WrestleMania 29 Preview

Poster by the great Luchas Acess

Poster by the great Luchas Acess

Tonight many people will order their only WWE show of the year — WrestleMania. And the WWE knows it, which is why they pull out all the stops.

No matter how dull a card might look, you know everybody involved with the show is going to give it their all, and more. It’s impossible to give more than 100%, but they will be trying. This is the World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals, and whatever the NBA Championship is called all rolled into one.

And of course I’m looking forward to it. It’s not just the huge main event matches (Cena/Rock, Hunter/Brock, Punk/Taker, Del Rio/Swagger), but the undercard which interests me more.

Before we get going, make sure you check out the podcast GG and I recorded, previewing WrestleMania 29.

Now lets get it on!

1. Pre-Show Match: Intercontinental Title on the line — Wade “Who is the Intercontinental Champion? Ohh, that’s right!” Barrett and Mike “The Miz” Mizaninininanin

An IC title match on the pre-show for free? Not so surprising considering the history of IC title matches at WrestleMania (in which there have been 19 on 28 shows). The match rarely gets more than 13 minutes, and the greatest IC title match in history is still Savage/Steamboat from WrestleMania 3.

Tonight, the man who deserves better — Wade Barrett — takes on the overly pushed and two years removed from the WrestleMania main event — The Miz.

As this is the pre-show (in lieu of the Battle Royale where other wrestlers get a payday?) these two are lucky as they will have the first match the thousands of attendance will see. If Miz is able to hit the figure four, he’s bound to get a great pop. Never thought I’d actually type that.

This is Miz’s match to lose, as GG and I both believe Barrett is due for bigger and better things. Barrett has upgraded his look and persona since he returned to the WWE last year, and unlike Miz, he’s getting over. He’s a huge mean guy who hits hard. Miz would be better off as a chicken-excrement (bam!) cheating heel similar to Ric Flair.

However, Barrett might be able to do what’s been tough — getting the IC title over. Remember when big stars held that belt and it meant a lot? Neither do I. Barrett could OWN the title instead of just being one of many holders.

Who should win?
Wade Barrett — He’s big and mean, and he could cement himself as a great IC champion

Who will win?
The Miz — Start the show off with a nice pop, especially if he wins with the figure four. It would be a nice tribute to Ric Flair. And really, Miz’s character is nowhere near being ready for another World Championship run.

2. Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

“Fan… dan…. go”. Whoever thought this guy had a chance of getting over, and without a match under his belt?

That being said, he’s wrestling Chris Jericho. Fandango should be doing backflips. He’s wrestling Mr. Junior WrestleMania (as Shawn Michaels is the senior Mr. WrestleMania), and Jericho is going to want to do the best he could in the time allotted.

Before GG and I recorded the podcast the other night, I thought a loss for Fandango would ruin him. His first match is at Mania and he’s going to have butterflies the size of Lord Tensai. Jericho is going to have to calm him down, slow down the pace, and try to have fun in there. If Jericho is to win, he’s going to make Fandango look like a million movie tickets you can buy online.

If this is the Mania opener, Jericho is the best man (and familiar face) to get the crowd going. With both men having great personalities in and out of the ring, this should be a fun match.

Who should win?
Jericho — He’s going to pop the crowd, yell “C’mon baby!” a few dozen times, miss the Lionsault, and make Fandango look like a free popcorn with purchase of your tenth movie ticket.

Who will win?
Jericho — Look up, junior.

3. Tag team match for the
WWE Tag Team Championship – Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (w/ AJ Lee)

Okay… I really thought Daniel Bryan and King would be having a grudge match at Mania after their tag team dissolved and they ended up hating each other. Now I think they’re going to be BFFs forever. Yes, best friends forever forever. I can see them having an amicable separation when one of them goes for a singles title, but I’d hate to see lazy writing coming up with one turning on the other because of a mistake. Yawn.

