WrestleMania 36 is eight long months away, but it’s never too early to take a few guesses as to which match will headline the biggest wrestling show of the year. By the time SummerSlam rolls around, we usually have a sense for what feud will headline the next WrestleMania card.
For example, Roman Reigns defeated Undertaker in 2017 at WrestleMania 33, setting up a straightforward WrestleMania 34 match between Reigns and Brock Lesnar, the only two men who have ever defeated Undertaker at WrestleMania. Braun Strowman’s surge in popularity by SummerSlam 2017 did potentially throw a curveball into those plan, but ultimately it was still Reigns and Lesnar who headlined WrestleMania 34.
At WrestleMania 34, Ronda Rousey stole the show in her debut match and instantly became the top star in company. Charlotte Flair ended Asuka’s undefeated streak on that same night, and so a WrestleMania 35 main event match between Rousey and Flair seemed like the clear choice. But then Becky Lynch turned heel at SummerSlam 2018, and shortly after that she became the most popular star in the company. The WrestleMania 35 main event did include Rousey and Flair, as expected, but Lynch also forced her way into the mix and it was a triple threat match.
Now here we are with SummerSlam 2019 right around the corner on Aug. 11, but there isn’t an obvious match to main event next year’s WrestleMania card. The booking of the women’s division over these last few months strongly suggests that without Ronda Rousey as an active competitor, the women’s division is unlikely to headline WrestleMania in consecutive years. If Rousey is available for the event, then a singles match with Lynch could certainly do the trick.
Brock Lesnar stands out as the next person in line who Vince McMahon would fall back on for the main event of WrestleMania, it’s just a matter of finding the right opponent for him. The top pushed male babyfaces in WWE right now are Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens. The separate Lesnar feuds with Reigns and Rollins that we’ve witnessed over the last couple of years feel exhausted at this point, and with AEW now trying to upset the landscape of pro wrestling heading into 2020, McMahon probably needs to stop relying on the same old stories.
Kingston and Owens do represent fresh feuds for Lesnar, however Kingston has never headlined a WWE pay-per-view in a one-on-one match, and Kevin Owens is just now finally recovering from a very long period of tepid booking. It feels a bit premature at this point to confidently declare either of those guys will be in the main event mix come WrestleMania 36. Looking past all four of those babyfaces, I can squint and see a scenario where Vince goes back to Braun Strowman for a feud with Lesnar.
If not Lesnar, then Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles stand out as the next heels in line who McMahon might be willing to use as a WrestleMania headliner. There are rumors that Daniel Bryan could be doing something with 205 Live soon, so I’m not really holding my breath on him for this spot. AJ Styles did have some terrific pay-per-view matches with Roman Reigns in 2016, so perhaps that’s a feud worth revisiting in the main event of WrestleMania 36? Looking past all those heels, what about Bray Wyatt? It’s hard to predict how serious WWE is about his push until we see him finally wrestle as The Fiend.
Older stars from the past can never be ruled out for the WrestleMania main event, but it seems like those part-time options are finally dwindling. Past stars like Steve Austin, The Rock, CM Punk, Sting, and Batista appear to be retired from wrestling. John Cena and the Undertaker didn’t even have a match on this year’s card. Shawn Michaels returned for a tag team match at Crown Jewel last year, which has some fans hoping that he’ll eventually return again for a singles match at WrestleMania. I suppose Triple H always has a chance to main event WrestleMania, where we’ve seen him headline as recently as 2016.
The game changed last year at SummerSlam when Becky Lynch turned on Charlotte Flair. Maybe something similar will happen this year at SummerSlam to shed some light on this matter. But if I was forced to choose right now, I’d probably go with Lesnar versus Owens as the main event of WrestleMania 36. Owens can quickly rise to the top of the card as the regular joe talking trash and dishing out Stone Cold Stunners, and a win over Shane McMahon at SummerSlam would be an indication that Vince McMahon is willing to get behind a long-term push for Owens.
What match do you think will be the main event of WrestleMania 36, Cagesiders?