WrestleMania 29 features matches and superstars from every end of the professional wrestling spectrum. You have the part-time mega-stars (The Rock, Brock Lesnar, etc), and a bunch of guys making their in-ring WrestleMania debuts (The Shield, Fandango, Big E Langston, etc).
The fact that Wrestlemania 29 matches are being place outdoors in the swamps of New Jersey in April adds another intriguing factor to the mix -- the elements. Now all they need is Jim Ross to do commentary on the show, and WWE will be firing on all cylinders for Mania 29.
With all the excitement building up the the show this Sunday, it's time for the WrestleMania 29 match breakdowns and predictions.
Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay & Sweet Tea) & The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) & The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie)
This match is strange. The storyline seemed to be focused on Kaitlyn turning Cody Rhodes into a good guy, but the Divas champion ended up on the cutting room floor (for the match and show).
The Divas division spotlight has shifted to the Bella Twins, who may or may not be romantically linked with two top WWE superstars. This match was booked after a backstage segment on Smackdown, where the Bellas called Naomi and Cameron, "hoochie mommas". That's about as believable of a reason to get into a fight as you'll find on this year's card.
The male duos have a lot to gain with a win here, as I believe they'd be in line for a title shot. The tag titles are on the line later in the show, so you can imagine the outcome here will foreshadow the outcome of the championship bout.
Prediction: One of the Bella Twins gets the pin-fall on Cameron, after a "twin magic" switch-a-roo. Sandow and Rhodes will be cleverly distracting the giants at this time, and by that I mean, taking ridiculous bumps on the outside of the ring.
The Miz vs. Wade Barrett (C)Intercontinental Championship Match
I expected this to be a triple threat match with Chris Jericho, after the amazing show all three men put on during Raw a few weeks back. The Miz has fallen from WrestleMania 27 main event to WrestleMania 29 pre-show, and I think that says a lot about his ability to put on a good match. He's been working a lot of pre-shows lately, but at least he's on the card, unlike WWE's other resident pre-show combatant, Antonio Cesaro.
Wade Barrett has had a decent Intercontinental title run, to this point, but this Miz situation has been a setback. I'm glad to see a former WWE champion chasing the I.C. title, but I think in this case it's just hurting Miz's credibility to ever regain the top spot. Miz has already had a forgettable reign with this belt in the past year, so I'm hoping Coral from the Real World comes out for a swerve, or something.
Sadly, I'm expecting a run of the mill encounter, as Vince won't allow a pre-show match to go ham during Mania. They'll work about ten minutes, and the entire time commentary is going to be promoting "The Marine 3", which stars The Miz. Ted DiBase was the star of "The Marine 2", and look how that turned out.
Prediction: Wade Barrett clobbers The Miz with a Bullhammer. Instead of going for a pin, Barrett will then repeat, and knock Miz out of commission for a few months
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Instead of having Jericho carry Barrett and Miz, he's going to turn 'The Milkman' Johnny Curtis into a WrestleMania star. Fandango has yet to work a match on WWE television, so he'll be making his in-ring debut on the biggest stage of them all. A lot of guys would be in trouble in this predicament, but Jericho could get a stellar match out of mannequin, so Fandango is in good hands.
Y2J hasn't been about winning during his latest tours of duty, but some guys don't need victories to be over with the crowd. I imagine the crowd will be at attention for every single Jericho near-fall there is, as no one will want to believe he'll lost yet again at WrestleMania.
Fandango has show he can do a pretty sweet flying leg drop, but I'm looking forward to see what else is in his repertoire. I expect Fandango to get the most nuclear reaction of the night from the Jersey crowd. The only Superstar who will rival Fandango in boo's will be Super Cena.
Prediction: The ref takes a bump, Fandango whacks Jericho with a foreign object, and we see more tweets from Scott Hall about this "Jabronie" easing up on Y2J's neck with the leg drop.
Team Hell NO (Daniel Bryan & Kane) (C) v Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston w/A.J. LeeWWE Tag Team Championship Match
Perhaps a sleeper choice for match of the night. There's a ton of potential for the team of Ziggler/Langston, especially with AJ, the crazy lady manager. The only negative is the build being so repetitive. I can only watch Big E dismantle the same dudes with the same moves so many times.
