Edge was victorious in the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble match, which means he can challenge Drew McIntyre or Roman Reigns for a top title at WrestleMania 37. F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer has already reported that the planned main event on that card will be Edge vs. Roman Reigns.
If that is indeed how things shake out, then this will be the 10th consecutive year that a part-time star has wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania. That’s true even if you count both nights of WrestleMania 36 as separate events.
Here is the list of WrestleMania main events, going back to 2011, with the part-timers in bold:
- The Miz vs. John Cena (2011)
- The Rock vs. John Cena (2012)
- The Rock vs. John Cena (2013)
- Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Batista (2014)
- Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (vs. Seth Rollins) (2015)
- Triple H vs. Roman Reigns (2016)
- The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns (2017)
- Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (2018)
- Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (2019)
- The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles (2020)
- Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre (2020)
The last time WWE had a WrestleMania main event featuring one full-time roster member versus another full-time roster member was in 2011, when John Cena challenged The Miz for the WWE championship. That also happens to be one of the worst WrestleMania main events of all-time, partially because The Miz was miscast in that position. That main event did end up involving a part-timer (The Rock) as well, because it was really an introductory leg of the Cena/Rock story that spanned the next two WrestleMania events.
In that sense, you might argue that the last WrestleMania main event that didn’t involve at least one part-timer was Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 26 in 2010. But even around that late time in their careers, HBK and Undertaker took an occasional hiatus to get off the road. For example, after Shawn Michaels lost at WrestleMania 25 in 2009, he didn’t wrestle again until SummerSlam 2009, four months later. Undertaker also took a four month break from May 2009 through August 2009, and another three month break from June 2010 through August 2010. Perhaps calling them full-time stars at that time is a bit generous.
So maybe the last time the WrestleMania main event didn’t include a wrestler with a clearly limited schedule was in 2009, when Triple H and Randy Orton cured insomnia at WrestleMania 25? I think that’s a reasonable argument to make.
No matter which of those years (2009-2011) you prefer to pick, it’s been a super long time since the main event of WrestleMania didn’t feature a part-time star. It’s jarring to see that fact laid out in front of my eyes; I joined Cageside Seats a few months after CM Punk’s pipe bomb in 2011, so my entire time here has been during the part-time era of WrestleMania main events. Can it really be that long since WWE has been able to position two full-time talents into those spots, with no part-timers involved? Yes, it really can be that long.
Maybe Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks will get a chance to change that this year. Or maybe WWE will find a way to elevate a current full-time star like Keith Lee into a main event match against Drew McIntyre. But for now it looks like part-timer Edge is a pretty good bet to find himself in the main event of WrestleMania. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing; I’m a big fan of Edge. But it does mean that this absurdly long streak of part-timers in the main event of WrestleMania will probably continue.