You are spot on. It’s weird that people, myself included, thought Ambrose had a WEIRD 2016 when, by all official metrics, it was a career defining year. I guess it all sort of fizzled out towards the end. And as 2017 rolled on, with him falling down the pecking card, that recency bias doesn’t really pain the year prior in a good light. But still. That f”*”**g Lesnar match. *smashes fist off train window*.


Booker T VS Triple H at WrestleMania 19


Rey: If we’re talking about disappointment…


I’ve been on record saying that WrestleMania 19 is probably the best Mania WWE’s ever done.  It’s practically perfect.  5 main events, major stories on the midcard, all time memorable moments in the big matches, and it even has the workrate for the diehards.  It’s practically perfect.  Except for the fact that WWE RAN A STORYLINE WHERE A WHITE DUDE SAID THAT THE BLACK DUDE WASN’T WORLD TITLE MATERIAL BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK AND THE BLACK DUDE LOST THE TITLE MATCH.

Clive: I’m all the way there with you. Mania 19 is my favourite PPV, too. FIVE main event worthy matches? All after one other?! Shieeeeeeiit. BUT, the gutterball in what should have been a row of strikes is the booking for this match. This is another example of what’s turning into a theme of mine in this piece. That WWE told us a story for weeks, if not months, and we got a bad director’s cut that should have stayed on the cutting floor. That story was written so controversially, that surely there is only one acceptable outcome at the show of shows, when adversity is overcome a large chunk of the time. But, no, not this time. For HHH to take several seconds between Pedigree and pin attempt just adds insult to insult, in my opinion.

Rey: That’s the unforgivable sin.  I’m a mark for heels, so I love when they win against all odds.  It’s a fun change of pace for me.  So I could have convinced myself that it was ok.  But there were EIGHTEEN seconds between the Pedigree and the pin.  That’s so many seconds, I had to type out eighteen!  That’s a disrespectful amount of time to be down from a move and still not kick out.  And that was the first Pedigree of the night.  So…yeah.  Finishers should finish matches, but not at the detriment of the person taking it.  Just a deplorable set of events.

Clive: It was pretty disgusting. Listen, Booker T went on to have a wonderful WWE career. And HHH has mended some fences along the way. Not only has he given us a “developmental” brand we all know and love, but he had a black man in Adam Cole as the longest reigning champion in NXT history. That has to count for something. But, in a bubble, that Mania match was a disgrace.


The Nexus


Clive: I’ll hold my hands up here in saying I wasn’t watching wrestling when this all went down. But when I came back to it, and spent countless hours researching what I missed, this raised the eyebrows, for sure. The Summerslam match specifically was a prime example of the hubris I associate with John Cena and still to this day struggle to see past.

Rey: Kinda ironic that we’re talking about Nexus in the midst of this Retribution angle. I think a major component of these missed opportunities is expectations, right? Every one we’ve talked about has stemmed from a fantastic and mesmerizing beginning. Is there any more fantastic and mesmerizing beginning than Nexus’s debut?

Clive: None than I can think of off the top of my head. Even the Invasion angle, which I was a fan of, didn’t have as strong a first impression as that night on Raw when Nexus ripped the ringside area to shreds. But any impetus they had was cut off very quickly during that Summerslam match. And the nonsense they were dealt on subsequent PPVs too just turned what was initially white hot into a dull flame before the year was out. At least you got a solid 6 months before the ECW/WCW alliance fell to shit.

Rey: You know me pretty well man, so you know I’m not the kind of guy to think that an angle is basically over after one bad moment.  But maaaaaaaaannnnnn, Nexus was done after Cena Hogan’d them, weren’t they?  I actually think that they should’ve lost that match, but the egregious manner in which they did is borderline unforgivable, which hilariously enough is the catalyst of your John Cena hatred.  The stable was always going to be short lived because they didn’t have members with enough credibility for it to work.  Bryan was gone night one, Skip Sheffield aka Ryback destroyed his ankle in Hawaii, Michael Tarver was trash, Otunga still can’t do a wristlock, and Slater and Gabriel needed seasoning.  It just wasn’t going to work long term, but Cena made sure it wasn’t going to work at all.

