5 greatest star-making WWE title changes of the past decade By
After Drew McIntyre fell short at WWE Clash At The Castle, the hunt is back on for the man who will dethrone Roman Reigns. Although Logan Paul is scheduled to face Reigns at Crown Jewel, very few expect him to emerge victorious with both of the company’s world titles on the line. So historic has The Tribal Chief’s reign been that even someone with a massive internet following like Paul stands to benefit from the publicity of merely facing him.
Imagine, then, what an epic moment it will be when The Head Of The Table is finally dethroned. Potential candidates for the coveted achievement are fast running out, with only a handful presenting a compelling case to vanquish the Undisputed champion. What’s for certain, however, is that if done right, the moment will go down in history for taking the chosen superstar’s career to another level.
Let’s dive into the five biggest such star-making WWE matches of the past decade.
#5: Brock Lesnar vs John Cena, WWE Summerslam 2014
First things first: Brock Lesnar was already a top heel in WWE by the time he used John Cena to build Suplex City. The Beast Incarnate conquered The Rock, UFC and The Streak beforehand, but it still wasn’t clear where he belonged on the food chain. Lesnar’s decimation of Cena not only made him the undisputed world champion but also created the greatest monster heel of a generation.
The Summerslam 2014 main event also provided a template for Lesnar’s future matches, effectively shaping much of the main event scene over the next five years. Breaking the Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak may have re-established Lesnar as a top heel but his legendary squash of Cena made him THE top heel in the company. The Conqueror would go on to pay the favor forward to the likes of Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins among others.
#4: Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista, WrestleMania XXX
Before Daniel Bryan and the Yes! Movement achieved WWE immortality at WrestleMania XXX. The American Dragon was a highly underrated maestro. While fans could see Bryan’s potential to be a top star in the company, management booked him as a B+ player. Although he was already a three-time world champion, all his prior reigns had been either tainted or underwhelming.
Bryan’s road to the main event of the Show Of Shows was one of the best underdog stories in WWE history. Having to overcome Triple H to book his spot in the marquee match, fans feared he was in the match to protect the two established main-eventers by taking the pin. When he finally pinned The Animal clean to win the world title and close out ‘Mania with “Yes!” chants, it was clear that he was now a bonafide top star.
#3: Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania 31
HEIST OF THE CENTURY.
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) March 29, 2022
HEIST OF THE CENTURY.Seven years ago today, Seth Rollins cashed in his MITB contract to become @WWE Champion at #WrestleMania Iconic.https://t.co/cbAtv0K8B7
The main event of WrestleMania 31 was meant to be Roman Reigns’ crowning moment as a top babyface. The Big Dog looked set to dethrone Brock Lesnar and announce himself as the new long-term face of the company. Instead, the defining moment of the night belonged to his Shield brother-turned-foe, Seth Rollins.
The Architect was positioned as the next top heel, ready to find a new level with the Money In The Bank briefcase. By pulling off one of the greatest cash-ins of all time, Rollins authored an iconic moment that catapulted him into superstardom. One could argue that two stars were created that night: Rollins, by becoming the company’s marquee champion and Reigns by showing that he could perform in a memorable main event.
The night undoubtedly belonged to The Architect, though.
#2: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks, WrestleMania 37
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks were the first two black women to main-event WrestleMania, and the first to do so together. Banks was already a bonafide megastar by the time the epic encounter rolled around, but Belair was a rising star. The EST of WWE was on a fast track to superstardom, having won the Royal Rumble within months of debuting on the main roster.
The match was a showcase of technical and athletic excellence, with both women perfectly telling a veteran vs rookie story for the ages. In front of an excited Tampa crowd, The Boss helped highlight her opponent’s strength and set the stage for her crowning moment. When Belair finally hit the KOD and won her first title, there was no doubt that the EST was the newest addition to WWE’s gallery of female supernovas.
#1: Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey, WrestleMania 35
Speaking of the all-female WrestleMania main event, the very first one was one of the greatest star-making matches in modern WWE history. Becky Lynch, just like Daniel Bryan five years prior, was the most popular star in the company but needed a big win to solidify her as a top star. Lynch’s transition from the likable “B+” Irish Lass Kicker to the indefatigable “The Man” persona led her to the iconic Winner Takes All battle.
Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey played their roles to a tee. In the end, The Man stood tall to a raucous ovation, confirming her ascent to superstardom in arguably the most historic women’s match in WWE history.
Becky Lynch walked in as a superstar, and Becky 2 Belts walked out as a megastar!