Wrestling fans hold Wrestlemania 30 in a pretty high regard. It’s the show where the Shield had their big coming out party as babyfaces. We got the end of the Undertaker’s legendary streak. Oh, and Daniel Bryan had the best night of his wrestling career with a match against Triple H, and a triple threat match with Randy Orton and Batista. The night was one of the most satisfying for wrestling fans in modern history. Daniel Bryan was the fan’s choice, and they finally got paid off. It all almost didn’t happen though. CM Punk took to Instagram to show off what the original card could have looked like. It’s a lot less impressive than what we got.
The saga with CM Punk’s departure from WWE is well documented. He had issues with a multitude of departments of the WWE. CM Punk wasn’t satisfied creatively or emotionally with the company. So he ended up leaving the night after the Royal Rumble in 2014. His departure ended up with the WWE changing all their plans for their biggest event of the year. CM Punk was supposed to wrestle Triple H at the event. Most likely in a big blow off match for their multi-year story of hating each other on and off-screen.
We ended up getting what we wanted, but let’s go through this original Wrestlemania 30 card.
Batista vs. Randy Orton: WWE World Heavyweight Championship
This was one that basically still happened, just with the inclusion of Daniel Bryan. Although, Bryan’s addition made this into one of the best Mania Main Events ever, this original match probably would have been a stinker. Orton and Batista both wrestle similar, slow paced styles. The booing at the Royal Rumble 2014 most likely would have echoed even louder in the Superdome for this match. So it’s safe to say that this one was right to be changed.
CM Punk vs. Triple H
This one also would have changed the night for the worse. Triple H’s match with Daniel Bryan opening the show signaled to the fans that we were going to finally get what we wanted. They also had a HELL OF A MATCH. Daniel Bryan brought the best out of Trips in that match. Their styles melding to create a wonderful match with all the hallmarks of a classic. Seeing CM Punk finally beat Triple H and get him back for ruining the Summer of Punk story-line would have been satisfying, but not as satisfying as Bryan’s story. CM Punk is the reason I got back into wrestling after a long time off, but Bryan’s story was a better payoff.
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
This one stayed the same, luckily, or unluckily, depending on who you ask. This match wasn’t a classic of in-ring work, but it was one of the single biggest moments in modern wrestling history. An achievement larger than the weight of any title belt in the history of the business was given to Brock Lesnar. The story of how Undertaker got through this match after he sustained a massive concussion is also well documented. The mystique and aura of the end of this match is something I’m really glad that stayed the same.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
This begins the Wrestlemania beatdown that Bray Wyatt had to endure before his first coronation at Elimination Chamber 2017. This match stayed the same, but I wish the outcome was different. John Cena beat the crap out of Wyatt in this match, thus beginning his tumble down the card that would only be remedied with his change into the Fiend character that he has today. I could have done without this match staying on the card.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
Here’s the crown jewel of, “thank you god, they changed this one”. Daniel Bryan has to thank CM Punk for leaving to allow this change to be made to the card. Daniel Bryan famously lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28 in 18 seconds. That was the catalyst for the entire Daniel Bryan story-line that culminated at Wrestlemania 30. Fans were furious that one of their favorites, and quite frankly, the best wrestler on the planet, was being treated as a second-rate guy. They wanted something more out of him. Luckily, they got what they wanted, and not this match.
Big Show vs. Kane
Well, this would have been a stinker. Kane and Big Show were both older at this point. Big Show hadn’t lost all his weight that allowed for him to actually move and perform at a good level. So I’m glad that this also didn’t happen. The upside is that the Shield had their legendary squash match with the New Age Outlaws and Kane instead of this.
Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose: US Title Match
So if Daniel Bryan making it to the main event wasn’t big enough, WWE was going to rush the breakup of the Shield. There was already inklings of it around this time. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were having issues and it was looking like the Shield had ran it’s course. Luckily for us, and especially selfishly of me, they didn’t split. We ended up getting many months more of excellent Shield matches like the ones against Evolution and the Wyatt Family. It doesn’t say who would have won or anything here, but think about the course of WWE history getting changed with this one match. Does Ambrose end up being the massive heel coming out of the Shield breakup? What becomes of Seth Rollins? This is one of those wrestling “what-ifs” that could change the whole business for years down the line.
That’s it for the massive implications that CM Punk created when he abruptly left WWE in 2014. This picture is one that shows just how much the card for Wrestlemania 30 would have changed without his departure. We could have gotten some interesting moments but none as big as what eventually unfolded on that magical night.
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