The wildcard in this match is AJ Lee. Is she going to factor in on the finish as she had a “relationship” with both Bryan and Kane? Will this NOT be Ziggler’s last match on the show? How’s Big E Langston going to look in his first match?

After a revival of the tag team division in 2012 I was highly disappointed that THIS was the tag team match for WrestleMania. I would have thought Team Rhode Scholars would have earned a match. But I digress.

Who should win?
Team Hell No. Lets keep the party going. Ziggler and Langston didn’t really earn a title shot. Plus they got the heat on Bryan and Kane at Raw, and assuming is fun.

Who will win?
I would have said Team Hell No before, but I’m going with Ziggy and Biggy. GG had a great comment on the podcast in which he talked about the two of them being in a stable of champions.

4. Ryback vs. Mark Henry

Now THIS is my kinda match, and the one I’m most looking forward to. Two huge strongmen hitting each other as hard as they can. This is what wrestling is all about. I don’t want to see any wrestling moves or holds, I just want to see bombs being thrown back and forth.

My main worry about this match is either man getting hurt.

Who should win?
Mark Henry. Give the man his due! He’s been awesome the last few years (especially during his run as champ in 2011) and he’s got more longevity than Ryback. You will never hear fans chanting “Goldberg” at Henry.

Who will win?
Ryback — He’s on a PPV losing streak, and if they want to keep him on as a main event player, he needs a big win.

5. Six-Man Tag Match — Sheamus, Randy Orton & Big Show vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)

The Shield has become a premier stable in the WWE even though most fans probably couldn’t name all three members. They rarely have singles matches (with actual endings) and have really only wrestled as a team. And they’re undefeated.

Enter Sheamus, Orton, and Big Show. They’re here to save the WWE from The Shield who is looking to save the WWE from mediocrity. So what’s the problem with The Shield?

Some people have been spouting off about The Shield needing a big name like Randy Orton on their side, but then what happens? Somebody like Orton becomes the leader and is now the Poochie (“Whenever Poochie is not on screen everybody should be asking ‘Where’s Poochie?’”) of the group.

I don’t see that happening. There’s been dissension between the good guys who “needed to learn to work as a team”. Inspiring theme music here followed by Duke saying “And knowing is half the battle!” before getting blown up at the beginning of the new movie. Too soon? (Don’t worry, you will save 90 minutes not seeing it)

Who should win?
Team Good Guys — But of course they fight amongst themselves near the end, then Orton hits everybody (Sheamus, Big Show, Ambrose, Rollins, Reigns, Roadlock, Cobra Commander) with the RKO before pinning one of the members of Shield.

Who will win?
I don’t really see it going any other way. But I’ve been wrong before, like when I decided to buy a ticket for the new GI Joe movie.

6. Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship
 — Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) (c) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter)

In a match between two men desperately trying to get over, the WWE is trying their hardest. Jack Swagger is getting heat on Del Rio almost every week, he’s getting the crowd to hate him, and… then we hit a roadblock with Alberto Del Rio.

ADR received a huge babyface push last year, but the fans weren’t buying it. Here was the Mexican aristocrat who sneered and looked down on the fans for years. He did despicable things in the ring, and… wait… am I describing ADR or CM Punk? Well, minus the Mexican aristocrat part.

The main difference between ADR and CM Punk is that Punk didn’t change his character immediately. He’s still straight edge, but he didn’t push it. And you can argue that ADR is still rich but not pushing it. Hey, he’s not even coming out in his fancy cars anymore, saving the WWE some cash (kayfabe!).

But the problem with Del Rio is how quickly his character changed. He started standing up for his mouthpiece Ricardo Rodriguez (bless you, Ricardo) when before he would shove him around. He started giving fans high fives where before he would take a swing at them. And he started doing the babyface comeback spots in the ring.

And I think that’s why the fans aren’t buying him. It’s like a facade he’s putting on. A farce. As soon as something turns sour for Del Rio, I see that grin slowly turning upside down and the scowl coming back.

