It’s hard not to be excited. Come Sunday night, all thoughts of how average the build-up has been, how infuriating some of the episodes of Raw and Smackdown leading up to this have been, that will all be forgotten.
The biggest event of the wrestling calendar, the night that WWE put more effort into than any other. Hell, just take a look at the ring setup going on right now inside the MetLife stadium in New Jersey;
That’s what WrestleMania is all about. The majestic, the magnificent, the kind of spectacle you only see once a year. But once that show starts, and we manage to take our eyes off the massive Statue of Liberty perched above the ring, what we will be seeing? What is going to stay with us once all is said and done and another WrestleMania is consigned to the history books. I thought seeing as Chris, Pete and myself will all be watching (and reporting on) WrestleMania live and as it happens, we should each give our predictions and opinions on what we will see at the biggest event of the year.
So let’s get to it!!
The Rock Vs John Cena
Andrew: I’m going to start off by admitting that I am not overly looking forward to this one. I wasn’t a fan of their match at last year’s WrestleMania, and while I do expect them to better that match, I can’t bring myself to anticipate it because I just know how it is going to end. Too much has been made of Cena’s redemption, how bad of a 2012 he had and how he has to win this one. And let’s be honest, we know The Rock isn’t going to be around for much longer. Only one winner here. The only genuine interest I have in this one is whether we will finally get that elusive Cena heel turn. Much has been made of the wording and delivery of his recent Raw promos, which have seemed to suggest a turn is coming. I just can’t see it myself. When Rock goes back to Hollywood, WWE will need a lead babyface, a hero to carry the company. They have no-one other than, much as I hate it myself, John Cena.
My call: John Cena wins, and stays the ultimate hero.
Chris: Last year we witnessed a massive headline match between ‘The People’s Champ’ and ‘The Doctor of Thuganomics’ which had been built up to be the biggest match of the year but unfortunately the ending to the night was less of a bang and more of a fizz. This year The Rock & John Cena are at it again and this time the WWE Championship is on the line.
Expect the same formula as last year with back and fourths between the two; Rock’s hits meet with cheers and Cena bringing the Jeers. For the result I think we’ll see a predictable win from Cena, but whether the outcome is caused via underhanded moves or just sheer perseverance, we’ll see.
Pete: The predictability of Rock-Cena last year was so obvious I didn’t watch it. This year, however we might see a different angle and actually see Cena win the title. I can’t see Rock keeping the title for too much longer. We need a face who can represent the title on regular shows and this is the perfect opportunity.
World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio Vs Jack Swagger
Andrew: Where to start with this one? WWE has gone all-out with Swagger, bringing him back, giving him a new character, giving him a new mouthpiece in Zeb Coulter, and giving him the World Championship match at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, this just isn’t working. Swagger just doesn’t have what it takes to carry the role he has been put in, and Alberto Del Rio just is not clicking as the smiley, Mexican babyface hero. Don’t get me wrong, I expect the two to have a good match, but once it’s done, it won’t live in memory. I also expect Swagger’s arrest in February to be remembered in the weeks and months following WrestleMania, and him to find himself back in the midcard.
My call: Del Rio retains.
Chris: Oh Del Rio, you’ve been here before haven’t you? When Alberto faced Edge for the World Championship at Mania 27 a lot of people were surprised to see that a match of this magnitude would start the show instead of being built up to and even more of a shock was the length of the match.
I doubt this year is going to be much different, the length will be kept shot with a win to the face, starting off the night with all round happy vibes for the night.
Pete: I predict Swagger, just a guess as I have never been a fan of Del Rio and I’m liking Swagger’s new gimmick.
WWE Tag-Team Championship
Team Hell No Vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston
Andrew: Many – myself included – are dumbstruck how Ziggler has ended up here, considering the amount of times he has been close to breaking the main event scene since winning Money in the Bank last July. After rumours entering Mania as champion, he find himself in a midcard Tag-Team Championship match, titles that have increasingly been ignored and disrespected. There is only one logical outcome here; Team Hell No have long gone past their sell-by date, and Daniel Bryan needs to be elevated to the top of the card again. He is hugely over, he can work with anyone, and he can still easily be marketed as a credible former World champion. Also, it cannot be understated how much faith WWE have in Langston, for this is actually his-ring television debut, and there are not many men who get a prominent role on TV, but only actually have their first match on the grandest stage of them all. As far as winners go, as I said there is only one outcome here, and that is crowning Ziggler and Langston as new Tag-Team champions. And that Money in the Bank contract? I think there is money in Ziggler rushing to cash it in before it expires in July, and I can actually see him becoming World champion at the MITB PPV in July.
