Rasslin’ Roundtable – WWE WrestleMania 29
by Rhett Davis on April 5, 2013

Welcome to the WrestleMania 29 Rasslin’ Roundtable!  I, Rhett Davis, am your host for this collection of your writers’ thoughts on this Sunday’s WrestleMania.  We have writers from the past and present here to discuss who will win at the Grandaddy of Them All!  Now without any more delay, here is the first match.

 

Intercontinental Championship

Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz

 

CB:  I’m done wasting words on these two.

Winner:  The Miz

Steven Gepp:  I like Wade Barrett. I don’t like the Miz. This match will be a match. Perfectly serviceable for the second hour of Raw, but not the biggest stage of the year. And where the hell is Cesaro?

Winner:  Barrett

Rhett Davis:  I just don’t see the appeal in this match at all.  The build has been abrupt, but it’s better than Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas I suppose.  I would have much preferred that this match have had Antonio Cesaro instead.

Winner (and NEW Intercontinental Champ):  The Third Marine

Iain Burnside:  I am a little sick of these people who keep banging on about “bringing back the prestige of the Intercontinental Title”.  The last time there was a vaguely meaningful IC title match at WrestleMania was in 1998.  Get over it.  The title is but a pointless trophy of mediocrity and has been ever since Hun-Tor examined it in 2002 and thought, “nah, fuck it, let’s get the WCW thing out of storage instead”.  Worse, this time around we do actually get an IC title match at WrestleMania but it is between two utterly miscast individuals.  Barrett was, I guess, meant to be some sort of gang leader turned solo hooligan.  He wasn’t very good at it.  His newfound role as a deluded wannabe movie star is still much worse.  Meanwhile, Miz was originally a cunt.  Now he’s still a cunt but one who is meant to be cheered for because woo bah gawd dah natcha boi et cetera.  That’s not even taking into account the fact that these two guys last had a great match around about… never.  So, two barely competent people, piecing together a time killing bout for a worthless title, wrapped up in a feud about shitty movies or some such nonsense.  It’s hardly the stuff of The Rock fighting Ken Shamrock over whose erection caused the most damage, or whatever that was all about.

Winner:  Miz

Ralph Hardin:  A confession: I like the Miz. I’m glad he’s a face now, as crappy as the turn (what turn?) was executed. I have no problem with Flair passing the figure-four down to him. It’s a cool move that I always like seeing. However, I wish this was a Barrett/Cesaro I-C/U.S. title unification match. Maybe a three-way or four-way with Miz and Kofi thrown in or something. This is no Savage/Steamboat, that much is clear. I like Barrett, too, so I don’t really have a problem with the match itself. I just wish it was a little less thrown together. Is Cesaro even on the card? I guess Miz gets the belt here. I’ve heard maybe Kofi is turning heel, so maybe a feud with Miz is in the works.

Winner: The Miz

Mark Allen:  Remember when Miz just lost a United States Title feud to Antonio Cesaro just a couple months ago? Yeah me neither. This feud started over that was better in their borderline terrible movies that just came out. I mean it’s no Japanese shampoo commercial rivalry, but it’s still pretty sweet on the bad feud starter scale. It’s really irrelevant who wins as they will both stay in the same position and job to someone higher up the food chain to them a week later on RAW. And why isn’t United States Champion Antonio Cesaro included somewhere here? He got himself incredibly over in 2012 and certainly deserves a spot here. And how about Kofi Kingston? Maybe a fatal four way for both belts would’ve been a nice way to include them, but I guess someone needs to win the pre-show battle royal.

Winner:  The Miz

Mike Gojira:  The Miz has had a very bizarre run as a face. He spent the past few months feuding with Antonio Cesaro, losing time after time to shady heel tactics and unfortunate officiating, so one would assume he’d finally get his big win at Wrestlemania. Well, you know what happens when you assume, right? Instead of the superior Cesaro, we get the middling Barrett, whose career has stalled ever since his return from injury. Why should I care about either of these two? The WWE was right to place this as a pre-show match; fan interest is at an all-time low for both competitors and a free title match online is a decent hook to bring in more wary viewers. I just hope these guys realize how low their stock in the company really is at this point and try to pull out all the stops.

Winner and New Intercontinental Champion:  The Miz

Justin Czerwonka:  From main event to pre-show in two years, so is the life of The Miz. He was good in the build up to Wrestlemania 27, but the WWE completely dropped the ball on him as a face. His character just doesn’t work like that. Similar to Ziggler, Wade Barrett deserves better than this. He was great with the Nexus, but the WWE has just mis-used him since then. This is a toss up for me. I guess Wade Barrett retains.

Winner:  Wade Barrett

Chris Sanders:  There’s really not a large reason to be excited about this match which is a good reason why it’s on the pre-show. Miz’s Wrestlemania streak will be kept intact.

Winner:  The Miz

MM:  I’m so tired of this feud. Maybe Miz can win to bridge to Big E winning from him to give E and Dolph all the belts.

Winner:  Miz

People Power:  In a close race, The Miz wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 53% of the vote.

The Tally:  The Miz – 9

Wade Barrett – 2

 

8-Man Mixed Tag Team Match

Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls vs. The Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins

 

CB:  Look for the agile Naomi to have some kind of memorable WrestleMania moment in an otherwise filler contest.

Winners: WWE’s Best Dance Crew

Steven Gepp: Okay. Sure. Whatever.

Winner: Team Brodus

Rhett Davis:  I guess this is one way to get a bunch of talent on the PPV card.  Possibly make this a lumberjack/jill match to get the rest of the roster involved.  I can see The Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins winning this as it would be a shame to give them a loss in such a throwaway match.

Winners:  The Rhodes Scholars and The Bellas

Iain Burnside:  Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Big Boob Bella, The Other Bella, Brodus Clay, Dancing Ho #1, Dancing Ho #2, fuckin’ Tensai… all more important than Antonio Cesaro and the United States title.  Fact.

Winners:  Team Funk

Ralph Hardin:  This is really happening, huh? At Wrestlemania? Okay then. A comedy match that can actually feature a sprinkling of real in-ring action is not the worst thing to ever happen at Wrestlemania, so I say go for it. There’s really no consequence to the finish of this match. I assume that Sandow and Rhodes can go back to not being a team again when this is over. Maybe Clay and Tensai will get the tag belts. I care nothing for the Bellas. I’m hoping that at some point they attack Kaitlyn and Cody makes the save and a face turn. I don’t really have a horse in this race, though.

Winners:  The Funking Faces

Mark Allen:  This will either get bumped down to the pre-show or will be a 30 second squash followed up happy dancing to break up all the heavy main event matches. Remember when The Rhodes Scholars split up for like two weeks? Yeah me neither.

Winner:  Tons of Funk

Mike Gojira:  This is the piss break in between main events. Probably between a title match and either Lesnar/Triple H or Taker/Punk, but most definitely the piss break.

Winners:  The Concession Stands

Justin Czerwonka:  The Bellas are back to appease their boyfriends, John Cena and Daniel Bryan. As far as this match? The faces win because it is more of a comedy match than anything and they normally win those.

Winners:  Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls

Chris Sanders:  It pains me to be this indifferent about a match that involved Damien Sandow but with that being said, this is a stunt match to get these guys onto the show. As my Classy Ring Attire partner said it, there’s no way we don’t see kids dancing in the ring with Brodus at the end of this match.

Winner:  The Dancing Bears & Funkadactyls

Matthew Michaels:  Babyface win as a buffer between two main event matches.

Winner:  Big Funk

People Power:  In a firm lead, Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls win the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 75% of the vote.

The Tally:  Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls – 9

The Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins – 1

The Concession Stands – 1

 

WWE Tag Team Championship

Team Hell No (c) vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston

 

CB:  I think WWE is going to throw us a curveball and have Dolph and Big E win the tag titles … AND have Ziggler cash in later on in the night as well. I’m looking forward to seeing Big E’s official debut on the main roster, and his interactions with Kane will be more fun for me than Ryback vs. Henry. Of course, AJ Lee will be a huge factor here no matter which way it goes.

Winners:  Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston

Steven Gepp:  The whole Team Hell No storyline has been confusing lately, as I don’t think they know what to do with it. But with Ziggler surely going on to get the title soon, having the tag titles would only make sense if Langston got the IC Title (or US Title) so they can do the Shawn Michaels/Diesel dynamic. However, surprisngly, I see a good match here.

Winner:  Kane/Bryan

Rhett Davis:  This should be a fun match with the two bump machines of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler along with the two entertaining power men in Kane and Big E Langston.  This is the kind of comedy match I like to see.  Not the outlandish Tons of Funk.  I’m not sure how this is going to go, but I think it will result in Team Hell No winning.  I also don’t see Dolph Ziggler cashing in tonight, but waiting until SmackDown later this week.

Winners (and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions):  Team Hell No!

Iain Burnside:  Well, this is also a match.  It could be a great match but will not get anywhere near enough time, as is the curse of modern-era WrestleManias.  Not when we need to be subjected to uninspired musical guests, patented zany backstage skits (“Damn!” is still funny, right?) and prolonged video packages hyping matches we’ve already paid to view.  I’ve no idea what the original plan was for Kane and Daniel Bryan. I can only presume they were meant to drop the titles a couple of months ago and face one another here.  That would not have been a particularly great match.  It could have freed up Bryan to go onto bigger and better things afterwards, though.  A better option than treading water.  Speaking of which, Dolph Ziggler.  Dude’s been taking two steps forward, two steps back for at least a year now.  In theory, Ziggler could come out of Mania as the world champion and co-holder of the tag titles.  I’m tempted to say he should come out with nothing.  He needs something fresh to kick-start his progress to the main event.  A babyface turn would do just that.  Orton also turning would free up room on the heel side of things.  AJ going off with Langston would work quite well.  Ziggler already has a connection with the audience, which sees something genuine in him.  Pursuing his own redemption as a humbled yet by no means less confident babyface, much like Shawn Michaels in ’95, has a nice hook to it.  But do we really need Hell No to carry on hugging?  Can we find some more proper tag teams already?

