It’s that time of year again! Along with the Superbowl, World Series and Stanley Cup Final, WrestleMania time is the best part of the year. I’m very happy with the way this card turned out, as reports coming from The Wrestling Observer, as well as speculation here at VoV.com were correct. WWE did a good job of planning out what was coming next in terms of storylines and feuds. Some people, in contrast, think that last year’s WrestleMania was a bit hurried, and it’s understandable. This year’s card is pretty solid from top to bottom, so hopefully it lives up to the hype. Personally, my overall favourites have probably been 17 and 21.
A friend of mine pointed out that while a lot of belts may change hands (or not change hands) at this year’s WrestleMania, there should be more at Extreme Rules, the new PPV in April. There could be a lot of rematches, especially for title changes on Sunday. Last year at Backlash, for example, Triple H dropped the belt to Randy Orton after defeating him at WM, while John Cena dropped his to Edge after Cena had beat him at WM. Also, the night after Extreme Rules is when the annual WWE Draft Lottery happens, which is also a special 3-hour edition of Raw, so that’s likely where most of these feuds will end.
Unified Tag Team Titles: (C) ShowMiz (Big Show & The Miz) vs. John Morrison & R-Truth
This is the rumoured opener to the show thus far. I’m not happy that Miz and Morrison are in tag matches again, a year after they were in the tag title match as a team. Their performances over the last year has spoken for itself, and there’s really no reason they can’t be in singles matches this year. There were rumours that Morrison would be walking away from WWE soon if he wasn’t given a major championship around WrestleMania, and early rumours had him winning Money in the Bank. Or, at least being in it. There is a MITB PPV later in the year, which Miz or Morrison could legitimately win. The Morrison/Truth team has only been together for about a month while Showmiz has been together for three months, so I’m giving the nod to ShowMiz since I believe that they’ll be together longer with more potential of staying together, whereas Morrison & R-Truth are likely to go back to singles soon. Also, Morrison is also rumoured to be turning heel very soon. I think he should stay face and get a bigger singles push before turning him heel again. Pick: Big Show & The Miz
Divas Tag Match: The “Good” Divas vs. The “Bad” Divas
Reports indicate that, while this match isn’t official, there will be something similar to this at Mania, likely to be announced tonight on Raw. The rumour is it’s some kind of 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 interbrand tag match between the face Divas and heel Divas. Assuming this match does happen, I’m picking the face Divas. Michelle McCool and Layla have gotten over the past while, and Beth seems to be getting a big push on SmackDown. Pick: “Good” Divas
Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
This group has done everything imaginable thus far: singles matches, Rhodes/DiBiase beat Orton in a handicap match, and now we get the triple threat. Orton has to win this. Especially if Orton is getting a babyface push, which it appears he is, then anything other than him winning is a bad move. I’m hoping that WWE doesn’t do the typical heel-group-disbanding where Legacy works together early on, then start to turn on each other as they try to score the pinfall, leading to Orton RKO’ing and winning. It’s been done before, and too many times at that. Unfortunately, that’s how it’ll probably go down. 15 minute match. Pick: Randy Orton
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
As of right now, there are 9 men in this match, with a 10th, Kofi Kingston, possibly being added. Regardless, this match is down to Christian and Drew McIntyre, with the other 7 there solely for spots. I’m expecting Evan Bourne to do a SSP off a 20-foot ladder, and Shelton to do something crazy (as usual), since Jeff Hardy can’t be included in any more WWE melts. I think the angle they did with McIntyre losing twice clean before beating a jobber was their way of making the outcome less obvious to those that may not know how WWE generally books things. Personally, I think Christian should win and I think he deserves it the most based on his performance as one of the five best workers in the company right now. Unfortunately, rather than giving Christian the legit run he never had before, they’re going to push the new guys like McIntyre and Sheamus to create new stars. Also, rumours floating around that the winner of the match will cash in later in the night. I doubt it, but you never know. Just thing, a year from now, the winner of this MITB will cash in one someone, lose, then the winner of the MITB PPV will cash in and win. That’d be pretty cool to see. Pick: Drew McIntyre
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
This has been a great feud to watch, it’s been built up really well with Punk choosing to go after Rey’s family in a verbal manner while Mysterio’s heart makes him want to tear Punk apart. The deal is if Rey loses the match he has to join the Straight Edge Society. It’s possible, but unlikely. Even if he were to win, Rey would win the rematch at Extreme Rules with a stipulation to get him out of SES. Rey apparently needs knee surgery again, so it’s unknown how much further after WM26 he’ll work before going under the knife. I’d love to see Punk win, but I just don’t think it’ll happen. 15 minutes, 4 stars. Pick: Rey Mysterio
Triple H vs. Sheamus
The contrast between these two is hysterical. The bronzed guy with the beard against the pale guy with the same beard, just a different colour. I thought the WWE Title would be a part of this feud, but I’m glad that it’s not. I had also picked Triple H to win the Royal Rumble and the Elimination Chamber match, and was wrong for both. So, 0/2? Let’s pick HHH again. There’s potential for either to win, but after HHH’s last promo, I’m giving him the nod. Expect a rematch at Extreme Rules: loser of the WM match wins the rematch. Pick: Triple H
