I’m going to be honest with you. I haven’t looked forward to a WrestleMania this much in quite a few years.
The build up to WM27 had me feeling like a fool for even bothering to watch it. I didn’t particularly enjoy the show itself, either. WM26 was much better, but not fantastic (with the exception of HBK vs Undertaker). WM25 was a one-match card for me (HBK vs Undertaker again). WM24 was an entertaining show and I guess that was the last time I was really excited for the whole event.
At last year’s WrestleMania, WWE relied completely on two things – the legacy of WrestleMania as a show, and The Rock. You remember, during the build up, every Superstar on Raw and Smackdown spent FAR too much time pointing at the WrestleMania sign and spent too LITTLE time actually doing anything to make me look forward to it. I said at the time that WWE were TELLING the fans to be excited, and telling them that they SHOULD be excited, but not actually MAKING them excited. That’s how I felt, anyway. The shameless pandering to The Rock during the first half of 2011 nearly made me physically sick. His return was great. I will say that. That show where he came back and said that he was never leaving again. He and John Cena did provide some nice moments on Raw, but that’s all they were – nice moments. Looking back, there were some decent promos, but the shows leading up to WM27 were, on the whole, laborious. His involvement in WrestleMania 27 was just frustrating; his intro to the show was annoying, and the main event was totally forgettable. It’s the first WrestleMania in years that I actually refuse to buy the DVD for. There isn’t anything on the show that I want to see ever again.
Anyway, enough complaining about last year. That was then, this is now. I’ve been totally happy with this year’s build up, although I’m disappointed that the speculated MitB match won’t be happening. We’ve had much less of the complete drivel we were force-fed last year. Onto the preview...
CM Punk (c) vs Chris Jericho
While it seems almost sacrilege to some that the WWE Title Match would be the opening match at a WrestleMania, it seems as though it may actually happen this year. I could see Team Teddy vs Team Long opening if I thought Team Teddy were going to win, but I don’t. I think CM Punk wins this one. It should be a great match between two very accomplished wrestlers. I was quite disappointed with Jericho’s WM26 bout against Edge, but I think this one will be good. The promos by Punk and Jericho building up the match have been terrific. Jericho’s return was a total bore for me until the night he came out and attacked CM Punk on Raw, making his WrestleMania intentions known. That’s not because I didn’t ‘get’ what Y2J was doing when he came back, because I did - I just didn’t enjoy it. His Royal Rumble finale against eventual winner Sheamus was enjoyable.
I expect a great match between these two with Punk eventually winning via tap out.
Winner and still WWE Champion: CM Punk, via submission.
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
Cody Rhodes (c) vs The Big Show
All signs seem to be pointing toward a Big Show victory, here. I’m sorry, everyone. From Cody coming out and embarrassing Show every week with his hilarious musical clips of Big Show’s past WrestleMania outings, to the IC Champ battering the big man with his boxing gloves while Show was handcuffed to the ropes, Cody has had Big Show’s number the whole time. While a Big Show IC title reign could quite possible open up a paradox that could destroy us all, we could be on the verge of that. However, the more sensible side of me says I MUST use common sense here and say that Cody will retain the IC Championship... But probably via a DQ finish. Big Show then KOs Cody for being such a darn nuisance.
Winner: Cody Rhodes, via DQ.
12 Man Tag Match. Winning GM takes control of Raw & Smackdown:
Team Teddy vs Team Johnny
I thought about delaying this column altogether to wait until the final participants in this 12 man tag match are announced. Then I thought there was no point. From the word go, I’ve only believed in one possible outcome for this match. Teddy Long has been GM of Smackdown for way too long. His dancing is funny, and the occasional TOTAL botch with his lines is hilarious. But, the time has come for Teddy to say ‘bye bye’ as the Smackdown GM. I’ll be honest; I thought John Laurinaitis was horrible at first. But ever since the day he wished John Morrison the best in his future endeavours on Raw, I’ve liked him. Team Johnny all the way.
Winner: Team Johnny.
Divas Tag Match:
Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres
Jesus wept. I had no idea who Maria Menounos was, until something kicked off on Twitter between her and the Glamazon. I still don’t really know what she does. There’s been very little build to this match, and that’s fair enough, I think. I don’t know why we didn’t have a Diva’s Title match. It would have been nice to see something different with the Divas this year. Why not have triple threat match? Fatal four way? Involve Tamina and Natalya and you’ve got yourself a barn burner. Maybe not. I hope Menounos doesn’t pin Beth Phoenix in this one. But that’s exactly what I think is going to happen. WWE could be doing so much more with the Divas division. There are those who can actually wrestle. They just don't get chance.
Winners: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos.