Clive: Oh, my hatred for John Cena started a loooong time before this Summerslam. But that’s another conversation for another day!


The WWE Babyface Conundrum


Rey: WWE has a lot of booking issues, and we’re going to talk about two of them in these next two sections.  So let’s look at how they book babyfaces.  Faces are hard to to book in 2020 because of a myriad of issues – fickle fans, size and style differentials, promo issues, etc.  Other than Daniel Bryan, who’s maybe been the most perfectly booked babyface of all time, there have been issues with every WWE babyface this side of John Cena.  I can go down the line.  Johnny Gargano, Sami Zayn, Kofi Kingston, Roman Reigns, etc.  What do you think?

Clive: People might call me biased here, so I’ll preface by saying this person isn’t even my favourite Scottish wrestler. But I’ll be damned if Drew McIntyre isn’t being presented as the best babyface world champion in a long time. Kofi was a close second. But he was CONTINUOUSLY fighting from underneath. Drew has looked STRONG and convincing throughout his reign. Perhaps though, as you’ve just alluded to, it’s because he is being presented how a strong poster boy for the company should be. In contrast to those mentioned above, at least. I wonder if it’s a societal issue. TV shows have evolved into the preferred option over cinema. Part of that is probably down to streaming services. But a lot of it is also down to the “protagonists” of the shows having a very shaky moral compass. Despite their many flaws, we root for these people. I believe that behaviour has transferred over to wrestling; we want the bad guys to win. So, when the good guys are simply fighting the good fight, it comes across as stale. Uninteresting, maybe. We’re always waiting to see which morally compromised wrestler is next, and what they’re going to do. It’s a shame, really, because these faces aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong.

Rey: The disappointing thing is that there are so many pure babyfaces that were turned heel when they were doing great work.  Sami went from a manic ska loving fool to Che Guevera.  Bryan went from Mr. Yes to evil Captain Planet.  Gargano went from the heart of NXT to a deranged version of Mr. Rogers…wait, that’s Bray Wyatt…you get the point.  It’s a really weird thing, and I’m team Heel, so I love their heel versions MUCH better, but it’s still a troubling thing that the only babyfaces that they can effectively push are the ones like Drew.

Clive: I’d personally argue that Daniel Bryan’s Captain Planet shtick saw him in career peak form, so I’m very glad we got to see that. Sami? I don’t really think we’ll be able to articulate how to fix this issue. One of those “it is what it is” deals. I just hope Drew keeps doing what he’s doing. It won’t be long surely before we get some sort of draft. Keep things fresh for him (which they have been so far).


The Tag Team Division


Clive: Now this one is an interesting one. Until CoVid, I had my need for great tag team wrestling sated, thanks to NXT UK. So the regular gripes people have about either random singles stars put together, proper units being broken up, or too many comedy programs that admittedly litter the main roster don’t anger me as much as it does others. So I’m going to open up the floor to you on this one to spit ya fire.

Rey: Hilariously enough, I don’t have much of an issue with this topic myself.  But it’s extremely apparent that WWE doesn’t value tag team wrestling as a draw.  Now, this DOES NOT mean that WWE doesn’t value tag teams, as they clearly do.  The New Day, Usos, the Street Profits, Undisputed ERA, and most recently, Bayley and Sasha prove that.  However, they have had a storied history of choosing to break up established tag teams to make singles stars, or putting two singles guys together because they have nothing else to do with them (Hi Cesaro!).  And when you look at other companies like AEW, Impact, New Japan…actually, they’re tag division is just as shitty…never mind.  I think you get the point.

Clive: It’s certainly not exclusive to WWE, that’s for sure. I think maybe it’s more obvious just now because Raw specifically has really struggled to make its tag division seem credible, competitive etc. At least Smackdown is mostly about actual wrestling, which I appreciate. I guess…. we don’t actually have much to bleat about on this one!

Rey: Wanna trash FTR a bit?

Clive: Not at all! How dare you!


Who Ran Over Roman?


