Every year for the entirety of Wrestlemania's existence, I have succumbed to the hype machine and transported myself to Markville.
The spectacle is hard to resist, and every year I find myself parting with hard earned dollars to buy the pay per view, load up on beer and bar food, and enjoy the one event that killed pro wrestling as we know it and turned it into "entertainment". Regardless of what you call it, Wrestlemania is the big company's attempt to put out their biggest and best of the year, so there's always a "what if" factor that keeps me coming back for more.
Listening to Tha O Show Radio Program in the last few weeks has been an interesting exercise in dichotomy. Even though your Bros of O are coming correct with a big party at a giant movie theatre, you would think they're going to skip it from all of the ho-hum-alaz chatting up the event (Frank "Grover" Fronte notwithstanding).
This is an attempt to speculate, prognosticate and offer both predictions and hope-pictions for this Sunday's big extravaganza. Let's talk about the undercard first and then work our way up.
The Corre vs. Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov & Santino Marella
This will very likely be the most forgettable match, and it will be used to further establish the strength and power of Ezekiel Jackson. Watch out for a spot like bodyslams from smallest to biggest or a good amount of power offense on Big Show from big Zeke. Yes, they've already done a lot of it on free TV, but remember that Wrestlemania is often seen by more casual fans who sometimes don't keep up with all of the TV product. Let's hope that they keep the Corre strong here; I predict they win decisively.
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
Say what you want about this match, but there are few characters in WWE that are more well-developed than Cody Rhodes and that are more over than Rey Mysterio. If they were smart, they would open the show with this match and these two will surprise the audience with a solid match. Rey always brings a great performance to the WM stage and has opened the show before (see WM21). Who would have thought that he would be the one from The Legacy that would be on the main card? Well, after a good run shadowing Randy Orton, he moved to Smackdown and reinvented himself twice within the same character. The slowed down "Smoke & MIrrors" theme song is brilliant; kudos to whoever put that together. Look for Cody to step up big time here; he will likely lose after getting his mask (a weird Bob Orton nod) removed, but I'm pulling for him to win. Let's hope he gets over and further ascends the card on Friday nights.
United States Champion, Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
This match has the chance to be the sleeper match on the card, and I say "sleeper" in acknowledgment that the build up of this match has not been ideal. These two have been selling the match on work alone, and the matches on Raw have done a lot to get Daniel Bryan over. As a fan of the wrestler formerly known as Bryan Danielson, I'm extremely pleased that -- pretty much on workrate alone -- he has made it to the big stage. Sheamus is also no slouch in the ring and despite going down a few pegs in the card, he has constantly put out good matches (including a really good one last year at WM26 against HHH). I think Sheamus squeaks this one out and they give them enough time to get Bryan's work over (kinda like they did with Sheamus last year).
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
This one has had a great buildup, linking 2 years of story lines, championship implications and a great emotional backdrop. No matter the year recently, Randy Orton always seems to have the most personally charged feuds leading into 'Mania. CM Punk has been the better promo man leading up to this match, which is good, because Orton is best when he says fewer words. Both men have offensive move sets that are based in quick strikes, so I predict that this match will have a good amount of false finishes (duh). The real unknown will be whether Nexus will be appearing and this will directly affect the way they book this. I say that there some kinda Nexus involvement in the finish and Punk picks up the W.
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
No doubt in my mind, this will be almost like the beating that Bret Hart put on Vince McMahon last year, only it won't be so shit-tastic. As mentioned on Tha O Show, the buildup has been very "Memphis" which makes me think that Lawler has been the brains behind the story. Michael Cole has been putting himself over (and over and over and…) every single week since NXT Season 1 was off and running. His heel tactics have been so douchey, that most of us want to kick his no-talent ass. This means he's done a good job, despite the fact that he really sucks. Because he (shoot) hurt Jim Ross' knee and ankle in that heat-building spot a few weeks ago, I hope they get Good Ol' JR to call this match, which would nicely complement the "match". Lawler wins strong, Stunners for everybody, lots of beer. The End.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler & Laycool
Here is your obligatory celebrity appearance to follow the pedigree of Mr. T, Lawrence Taylor, Floyd Mayweather, and other people with lighter pigmentations than Snooki. This is all about the mainstream pub, and if booked well, should be a salvageable affair as long as they use Morrison & Ziggler prominently. Michelle McCool's broken ankle is a better worker than Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi; reports are that she was 3 hours late for the bar vignette this past Monday and was a bit sauced up. If she doesn't blow over the legal limit by bell time, I'll be surprised. There's a possibility of a train wreck, wardrobe malfunctions and by extension, Voo Doo Drew getting a Pee Wee Herman pinch at Colossus…enjoy the crash, who gives a fuck who wins?
World Heavyweight Championship, Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
This will be a very good match with Del Rio working the old school style, wearing down the arm and Edge working the "Edge as a face" style with athletic moves, great counters and great crowd sympathy. Christian and Brodus Clay will cancel each other out, but with the Ricardo Rodriguez remainder in this equation, I see a new World Champion in the works. Both men will shine on the "Grandest Stage of Them All", but Del Rio will get the nod. During the last O Show Radio program, Dan-e-o couldn't remember when the last time was that the winner of the Royal Rumble didn't succeed at getting the title at Wrestlemania, but in fact it was last year, when Edge lost to Chris Jericho. Edge started his career with about 7 or 8 WM wins in a row, and this year, we'll see him lose again. It's funny that he hasn't picked up a win at "The Big One" since WM 22, but he's always put out consistently great performances.
HHH vs. Undertaker (and of course, The Streak)
I didn't have any problems with the Son In Law saying all that shit about "doing everything there is to do in this business" and "not having any other challenges to conquer". This program is all about the streak and the young lions who want to take it up with him afterwards for more programs are perfectly welcome. I am actually looking forward to this match and I think that (much like the last two amazing WM matches with Shawn Michaels) this will have limited agent meddling and enough time to do it well. Triple H will not win, and everyone seems to know that, but what is intriguing to me will be just how far they'll go with the two most politically powerful workers in the company. Despite the fact that this has been done before at Wrestlemania, Triple H was an entirely different character than he is 10 years later (or perhaps, it's a man who's focused on a different goal…something MORE than a title). Anyway, to say that this match is not appealing based on the fact that people almost unanimously know the outcome is to sell short all of the shit that keeps you watching "Entertainmentmania" in the first place. Again, enjoy the crash, who gives a fuck who wins?
WWE Championship, The Miz vs. John Cena
This will close the show (in my opinion) and it all hinges on the involvement of The Rock. Let's get the fact that this will be the end of Dwayne Johnson's short term involvement out of the way first. I have really enjoyed the way that they have used Twitter and The Miz's inferiority to build the match. I never thought that The Miz would be in the headlining match at anything, but I have to say that (despite his limitations) he has held his own in this program and played his role to a tee. Look, he and John Cena are the epitome of the new generation Heel and Face. Both are current with all of the shit going on in the world and savvy enough to use it to further the product. Cena wins. Rock Bottom. Big Pop. The End.