No Holds Barred Match: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon
No way is Vince winning this match. Expect this to be an awful match from a wrestling standpoint, too. Vince is good for the occasional spot, but no way does he carry Bret on Sunday. And no way is Bret in any condition to do the same. He looks a lot better now than he did on January 4 when he had that beer gut, but with his stroke and lack of ring action over the past decade, it’s anyone’s guess where he’s at. WWE knew this, which is why they added the No Holds Barred stip. The high spots will be trash cans/lids, kendo sticks, etc. I don’t expect Bret to take any spills/big bumps/spots with his health. The match will end with Bret putting Vince in the Sharpshooter with Vince tapping out or maybe even passing out. Pick: Bret Hart
World Heavyweight Championship: (C) Chris Jericho vs. Edge
The only thing to make this match better would be to add Christian and make it a triple threat. While it sucks that they aren’t a tag team anymore, I’ve been waiting for this match since Edge’s Achilles surgery in the summer. They have done a really good job of keeping them away from in-ring action with each other in the build to the match. They’ve really tried to get Edge’s Spear finisher over by having the crowd chant it just as they wanted. I still like Edge better as a heel – not that he’s no good as a face, but his heel work is so good. Obviously, working against Jericho, arguably the top heel int he WWE, will turn anyone into a face. Based on their long history, I’m hoping for a very high-quality match – 20 minutes, 4 stars. As for the outcome, I thought for sure Edge was going to win. But with Extreme Rules, plus the only-one-major-title-switches-hands rule, I’m saying Jericho retains. He’s only had the belt for a month, and if he loses, it’ll be at Extreme Rules. That said, Edge winning wouldn’t surprise me all that much. Pick: Chris Jericho
WWE Championship: (C) Batista vs. John Cena
It’s either this or HBK/Taker closing, and I think it’s the latter. Heel Batista has been awesome – *way* better than face Batista. Usually, every John Cena feud is the same with the heel beating him up on occasion, leading to SuperCena defying all the odds and winning – in this feud, though, Batista has had the upper hand the whole time. Much better than the last few times we’ve seen them face each other. Like with Edge/Jericho, it feels like a fresh title match. The quality of the match is up in the air, as neither guy is all that good in the ring. I’ll be interested to see how they do. For the prediction, I’m going Cena. Like with other matches on the card, I see a rematch happening either way. Pick: John Cena
The Streak vs. The Career: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
This match has to go last – after last year’s bout, WWE, they probably realized it was impossible to top it, and finally corrected it this year. This is a no DQ, no countout match. In other words, it’s like the No Holds Barred match except not titled that. Stupid how that works. I wanted a best 2-of-3 falls. To be honest, anything other than that would’ve been a letdown. Picture last year’s match, the whole thing: now picture that 3 times in the same night. Amazing. Either that, or do an Ironman match. Last year’s match was a 30 minute classic that is regarded as one of the best matches ever – the best ever in my opinion, 5-star through and through. I’ve watched it a few times, and it never gets old. Now, both guys are turning 45 with more injuries – can they repeat their performance? I think so. I hope so, at least. By adding the no DQ/no countout stip, I think they’ll be able to add more tricks and stuff for some variety, not as though this match needs it or anything. Michaels will take some crazy bump through a table of some kind because he’s Mr. WrestleMania. It might not be as long a match as last year, but the quality hopefully won’t suffer too much. Put the best match on last and leave the fans feeling like they got their money’s worth.
Now, who wins? In my opinion, The Undertaker. I don’t think The Streak will ever end. It will continue forever. If it does end, it *needs* to end tonight. No other wrestler is worthy of breaking it outside of HBK. If HBK loses, he retires. Is he done forever? I don’t think so, but he’s done as a regular on Raw. Him GM’ing would be nice. I can see him working a few matches a year from this point forward. I do, however, hope I’m dead wrong.
I do have one theory that has HBK winning. The Raw after WrestleMania (last date HBK is booked for) he will come out and say he has now accomplished everything he’s wanted and retire. A friend of mine purchased the new HBK: My Journey DVD, and says that at the very end after they show the WM 25 match, Michael Cole asks Shawn what there is left to accomplish, and HBK says there isn’t much left. Could Vince be giving HBK this win as a ‘thank you’ rather than giving him one last title run? HBK can technically retire, then 6 months down the road, can come back and do occasional matches.
I hope he wins the hell out of this match. Him and Stone Cold are my two favourites of all time, and I want to see him wrestle into his Ric Flair-years. Retirement stips meaning nothing – right, Flair? I hope he wrestles again. Otherwise, it’s just another huge part of my WWE love that dies. Pick: The Undertaker
Here’s what I’m looking forward to the most:
6. MITB (if Christian wins, it goes up to 4th)
I’m hoping this WrestleMania is one of the best ever. This last match has the potential to top last year’s, but with the solid card in line, we can expect a dandy.
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