John Cena and The Rock will finally meet in the main event of WrestleMania after a full year of buildup following last year's show. The match highlights the strongest WWE pay-per-view card in a long time, giving the company a chance to win over some new fans.
Other battles of interest include the Undertaker putting his 19-0 WrestleMania record on the line against Triple H for a second straight year. There's a twist this time, however, as Shawn Michaels will serve as the special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match.
Also, CM Punk will put the WWE title on the line against Chris Jericho, another former star making his return to the marquee event. And in the annual celebrity match, Maria Menounos joins Kelly Kelly for a Divas tag team match against Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.
All told, Vince McMahon did a tremendous job of getting back so many big names to set up a memorable event. Living up to the hype won't be easy, but McMahon has never been on to back down from a challenge.
Where: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
When: Sunday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-per-view (local cable providers)
Live Streaming: WWE.com has PPV for $54.95
The Rock vs. John Cena
Triple H vs. The Undertaker with special guest referee Shawn Michaels (Hell in a Cell match)
CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho (WWE Championship match)
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship match)
Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Big Show (Intercontinental Championship match)
Team Teddy Long vs. Team John Laurinaitis (12-man tag team match for control of both brands)
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos
Main Event Preview and Prediction
Despite having an entire year to consider what the result will be when John Cena and The Rock finally face off, it's still the most difficult match to predict in recent memory. That's what makes the WrestleMania main event so intriguing.
Usually, wrestling fans enter most matches with a pretty good idea of what's going to happen based on storyline progression. But not here. Cases could be made for both guys to emerge victorious, and equally legitimate counterarguments basically cancel them out.
Ultimately, I think Cena will come out on top. Part of me wants The Rock to win, followed by an immediate heel turn by Cenation's leader, but I don't have enough confidence in the company to take a risk like that.
Just like last year, Rocky won't be hanging around for long after WrestleMania. He has movies to promote and more to shoot, so beyond a major change to Cena's character, there isn't enough reason to let the People's Champion defeat one of WWE's biggest stars.
Look for an extended match in which Cena shows off more versatility than he has in the last three years combined. Even though there's been a lot of talk about possible interference, I think it will be a clean match.
In the end, Cena picks up the victory, followed by a handshake and crazy cheering as Rocky walks to the back.
Prediction: John Cena
What They’re Saying
Chris Jericho isn't letting CM Punk forget about their upcoming title match:
Zack Ryder finally had his question answered on SmackDown when he was added to Team Teddy:
RYDERMANIA?— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) March 20, 2012
Undercard Match to Watch: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
It was a tough choice between the WWE Championship match and Undertaker's streak defense, but I went with Punk and Jericho since it's tough to imagine Taker's record receiving its first blemish.
Jericho has played his heel character to perfection since returning to the WWE. From the early silent treatment to the recent personal attacks about Punk's family, the storyline has developed as well as the creative team could have hoped.
I expect Y2J to become the new champion simply because he wouldn't have come back unless McMahon had major plans for him. He's proven he deserves another title run, and a loss wouldn't hurt Punk too much after an extended reign.
Prediction: Chris Jericho
Which Star Will WWE Bury? Big Show
There aren't many burial options considering how strong the card is, which makes a veteran like Big Show the most likely candidate. A loss to Cody Rhodes in the Intercontinental Championship match will be another step down after a stint in the main event scene.
The Big Show is a much better heel character than a face because of his size. The gentle giant angle doesn't generally go over well with fans, who would rather see the monster do some damage. Perhaps another loss will cause him to undergo another transition.
Aside from that, it's tough to imagine anybody on the card being made out to look too bad. Just being a part of WrestleMania is an accomplishment by itself.
Star Unaccounted For: The Miz
The Miz has been running around in recent weeks trying to get a spot on Team Johnny, but he hasn't been able to secure one. So the question becomes, how will he wiggle his way onto the card? Or is it possible he'll be left out altogether?
I don't think the WWE would leave last year's main event winner out to dry, so I suspect he's going to have some type of involvement. Hopefully it's not through interference in the Rock vs. Cena match, which has been speculated about throughout the Internet wrestling community.
One plausible idea would be getting into the tag team match as a part of Team Teddy. This would leave the door open for a face turn, or he could end up screwing over his teammates in an attempt to prove his loyalty to Laurinaitis.