WrestleMania is the showcase of the immortals, the battleground where the biggest scores of the WWE year are settled. Before WWE got into the habit of trying to fit everyone on the show for a slice of WrestleMania bonus cake, only the biggest names found themselves with a spot on the show, and fans could spend all year dreaming about what match combinations WWE will come up with for their version of the Super Bowl. However, sometimes those dream matches fans clamor for do not come to fruition for one reason or another. Usually one competitor is unavailable due to injury, a busy schedule, being unsigned at the time, or death and they’ll have to go with another option. To kick off WrestleMania Week on the blog, I decided to countdown ten such matches I would love to see happen. I made the conscious decision to exclude wrestlers who have never been under contract with WWE.as I plan to discuss wrestlers who already have some establishment in the WWE Universe, so don’t expect anything like The Young Bucks vs. The New Day or anything like that. Without further ado, let’s fantasy book!
#10. Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte
There were three opponents I was considering for Trish Stratus WrestleMania dream matches. The first was Michelle McCool. They were the sole silver lining of that insulting Snooki match from 27, but that match was so short and inconsequential that we never got to see everything they were capable of doing together. The second opponent is Alexa Bliss. You know why. The comparisons between the two have been discussed as naseum since Alexa turned heel. It’ll be like Trish fighting her baby clone. But the match I settled on pits her against The Nature Girl. The deciding factor that made me place it here is the fact that Trish is seen as the greatest female competitor in WWE history. Charlotte, having already won four titles in her first year-and-a-half on the main roster, seems groomed to take that crown. This one probably could happen since Trish has made brief wrestling returns since her 2006 retirement, and frankly, this would be the feud that’d make the most sense. Outside of the Alexa one, of course.
#9. Dean Ambrose vs. Mick Foley
Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley have both been on Hardcore bouts on the grandest stage. I’m scheduled to gush about Foley’s in a later WrestleMania Week post, but Ambrose’s match will receive no such praise, through little fault of his own admittedly. The WrestleMania 32 Review explained what went wrong in his Lesnar match, and if he’s ever gonna go down that road again, he’d need an opponent who’d actually be willing to put his body on the line for the sake of a good story. Say, for example, the man who he was rumored to feud with upon call-up before The Shield became a thing. They even hyped up such a concept for a bit following WrestleMania in 2012, but it never ended up happening reportedly because Ambrose upset Foley with one of his comments. Also, Foley was pretty much retired at this point anyway and likely wants it to stay that way. But boy, if they managed to pull the trigger and get a match on WrestleMania with hardcore settings on, they would burn that sucker to the ground.
#8. Samoa Joe vs. Undertaker
Samoa Joe is a savage, verbally and physically. Before TNA was putting him in one lame feud after another, he was effectively pushed as a huge deal for a while. He certainly lived up to the hype, having amazing contests and displaying unbelievable athleticism and dominance against opponents like Kurt Angle and AJ Styles. In the process, he instantly became buzzed about as one of the best non-WWE talents in the world. But it’s 2017 now and Samoa Joe is in WWE, running roughshod on Monday Night RAW. If he ever needed a WrestleMania opponent, surely it would have to be someone who’d fit his level of skill and intensity. Step right up, Deadman. Admittedly, this match would have probably been a better option in the late-00s when Undertaker’s healthy was in a much better place and the streak actually existed and needed a threat worthy of breaking it. Come on, we all know Joe would’ve been a better option that the one we got. But for all we know, the two might be able to pull out a decent match in modern day.
#7. Eve Torres vs. Becky Lynch
This is probably a match that only I’m dreaming about, given that I’m a huge fan of both competitors. But I would not have shoe-horned them into a dream match scenario without valid reasoning, and here is mine. In one corner, we have Becky Lynch, the The Irish Lasskicker, a woman who may be sweeter than a Cinnabon, but will bend your arm back like a boomerang if need be. She’s the current suplex-and-submission specialist of the division, so I wanted to find a fellow submission specialist she’s never faced between the ropes for a dream match. The chosen opponent has married into the famed Gracie family and has trained in the family’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu style, meaning she has submissions to spare. And even when she was active in the ring, she was handing out submissions like The Shining Stars hand out defective timeshares. Imagine Eve Torres, in her old evil opportunist executive role, making the lovable Becky’s life hell for months, only to be removed from the position and forced into a submission match. You’d have my investment.
#6. The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels
Can you believe this match has never happened? I understand why. Just as The Rock was rising to prominence, HBK‘s career looked to be just about over thanks to that pesky back injury. He retired for the first time in 1998 and would step into the ring to wrestle again until 2002, which happens to be the same year Dwayne Johnson began to cross over into Hollywood stardom and started showing up less. By the time Michaels settled into his groove again, The Rock was pretty much retired at that point, and by the time Rock came back in 2011, Shawn Michaels had been retired for almost a year, so a match was obviously not on the cards. But if The Rock’s promo on the 2008 Hall of Fame is to be believed, he would have loved to face Shawn Michaels, even if previous reports suggest otherwise. Personally, it’d be something to see; two wiseasses cutting promos on each other for a month or two, leading to a likely showstealer. Sounds like a winner to me.
