John: This Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, WWE presents WrestleMania 29. It's their biggest show of the year. With a reported $11 million gate, it's already the most successful WWE event ever in terms of ticket sales. I don't need to sell the event to you considering that WWE has run approximately 473 video packages about the show in the last month.
If you want to purchase the show in HD on Pay-Per-View it will cost you $69.95 in USA or Canada (non-HD is $59.95). That's the most expensive WWE show ever. There's also a one hour pre-show before the four hour broadcast and there's even a post show. If you think a three hour Raw is too long (and I certainly do) then try to sit through this whole event. I doubt I'm going to watch all of the pre-show. I may end up watching the last half of it.
If you're reading this you're either watching it just like you do every year because for us "crazy" wrestling fans this is the one event we all seem to watch. Of course some don't because something on the card bothers them and that's fine. Your call. What we're here to do is run down the whole card, give our opinions on the storylines heading into the matches and of course pick the winners too. This is the part where I also complain about talented people like Antonio Cesaro being left off the card. A pre-show battle royal isn't good enough. He deserves more.
Joining me for this preview is TJRWrestling's Christian Michael and Andrew Johnson. Christian covers Main Event for the site and Andrew writes his Smacking of Smackdown column every weekend. Both of them are going to be at WrestleMania while I'm watching from home this year after going to the last two. Let's get to the preview.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz (Pre-Show)
Christian: “From Main Event to Pre-show: The Mike the Miz Story”. There’s your next film Lifetime. I don’t love this feud at all. Wade Barrett bores me and The Miz just isn’t clicking as a babyface. With that said, this match should be on the main card. It’s the Intercontinental Championship. Think of what that title has meant to WrestleMania. Steamboat/Savage. Warrior/Rude. Michaels/Ramon. Piper/Hart. This list goes on. Will this match be any of those? Most likely not but you still can’t move the Intercontinental Championship to the pre-show. I can see Miz winning since this will likely be the first match of the night and they’ll want to get the crowd into the show early since it’s going to be a long night. Prediction- The Miz wins the Intercontinental Championship
Andrew: Jesus, so it's come to this huh?
I used to get upset at the fact that the Intercontinental Title was never defended at Mania. It bothered me to the point that I honestly wrote WWE an email about it after WrestleMania 23. I couldn't understand why a belt with such history and prestige was being ignored on the biggest show of the year.
Now the belt has lost all of its prestige that right now I don't even care if the champion has a match on the show. Enjoy Pre-Show Mania, Miz and Barrett, the biggest Pre-Show of the year! Winner: The Miz
John: Did you hear Miz on Raw on Monday trying to say that this was the "most must-see pre-show in WrestleMania history" because he was on it? Dude, you're trying too hard. The babyface act already comes off as forced and then he says ridiculous things like that. We saw this match a couple weeks back on Raw. Miz won clean in a non-title match that was pretty underwhelming. Perhaps that will lead to a title change here, but I don't care that much either way. I'll pick Barrett to retain although even if he loses it I doubt there will be a boost for the title by being on Miz. Winner: Wade Barrett
Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
Christian: Two fat guys, four hot chicks and two talented but underutilized wrestlers equals me going to the bathroom. Well, I shouldn’t say that, Diddy is performing I might go to the can and buy a t-shirt during that. The Funkadactyls are much better in the ring than I ever thought but that doesn’t mean this match is going to be any good. Tons of Funk and their cheerleaders win because it’s WrestleMania and they always book babyface wins when the result doesn’t matter. Prediction- Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls
Andrew: Team Rhodes Scholars win or I riot. That's going to be the fastest doused riot ever.
Look, I know this match is dumb but it gets my favorite wrestler and his best friend on the WrestleMania card. Not even the pre-show, the legit card. I can't hate it completely, no matter how stupid it is. Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
John: This is the official bathroom break match of the show. I really feel bad for Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes having to be a part of this brutal match. I don't care much about the other six people involved, but I like those two a lot. The babyface team will go over, they'll dance and Jerry Lawler will think it's the greatest thing in the history of WrestleMania because if you want to work for WWE for 20 years those are the kinds of things you say. This will not be highlight of the show, that's for sure. Winners: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Christian: I almost threw up when I read that this match was on the books. Then I wanted to put my foot through my TV when the match was finally announced. I understand Jericho’s role in WWE now. He is the babyface legend that comes back to have great matches and put over the young heels. That’s great and every roster should have a guy willing to do that, but Fandango? When pairing Jericho up with someone you need to ask yourself this “can this guy main event WrestleMania”? In my opinion, Fandango and his “Dancing with the Stars” gimmick will never be a big draw for the company.