Winners:  Hell No

Ralph Hardin:  I don’t think there has ever been a Wrestlemania where two guys have made their WWE in-ring debuts, but that is the case here with Fandango and, unless I missed it, Langston. Big E has a fairly unique look, and as long as he can bring it in the ring, I’d expect some success for the guy. Poor Dolph seemed like a lock for a world title reign sometime in 2012 or possibly even a world title match at this year’s ‘Mania, and now here he is in a match for the sadly almost meaningless tag belts. I’m not sure why Team Friendship still has the straps and hasn’t dropped them to someone (anyone really) along the way. Maybe they can lose them to the Shield or something after ‘Mania. My hope here is that something happens that somehow leads to a face turn for Ziggler and then (sometime) a Money in the Bank cash-in.

Winners:  Kane & Daniel Bryan

Mark Allen:  It seemed so logical to do the inevitable Team Hell No break up here, but I guess they wanted to milk it a little longer. But this match is so random. Ziggler should be in a high profile singles match or really hyping up his desire to cash in the Money in the Bank contract. Now it also looks like Kaitlyn and AJ Lee being added to the match to make it a six-person winner take all match. Either way the villains should win to set the seeds for the inevitable Team Hell No feud and give Ziggler momentum into possibly cashing in the World Title contract and being a dual Champion. And seriously how lucky is Big E to make his main stage debut on friggin’ WrestleMania of all places?

Winners:  Ziggy and Biggy

Mike Gojira:  I feel like this match is here not only to showcase the skills of Ziggler and Daniel Bryan, but to also throw off audience assumptions that Ziggler will cash-in later in the night. This should be a fun contest and a good way to make Big E Langston look dominant, but I don’t see a title change here.

Winners:  Team Hell No

Justin Czerwonka:  Team Hell No jumped ship a long time ago. They should have been broken up at the Royal Rumble, but that didn’t happen. Now the tag team division has pretty much crumbled around them. Bryan deserves a singles push this year. But you have to wonder if the WWE killed any hope of that by keeping Team Hell No together for so long. As for Dolhp Ziggler and Big E, Dolph deserved better than this at Wrestlemania. Hopefully Dolph gets a big push after all the part timers leave. Big E works well as his muscle, and I think they leave as Tag Champs here.

Winners:  Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston

Chris Sanders:  I think they’re going to use this as a vehicle to show off Langston as well as the beginning of the end for Team Friendship. A lot of this is predicated on what goes on with the WHC match (assuming that match is 1st as it’s been the past two years) but I would make the bold prediction that Langston will still dominate.

The Winner:  Ziggles and Big E

Matthew Michaels:  Time for a change…

Winner:  D&E

People Power:  With a slight lead, Team Hell No! wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with a total of 59% of the vote.

The Tally:  Team Hell No! – 6

Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston – 5

 

The Dancer Meets The Rocker

Fandango vs Chris Jericho

 

CB:  Definitely my sleeper pick for Match of the Night, and I like that it’s a FRESH MATCH. Jericho is a master at making other people look great, and Y2J will put over Johnny — er, Faaaaan—Daaaan—Gooo — here.

Winner:  Fandango

Steven Gepp:  Let’s see if the “Jericho as the new Flair” works here and he can pull a good match out on his way to losing to this broomstick.

Winner:  Fandango

Rhett Davis:  I get that Jericho can have a good match with anyone, but why did he get stuck in a match with Fandango who hasn’t even debuted yet?  It makes me wonder how many other guys haven’t debuted until WrestleMania over the years.  Big E and Fandango make for two debuts on a single WrestleMania.  And what happened to Dolph and Jericho?  That seemed like such an easy matchup to tie together.  Dolph cost Jericho his job so now Jericho wants revenge.  Anyways, I see Fandango winning for the reason that Jericho has won maybe three matches so far this year.

Winner:  Fahhhhhhnnnndahhhhhnnnngooooo!

Iain Burnside:  On the face of it, this is the most peculiar looking match on the card.  I certainly thought it was a goof when I first read about this happening.  Scratch a little deeper and it makes more sense than most.  Turning Jericho heel to face Ryback, as was at one point the plan, would have been a fool’s errand. Jericho is now in the respected veteran phase of his career, during which the crowd absolutely does not want to boo the man.  Besides, Ryback is what he is and isn’t getting any better or worse by now.  Jericho could have been one of the bodies in the Shield match but his skills would have been lost in the brawling shuffle of that six-man fight.  Jericho working with Fandango does make more sense.  They compliment one another as characters.  Fandango has spent his initial stint on Raw not wrestling, instead flamboyantly turning up to stand by the entrance way and insult people.  With a fondness for shiny clothing.  Sound familiar?  Granted, the Fandango gimmick would appear to have no longevity or credibility.  As a wrestler, Johnny Curtis is purely functional.  Yet stranger things have happened than Chris Jericho helping get a young guy over.

Winner:  Fandanawf

Ralph Hardin:  I’m sure Johnny Curtis is a fine wrestler. I’m sure Jericho wants to go out there and steal the show with the new guy. This match might be awesome. I actually didn’t mind the first few weeks of the “you mispronounced my name so I’m not wrestling” before it got old. I don’t even mind that Jericho is in all likelihood going to put the guy over on the biggest stage in professional wrestling. But here are 10 words I promise you will never (e-ee-eeh-EH-ver!) hear over the WWE sound system: “The winner of the match, and new WWE Champion…Fandango!” Just completely impossible to take seriously.

Winner:  Fandango

Mark Allen:  What a random slot to insert Chris Jericho into. But he seems like he is always up for a challenge and I’m certain signed off the rivalry and had a hand in developing it. Johnny Curtis has come out of nowhere with Fandango and like Big E, gets to have his main stage debut at WrestleMania. That’s unheard of to have two “young lions” like that get big time treatment like that. Plus add in The Shield’s debut, it’s a case of rookies and part-timers filling the show, while the company’s main stays pad out the mid-card. Fandango should win this to keep his new momentum rolling.

Winner:  Fandango

Mike Gojira:  Most people would look at this match at first glance and wonder why a guy with a gimmick like Fandango would get such a high profile match at this point in his career. Luckily, I’m not most people and did a little digging: apparently, Fandango is one of Vince McMahon’s pet projects so big things are expected from him in the near future. On the other hand, it could backfire. Remember when Sin Cara was Triple H’s first big acquisition since his new role backstage? That turned out well.

Winner:  Chris Jericho

Justin Czerwonka:  This feud has only been going on for a couple of weeks, and I am already looking forward to it more than any other undercard match. While some may not like him, I’m enjoying the Fandango character so far. He’s a cocky character who has a “bad ass” side to him, despite being a dancer gimmick. Chris Jericho is the perfect guy for Fandango. He can get him over, as he has the last two weeks. And the crowd is actually reacting to Fandango rather than not doing anything at all. Is Fandango a main eventer? Probably not. But he could be a solid role player in the WWE. Hopefully these guys get at least 12 minutes. I think Fandango wins here as Jericho may not be around after Mania.

Winner:  Fandango

Chris Sanders:  This is my dark horse for match of the night (probably not gonna take the honors from Punk/Taker, though) just because there’s still so much unknown with Fandango but there must be a reason the character is making his wrestling debut at Mania. Fandango will shine but I don’t see him going over in his first Wrestlemania.

Winner:  Chris Jericho

Matthew Michaels:  I’m actually interested in seeing Fandango bring it here. And by it I don’t mean advance tickets to Iron Man 3.

Winner:  Fandango

People Power:  With a large lead, Fandango receives the ‘People Power’s’ pick with a total of 69% of the vote.

The Tally:  Fandango – 9

Chris Jericho – 2

 

Battle of the Behemoths

Mark Henry vs Ryback

 

CB:  Ryback gets his mojo back.

Winner:  Ryback

Steven Gepp:  At least they’re out there hurting one another and not injuring any actually talented wrestlers.

Winner:  Ryback

Rhett Davis:  This should be a whole lot of yelling of catch phrases and slow paced power slams.  Ryback wins to get his momentum back up and running.

Winner:  Ryback

Iain Burnside:  You know this is pure awesome.  Mark Henry, living wall of hurly-burly surliness.  Ryback, living incarnation of an eight year-old boy’s idea of a wrestler.  One provides the soundtrack to you heading to work.  The other provides an endless stream of surreal promos about food.  No doubt this match is designed with one thing in mind – Ryback lifting Henry up for a Shellshock.  I am cringing already.  It ain’t going to be pretty but it will be fun, much like Superman vs Nuclear Man in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.  Whack on the New York crowd blissfully cheering on Henry and you’ve got yourself some WrestleCrap, son.

Winner:  Ryback

Ralph Hardin:  I have nothing against big power guy matches like this one. I’m not expecting a scientific showcase, just a stiff brawl, and I think these guys can deliver. Henry has looked completely dominant since his return, while Ryback needs a big win on a big stage after coming up short in his run with CM Punk over the WWE title. So, really, it just depends on what they have planned for these guys after Wrestlemania (they have already started planning for after Wrestlemania, right?).  Henry could easily move into a program with Del Rio. Ryback vs. Barrett or Cesaro in a secondary title feud?  I’m not sure, but I guess Ryback needs the win more than Henry at this point.

Winner:  Ryback

Mark Allen:  This may be what I am most looking forward to on the card. It’s scary to think that it includes Mark Henry, but this guy has improved ridiculously in the past couple of years. It’s still fun to watch big monsters squash little guys, and no one does it better than “The World’s Strongest Man.” Plus all the shit talking he does during it is just phenomenal. Ryback has done a great job of getting himself over and deserves a spot here. I’m guessing Ryback wins with what will supposed to be a show-stealer worthy Shell Shock, but Henry is on a solid roll too. This should be fun in an old school, beat ‘em up ‘80s style brawl.

Winner:  Ryback

Mike Gojira:  Keep those Goldberg chants a-coming, folks! Lots of clubbing forearm shots here and there, a kickout from the World’s Strongest Slam, and a Shellshocked to the World’s Strongest Man make this match one of those OMG moments the WWE will inevitably put on their next compilation DVD.