My call: New Tag-Team champions, and Ziggler’s rise to the main event properly starts here with Langston and AJ in tow. Daniel Bryan hopefully gets pushed back to the top of the cards, and Kane does what he always does; stays relevant whatever he is doing.
Chris: Both Ziggler and Bryan are some of the biggest performers in not just the WWE, but the Wrestling world today and seeing them lock up at Wrestlemania 29 should be a fast paced technical showcase. As for Langston and Kane? Expect some displays of power with the match being brought down to a slower more methodical level.
My result prediction will have to be down to complete guess work as the match could go either way, so I’m going to say that Team Hell No retain the titles after making Big E Langston look great and pinning Dolph Ziggler.
Pete: Team Hell No have my vote, the WWE fans have been entertained between the misfit matchup of #goatface and #maskface. I haven’t seen much of Langston so it will be something new to me
The Undertaker Vs CM Punk
Andrew: Bit controversial, this one. When speculation first started on this match being planned for WrestleMania, it was assumed that the story for it would be Punk demanding respect, and the only way he would get that would be to break the famed Streak. Then when Undertaker did return, Punk won a 4-way match to win the right to face Taker, no real mention of needing to win to earn respect. And then William ‘Paul Bearer’ Moody passed away, and since then the story has purely revolved around Bearer’s death, and Punk using it to play mind games. It reached a divisive crescendo this past Monday on Raw when Paul Heyman dressed up as Bearer, and Punk emptied the contents of the urn – purported to be Bearer’s ashes – over Undertaker. A lot of wrestling fans were up in arms at the apparent disrespect shown to Paul Bearer’s memory. Many other fans saw it as a old-school wrestling angle, designed to make fans want to see Undertaker get CM Punk at WrestleMania and pay to see it Either way, there will be a lot of focus on this match. With every year that passes, especially with the last few WrestleMania events with ‘Taker involving Shawn Michaels and Triple H, more and more pressure is on the wrestlers to deliver a match that will live up to the predecessors. However, CM Punk has a point to prove as many – himself also, I suspect – believe he should be main-eventing this show after his 434 day WWE Championship reign, and Undertaker always delivers on the big stage. I have no doubt this match will deliver, but let’s face it, the result is not in doubt.
My call: Come on, it’s WrestleMania, it’s the Streak. Undertaker wins. But Punk will push him, and will only look stronger in defeat.
Chris: In the previous few years The Undertaker’s matches have stolen the scene and become match of the year material for many wrestling fans including myself. With CM Punk following the biggest run of his life as the former Champ and from that comes potentially the biggest match of his career.
Taker Vs Punk has been seen before over the Big Gold Belt but this tile there’s something much more prestigious on the line… The Streak. Undertaker has a tendency to pull out all the stops and Punk is in his physical peek right now. I doubt there is any chance that Punk will be the chosen one to defeat Taker and Mania but whatever happens, it’s going to be an Awesome match.
Pete: I’ve always felt that if anyone should stop the streak it should be a complete newcomer, someone to pass the torch too. Someone with a similar persona embracing the ‘Darkside’ (insert Darth-vader pun here). Although Punk has had an incredible year or so retaining his title, I can’t see him beating Taker.
