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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Schrodt's Wrestlemania 30 Predictions!

As many of you know, in addition to being a huge comic book nerd, I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling my entire life.  Last year, I geeked it up by posting my predictions for the biggest pay-per-view of the year for WWE, Wrestlemania XXX, and it was well enough received that I thought I would do the same this year.  The upside to this year is that thanks to the WWE Network, I will be watching the show live and will be Tweeting my thoughts throughout the night.  So, if you don’t mind me nerding about something other than comics (and hockey and Saturday Night Live and food), check that out.  In the meantime, hit the jump for my thoughts on the biggest night for pro wrestling this year (seriously, there are 66 wrestlers on the card—how cool is that? The first Wrestlemania only had 18.).

This one is going to be pretty wild and really shouldn’t be relegated to the pre-show.  I think all of the wrestlers in this match deserve to be on the main show, even if this is the lowest profile match on the card.  You have 2 pure power wrestlers (Ryback, Cesaro), 4 high energy fliers (Usos and Matadores) and 2 underrated technicians (Axel and Swagger) all in one ring, which could lead to some incredible storytelling.  We’ll get great brawling, fun high spots, and some strong transition work.  While I feel like this card has too many multi-wrestler matches, I’m really excited by the potential for this match to bring the goods.  I’m hoping this will help Los Matadores get over, as I wish the crowd were behind them more, and I’d love to see this match have Curtis Axel turn face, as he is really drowning in the undercard right now.   I don’t see the Usos as transitional champions, so I’m sure they’ll get the win here.  The crowd is going to be crazy hot over Cesaro, so this would be a great time to finally turn him face, perhaps after some confusion between him and Swagger costs them the match.  The Usos keep the belts and hopefully get the crowd behind them more than they had Monday on Raw, but after Cesaro gives Swagger the Big Swing, we all win.

Winner Enters the Main Event
Remember when CM Punk was supposed to be in this match?  This match is certainly going to brutal, as it is the first part of the actual main event, with the winner going on to face Orton and Batista at the end of the night.  I suspect that Triple H will spend the majority of the match absolutely decimating Daniel Bryan.  After his attacked on the handcuffed Bryan a few weeks ago, the “violence ante” has already been set.  If Triple H were to beat Bryan, they will totally lose the crowd that they have been stringing along since Summerslam last year.  No matter what happens in the actual main event, Bryan has to win this match of the crowd is going to turn against every other match on the card.  So, even though Bryan has to win, HHH is going to make him pay for it in order to keep face for his character, which means that we’ll see a brutal beatdown that will make it appear that Bryan will have no chance of winning in the finale.  I fully expect the announcers to push the idea that Bryan won’t be medically cleared for the finale, making his big win all the more impressive.

ANDRE THE GIANT Memorial Battle Royal
It is really cool to me that WWE is going to use this match as a chance to put 30 superstars on the card that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to wrestle at Wrestlemania because they are fighting for a moment to shine on the midcard.  I really hope to see some breakout stars in this match because there are so many incredible wrestlers that simply do not get enough airtime.  That being said, I really see this match as Big Show and Sheamus against 28 other people that ultimately won’t matter much.  Given that the battle royal is in honor of Andre the Giant, they’ll give the win to one of the big men—most likely the biggest of the titans, the Big Show.  I’d much rather see it go to someone who is being vastly underused like Dolph Ziggler or to pull in a huge surprise by having NXT Champion Adrienne Neville show up and beat the “big leaguers,” but this is still Vince’s WWE.  At the very least, I hope that WWE uses some of the final spots for NXT wrestlers to promote the incredibly awesome NXT weekly show on WWE Network.  I mean, how awesome would it be to see Adam Rose’s entrance at Wrestlemania?

One of the things that has me most excited about having the WWE Network is that I will finally be able to watch the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony in full this year.  I’ve always felt that they dropped the ball with their truncated presentation in the past, so it will be very cool to watch the inductions this year.  This one is pretty special for me.  Ultimate Warrior, despite all of his lunacy and backstage antics, was easily my favorite wrestling growing up, so to see him be inducted is rather special—plus I cannot wait to see the sheer nonsense that will be his speech.  I was HUGELY obsessed with Lita from the moment of her WWE debut alongside Essa Rios when I was 17 and remained obsessed with her all through my college years.  I met her a few years back at Wizard World Chicago and was really pleased to see how nice she was.  Considering how she revolutionized the world of women’s wrestling , I think it’s awesome that she is being inducted this year. I’m rather indifferent to Carlos Colon, Paul Bearer, and Mr. T—they all have had a huge impact on the world of wrestling in their own ways, but I have no deep connection with any of them.  I’m most excited for Jake Roberts and Razor Ramon to be inducted this year.  They have both battled their own personal demons for years, so it is amazing to see them not only putting their lives back on track, but to get the recognition that they deserve.  I sincerely hope that Jake Roberts is allowed to be the final inductee of the night, as I feel that his story is so incredible and for pulling himself (with the help of some amazing people) from a living hell to where he is today makes him incredibly deserving of the marquee moment.

