I have not written or made predictions concerning the WWE since last year’s Summerslam. I will always be a loyal fan but I feel as though wrestling over the last 8 months simply has not been captivating. Wrestlemania nonetheless is a show that sells prior to the card being announced which is an arrogance WWE appears to maintain. For this year’s Wrestlemania the buildup has been rather weak but I remain optimistic to see how great this show may end up being.
I am a fan of these multi-team Tag Team Championship matches although this year’s match is almost an exact copy of last year’s Tag Team Turmoil. Tyson Kidd replaces Jack Swagger and the New Day replaces Rybaxel. Last year’s kickoff match was actually very good and received a “This is Awesome.” I expect a similar reaction and a tremendous athletic exhibition by all eight men. Look for the tag champs to retain.
PREDICTION: CESARO & KIDD
I am happy for Paige that she gets her first Wrestlemania match and isn’t relegated to a meaningless battle royal or perverse gimmick match. Hopefully she comes out on the winning end.
PREDICTION: AJ & PAIGE
The battle royal this year serves the purpose of showcasing many of the talents that have no storylines or are rarely featured on weekly televised program. That being said, there is one story going into the match that has the interest of many fans. The impromptu tag team of the Miz and Damien Sandow (now Mizdow) took off and caught on with crowds worldwide. Much of the credit has to be given to Mizdow, but like any great character you need an antagonist and so credit is due to the Miz as well. It appears that the story has the logical flow that Miz has this match in the bag as the loyal Mizdow will lay down and help secure the victory. What will make for a great moment for fans and Mizdow is when he turns on the Miz and eliminates Miz to win the battle royal. Miz says he will fire Mizdow if that happens and so this adds more to the next night on RAW (which historically can be a hotter night than Mania). I think Mizdow should be rewarded for all his efforts and being a character fans have connected with over the last few months.
This ladder match is a prime example of knowing you have talent but having no idea how to properly showcase and book your talent in meaningful feuds and stories. It also demonstrates the continued devaluing of the Intercontinental championship. I believe anyone of these men could win this match but I am concerned at how each man will look coming out of this match.
WADE BARRETT: He has the villainous look and charisma to be despicable and yet even when he is a champion he is beaten week after week after week…after week. He could have easily been in the Authority faction and replaced Kane’s role. He may have lost all these weeks to get the big win at Wrestlemania.
LUKE HARPER: Why they broke up the Wyatt family I still don’t know. Harper and Rowan could have easily been booked as monsters and been in the role of Big Show and Kane. Just use these two monsters to beat your top babyfaces. Harper is a special talent and could go down in time as one of the top big men in wrestling history.
R-TRUTH: I think Truth’s best days are behind him. I think he is being rewarded for tenure and being a good employee. Good for him!
STARDUST: Cody Rhodes took an absurd gimmick and has made it work to date. I thought he would use it as a façade to eventually turn on his brother and although he turned on Goldust, he remains as this bizarre character. Cody is in a strange spot because I don’t think he can go much higher on the card yet he has achieved all he can at his spot. Extremely talented young man who can talk and wrestle would be a shame to see such a superstar go to waste.
DOLPH ZIGGLER: It appears that it is the same story every year for Dolph Ziggler. Fans continue to support him and there is always a brief moment when it looks like Ziggler is destined for stardom and then it evaporates. Ziggler’s victory at Survivor Series over the Authority made it seem as though he was finally moving up. I am a fan of Ziggler but I believe he too has reached as high as he will go in the WWE which is a total shame. Once again Dolph has no featured story or match and is thrown into a match because the company knows he will deliver every night.
DEAN AMBROSE: Dean Ambrose has “it”. He is a talent that is certainly above the level of someone like Cody but if he falls victim to being booked in matches like this he is in danger of joining Ziggler on the front line with no commitment to being elevated higher. I think Ambrose time is still ahead of him. I believe the height of his success will come as a heel. Once again, I hope the WWE knows what a tremendous talent Ambrose is.