Rey: Finally, a storyline we can break down.  Last summer, Roman Reigns was in an on again/off again feud with Samoa Joe, but he started being attacked backstage.  First, somebody tried to drop some heavy lighting equipment on him (fresh with Oscar-worthy acting by Kayla Braxton), but then a week or two later, while Roman was arguing with Samoa Joe, somebody tried to run Roman down.  They hit the car that he just happened to be able to jump in, with Joe frantically worried.  It was a really nice touch, seeing as both men hated each other, but no man wants to see another literally killed.  All of this seemed to be leading up to it being Daniel Bryan, with his minion Rowan doing the dirty work.  Murphy’s random insertion, Rowan’s doppelganger, and a lot of heavy breathing later, everybody just moved on.  What the hell, Clive?

Clive: Rance, answer me this. Do you remember what you were doing when JFK was – you know what, maybe this isn’t a monumental moment in pop culture history. Nevertheless, the buzz around this whodunnit angle was off the charts, personally. When it was looking like Bryan was just a Rowan puppet, you and I wrung our hands in anticipation at the thought of this being drawn out to culminate in an epic showdown between Reigns and DBry at Mania (this must have been around Survivor Series season). The ultimate rematch. The ultimate clash between professional wrestling and sports entertainment. The story wrote itself. Except, the problem was, the story didn’t even get written. Obviously, with CoVid and Roman staying home, it may never have been anyway. But I’m concluding right now that the decision NOT to book this program created some effed up butterfly effect which actually led to that dodgy batch of bat soup around the start of the worst year in history. 

Rey: So first off, I was negative 25 years old when JFK was shot.  Secondly, it was SummerSlam season.  I remember this vividly because the story seemed to be leading to a match between the two at SummerSlam, but both men were left off the Pay-Per-View.  So not only did the story just get dropped (in fact, it was flipped to make Bryan a face again and have the fucking Bludgeon Brothers team back up), but two of the biggest stars in the company and of ALL TIME had to miss the second biggest show of the year.  Man.

Clive: Ah yes, that’s right. And on the SummerSlam pre-show Eric Rowan levelled Buddy Murphy something stinking!! Well, if there is ANY positive at all long term from this, it’s that Murphy was in a camera shot by accident. He got noticed. And now he’s a staple in a… stable. And we’ve been high on Murphy for a long time, so that’s a good thing, right?…..Right?


The Hacker


Clive: Speaking of Mr Murphy. And in particular, the Ying to his Yang. Mustafa Ali had been on the fringes of the fringes of WWE for 8 months. EIGHT. Things started to look up for him when imagery and, most importantly, the overarching message associated with him was spliced into the whole hacker routine. This went on for months. It made GTV look like child’s play in comparison. It was even paramount in the pay-off of a major angle at WrestleMania, for Allah’s sake! A rejuvenated, possibly repackaged in some form Mustafa Ali was on the horizon. And then? Once again? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Niente. 

Rey: It’s baffling that they just left it by the wayside.  And you bring up GTV, which is a great comparison because both angles affected major stories.  GTV was the catalyst of the breakup of Eddie and Chyna, and the Hacker exposed Sonya and Dolph’s collusion to keep Mandy and Otis away from each other.  So to see that it was given so much attention, then literally forgotten is massively disappointing.  They still have the possible opportunity to retcon it with this Retribution storyline though.

Clive: It’s a prime example of why I’m pretty cold on this whole Retribution thing. Sure, the visuals are awesome. Who wouldn’t pop for ring ropes being chainsawed to smithereens? But it’s the follow through, or potential lack thereof, that doesn’t see me as invested as I really should be. We’ve seen it with Nexus, which is a very similar scenario. We’ve seen it with the hacker, which fizzled away to nothing. And we’ve seen it with the greatest matchup in all the multiverse being RIPPED from our aching, vulnerable bosoms, Rance! Back on track, if Mustafa Ali was the intended hacker, then could have been really something. But it’s as if doing something which would be taboo in the eyes of law enforcement is hardly ever given an end product. It’s annoying, is what it is!

