WWE WrestleMania 29: 10 Bold Predictions for the Upcoming PPV
WrestleMania 29 is just a few weeks away, and many wrestling fans seem to have already penciled in the winners of the show's biggest matches.
But get out your erasers because, contrary to popular belief, the WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year actually has the potential to surprise us all.
I know, I know, we all have our foregone conclusions about many of WrestleMania's top bouts. But what if we're wrong? What if those supposedly predictable matches actually aren't?
As we draw closer to the show, we should get a pretty good idea of how it will shape up based simply on the buildup to it. A red herring or two, though, and we're completely thrown off.
The realistic side of me sees WrestleMania 29 as a very predictable PPV just like most of you do. The optimistic side, however, is thinking that we might see some shockers on the grandest stage of them all.
Here are 10 bold predictions for WrestleMania 29.
10. Team Hell No Will Successfully Defend Their Titles...thanks to AJ Lee
For a while now, we've been wondering exactly what both Dolph Ziggler and Team Hell No will be doing at WrestleMania.
It looks like we may finally have our answer.
After Ziggler defeated Daniel Bryan on this week's Raw, Big E Langston attacked Bryan and laid him out with his finisher, and according to this week's SmackDown spoilers, something similar will happen on this Friday's episode.
Is this the ideal situation for guys like Bryan and Ziggler? Probably not, but at least it's a spot on the card.
That being said, many are expecting WrestleMania to be the end of Team Hell No. But why put the tag team titles on Langston and Ziggler when "The Showoff" is still holding the Money in the Bank briefcase?
While most will look for Kane and Bryan to lose the titles and then split up, expect the opposite to happen. They'll successfully retain their titles and remain together, thanks to AJ Lee.
With AJ at ringside during this match, she's bound to get involved at some point. The only question is whether she costs either team the match.
At WrestleMania 28, she cost Bryan the World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 29, she'll inadvertently help him retain the tag team titles instead.
9. Wade Barrett Will Defeat Chris Jericho in an IC Title Match
After that atrocious Highlight Reel segment on this week's Raw, Wade Barrett will now defend his Intercontinental Championship against both The Miz and Chris Jericho on next week's Raw.
That is a rather unpredictable match because, at least theoretically, there's a chance that each participant could walk out of the bout as the Intercontinental Champion.
But here's what I think the WWE will do: Have Jericho win the IC title by pinning The Miz, which will then lead to Barrett vs. Jericho in a singles match at WrestleMania 29.
And what will happen at Mania? Jericho will do what he does best: Put Barrett over.
The logic behind this is to get Y2J his 10th Intercontinental Championship reign (the WWE loves breaking records) and to then have Y2J put yet another superstar over, this time on the grand stage of WrestleMania for the second straight year.
Barrett could use the rub after being booked so horribly, and with all of the history between him and Jericho from their time on NXT, it's logical to have these two feud with one another.
I know many will complain that Jericho is taking such a big step back after his Mania feud last, but that's what Jericho does: He puts others over and does what needs to be done for the betterment of the company.
8. Cody Rhodes Will Cement Himself as a Babyface
Over the past several weeks, Cody Rhodes has taken a clear interest in Divas Champion Kaitlyn.
Despite making this rather obvious to his on-and-off tag team partner Damien Sandow, however, Sandow doesn't seem to care too much about it. Instead, he seems to have taken more of an interest in the Bella Twins.
While I generally despise wrestling romance storylines because they rarely accomplish anything, it looks like the WWE has one big goal with this storyline: Turning Rhodes babyface.
Rhodes has spent the vast majority of his WWE career as a heel, and though he's better in that role, he has had a somewhat stagnant career as of late and could perhaps use the change.
With the WWE remaining noncommittal on whether to keep Team Rhodes Scholars together, perhaps their most recent reunion will be used as a vehicle to have Sandow turn on Rhodes and for Rhodes to turn face in the process.
Not only could this solidify Sandow as one of the WWE's best rising heels, but it could get some sympathy for Rhodes and help him become one of the company's top up-and-coming faces.