Winner:  Ryback

Justin Czerwonka:  If the WWE is smart, they don’t have this match last long. The crowd could turn on it quick. Ryback hasn’t won on PPV in a long time, and this match is designed to get him back over with the crowd. Henry is good enough to get some heat back after the match if the WWE decides to push him again. Ryback lifts Henry up for Shell Shocked and picks up the win.

Winner:  Ryback

Chris Sanders:  I’m making the assumption Mark Henry came back mostly to put Ryback over at Mania seeing as how Ryback is the main guy WWE wants to build. It just comes down to that.

Winner:  Ryback

Matthew Michaels:  Whatever.

Winner:  Skip Sheffield

People Power:  With a large majority of the vote, Ryback wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 88% of the vote.

The Tally:  Ryback – 11

Mark Henry – 0

 

6-Man Tag Team Match

The Shield vs Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show

 

CB:  The Shield has to — and will — win this one. I just hope their next chapter starts along the way.

Winners:  The Shield

Steven Gepp:  The Shield have been booked probably the best of anyone in the WWE for a long time.  United we stand sort of mentality was what the nWo was all about when they first formed, before becoming diluted by adding members. They haven’t made that mistake so far. But there appears to be a heel turn coming. I only hope it’s not Orton joining the Shield because as a faction leader (see Legacy) he has the charisma of a dead goldfish. Orton is probably the most boring wrestler to be over at the moment, so a heel turn would be to his advantage. He’ll still be boring, but at least he’ll be a boring heel.

Winner:  The Shield

Rhett Davis:  The Shield have been thoroughly been well protected thus far, but I think this is finally where they meet their end with their good luck.  I sense either them losing or there being added another member or a possible leader.  It’s time for The Shield to become more… purposeful.  And a loss to these three could do just that for the group.  Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick for the three count.  Just what PUSS would have wanted.

Winners:  Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show

Iain Burnside:  Credit where credit is due, WWE seems to at long last have learnt its lessons from the debacle of the Nexus, the Corre, the Straight Edge Society, La Familia and other “main event” heel factions of recent years.  The Shield have been remarkably well protected.  I can’t recall the last time a group of newbies was brought in, conveyed as genuine threats and given multiple wins over top stars on PPVs.  It is self-evident that Reigns is the company’s ideal future star and thus far he has held his own in the ongoing quest to turn him into Batista.  Ambrose is clearly the best of the group and it remains to be seen how far a guy of his size and style will get to go in this post-pipebomb world of ours.  Rollins is also there and so is his haircut.  Set against this is the latest incarnation of the Justice League of Sheamus.  I guess Big Show is still a heel, although the man has had more turns than cheeseburgers in his career so it is hard to tell.  Orton is on the brink of a long-awaited heel turn.  In some ways that is good, since he is clearly better suited to working as a heel.  In other ways it is bad, since this opens up the prospect of a return to the Cena/Orton title feud of doom.  So, expect heelish dissension on the babyface side and another win for Shield… what comes next, though?  The obvious choice is the Shield beating Hell No at Extreme Rules, yet already the tag titles seem beneath them.  Part of me wants Show to go face and take Mark Henry with him, forming a team called Get Out Of Our Fucking Way and smashing everything in front of them to an edible paste, garnished with cheese.  I can’t fathom any other tag team proving adequate.

Winners:  Shield

Ralph Hardin:  It’s the Legion of Doom vs. The Super Friends! And we all know how those cartoons ended right? It seems unlikely that the heels would go over here, but so far, the WWE has actually booked Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns almost perfectly. Keeping that in mind, I think they might actually pull it off. Their triple power bomb is a cool killer finisher, Roman’s spear looks absolutely painful, that kick thing Rollins does is pretty cool, and Ambrose—what is Dean’s big move? Anyway, there’s been talk of Orton turning heel and being revealed as the leader of the Shield. I like the heel turn either after a loss or even leading to the loss, but I don’t like Orton taking over the Shield. Let those guys be their own thing, lest they end up playing second fiddle to the RKO show.

Winners:  The Shield

Mark Allen:  One thing WWE has done right in 2012 is the creation, evolution and build up of The Shield. The three “rookies” have been built up and protected so well that they seem on even keel with three multi-time former World Champions. The kids should win here to continue their momentum and make all three into legit superstars. Their opponents are all already made and don’t need the victory. Plus it could to plenty of in-fighting and rivalries heading into the springtime and summer. Let The Shield run together for a few months longer before they branch out into the shark-infested singles ranks. I mean they haven’t had the inevitable awesome rivalry against 3MB yet.

Winners:  The Shield

Mike Gojira:  This is perhaps the least predictable match on the card, which is odd because you’d think The Shield have been unstoppable for so long and would logically lose at Wrestlemania. However, these three are unique in that they’ve CONSISTENTLY beaten top tier talent in the likes of John Cena, Sheamus, Ryback, Kane, and Daniel Bryan in previous outings. Victories don’t get much bigger than that. There’s no reason to think adding Big Show to the equation would change much, especially considering that he has an uneasy alliance with his partners.

Winners:  The Shield

Justin Czerwonka:  This is a match where I feel like somebody is turning heel. The Shield already took down a team of Cena/Ryback/Sheamus, so they should beat these guys too. The WWE did a goof job of making us seem like Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show are going to work well together as a team. But part of me thinks someone is turning in this match. The WWE will want you to think it is Big Show, but I believe it will end up being Randy Orton. There has been talk of turning Randy Orton heel for months now, and what better time to do it than at Wrestlemania. As for The Shield, the WWE really needs to elevate them up the card and give them a big push. They should get the win here. Orton hits an RKO on Sheamus and Dean Ambrose picks up the win.

Winners:  The Shield

Chris Sanders:  My only fear with this is rumors going around that WWE will use this match to turn Randy Orton heel. While that turn is something I’d love to see, I know WWE would be tempted to make Orton the head of Shield and that is not okay. We’ve seen Orton as part of a stable more than enough times. As for Shield, I’ve picked against them in every PPV match they’ve had and each time, I was pleasantly proven wrong.

Winner:  The Shield

Matthew Michaels:  The Shield is the best thing going. Let’s hope WWE doesn’t ruin it by jobbing them here. And I would be perfectly fine if a new member is added to the justice-seeking faction to help them win. By the way, doesn’t The Shield remind you of heel muppet super group The Nightmare? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTvkRgbwPfI

Winner:  Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins

People Power:  With a definite lead, The Shield receive the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 81% of the vote.

The Tally:  The Shield – 10

Sheamus/Orton/Show – 1

 

No Holds Barred Match with Triple H’s Career on the Line

Triple H vs Brock Lesnar

 

CB:  I expect this to be a violent spectacle that is just as brutal as Hell In A Cell last year. And I’m going to go against the grain here and pick Lesnar to win this some way, somehow. HHH will never wrestle again, and a Brock win here would also set up a Lesnar-Taker match next year at WrestleMania XXX when the Next Big Thing goes after the other “Last Outlaw”.

Winner:  Brock Lesnar

Steven Gepp: I was not interested in this match, with HHH getting his win back. But with Lesnar being signed for another year, and the HHH retires stipulation, I actually have changed my mind about who will win. Not about the match, which I expect to be dull, but the winner.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Rhett Davis:  Brock is coming back and Triple H’s career is on the line which makes this interesting.  However, it doesn’t really make this match unpredictable.  Brock coming back means that he’s going to need momentum and having a 1-2 record isn’t exactly threatening.  The Triple H retirement stipulation gives Triple H a reason to be emotional after he loses.  Aka the same as after his SummerSlam except the audience might actually respond this time.

Winner:  Brock Lesnar

Iain Burnside:  Oh, for fuck’s sake.  I don’t know if I can handle sitting through the Epic Video Recap, followed by the Epic Entrances, then an Epic Face-to-Face followed by an Epic Battle for the Ages and some Epic WrestleMania Moments and a bit of Epic Sign Pointing at the end.  Not with Hun-Tor.  Not in 2013.  The irritating thing is that this is one of the few long-running feuds that they’ve done quite well at in terms of storytelling.  Family man babyface runs afoul of the monster heel and his weasel manager; gets his arm broken (twice).  Heel also breaks the babyface’s best friend’s arm, terrifies his wife, breaks his father-in-law’s hip, beats up a couple of his mates and pounds him into submission.  Babyface rallies for one more attempt at beating the monster, putting it all on the line in order to get the match.  It should work.  It doesn’t.  Consistently the Raw crowds have popped for Hun-Tor’s entrance and then lapsed into crickets/tumbleweeds whenever he starts speaking.  This is not a good use of Bork’s diminishing returns.  The Rock and Undertaker at least returned to work with the two biggest full-time members of the roster today.  That’s how to utilise special attractions, not by pairing them up with other part-time guest stars.  Or there’s the Jericho route of working with, in theory, an up and coming youngster.  This combination has no benefit since both guys will again be gone soon afterwards anyway.  Worse, the whole thing is going to be dragged out for the better part of an hour.  Hun-Tor cannot do anything short of Epic now, since that is what his self-promoted image requires.  Much like SummerSlam, this will not be a bad match but it will not be a great one.  Expect shenanigans.  I expected a Shawn Michaels run-in to lead to the finish, which would have been the only way to let the babyface emerge triumphant from this story without the crowd breaking out the tumbleweeds again.  Now they’ve gone ahead and promoted Michaels being in Hun-Tor’s corner for the whole match anyway.  Gonna be a long night.

Winner:  King Hun-Tor The Game

Ralph Hardin:  So, if HHH loses, he has to retire. Which is, of course, one of the least enforced stipulations in the history of stipulations for wrestling matches, so that’s not necessarily a giveaway for the winner. It’s No Holds Barred, so I’d expect a lot of brutality and perhaps a sledgehammer appearance. I want to be excited about this, but I’m just not. Lesnar, I enjoy. I want to see him interact with someone else though. Punk/Lesnar or Orton/Lesnar sound pretty cool. I’d even enjoy Lesnar matching up with, say, Ryback, Sheamus or Mark Henry in a cool power match-up. Lesnar vs. Del Rio or Ziggler would at least be something new. Have Brock and Jericho ever wrestled each other? Anyway, HHH as a performer no longer intrigues me. This match, for all the hype and screen time they have devoted to it also does not intrigue me. I just feel like, no matter who wins, nothing really happens. I Brock goes over, he just goes on to his next thing. If HHH wins, then what? The same thing, I’d imagine. Maybe Trips is going on vaction or something?

