This Sunday in Orlando, Florida, Wrestlemania XXIV will bring some of the most anticipated matches of the year, with all 3 brands putting up their championships, the return of "Money in the Bank", and the best fighter in the world will take on the biggest athlete in the world. I will be giving my predictions as to how the biggest pay-per-view of the year goes down. Let's look at the line-up.
1. "Playboy Bunnymania" Lumberjack Match: Ashley/Maria vs. Beth Phoenix/Melina
Cover girls Ashley and Maria are going to have their hands full when they face the current and former Women's Champions. The Glamazon and the Paparazzi Princess have the in-ring skill advantage, but don't count out Massaro and Kanellis. With the conditions of this match, as well as the theme, I'd give this to the Playboy Bunnies. Winners: Ashley and Maria (by pinfall)
2. Belfast Brawl: Finlay vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
After doing Vince McMahon's dirty work and putting Hornswoggle out of action, JBL has earned the hatred of the fighting Irishman. And agreeing to a special stipulations match like a Belfast Brawl may be a disadvantage to JBL. don't forget, he is only 1-for-2 in Texas Bull Rope matches, and his "I Quit" rematch with John Cena at Judgment Day 2005 didn't go well for him. Stepping into Finlay's territory by facing him in a Belfast Brawl could prove the mortality of the self-proclaimed "wrestling god". Winner: Finlay
3. RAW/Smackdown/ECW 24-man Battle Royal Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes (World Tag Team Champs), Jesse & Festus, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, Snitsky, Brian Kendrick, Val Venis, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Mark Henry, Chuck Palumbo, Deuce & Domino, The Great Khali, Kane, Jamie Noble, Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, Elijah Burke, Matt Striker, The Miz, Tommy Dreamer, and Kofi Kingston
24 men will enter the ring, with the winner facing ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero later in the evening. After the 4-man preview on Smackdown, I would definitely give the edge to Mark Henry, and then count on him to defeat Guerrero, but not in a way that would give Henry the ECW belt. Winner: Mark Henry
4. Interpromotional Match: Batista (SD) vs. Umaga (RAW)
This match has been one of the hot topics of the past few weeks. The former World Heavyweight Champ takes on the Samoan Bulldozer, a former Intercontinental Champ. Both men are hoping to rebound from WM 23, as Batista lost his title to the Undertaker, and Umaga lost McMahon's hair to the Donald and then-ECW Champ Bobby Lashley. I would look for a fight similar to the Lashley/Umaga match from last year, but in less time. Winner: Batista (by pinfall)
5. Money in the Bank Ladder Match: John Morrison vs. CM Punk vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. MVP (US Champ) vs. Chris Jericho (Intercontinental Champ)
One of the highly anticipated matches of all, just because of the prize inside. The winner gets a free shot at any title of his choosing to be used between that moment and Wrestlemania 25. We have MITB veterans Benjamin and Kennedy in the match, with Kennedy being the only one of the two to win it (although he lost it later). Breaking down the competitors, I would look for the biggest chance of winning to come from Punk or Jericho. But I believe the Walls of Jericho would come down on him in this round. The Codebreaker to win it and then use it for a WWE Championship rematch. Winner: Chris Jericho
6. Interpromotional Match: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
Reluctantly thrust into this situation, the Heartbreak Kid has a dilemma. If he wins, he ends the career of his hero, his mentor, the 16-time World Champion Flair. Flair has kept his career alive, defeating Randy Orton, Umaga, Triple H, MVP (twice), William Regal, Mr. Kennedy, and most recently, Mr. McMahon in a Street Fight. He even made WWE Champion Randy Orton tap out to his Figure Four in a 6-man tag match on RAW. HBK hasn't had too much luck in past Wrestlemanias, with the exception of his victory over Mr. McMahon at WM 22. Once again, The Showstopper will fall and keep Nature Boy's career alive and kicking. Winner: Ric Flair (by submission)
7. "The Biggest vs. The Best": The Big Show vs. Floyd "Money" Mayweather
By far, the highest publicity for any WM match this year, probably second all-time to the Trump/Vince feud. We have the 7-foot "Goliath" in the Big Show, a former WCW, WWE, and ECW Champion, and the "David" of this match, who is 39-0 in the ring and is planning on making it to 40. The question is, can he match up to a man who outweighs him by 250 pounds and stands more than a foot taller? Don't count Mayweather out, especially in an "anything goes" situation. If there's a way to topple the giant, Mayweather will find it, somehow. Remember the sumo match when Show took on the undefeated sumo champ Akebono in WM 21. Winner: Floyd "Money" Mayweather (by pinfall)
8. World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (c) vs. The Undertaker
It's title vs. streak. Undertaker is 15-0 on the grandest stage of them all, and Edge has a 5-1 record, and has never been pinned or forced into submission. But the question is, with the Edgeheads by his side, does the Rated-R Superstar have the "Edge"? My answer is no. With the streak by his side, Undertaker will capture the title in back-to-back Manias after a Tombstone or two to the cocky champ. Winner: Undertaker (by pinfall)
9. WWE Championship Triple-Threat: Randy Orton (c) vs. Triple H vs. John Cena
After John Cena tore his pectoral muscle, he sadly revealed that he would be out for a year, unable to go to Wrestlemania. But then, he surprised us all by being the last entrant into the Royal Rumble, eliminating Triple H to win the coveted title shot. He then aimed his sights at Orton, who was responsible for sidelining him, but was unable to capture the gold. It looked like Cena might not get his shot after it was announced that Triple H would face Orton in Orlando, but Cena kept his hopes alive by beating Orton in a match with Triple H as a ref to make it a triple-threat. Triple H, the 11-time World Champ, looks to return to his throne as the WWE Champ. The self-proclaimed "King of Kings" is hungry for the gold, but Orton will do all he can to keep the Cerebral Assassin or the Marine from taking it. My guess? Look at the facts. Since Stone Cold won the title at Wrestlemania X-7, every Rumble winner has gone to win it in the main event. This will be no different. It will come down to Cena vs. Orton, with Cena getting vengeance over the cocky master of the RKO. Winner: John Cena (by submission over Orton)
There you have it, guys. Be sure to watch Wrestlemania XXIV this Sunday, live on PPV, or go to WWE.com for the latest developments.
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