DANIEL BRYAN: The WWE encourages their roster to go out and deliver and connect with the audience. The WWE also makes it a priority to reward individuals who adhere to this philosophy. WWE is about stories and often times their Superstars climb the ladder (no pun intended)to main event level as they grow in popularity. Bryan has done all this and their is no commitment to backing Daniel Bryan as a top, prioritized guy. It is quite sad that Daniel Bryan doesn’t even have a featured story even if he isn’t fighting for the World title. I think that as hard as Bryan has worked he deserved at least a meaningful feud/story. I think this match will deliver and certainly could steal the show. Bryan may win this match to placate his fans and give them a Daniel Bryan Wrestlemania moment.
PREDICTION: DANIEL BRYAN
I don’t mean to come across as an armchair booker, in fact, I do not feel it is even my place to use words common to the wrestling business as I am only a fan. One concern I have for the WWE creative team is that they over-complicate simple storylines. Orton and Rollins started off great. Rollins almost “ended the career” of Orton. Logical flow would dictate that Orton would want retribution and perhaps cost Rollins his prized Money in the Bank briefcase. Instead Orton came back and lured Rollins into an alliance? A very transparent plan that made Rollins looks foolish. Orton then beat down Rollins and got his retribution one would think. Regardless of the absurdity surrounding this feud, I foresee this being a very good match. Win or lose, Rollins is still in possession of his briefcase (as of this writing), will he be cashing in on the Grandest stage?
PREDICTION: RANDY ORTON
The Undertaker is my favourite all-time WWE wrestler. Bray Wyatt is currently my favourite WWE wrestler. Wrestlemania is my favourite WWE pay-per-view (or Network special). Yet with all these factors, I am just not excited for this match. With the Streak over there just isn’t that magic that usually surrounds Undertaker matches. I don’t want to see Taker lose his second straight match at Mania, however what does a Wyatt gain from losing. I like the bells and whistles, so to speak, surrounding the buildup between these two mystical characters but in my opinion Undertaker did not need to return for match since the Streak broke.
PREDICTION: THE UNDERTAKER
This is the match I am most looking forward to. Rusev is another one of my favourite wrestlers and characters on the roster. This match tells a great, classic USA vs. Russia story. I think Cena and Rusev do have great chemistry in the ring and will have a great Wrestlemania worthy matchup. Many believe Cena gets his retribution but I believe that that is such a predictable ending. Also, with Cena making Rusev tap and pass out I think fans have seen their desired visual and so there is no need to replicate this at Wrestlemania. Cena has nothing to gain by defeating Rusev whereas Rusev has a lot to gain by saying he has never lost to John Cena and his undefeated record against all American heroes remains intact.
Sting has finally arrived in the WWE! His debut was awesome for long-time fans but I don’t believe it has been made to be the great deal it is. Additionally, fans have long awaited to see Sting versus the Undertaker at Wrestlemania and so perhaps that has diminished some excitement. Nonetheless, all that surrounds this story does in fact make sense. Triple H is one of the few guys on the roster that will work well with Sting and they should have a great match. Triple H also has a history with battling former WCW legends and coming out the victor. Sting has much to prove and it is certainly believable that he wants Triple H on the WWE’s grandest stage to get retribution for his company’s legacy (for a moment think of only the good in WCW) which is often synonymous with Sting’s legacy.
Now for our Wrestlemania Main Event! Some key points that have been exhausted are that Lesnar has been dominant and behind the scenes his contract expires shortly after Wrestlemania. Another point made is that Reigns is being pushed too early and isn’t ready for the main event of Wrestlemania. My hope is that with all these factors that WWE doesn’t force feed the predictable ending where Reigns lives happily ever after as champion. I think Lesnar should win this match to continue his dominance. He has only squared off a few times this year and majority of his matches have been against John Cena. I think Lesnar’s dominance should include a few more names and Roman Reigns should be added to that list. Additionally, with fans refusing to get behind Reigns I think a loss could work in his favor. Hopefully Reigns and Lesnar have a match like Lesnar and Cena had at Extreme Rules 2012; just shoot fight style match. There are matches where the man who lost looks as good as the man who won. With Reigns losing, he now has purpose to seek retribution and a burning desire to be champion. It can be something that haunts and Reigns goes on a tear as he seeks to get a rematch. I think it gives Reigns some more time to continue to get better and adds more of opportunity for fans to emotionally connect with Roman. I’m interested to see how this one turns out and what’s next for both Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns moving forward.
PREDICTION: BROCK LESNAR