No Holds Barred – If Triple H loses he must retire
Triple H Vs Brock Lesnar
Andrew: With the possible exception of Rock-Cena and Taker-Punk, this is the most heavily-hyped match on the card, and one that myself and many others have more and more come to highly anticipate. When it was clear that this was the plan for Mania, there was a lot of indifference. It is a rematch from SummerSlam, and both men haven’t wrestled since then. However, since the match was confirmed, the promos and angles have been hugely effective. Paul Heyman is doing career-best work on the microphone, and they have created a legitimate sense of danger whenever Lesnar is around. For his part, Triple H has more than carried his end of the rivalry through his always-effective mic work, and their pull-apart angles have been excellent. This past Monday on Raw, Shawn Michaels was added to the equation with the announcement that he will be in HHH’s corner. Michaels always – without fail – delivers at Mania, whatever role he is in. And they have done a good job of creating doubt in fans’ minds that the ‘HHH must retire if he loses’ stipulation could actually see The Game have his final match this Sunday. Honestly, I am expecting this one to steal the show. Both men more than have what it takes for big-match occasions, and Michaels and Heyman in their respective corners will only add something to the spectacle.
My call: This is a tough one. Usually when a retirement stip added, it tends to telegraph the outcome, but on this occasion there is genuine doubt. I believe Triple H would like to have a retirement moment on the biggest stage, just like Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair in previous years, but at the same time, the story would dictate that HHH gets revenge for the SummerSlam loss. However, Lesnar has signed a new WWE deal, and he has a greater upside than Triple H does, especially with the office side of the company already taking up a prominent amount of Hunter’s time. I’m going to edge for Lesnar in this one, but I would not be suprised to see HHH get the victory either.
Chris: Yeah so everyone has already picked the outcome to this one, Triple H is trying to be the company man and a big win at Wrestlemania for Lesner would certainly get the crowd over.
In my mind picking a winner here is difficult, on one hand losing would mean an easy retirement for Hunter and Brock would surely be more the happier for it. But that’s too predictable and WWE have been trying to eliminate getting sussed by fans. We could very well see a win from HHH and a retirement coming of The Game’s own volition.
Pete: The in-ring chemistry between these two giants is fantastic, I can’t decide who I think would win, but I can see it ending with blood. Both being such stubborn and determined performers I can see the match being stopped with either a stalemate or someone being stretchered off to the nearest hospital.
Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show Vs The Shield
Andrew: The Shield have been a breath of fresh air since their debut at Survivor Series back in November. They have been consistently featured, always protected and used sparingly in the ring on TV. Roman Reigns has all the hallmarks of a WWE superstar, Seth Rollins has ability in spades when he is fully permitted to show it, and Dean Ambrose has verbal talents up there with the best of them, something already displayed. On the other side of the ring, it’s been a mixed year their opponents. Randy Orton has been in a holding pattern for over a year, and although he is always featured at or around the top of the card, his well-documented disciplinary issues are very likely the reason for his failure to re-enter the World Championship picture on Smackdown. Rumours have been swirling for months now about Orton wanting to turn heel, and you have to believe that time is coming very soon. Next to him, Sheamus has had a mixed year also. A year ago he won the World championship, holding it for most of the year. A lengthy feud with Alberto Del Rio failed to excite, before a surprisingly entertaining series of matches with Big Show resulted in Sheamus dropping the World Title. Like Orton, Sheamus is in a holding pattern, waiting for the usual post-Mania story refresh. It’s a similar story with Big Show, though it’s hard to see what is left for Show to do that hasn’t already been done before.
My call: I see no reason for Shield to lose this match. The story may dictate that the babyfaces come out on top, but Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose have the bigger upside, and just have to win. Besides, I believe that Orton heel turn happens here. After some sort of miscommunication, the ‘voices in his head’ will tell Orton to look out for himself, and I sense RKOs for Sheamus and/or Big Show. That gives us Orton vs Sheamus for after WrestleMania, with a heel Orton eventually going on to reclaim the World Title. If 2013 is Cena’s year of redemption over on Raw, I think the same applies for Orton on Smackdown. The Shield win here.
Chris: What a year it’s been for the Shield, they’ve had a massive debut, kept involvement to several high priority matches, picked up a ton of wins and done something that seems to be getting harder and harder to do in this modern day of sports entertainment… start a new faction and keep it interesting. After the run these three have been on I think a win on the grandest stage of them all is in order.
Winners will be the shield, tough I predict that it’ll be at the hands of foul play (via a heel turn from the Legend Killer himself).
Pete: Shield have certainly made an impression on the fans, bring the element of surprise and teaming almost anyone they can get their hands on. However, I can see this to be the beginning of a lengthy feud after Sheamus/Orton/Show bring home the win.
