You may or may not know that I'm a big WWE wrestling fan. Although I have occasionally taken a break for a year or two, I keep coming back to the world of sports entertainment. My mom (who grew up watching regional pro wrestling as a kid and instilled a love of watching these over-the-top behemoths battle it out. Over the last year or so, I've really returned to my roots as a wrestling fan and since I've been following the WWE again seriously for a while, I thought I'd post my picks for tonight's Wrestlemania 29 spectacular!
Wade Barrett © vs. The Miz - Intercontinental Championship
Given how prestigious the Intercontinental Championship should be, I see no reason why this is a pre-show match. The WWE has really buried their secondary titles over the last year by having both the Intercontinental and United States Champions suffer clean losses in non-title matches. Having only one of the titles on the line at Wrestlemania and pushing it to pre-show only makes it worse. That being said, I feel like The Miz needs the win more as his recent face turn hasn't caught on with fans at all, but I'm putting my money behind Wade Barrett. He is probably my favorite WWE wrestler at the moment and I feel that a solid beatdown on the Miz here could turn the Intercontinental Championship situation around.
Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) and The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damian Sandow) and the Bella Twins (Nikki and Bree)
I thought Brodus Clay's gimmick was funny at first, but the joke has turned really sad now that Tensai has joined in. It's time to put this gimmick to rest and return these big men to being ring monsters for a while. That being said, I was really impressed by the Funkadactyls match against the Bella Twins on Raw this week (probably the best women's match since I started watching wrestling again), so I think this match could surprise a lot of people. As much as I'd like to see the villains take this one, it's Wrestlemania and a Team Funk match would be a feel-good moment for the fans.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
I'm really surprised that Mark Henry is still wrestling, truthfully. He's never gotten over with me, no matter how much of a badass they try to make him. Ryback on the other hand, has really started to win me over (though I do love the "Goldberg" chants every time he comes out). Ryback needs the win desperately if they want to keep him as a marquee player, so I expect that he'll get it here in a brutal, heavy-hitting, and slow moving match-up. Then we won't see Mark Henry again for a few months before his inevitable meaningless push upon his next return…again.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Fandango's gimmick is so incredibly stupid, but his execution since his debut has made him a surprisingly effective heel. This is his first real match, so he really needs a big win. Plus Jericho won't suffer by taking the loss from Fandango since both men are getting big reactions out of the crowd consistently. Hopefully Jericho will bounce back though, as I really feel he needs to be in the title hunt once again. So, Fandango wins in what will hopefully be an exciting match, but who knows since we haven't actually seen him wrestle yet. FAAAAAAN-DAAAN-GHOOOO!
Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) © vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (w/ AJ Lee)
Has any wrestler in the WWE been booked worse than Dolph Ziggler in the past year? Around Wrestlemania time last year, the crowd was really starting to turn in his favor, so I really thought his Money in the Bank win would lead to a face turn and a run at the title. Instead he has been a stepping stone and pointless add-on for much of the past year. He needs this win, but he deserves a world title win more and, at this point, I don't think he will ever get either. I think that the Team Hell No gimmick still has legs, so my bet is that they will barely win tonight thanks to a botched interference from AJ and within a few months they'll turn on each other. This is probably the last we'll see of Langston for a while before he is repackaged into a non-bodyguard role (just like every other bodyguard to a main event wrestler that has come before him).
The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose) vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show
The Shield are probably the most entertaining part of WWE TV right now and they have been on such a roll that it would be absolutely stupid for them to lose this match, especially against a ramshackle team like Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show. They've really built the faces to win here, so pulling the rug out from under them will give the Shield a HUGE boost. I don't think it’s a question of if The Shield will win; it’s a question of which one of the good guys will turn on his team after the loss. My guess? Orton.
Alberto del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) © vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) - World Championship
I don't think we'll see a clean win here. The heat between these two is too great for there to be a payoff in this match. Political gimmicks rarely seem to connect, but the seriousness of Swagger and Colter has played well against the humor of ADR and Rodriguez. I think they could draw this fued out for a few more months and I'd like to see them do it. That said, I say Alberto del Rio wins by disqualification and we get a few more months of this before Swagger takes the title from him (which I think is an inevitability at this point.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
Let's face it, there is no point in betting against the Undertaker. That streak is far too important for anyone to take it away from him. When you add the recent real-life passing of Paul Bearer, there is absolutely no way that Undertaker is going to lose. That being said, I would never have booked CM Punk in this match. Since Wrestlemania last year, he has been in a downward spiral that will be hard to dig out of. Given that he is, pound-for-pound, the best wrestler in the company and also the best mic-wielder, I hate to see him in this position. My hope is that this leads to a face turn for CM Punk after he loses to Undertaker, who finally gives Punk the respect he has been demanding since his heel turn.
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H (w/ Shawn Michaels)
There are two schools of thought on this--in the first, WWE has convinced Lesnar to stick around for a while and appear on TV more. In that case, he wins after beating Triple H to an absolute pulp. In the second, Lesnar is just here to pick up a quick paycheck and he loses to Triple H, who feigns an injury that keeps him out of the ring for the majority of the next year. I've been a huge fan of Brock Lesnar since his NCAA days and was his biggest fan during his WWE run, so I'm going to be hopeful that he wins here in an absolute bloodbath, which is followed by Stephanie and HBK helping Hunter to the back to a standing ovation as his career comes to an "end."
The Rock © vs. John Cena - WWE Championship
There is not a single match on the card that I could care less about than this match, which say something considering how hard I used to mark out for both Rock and Cena. The build-up to this match is literally the exact same thing we saw last year--the same promos, the same songs, the same "tweener" attitude from Cena. I don't get it. The Rock is just stale and, honestly, I hate the idea of a WWE Champ being a part time wrestler. Cena isn't much better at this point. We get it, you have heart. You also have lost all personality and you've wrestled exactly one entertaining match since I came back to watching the WWE (his freakin' amazing Raw match against CM Punk). Something big needs to happen here or this match will mean nothing. Here is how I would book it--Rock wins a back-and-forth match and Cena finally snaps, just brutally beating Rock down with chairshots. Ziggler cashes in the Money in the Bank and Cena lets him pin the lifeless Rock, then chairshots the new champ. It elevates Ziggler, keeps Rock's cred in tact, and Cena suddenly becomes THE mega-heel. That's not going to happen. Instead, it'll be some schmaltzy feel good crap that greatly disappoints me. So, Rock wins?