Winner:  Brock Lesnar

Mark Allen:  I am an unabashed Brock Lesnar mark and will pretty much watch in any fighting or wrestling thing. The dude’s hometown was 40 minutes from mine for crying out loud. But Triple H needs his win back from SummerSlam ’12 and then of course set up Triple H-Lesnar III somewhere down the road. Now that Lesnar will be around for another year there’s plenty of time for the inevitable part three.

Winner:  Triple H

Mike Gojira:  I still don’t fully grasp the point of adding Triple H’s retirement in this match. The guy’s been in semi-retirement for the past couple of years, having only wrestled Undertaker, CM Punk, and Kevin Nash before this “epic” feud with Lesnar. I suspect this will be our bloody showdown of the evening and I’d prefer it if Lesnar wins. This is a tough call, but I can at least predict with 99% certainty that we’ll get some Sweet Chin Music to the jaw of Paul Heyman.

Winner:  Triple H

Justin Czerwonka:  Everything about the build to this match points to Triple H winning. He’s getting revenge for his father-in-law, his wife, and his best friend. But then you look at the career Triple H has had and think: What more does he have left to do? Triple H has faced all of the top guys on the card. He’s not facing Undertaker again, or The Rock. He’s had a feud with CM Punk as well as John Cena. Unless the WWE plans on elevating someone to fight him next year, he doesn’t have a big match left. Add to the fact that Brock Lesnar is sticking around for at least another year, he should win here. I would have preferred a better stipulation, but I would expect some big spots and also a lot of rest spots. I’m going with Brock Lesnar here. If HHH wins, they better have a big match planned for him down the line. With HBK in his corner, HHH gets a final send off.

Winner:  Brock Lesnar

Chris Sanders:  Nope

Winner:  Triple H

Matthew Michaels:  I hate the stipulation so much as to me the result is a foregone conclusion OR the stip is meaningless. If Lesnar loses, he’s 1-2 since coming back to WWE. Not exactly a monster, and I thought HHH losing – even if Punk or Shield helped – is a better story. Whatever; logic isn’t on my side here, and if next year’s mania features Brock vs Rock or Taker, it doesn’t really matter much.

Winner:  HHH

People Power:  With a slight lead, Triple H wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 57% of the vote.

The Tally:  Triple H – 6

Brock Lesnar – 5

 

The Streak vs No Disrespect Intended

The Undertaker vs CM Punk

 

CB:  As I said in my Interest Level column, this is the match I’m looking forward to the most despite everyone’s reservations / hesitations on the build. I think that if there’s anyone who can give Taker a chance at another Mania classic as good as the past four years, it’s the Best In The World. I’m also interested in seeing how the actual construct of the match plays out and how they get to the inevitable outcome without making it seem like a given.

Winner:  Undertaker, who goes 21-0

Steven Gepp:  I think I’m the only person in the IWC who does not look forward to Undertaker matches.  And this is no exception. Punk isn’t one of the old guard, so why would ‘Taker sell for him? Punk will try, but this match will be him doing all the heavy lifting and Undertaker selling like Giant Gonzales, only more randomly. Low expectations, especially with the winner in no doubt.

Winner:  Undertaker

Rhett Davis:  I think this match will be memorable, but I’m just not sure this will be anything close to caliber of the Shawn Michaels and Triple H matches with The Undertaker.  This will be a lot of strikes and Punk displaying some intense facial expressions as he is in disbelief at Undertaker kicks out time after time.  Undertaker will win.  Hopefully in a way that doesn’t involve CM Punk tapping out.

Winner:  The Phenom

Iain Burnside:  After turning heel last year, Punk made a big deal in his promos about the lack of respect he was getting as champion.  That would have been a decent hook from which to have Undertaker return to teach him all about respect.  During his heel run, in particular in 2013 against The Rock, Punk was helped in his title defences by The Shield, who would assault his opponents while the lights were out.  That would have been a cool way to reintroduce Undertaker as someone who just had enough of Punk’s bullshit.  This one is a stretch but bear with me.  Last year, Punk mocked Jerry Lawler’s heart attack, much to the chagrin of the Dave Meltzer’s of this world.  Punk’s inappropriate jokes about death and mortality could have been a segue into Undertaker returning to teach him a thing or two about for whom the bell tolls.  Or, hey, there was that whole thing about Punk losing the title and the WrestleMania main event spot, despite everything he did over the past year-and-a-bit.  He could simply have called out Undertaker to demand a shot at breaking the streak, since there was nothing else significant enough for him to do at Mania.  That could have worked.  So, what happened?  Undertaker bought tickets to a house show in Texas.  Punk won a four-way match on Raw because that’s a way to help kill three hours.  Then Paul Bearer died so Punk turned into Kama Mustafa ’95 and now they’re feuding over ownership of a fuckin’ magical urn or whatever and what the hell was the Punk/Shield thing all about anyway?  (Continuity Note – the original magical urn got melted down into a chain, so how many of these things does Taker have?  Can’t he just order a new one from the catalogue?)  Just to make things even better, Undertaker is apparently crippled and Punk is all banged up and upset about not being John Cena, I guess.  Thankfully, this being the first time since 2008 that Taker has faced a heel at Mania, we can forgo the needless overly Epic tone of his matches the past few years.  Sadly, this is not 2008 and there are but a lot of motions to go through here.

Winner:  Undertaker

Ralph Hardin:  What in the hell would this match be about if Paul Bearer hadn’t died. That’s really the only thing that keeps this from being just another guy out to end the streak. Not that I would have minded that, but I’m just curious what they had planned before Percy passed away. I actually like the old throwback to the days when some evil heel would steal the urn and ‘Taker would go on another quest to reclaim his precious totem of power. If I were booking this thing, I would have Punk end the streak. I wish this were Wrestlemania XXX, and ‘Taker could make this his farewell match and “pass the torch,” if you will, to the next generation. But with Punk being in super-heel mode and the whole Paul Bearer element, I see no way in hell Punk wins this match. I have high hopes for the match itself, as I think Punk will do everything he can to pull off a classic, and Undertaker I’m sure wants to prove he’s not quite finished. Still, as much as I’d like to see Punk win, I just don’t see it happening.

Winner:  The Undertaker

Mark Allen:  This probably won’t touch Undertaker’s past four WrestleMania masterpieces, but it still should be a great bit of fun. In a Blair-level or snark, I have to ask, how the hell did WWE get so lucky that Paul Bearer passed away unfortunately during the build-up to the match. I mean it completely steered the course of the match build-up into a different direction. Punk now looks like a huge grade A jackass jerk and Undertaker an even bigger hero. At least Punk now gets to part of an immortal list.

Winner:  The Undertaker

Mike Gojira:  I’m concerned for this one. Not because of the “content” leading into the feud; that doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m concerned about whether Undertaker can deliver the goods in his physical state. Last year’s battle in the Hell in a Cell hid Taker’s limitations well, but this is a regular one-on-one with no stipulations. I wonder to what lengths Punk will go to make Taker look like a million bucks (rather than, say, a million years old).

Winner: Undertaker. Duh.

Justin Czerwonka:  If the WWE really wanted to go all out with this angle, they should have CM Punk win. I’ve said numerous times that I think next year is Undertaker’s last Wrestlemania. We didn’t know if he was going to be there this year until about mid-February. Taker is almost 50 and facing numerous injuries. My idea was to have Punk win here, then have Taker come back next year and up the ante by putting his career on the line. Then Taker leaves. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. You have to wonder what the build for this match would have been had Paul Bearer not passed away. Punk has gotten the better of Undertaker the entire feud, and ended RAW last week by standing tall over him. That pretty much guarantees that Undertaker is winning at Wrestlemania. Taker wins after a second Tombstone and vanishes until Wrestlemania. CM Punk takes a few well deserved months off.

Winner:  The Undertaker

Chris Sanders:  Obviously the best story going into the PPV, the only uncertainties would be all the talk saying Punk is more injured than he lets on and initially concern for Undertaker not being in wrestling shape. Throw all of that into the river because these are two guys that won’t let things like that get in the way. This could very well be the best match of the night. However with Punk going so over the top with his heel antics, I don’t see WWE letting the bad boy coming out on top.

Winner:  The Undertaker

Matthew Michaels:  If anyone is going to end the streak it’s Punk. But. I wouldn’t. Would I? Also: can’t hurt that Heyman and Brock and the Shield are all affiliated loosely with Mr. Brooks.

Winner:  CM Punk

People Power:  With a surprisingly low percentage, The Undertaker wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 87% of the vote.

The Tally:  The Undertaker – 10

CM Punk – 1

 

World Heavyweight Championship

Alberto del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger

 

CB:  This feud has gone south very quickly, and no, I don’t mean south of the border. Del Rio is a great wrestler but his character is miscast and that hurts this one badly. As for Swagger, he’ll just end up being a WrestleMania trivia question one day. I do think Dolph cashes in though, finally, to make him a double champion (see above).

Winner:  Alberto Del Rio

Cash-In / Winner:  Dolph Ziggler

Steven Gepp:  I think I’m the only person in the IWC looking forward to this match. Swagger has definite skill, Del Rio has definite skill. The story-line has been helped immeasurably by the addition of Zeb Coulter, but that’s going to be secondary to what I hope will be something of a technical match. The win will come with the help of Ricardo’s crutches somehow.

Winner (still champ):  Del Rio

Rhett Davis:  I don’t know how I feel about this match.  Swagger maybe a technician in the ring, but can anyone seriously think of a GOOD Jack Swagger match?  Maybe even an enjoyable one?  I can’t think of a single one.  Del Rio has had a few good to great matches so maybe this will be one.  I think Alberto holds on because it still makes no sense to not punish Swagger for his actions a month ago and then give him a World Heavyweight Championship.  I’m almost surprised he’s still in the match.  I say this turns out to be better than I anticipate with del Rio making Swagger tap.