There’s a guy sitting on the sidelines and his name is Antonio Cesaro. You want Jericho to put over someone? What about him? He’s one of the best wrestlers on the roster and he needs a boost like beating Jericho to take him to the next level. As for this match, the build has been all Fandango which would lead you to think Jericho is going over. I can see that happening and then the dancing wonder can take Y2J out on RAW. This way Jericho doesn’t have to lose to Fandango at WrestleMania and Fandango still wins the feud by beating Jericho in front of more people on RAW. Prediction- Chris Jericho
Andrew: It bothers me that all of the Mania previews I've read (TJR included) have mentioned that they hope Fandango won't botch on his debut. Johnny Curtis has been wrestling for a long ass time, it's not like this is WCW and he just graduated from the Power Plant. He's seasoned, he's talented, and he's ready. I don't get why people are dogging on him for this.
Granted, I think the Fandango gimmick is atrocious, but that's not a bad thing. I at least have a reason to boo him now, and considering I usually root for the heels (because as some of you like to point out in the comments I'm apparently a wrestling hipster, whatever that means) that's a nice change of pace in my viewing experience.
Just go out there and wrestle, don't let Y2J Jericho talk, and this will be fine. Winner: Chris Jericho
John: Why are they feuding? Because Chris Jericho didn't say his name properly. Yep. That's the legit reason. But I don't mind it that much. Like Andrew said, it's not like Fandango is some rookie wrestling his first match. Johnny Curtis first signed with WWE over six years ago. He's been working his ass off to get this opportunity and if you watched NXT like me in the last few years then you know he's a good talent. Throw him in the ring with one of the best ever like Chris Jericho and I think they have the potential to have a really good match.
My original opinion on the booking would be that Fandango will win because he's the "new" character that needs to make a big impact on the big stage. Jericho doesn't need wins. He can lose 200 matches in a row and still be considered one of the best ever because he is. However, if I use my "lose or get up on TV/win on PPV" theory then that would suggest a Jericho win. In this case, though, I'm going against the theory. I think they had Fandango dominate because he needs the heat just like he needs the win. If Jericho does win I'd expect Fandango to win a rematch on Raw or something like that, but the win at WM would mean more. That's why I'm picking that.
In addition to all that, keep an eye on this match as a "sleeper" because if they get 10-15 minutes it could be really good. Fandango/Curtis is pretty good. And Jericho does not disappoint. It could be a lot of fun. Winner: Fandango
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Christian: YES!!! I’m so excited for this match. I love big man matches when you know the two guys are monsters and are just going to smash each other for ten minutes. This won’t be a classic but should be a lot of fun. I just hope that they practice the Shellshock beforehand because you’d hate for Ryback to screw up what is going to be a really awesome WrestleMania moment. Prediction- Ryback
Andrew: HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT
I'm pretty stoked for this. I don't even care about the outcome, I just want to watch these two dudes hit each other so hard every car alarm in a 20 mile radius goes off. I want them to create so much damage Hurricane Sandy looks like a windy day. I want them to turn MetLife into a crater, because 1) That would be awesome, and an awesome way to die and B) F**k the Giants, I want them to get stuck playing football in a damaged parking lot.
HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT
Winner: Ryback, probably
John: I'm not as excited about this as my two friends up above. I don't mind Mark Henry matches against big guys. I enjoyed his feuds with Sheamus and Big Show the last few years. The difference with this is I don't think Ryback is as good as those guys. With that said, I have liked the build up to it and I think it will be a fun to see a physical match like this one. I think the finish is obvious with Ryback hitting Shellshocked for the win to give people that "did you just see that?" kind of moment. I think the win for Ryback is one of the most sure thing predictions on the card. Winner: Ryback
WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
Christian: Should Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan be in singles matches that will let them shine and make their marks at WrestleMania? Duh, but I’ll settle for this. This is a really weird WrestleMania in that Big E Langston is the second Superstar making his WWE TV match debut at WrestleMania. That’s not something you expect.
