WWE already has a star-studded WrestleMania 39 card that features stars like John Cena and Logan Paul, but CEO Nick Khan could have even bigger things in store for SoFi Stadium.
During an appearance on ESPN’s First Take (h/t Fightful), Khan said that WWE has some tricks up its sleeve for the company’s flagship event: “Expect a bunch of surprises. That’s what we’re known for, this is WrestleMania, we pulled some out at Royal Rumble. Here at SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, two-night event, we have to make it big.”
Of course, Khan didn’t spoil any surprises, but with WrestleMania 39 set to take place in front of a massive crowd both Saturday and Sunday and numerous storylines setting the stage for some shocking booking developments, rest assured that WWE will deliver on Khan’s promise.
Let’s take a look at five big surprises WWE fans could see at WrestleMania 39.
Table of Contents
Jay White Debuts
All indications are that former New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Jay White, one of the biggest free agents on the market, is going to end up in WWE rather than AEW.
Why not at WrestleMania 39? Although Monday’s “Raw after Mania” edition of Monday Night Raw is typically known to feature more surprises than WrestleMania itself, one of the most unforgettable moments in recent memory came at WrestleMania 38 last year when Cody Rhodes showed up unannounced.
Of course, most diehard fans weren’t surprised at all, and though White isn’t a star on the same level as Rhodes, he could be a top star in WWE in due time. And with his debut expected to happen soon, WrestleMania 39—rather than Raw—is the perfect time for it.
Bobby Lashley Gets A Surprise Opponent
The uncertainty regarding Bray Wyatt has left his once-planned WrestleMania 39 opponent Bobby Lashley in the unfortunate position of having no clear WrestleMania match, which is a shame given that Lashley has been one of WWE’s most entertaining stars over the past three years.
Even though Lashley was stuck in the pointless Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on this week’s SmackDown, it would be downright shocking to see him left off the WrestleMania card altogether. Lashley has indicated that he’s hopeful he will get a WrestleMania match despite being out of the loop regarding what’s going on with Wyatt.
This could ultimately be a blessing in disguise, though. The Wyatt vs. Lashley feud was pretty lackluster, and if WWE has Lashley face an unnamed opponent just like Seth Rollins did, it could be a great addition to the card and a great ward for the very deserving Lashley. Plus, with only seven matches on Saturday and six on Sunday, there is plenty of space left on the card for a star of his caliber.
Randy Orton Returns
Multiple signs are pointing toward Randy Orton returning at or immediately after WrestleMania 39, including his own desire to do so despite concerns about his career potentially ending due to a back injury.
Prior to going on the shelf nearly a year ago, Orton was a red hot babyface and one of the top stars on Raw, and there’s no reason why he won’t end up in that same spot once he comes back. There are, of course, a few questions about Orton’s return, mainly when, where, and how?
Orton would be the ideal fit for a surprise opponent for Lashley, a future challenger for Cody Rhodes if Rhodes becomes world champion or as an opponent for someone like Gunther. There is no shortage of options for “The Viper,” and WWE will miss a massive opportunity if he doesn’t return on pro wrestling’s biggest stage.
But Orton may not be quite ready to wrestle yet and might not be cleared for a while, which means he could return in a non-wrestling role. Orton is in Los Angeles, however, so an on-screen appearance in any capacity is certainly possible.
Roman Reigns Retains
How surprising would this one be? Well, maybe not as surprising as you might think.
Just think back to September 2022 when Drew McIntyre took on Roman Reigns at Clash at the Castle. Betting odds were essentially even for that match, but the widespread expectation was actually that McIntyre would win. Yet, that didn’t happen. Reigns retained, which is why fans are getting just the second realistic threat to Reigns’ historic title reign in Cody Rhodes.
Look, the best and most likely booking outcome at WrestleMania 39 is for Rhodes to beat Reigns. But that doesn’t guarantee that it will happen. In fact, Rhodes beating Reigns reportedly is not guaranteed despite how obvious it may seem, which means WWE could pull off the swerve of all swerves if Rhodes loses.
Is that likely? No. But is it possible? Well, certainly, especially if Reigns doesn’t take that planned hiatus after WrestleMania 39 or if rumors of Vince McMahon potentially being back on creative turn out to be true.
The Rock And/Or Steve Austin Show Up
Both The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin were targeted for huge WrestleMania 39 matches, with Austin rejecting a match with Reigns and a Rock vs. Reigns match failing to come to fruition despite WWE’s reported desire to make it happen.
But in recent years, WWE has made a habit out of pulling off huge surprises, and more than once, those surprises have involved The Rock or Austin, who actually wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania 38 despite not being advertised for a match. The Rock, of course, also wrestled a surprise eight-second “match” against Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32.
Given the promixity of SoFi Stadium to Los Angeles, it’s realistic to think—if not expect—that WWE could pull off an unannounced appearance for either star that doesn’t involve them competing in an actual match.
And if WrestleMania 39 passes without either Rock or Austin showing up, that would be the real shocker.