Although Team Rhodes Scholars' role at WrestleMania is still unclear, expect them to be at the show, and be on the lookout for something that will push Rhodes' relationship with Kaitlyn a little further and cement him as a babyface in the process.
7. It Will Be Mark Henry's Last Match
When Mark Henry missed most of 2012 recovering from surgery, there was a lot of speculation that he might never return and would hang up his boots for good instead.
Henry himself even hinted last year that he might not be back at all, but obviously, he decided that would indeed come back for one last run. What we're now wondering, of course, is how long that run will last.
"The World's Strongest Man" has been with the WWE since 1996, and he's got more mileage on his body than just about anyone in the company at this point. So, you have to think that he could call it quits sooner rather than later.
I actually think he'll do so at WrestleMania 29.
Barring something unforeseen happening (yes, I read the SmackDown spoilers), Henry is still headed for a clash with fellow behemoth Ryback at the pay-per-view, and the widespread expectation is that Henry will use the big stage of Mania to put Ryback over.
That's a great way for Henry to go out.
So many great superstars have ended their careers with a loss to "pass the torch" so to speak, and there's no one better for Henry to pass the torch to on his way out than Ryback.
Sit back and enjoy Ryback vs. Henry at WrestleMania 29, folks. It may be Henry's last match ever.
6. Jack Swagger Will Defeat Alberto Del Rio to Become World Heavyweight Champion
Like with most of the other top matches on the card, it seems like many fans have already penciled in Alberto Del Rio as the winner of the World Heavyweight Championship Match.
But don't be surprised if Jack Swagger shocks the world by ending ADR's title reign.
Though the expectation is that Del Rio will win and go on to feud with Dolph Ziggler after WrestleMania, the simple fact that Swagger is still involved in this feud (or on TV at all) despite his controversial arrest leads me to believe that plans are still in place for him to become World champion.
After all, why would Swagger still be on TV if the WWE didn't plan on having him win the World title?
If Swagger wasn't scheduled to become World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania, odds are that he would be off of TV altogether right now and that this WWE career would be in serious jeopardy.
Instead, Swagger is going on to WrestleMania, where he'll be involved in a big storyline, getting a huge pay day and set to win the second World title of his career.
His night may not necessarily end on a high note, though.
5. Dolph Ziggler Will Cash In, Win World Title and Break Two Records
In the last slide, I noted that that Jack Swagger is likely only still on TV because he's set to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 29.
But what I didn't mention is that this: It won't be to "reward" Swagger. It will be to punish him.
With it looking like Dolph Ziggler may not have a substantial match at WrestleMania, the stage is now set for him to finally cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and become World champion. Swagger will now be the man who makes that happen.
After Swagger defeats Del Rio, the WWE will make an example of him by having him break two records that no one wants to break: Shortest WrestleMania World Heavyweight title match and shortest World Heavyweight title reign.
We, of course, all remember Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for the World title at WrestleMania 28, which lasted just 18 seconds. At WrestleMania 29, Swagger vs. Ziggler breaks that record.
Another record will also fall. Ziggler will cash in so quickly after the ADR/Swagger match that he will ensure that Swagger has the shortest World title reign in WWE history.
Just like that, Swagger kinda sorta gets punished for his arrest, while the WWE makes history twice in one match.
4. Shawn Michaels Will Help Triple H Defeat Brock Lesnar
On this week's Raw, Paul Heyman took a shot at Shawn Michaels during his promo that was more than just a shot: it was a way to foreshadow the return of HBK.
We all know that Michaels was a big part of the rivalry between Triple H and Brock Lesnar last year, and that figures to be true in 2013, too.
The WWE needs an "out" in the oh-so-predictable HHH/Lesnar match, and now that the match will be contested under whatever rules Lesnar wants, Michaels wll be that out.