#5. Lita vs. Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks sure seems hell-bent on being a game changer, doesn’t she? It is far too easy to find interviews or Tumblr posts where the 3-time former WWE Women’s Champion makes it clear that she was not a fan of the “Diva” concept. Granted, most people weren’t fans of it, and Sasha has been just as vocal as anyone about it. In fact, if there was any women’s wrestler in the world right now who’s trying harder to be an Anti-Diva without straight-up stealing AJ Lee’s skin and wearing it like Plankton did to Sandy, it’s Sasha. Of course, she’s far from WWE’s first Anti-Diva. While Sasha Banks was just a lowly grade schooler (I know this because we’re the same age), Lita was changing the perception of women in WWE and truly earning the right to be called an Anti-Diva. She didn’t talk about it, she just was about it, and if ever she wanted to step back between the squared-circle, it’d have to be against a woman willing to take more risks that she did. This spot look familiar? It should. You know what, we may have to wrap them both in bubble wrap.
#4. CM Punk vs. Steve Austin
Here’s a match that’s never gonna happen for reasons that are heartbreakingly obvious. Steve Austin hasn’t wrestled a match since 2003, believe it or not, when he fell to The Rock for the first time on the grandest stage and immediately retired sooner than expected due to health concerns. Unlike Austin, however, Punk chose to freely walk away healthy from pro wrestling because the WWE lifestyle effectively ruined his enjoyment of the sport. Therefore, the chances of us seeing either of them wrestle a match again is non-existent. But ever since the two superstars with contrasting views on the consumption of alcohol shared an on-screen segment back in 2011, fans have wondered what would happen should these two rebels step between the ropes for a match. I also considered CM Punk vs. Eddie Guerrero, but that would be too much of a retread of Punk’s 2009 feud with Jeff Hardy and Guerrero’s 2004 feud with Kurt Angle. This was the way fresher and more exciting option.
#3. Daniel Bryan vs. Kurt Angle
I originally had two matches up for consideration on this list featuring Daniel Bryan. Like with the Eve Torres vs. Becky Lynch match, this would be one built on the fact that both men know how to work them submissions. Only one of those matches got placed on the list, though, and as legendary a name as Bret Hart is, I cashed in my “Free Bias” card and selected Kurt Angle. Sorry, Bret; please don’t give me a 4/10 for relegating you to the honorable mentions if you’re reading this. The Kurt Angle WrestleMania catalog is impression, as his matches with Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, Brock Lesnar, and Eddie Guerrero are highly regarded as classics. He could definitely get a fantastic technical display on the level of his Benoit bout should he step in the ring with The Dragon. Obviously, this match isn’t gonna happen, at least on WWE’s watch because they refuse to let him un-retire, but it’s still a damn solid fantasy match. Bryan might want to watch out for those suplexes though; before they became Brock Lesnar’s only other move aside from the F-5, they were one of Kurt’s greatest weapons.
#2. Undertaker vs. Sting
It’s about time we accept that this match is never going to happen. Technically, revelations have surfaced that this match did already happen before Undertaker, then known as “Mean Mark”, became the megastar that we know him as now, but with no existing video footage and The Deadman not even close to his peak at that point, should we really count it? Surely it doesn’t exist within WWE canon, and will never see the light of day given that video phones were just not a thing then. For years now, fans have gotten water-mouthed at the thought of seeing the two dark princes of the squared circle going at it in their most famous forms, The Phenom vs. The Crow. The weeks or even months’ worth of mind-games would sell everyone on what would surely be an epic showdown. But with Sting being retired as of a year ago and Undertaker reaching the end of the road after decades of wear and tear, any hope for this match happening has officially sunken, but we can continue to dream of what could have been.
#1. AJ Styles vs. Shawn Michaels
We were so close. Fans have been clamoring for Shawn Michaels to come out of retirement to face the man who’d finally arrived in WWE after years and years and years of hard work around the world, including that little Titanic fed down in Orlando. But sadly for all of us, HBK is one of the few pro wrestlers who actually wants to stick to his word and STAY retired. He’s stuck to it so far, seven years after his final match with Undertaker. So sure, what’s another forever amount of time? Mr. WrestleMania has no plans to step foot in the squared circle again, but if he ever does get bit by the wrestling bug again and settles on one final match, it’s a no-brainer that he has to face AJ Styles. The Showstopper vs. The Phenomenal One sounds great on a poster, first of all. The staredown would look epic on a poster, second of all. And the actual ring work in the match would potentially be a work of art comparable to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Consider Undertaker vs. Sting overtaken as the top WrestleMania dream match that we’re never gonna see.
+ Eddie Guerrero vs. Shawn Michaels – I hear this match would have happened at WrestleMania 22 had Eddie Guerrero not passed away the November before. That would have been so amazing to seee.
+ Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan – This probably would have made the list if Hulk Hogan wrestling’s wrestling really did anything for me. That said, two of wrestling’s all-time biggest megastars facing off would shatter the box office.
+ AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle – I know this has already happened numerous times down in Impact “No-Longer-TNA” Wrestling, and credit where it’s due, they were really great matches. So imagine taking those same amazing matches placing them in a stadium setting.
+ Daniel Bryan vs. Bret Hart – My list already has plenty of potential submission showcases, so this one is being slipped into the honorable mentions. Still, a peak Bret Hart vs. a healthy Daniel Bryan would be sure to get the smarks going.
+ Alexa Bliss vs. Trish Stratus – Imagine the savagery of Regina George versus Sharpay Evans, but with moonsaults and bulldogs galore. That would be Trish Stratus vs. her spiritual daughter Alexa Bliss. Even if the match is so-so, I would be living for that banter.
+ Bray Wyatt vs. Mick Foley – The Eater of Worlds wanting to get one up on a man almost as sick and twisted as himself? Yes, these two portney punishers would provide plenty of pain and pleasure with their performances. Gotta love alliteration.
Stay tuned; more WrestleMania Week posts coming all week long!