Winner (and STILL World Heavyweight Champion):  Alberto del Rio

Iain Burnside:  At one point last year, the rumoured WrestleMania card included Rock/Cena for the WWE title, plus Punk/Undertaker, Brock/Hunter and, for the world title, Sheamus/Orton.  Spot the odd one out.  That latter match could have been quite the thing had Sheamus not dropped the title last year for an acceptable yet wholly unnecessary Big Show reign.  And then Vince figured out that Sin Cara kept falling over and Rey Mysterio was dead or something and by god those Mexicans like giving us money and here’s this pretty Alberto creature that looks oddly like Shane McMahon so turn him babyface and give him the title, dammit.  We’ll omit the part where he killed Santa Claus.  Or that he can work a great babyface match but has a terrible babyface character.  And forget about trying to make him the Mexican hero who keeps praising the USA instead.  None of that matters because Jack Swagger is here!  Sure, a year ago he was struggling to beat Santino Marella and then got paid to stay at home and get the munchies for six months but none of that matters, see, cos he’s got this old beard to rant about immigration for him!  Buzz words!  Hot topic!  Cutting edge!  Relevance!  So, here we have a thrown together match made on a whim involving two abrupt and forced character changes.  Also, one of them is Jack Swagger and so is incapable of having a great match. With all the will in the world, it’s been six years, he ain’t going to turn into Kurt Angle now.   And for some reason WWE feels it is unnecessary to discipline its stars when they are caught driving under the influence.  Perhaps when the time comes and one of their guys kills some poor fucker with their car, they can be rewarded with a raise.  Anyway, all that to one side, this is going to be another middling to decent match that will quickly fade from memory.

Winner:  Juan Cena

Ralph Hardin:  Look, I like “face” Alberto Del Rio, and Ricardo has really embraced his new role as a beloved character as well. I like Del Rio as World Heavyweight Champion. His face moveset is more exciting and he seems to enjoy playing to the crowd rather than against them. But I hate, hate, hate Jack Swagger. The Tea Party gimmick isn’t the problem. I just don’t like him. He bores me. He’s no Kurt Angle. He’s just boring and comes across as a total prick. Not his character, him. I was hoping after his recent legal troubles he’d be yanked from the card and Dolph Ziggler would get his spot. Alas, it appears they are going through with it, and my only hope is that he does not end up with the title. I can’t sit through weekly “Real American” promos, even with my fondness for Dutch Mantell.

Winner:  Alberto Del Rio

Mark Allen:  Alright, I admit, I love Zeb Coulter and by proxy the “We the People” gimmick. It cracks m up to no end and it is obvious that Coulter and Ricardo Rodriguez are the stars of the rivalry. This could easily go either way. Del Rio could win to vanquish the evil racist and send Swagger packing after the DUI. Or Swagger could win and ride the craziness to another level. Either way, I’m just loving all the managers coming back to the company in some fashion.

Winner:  Alberto del Rio

Mike Gojira:  Perhaps had Swagger been built up months before, his victory at Elimination Chamber would not have come off as quite a shock. Perhaps if del Rio was allowed to properly transition into his role of a face, his turn would not be receiving a lukewarm reaction. Regardless of both of those points, this should be a good technical contest.

Winner: Alberto del Rio

BUT WAIT!!!!! Dolph Ziggler cashes in and wins the title off of del Rio.

Justin Czerwonka:  Alberto del Rio just isn’t working as a face. I had hopes for him when he first turned, but the WWE hasn’t done a good job ever since his “This is why I am a good guy now” promo. The WWE still wants to push him as their next big Latin star, but they have some work to do. Jack Swagger is largely a by-product of Zeb Colter. Colter is a great promo man and is doing a great job making this work. It is something Jack Swagger could have used a lot earlier in his career. I still don’t know about him getting a World Title run after the whole DUI incident. My guess is Del Rio retains because the WWE is afraid once again to pull the trigger on Swagger.

WINNER:  Alberto del Rio, BUT…

If Dolph Ziggler doesn’t cash in at Wrestlemania, he might as well not cash in at all. I think this is Dolph’s time. The WWE hasn’t made a big deal about the MITB briefcase in a while, and there haven’t been any teased cash ins recently. Dolph wins the World Title.

NEW World Champion:  Dolph Ziggler

Chris Sanders:  I’m just convinced Del Rio lacks the ability to maintain a feud of any length with boring me to indifference; Swagger isn’t too terribly interesting either. The Zeb thing was interesting for a week or so and then it became repetitive and tried to mix it up by beating up Ricardo, which also became repetitive. Let’s be honest, this match is just killing time until Ziggler cashes in.

The Winner:  Swagger with a Dolphin Cash-in

Matthew Michaels:  Swagger winning here makes sense. Del Rio has Ben a poor baby face so maybe having him chase will be the trick to getting people interested.

Winner:  Swagger!

People Power:  With a definitive lead, Alberto del Rio wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 74% of the vote.

The Tally:  Alberto del Rio – 9

Jack Swagger – 2

 

WWE Championship

The Rock (c) vs John Cena

 

CB:  Well, here we go. Cena vs. Rock main events Mania for the second straight year, and I am less than enthusiastic about this match. The build hasn’t been there and the only amazing thing that could happen to make this worthwhile is Cena turning heel, which we all know won’t happen. The crowd is the only interesting element here, but that can’t carry this whole match.

Winner:  John Cena

Steven Gepp:  I was surprisingly entertained last year by these two. I went in with incredibly low expectations and found myself actually enjoying it. On second watch it held up okay. It’s not a classic or anything, but it’s sports entertainment and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. So this year I’m going to be cautiously optimistic, especially if Cena amps up the heelishness. But the winner cannot be in any doubt, really, can he?

Winner (new champ):  John Cena

Rhett Davis:  Twice in a Lifetime.  I am interested to see the match, but not as hyped as you would think we might be.  There has been almost no build for this match, and I guess you could blame The Rock for not being around much due to his obligations to his infinite amount of movies this year.  I think this match will be a little better than last years, but the end result I don’t think is really in question. The Rock loses by tapping out to the STF.

Winner (and NEW WWE Champ):  John Cena

Iain Burnside:  In theory, this is a good story.  Cena loses to Rock last year in a huge match, loses his mojo, has a crappy year, manages to get a title shot, only to find that the champion is the Rock.  A quest for redemption.  Except that last year Cena went on to immediately beat Brock Lesnar.  And then he succeeded in getting rid of John Laurinaitis from Raw.  And he won Money in the Bank.  He didn’t get the title back from Punk but that was largely due to injury.  He lost to Ziggler at TLC but beat him three thousand and fifty-four other times.  Then, yeah, he won the Rumble.  What exactly is so terrible about that year?  Don’t even mention the divorce.  They didn’t until a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a shame as this could have been so much stronger.  Had they written a really crappy 2012 for Cena, they could have perhaps gotten more of the crowd to rally behind him.  Certainly in order to beat the tiresome, barely-present Rock.  It might not have worked but we’ll never know now.  So instead we have a main event with no gravitas to it.  There’s barely even a build to it.  WWE essentially plopped it out there with a weary “here ya go, fuckers” and stared at you without blinking until payment was received.  Expect an acceptable match.  Estimated time until Rock gets blown up – 6 minutes.  Length of time this shit has been going on for – 3 years.  And more to come next year, it would seem.  To put this into context, Rock was first champion 15 years ago.  This is akin to Hulk Hogan turning up in WWE in 1999 and winning the title.  Nobody wanted that.  Who wants this?  Not me.  Problem being, I don’t want the other guy either.  Where do we go from here?

Winner:  Cena

Ralph Hardin:  I’m not sure how John Cena went from being “Super-Cena” who never loses to being the underdog. Oh wait, yes I do—The Rock came back for a while. Even with his go-to catchphrases and shtick from 10 years ago, the Rock is still the People’s Champ (oh, and WWE Champ too, because why not?), and Cena will likely draw more boos than cheers, but surely (surely?) Cena will find a way to win here, and hopefully get some sort of Dwayne Johnson Seal of Approval to end the night and maybe get John back to being a 100% crowd favorite again. I mean, Cena has to win here, right? He’s never been able to get the better of Rocky on any level, in the ring, on the mic, or whatever, and surely Rock is headed back to Hollywood to make five more movies for this summer. I think it will be a good, intense match, and hopefully the crowd goes along with whatever story it ends up being that they want to tell here. I do hope that once the belt is off the Rock they can give us some fresh match-ups after ‘Mania.

Winner:  John Cena

Mark Allen:  The promos between the two have been less inspired than last year and the novelty has worn off. Even John Cena’s BBF Stu the Cameraman thinks this is a rerun and wants to see something different. That being said, John Cena wins this one to rectify what was supposedly a terrible 2012 for the face of the company. Plus, even I’m a sucker for trilogies and best-of-three series. Cena needs to win the Title here in order to set up Rock-Cena III (Once in a Lifetime…Again…For the Last Time) at WrestleMania down in NOLA.

Winner:  John Cena

Mike Gojira:  Something I hadn’t considered (nor have I heard murmurings of) is what would happen should Rock lose the title in this match. The general consensus seems to be a rubber match at Wrestlemania XXX (groan), but word on the street is that Rock has been penciled in for Extreme Rules. If that’s true, then it would stand to reason that Johnson would get his title rematch next month, thereby eliminating the chance for a rematch a year from now. Well, one could hope and pray that’s the case.

Winner and New WWE Champion:  John Cena

Justin Czerwonka:  The WWE has really screwed the pooch with this build. I can’t say enough how bad of an idea it was to not have Rock and Cena interact this past week on RAW. Not only that, but the crowd shit on Cena’s promo. This build has been terrible and the WWE is not doing a good job of making it feel special. It was supposed to be “Once In A Lifetime,” and they should have left it at that. Rock has done nothing for the WWE as Champion. We know that The Rock will be at Extreme Rules, but that doesn’t change the outcome here. The WWE has been teasing a John Cena heel turn in the build, but I don’t see them having the balls to do it here. Cena wins after hitting a second AA in a 20 minute average match.