Chris Jericho Vs Fandango
Andrew: This one has divided a few people. When Jericho returned at the Royal Rumble, especially up against Dolph Ziggler, the man who caused Jericho to leave the company last year, many thought the seeds were being sown for a WrestleMania clash between the two. Then when that seemed to disappear, talk was that Jericho would face Ryback. When that possibility also vanished, people were wondering what exactly Jericho has come back to do. Facing Fandango was not it, that’s for sure, but that is where we are now. It is being reported that Vince McMahon is high on Fandango, and wants to make the character a success. He gets the special entrance, the fancy pyro display, he is getting the push. Therefore, it makes sense that a superstar on the level of Chris Jericho – someone with nothing to do – gets drafted in to face Vince’s project. A lot of people are not expecting much of this, but I am not one of them. Jericho always delivers, and while Johnny Curtis has never set the world alight in past performances, I have a feeling this one will surprise a lot of people.
My call: And talking of surprising a lot of people, I expect Jericho to do what Jericho does, and that is make someone look good and do his job. Literally, in this case. Yep, I expect Fandango to win this one, and get the big spotlight on the biggest show of the year.
Chris: I’ll keep this one short and sweet since I’ve missed out on the whole Fandango debut and don’t really know a lot about him (other than he uses a recycled Mr Kennedy gimmick).
Simply guessing Jericho for this one due to the fact that he lost last year and Y2J hasn’t really been racking up the big wins of late.
Pete: Difficult to chose between a performer who is new to the WWE and someone who I can’t remember the last match he won. I’ll have to go with Fandango, Jericho could be cannon fodder to increase Fandango’s popularity.
Ryback Vs Mark Henry
Andrew: I’m going to start this by stating that I am big fan of Mark Henry. He has an air of legitimate danger to him, similar in fact to Brock Lesnar. I think WWE should have done with Del Rio-Henry for the World Championship, as a matter of fact. Henry’s run as World champion in the past was very underrated. Conversely, I am not a fan of Ryback. Yes, he connects with the live crowds and is over, but he is limited. And I believe that goes for his career as well. There is only so much that can be done with him before he will start breeding resentment with the crowd. And there is one reason this match has been booked; so Ryback can lift Henry up, have a WrestleMania moment, and then get a large crowd to chant “Feed me more”.
My call: Ryback wins. I just hope he doesn’t have another Tensai moment and fails to lift Henry for the Shellshock. They better have been practicing.
Chris: This is going to be one slow match, though I’m interested to see if Ryback will struggle to lift Henry (bearing in mind he’s fumbled trying to carry Tensai in the past).
Winner for this match of the monsters will be Ryback, which will build up momentum nicely for a near-future Cena/Championship feud.
Pete: Ryback has stormed the WWE universe with his hungry for more attitude and minimalistic speeches. This should be a brilliant match seeing two of the strongest in the ring. Let’s hope the ring doesn’t break again. I can see Ryback winning this.
Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls Vs Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
Andrew: There isn’t much to say about this one. Damien Sandow is being wasted, as is Cody Rhodes. Get this show out of the way, then start pushing Sandow up the card, please.
My call: Funk wins. Funk dances.
Chris: A gimmick match for the kids, it happens every Mania and this seems to be just that type of match. As this’ll be the match I dub as the ‘toilet break’ moment, I’m not really too bothered on the outcome, but if I were to guess I’d say an early win for Tons of Funk followed by lots of dancing for the kids.
Pete: I can’t see this match lasting for long, if anything the majority of stage time the funks will be dancing. I’m going to guess the Funks win.
*So, for Andrew we have;
Ziggler & Langston
*For Chris, it will go down like this;
Team Hell No
*And finally, Pete’s view of things;
Team Hell No
Triple H-Lesnar = nobody wins
Orton, Sheamus & Show
So there you have it, that’s how we at the Palace see things going down. Agree? Disagree? Let us know via email or our usual social media outlets.
And feel free to join us watching live tonight, of course over at the Forums where the three of us will be live-blogging the proceedings.
Source: WWE Fan Nation, WWE