HBK is not going to be the special guest referee, both because he was the special guest ref for Triple H's WrestleMania 28 match and because it would be stupid for Lesnar to allow that to happen when he gets to pick the rules. That being said, Lesnar will likely pick some sort of No-DQ stipulation (MMA rules, perhaps?) that allows HBK to get involved.
This, of course, would allow Michaels to help Triple H get the victory, which accomplishes one major goal: Keeping Lesnar strong.
It's a virtual certainty that Triple H is going to beat Lesnar, but because Lesnar is going to be around for another two years, the WWE really can't afford to have him lose cleanly.
That's where HBK comes in to save the day. A little assist from a big Sweet Chin Music will be what gives his best friend a very predictable victory at WrestleMania.
3. Randy Orton Will Finally Turn Heel
Wrestling fans have been waiting for Randy Orton to turn heel for what seems like forever now.
At WrestleMania 29, it finally happens.
With Orton likely teaming up with both Big Show and Sheamus (ignore the SmackDown spoilers), the stage is set for the creative team to finally pull the trigger on a turn that Orton has needed for a while now. As we all know, Orton is as stale as ever, and the WWE will have no bigger opportunity to change that than it will on the grand stage of WrestleMania.
Orton has a lot of history with Sheamus, and the WWE has teased a feud between the two several times over the last year. So, now is the right time to plant the seeds for that rivalry.
"The Viper" is so popular that it's going to be hard to turn him heel. It will have to happen at the right time, at the right place and against the right person.
Sheamus is one of the few babyfaces in the WWE that could make an Orton heel turn work, and he will do so when Orton either walks out on him or costs him the match at WrestleMania 29.
Orton must turn ASAP, and when the world is watching at WrestleMania, he's finally going to.
2. The Rock vs. John Cena Won't End Cleanly
For nearly a year now, the widespread expectation has been that John Cena will defeat The Rock cleanly at WrestleMania 29 to avenge his loss at WrestleMania 29.
But with the recent news that The Rock will be working Extreme Rules, the WWE can get away with a dirty finish at the biggest pay-per-view of the year.
Especially when you consider that The Rock has yet to lose a match (he's 4-0) since returning to the ring at Survivor Series 2011, it seems a lot less likely that he's going to lose soundly to Cena at WrestleMania 29.
We've seen the WWE use controversial finishes in past matches in which it didn't want to have either guy lose soundly, like when Cena vs. CM Punk at Night of Champions 2012 ended in draw. Rock vs. Cena could end in similar fashion.
Though the fans probably wouldn't be too thrilled with a finish like that at a show like WrestleMania 29, it's a very real possibility because of the two guys involved.
The company isn't going to want Cena to lose cleanly to The Rock at two straight WrestleManias, but is it going to want The Rock to lose if there are plans for him to continue to wrestle?
We don't know the answer to that question, and that's why the WWE will take the easy out at Mania by having The Rock vs. Cena end with a dirty finish that no one sees coming and leads to a rematch at Extreme Rules.
1. CM Punk Will End 'The Streak'
There's been a lot of debate over the years about whether The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania should ever end.
But never have I seriously considered that possibility. Until now.
"The Streak" is arguably the most impressive feat in pro wrestling history, and it's something that should only end at the hands of someone who truly deserves it. In an article I wrote earlier this week, I highlight why Punk is the one and only man who should be the man to end it.
Essentially, I think that The Undertaker is the only one who really benefits from "The Streak" remaining intact forever. If someone ends it and especially if it's Punk, however, he will instantly become a living legend and arguably the biggest star in pro wrestling.
While there's a case to be made for either Punk or Undertaker winning at WrestleMania 29, Taker's place in history is cemented whether he wins or loses at the show. Punk, on the other hand, can be elevated to an unprecedented level by picking up the biggest win in WWE history.
However unlikely it may seem, Punk is one of only two men (the other being John Cena) who could realistically end "The Streak." Punk, though, is the only man who could really benefit from it.
I never thought I'd type this, but "The Streak" will fall. And it will fall at WrestleMania 29 at the hands of CM Punk.''
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!