Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Unofficial Guide to Wrestlemania 28

Once in a Lifetime
John Cena vs. The Rock
The match billed as “Once in a Lifetime” (we’ll see about that) started at last years Wrestlemania.  The Rock made his return to the WWE after 7 years to announce that he would be the host of Wrestlemania 27.  That wasn’t his only intention considering he ended up calling out the face of the company John Cena too.  The Rock cost Cena a chance to walk out as champion, so the next night they agreed that they would face eachother at Wrestlemania 28.  Fast-forward a year later, after a Survivor Series showcase, where they would be on the same team, and several wars of words, they are ready to go.  Two faces of their own generations and two of the most charismatic names in history will clash on the stage only Wrestlemania can hold.
It’s safe to say that the spotlight is on these two.  WWE put a lot of effort in promoting this match, and rightfully so.  The buildup had some juvenile moments, but that’s fine.  There was a point where all that can be said has been said, and the people want to see this.  As far as the match is concerned, these two will deliver.  Both of these guys are great at playing to a crowd.  In Cena’s case, he’s remarkable when it comes to hostile crowds (MITB 2011, ECW ONS 2006).  The crowd should be red hot, and highly likely to be on the side of their hometown boy, The Rock. I expect a highly entertaining match to close out the night.  As for the outcome, it’s really hard to say.  Neither guy needs to go over, obviously.  Cena is the guy who’s still with the company, but it’s The Rock’s hometown.  I’m going to go with The Rock winning, since he’s never had a chance to stand tall at the end of Wrestlemania as the winner. The main point, however, is to just sit back and enjoy this.  Both guys will still be stars after the match, so there is no need to get upset over the outcome.  We only get one chance to see a match for the first time without knowing the outcome, so let that sink in when it’s going on.

End of an Era
The Undertaker vs. Triple H w/ Special Referee Shawn Michaels
Hell in a Cell
This is a rematch of last year’s Wrestlemania, and The Undertaker was able to maintain his legendary streak.  It wasn’t Triple H that got carted off after the match, but The Undertaker.  A year later, we haven’t seen or heard from The Undertaker, and Triple H has moved away from the ring and into the office to become the WWE COO.  Undertaker finally made his return and made the challenge for the rematch, but Triple H declined.  Triple H explained that for one, he felt pity for The Undertaker.  He knew that even though he won, he didn’t look like a winner.  He wanted another chance to prove to the world that his streak isn’t a fluke.  Secondly, being a businessman, Triple H sees The Undertaker as an asset.  He doesn’t want to be responsible for taking out one of his company’s most valuable assets, like he nearly did a year ago. 
Enter Shawn Michaels, who urged Triple H to accept the challenge, only to also get declined.  Finally, The Undertaker got to the ego of Triple H and claimed that despite last year’s result, HBK was the better wrestler.  Triple H accepted, but under the condition that it’s settled in a Hell in a Cell.  Michaels, having close ties to both men, declared himself the referee.  He went on the say that only he knows how the match will end, raising questions if he will manipulate the outcome.  Will he help out his good friend Triple H? Or will his ego get the best of him and cost Triple H a chance to achieve what he never could?  Regardless of what happens, this will be the end of an era.
I was skeptical about a rematch, since I felt the two HBK matches were better than last year’s match.  I had trouble seeing how they could top themselves after a brutal, yet somewhat slow match.  For the record, I did think last year’s match was excellent.  The addition of the HIAC and HBK as the referee, adds a very intriguing element to the match, and my interest returned.  I expect these guys to get brutal and old school.  Many think that they will break the PG code and even have some blood in the match, which I admit would be cool, even though I’m not a fan of blading being used a crutch.  There will be many teased finishes as well as teases of weather or not HBK will be impartial or biased.  In the end, I see HBK not having an effect on the end and Undertaker going 20-0.  There is too much talk of him not hanging up the boots, and some potential that can be tapped for him for future Wrestlemanias still.  Triple H is at the end of his career too, and it’s not very logical to have someone who is no longer a full time wrestler getting over by ending the streak.  But then again, maybe that’s what the WWE wants all of us to think.

WWE Championship
CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho made his return in January, but none of his intentions were revealed.  Eventually, he made it clear that his crosshairs were targeted on WWE Champion, CM Punk.  Jericho failed to win the Royal Rumble, but was able to get his shot after winning a battle royal on Raw.  Jericho was sick of the “wannabes” he was seeing after he left, and to him the biggest wannabe of them all was CM Punk.  Jericho was the self proclaimed “best in the world at everything he does” and was disgusted when Punk called himself the best wrestler in the world.  Punk didn’t back down and was ready to settle that dispute at Wrestlemania.  Jericho began to play mind games with Punk, after bringing up personal family issues that Punk didn’t want to be made light of.  Jericho claimed after he embarrasses Punk and takes his title at Wrestlemania, the straight edge superstar would have no choice but to drown his sorrow in alcohol.  Will Jericho able to rattle the mind of the renegade champion, or did he give an extra incentive to Punk that he didn’t need?
This is the match the internet fans will be paying to see, but make no bones about it, it should be damn good.  It’s a very good chance that this can steal the show, and even be a “five star” quality match.  I personally and very excited for this, maybe more than any match.  I thought the build up took an odd turn, but I’ve certainly seen worse (see Orton/Triple H).  Both men are exceptional performers, and will be determined to be the guys to steal the show.  I’m not sure what Jericho plans are after Wrestlemania, but I see Punk winning regardless.  I could very well be wrong, but it’s been 2 years since Punk had a Wrestlemania win.  Chicago is the home of the next event, so you would think Punk would be in the title match.  But will be he champ or challenger?