What I like about this feud is that they haven’t forgotten about the fact that AJ was involved with Bryan and Kane last summer. I don’t see NXT in my neck of the woods so I’m interested to see what Big E can do in the ring. I think that he’ll be the deciding factor in the match and will score the pin in his first match. Prediction- Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston win the Tag Team Championship
Andrew: You have no idea how relieving it was to see that this match wasn't the one that was moved to the pre-show. Daniel Bryan has suffered more WrestleMania set-backs than someone with his level of talent deserves. I'm genuinely just excited that he's going to get a legit WrestleMania match for once, but I guess there's still time to push this back to the pre-pre-show dark match so they can add another ten minutes to Triple H's barbarian themed entrance or whatever.
As for the actual match, I'd prefer to see Team Hell No finally implode on itself like a dying star, and WrestleMania would be a good place for that, but in reality it's not the right time. Kane and Bryan are pretty secure in their unique partnership right now, and with the addition of Kaitlyn and AJ in the storyline I doubt we'll see a title change. Then again, 18 seconds into the match Sheamus could come down and Brogue Kick Daniel Bryan for the hell of it and pin him while everyone else watches in complete shock, and somehow win both tag team belts. I know that sounds silly, but WWE once had Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus in a match for the US title that was won by The Great Khali, only he didn't win the belt, so I wouldn't put this kind of thing past them. Winners: Team Hell No
John: My wish of a Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler WrestleMania match is on hold for at least this year, but at least we'll see them in the same match in a tag team setting. Of course we saw them in a match on Raw although that's not the same as being in a big WrestleMania is it? Langston is making his WWE TV debut although again if you watch NXT you would know he's had plenty of experience in his career. He's actually worked as a babyface on that show, so it's different than what we'll see here when he's doing his heel act.
I think it's time for a title change. My feeling is that the whole point of the match is to put over the Ziggler/Langston/Lee trio going forward. They are a good act, so it makes sense to give them some gold. The act of Bryan & Kane was really fun in the fall and even into the winter, but now that we're in the spring it's time to move on them on to something else. I'm actually impressed that they've held the tag titles since September and were given a significant reign. But that's going to end here. Look for some kind of distraction by AJ Lee leading to Kane & Bryan screwing up and that will lead to Langston hitting his finish on one of them to win the tag titles for his team. This could be a very good tag match if they get the 10-15 minutes I'd expect. Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show vs. The Shield
Christian: The Shield has been the biggest surprise in WWE over the last six months. It’s a surprise as to how awesome they’ve been and how great they’ve been booked. This is not The Nexus. These guys are actually a threat and have the wins to back it up. They’ve had three matches thus far and they’ve all been great. You’d like to see them do something different than just be in a six man tag but I won’t get upset over great matches.
The difference in this match is that their opponents can’t seem to trust each other although they have been playing nice recently. I think a lot of people are expecting an Orton heel turn in this match. I don’t. What sense would it make here? The bigger story is putting over The Shield. Orton doing anything to help them win takes away from that. I can see Orton getting pissed and snapping either after the match or on RAW. This match is going to be about just how tough The Shield is and that no matter how hard the three former champions try to stop The Shield they just can’t. This should be another really fun fight just like all of The Shield’s matches have been thus far. Prediction- The Shield
Andrew: Part of me wants to see The Celtic Snake Show to get the win here, because I think The Shield is kind of played and want to see something different happen with them. At the same time I hate the idea of 3 "rookies" getting trounced by a bunch of vets with nothing better to do. So I'm kind of torn.
Ultimately I think someone on the babyface side is going to switch. Orton is the easy answer, but it could realistically be any of them. Either way, I don't see The Shield losing here, and in reality they probably shouldn't. Winners: The Shield
John: This will be fun. I'm such a fan of The Shield and the way they've been booked since they debuted in the fall. They have an act that works because they have been booked like winners. There are too many acts in WWE that are booked inconsistently, which hurts them. The way that Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns have been used is how we want to see young performers.
