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On The Apron: Rumormania XXX

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Every week, On The Apron brings you features editor Dominick Suzanne-Mayer’s notes on the latest developments in and around WWE.

Since last night’s Raw was a) a pretape and b) a show in which Curtis Axel remained Intercontinental Champion, I don’t have that much to say on that front that isn’t related to how I really, really hope the show-ending scrum becomes a 6-on-6 Survivor Series elimination match. So to change gears for a bit, I want to talk early WrestleMania XXX, a show at which Vin Diesel really needs to be involved in an angle, lest WWE blow the only opportunity they’ll ever have for a gloriously irrelevant pop culture cash-in. This is the time of year where WWE starts setting up for the year’s biggest show, and as such, the rumors are already abounding about which featured attractions will headline the show this year, along with a few other matches. I’ll weigh in on that, with the obvious caveat that I’m dealing strictly in rumors that could well turn out to be total bullshit.

Ryback vs. Goldberg – This one could actually work, even if last night’s Raw suggested that Ryback is about to get the kind of bad death usually reserved for Edward Delacroix and his ilk. Not only did Ryback, who we should recall was headlining PPVs a year ago, lose to R-Truth, but Paul Heyman cut a promo that barely stopped short of actually handing Ryback a bodybag and demanding that he climb into it. That having been said, WWE has started acknowledging that their latest gigantic bald man has been aping the moves of a certain previous gigantic bald man. And with The Rock mercifully out of the WMXXX picture, Goldberg is the kind of big star they love to show off. That said, the match would likely be terrible, because I can count the number of great Ryback matches on one hand, and because we all really need to think about what happened the last time Goldberg showed up at a WrestleMania.

Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust – Super likely, even if it’s going to be a mild tragedy when one of them (probably The Bizarre One) has to turn heel to make this happen. I’d accept a story in which Triple H forces the brothers to fight for their jobs, and that may well be the best approach for the sake of giving this match the emotional heft it’ll need to have. Also, this could be a show stealer should they actually get more than the six minutes they probably will.

Hulk Hogan, in any capacity – I’m not even really trying to qualify the Hogan rumors in the context of a match, because Jesus H Christ that walking sausage casing should not be in a ring taking bumps at this point in his life. That said, and not that we need one more non-wrestler taking up airtime, Hogan could provide a huge bump to a younger guy if he gets involved somehow. I’d actually love to see the Hulkster return to show The Real Americans what a Real American looks like, a development that in the realm of fantasy ends in Antonio Cesaro Swiss Deathing Hulk into an alternate plane of existence. Alas, it would never happen in a million years.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton – So here’s the problem. Word is that WWE wants to keep the two current world champions in those spots until Mania, which to begin with sucks a whole bunch. But, frankly, the rumors of a champion vs. champion match make no sense, because it’d render the Royal Rumble match irrelevant unless the endgame would be some kind of Triple H-Shawn Michaels-He Who Must Not Be Named situation. And as replicas of all-time great WrestleMania main events go, Randy Orton is a pretty bad Triple H substitute and Cena is a laughably terrible HBK stand-in. Daniel Bryan could totally be the Benoit, though; he even pretty much has the same moveset. That said, the idea of a unification match could be cool, but Cena-Orton would make for a tepid main event simply because those dudes have wrestled each other roughly 7,000 times at this point.

Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker – This worries me, and should worry anybody who watched Lesnar beat the shit out of CM Punk in a very non-kayfabe way at SummerSlam. I’m all about Lesnar 2.0, the big-payday prizefighter who hits harder than anybody on the current WWE main roster, but I don’t know if he’s the right guy to be facing a man who only has a few matches left in the tank, and that’s on Taker’s current one-a-year schedule at that. It’d make more sense to have Undertaker face someone like John Cena, a guy who can wrestle a “big match” and could also take care of Taker’s old ass a little bit. Plus, that’s one of the few dream matches that hasn’t yet been tapped. As fun as Lesnar-Undertaker would likely be, it’d be hard not to watch it while cringing in fearful anticipation the whole time.