At least that’s what they’re trying to sell us.
In anticipation of this Sunday’s WrestleMania XXIX, I’m gonna go through the card and present the way that I would approach it. A few minor tweaks, but for the most part I’ll go straight off the card as presented.
“Interactive WrestleMania Pre-Show”: Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz
Remember when we cared about the Intercontinental Title? When it was a stepping stone to the WWE title, and meant your star was on the rise? It seems these days that holding a secondary title (or a briefcase for that matter) just simply makes you a glorified jobber to the stars. Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro (who after WWE’s last television offering before ‘Mania still does not have a match) have been run down by the likes of Ryback, Cena, Orton, Big Show, and the likes on RAW more times than we care to count. So in one corner we have a tarnished Champion, and in the other we have The Miz, who has been forced up on us as a babyface with epicly tragic results. You can tell my interest level here is high. Even with this being the “second most important match on the card” according to Mr. Mizanin. Either way I guess The Miz goes over here, outside of a battle royal appearance he’s undefeated at WrestleMania, and I suppose you could use that in a few years to get some cheap heat after The Undertaker retires. Plus, the idea of Miz being jobbed out for the next few weeks on RAW isn’t upsetting to me. Who knows, maybe dropping the strap will start a long-overdue push for Wade Barrett.
Winner: And new Intercontinental Champion, The Miz.
Here’s where I start to add a few tweaks of my own. With the pre-show being extended to an hour, you can only have so many cut-aways to Axxess, and with the HOF showing on Tuesday night, you’re not going to get much more than short clips there. So I give you…
Divas Title Match: Kaitlyn (c) vs. AJ Lee
A majority of people will still be trying to get settled for the show at this point, so no need to put anything terribly important in this slot. However, I think a tone can be set here for the evening. You could set this up in a pre-tape segment, or hell, it’s the Divas Title, you could just do the match cold. They do have history, and recent history at that, so it makes sense regardless. AJ Lee goes over, with help from Big E. Langston.
Winner and new Diva’s Champion: AJ Lee
And now we get to the big dance, the granddaddy of them all…. WrestleMania.
I think chances are we might get some sort of battle royal for an IC Title shot, or something of that nature here. Your typical “get everyone a payday” match. I would have hot shotted the slow burn they are building between Teddy Long and Booker T and placed a 10-man tag here. I wouldn’t even put a stipulation of “winner gets the Smackdown GM job” or anything, just straight up.
Team Teddy: Prime Time Players, Antonio Cesaro, David Otunga & Heath Slater vs. Kofi Kingston, Zach Ryder, Santino Morella, Khali, Evan Bourne
Nothing too intricate in this match, you should get a good pop from a returning Evan Bourne. Team Booker T goes over here, but you could still keep the storyline brewing. I’d give the returning Evan Bourne the pinfall, maybe over Antonio Cesaro to start a program there. Teddy Long gets even more frustrated by this loss, and the storyline continues that way. This is a big weekend for Booker T, and typically they like starting the show off with a babyface victory.
Winner: Team Booker
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
I’m probably looking forward to this match more than most. Ever since the “WWE Universe Poll” that the somewhat clueless writers had Randy Orton pegged to win, I think Chris Jericho has been on a mission. He’s torn the house down on RAW everytime they put him out there, especially in the match with CM Punk that night. Vince is obviously very high on this Fandango character, and I think Jericho will make him look like a million bucks. I’ve heard Fandango’s finisher is pretty impressive, so that will be fun to see as well. With Jericho heading off to tour with Fozzy I think this is a no-brainer.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
The shorter this match is the better, the house show circuit has hopefully proven that to them. Again, nothing complicated here, Ryback hasn’t won a PPV match going back to September I believe? A win here does more good for him than a loss does for Mark Henry. The Shellshock should also be an impressive visual.
Tag Team Championship Match: Team Hell No vs. Dolph Zigger & Big E. Langston
AJ comes out with the two sporting her newly won Diva’s Title. Team Hell No have been rumored to split for months now, and I think Daniel Bryan could have another solid singles run as a heel. A miscue leads to Daniel Bryan walking out on Kane, solidifying his heel turn and giving Ziggler and Langston the belts.
Winner and new Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston
Have you picked up on a couple of themes running through this show?
The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, & Big Show
This is an interesting match for a number of reasons. You have Rollins/Ambrose/Reigns getting their debut on the big stage (the grandest stage of them all some might say), a rumored Randy Orton heel turn, a full-fledged Big Show face turn, a potential team of Orton/Show, etc. etc. There’s such a canvas of things to do here that this is probably the hardest one to pin down. I would definitely put The Shield over in the match to keep them strong, after some dissension within the babyface team. Orton has needed a heel turn for quite some time, to refresh his character and maybe get him back to the level he was at before some of his “missteps”. Sheamus and Orton have been the two on the same page throughout this, so to the mainstream crowd it would be a surprise. I wouldn’t turn him full out, rather plant the seeds for a full turn later, possibly on Monday night. Sheamus takes the pin, with Orton playing a subtle role in the finish. Orton is unapologetic for his neglegence and blames Sheamus for the loss coming out of the match.