Rey: That may be the most unforgivable sin out of the whole situation.  The story, had Ali actually have been the hacker, could’ve propelled him to the main event.  And we both know that young man deserves to be there.  Still, as we’ve seen in this list and many situations like what we’re talking about, plans changed.  Brother.

I don’t know about you man, but I’m exhausted.  Talking about negativity just wipes me out in a way that very few things do.  But this had to be done.  We had to break this down, and hopefully, we can have good things again.  Once the world stops being an episode of The Walking Dead.

Clive:: Well, to be honest, I’m reading this not long after watching SummerSlam. Both women’s title matches were excellent. Drew McIntyre is storming into the conversation for having the best strong baby-face world title run since Johnny Boots ‘N’ Tights. And The Big Dog just said to Braun Strowman “I made you. You ain’t a monster unless I’m here.” Which is a major BRUH moment if there ever was one. So I’m in a good mood with WWE right now. That is, of course, until the Retribution angle shits the bed….

Rey: Well, while that may be so, I’m gonna make like the returning Big Dawg and wreck this column and leave.



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Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?



John Cena Last Match Randy Orton WWE WrestleMania 41

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?

John Cena recently appeared on the Pat McAfee Show, the Monday after his surprise (but mostly expected) WrestleMania 40 appearance during Cody Rhodes’ win over Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Championship. During that appearance, he confirmed what many expect, that he is nearly done with his in-ring career. But Cena even tossed out the idea of a time-frame, detailing that his acting schedule will likely take him through Christmas, and maybe Hollywood could “pump the brakes” to allow for one final run.

That run could easily begin at the Royal Rumble with a surprise entrance (or entering himself via TV appearances as part of the build), with a tease for his 17th world title win before finally settling in on his final match.

Fantasy booking and storytelling aside, the goal here is the final match–more specifically the final opponent. With a John Cena, you’ve got a ton of options. As such, it’s hard to narrow it down to 5, and one of your favorites is likely missing–be warned!

Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Miz – A feud with John Cena gave The Mix a WrestleMania 27 main event–and a WrestleMania  main event victory on top of it. Miz has been receiving more love than ever lately, and a match with John Cena would not be misplaced. Maybe he can use their WrestleMania 33 contest (and Cena’s personal aftermath) as fodder for it, too.
  • AJ Styles – The man who once made it popular to “BEAT UP JOHN CENA” is also nearing the end of his run, and could be the one candidate on this list that could realistically give us a double-retirement match. He would also be the guy who retired both The Undertaker and John Cena (and would probably end up being the guy who lost in both).
  • The Rock or Cody Rhodes – Both great options, but you have to figure their dance card for WrestleMania 41 is already full, potentially standing across the ring from one another. Either is an amazing option (including “Thrice In A Lifetime”), but I just don’t think it’s in the cards.
  • Trick Williams – Potentially a surprising addition to the Honorable Mentions, but the comparisons are there in terms of in-ring style/ability, promo skills, and the interplay they had in NXT (remember, it was Cena who is credited with encouraging Trick to not be afraid to go for it himself despite his relationship with Carmelo Hayes).

5. CM Punk

The fifth spot on this list was nearly interchangeable between several of the honorable mention names, but it really came down to Punk and Seth Rollins for me (with a hint of AJ Styles). The 2011 feud between CM Punk and John Cena was legendary, and is a moment that will forever be seen by me as the one that truly cemented CM Punk as a member of the growing list of all-time greats in WWE.

Punk is uniquely qualified for this match as he would make it mean more than a showboat for John Cena’s career and final match. It’s entirely believable that CM Punk would want to put John Cena’s career into the ground, and WWE has the video archive to support it.

Despite being #5, this could actually be a dark-horse for the match we get, and I can’t see anyone reasonably being upset about that.

4. Roman Reigns

John Cena and Roman Reigns have had two separate legendary programs. the first saw Cena, at times, embarrass Roman in promo exchanges in a feud that took place in the “pre-Tribal Chief” era. The second is more fresh and likely more memorable, as John Cena put Roman Reigns over in a football stadium in Las Vegas at SummerSlam (although it might be more remembered for the return of Brock Lesnar).