Winner:  John Cena

Chris Sanders:  What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this match? We all kinda hate it but we knew it was gonna happen. Rock is gonna get winded in the first 10 minutes and it’ll be up to Cena to kill time the rest of the match (not really his strong point). Logically, it’s time for Cena to beat Rock so we can get this proverbial torch-passing over and done with already.

Winner:  John Cena

Matthew Michaels:  Yet another predictable match. I see no reason Rock keeps the belt unless the plan is for him to stick around longer. If love a full Cena heel turn here but we know that’s not going to happen. Hopefully a good match and the crowd should be up for it. Predicting some sort of twist at the end to lead to Cena’s next program.

Winner:  John Cena

People Power:  With a commanding lead, John Cena wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with a total of 77% of the vote.

The Tally:  John Cena – 11

The Rock – 0

 

What will be the match of the night?

 

CB:  Match of the Night will be CM Punk vs. The Undertaker

Steven Gepp:  Swagger / Del Rio.

Rhett Davis:  I think the match of the night will be The Shield vs Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show.  These Shield matches have yet to be bad so why shouldn’t this one take the show as the last ones have?

Ralph Hardin:  I’m going to say Punk/Taker for match of the night honors. I can’t see HHH/Brock being all that awesome. Cena/Rock will be fun, but I can’t imagine them bringing anything new to the table. Jericho/Fandango could be a sleeper, but I don’t think they’ll get the time necessary to tell a real story, especially if we’re all overestimating Curtis’ talents.

Mark Allen:  The card has the potential for a lot of good matches as the 3 main events will all try and outdo each other, and Jericho will certainly try to steal the show after being “saddled” with Fandango. But I am going to go with an outside pick and go for the 6 man. The Shield has yet to have a bad match, and their opponents are all veterans that will want to prove their worth and lead the kids to something special.

Mike Gojira:  Undertaker vs CM Punk, for the storytelling and crowd interaction that a Streak match always brings to the table.

Justin Czerwonka:  Normally I would pencil in whatever match CM Punk is taking a part in here, but I don’t know how Undertaker will look. He looks to be in shape, but there were a lot of slow spots in the HHH/Taker matches. My money is on HHH/Brock Lesnar. I think they will pull out all the big spots in this one to get the crowd into it. Especially if it ends up being HHH’s last match.

Chris Sanders:  It’s gotta be Punk and Taker, right? Right. As stated earlier, Fandango and Jericho would be my secondary dark horse pick just based on the unknown factor.

Matthew Michaels:  Dolph Ziggler cashing in MITB? Nah. Punk/Undertaker, unquestionably.

People Power:  With a firm lead, Undertaker vs CM Punk wins the ‘People Power’s’ pick with 49% of the vote.

The Tally:  The Undertaker vs CM Punk – 6

The Shield vs SOS – 2

Jack Swagger vs Alberto del Rio – 1

Triple H vs Brock Lesnar – 1

 

Well that’s all from our panels of writers.  What do you think?  Who will win all of the matches?  Do you think Dolph Ziggler will cash in?  Sound off in the comments section below and thanks for reading!



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Forever Heel: My Rant on WWE and Their Preference On Keeping African Americans Out of the Main Event

Rhett Davis

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  • Starcade

    Miz-Barrett: Almost, to me, a Loser Leaves WWE match. Especially if they do what I’d like them to do, the loser of this match is probably going to be gone within a month or so. As much as I like smarmy-face-Miz (and I may be alone in so doing!), the E has more plans for Wade Barrett. This match, it’s placement, and the like are probably indications he doesn’t have a long rope left either!

    WINNER: Wade Barrett

    Eight-Person Tag of Future Endeavorment: Tensai and Clay are probably gone. They might not have anything for the face ladies after that, so they might want to start looking for work too. The Bellas just came back, but, given the state of the Divas Division, are THEY going to be around long?

    Basically because The Rhodes Scholars might well be (together or apart) the only two of these eight with any kind of job security…

    WINNERS: The Heel Side: The Bella Twins and The Rhodes Scholars.

    Tag Championship: At least these four probably have some rope post-Mania. That said, I think other factors on the card will stunt this match. If Big E has a future, it’s in singles.

    WINNERS (or, at the very least, retaining their titles): Team Hell No.

    Fandingaling-Jericho: Not impressed with Fandango — the leggy ballroom dancer is the best part of the package, and Jericho should roll this idiot back to NXT in Florida.

    That said, there’s a reason they dragged this out here, and I fear we may not be seeing Jericho after Mania for a while. That’s sad: WWE probably needs him more than he needs them.

    WINNER: Fan-doofus, with Edgar the Talking Jukebox.

    Battle of the Big Men: Depends on who isn’t long for WWE. But I don’t think the E is big enough for these two.

    WINNER: Ryback, because I think WWE is going to need a BIG face more than someone like Henry, who will and should be thanked for his service when the time comes.

    Shield-Orton/Sheamus/Show: Orton turns, period. Shield wins, and, though it’s not the alliance I’d want, you have a strong heel alliance for the first time since… Evolution?

    But it could’ve been so much more!

    WINNER: Shield when Orton does what he wants to do and turns heel. Only real question-mark going forward is Show, especially if Ryback takes the role as a Big Face presence. But Show should be thanked for his many years if his time is up.

    Main #1: Here Comes The Pain, Here Goes the Career?

    If I’d booked this match, I’d have included the (storyline) part of COO of the company as part of HHH’s career, have Brock win, and Heyman becomes COO as part of an alliance between Brock, Punk, and the Shield, who quickly win all the belts, Horseman-style.

    (An angle which would’ve started with Punk getting stripped at the Rumble, creating a tournament instead of Twice in a Lifetime.)

    But I’m not employed by Stephanie McMahon.

    I get the sense Brock gets a comeuppance here and they move him on to something else.

    That said, at least he’s with somebody who at least Brock could trust. Putting him in with a questionable-health Undertaker might end VERY badly for all involved.

    I’d have put an MMA twist on the stip myself, but Joe Rogan and Dana White might not have agreed.

    WINNER: HHH, but in a quite brutal match.

    Main #2: World Heavyweight Title

    Even if we hadn’t gone tournament, what Jack Swagger is doing in the company or on the card is a joke and shows the Wellness Policy to be similar

    That said, he’s not winning the belt.

    Dolph Ziggler is.

    WINNER: Alberto del Rio, who, either in the process or immediately afterwards, gets trashed.

    REAL WINNER AND NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Dolph Ziggler, whom I expect will have AJ and Big E help him hold on to the belt far longer than he should.

    Side note: If you want del Rio to connect as a face, call his uncle!

    Main #3: The Streak vs. The Disrespect

    After the way his first title reign ended, I do not and still don’t trust Phil Brooks.

    I do think there are real issues between Mark Calloway and Phil Brooks for how that reign ended, and I do hope they do not come out here.

    There’s been a lot put into this match for all the wrong reasons (barely staying on the right side of the line on William Moody (if that! — R.I.P), but there’s no way, especially with Moody’s death, that Punk goes over here.

    Probably will be MotN, and Punk may well carry it.

    WINNER: 21-0.

    Cena next year in New Orleans, Undertaker is inducted active into the HoF in New Orleans next year — match at Mania XXX is his last.

    Main #4: Twice in a Lifetime

    I don’t care for this match. They set up last year’s so perfectly that to do it again here is an indictment of a weak rest of the roster which must be cleaved after Mania.

    That they do this again basically forces Cena to go over, unless you honestly believe Rock can still hold the belt with his movie schedule.

    What I’d almost like to see, bluntly, is either that Horseman-scenario to write Rock off for a while, or Rock be an absentee champion, basically signalling (and correctly, IMODO!) that not much of the roster deserves the main strap Raw-side at this point.

    But, that said:

    WINNER AND NEW WWE CHAMPION: John Cena

  • Mike Gojira

    I’ve got to say, you are quite consistent with your predictions that wrestlers will be out of jobs based on their perceived standing with the company.

    Perhaps one day your predictions/hopes will come true, but for now I think you exaggerate a little too much.

  • BD

    Sorry I couldn’t participate. Some unexpected circumstances led to a busy week. Some random thoughts.

    - EVERYONE except myself and Sanders said “Cena for sure” last year as well. I thought The Rock was FOR SURE going to win, and didn’t understand the thought that he wouldn’t. Not only is Rock one of the 3 biggest stars the company has EVER seen (and Cena is not), Rock is also a legit movie star. Cena never had a chance. THIS year, I think Cena certainly has a better chance than last year, but it’s far from a foregone conclusion in my book. Rock is going to be around for WM30, and, let’s bust a myth here – WWE cares WAY more about 30 than they do about 29. Who else is Rock going to fight at WM30? Who else IS there but Cena? Nobody, unless they plan to build someone else up in the next year, and if it’s Shaemus or Ryback or Miz, that’s just going to be funny. I’d put my money on them doing Rock / Cena at 30, the question is whether Cena gets ONE MORE shot at Rock after losing twice, or whether they do it as a tiebreaker. I’d prefer Rock wins, I’m not really huge on either guy, but I dislike watching Cena in any capacity whatsoever. And for anyone saying “Pass The Torch”… please. Everyone thought that last year, and Rock is still gonna be around. Cena doesn’t need the torch. He’s the guy. Him beating Rock isn’t gonna make people accept him any more than they already do.

    - Undertaker is beating Punk. That’s foregone, at least we all agree on that. I expect this will be quite a good match, probably better than HHH / UT in the last couple years, but either of those HBK / UT matches will be tough to beat. This one having so much hype ahead of time is what will probably lead to it not delivering in many people’s eyes. I’m glad Punk is in this match as opposed to any other match we could have seen him in.

    - Ryback and Henry is going to be hilarious, and I think there were even a couple people who said they were looking forward to it? Gepp had the line of the Roundtable with this: “At least they’re out there hurting one another and not injuring any actually talented wrestlers.” Czerwonka brings up a good point too – they better keep it quick, or the crowd could shit all over it. He’s right – you know what this means? It means they know it will suck.

