WWE Power Rankings: Cena, Rock fall off

Dolph Ziggler, left, defeated The Miz on Raw, but he didn't get the reward he hoped for. Courtesy of WWE

Everyone likes to call WrestleMania the Super Bowl of sports entertainment, but for my money, nothing beats the Royal Rumble. Throughout the years, the Royal Rumble match has boasted everything from tag-team partners fighting each other, to former champions making their triumphant returns, to legends we never thought we’d see again running down to the ring for one last pop. From John Morrison’s amazing parkour moves to avoid elimination to Kofi Kingston’s ability to walk on his hands so his feet wouldn’t hit the floor, the match embodies the fun, surprise and athleticism that draw millions of people to tune into WWE on a weekly basis.

But the pay-per-view’s importance also has grown throughout the years, as it also helps set up the storylines for the next few months leading into Mania, and it’s in these storylines where WWE really has the opportunity to build back some of the audience it lost since the Attitude Era. Here’s the thing: With WrestleMania only a few months away, WWE promises to feature returning/part-time stars like The Rock, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, and Triple H in prominent roles for its biggest moneymaking event of the year.

My idea: Have them all lose. That’s right, have the Royal Rumble set up a series of matches and feuds that are fresh, and pay it off with the biggest passing of the torch Wrestlemania we’ve ever seen.

That’s right, forget the rumored return matches of The Rock vs. John Cena, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk vs. The Undertaker. We’ve seen it all before. Give us something that launches a new era, not make us wish we were back in the days of Austin and Attitude.

Allow me to play fantasy booker for a moment. If I’m writing the show at the Royal Rumble, The Shield runs down to the ring during The Rock/CM Punk match, when all of a sudden Brock Lesnar’s music hits. CM Punk looks to Paul Heyman, who tries to control Lesnar, but instead, Lesnar beats the hell out of the Shield, distracting Punk and helping The Rock win the WWE title. This sets up CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, to go along with The Rock vs. the 2013 Royal Rumble winner, Daniel Bryan. Imagine the promos we’d have leading up to the Bryan/Rock match. The crowd response these two would generate going back and forth would be completely off the charts.

Then, also at the Rumble, it’s time for Dolph Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, win the world title, then call out Triple H, the man who he says has been holding him down for years. Cue the clips of Triple H and Shawn Michaels sending Ziggler and the rest of the Spirit Squad back to development, and you have a match with both an incredible backstory and heat.

As for The Undertaker, that’s easy. The Dead Man vs. John Cena in a match where Cena goes so overboard trying to end the streak, it pushes him into complete madman mode (I can see all of the kids crying already), launching him into full-blown heel status.

Throw in a heel-turned Randy Orton vs. Ryback, Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian in a role reversal of their previous feud, and Money in the Bank featuring The Shield, Kofi Kingston, Big Show, Wade Barrett, and The Miz (with Dean Ambrose winning), and you have a WrestleMania that has the potential to showcase this new generation of stars unlike any WrestleMania before it.

Will it happen? Probably not, but hey, a guy can dream.

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Previous rankings:

Jan. 8, 2013

Jan. 15, 2013