Reigns, a legend himself at his point (he’s featured alongside Steve Austin at the top of the “Forever” portion of the Then/Now/Forever/Together video that recently debuted) would provide a pairing akin to The Undertaker serving as Shawn Michaels’ retirement opponent at WrestleMania 26 9notice I didn’t say “final opponent). The end of Roman’s 1316 day world title reign has brought about a new appreciation for Reigns, which would further enhance this pairing at WrestleMania 41.

3. Bron Breakker

Bron Breakker is the picture-perfect definition of a juggernaut in WWE, a fast rising star who almost seems like a lock to main event WrestleMania one day (you never know–Seth Rollins JUST got his first WrestleMania main event last weekend). Breakker recently said farewell NXT as the natural in-ring competitor makes a transition to full-time main roster competition.

Breakker also fits the category of who “needs it.” Bring the man to retire John Cena would be quite the feather in the cap of Breakker’s early career, and would give him a moment that would be relived for generations to come. The only question mark is WWE “trusting” Breakker with this moment, as a sudden change of character could mean that Cena’s final match wouldn’t be seen or discussed as much. Breakker, to me, has given no reason for anyone to suspect that might happen, regardless of any controversies his father and uncle have been linked to.

2. R-Truth

Despite being 5-years older than John Cena, and making his in-ring debut in the same year (1999), R-Truth’s childhood hero hanging up the boots will undoubtedly be a hard-hitting moment for the  man who has basically become the WWE Mascot. Truth emulating Cena in his matches, and of course the RawAfterMania moment with Cena, Truth, and The Miz hitting a Fifteen Knuckle Shuffle (thank you, Michael Cole) on The Judgment Day makes this a near can’t miss final match for both John Cena and the WWE Universe.

R-Truth himself is equally deserving of this match, as it would be a reward for all of his years in the ring as part of a career that seems age defying while proving that age is not only a number, but also a number that can be ignored (see Child Hero, John Cena).

While a rematch of their 2011 WWE Capital Punishment main event is an unlikely WrestleMania 41 match-up, it’s one I believe everyone would love to see.

1. Randy Orton

I mean, is there anyone more perfect? John Cena and Randy were inseparably linked for a good portion of their careers, and have shared the ring more times than Big Show has turned babyface/heel. Both are far into legendary status at this point, and Orton specifically is obviously focused on enjoying this stage of his career.

But Orton is still delivering great performances inside the ring, too.

Randy Orton vs John Cena was an exciting proposition many years ago, became a punchline for WWE booking a few years ago, but is now coming full circle as the perfect match-up to end the amazing career of John Cena. It has my vote, and should have yours, too.

Even if R-Truth would be the most fun option.

What say you? Who is the best candidate to stand across the ring from John Cena in his final WWE match, potentially at WrestleMania 41? Who did I leave out?

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Greg DeMarco’s WrestleMania 40 Saturday Results & Review

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!



Sami Zayn WrestleMania 40

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!

It all comes down to this–at least for the first night! A loaded card in front of a packed house, and I’d expect everyone to deliver one hell of a performance.

Women’s World Championship – Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Rhea Ripley retains

In my opinion, this match should be the main event of Night 1, but The Rock is back and that was going to take precedence (even if I disagree). Becky won this title shot at the Elimination Chamber, even though they were already building the feud before that event in Perth. Ripley herself main evented that event in a stadium, defeating Nia Jax.