And now we get to Jack Swagger. He’s had a great comeback, especially with the Michigan Militia card-carrying member Zeb Colter in his corner. Colter was a great mouthpiece, getting Swagger some much-needed heat. “We the people” has become a great catchphrase for Swagger.

And then he got stupid. Earlier this year he was pulled over and arrested for possession of marijuana and and DUI. Very smart. Many people thought that was the end of his title shot. He’d lose his match somehow and then would be punished.

But no, as far as we know the angle did not change at all. Where his character is now is where I expected him to be at WrestleMania.

So is it just a matter of time before he is punished? Will he lose his match tonight in 8 seconds? We’ll have to find out.

And then we have that Ziggler guy who is looking to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase. This would be the match for him to do so, and with ADR suffering injuries at the hands of Swagger last week, AND if he wins… Ziggler is going to paint a target on his back.

Although GG had a great idea on the podcast that would really get Del Rio over (and it involved him somehow defending the title against Ziggler), don’t expect it to happen. But a guy can dream.

Who should win?
Jack Swagger — Expect for his stupidity with getting pulled over his character has never been this hot. As long as he’s not going to be punished with a loss, he could be the next big heel champion on Smackdown.

Who will win?
Alberto Del Rio — If there’s any chance of saving his babyface character, this is the night. He’s going up against all the odds, especially with his injuries suffered at the hands of Swagger on Raw, AND it would give Dolph Ziggler a great chance to cash in his briefcase.

7. The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman)

Yeah, poor buildup for this one. But as the WWE would put it — who needs a buildup? This is Undertaker against CM Punk! This has it’s own built in storyline!

CM Punk is the man who claims to be the best in the world. He can beat anybody. He sees Taker as a broken down old man who beat other broken down old men in the past four Manias. Bear with me here, but that’s how Punk would see it, no? Lets take a look at Taker’s past six WrestleMania opponents:

WM 23 — Dave Batista — old, retired, and now making movies
WM 24 — Edge — now retired due to injuries
WM 25/26 — Shawn Michaels — old and now retired
WM 27/28 — Triple H — old and soon to be retired

Punk would claim to be much better than all four of those men. He’s younger. He’s not broken down. He’s not retired. He hasn’t lost his smile. He didn’t go see the new GI Joe movie.

Punk would be the man to tell Undertaker that he might not be able to get him in the GTS, but he CAN make him tap to the anaconda vice. Then Taker would come back with “You think you’re all that, Punk? You will tap to the Hell’s Gate, or Devil’s Triangle… whatever I ended up calling it… and you will rest… in… peace.”

Then the two declared they would have a submissions match, and I was ecstatic. This going to be AWESOME!

And of course that’s how WWE promoted this year’s match between Punk and Ta… wait… I’m being told that is not how they promoted the match.

Huh.

It turns out the match revolves around a magic urn filled with sand, Paul Bearer’s death, druids, and magic.

What the hell?

Okay, let’s back up and… no…. I’m at a loss to how they could have ruined the buildup to this match.

Sigh. So…

Who should win?
CM Punk, baby. And not just because I’m wearing his shirt. Taker got his 20-0 DVD out, and winning your first 20 matches at Wrestlemania is awesome. But Punk held the WWE title for 434 days. And if he could knock off Undertaker, he would be recognized for how much his character has grown over the years.

Who will win?
Undertaker, of course. It’s inevitable. Well, unless they pull a fast one… hee hee ha ha! Sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face.

8. No Holds Barred match; if Triple H loses, he must retire — 
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H (w/ Shawn Michaels)

HUN-TOR SMASH! HUN-TOR BEAT BROCK LIKE CENA! HUN-TOR BIG BIG MAN!

Oh, and since this is a match for Hunter’s career, there’s really no chance he’s losing. Poor Brock. The guy has been in three matches and will be 1-2, with losses against guys he would normally destroy.