    - Shield winning is the only outcome I’m really invested in. If they lose I’ll be disappointed. I should think that they’d win, but then WWE might want to give Shaemus or Orton a big match win at SOME point. It’d be dissapointing, but I could see it. I sure hope they don’t turn Orton and put him in The Shield… that’d be rough to watch. Shield is great, don’t Orton it up on us.

    - Neither Miz nor Barrett “deserve” better. They don’t even deserve the pre-show. They’re horrible. You know who else doesn’t “deserve” better? Cody and Sandow. Neither does Shaemus, and neither does anyone else not on this card aside from Bryan and possibly Ziggler. Not huge on Ziggler but people obviously like him – although I guess he could cash in the handicap briefcase.

    - Why does Mark Allen continue to say “Blair levels of snark?” Just say you want me and we can end this sexual tension, once you wait in line after everyone else. No cutsies, and baby, make sure you put some money in the meter.

    - Nothing else on this card really matters. What I’m looking forward to the most is the crowd. Crowds who are more apt to cheer for who they like and not who they’re supposed to are always way more fun to watch. You can say they’re just doing it to be “snarky” or “IWC” or whatever, but obviously you have issues if you think that. Maybe I just enjoy them because more often than not their opinions seem to more closely sync up with mine over who’s good and who they want to see? Maybe. Either way… who is this crowd going to cheer for? Rock or Cena? if it were ANYONE other than Rock, I’d go with Cena, but it seems like the NY crowd may not like Rock that much either? That’s just speculation on my part because I honestly have no idea. Thoughts? Rock crowd? Cena crowd? Pretty evenly split?

  • CB40

    The crowd hated Rock when they knew he was leaving all those years ago. Now, the NY crowd strongly likes (but does not love) him, and everyone hates Cena.

    I think the crowd is going to make Ziggler a real legitimate star at this WrestleMania, the NY crowd likes him a lot and if he cashes in they will erupt.

  • Michael L

    Let me give my take:

    Miz v. Barrett: I haven’t had a reason to care about these two for ages, so it’s probably a good thing it’s on the pre-show. Unfortunately, why does the IC title have to join it? I”m going for Miz taking the title if only to have a face once the Shield starts sniffing after the secondary titles.

    Team Dance-off. v. Rhodes Scholars + Overrated Twins: Look for the faces to win, and look for the pre-post match antics to last longer than the actual match. This will be tolerable if they don’t break out the “dancing mamas” from last year’s WM

    Fandango v. Jericho: It’s a bold move to have Fandango’s first match be at WM in front of the NY/NJ crowd. If he doesn’t deliver in the ring, his career could be over before it starts. Look for him to win in any case.

    Henry v. Ryback: I’m still scratching my head as to why Ryback isn’t in the Shield match, which made the most booking sense, as their issues go back to Survivor Series. Thus, I think Ryback will get his win here, which he might not have in the Shield match.

    Shield. v Team Celtic Viper Bastards: An interesting combination on the face side, with three former world & WWE champs, with multiple title runs. I say the relative rookies pull it out when Orton abandons his team after a miscue (ala Rick Martell and Tito Santana at WM V). He won’t turn full on heel yet, and he won’t be behind the Shield, but the turn will be final by the June PPV.

    Team Hell No v. Team Hell No Chance: I don’t think Ziggler & Big E stand a chance here. It will be a solid enough match, but I can’t see them ending the most notable tag title run in quite a while. That honor will likely be reserved for the Shield a few months down the road. This is pretty much an excuse to have Ziggler on the card for the next match…

    We the (Drunk) People v. Mexican Aristocrat): There is no way that Swaggar walks out of here with the title, not after the DUI. But I also think Del Rio won’t make it out as Ziggler cashes in to win his title.

    Part Timer # 1 v. Part Timer # 2: In theory this sounds like it would be very good match, but when neither guy has had more than two matches since last year’s WM, I can’t see it being all that great. Plus, when they had the chance to set up a myriad of stipulations, they pick the most predictable one (no holds barred) along with a stipulation that make the outcome inevitable. Expect HHH to pull it out with help from his old buddy HBK. However, I think it would have been more interesting if it had been an HBK run-in rather than announcing his presence in advance.

    Undertaker v. CM Punk: I ran out of cute nicknames, so I’ll just go ahead and say this is the match with the best build, and all of it since Bearer’s death. This makes for the most personal match UT has had at WM since Kane in 2004. It also all but guarantees UT’s win, unless they want to go the cheap route and have a no-contest or a DQ. Nonetheless it could be the mach of the night, depending on whether UT can still go and how much Punk’s injury affects his performance.

    Mr. Show Biz v. Mr. Over-Exposed: The WWE title is on the line in the rematch that should never have happened, of a match that wasn’t all that great to begin with. But the WWE execs have determined that this is what the fans want to see, so we’re stuck with it. The problem is that I can’t see the normally cynical NY/NJ crowd getting behind either guy. My fondest hope is that they boo both guys like they did Lesnar and Golberg in 2004, so that the WWE gets the message and finds someone new for Rock to face for next year’s WM. But I’m guessing Rock will get the face heat and Cena will get the heel. Expect Cena to pull it out, but not necessarily cleanly. Not enough to turn him heel right away, but enough for the announcers to question him. Perhaps it could be a catalyst for a heel turn, but it would leave enough weasel room for the WWE to back off if they get cold feet–like they usually do whenever they try to do anything interesting with Cena these days.

  • BD

    The thing you’ve got to remember is, Ziggler is going up against Bryan who is also massively over. I don’t know that Ziggler is as over as Bryan’s is, but then again Bryan’s has worn off as silly WWE fails to take advantage. Either way, I don’t totally know who the crowd’s gonna go for there either.

  • CB40

    They could cheer both of them, then really cheer Ziggler if he cashes in.

  • Starcade

    And I would assert that many of these wrestlers still being with the company is the reason this is going to be in the running for Worst Wrestlemania Ever.

    I cannot think of a Wrestlemania in which I have less actual interest in the card, and I’ve been alive for all of them.

    Anyone who bitches about Twice in a Lifetime needs to blame a roster full of guys resting on their laurels, defending their “spots”, and stealing their paychecks.

  • BD

    It won’t be the worst WrestleMania ever… BECAUSE those parts of the roster that they’ve tried to build, in 95% of cases, unsuccessfully, in recent years, are doing nothing. Shaemus, Ryback, Miz, to name the babyfaces in particular… don’t matter. And they’re in matches that don’t matter, where they belong (or not on the card at all). So WrestleMania won’t suffer because of them.

    WrestleMania 27 was the worst WM in recent memory… and that had one of those failures in the main-event, and less part-timers. And it was WAY worse than 28, who had a bunch of them, and it will be way worse than 29 (I’m guessing) which has even more of them.

    Starcade’s roster-fail theory is absolutely correct.

  • flamingwombat

    I agree that bizarro crowds can make a show really fun, but in general, and especially for big shows like Mania, I think they can ruin the show too. If someone’s favorite wrestler is Punk, and he’s busting his ass to get a heel reaction, I don’t understand why someone would want to cheer him.

    Cena is the obvious exception to this rule. They book him as a face, but I think they like and want the crazy mixed reaction.

  • BD

    See, I just disagree with that. It’s one thing if you’ve got a short-term or very localized reaction to a character that’s contrary to what you’ve built for them. But when you’ve got people all across the country cheering Punk, even when he’s dumping the “ashes” of a guy a month dead all over the longest-running and possibly most-loved character in WWE, then I don’t understand WHY you’re trying to get that guy booed. If there’s a guy I like, I’m going to cheer them – if there’s a guy I don’t like, I’m going to boo them. I could care less what WWE wants me to do. There’s not a lot of situations where I think I’m the majority where it comes to wrestling, but on this, I think I am. Fans pay to go to a show, they’re the ones keeping WWE in business. If there’s a positive reaction to a guy, they shouldn’t be fighting to get the crowd booing him. If there’s an overwhelmingly negative reaction to a guy, they shouldn’t be fighting to get the crowd cheering him. Nothing wrong with trying a switch, but if it doesn’t catch on… why go for it? People cheer who they like and boo who they don’t like, it’s not supernatural. And that goes partly into why I think that kids cheer and boo who they’re supposed to.

    ROH was really good at this in their heyday – they stayed the course with a character regardless of what the fans’ reaction was towards a guy. WWE used to be good at it – I remember Sid back in 96 and 97 or so, when he was the heel against Shawn Michaels and was involved with Bret, Undertaker and Austin to a degree. Some people liked him, some hated him, but he stayed the exact same, for that period of time anyway.

    Although – yes, Cena is the exception – man, they took the people that HATED Cena and made them part of a quasi-anti-bullying-rise-against-hate type aspect of Cena’s character. I hate it personally, but the marketing behind that initiative is a brainstorm in my book.

  • flamingwombat

    I think we are on slightly different tangents here. You are talking about booking guys according to how the fans want to react to them, and I mostly agree with you there. I’m more talking about how bizarro crowds can (occasionally) ruin the show for the rest of the viewing audience. If Punk is trying to be heel and then come Wrestlemania half the crowd cheers him, it can ruin the quality of the match. A strong face-heel dynamic would make this particular match much more entertaining, in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that Punk doesn’t want his fans to cheer him, so as I Punk fan myself, I’d show my support for him by NOT cheering.

  • BD

    Fair point… in terms of the actual match though, I’d say it still doesn’t hurt the quality at all. One of my favorite legends match is Hogan / Rock, purely for the crowd reaction. Hogan dropped attempted murder on Rock twice, and had nWo backing, yet the crowd was evenly split to start, but by the end they were mostly Hogan. I think that bizarro crowd HELPED the match. Punk / Taker won’t be that, necessarily but I don’t think people cheering for Punk are going to hurt that match at all.

    I’m not sure I totally believe in “bizarro crowds”, really. Certainly those people exist to a small extent, but in terms of the larger portion of the crowd, I just think they want to see something or someone different.