The build to the match has seen the babyface team (I guess Show counts) look like a united group that has been able to prevent The Shield's attacks. Will it happen on Sunday? I doubt it. I think The Shield has to go over. The face team has established veterans who are going to be over no matter how many times they win or lose. That's why Shield has to win and they will.
There are a lot of rumors heading into this match too. I don't think Orton turns heel here. However, I think something will happen in the finish of the match that leads to Orton as a heel on television in the weeks and months to come. Perhaps Sheamus accidentally hits him, which leads to Orton snapping and that could set up their rivalry. Of course they could do the obvious thing with Show acting out against his partners since he's a heel. But I'm thinking it's Orton that will be the cause of defeat for his team. That means a win for The Shield, which is what really matters. Winners: The Shield
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Christian: Yawn. I don’t think there’s been a more lackluster World Title Match in WrestleMania history. The best part of the feud is when Alberto Del Rio got destroyed with the crutches on RAW and had those nasty welts on his back.
Listen, I get what they’re doing, they need a top Spanish babyface. Rey Mysterio is old and Sin Cara has been a bust. From a business standpoint I have no problem with that. I like Del Rio. I just think this is the wrong feud to make him into that star. Let’s be honest here, how many people watching WWE actually agree with what Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter are saying? It’s probably at least half the Americans watching. I don’t hate Jack Swagger’s character, I just don’t think it has legs past a feud with Del Rio. Given 15 minutes these two can have a good match. I think it’s fair to say that most people won’t be paying attention as they’ll be waiting to see if someone is here to show the world and I think he will be. It’s the perfect way to make a forgettable title match unforgettable. Del Rio wins, Swagger attacks and here he comes…
Prediction- Alberto Del Rio retains the World Heavyweight Championship
Andrew: I'd be pleasantly surprised if this didn't turn out to be the curtain-jerker. The past two years WWE has done everything they can to turn the World Heavyweight title into what the Intercontinental title used to be at Mania, which was the title match that got the crowd hot for the rest of the show. I hate that the belt isn't taken seriously because it's now the belt that all my favorite wrestlers win (Christian, Mark Henry, Del Rio) and it's become less and less important since the Triple H smell has been washed off it.
Honestly that's a petty complaint, because honestly I'm STOKED for this match and not a whole lot can ruin that for me. I've written a lot about how great Del Rio is, and despite his arrest record I'm a pretty big fan of 2013 Jack Swagger. It helps that the dials have been turned up to 11 and they haven't been afraid to get super violent on each other. Del Rio's back looked like Kunta Kentei's after that beating he took at the hands of a crutch wielding xenophobe. The violence makes this match have a true aura of danger around it, which is super enthralling to a guy that watches gory war movies for their "cultural impact."
My biggest fear going into this is that Ricardo is going to cost Del Rio the title intentionally, and join up with Jack Swagger's America and turn on his own culture. I think this would be a mistake, because a big part of Del Rio's charm comes from the fact that he legitimately cares about his best friend Ricardo, and is willing to go to great lengths to support him. If you take away Ricardo you've just got a Mexican version of Sheamus, which is the worst thing I've ever typed about Del Rio.
Still, the story would be stronger with a loss, so I'm going with Swagger on this one. Winner: Jack Swagger
John: I like both guys a lot, but I don't think the feud is working. I'm also worried about the crowd completely turning on the match, possibly even chanting for Ziggler during much of it and becoming the focal point of the show instead of the actual match. Del Rio had a lot of crowd support in Florida and Texas when he first turned face. It's been a different story at shows in the Northeast like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington. The support isn't as strong. This WrestleMania crowd won't be much different.
If Swagger wins the title that likely means the feud will continue, but I think the way the story has been told would mean a Del Rio because he has to avenge the broken ankle of his friend Ricardo Rodriguez. I don't think the story has the legs to carry on for another PPV considering that Extreme Rules is in mid-May this year. They'll probably have a solid 15 minute match that will be pretty good, but not great. Again, the crowd heat may not be as strong as they like and that will hurt things a bit. I expect Del Rio to show the heart of a babyface to win the match. Winner: Alberto Del Rio
After the Del Rio win I think Swagger will attack him and then Ziggler will come out to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. He'll be the first man to cash in MITB at WrestleMania and leave WrestleMania as the new World Heavyweight Champion. He'll also have the tag titles with Langston. I also think AJ Lee could be Divas Champion soon, so that's a lot of gold for that trio. Coming out of this show I think a lot of people will be talking about Ziggler. And that's a great thing if it happens. The Del Rio/Swagger feud can continue as a non-title feud or they could move Del Rio into a feud with Ziggler. Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler
No Holds Barred With Triple H's Career On The Line: Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Christian: I hope they take a different route in this match than the one they took at SummerSlam. I didn’t hate that match, it was just too slow. I just want to see these two destroy each other for 20 minutes. It’s great that Shawn Michaels is going to be in Triple H’s corner. What would WrestleMania be without HBK?