Langston making his WWE debut here is almost as intense as Fandango doing the same, but Ziggler will be there to back up Big E. The chemistry between Dolph/AJ/Big E has been unquestionably good since they all began working together around TLC 2012, and I'm hoping it will translate positively in the ring.
Daniel Bryan will probably defend his tag titles a lot longer than he did his World Title at last year's Mania. Kane taking Big E's finish on Raw probably means Langston will take a Tombstone, or at least a chokeslam, to even it all out. The worst case scenario with this match would be Daniel Bryan chasing Dolph Ziggler around with nothing but kicks, and that's better than most match's best case scenarios.
Prediction: Team Hell No get the win, as Dolph Ziggler taps out to the YES! Lock. Big E won't take the title in his first WWE match, but he also won't be the guy getting pinned.
A month ago, it would have made sense to put Ryback against The Shield at Mania, but perhaps WWE is giving that feud a slow build until WrestleMania 30. Henry and Ryback are two sides of the same coin. Both guys make the opposition look like rag dolls on a weekly basis, which I cannot see happening in this match.
Ryback has had trouble lifting larger guys (see: Tensai), and Mark Henry is nearly as big as they come. I have no doubt in "The World's Strongest Man", and his Ryback lifting capabilities, but will he be able to draw something compelling out of his green opponent? These dudes tell the same story in the ring over and over, and I don't have the highest hopes of them succeeding so far outside their comfort zones.
Prediction: Ryback blows the Internet Wrestling Community's collective mind when he's able to lift Mark Henry for The Shell Shock. I expect this match to be the shortest on the card.
Randy Orton, Sheamus, & Big Show v The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins)
I believe in The Shield, I truly do. These guys have it all. Reigns has the look, Rollins is the worker, and Ambrose is the wild card. I can't imagine they will stay together forever, or that they'll continue in nearly exclusive 6-man tag bouts, but it may be too early in their history to give them a clean loss at WrestleMania.
The funniest part about the team of Sheamus/Orton/Big Show would have to be Randy Orton playing the logical team captain. The guy's gimmick is all about how insane he is, and how he hears voices in his head, but he's the peacemaker of the bunch. It may be time to stop calling RKO "The Viper" when he's been playing "Captain Pussycat" for so long.
This match will be high-octane, short and action packed. It's a shame there's no gimmick tacked onto the showdown, as it's always fun seeing The Shield work with weapons. I'd love to see them just hit Big Show with anything they could find, and Big Show just powering through it all, only to be thwarted in the end, but the WWE's fearsome threesome will have to rely on their deep talent pool this time out.
Prediction: Randy Orton hits the RKO on the legal Shield member, most likely Ambrose, but then turns around and hits an RKO on Sheamus. This will be Randy Orton's return to evil, and Seth Rollins will drape Ambrose's arm over Sheamus for the victory.
Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez (C) vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb ColterWorld Heavyweight Championship Match
I feel this match would be far less predictable if Jack Swagger wasn't busted smoking doobies about a month ago. Vince McMahon has gone out of his way for Jack Swagger, and his new beard, but that's all seemed to backfire. The "We the People" gimmick seems to have already lost steam, and it's only been going on for about eight weeks. It was rushed, and given to a guy who can't handle responsibility, and it could very well all end at WrestleMania 29.
Alberto Del Rio's Heavyweight Title run has been short, but sweet. The man is a wizard in the ring, and few WWE guys can tell a story with the depth of Del Rio's matches. He and Jack Swagger both feature submission finishers, so the dueling on the mat should be key component to their battle. The "All-American American" should be able to best the babyface in the ground game, so I imagine they'll use that to garner sympathy from the crowd.
