Best WWE WrestleMania 34 Matches for Elias and Other Rising Superstars
As the WWE WrestleMania 34 puzzle pieces began to fall into place, the company has to find a prime spot for Elias.
That statement would have sounded ridiculous a year ago, but the guitar-toting grappler has emerged as one of Raw's most promising talents. Few wrestlers have fans at the end of their puppet strings like Elias. He's shown himself to be a memorable character and a more than able in-ring performer.
While Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura and Brock Lesnar are all assured marquee matchups at WrestleMania on April 8, what of Elias?
What's the best way to elevate him at the mega-event? Who is the ideal opponent for him? A powerhouse he has antagonized a ton already is the clear answer.
The same questions need to be asked about Ruby Riott, Chad Gable and others regarding their roles at WrestleMania in New Orleans. WWE has a chance to propel key figures in the New Era with foes who will thrive opposite them.
The following is a look at who is the best choice to do that for Elias and WWE's other up-and-comers.
Ruby Riott vs. Becky Lynch
Riott is the standout star of the five women who stormed the main roster from NXT back in November.
While her fellow Riott Squad members need some polishing, she's ready to rock on a big stage. She's a versatile in-ring performer who can smoothly switch from mat wrestling to street fighting.
And a certain fiery babyface and former women's champ would make an excellent foe for Riott.
Becky Lynch's character offers a compelling contrast with Riott's. The Irish Lass Kicker is the pure and gutsy hero; Riott is a merciless scavenger here to create chaos on SmackDown. There's quite the story waiting to be told between them.
Plus, they have past history to build on.
Lynch was one of the first women The Riott Squad attacked when it arrived. She later forced Riott to tap out on SmackDown, but Riott eliminated Lynch in the Royal Rumble.
They would be sure to produce in a WrestleMania bout, too. They showed great chemistry in their Jan. 9 clash, a match that teased what kind of sparks they could create with more time to work with and with more hype behind it.
The Revival vs. The Usos
Whether WWE has to get these teams to switch brands or book an interbrand collision, The Revival vs. The Usos has to happen. It's one of the most appetizing tag team matchups on the table.
Brandon Stroud of Uproxx tweeted last June: "The Usos should stay SmackDown tag champs until WrestleMania and take on The Revival in a 35-minute cross-promotional match."
He's spot on. The Usos have been tremendous as the centerpiece of SmackDown's tag team division. They need fresh foils to continue their great run. The Revival would thrive in that spot.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder's NXT resume is filled with standout showings. American Alpha, #DIY and others all had the best matches of their careers against the two no-nonsense bruisers.
WWE has yet to fully tap into The Revival's potential on the main roster, but letting them go toe-to-toe with The Usos in a barnburner can change that in a major way.
Chad Gable vs. Randy Orton
Each time he's had a one-on-one match against a quality foe, Gable has shined like a floodlight.
It's clear WWE should give him a shot as a solo act at some point. If that process includes a singles bout at WrestleMania 34, the company would do well to pair Gable with Randy Orton.
Orton is one of the smoothest, most reliable in-ring performers WWE has going. After having to wade through a series of matches with Jinder Mahal and working through gimmicky contests against Bray Wyatt, facing a mat wizard like Gable would be a welcome chance for him to get back to doing what he does best.
For Gable, facing a future Hall of Famer at WrestleMania would be a career-changer. It would signal a commitment to the former American Alpha member and give him the opportunity to create a signature moment.
And those two would put on a show-stealer in New Orleans.
Mojo Rawley: United States Championship Ladder Match
Mojo Rawley has earned added spotlight. Since his heel turn late last year, he's been transformed, morphing into a compelling predator with a Buick-sized chip on his shoulder.
But WWE would be better off highlighting the unfinished product of a Superstar without leaning on him too much. Rawley would do better in a multi-wrestler match rather than a lengthy singles bout. It would open the door for him to produce some big moments and perhaps get a memorable win.
It's become a WrestleMania tradition of sorts to have a crowded ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. This year, the U.S. title would be a better fit for that clash. IC champ The Miz is too hot right now not to put in a big one-on-one bout. The blue brand, meanwhile, should go the ensemble-cast route.
That would allow Rawley to seek redemption after twice losing to Bobby Roode in pursuit of the United States Championship.
SmackDown could also provide a spot for its other midcarders, including Tye Dillinger and Aiden English, to flourish. And whatever WWE has cooking with the story of Dolph Ziggler's exodus and return could easily be folded into this narrative.
Elias vs. John Cena
WWE likely has other plans for John Cena, but a WrestleMania match against Elias makes all kinds of sense.
The seeds have already been planted. Elias has irked Cena via song and physical violence. The Drifter pinned Cena in a Triple Threat match on Monday night to earn the right to enter the Elimination Chamber match last. The two rivals are sure to then cross paths in that bout.
And while that may be the company's way to warm up Cena for something else, sticking with Elias would make for a rich story that has developed over months.
Their styles would work well against each other as the two men are both brawlers. The action promises to be quite good.
Cena's star power can make any match feel big. WWE could use that to invest in the future, changing a rising star's career trajectory in a major way.