Over the weekend, CM Punk found a preliminary booking sheet for WrestleMania 30 and posted it via Instagram story. This would presumably be from around the time of Royal Rumble 2014 (it’s dated six days before the PPV from Pittsburgh), since Punk left the company after that event.
It’s quite different from the show we eventually got in New Orleans almost six years ago. The big takeaway is confirming what we’ve always heard, that removing Punk from the equation led to one of the best stories WWE has ever told - Daniel Bryan’s YES! Movement and beating all of Evolution in one night to become WWE World Heavyweight champion.
But there are other intriguing possibilities.
Randy Orton was the champ heading into the ‘14 Rumble PPV, and Batista was reportedly always going to win the Rumble match. That being pencilled in the title match is no surprise.
A Punk/Triple H match was likewise the clear direction, and was at the center of one of the many memorable anecdotes from Punk’s legendary shoot interview on The Art of Wrestling.
We did get the Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker match, of course. And John Cena faced Bray Wyatt. Big Show worked the first Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and Kane - along with Billy Gunn & Road Dogg - got fed to The Shield.
The Hounds of Justice are maybe the most fascinating part of this. Does a Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns U.S. title match mean their break-up would have happened earlier? Evolution wouldn’t have re-formed, so there would have been no need for Haitch’s Plan B, and maybe no Seth Rollins betrayal. Once the group was working babyface, the assumption was Dean would turn heel. Was that the plan when this card was drafted?
Would the feud The Shield had with The Wyatt Family in between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 30 set-up the Reigns vs. Ambrose match? Or would it never have happened at all?
Then there’s Bryan. Hopefully, considering how popular he was, the plan was at least to have him avenge his 18 second loss to Sheamus from 2012. How would we get from his losing to Wyatt in January to dealing with the Celtic Warrior in April, though? What other changes would that have forced (other than putting Sheamus in The Andre won by his eventual partner in The Bar)?
It’s a lot to consider. And while I loved what we got, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really curious about the timeline where Punk didn’t leave and this is the ‘Mania we got in the