You’re probably saying to yourself right about now, “Hey, we’re almost two hours into this PPV, and no World Heavyweight Title Match? Isn’t that supposed to open the show?” Well ladies and gentlemen, I now give you…
World Heavyweight Title Match: Alberto del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
So many things have gone wrong with this program. The Alberto del Rio face turn has gone over like a fart in church. Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter came out with some fire, but creative’s hesitance to push the boundaries which they initially tiptoed towards have handcuffed the pair. It spawned possibly the worst pair of parody promos by the usually entertaining Ricardo Rodriguez and his counterpart del Rio. The broken ankle angle (say those two words ten times fast) with Ricardo helped pick up a little steam, but still a more than lackluster program that showed a ton of potential coming out of Elimination Chamber. In the end I fully believe that Jack Swagger’s punishment still looms for his indiscretions, which could play into the finish of this match. Alberto del Rio wins the match with help from Ricardo, with Swagger getting his comeuppance for the last few weeks.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto del Rio
A few of you probably see where this is going…
*insert record scratch sound effect here*
Queue Dolph Ziggler’s music and out comes….. Big E. Langston? Big E. comes down to the ring with AJ (still toting her newly won Diva’s Title). Langston enters the ring, quickly disposing of Ricardo, hitting del Rio with his finish, then holding him allowing AJ to hit him with the belt. Queue Dolph Ziggler’s music again, as…… Dolph Ziggler comes down to the ring. Handing in the briefcase, hitting the ZigZag for dramatic effect and pinning del Rio.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler
Triple H’s Career on the Line: Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
As I’m sure is the case with much of the internet wrestling community, Triple H frustrates me to no end. His character alone is confusing and needs to be redefined, one day he comes out and the text above his name read’s “WWE C.O.O.”, then he comes out in a leather jacket, and that’s strangely no longer there. The misuse of Brock Lesnar, coming off an epic stint in the UFC has been nearly criminal. His win over Trips was anything but convincing, and in his first match back he lost to Cena. I think this match can right a lot of those wrongs. With Brock Lesnar having resigned for another 2 years, I think that changes the playing field this match would have originally played on. Brock Lesnar wins through nefarious means, leaving Triple H a bloody mess. Stephanie comes down to the ring, helping Trips to the back, giving the visual of his “final exit” with a bloody Triple H raising his arms on the ramp, Stephanie helping him stand up straight.
I had trouble trying to place this next match. I think after effectively retiring one of the greats from the Attitude Era, a come down match seems appropriate. Also, with CM Punk being somewhat critical of his spot on the card, you can’t put him anywhere but second from the top.
Rhodes Scholars/Bella Twins vs. Brodus Clay/Tensai/Cameron/Naomi
Do we really care about this match? I didn’t think so…. let’s flip a coin. Also, on the WWE website Clay and Tensai are now being referred to as “Tons of Fun”? Maybe I just fast forward through most of their segments so I haven’t heard this on TV. Either way, Clay and Tensai get the win to give the crowd a little post-match dance break.
CM Punk vs. The Undertaker
The Streak. It has become it’s own WrestleMania entity. It has spawned epic battles with Shawn Michaels and Triple H in the last four years. The anticipation for this match-up was huge going in, even if the way they got there was less than stellar. The passing of Paul Bearer gave them some interesting chips to play, and to be honest, for the most part I enjoyed the way they were played. The first few weeks played out as a campy 90’s Undertaker feud, a la King Kong Bundy or Kama. Then they topped it all off with CM Punk at his heelish best. This match intrigues me because of all the downplaying that Punk has done in the last couple of days. Either way, I think they give Rock and Cena a hard match to follow, but in the end, the streak prevails.
Winner: The Undertaker
WWE Title Match: The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
The thing that just about every internet fan wants to see here, is the John Cena heel turn. He’s dropped hints for a couple of weeks now, which I think is purely to entice some on the fence potential buyers. If there were a solid #1 babyface to take his place, I would certainly pull the trigger here, but is there? Ryback? Sheamus? Alberto del Rio? The Mi…. yeah I can’t even finish typing that one. In my opinion, Ryback would be the heir apparent, but he needs a good six months of rehabbing to get there. I would continue dropping subtle hints at the turn, but in the end John Cena closes the show victorious after hitting the Attitude Adjustment.
Winner and new WWE Champion: John Cena
I believe with this card you have a lot of interesting things coming out of ‘Mania. Most importantly, you go into RAW with almost a coronation of Dolph Ziggler. In one night he captured the Tag Titles and the World Heavyweight Title, and to give it almost that Helmsley-McMahon feel, AJ has the Diva’s Title. With a lot of the legacy guys leaving after Mania this gives them a solid canvas to work with. You have Triple H’s retirement ceremony, which would make some sense why Ric Flair (in Ric Flair logic at least), with everything that’s happened recently with him, made the trip to New Jersey. Also, you have a shake-up of sorts with every title being defended on the show changing hands. Which I would most certainly use for Antonio Cesaro, being the only title holder to leave WrestleMania with his belt. Instant heel heat there.
Either way, leave your comments, let me know what you think. Be gentle though, this is my first blog post, and to be perfectly honest, a few adult beverages were consumed in the process. Tomorrow we’ll see that most of this didn’t take place and see what they came up with.
Happy White Trash Super Bowl Sunday everyone!!