  • flamingwombat

    I totally agree about the crowd reaction making Hogan/Rock. In general though I think the lack of a strong face/heel dynamic hurts the current product. You watch some of those old Wrestlemanias or NWA shows and every face or heel got strong reactions and it helped every match. I don’t think those reactions are possible in today’s post-kayfabe world, but I’d certainly love a bit of a return to those days. Now we are stuck with crowds that mostly only react to a few upper card wrestlers and little else (a lot of that has to do with booking too of course).

  • BD

    I hear what you’re saying… I don’t think that’ll ever happen though dude. I think kids will buy it, and in a way I think that’s why WWE targets so much of their marketing at kids. I kinda think even those days are coming to an end though, and in a way, see it as an unavoidable evolution of the product – I just think they haven’t embraced that. People keep waiting for the next evolution – I think they could make a good go of something like that. There are very few characters who can get me to dislike them based on kayfabe – although there are exceptions. Swagger rocking a tea party gimmick is one that pushes buttons, and kinda just makes me wanna see Del Rio kick his face in. Just based on rebelling against WWE style, I can get behind The Shield, although part of that is that they’re really good wrestlers as well.

    I agree that a lot of it has to do with booking – and that who WWE has decided to push (mostly) the crowds not being all that into.

  • Chris Sanders

    Rhett, I am truly disappointed with your lack of dancing Mark Henry gifs, that is all.

  • RaceCarAndyMan

    Do any of these “writers” even like wrestling?

  • Steven Gepp

    Yes we do. We enjoy wrestling… which is why WWE is so low on our list of priorities.

  • RaceCarAndyMan

    Then why bother watching/commenting on it?

  • Starcade

    I mean, for anyone who wants to flame me:

    XXVII: Cena-Miz-Rock, Taker-HHH I, and what else? JR-Cole?

    XXVIII: Cena-Rock I, Taker-HHH II…

    XXIX: Cena-Rock II, Taker-Punk, Lesnar-HHH…

    Seeing a pattern here?

    IT’S ALL THE SAME GUYS.

    For all the Internet loves the likes of Cesaro and Sandow, nobody’s getting over, and I don’t think it’s because the guys at the top of the full-time roster (which number about two right now) are holding anybody back.

  • Starcade

    Because they want to see better and are calling WWE out on it.

  • Steven Gepp

    Is anyone else being allowed to get over though? And, know what, I don’t know the answer.

  • limodriver

    I think that of all the matches which seem like a foregone conclusion, the one most likely to end in an “upset” is Cena/Rock. Because it sets up so many narrative possibilities. By failing to beat Rock again, Cena might actually change up his character a bit, and perhaps Vince realizes the time is right to turn Cena heel. It will also give Vince an opportunity to try and elevate someone new to the main event level, as even if Rock leaves with the belt, we know he has to drop it very shortly to someone. Whoever that person is will have a chance to be a huge star, and there are a few potential candidates, from Ryback to Bryan to maybe even Shaemus or a heel Randy Orton.

    Also, it makes the seemingly inevitable Cena/Undertaker match at WM30 somewhat interesting. Cena would decide that the only way he can redeem himself for losing twice to the Rock is to end The Streak. And maybe Undertaker respects Cena enough to actually let him be the one to do it.

  • BD

    In the course of Apr-Dec? Sure. But in the big scheme of things? Of course not. WWE DOES want these guys over. They’re just not. And it’s not for lack of trying on their part, the WWE or the guys in question. Some guys just aren’t. That’s just the way it is.

  • BD

    Actually, good point about 27.

    Anyway, they’re clearly happy with this formula if they’ve been doing it for this long and it’s working this well for them. Honestly, if guys like Shaemus, Ryback or Miz aren’t getting over… then fuck them. They’ve got the other 9 months out of the year to do it. I don’t know why, though, to your point, after so long and not being able to do it, they wouldn’t just cut the guys loose. They’re not of any value.

    Also, love of Sandow? Who likes Sandow? That guy is boring as hell.

  • Michael L

    It is not the way it is. If the WWE actually gave a shit about the midcard, they’d be working on booking the midcard at least from the Rumble forward. They would put together an interesting program for the midcard wrestlers that is at least two months long, culminating in WM. Instead, they end up giving the midcarders very little time on the program and about a month to get a program over.

    You mean to tell me that with five hours a week between Raw and SD to build the show up, they couldn’t find something more interesting for Miz or Barrett to do? Or a way to get the US champion on the card? Or Team Hell no more than a thrown-together team to face?

    As for the one who claims it’s been working for them–yes, as far as the main event is concerned. But what happens when UT hangs up the boots for good? Or ROck decides to go back to Hollywood and never return? Or when they fail to pull any more rabbits out of their hats, and they have to rely upon their full-timers, and realize that aside from Cena and Punk (and maybe Orton), none of them have any true WM main event-level heat?

    The same thing that happened int he mid 90′s when Hogan, Savage and others left or in the 2000′s when Austin and Rock called it a career: eras of rebuilding. The company has to then spend time building up new talent, but would they be able to do so when WM has become such a stadium monster?

  • FacesofFungas

    SOOOO many opportunities for surprises tonight is what is making this a must see Wrestlemania.
    Will Cena make a heel turn? Will one of the 3 facing the shield, defect? Will HHH be retired? Will Punk be the one? And Im actually thinking if the streak is broken, he’s the guy to do it on a cheap decision. Im loving the Fandango angle and he and Y2J might tear off the roof, but who gets the win?
    Will Dolph cash in? Will this be the night Team Hell No goes haywire on each other? The rest of the card leaves alot to be desired with highly probable wins for Ryback, Funk is on a roll, and Del Rio. Face Miz is on the undercard because Face Miz sucks. Smartbutt Miz is coming back soon I hope.

  • Starcade

    Here’s the thing:

    I don’t think anyone CAN get over, because I don’t think anyone else is trying.

    I mean, imagine what Cena would have to do if someone else really got over and forced Cena as a character to adapt to that. Might take a Daniel Bryan and a breakup of Team Hell No to do it, though.

  • Nassar

    I personally would love to see Rocky win, Cena lose his mind and beat the crap out of him post match, then Ziggler say screw the suitcase being blue and cash in. You’d have a fresh champ, a fresh heel Cena and a way to write Rocky out of commission to go back to Hollywood.

  • Starcade

    They can’t afford to do so — look what they’ve been doing the last three years.

    I mean, they so botched this card, it’s not funny!

    The whole Shield attack at the Rumble SCREAMS “Strip Punk of the title, create massive heel alliance, tournament at WM”. The Punk smarks give negative heat to Vince and basically anyone else associated with the strippage, it sets up something the WWE hasn’t had in a while, and, if we must have Twice in a Lifetime, it can be the final of the tournament where it’s not so freaking telegraphed from the Rumble itself!

    HHH-Lesnar can happen separately anyway.

    You can DQ Punk out of the tournament for more heat, have him and the Shield again trash everything then, and then who comes out for the save?

    Put Big E and Fandingaling on a card at Axxess or something.

    I mean, imagine if you had a card like this:

    First Round:

    Cena-one member of the Shield who does make it through

    del Rio-Ziggler

    Orton-Cesaro (Cesaro wins, Orton goes berserk and turns heel after)

    Rock-Barrett

    Team Hell No vs. the other two members of the Shield for the tag belts. (Shield wins, Hell No splits, Shield invokes Freebird Rule)

    Useless Diva/Celebrity Match/Piss Break

    Second Round:

    Cena-Ziggler
    Cesaro-Rock

    HHH-Lesnar (with it being revealed that the (storyline) COO position is part of the “Career” stip — Lesnar wins with lots of Shield-ference, HHH gets stretchered out, Heyman is now (storyline) COO)

    Taker-Punk (probably, at that point, needing supernatural means to keep enough people off Taker for him to go to 21-0)

    Finals:

    THEN you do Cena-Rock, Cena goes over (as we all expect tonight), but then Lesnar, Heyman, Punk, and the Shield basically crap on everything.

    By the next PPV, Heyman’s group has all the belts and the faces are going to have to work to even think of getting over.

  • Starcade

    I’m a little surprised they aren’t looking at Ziggler cashing in on Cena either.

    You don’t think that wouldn’t get Ziggler to literally be carried out of Met Life Stadium by the We Hate Cena Fan Club?

    And I do think that Cena would be about the only guy who COULD bust The Streak, given his service to the company.

    I mean, think a second:

    Ric Flair couldn’t do it.

    HHH had THREE shots?

    HBK, two?

    Yeah, there’s a bunch of clunkers in there, but who realistically COULD have a shot at busting The Streak?

  • limodriver

    I agree with this 100%. One of the ironic things about the Cena/Rock rivalry is that Rock is the best example ever of how giving the crowd what they want is a recipe for success. The crowd hated Rocky Miavia, so Vince listened and turned him heel, and now he’s one of the greatest of all time. Little kids even still like him and want him to visit them in the hospital and stuff.

    Vince needs to remember that. The audience wants Cena to turn heel. They want Daniel Bryan to get a run with the WWE title and a main event push. They want to watch great wrestlers with great personalities wrestle great matches. There’s a wave of great young talent that we’re all ready to embrace, if Vince gives them a chance. He’s listened, occasionally, in the past to what the fans want.

  • Nassar

    I really think they could make Ziggler a HUGE star tonight. Have him tease a cash in on ADR but run away, lose in the tag title match and have Big E turn on him for a beat down, then cash in on Cena later at you point out here as opposed to Rocky. A cash in on this match would be a shock to most and could make Dolph the star I think he can be.

  • BD

    I’m with you 100% as well… except for this: “The audience wants Cena to turn heel.” The rest, yeah. For sure.

  • Steven Gepp

    I’d watch it. Gives it an almost King of the Ring feel.

  • Starcade

    The only problem I would have with a cash-in is that the only person who might have the authority to do that is Vickie Guerrero, and we all know how she feels about Mr. Ziggler at this point!

  • Starcade

    Here’s the thing: That still gets most of the meaningful “real card” on the card.

    It unifies the top titles so that they can do away with the Two Brands/SuperShow sort of a farce too.

    It also sets up the nice angle of the future too.

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So, with this Simple Jquery Modal Window, it can be in any shapes you want! Simple and Easy to modify : )