The 2023 Royal Rumble is in the rearview mirror, and we’re officially on the road to WrestleMania 39.
WWE still could take a few detours with its storylines over the next couple of months, but the creative direction is coming into focus, with multiple ‘Mania matches teased Saturday night at the Alamodome.
Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley earned title shots at this year’s WrestleMania by winning the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches, respectively. All signs point toward Rhodes squaring off with WWE undisputed universal champion Roman Reigns, while Ripley called out WWE SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair during Monday night’s episode of “RAW.”
Let’s pencil in those two matches and try to read the tea leaves to figure out what else WWE has in store for when “WrestleMania Goes Hollywood” at SoFi Stadium on April 1 and April 2.
Here’s our updated match card projection for the two-night extravaganza in wake of the Royal Rumble.
Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus (last man standing match)
McIntyre and Sheamus have been teaming up of late, so this would require one turning on the other. Seems simple enough, though. They tend to get physical in their interactions. A falling-out is very much in play, opening the door for a brutal match between two respected veterans.
Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
WWE has been teasing this father-son showdown for months. If not now, when?
Nia Jax + Ava Raine vs. Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai + IYO SKY) (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
It’s sure looking like The Rock won’t be at this year’s WrestleMania. So, what if we get his cousin and his daughter instead? Admittedly, we’re grasping at straws to construct a semi-interesting match for the WWE women’s tag team titles, as there just aren’t any clear potential challengers at the moment.
Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul (WWE United States Championship)
This was teased with Paul eliminating Rollins from the Royal Rumble match, then again on “RAW” when the latter was asked about what transpired Saturday night. The only real question is whether Rollins walks out of the Elimination Chamber with gold around his waist.
Liv Morgan vs. Asuka
Asuka and Morgan were the last two eliminated by Ripley in the women’s Royal Rumble match, and the events leading up to Ripley’s win — Asuka accidentally spitting green mist into Morgan’s eyes — lends itself to a possible backstory moving forward.
John Cena vs. Austin Theory
Another clash that’s been teased, with Theory repackaging some of Cena’s catchphrases while holding the United States championship. There also was a report the two already filmed a segment. Working with Cena would be a way for WWE to further boost Theory’s stock.
The Usos vs. Sami Zayn + Kevin Owens (WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship)
Jey Uso’s refusal to join the Bloodline’s attack on Zayn at the Royal Rumble casts some uncertainty over this possible matchup. And WWE might have bigger plans for Zayn, who couldn’t be any more over with the WWE Universe right now. But this certainly feels like the most straightforward path now that Zayn turned on Reigns to defend Owens.
Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship)
Ripley challenged Flair (instead of Bianca Belair) on Monday night.
LA Knight segment with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
LA Knight deserves a spot on the card after his work with Bray Wyatt. He arguably was the more entertaining character in that whole angle, which culminated with Wyatt winning a forgettable “Pitch Black Match” at the Royal Rumble. Meanwhile, Austin probably will be involved with WrestleMania in some capacity. Maybe it’s as simple as LA Knight issuing an open challenge, and Austin coming out for a loud pop, a stunner and a whole bunch of beers.
Trish Stratus vs. Becky Lynch
This is a dream match that’s been teased before. And Becky Lynch should have an opening after wrapping up her lengthy program with Bayley.
Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell match)
The Judgment Day has been in Edge’s crosshairs. This idea has been kicked around in speculation and would be a solid way to end their longstanding feud, with the stipulation — a large steel cage — being key to raising the stakes.
The Hurt Business (Bobby Lashley, MVP + Omos) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston + Xavier Woods)
Really going out on a limb here, because Big E’s status is a total unknown. But it feels like Lashley linking back up with MVP is inevitable, and they’ll need another faction to squabble with. Could you imagine the reaction if Big E returned on the big stage to combat Lashley’s strength?
Ronda Rousey vs. Bianca Belair (WWE RAW Women’s Championship)
Now that Ripley made her WrestleMania decision, we’re left to wonder who will face Belair for her title. The options are scarce. Rousey is the most recognizable name, and this would be a fresh feud.
Brock Lesnar vs. Gunther (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Another match briefly teased during the Royal Rumble. Lesnar has unfinished business with Lashley, so WWE could drag its feet with that rivalry until WrestleMania. But Gunther would be a strong, new opponent for The Beast Incarnate. WWE should look to ride the momentum of Gunther’s impressive Rumble performance with a big-ticket battle.
Bray Wyatt vs. Uncle Howdy
Who the hell knows? They’re clearly building toward something … right? Alexa Bliss probably will be involved somehow, too.
Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Undisputed Universal Championship)
At this point, anything besides this main event would require a major plot twist. Rhodes will look to fulfill his destiny against Reigns, aka the “Tribal Chief” and the “Head of the Table,” who’s in the midst of one of the most dominant title runs in WWE history.