Divas Championship Invitational
While I’m excited that 30 midcard men will have a chance to shine in the battle royal, I’m not excited about this 14-diva match up.  The ability level of wrestlers in this match run the gamut from simply terrible (Eva Marie, Alicia Fox) to serviceable with the right opponent (Aksana, Layla, AJ) to seriously impressive (Tamina, Emma, Natalya).  That means we’ll get a very uneven matchup with too many cooks in the kitchen to tell a quality story.  The sad thing is that there are so many great female wrestlers under contract that there is no reason this isn’t a renaissance for women’s wrestling—unfortunately most of the great wrestlers are stuck in NXT (Paige, Bayley, the BFFs, etc) or stuck in dull storylines (Emma, Summer Rae), or being used only to sell the Total Divas TV show (Natalya).  But, since we have to suffer through this match knowing that it could be something better, I see Tamina finally snapping on AJ and winning the title.  Then I seriously want a Paige vs Tamina champion-vs-champion match at some point.  Those two would tear the house down if given a chance.

I am so incredibly excited for this match now that The Shield has made a surprising face turn.  Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose are busting their asses lately and putting on such an incredible show that I hope they hold off breaking the team up for at least a few more months.  The recent Shield vs Real Americans match on Raw was a perfect example what these guys are capable of—and how Seth Rollins is quickly becoming the real breakout star of the group.  With Kane, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn all performing at a level I would never expect given their age, I believe that this match could end up stealing the show.  Unless they pull a stupid swerve where a Shield turncoat costs his team the match, I think they’ll take down the veterans in a really impressive showing.

The WWE audience remains in a 50/50 split over John Cena.  Half the fans absolutely love him, while the rest are really tired of him but greatly admire his enthusiasm and dedication to Make-a-Wish.  You can put in the latter camp, though I will say that the insecurities and fear shown by Cena in the buildup to this match have kept me interested in the character for the first time in many, many moons.  Of course, it helps that The Wyatt is, in my opinion, the most exciting thing that WWE has going for it. This match is going to be used to propel Bray Wyatt into the main event scene, leading to what I hope will be a very lengthy feud with Daniel Bryan.  Cena will definitely bring his A-game in this match and is going to put Wyatt over huge.  Wyatt follows the buzzards to a big ol’ win.

There really isn’t any reason to question whether or not the Undertaker will win this match.  The Streak will never be broken—Undertaker is going to stay undefeated until he retires.  The big questions are: 1) will this be Taker’s last match? and 2) can these two put together something exciting?  Brock Lesnar has so much potential to put on an incredible match and has done some incredible things in the past, but neither he nor Lesnar have wrestled in a very long time.  Hopefully these two have spent the last several week’s workshopping the match, which is something Undertaker has done in the past with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, but if they haven’t, this could be a trainwreck.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I’ve been a huge fan of Lesnar since his NCAA days, but I won’t hold my breath.  As for the first question, do I think this is Undertaker’s last match?  Well, that all depends on whether or not WWE can actually sign Sting to a contract for Wrestlemania 31.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

I feel like this is the second easiest pick on the entire card—with only the Undertaker’s win being more obvious.  If Daniel Bryan doesn’t win the title at Wrestlemania, the crowd will literally riot.  His connection with the crowd was so unexpected and came so naturally that the creative team has no choice but to put the belt on him, even if they want to take it away the next night.  To be totally honest, even though I consider Bryan to be my favorite wrestler on the current roster, I never thought that he would be the top star in the WWE (especially back in college when I was ordering Ring of Honor VHS tapes off the internet).  The crowd is definitely not going to handle a Randy Orton or Batista win here, so I think the WWE is going to send them home happy.  The Yes! Moment will have its crowning moment at Wrestlemania.


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