Randy Orton vs Kane
OK, so Kane loses the feud with John Cena after inexplicably starting it because he wants John Cena to ‘Embrace the Hate’ so that John will be ready for The Rock. Kane then comes out on Raw and beats up a few people who are trying to have a tag team match. Then he comes out on Smackdown and goes after Randy Orton. What’s the point? I like Kane. I like Randy Orton. I’m glad Kane has (apparently) moved to Smackdown because it means I’ll get to see him when I attend the show in Sheffield on April 18th. There’s just no reason for this feud. Maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s just two guys wanting to see who should be called ‘the fifth best in the world’. I don’t know. It seems funny that Kane couldn’t beat the number 1 guy (Cena) so he went after the guy he (presumably) sees as the number 2 – Randy Orton. I can’t see this match being particularly good.
They could have really spent some time playing up the animalistic instincts of these two warriors, but they haven’t given it enough time. I understand that injuries to Orton and Wade Barrett may have played a part in this strange scenario. Orton wins.
Winner: Randy Orton.
WWE World Championship:
Daniel Bryan (c) vs Sheamus
I’m not going to grumble about the lack of TV time these two are having together. I think its fine that it’s simply going to be a champion defending his title against a challenger. There’s been enough bravado and bombastic activity in the build up to all the other big matches on the card. Fair play, Sheamus hasn’t really had much to do since he won the Rumble in January. This has the potential to be a really good match. Both guys can go. It’s not going to steal the show, but it should be good. I see Bryan taking the chicken-shit heel approach in the beginning, but then holding his own in the ring as the match wears on. Until he eats a Brogue Kick.
Winner and new World Champion: Sheamus.
Hell in a Cell match:
Triple H vs The Undertaker
Well, well, well. I didn’t enjoy last year’s match. I’ve said enough about it in my previous columns. If you haven’t read them, I will just say this - one big move after another with increasingly long gaps of inactivity in between each move does not equal an ‘epic match’ or a ‘great story’. I didn’t enjoy the build up last year, either, until the one show when Shawn Michaels got involved.
I was dreading the announcement that these two would face each other again, but once they really got going with it, I was excited to see it. Why? Two reasons. The build up has been 100% better than it was last year. The other reason - Hell in a Cell. I know that the HIAC matches have really been poor over the last few years. But in this ‘End of an Era’ match, I’m sure we’re going to see something really special. I’m hoping we get an old-school style HIAC brawl.
I’m sure we won’t see Undertaker or HHH flying off the top of the Cell, but it’s going to be good. Shawn Michaels as the referee will pose some interesting questions throughout the match. There should be a lot of drama here. I’m guessing HBK will give Undertaker some Sweet Chin Music, and just as HHH thinks he’s got it in the bag, Michaels will hit the Superkick on The Game, as well. They both slowly get up and ‘Taker hits the Tombstone for the win. Something like that.
Winner: The Undertaker.
The Rock vs John Cena
Here it comes. One of the biggest WrestleMania matches of all time. The reason Vince McMahon predicts that WrestleMania 28 will break records. The Rock and John Cena have had 1 whole year to promote this. Cena has made appearances on other shows while continually doing his day-job at WWE. The Rock has sporadically appeared on WWE TV while doing his movies and TV appearances. In all of his chat show appearances, he’s promoted WrestleMania 28. He’s been doing it for a full year. Like a modern day Pied Piper, The Rock has done his best to lead all of the people to the big dance on April 1st.
I don’t know what’s going to happen after WrestleMania with regards to The Rock. There’s talk of him competing at Summerslam and at WrestleMania 29. I don’t know. That’s all come along quite recently. At first, I thought Cena was a lock to win this match. Now I’m not so sure. If this is going to turn into a trilogy, then there’s no harm in The Rock winning this match. It’s tough to call, but I’m still going with Cena.
I don’t think we’re going to see a Cena heel turn. I don’t think WWE have any interest in doing it. No real need for it, either. I don’t know why people even talk about it anymore. Yet, here I am..
I’m sure we’ll see some really spectacular pre-match build for this one. More so than in any other match in history. Probably one promo video for each guy. Bombastic entrances. Big fight feel. It’s going to be massive.
I just don’t know how the match is going to end. And that’s a good thing.
Winner: John Cena. By the skin of his ball sack.
So, that’s how I see WrestleMania 28. I can’t say enough how much better I feel about it this year than I did last year. I was happy to see the back of the boring build up to WrestleMania 27 and the lacklustre, uneventful show. This year is completely different. I applaud WWE for that.
One more Raw, and one more Smackdown. This time next week, it’ll all be over.
As always, feedback on my columns is appreciated. Go and visit my website www.captainkatana.co.uk and look at it for a while. I'd appreciate that, too. Tell your friends.
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