World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (c)
When Daniel Bryan won the WHC, there was a noticeable change in his attitude.  He went form humble to arrogant, rubbing his peers the wrong way.  Sheamus had a similar reversal too during the last year, and became even more of a force than before.  Sheamus shocked the world when he won the 2012 Royal Rumble match, and he chose Daniel Bryan as his opponent.  Sheamus has never won the WHC and is looking to end the slump that the Royal Rumble winners have suffered recently. 
Not much of a build up compared to other matches on the card, but that’s fine.  It should be interesting to note that these two were scheduled to fight last year for the US title, but was bumped to the dark match before getting turned into a battle royal won by the Great Khali (that makes my head hurt).  It shows how hard these guys have worked in a year.  Given enough time, this can be a sleeper hit.  These are two names that will continue to rise in the ranks of the WWE.  I expect a fun match and some shenanigans, including from Bryan’s on screen girlfriend AJ.  It seems that Sheamus is primed to be one of marquee names of the company, so I’d be shocked if Bryan wins this.  Despite that, Bryan will see better days himself in the future. 

Control of the Brands
Team Johnny (Captain David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, and The Miz)
Team Teddy (Captain Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, The Great Khali, Zack Ryder, and Booker T)
John Laurinitis began to criticize the job of his rival General Manager of Smackdown, Teddy Long.  After an exchange of jabs over some weeks, their issues got worse when they had a dispute over the winner of a champion vs. champion match on Smackdown.  Johnny then campaigned about how he should be the GM of both shows and that didn’t go over well with Teddy. They decided to put it all on the line at Wrestlemania, but not between them, but between two six man teams that they assembled.  After weeks of building their teams, we will see what team will grant their respected representative full power.
For a second year in a row there is no Money in the Bank match, so this is your “put everyone that isn’t in a program onto one match” match.  I’m not sure how much time this will get but considering the amount of guys in it, I don’t expect anyone to have extended exposure in this match.  It’s a shame, because there is some good talent in this match but it’s certainly better than nothing.  Everyone will have a chance to get their spot in and probably hit their finisher.  There will be some comedy spots and shenanigans from the other factors in the match (GMs, mascots, etc.).  This match should be fun and lighthearted and a nice change of pace from the marquee matches.  Teddy Long has been around for several years and Johnny is a fresh face, so I am going with Team Johnny to get the victory.

Intercontinental Championship
Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Big Show
After these two cost each other a chance at getting a WWE Title shot, their attention went towards each other.  Cody started to make a mockery of Big Show’s less than stellar Wrestlemania resume, which didn’t go over with the big man.  After weeks of humiliation, the match was made and Cody’s title is on the line.
It’s good to see the IC title get a match at Wrestlemania.  That’s been a rarity for the past several years now on the big stage.  Cody is an up and comer, who continues to impress every week.  Big Show is a veteran, who may not be the most mobile, isn’t incapable of having good matches.  These two can have a good dynamic, but only time will tell.  I don’t expect it to be a classic, nor do I even expect it to be very long.  I really would like to see Cody to continue his reign, but the way this feud has been booked, it’s had to see Big Show not give this young punk what’s coming to him to the delight of the crowd.  I say Big Show wins by DQ so Cody can keep his title and an angry Big Show knocks out Cody.  I fully expect, no matter the result, Cody is going to get his ass knocked out.

Kane vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton made a return after a short absence due to injury, but was greeted by Kane who attacked him inexplicably.   Since these are two guys that would rather use their actions than words to send a message, they continued to assault each other over the weeks until they finally booked the match for Wrestlemania.  Randy found out the reason Kane was after him, was because a year ago, Kane shook Orton’s hand after a loss.  Seeing that as a sign of weakness, he wanted to make up for it with violence.  The Viper will be more than happy to return the favor in Miami. 
The build of this match seems weird, and that’s because it is weird.  It’s likely that due to a slew of big named injuries, this match was made last minute.  That would explain why there isn’t much substance to this build.  Orton is one of the top guys, but was in no man’s land going into Wrestlemania.  Kane seemed like a logical big name to pair him up with.  Orton might feel legit snubbed, by not being in one of the main events, so perhaps this will give him incentive going into his match.  There won’t be anything special about this match, its just filler.  I’m not trying to put it down, but that’s the truth.  I think we will have a slow start followed by a fun end with an RKO and a win for Mr. Orton.

Maria Menounos and Kelly Kelly vs. Eve and Beth Phoenix
Maria and Beth had something on Extra to make Beth mad.  Eve and Kelly also don’t see eye to eye after Eve showed her true colors. 
There really isn’t much to say about this match.  Maria is there for the celebrity involvement and it’s a chance to get some of the Divas on the card.  This is at best your cool down match.  There has even been reports that Maria is injured, so she will have limited acted, if any at all.  Watch just about any other Diva’s match and you know exactly what to expect.  For the hell of it, I’ll say the faces win.

Hall of Fame Class of 2012:
“The Rated R Superstar” Edge
The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and manager JJ Dillon)
Ron Simmons
Mil Mascaras
Celebrity induction, “Iron” Mike Tyson