  • It was revealed during her entrance that this is Becky Lynch’s “Flu Game,” as she has temperatures as high as 102 degrees throughout the week.
  • Rhea Ripley enters to a life performance of her entrance theme, which you can tell she dug.
  • Prime logo is center ring, just the black outline with “Prime” in the middle, and it is not at all bothersome. I can’t believe people made such a big deal out of bitching about that.
  • The stage looks dope, not at all “too small” as some had said. The whole environment looks great, honestly.
  • Rhea Ripley has been dealing with a wrist injury. She said on the Pat McAfee Show she didn’t expect to work with the wrist brace on tonight, but there it is.
  • Corey Graves points out that Becky’s training was likely impacted by her illness, and Pat McAfee scoffs at him for stating the obvious. I hope that isn’t what we get all night.
  • Commentary notes that is is 52 degrees and windy in the stadium, and I am reminded of Nick Khan’s comments about moving an outdoor WrestleMania to late April in the future, if they don’t get an indoor building (he did say “2026” when talking about that, which likely means the 2025 venue is indeed set).
  • Rhea’s Prism Trap is a fell of a submission finisher. Add in the body lock the way she did, and it’s even more impressive.
  • I just noticed the “Prime” turnbuckle pads and it’s…weird. I just didn’t expect it and can’t think of the last time we didn’t have the WWE/WWF logo on the buckles outside of Black and Gold NXT. WrestleMania 2?
  • I am also noticing that Dude Wipes seems to have sponsored the ring posts. Kudos to WWE (and the wrestling industry behind them) for being so damn desirable to sponsors!
  • That combo to get into the Riptide was fantastic–and the kickout was even better.
  • During the DisarmHer you can clearly see the commentary position, and Michael Cole is legit reclined all the way back. Love it–Cole is living his best life.
  • Rhea’s Riptide into the buckle before the proper Riptide was pretty sweet as well. Made Becky look insanely strong in defeat.

Winner via pinfall AND STILL your Women’s World Champion: Rhea Ripley

Hell of an opener, and if you didn’t know Becky was sick, you wouldn’t have known. Props to them both. That would have satisfied as a main event, but can now go down as one of the best openers in WrestleMania history.

Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships and Smackdown Tag Team Championships – DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs. Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) vs. New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) vs. A Town Down Under (Austin Theory & Grayson Waller) vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest, Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Awesome Truth (Raw titles) and A-Town Down Under (SmackDown)

As many expected, the belts are hanging separately, meaning we are most likely splitting the tag titles here. Triple H and company have put some serious work into building up the tag team divisions of both brands, and even though I expect the two winners to not be actual “teams,” but either way I actually like the way they didn’t make a big deal out of splitting the titles up, they’re just doing it. They have been defended separately since being unified, albeit rarely.

  • R-Truth makes a joke about DIY being DX and that’s now taken off. I love it.
  • The Miz is very under appreciated. Can literally do anything.
  • Someone is struggling with the “Titan Tron” videos tonight.
  • Not gonna lie, I am the biggest Pat McAfee fan, but he’s actually quite annoying right now.
  • Sign of the night: SANTA DESERVED IT.
  • Lots of green in this match, half of the teams wearing their “WrestleMania Green” gear.
  • Also, loving the Consequences Creed gear for Woods.
  • God Bless Finn Balor for taking that Airplane Spin into the ladder.
  • 205 combined years of experience in this match. That’s an average of 17 years (Waller has the least with 7, Balor and Miz are tied for the most with 23).
  • “Dunne Mountain?!?!” Thank you Michael Cole for fixing that.
  • Poor Finn Balor, not he takes the AA to the ladder after John Cena’s Five Moves Of Doom
  • Hilarious.
  • A-Town Down Under gets the SmackDown tag titles!
  • And Grayson gets tossed through a ladder, still holding a title!
  • The match does continue until the Raw tag titles are also retrieved.
  • If Theory also got the Raw tag titles down, I will laugh my ass off.
  • Birminghammer is a fantastic name for a tandem (somewhat) Burning Hammer.
  • Tornado DDT through a table!
  • Air Raid Crash from the ladder!
  • And we still have more tables set-up.
  • JD McDonagh trying to get Finn–who has taken a beating–to get the Raw tag titles.
  • McDonagh through the tables!
  • PERFECTLY placed Razor’s Edge onto that chair.
  • Dude, that ladder is trashed. (And very unsafe.)
  • AA sends Damian outside!
  • I think everyone wants R-Truth to get this. EVERYONE.
  • YES!

Winners via belt retrieval, AND NEW:

  • SmackDown Tag Team Champions – Grayson Waller & Austin Theory
  • Raw Tag Team Champions – R-Truth & The Miz

Really good Ladder Match, but it’s hard to have a bad one. The tag team titles are split and it was really well done. It made perfect sense to do it that way, not make a big deal out of it and just let it happen. I am excited to see both teams win–not because I picked both, but because I think one team (Waller/Theory) have amazing futures and the other (Miz/Truth) will be a lot of fun, even if their run will probably be short lived.

