The Common Denominator – “There’s a plan, right?” (Randy Orton, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Big E Langston, CM Punk, Wrestlemania XXX)

Greetings once again, my Common DenomiNation! Sorry I missed last week, but I just got too busy with my job and Christmas preparations and such, and honestly, I couldn’t really get too inspired about a topic until I knew for sure they were really going through with the WWE/World Heavyweight title unification match.

But here we are, and Randy Orton is indeed your Undisputed Unified WWE Champion of Champions (or whatever we’re calling it). I like the idea that Orton is still carrying around both belts for now. I always liked it when a boxing champion with multiple titles carried all of his belts around back when I (or anyone else) really followed boxing. However, if he’s still carrying around two belts come, say, Royal Rumble time, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions.

One, they really did just come up with this whole unification thing pretty much on the fly, desperate to generate some kind of buzz in an otherwise down time of the year. That theory explains why they just debuted a new WWE title a few months ago instead of waiting to bring out a new belt signifying a “unified” champion. It wouldn’t make sense now just to scrap the new belt in favor of another new belt.

Two, they’re not planning on keeping the titles unified. It really could have been, again, just a way to get some buys for TLC and move the Authority/Face of the WWE/Good for Business storyline along. It would be pretty easy to get one of the belts off of Orton without taking the other one off of him.

Having one champion has its pros and cons, but it does create a couple of wrinkles. One would assume Orton will be defending the title at the Royal Rumble. Based on recent developments, you’d assume it would be a rematch with John Cena or a three-way with Orton, Cena and Daniel Bryan. If either is the case, does that keep Cena (or Cena and Bryan) out of the Rumble match itself? Would both titles be on the line?

Let’s assume just for the sake of argument that it’s just Orton vs. Cena for both belts. I’d assume Orton retains at least until Wrestlemania, since ‘Mania is traditionally where the babyface gets the big win to send the crowd home happy, but who knows these days? So, someone is going to win the Royal Rumble. Let’s again assume Cena is not in the Rumble and it’s not a 3-way for the belt. That makes Bryan the odds-on favorite to win the Rumble, with CM Punk likely the next most probable candidate. Anyone else would pretty much be a surprise.

That leads us to the February pay-per-view, which I’m assuming will once again be Elimination Chamber. Over the past few years, the way that has worked is the Royal Rumble winner has picked which of the two titles he has opted to go after at Wrestlemania, and the number one contender for the other title was decided in the Elimination Chamber match (usually with the other champion actually defending his title in another Chamber match on the card). So, what is the plan for this time around if there’s only one champion? They’ve got a few options.

One, they only have one Elimination Chamber match with Orton (presumably) defending the title(s) with the winner, whether it be Orton or someone else, going on to face the Rumble winner at Wrestlemania XXX. That seems the simplest route.

Two, Orton defends the title in a different match and they have a single Elimination Chamber match to determine a number one contender for the Unified Title at a later date, perhaps the pay-per-view after ‘Mania.

Three, they have two Elimination Chamber matches for separate shots at both titles or Orton defends in one and one is for a title shot. They could go this route if they want to split the titles before Wrestlemania or if they want to make the title match at ‘Mania a 3-way. It would get a little convoluted but they could make it work if that’s what they’re going for.

Four, and this might actually be my favorite option. The Elimination Chamber could be for the Intercontinental title or to unify the Intercontinental and U.S. titles. Big E Langston seems to have tremendous potential, and having him run through a handful of other upper mid-card guys would only add to his credibility and move him closer to the top of the card (maybe with a move to the Main Event level by SummerSlam). You could maybe get Roman Reigns involved and have him destroy a few folks before having a big Final Two showdown between him and Langston, two guys who could very well be headlining shows by the end of 2014. This keeps the Elimination Chamber, a fun gimmick match, on the card that bears its name while not having to worry about muddying the waters in the WWE title scene. It also retroactively makes the Royal Rumble match even more important, because that’s the only way to get the guaranteed Wrestlemania title shot.

So, there’s a pretty straightforward path from Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania. You’d get WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and a much more highly regarded Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston as your top champions. The WWE tag-team scene is in the best shape it has been in years, so there’s some interest there as well. Everyone has been assuming that when Cody Rhodes and Goldust lose the belts they’ll split up and have a match at ‘Mania. I think there’s enough going on with the Road to Wrestlemania has enough going on that they’d be better off having them hold the titles until ‘Mania and then do the split up and feud to build some interest for the typical post-Wrestlemania lull.

So, what would that mean for the Wrestlemania XXX card? Making a few assumptions, you’d have:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Randy Orton (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (number one contender via Royal Rumble win)

Intercontinental Championship Match
Big E Langston (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Best in the World meets the Showstopper
CM Punk vs. Shawn Michaels

Beat the Streak
John Cena vs. The Undertaker

WWE Tag-Team Championship Match
Cody Rhodes & Goldust (c) vs. Harper & Rowan of the Wyatt Family

Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock

Of course, I’m assuming a lot with having HBK come out of retirement to face Punk. You could just as easily insert Triple H into that slot or (dare we dream?) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for his “one more match at the big anniversary show. I guess worst case scenario, do Punk vs. Brock again and find someone else for Rock to tangle with, assuming he wants to be involved. And you could fill the rest of the card with whatever, because those six matches are what the show would be sold on those six matches. Plus, whatever Divas match they’ve got in mind, maybe a battle royal, and if you don’t unify the U.S. title with the I-C title, you could do Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins or put the belt on Bray Wyatt or someone beforehand and have that match. I’d also be in favor of bringing the NXT title to ‘Mania, even if it’s on the pre-show or whatever.

You’d also have to assume, with this being the big 30th Anniversary show, there’s going to be a lot of WWE Legends around. I don’t know if they’ll actually be wrestling or anything, but there’s likely to be a ton of nostalgia tied to the card. I’m betting Hulk Hogan will be there. I’d love to see Piper back in the WWE in a mentor role. I wonder if they could get Hogan, Piper, Paul Orndorff and Mr. T together? I don’t think the four of them have been together since the Main Event of Wrestlemania I. You know, this one (in case you’ve never seen it)…

Say what you will about the possible lack of top-to-bottom wrestling quality of those early Wrestlemanias, they certainly felt like big huge mega-events. There was a ton of mainstream celebrity involvement (even if it didn’t make sense sometimes), like Alice Cooper coming to the ring with Jake Roberts. Now that I think about it, this year, they could assign a “Wrestlemania Legend” to accompany the participants to the ring for every match. Randy Orton w/ “Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. Daniel Bryan w/ Mick Foley (or whatever, but that sort of thing). You’ve got a lot of guys, like Ric Flair, Jake Roberts, Tito Santana, Ricky Steamboat, Vader, Honkytonk Man, etc. that fans would love to see. You could also get a few storylines out of it and some of the older guys might be good for another trip around the block ala Goldust over the past few months.

Anyway, as always, thanks for reading!

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