It’s hard for me to predict this match because on the one hand Lesnar should not lose to Triple H. On the other hand, you know Triple H isn’t losing to Lesnar again. I guess HBK being there can give HHH the win and still keep Lesnar strong. He could lose with a Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo and then Paul Heyman could always say that it took two Hall of Fame former World Champions to beat Lesnar. I’d still put Lesnar over especially if the plan is for him to face The Rock next year. All I ask is that I get to see a kick ass fight. Prediction- Triple H
Andrew: For my feelings on this bout, please refer to what I wrote on last week's Smacking of Smackdown:
One of the biggest criticisms I’ve had about the Triple H/Lesnar match is that the consequences are minor. Triple H put his career on the line, but that’s not so bad for a guy that has like two matches a year. But because Paul Heyman took five minutes to come on TV and deliver a brief concise addition to the narrative, the whole thing now seems dire. It’s not about just taking away Triple H’s ability to get in a wrestling ring; it’s about infecting his mind. Heyman points out that he knows Triple H will grow to resent his position as COO if he has his passion taken away from him, and the resentment will ultimately destroy his corporate career.
This is why Paul Heyman is a valued necessity in the business of professional wrestling. He did more for Triple H/Lesnar in five minutes than The Rock did for his match in f**king twenty. The man isn’t in the business of getting himself over but in the business of getting moments over. The guy has a bald head and a ponytail in 2013; he’s clearly not interested in looking cool.
I think this sums up my feelings on this match pretty well. Before Heyman's promo (and before Shawn Michael's camo) I didn't have a whole lot of interest in this match. I thought it was silly for a guy that never wrestles to be upset at the idea that he wouldn't be allowed to wrestle anymore. Heyman fixed that with five minutes of words and some much needed passion. I still don't think Mr. Haitches is going to lose, but I think there's at least a chance it could happen now, which means I'm a lot more invested in this match then I was a week ago. Winner: Triple H
John: I think this has the potential to be the match of the night. The No Holds Barred stipulation will definitely help it and I expect it to be better than their match at Summerslam was. That's the right setting for any Lesnar match. Fans don't want to see him applying rest holds in a regular match. He's a brawler, so let him do what he does. Triple H is also very good in that kind of situation. That's why I have hopes for it.
Since there are already other big babyface winners on the card, I would love to see Lesnar walk out of this one as the victor. Do I expect it? No. I think Triple H winning is very predictable because he has to avenge what Lesnar did to Hunter's father-in-law Vince McMahon when he "broke his hip" on Raw a month ago. I also don't think there's any need for Hunter to retire in his early 40s when he's playing a major role in the company. He's a part-timer that will continue to wrestle a couple of times per year. I'm okay with that.
This week on Raw it was announced that Shawn Michaels will be in Triple H's corner. I don't think it's a necessary addition, but I see it as a situation where Michaels hits Paul Heyman with a superkick at some point to keep him from interfering in the match. That will ultimately set up the victory for Triple H.
They'll probably get 20-25 minutes, Lesnar will dominate a majority of it and Hunter may even kick out of a F5 in a memorable spot because it's not like a lot of people have kicked out of that move before. It will be a great nearfall spot late in the match. Like I said, though, a Triple H win is very likely. If it doesn't happen I'd be very surprised. Winner: Triple H
The Streak On The Line: The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
Christian: The moment that The Undertaker made his return at Old School Raw was the moment I finally made up my mind to go to WrestleMania. As I lifelong wrestling fan I needed to see The Deadman make his WrestleMania entrance at least once.
