Welcome to Wrestlemania! The biggest wrestling show of the year is upon us, and I’m sure everybody has their opinions on what will happen. As always when it comes to PPVs, I’m here to give my predictions for the matches on the grandest stage of them all! This could be a long one, since I haven’t written much in the build-up to Wrestlemania. So, I better get going!
The pre-show match this time round is of course The Miz challenging Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship. When WWE fails to put either secondary title on the main show, you can tell that their entire focus is on the main event with the part time players. Keep in mind this is the title that launched people like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and The Rock – among others – into the main event. It is the championship that has produced some of the best matches in Wrestlemania history. Now it’s not even on the show. Barrett to retain.
Tensai, Brodus Clay, Naomi and Cameron vs Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and the Bella Twins
Yet this farce is on the card. In years to come, we’ll look back at this match and wonder how two such talented people as the Rhodes Scholars could be wasted like this. I will lose a lot of faith in the WWE if they don’t win here.
Prediction: Winners – Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins
Chris Jericho vs Fandango
This is the match I would like to see open the show. Jericho can get the fans going, and despite all the “you can’t wrestle” chants for Fandango he should have the ability to have a good match with a legend like Jericho. Fandango, formerly Johnny Curtis, signed with the WWE in 2006, having been wrestling for 7 years before that. He should know his way around the ring. There have been a lot of complaints about this match, and the fans frustration seems to have been taken out on Fandango. But thinking about it, these two feuding makes sense. Fandango’s gimmick is a dancer – he should want to prove himself against the only current WWE superstar to have competed on Dancing With the Stars. He should have a legitimate gripe with a “celebrity” who thinks they can dance. Sure the whole saying his name business was childishly weak, but if it really meant that much to him then Jericho gave him a real motive for retribution. And as we all know, Jericho in recent years has put over several guys without losing any credibility, with a win over Jericho at Wrestlemania doing wonders for Fandango. Overall I think this is a good pairing, with the match designed to put over the new star.
Prediction: Winner – Fandango
WWE Tag Team Championship: Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston vs Team Hell No (C)
This is an intriguing match-up. I think most of us expected Bryan and Kane to have imploded by now, and Big E really is an unknown quantity for fans who don’t watch NXT. This will be his debut match on the main roster, and he doesn’t really have a character at the moment. Though apparently (I don’t follow him) on Twitter he is playing the role of the guy in the friend-zone with AJ; he is really in love with her and jealous of Ziggler. As for the Hell No implosion, the main problem with splitting them up would be what to do with them. The top of the card is pretty crowded with The Rock’s presence, so the best place for them to be used is as a tag team at the moment. But WWE has the opportunity to really get over the Ziggler/Langston/AJ trio in a big way tonight, and with Ziggler having lost more often than not in recent months, a big night for him could just be exactly the kind of surprise that WWE would throw at us. He could leave Wrestlemania 29 as a Tag Team Champion and the World Heavyweight Champion – he still has that Money In The Bank contract, and now less than 100 days to cash it in. Will it happen? He certainly deserves it. I think it will. It’s time to move on from the Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan and Kane.
Prediction: Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions – Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston
Ryback vs Mark Henry
Just like Fandango-Jericho was, I think, designed to get Fandango over, I think this match has been designed to give Ryback a big Wrestlemania moment. Hell, even without Wrestlemania, Ryback needs a moment. He hasn’t won on PPV since last July’s Money In The Bank. The Shield have gotten the better of him time and time again, just like CM Punk did before him. Yet it’s obvious the WWE sees big potential in him, and the crowd believes in him. Yes there were the frequent Goldberg chants, but the pops he gets are still bigger than the vast majority of the roster – he could safely be called the second biggest full time face in the company behind John Cena. Ryback could succeed Cena – maybe not long term, he is only 4 years younger than Cena – as the top face if Cena ever gets injured or turns heel. And a win over Henry – who in 2010 into 2011 was on the biggest roll of his career before missing most of a year – probably by hitting Shellshocked would be very impressive. That ultimately seems to be the point of the match, seeing Ryback hoist the 400 pounder over his head, marching around the ring shouting “feed me more!” would certainly be one impressive sight.