This should be a huge match as Brock was a big draw in the UFC. He became the bane of MMA fans who would love to see him lose. Mainstream fans then got to know this huge, hulking man, and wrestling fans were happy to see him return to the WWE.

But Lesnar should be wrestling for the world title, shouldn’t he? Not just a rematch against Triple H after he defeated H cleanly at Summer Slam. Was that the plan all along?

I’m not sure if people are going to be happy to see the almost-retired Hunter against Lesnar, a man who looks like he could still go 30 minutes in the ring.

I’m tired of Triple H. Have been for awhile. But I respect the way he can put matches together that people would rave about. Well, except for his Mania match against Randy Orton. And this is going to be a fight. This is going to be bloody. Both men are going to have trouble walking afterwards.

And I’m going to enjoy it. Not going to enjoy the ending (unless they surprise me) but this is going to have the BIG MATCH feel. Michaels is going to be there to keep Heyman at bay and possibly distract Lesnar, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got involved in the match.

Who should win?
Brock Lesnar because BROCK SMASH.

Who will win?
HUN-TOR because HUN-TOR.

9. Eight–person mixed tag team match — Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Tensai) and The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) and The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella)

It saddens me to see Rhodes and Sandow in a throw-a-way match like this.

It’s going to be short, and it’ll probably be fun. And it’ll be a bathroom match.

Who should win?
The fans who get a chance to hit the restroom.

Who will win?
DANCE, BABY, DANCE

But to be serious, this match could be decent. Sandow and Rhodes have proved themselves to be Tag Team Champion material, but didn’t get a title shot. Their “parody” of Tons of Funk on Smackdown was one of the best things I have seen in a very long time, with Sandow imitating Clay as he came down to the ring, and the Bella Twins stuffing the back of their shorts. Awesome.

Who should win?
Team Rhodes Scholars — they’re going to get beat up afterwards so Funk of Tons can dance, but they deserve a win.

Who will win?
Tons of Funk — they’ll find a way to eke out a win and then dance, baby, dance.

10. Singles match for the WWE Championship — 
The Rock (c) vs. John Cena

Nobody was surprised these two were going to have a rematch. The only tough thing was going to be finding a way to get the WWE Championship on Rock.

John Cena keeps saying he had a bad year, but it could have been worse. He made the point that he lost his focus and got cocky at last year’s WrestleMania where he tried to hit Rock with the People’s Elbow.

He should have lost his focus for most of the year due to that. He should have second-guessed himself much more. Should he do this move, or this move? Should he have gone for the pin that time? That wasn’t apparent and he had to mention it himself for most fans to remember.

Cena should have been more of an underdog in this match. He should have gone through more adversity before getting this match. It should have been rougher for him. But it wasn’t.

Rock is a great media darling for the WWE, bringing the WWE Brahma Bull Championship with him on the road while he promotes his movies.

But where is Rock’s head? What does he want to do? His GI Joe movie was number one last week, and still number two this week. He’s got some other big movies coming out, and he’s become a household name, even more than he was during his hey-day in the late 90s.

So how much longer does he have with the WWE? Rumour has him at next year’s Mania, and I can see the WWE bringing him back as much as they can, or as long as Rock still feels he owes the wrestling industry.

And this match should be just as good as last year’s, possibly even better. There’s going to be a lot of heat against both men, and I don’t believe the crowd is going to be as forgiving as they were in Miami last year.

Who should win?
The Rock — If they want to make Cena’s character interesting, having him lose twice in a row at Mania will go a long way.

Who will win?
John Cena — complete the storyline the WWE is grooving towards, and give Rock a break, even though I see him getting a rematch at the next Pay Per View, “Extreme Rules”.


In conclusion, this will be another good WrestleMania. There’s enough quality / big name matches that will make this memorable.

Lets just hope they don’t give Diddy too much time. *shiver*

And on that note, enjoy the show!

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