As for this match, they really botched the build, huh? This story could have written itself instead they do a Fatal 4Way to see who faces The Undertaker and then Paul Bearer dies and that’s been the focal point of the feud. What would they have done if William Moody didn’t tragically pass away? I would hate for these writers to have to use their brains.
Punk wiping the ashes on his face this past Monday was sickening but in a good way, if that’s possible. It just goes to show what a dirty scumbag he is and it makes you want to see him get his ass kicked. It brings a different dynamic to an Undertaker match because the last four years he faced babyfaces so there wasn’t that intense hatred for Taker’s opponent like there is this year. I don’t know what Taker has left. I don’t know if he can give us a performance like he has in the last five years but if he’s got something left, Punk will get it out of him. People wanting The Undertaker to lose clearly need their heads examined.
The Streak is so special and shouldn’t ever be touched. 21-0. Prediction- The Undertaker
Andrew: Next to the main-event this match is the one I'm looking forward to the least. I know I'm probably going to lose my Internetz card or whatever for not being super stoked for a CM Punk match or an Undertaker streak thing, but I have to be honest, the streak bores me. Ever since like WrestleMania 22 it's been the central piece to every single Undertaker match, all the way up until they decided to forego the title matches and blood feuds and just made THE STREAK the most important title in WWE history.
I think why it doesn't work for me is because I've never been convinced that it's ever really in jeopardy. Admittedly the Paul Bearer subplot has made this whole thing WAY more intriguing, but at the end of the day it's still all about Taker's streak and that means it will end as it always does.
Hey, I'd love to be wrong. But I'm not.
Winner: The Undertaker
John: First of all, it should be noted that on Twitter on Thursday, CM Punk stated that Living Colour would sing "Cult of Personality" for his entrance at WrestleMania, so that will be an awesome experience.
I think Undertaker winning this match is the biggest lock of the event. It's a sure thing. I think before the death of Paul Bearer it was a sure thing too, but after that happened and they used it as part of an angle it's an even bigger lock in my opinion. Of course I'm sure there are some of you reading this thinking there's still a chance Undertaker could lose. I really don't see it happening.
The build for the match has been pretty good. It's the first WrestleMania in five years where Undertaker is in a babyface vs. heel match instead of the babyface vs. babyface setting of the last four. I expect it to be an excellent matchup because when it comes to Undertaker matches at WrestleMania he's delivered great ones every year. Punk is an elite talent who has proven to be the best in the world the last couple of years, so I expect a great performance out of him on Sunday. Remember, Punk has an arm injury that has kept him out of the ring in the past month. I think he'll be able to fight through it during the match, but it is worth keeping an eye on.
This should be fun. It's my favorite match going into the card. I don't know how many matches Undertaker has left, so I'm going to enjoy it while he's still doing his thing. I'd expect a 20 minute physical match that ends with an Undertaker Tombstone piledriver. Then we could see that symbolic urn one last time as a tribute to the late William Moody/Paul Bearer. Oh yes. Winner: The Undertaker
WWE Championship: The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
Christian: The magic is missing from this match this year. I think there are two reasons for that. The first being that “Once in a Lifetime” is now happening again. We’ve already seen this enormous battle of generations. The second is that Cena’s reasons for needing to win are nothing but garbage. He tells us that his career went into a tailspin after losing to The Rock last year but then managed to beat Brock Lesnar, The Big Show, win Money in the Bank and The Royal Rumble and beat CM Punk. He main evented PPV after PPV and only lost when someone cost him the match. Some tailspin. That’s Cena’s problem. We can’t feel sorry for him. He is all “whoa is me” but he still had an incredible year.
Many people think it’s a foregone conclusion that Cena is winning the title and getting his win back from The Rock. I don’t. Cena acted very “heelish” in the Hall of Fame Q&A a few weeks ago. It was to the point that I can see him losing and then snapping on RAW the next night.
They need to do something with Cena. He’s staler than moldy bread. The other factor in making me think he could lose is that The Rock is booked for Extreme Rules. Cena could always get his win and title there. You know the New York area crowd won’t be very supportive of Cena and I don’t know if Vince McMahon wants the lasting memory of WrestleMania XXIX being Cena getting booed as the new champion. Prediction- The Rock retains the WWE Championship
Andrew: Just... ugh. Do I have to do this one?
