|Poor old Undi'.
It’s an odd sentiment for Vince to express. Two years is a long time in professional wrestling, especially when it comes to establishing a top star. There are plenty of examples of guys who went from nothing out of the ordinary to huge stars within that time frame.
Most obviously there’s Hulk Hogan. He returned to the WWF in late 1983 after several years away. Previously he’d been an unspectacular mid-card guy. Less than a month after his return ‘The Hulkster’ won his first WWF championship. By the time the first WrestleMania rolled around in March 1985 he was the man the promotion revolved around.
Then there’s Steve Austin. His famed 3:16 speech at the King of the Ring 1996 captured people’s attention and started a chain of events that would see him become the hottest act in the company by the same time the following year. By late ’97 it was clear he was the main man in the company, his first world title win at WrestleMania XIV was merely his official inauguration.
That’s two of the most important names in the history of the company who went from being just a face in the crowd to the man the company revolved around within two years. The point is that WWE can turn the right guy into a star within that time if they put their minds to it. They have more than enough talented guys to be able to have had someone ready to defeat ‘Taker by WrestleMania 32.
Even if that weren’t the case, they still had John Cena (who, for the record, is another guy who was clearly the hottest act in the company within two years of the decision being made to get behind him). Cena could have convincingly ended The Streak. In fact before ‘Mania XXX I was sure if anyone was going to beat Undertaker at WrestleMania it would be Cena. He’s not only the top act but he’s a guy WWE loves giving accolades to. It just seemed natural, and for Vince to say Lesnar was his only real choice while Cena was still around is flat out incorrect.
Things could have been different had the chairman had some faith in his roster, and his own ability to elevate people. Had Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose been given a sustained push and protected from uninspired segments and feuds they could have been ready. The same goes for Bray Wyatt, especially if he’d beaten Cena at ‘Mania XXX instead of losing to him. Daniel would have been accepted as someone significant enough to end The Streak last year. The treatment Seth Rollins has actually had would have been ideal for prepping someone as a Streak-ender. And any of these guys would have benefited more from the accolade than Lesnar. They’d have stuck around longer too.