The new WWE '13 video game is focused largely on the Attitude Era, so it should come as no surprise that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is heavily featured. At the same time, current WWE Champion CM Punk is on the cover. It may not seem like much, but I believe a recent encounter between them to promote the game will lead to a match at WrestleMania XXIX.
WWE.com recently posted a video that features Jim Ross flanked by Austin and Punk on either side. The main topic of conversation is supposed to be WWE '13 and how current stars and Attitude Era stars can collide in the game, but it quickly became about much more than that.
Austin and Punk were complimentary of each other at some points, but when faced with an inquiry about who would come out on top in a real match, each man was supremely confident in themselves. The interview was conducted in a way that it was unclear whether Ross was talking about the game or real life at some points, and I believe it was designed to be that way.
While you could write this off as a promotional tactic and say that there is no way that they meet at WrestleMania XXIX at MetLife Stadium, I beg to differ. Most fans seem to think that a match between them will happen at some point, but WrestleMania XXIX is the popular choice.
That isn't outside the realm of possibility, but I highly doubt the WWE would be planting the seeds this far in advance. John Cena and The Rock announced their match a year ahead of time, but the prevailing thought was that doing so was overkill. This interview segment is the perfect way to suggest that a match is coming without totally giving it away.
The Rock was the primary focus of WWE '12, and production for that game started well before The Rock's return, so the WWE puts a lot of stock in its video game in relation to what happens in the actual product. The WWE isn't emphasizing the Attitude Era for no reason, so I have to believe that the face of that era and the face on the cover of the game are going to do battle sooner rather than later.
Right now, the ideal situation to set this up would be to have Punk retain up until the Royal Rumble, where he would face The Rock. Punk would defeat The Rock with help from Brock Lesnar, which would set up Rock vs. Brock at WrestleMania XXIX. That would only be the start of the fun at what could be the greatest Royal Rumble event of all-time.
Will the WWE '13 debate between Punk and Austin lead to a match at WrestleMania XXIX?
With 29 men having already entered the Rumble match, the clock for the 30th entrant will tick down, and as soon as the countdown ends, the glass will shatter. Having Austin enter at No. 30 would most likely lead to the biggest pop in the history of professional wrestling, and it wouldn't stop until long after Austin cleans house and wins the Rumble.
It may seem far-fetched right now, but the WWE has the opportunity to do something very special, and I feel like the company will take advantage of it. Austin, along with Hulk Hogan, is the most popular wrestler in the history of the business, and Punk is the perfect foil for him at this point.
Saving Punk vs. Austin for WrestleMania XXX would require the WWE to keep Punk heel for well over a year and I'm not sure that is going to happen. Punk is still the No. 2 guy in the company in terms of popularity behind Cena even as a heel, so it's a matter of time before he turns face again.
I don't care when we see this match as long as it happens, but the recent war of words between Punk and Austin leaves me fairly certain that WrestleMania XXIX will be the platform. Austin may not be 100 percent after having knee surgery a few months back; however, that may be a smokescreen more than anything.
Sometimes a game is just a game, but I truly believe that WWE '13 and the Punk vs. Austin debate that has come with it is meant to foreshadow WrestleMania XXIX. If that does indeed happen, then WrestleMania XXIX may very well be the greatest event in WWE history.