Just days away now from WrestleMania, and things look set for WWE to have one of their most successful Manias in history. With several good matches on paper, this is also the first Mania in years that I’m looking forward to watching on TV.
The grand-daddy of them all, as it used to be called before it produced such offspring as Breaking Point and Bragging Rights, should easily live up to it’s brand name… and here are some of my picks.
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk will likely open the show, with the stipulation being if Rey loses, he joins Punk’s Straight Edge Society. It’s become clear that this is just the start of a long-term feud, as opposed to the original plan of a mask vs. hair match between these two at Mania. A Rey win would make no sense in the storyline, so i’m going with a cheap Punk win.
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase could have been so much better built up. With all the teasing of the Legacy split as far back as last November (in preparation for the release of The Marine 2), the way they actually did build this up was a huge anticlimax. No big blow-up between the group, just less and less trust before an informal dissolution. Not sure what an Orton win would do, nor what anything but an Orton win would achieve. My prediction: beer run or the fast forward button!
Another beer run will be the multiple women’s tag match that will likely go on second from the top to bring the crowd down. For the record, that match is reported as: Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Mickie James vs. Alicia Fox, Vickie Guerrero, Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool. It won’t run long, that’s for sure!
Triple H vs. Sheamus is another throwaway match in my eyes. Hunter has gone a few Manias without a win, so this should be a gimme. However, do they want to sacrifice a guy that they nearly made a star in order to placate the ego of a guy who’ll be on the shelf again with quad surgery shortly after the show? My pick is written on my face… Too many lies? Sheamus wins.
A year after their creation was dumped to the pre-show, the Unified tag titles get their first Mania airing, as The Miz and The Big Show defend against the makeshift combo of John Morrison and R-Truth. Well, it gets more guys on the card without putting them in a ladder match, but nobody takes the challengers seriously. Thing is, there isn’t much the champs can do either without established teams to defend against. ShowMiz retains in my eyes.
Possibly the last WrestleMania Money In The Bank ladder match will take place in Phoenix, with a record ten men involved this year. Chances are the winner will cash it in at Mania, ahead of a standalone MITB PPV later this year… and yes, it could be a cluster. It will be a spectacle – that much is guaranteed. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston is your match, and from that pack there are 2 people who seem to have a chance: Drew McIntyre and Christian. But hey, they swerved us with Punk 2 years ago… I’ll still take the obvious choice and take Drew to win the match and add a World title to his Intercontinental strap by the end of Sunday.
The top four matches all draw interest in some form. Starting with the title matches, Chris Jericho vs. Edge should be good, however they may need a lot to draw the fans in as this feud really peaked a few weeks ago. On paper this will be enjoyable, but I smell a really brief Edge title run – and this match won’t be closing the show!
Batista vs. John Cena won’t be pretty, but at least Dave’s promos will be interesting. Depending on the finishes of the Michaels/Taker and Bret/Vince matches, I can see this closing the show as the Phoenix crowd do a Seattle and stream out of the stadium early. Cena wins to send the remaining fans home happy.
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon is providing a lot of interest for fans who were around in 1997, and also for people who have only heard about Montreal second hand. This won’t be a technical masterpiece, but the threat that Vince made to Bret about being screwed again is kind of worrying. The feel good result would be a Hitman win… So I’ll go with that, along with the expected Sharpshooter finish. WWE would be foolish to try anything else.
And finally: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker. Will Shawn make it 17-1, or will Undertaker end HBK’s career… Or at least, put it on ice while both men take lengthy time off after WrestleMania. The no DQ, no count-out rules will mean that we probably won’t get a 5-star match like last year, but both performers will give it their all. Part of me is scared that both guys, but especially Shawn, will try something dumb as a last hurrah, but there is one thing for sure – two of the best pros in this business will give us something to talk about for years to come. My pick though? There’s no point breaking the streak and giving that bragging right to Shawn, so it has to be 18-0 and a HBK retirement festival on Raw the next night.
So, there’s my picks. Your thoughts?