WrestleMania 29 will take place on April 7th, 2013 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and WWE fans are already speculating as to who will be competing for the WWE Championship.
Will The Rock be in the title picture? Will CM Punk still hold the WWE's top prize? Will Ryback still be on a roll next spring?
There's no point in trying to predict outcomes. There are still too many variables, including injuries and unforeseen storyline changes to make full predictions. Here's what I think will happen in the main event at WM 29, along with my predicted matchups for all of the WWE title belts.
Since most of the WWE Divas who can actually wrestle (such as Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim and Kharma) are no longer with the company, the creative team may as well turn this into a beauty contest.
Eve probably won't hold on to the belt all the way to WrestleMania, but she'll likely be in the title picture when WWE's signature event takes place. Her feud with Kaitlyn will most likely be over by then, and Layla makes a logical choice as an opponent.
An ideal opponent would be Natalya, but the WWE doesn't seem interested in pushing Nattie at the moment.
WWE has shown a renewed interest in the tag team division lately, and that's a good thing. Daniel Bryan and Kane (Team Hell No) currently hold the tag belts, but it's only a matter of time before the dysfunctional duo drops the straps and breaks up to pursue singles careers.
This opens the door for Team Rhodes Scholars to take the titles. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are one of the most intriguing tag teams of the past five years. Placing this pairing at the top of the tag division opens the door for a number of interesting rivalries.
Mysterio and Sin Cara have both seemed somewhat invigorated by their recent pairing. The two high-flyers are the top babyface team (aside from Team Hell No) in the WWE right now. The contrast in styles between the two luchadores and the members of Rhodes Scholars makes for compelling action.
Other teams like The Prime Time Players, 3MB and the Uso Brothers could also be in the mix. Keep an eye on the team of Primo and Epico. Their manager, Rosa Mendes, seems to be drawing the interest of Alberto Del Rio. If the relationship between Rosa and 'Berto continues, it could boost visibility for Primo and Epico.
By the time WrestleMania rolls around, the WWE Universe will have finally been introduced to Fandango, who oddly enough was Fandangoo up until a couple of days ago—I guess the lawsuit never came. Johnny Curtis, winner of NXT season four, has been repackaged as a ballroom dancer. Vignettes have aired for the character, and a debut has to be right around the corner.
Since WWE likes to push their "new" additions, and since the company hasn't been placing as much prestige on the Intercontinental Belt in the last few years, this seems like a good place for Curtis to break in.
Kofi Kingston holds the belt now, but it will likely change hands several times prior to WrestleMania. As a four-time Intercontinental Champion, Kingston seems as likely as anyone to be holding the belt when WM 29 comes along. Also, Kofi would be able to get a good match out of Curtis. If Fandango is written in as a babyface, the belt will likely be on someone other than Kingston.
It might be too early for Fandango to be in the IC title hunt, but it was either this or a dance-off with Brodus Clay.
Antonio Cesaro seems poised for a big push as we come to the end of 2012. It's not likely that he will make it all the way to main event status by the time WrestleMania rolls around, so it's a good bet that Cesaro will still hold the United States title at WM time.
Cesaro, currently in a mini-feud with R-Truth, has the feel of a long-time champion. He's decent to above-average on the mic, and his mat skills are very strong. Currently, Cesaro is being booked as a heel, but that could change between now and April.
Even if it doesn't, Wade Barrett would make an excellent opponent for Cesaro. Though WWE doesn't generally do heel-vs.-heel feuds at WrestleMania, a match between these two would have the potential to steal the show. If the bookers don't want a heel-vs.-heel match, they'll have to turn Cesaro, as Barrett is simply too much of a heel to make the switch.
The combination of Cesaro's mat skills and Barrett's persona could make this a show stopper on the undercard.
By the time WrestleMania 29 rolls around, the creative team should have finally done the right thing and given Ziggler the World Heavyweight belt.
It's a logical move, given that Ziggler has the Money in the Bank briefcase and can challenge the current champion at any time. The Show Off can also work the mic and can carry any opponent to a strong match. It's time to break Dolph away from Vickie Guerrero and put the belt on him.
The Miz, who is in the middle of a babyface turn, would be a natural opponent for Ziggler. The two had a somewhat heated verbal exchange on the last episode of Main Event, so the seeds have been planted. WWE should have Miz win the Royal Rumble match and choose Ziggler as his opponent.
While common logic usually dictates that the Rumble winner challenges for the WWE Championship, Miz would be able to say that he'd rather go after Ziggler because the World Heavyweight belt is the only one he hasn't held before.
While Miz and Ziggler could deliver a great WM match, it doesn't really matter who the opponent is, as long as Dolph has the belt by the time they reach East Rutherford.
When WrestleMania 29 takes place in April, it's a safe bet that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be involved in the WWE Championship picture in some way. The only real questions are which opponent (or opponents) The Great One will face in New Jersey and whether Rocky will be wearing the belt or chasing it at the time.
The WWE's fiscal calendar is centered on WrestleMania, and pay-per-view buys are the lifeblood of the company's spreadsheet. There is no better way to guarantee a record number of buys than to put The Rock in the main event as the company's top dog.
The safest best is that Rock will win the belt from CM Punk at the Royal Rumble. Since the next PPV is Elimination Chamber, where the title doesn't have to be defended, Rock could hold the belt from late January all the way up to WM 29. Punk could defeat a number of challengers at Elimination Chamber (likely guys like Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Ryback, and possibly Randy Orton or Alberto Del Rio), thus setting up the rematch.
This match would appeal to the general audience, most of whom know Johnson from his movie career, and the hardcore WWE fans. Even the hardcore fans like The Rock, and CM Punk is legendary for his following among the more knowledgeable fans. Since Punk would have dropped the belt to Rock, it would be logical for him to regain the title at WrestleMania, probably through some foul play, and send Johnson back to Hollywood until Vince calls back again.