Santos Escobar (with Legado Del Fantasma members Angel, Humberto, & Elektra Lopez) & Dominik Mysterio vs. Rey Mysterio & Andrade (with The LWO members Carlito, Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, & Zelina Vega

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Dominik and Santos win, giving Dominik “revenge” for his loss at WrestleMania 39.

Look, this match doesn’t make a lick of sense–Dominik shows up two weeks ago and finds his way into another WrestleMania match with Rey? Definitely shoehorned. But Dominik is outstanding, so if this gets him on the card, I’ll take it.

  • More green in this match, and I am here for it.
  • Innovative Double Cross Body by Rey & Andrade.
  • Dominik showing experience beyond his years, making sure the ref sees his tag with Santos.
  • At this moment, I am wondering who turns–Carlito or Andrade. Gotta assume it’s one of them.
  • Three matches in and I don’t even notice the Primo logo in the center of the ring or on the turnbuckle pads.
  • Santos Escobar trying to unmask Rey Mysterio, as if we don’t all have Google.
  • Corey Graves making a great point about Rey taking some responsibility for the issues in his life, and Michael Cole immediately dismissing it.
  • It’s so hard to do a really good Dragon Screw Leg Whip, and Andrade (along with Dominik and Santos) just pulled off two to perfection.
  • Camera shot of Rey’s cross body shows the heaters above the ring. Good–keep ’em warm!
  • This could have easily been an 8-man tag team match. Maybe we get that Monday on Raw (which can also be where the turn happens, making my prediction here likely wrong).
  • Joaquin Wilde gets to do his NXT spot at WrestleMania, and that’s probably more important than officially being in the match.
  • Two masked men–definitely the Kelce Brothers–are here.
  • My bad, it was Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Good call, honestly. Great pop for them, too.
  • Looking at the reply, Dominik sold that ringpost spot like a champ.

Winners via pinfall (Rey on Santos): Rey Mysterio & Andrade

Fun tag team match that served its purpose. Needed? Maybe not, as I really wanted to get Liv Morgan vs. Nia Jax onto this card. But when you can get Rey & Dominik on the card, everyone will be happy. and of course the Jason Kelce & Lane Johnson appearances.

Brother vs Brother: Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Jimmy Uso follows in the footsteps of Owen Hart and Matt Hardy and beats the “more talented brother.”

They’ve wanted this match all their lives–and the preview video was insane. Very well done.

  • Jey in the WrestleMania whites tonight.
  • And we get a hot start to the match!
  • “Big Brother Jimmy” is always a fun thing to hear.
  • More Dude Wipes sponsorship on this one–you have to wonder if having Dude Wipes on the posts for the opener was in error.
  • Superkicks. Lots of Superkicks.
  • Very enjoyable YEET/NO chants from the crowd.
  • Jey just kicking the hell out of Jimmy, including a Jumping Super Kick.
  • This has “Fight Without Honor” feels from old school ROH, where the winners have respect after. We will definitely see these guys together again.
  • Jimmy apologizing to Jey. Crowd is not buying it.
  • Of course it was BS, and Jimmy gains the advantage.

Winner, via pinfall: Jey Uso

Jey breaks the babyface curse by beating his heel brother. Thought we might get an embrace between them, instead we faded out. A good match that was more about the story than the in-ring action. I can see some feeling like this hasn’t “lived up to expectations” because of the high expectations you’d have for an Usos match. Their best work will always be as a team, but I know this is a lifelong dream come true for both.

As for all the Superkicks, I mean….it’s an Usos match.

Six-Woman Tag Team Match – Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, & Kairi Sane) vs. Naomi, Bianca Belair, & Jade Cargill

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Bianca, Naomi, & Jade win when Jade scores the pin (probably on Kairi, who always seems to eat the fall)

This match is all about getting Bianca Belair on the card (she had to be), and Jade Cargill’s debut. It also got Damage CTRL on the card, which they truly deserve–even if it is to lose.

