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Full-time stars don’t get many singles matches against each other at WrestleMania

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Rey Mysterio and Andrade had an incredible match against each other last week (Jan. 15) on SmackDown, and their rivalry will continue this week in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. With all of that in mind, I’m seeing a lot of fantasy booking from fans where this series of matches will escalate with various stipulations, culminating with a final match at WrestleMania 35.

The main problem with this idea is that the most recent WrestleMania events are primarily focused on showcasing part-time superstars and cramming as many names as possible onto the card using multi-person matches. These two priorities don’t leave much room for a singles match pitting two full-time stars against each other.

To help illustrate this point, I will list all of the one-on-one matches that have appeared on the main card of the last five WrestleMania events, going back to WrestleMania 30. That’s the year where WWE introduced the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Starting with that card, the priority of cramming as many stars as possible onto WrestleMania converged with the previously established priority of showcasing part-timers like Brock Lesnar.

Any matches that feature two full-time stars will be in italics, and I will include a cumulative count of these matches in parenthesis. This means any matches not in italics include at least one part-time star.

Chris Jericho will be counted as a full-time superstar in this exercise, and pre-show matches will be ignored.

WrestleMania 30

  • Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
  • John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (1)
  • Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

WrestleMania 31

  • Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (2)
  • Sting vs. Triple H
  • Rusev vs. John Cena (3)
  • Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

WrestleMania 32

  • AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho (4)
  • Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker
  • The Rock vs. Erick Rowan
  • Triple H vs. Roman Reigns

WrestleMania 33

  • Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
  • Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (5)
  • Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
  • Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (6)
  • Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

WrestleMania 34

  • Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (7)
  • Undertaker vs. John Cena
  • Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (8)
  • AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (9)
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

There have been 24 total one-on-one matches on the main card of the last five WrestleMania events, and only 9 of them did not include a part-time superstar. That’s roughly two WrestleMania matches per year that featured a full-time star versus another full-time star.

Furthermore, 6 of those 9 matches included either John Cena, Chris Jericho, or Randy Orton. You can’t find a full-timer versus full-timer match from WrestleMania 30 through WrestleMania 33 that did not include at least one of those names. WrestleMania 34 finally broke the mold by featuring the remaining three full-timer versus full-timer matches with some fresh names, including the only two women’s matches on the entire list.

This recent history doesn’t bode well for the prospects of a singles match featuring Mysterio versus Andrade at WrestleMania 35. Rey Mysterio is an all-time great superstar, but I am skeptical of the notion that Vince McMahon holds him in the same regard as John Cena, Chris Jericho, or Randy Orton. The fact that Rey was placed in the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 helps support that point, as you’ll likely never see Cena, Orton, or Jericho anywhere near that kind of match.

This list shows that it’s really hard for two full-time superstars to get a singles match with each other at WrestleMania. There are no more than three such matches per year, and the average is closer to two. When it comes to WrestleMania, WWE emphasizes the booking of part-time stars such as Triple H, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Shane McMahon. John Cena will now be a member of that rotation going forward too.

Even with a regular rotation of part-time stars featured at WrestleMania, WWE still brings in another part-timer each year for one special match. For these five most recent WrestleMania events, those additional part-timers include Batista, Sting, The Rock, Goldberg, and Kurt Angle, respectively. There’s a pretty good chance at least one more name will join that list for WrestleMania 35.

Once the part-timers are taken care of, WWE then prioritizes matches for its most important full-time stars. As far as WrestleMania 35 is concerned, this will include superstars such as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and probably Braun Strowman. It also seems reasonable to assume WWE has major plans for The Miz at WrestleMania 35, given his current story with Shane McMahon.

I don’t expect Rey Mysterio and Andrade will be given higher priority than any of those superstars for a major spot at WrestleMania 35. Instead, I think they will be competing for a spot with that next tier of names such as Drew McIntyre, Dean Ambrose, Finn Balor, New Day, Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Usos, Bobby Lashley, and The Bar.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 6 of the 9 italicized matches were fought for a championship. Rey and Andrade will likely need to fight over a title in order to increase their chance for a singles match at WrestleMania 35.

For all of these reasons, it’s going to be difficult for Mysterio and Andrade to get a singles match against each other at WrestleMania 35. For this match to be more realistic, Rey Mysterio probably needs to defeat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship prior to WrestleMania. I think a much more plausible scenario is that Rey and Andrade are given a big spotlight against each other at Fastlane 2019, while ending up in some multi-person mid-card championship match at WrestleMania.

Do you think the lack of singles matches pitting full-time stars against each other at WrestleMania is a problem, Cagesiders?

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