Here's what's going to happen: John Cena and The Rock will wrestle, and I'll be out getting a pretzel or some merch or hanging with interesting folks, because I am over this. I'm over Cena wanting to beat The Rock, I'm over The Rock being The Rock, and I'm over the WWE title looking like a giant class ring. I'm over it. I plan to go goof off during the brunt of the main event (you know, where Rock is gassed for like 20 minutes after going full force for like 3) and make it back to see the finish.
That's what I'm doing during the main event. What about you?
Winner: John Cena
John: Last year was more special. There's no denying that. It was Rock's first WM match in eight years and it was in his hometown of Miami too. The build to Cena/Rock was a year old, they had done numerous promos against eachother and it felt like an epic showdown in a lot of ways. Being at the match last year it really had a big match feel to it. The crowd was hot for most of it. The ovation when Rock won was enormous. It was a match with one year of build and for the most part it was a success. Was it an all time great match? No. But it was good enough.
With that being said, this year's match will likely be better. Rock was winded last year. He wasn't in the best wrestling shape of his career. This year he's had a couple of big matches with CM Punk at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, so I think he'll be more ready this time around. It's not easy to just get back to it after being off for so long. Now that he's back to working those 20+ minute main events I think he'll be ready. Their chemistry should be better too. I'd rate their match last year at about three stars out of five. I think it can reach four stars this year.
Who did I pick to win last year's match? John Cena. I was wrong. Why? Because I thought that would be the only match that Rock would wrestle. If I knew he was going to wrestle more I'd have picked Rock. This year I'm picking Cena to win because I think the whole point of this three year arc with Rock coming back as the host of WM27, then beating Cena last year and now having a match this year is about putting Cena over the "greatest" WWE star ever.
The crowd reaction for the match will be interesting. As I wrote in my 29 Questions & Answers about WrestleMania earlier in the week I think the crowd is going to be anti-Cena for the most part. I also think some may not like Rock either. That crowd reaction could make this match even more memorable. Remember, those fans will be in those seats for over four hours by that point and it will likely be a cold night, so chances are they may not be in a great mood. The crowd will be a big part of the story of this match.
I know there are rumors of a Cena heel turn. I think they're just that - rumors. It's fun to think that the character of Cena might change because that's the only way for him to beat a guy like Rock, but I don't see it happening. I know he has said he "needs" to win and that we won't believe what he might do. I think it's just a cliché, though. It's a selling point. It's a way for him to say he's going to go all out to win the match just as he should say. But if he does turn heel? It will be a huge deal. It could make a big impact on WWE as a whole because it would generate the kind of buzz that they haven't had in a long time. I don't think it's going to happen. I wouldn't mind it, though.
I think the night will end with John Cena winning the match, being handed the WWE Title by Rock (similar to Hogan/Warrior at WM6) and The Rock giving him a hug as a sign of respect.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: John Cena
Christian: I won’t say that this WrestleMania card is weak. It’s just that the matches aren’t all too exciting especially since we’ve seen three of the four main event matches already. I’m still excited for The Showcase of the Immortals. I’ll be attending my first WrestleMania and I’m ready for the experience. I’ve been a wrestling fan for almost 25 years and I can’t wait to be inside chilly MetLife Stadium to witness all the action. If any members of TJR staff or the readers of this site want to meet up I’ll be tailgating all afternoon. You can tweet me @Christian_973 or email me Christian_973@aol.com if you want to meet up in the lot, have a beer and shoot the breeze. I hope no matter where you are that you enjoy our Super Bowl. This is the night as wrestling fans we wait a whole year for.
John: I think it will be a good show. I don't expect it to be the best WrestleMania ever, nor do I think it will be one of the worst. It should be above average. Hopefully there are some memorable moments that give us talking about after it's over and in the weeks ahead.
Is it a predictable show in a lot of ways? Yes. It is. But that doesn't mean it will be bad.
Nearly 7,000 words later I think we've said enough. I'll be writing about the show live on Sunday night at TJRWrestling.com so check that out during the show or come back after it's over. If you're going to the event I hope you enjoy it because it's a great event to witness live.
On behalf of Andrew and Christian, thanks for reading.
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