Prediction: Winner – Ryback
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jack Swagger vs Alberto Del Rio (C)
This should have been one of the hottest matches on the card. The patriot, the “Real American”, Jack Swagger, in his eyes attempting to protect his country by taking the World Heavyweight Championship from the Mexican Alberto Del Rio, who is defending himself, his worth, his honour, should be a story that writes itself without any problems. Then Swagger got busted for possession and a DUI, which took all momentum away from the story in the eyes of the internet fans and put the focus squarely on Swagger’s position in the company. That’s a shame, because this feud could have been a huge money maker for the WWE because of the controversy it would naturally generate. Personally, I doubted whether or not Swagger would even make it to Mania. The last couple of weeks the focus has once again gone to Del Rio protecting his friend, Ricardo Rodriguez, from Swagger’s repeated attacks. There are only so many times we can see Del Rio protecting his friend before the fans start to question why – if they are such good friends – Rodriguez doesn’t attempt to distance himself from Del Rio so that he’s not a distraction. All of this has led to an underwhelming rivalry. Being brutally honest, there is more attention and anticipation for Ziggler being the first person to cash in Money In The Bank at Wrestlemania than for seeing a heel get his ass kicked. At the end of the day, I was surprised to see Swagger make it to Wrestlemania, I’ll be amazed if he – even briefly – wins the World Heavyweight Championship.
Prediction: Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion – Alberto Del Rio
Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show vs The Shield
All of the rumours heading into this one centre around the possibility of Orton turning heel. He himself has been quite vocal about his desire to turn, and there is definitely the consensus that he has become quite stale. I think he has done some good work as a face – establishing Christian as a heel, putting over Mark Henry for the world title, and later putting over Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett (it’s not Orton’s fault they weren’t used properly after he helped them), and now he should add The Shield to that list. The rumour is that Orton will actually join The Shield as a leader – that doesn’t need to happen. Orton already led his own faction in Legacy, he was already part of one in Evolution, there is nothing for him to gain by aligning himself with another group. Sheamus at this point is just another protected superstar – it’s incredible to see how much he really needed the World Heavyweight Championship to stay relevant. Suddenly he’s a forgettable part of the WWE that the people in charge sees money in. And Big Show? Please god don’t let this be another turn. We’ve seen enough of those from him over the years, just give him some stability in his character and let him run wild.
As for The Shield, they have probably been the best booked part of WWE television since their debut. They are everything Nexus should have been a couple of years ago, with the only difference being that every single member of The Shield has immense potential to be huge. In 4 or 5 years’ time, members of this group could very easily be main eventing a Wrestlemania against each other. What makes this group work so well is that they all seem to have a role: Ambrose seems to be the leader, the brains behind the operation; Rollins seems to be a bit of a wildcard, very unorthodox in the ring while Reigns is absolutely the muscle. They have been on a role, still undefeated, but the next step now has to be moving away from 6-man-tag matches. We have established that these three are a threat as a trio, we need to see that individually they can handle themselves too. I’m not saying they don’t have that ability, I’m saying we need to see it. And along with Ryback, they have the chance to really announce themselves on a huge stage tonight.
Prediction: Winners – The Shield
No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs Brock Lesnar (If HHH loses, he must retire)
I think I have to admit it: I’m a Lesnar mark. He just has that legitimacy (to steal a phrase from John Laurinaitis). When he is beating someone up he is believable, he looks like he could actually maim someone (except from his Kimura Lock). He is all pent up aggression, coupled with power and athleticism. But I’m disappointed with this match. Or, to be more specific, I’m disappointed with the stipulation. No Holds Barred is fair enough, it gives Brock a chance to do what he does best, while hiding any weaknesses that may have developed in HHH with age. What I have a problem with is the “retirement” clause. To me that makes it obvious that HHH is winning. If that stipulation wasn’t there I would still have thought it likely that HHH would win because let’s face it, it’s HHH and he will get his redemption. But without that clause, there would still have been a part of me that thought that Lesnar could win, and ironically depending on how the match played out I could have believed that it would have been the last time HHH would step foot in the ring as an active competitor. I realise that sounds stupid, but actively inserting the retirement angle into this match took that suspense out of it. The phrase “less is more” springs to mind, and it would have been appropriate here. Still, it should be a decent fight, even if it was the rematch no-one was clamouring for.
