With WrestleMania season looming, WWE will undoubtedly place greater emphasis on its main event talent in the coming months. In order to ensure a favorable buyrate for the company's biggest show, the main event scene will remain stocked with familiar faces from now until then.
It is essentially a lock that neither Dolph Ziggler nor Ryback will participate in WrestleMania main events next year. Both characters will be displayed prominently on the show—one will even likely compete for the World Heavyweight Championship—but the main event is strictly off limits for unproven main event talents regardless of future drawing potential.
With this in mind, one can speculate potential outcomes for next Sunday's ladder match between Ziggler and WWE poster boy John Cena at TLC. It is a certainty that Cena will be in the main event build for WrestleMania, whereas Ziggler will be using the show as a step towards he main event.
Quite simply, Cena should not lose this match. The briefcase stipulation was not added as a simple way to justify a ladder match, thus coinciding with the gimmick of the show, but rather because it is a logical way to place Cena back into the title picture without taking the belt from CM Punk or changing the planned Royal Rumble main event.
Ziggler could very well win the Royal Rumble match, meaning his loss of the briefcase can be rectified in short order.
With Cena holding the briefcase, the creative team can have him challenge for the WWE Championship during WrestleMania season.
While this particular briefcase technically contains a contract for a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity, the creative team can easily script an amendment that will allow Cena to challenge the WWE Champion. A safe bet would be to explain that the holder of a briefcase is free to oppose the champion of his own brand. Judging from the past, quick fixes like this are not out of the question.
Right now, it appears CM Punk will defend the WWE Championship against The Rock at the Royal Rumble, as the feud's seeds were sown at the conclusion of Raw's 1,000th episode. Given Cena's history with The Rock, one can expect him to be involved in this match in some capacity, especially if he holds the briefcase.
Cena may—if keeping in line with his credo—add himself to the Royal Rumble main event weeks prior to the show, thus creating a triple threat match with the company's three biggest stars.
A more interesting approach, however, would be to have Cena do something entirely uncharacteristic, and a surprise cash-in would satisfy the notion.
I envision a Rock Bottom during this match while the referee is incapacitated, allowing The Shield to storm the ring and assault The Rock. The trio can then powerbomb The Great One through the announcers table as Cena approaches the ring, briefcase in hand, alongside Brad Maddox in a referee's shirt. Cena hands the briefcase to Maddox, and the main event becomes a triple threat match on the fly.
The Shield jumps in the ring to stand between Cena and Punk, who is recovering in the corner. Just as Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose close in on Cena, they stop and turn around. Cena, with a smug grin, shows Punk his famous hand gesture.
The Shield attacks Punk and administers a powerbomb in the middle of the ring. Maddox counts the pin as Cena places a foot on Punk's chest and salutes him. Paul Heyman enters the ring, presents the WWE Championship to Cena and raises his arm in victory.
Cena and Heyman walk up the ramp together. Meanwhile, The Rock is awake and angry. He tries to run after Cena but The Shield steps in the way. Rock is able to fight them off, first Amborse and then Rollins, but after dropping Reigns with a Rock Bottom, a returning Brock Lesnar runs into the ring through the crowd and nails a vicious F5 on the People's Champ.
Cena and Heyman applaud Lesnar's efforts as the show goes off the air.
While Ryback could easily play into this scenario when taking into account WWE's storylines as of late, I do not see it happening. I believe Ryback will be removed from the main event, at least during WrestleMania season, so the creative team can center the major matches on more renowned characters.
A heel turn for John Cena has been discussed for what seems like an eternity, but realistically, there is only one man on whom Cena can pull off a successful turn. The Rock is currently, from a character standpoint, the only protagonist greater than Cena and thus the only character for whom Cena should be playing a villain.
If this scenario were to play out, fans would be treated to an absolutely loaded WrestleMania 29 card. Cena would square off against The Rock for the WWE Championship, CM Punk could wrestle Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman at the center of the feud (with a possible appearance from Triple H) and if negotiations go smoothly, we may see The Undertaker square off with Sting.
Also, if this Heyman stable does indeed materialize, the three members of The Shield would no longer need to operate as a unit.
A six-man WrestleMania match between The Shield and team of Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Mick Foley would make sense, but afterwards we could see three separate singles feuds of Rollins versus Bryan, Reigns versus Kane and Ambrose versus Foley, the latter of which already has a back story.
Of course, there are several combinations that would also work towards a successful main event portion of the show. The Undertaker could square off against The Rock, Lesnar, Punk, or even John Cena. Likewise, we could see Punk versus Cena or Rock versus Lesnar II.
Whatever the scenario, WWE has a boatload of talent at its disposal going into WrestleMania. It would be a shame to see them do something that has been done before.