  • Respectfully, Dakota Kai. (Good thing the ring and surrounding area is heated)
  • Not gonna lie, Jade looks nervous. But this is a six-woman tag, and her portion is likely highly choreographed. Gonna be all good.
  • As I watch and enjoy the match (but am not typing much lol), this seems like a match where we’re all just waiting for Jade to come in and win.
  • No one has told Jade about the tag ropes yet, apparently.
  • And now Jade is in, and Damage CTRL makes her look like a million bucks.
  • Dakota Kai nicely gets herself into position for the finish, and Jade gets her WrestleMania win.

Winners via pinfall (Jade on Dakota): Jade Cargill, Naomi, & Bianca Belair

We knew what this one was about going into it, and that’s what it should have been. Jade still ain’t ready. I know it might be an “ego hit” for her to go to NXT, but she needs it. If Giulia can go to NXT, so can Jade.

Intercontinental Championship – Sami Zayn vs. GUNTHER (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Sami Zayn pulls off the major upset and is the one to dethrone Gunther

Gunther has had a stranglehold on the Intercontinental Championship, defending it like crazy in 2023 but slowing that down here in 2024. It’s not fair to say he’s outgrown the title, but that might actually be the case. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens with Imperium leading up to the draft, and at the WWE Draft itself.

  • Sami Zayn was the perfect wrestler to have their journey form backstage to the ring followed by the cameras. From his family to Chad Gable to Kevin Owens, it was all so perfect–maybe too perfect? (Not in that someone will screw him, but in that it might be too heavily foreshadowing his win?)
  • Gunther looked oddly nervous standing on that stage.
  • You know, the Intercontinental Championship is basically a third world title at this point. And we could see the end of a legendary reign. I think this deserved the Samantha Irvin In-Ring Introductions (aka “Japan Style”) treatment.
  • Gunther is smiling confidently now, we’re good.
  • Crowd is ON FIRE for these guys (and evenly split with their chants for each guy).
  • This is the 21st time the Intercontinental championship is defended at WrestleMania, and it makes you wonder what in the hell they were thinking for the other 11.
  • Looks like Dude Wipes is back on the ringpost!
  • Hell of a nearfall, followed up by a Helluva Kick from Gunthcr, and one from Sami!
  • That finish….AMAZING.

Winner via pinfall, AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn

The athletes… the moments… the storytelling… professional wrestling is such a beautiful business. Sami Zayn’s win over Gunther was everything I had hoped it would be when I picked Sami to win. Absolutely beautiful.

Cody Rhodes & World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. The Rock & Undisputed WWE Champion Roman Reigns

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Seth & Cody get the win after tons of interference and surprise appearances, making Roman vs Cody on Sunday a match where The Bloodline is banned from ringside.

So much involved in this one. As you know, If Rock & Roman win, Sunday’s WWE Championship match will be held under Bloodline Roles. If Seth & Cody win, then that mach will see ZERO Bloodline involvement. Personally, if Cody is winning the title, I’d rather it be straight up. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I am wrong.

  • Honestly, after the introductions, I realized I was just watching!
  • This was very much Steve Austin vs The Rock inspired, with them fighting all over the stadium, and pushing the envelope.
  • I loved The Rock basically neutering the referee–normally I hate that, but here it works.
  • That finish and the condition of Rollins both lay perfectly into night 2, I would imagine.

Winners via Rock pinfall on Rhodes: The Rock & Roman Reigns

Per rule, Sunday’s main event will now be Bloodline Rules. And given that, my prediction of Roman retaining might be harder to pull off. This was a good return for The Rock, and perfectly played into the whole story. Job well done.

Greg DeMarco’s Overall Thoughts for WWE WrestleMania XL, Saturday (Night 1)

in a vacuum, this was  highly enjoyable show. Night 2 might end up being legendary if both Bayley and Rhodes win, and it could overshadow Night 1. But the scene was fantastic, production was top notch as always, and the fans went home having enjoyed one for the ages. The Triple H Era s well underway, and will likely kick into a higher gear with Night 2.

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