Prediction: Winner and saving his career – Triple H
Undertaker vs CM Punk
Is it wrong to expect a classic from these two? In recent years we have seen Taker have match of the year contenders with HHH, and some of the greatest matches of all time with Shawn Michaels. Punk should be considered the greatest wrestler in the world today, so would a sure-fire match of the year be the minimum expectation? The build for this has been controversial to say the least, focusing primarily on the death of William Moody, probably known to WWE fans as Paul Bearer. Note the distinction I made between the man and the character. I have not minded the build one bit, because I feel WWE is using the death of a character they created in order to further a storyline, all the while being granted permission by the sons of the man who played that character to do so. It would be a different story if they were using Moody’s real name, making it personal for his family and incorporating his sons into it, but they’re not. They have used the death of the character who supposedly fathered Kane.
Has it worked? I think so. I would have liked to have seen where they would have gone without Moody’s untimely passing, but it works. The idea is that Undertaker is so incensed with Punk for disrespecting the memory of Bearer that even he doesn’t care about keeping the streak intact, he only cares about getting retribution. This isn’t something I can remember seeing before – someone trying to beat the streak by getting Undertaker to beat himself. He could easily let his rage get the best of him and get disqualified. He could easily make a mistake trying to dish out more punishment than is necessary to win and get caught. Punk has proven over 2012 that he is more than capable of capitalising on a mistake from Taker, so the streak could conceivably be under threat.
Is it really? No. Personally I don’t think the streak will ever be broken. Even though the tradition in wrestling is to have a passing of the torch, Undertaker has earned the right to keep it intact. No-one – fan, wrestler, promoter – will think any less of the Undertaker if he never loses. It should be that one magical thing in wrestling that never dies. It still gives us great matches every year, so nobody should complain about it either.
Prediction: Winner – The Undertaker
WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs The Rock (C)
Finally… the Royal Rumble winner closes the show at Wrestlemania. It’s about damn time! Thinking about it, this match, this moment has been over two years in the making. From the moment The Rock agreed to return to the WWE, I believe the sole intention has been to put over Cena as the greatest superstar in WWE history. Last year saw a great twist that not many of us saw coming: a Rock win. Then the next night on Raw, it all made sense. The Rock declared his intention to be the WWE Champion one more time. The only thing that could make a rematch between these two bigger would be the WWE Championship, and we saw there and then that that was indeed the plan.
Again, the main rumour surrounding this match has been that of a heel turn – this time from John Cena. If he loses, the only route I can see WWE going down is a heel turn. There isn’t any other option. But even if he wins the possibility is there. He has been talking about how he needs to win, how he will do anything necessary to beat The Rock. Sound familiar? There are certain parallels that can be drawn with the match Rock was in at Wrestlemania 12 years ago, at Wrestlemania 17, vs Stone Cold Steve Austin. At the climax, Austin accepted help from his arch rival Vince McMahon in order to win, and in doing so made a deal with the devil. Could we see something similar this year? A couple of weeks ago I’d have said no. Now I’d say that it’s at least a possibility. There’s just something knowing in Cena’s smile when he gets booed, just like last year on the Raw after Wrestlemania when the crowd were chanting for Brock Lesnar; Cena just smiled because he knew what was going to happen. It’s possible.
There’s also the added element that The Rock will be at Extreme Rules, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. He could be having his rematch for the WWE Championship against John Cena, or else he could be defending his WWE Championship against John Cena. If he’s the reigning WWE Champion, as I said above, the only option is for him to face a newly-turned-heel John Cena.
Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE Champion – John Cena
I think I have to leave it there, considering this is nearly 2800 words and there is about an hour until the show itself starts. It’s gonna be good, but I won’t be watching it until Tuesday so don’t expect anything from me until at least the end of next week! Here’s hoping I can keep away from the results till then.
What do you think will be the best match on the show? What will be your bathroom break? Do you expect some heel turns? Let us know by commenting or by firing us an email at WrestlingsPlebs@hotmail.com and as always, please like, share, recommend, tweet and everything else for us!