In the end the most interesting characters involved are the managers, and I wouldn't be surprised to see both come into play during the final moments. I just hope we don't have to hear Ricardo Rodriguez's bloody murder screams again, as those pierced my being right down to the soul. I just hope Zeb Colter is ready to take a wild bump, as this may be his last chance considering he's tied to the sinking ship known as Swagger.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio forces Swagger to tap to a cross armbreaker. Swagger loses his mind, and goes Ken Shamrock on Del Rio. Dolph Ziggler comes out to pick up the pieces, and becomes the new Heavyweight Champion upon cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
One of the marquee matches on the card, but for some reason I just can't get hyped up for it. It may have something to do with the fact that I had the chance to see these two live at SummerSlam last year, or it may just be that HHH rematches at WrestleMania are fairly predictable. The way they built up a match with a fun stipulation, only to later reveal it's a plain old no DQ bout, was the ultimate "fart in the wind" booking of this WrestleMania. Whatever the case may be, I have a bad feeling about this one.
Brock Lesnar's return to the WWE about a year ago hasn't produced many memorable moments. His feud with John Cena was brutal, but the angle didn't last as long as I would have liked. This HHH/Lesnar business has been going on for the majority of Lesnar's return, and I just can't get into it. I'm just hoping that this isn't Brock's last feud on his new contract. I want the former UFC Champion to stick around, even if it is just to hear his intense entrance music.
HHH is coming out of retirement, but claims that if he loses this match he'll be going straight back into retirement. To show he is serious, he even cut his hair eerily similar to his opponent's. I can't really say for sure why HHH has brought himself back, but it may have something to do with the fact that he just NEEDS to hit someone with a sledgehammer every year, no matter what.
Prediction: HHH turns the tables on Lesnar, and breaks his arm for a Kimura Lock. We won't see Lesnar until the "Road to SummerSlam", and I just hope it isn't for another rendezvous with HHH.
The Rock (C) v John CenaWWE Championship Match
Once in a lifetime: Part two. There's very little about the in-ring chemistry between these two that excites me, but I expect a hot Giant Stadium crowd for this one. You have never heard "Cena sucks" chants like you're going to hear at the Meadowlands this Sunday. I also expect "Fruity Pebbles" chants to be out in full force. You're going to want the surround sound turned way up for Rock/Cena II.
Back-to-back rematches don't usually score highly in my book, but Cena/Rock has a lot of room to improve upon last year's outing. The part-time schedule certainly hasn't helped The Rock with his match composition, but I think John Cena is going to light a fire under The Rock, and by the end we'll all be enthralled with the outcome.
I know it's cool to hate John Cena when you're writing on The Internets, but I can't help but support the guy. The dude will wrestle 400+ times a year, always has the best crowds for his matches, and tries to be pure energy at all times. It's hard not to respect Super Cena, sometimes. That being said, I have never hoped for The Rock to win more than I will on April 7th, 2013. The hope for Rock is slight, but I'll be tuning in like my twelve year old self, and cheering for Rocky the whole way.
Prediction: John Cena overcomes the odds... again-again.
CM Punk's heel game is stronger than anyone in the wrestling business today. He's a master of finding ways to be vulgar, but also keeps it PG, at the same time. Just when I thought he couldn't be any more demented, he started crossing some very personal lines during this feud. Paul Bearer, the long-time manager of The Undertaker, passed away on March 5th of this year. CM Punk has seen fit to disrespect the man on Raw every week since. Is it in bad taste? A lot of people think so. Is that what a bad guy is supposed to be about? Absolutely.
Undertaker hasn't had to do a whole lot in this past month or so of being back with WWE. He comes out, excruciatingly slow, stands in the ring for a while, and let's Punk do all the mic work. Even when the disagreement became physical, Punk was on the winning side of that exchange. It's a lot like Edge/Taker, where Undertaker was the underdog throughout their entire title match at WrestleMania 24. Luckily, Undertaker is in the hands of "The Best in the World", so he can just sit back and relax until Sunday.
When it comes to Undertaker matches at WrestleMania, only one thing matters... will he win? After Punk has made a fool of Paul Bearer, his urn, and Undertaker in general, I doubt there's any chance CM Punk actually walks away from this match victorious, but if he did win the entire WWE Universe would soil themselves.