WrestleMania 29 is now just six days away and as fans prepare for WWE's biggest night of the year, it looks as though we have what appears to be a full match card.
The top three matches have been set for a while of course, but the undercard was another issue altogether. This year it took just a bit longer than we have been accustomed to but now that the bouts have been booked, we know what to expect on April 7th.
WWE's apparent slow pace in regards to planning the event has not been lost on the fans, many of whom have been very vocal about their displeasure in this year's Mania. The top matches are ones that we have seen before and because of this there is no new ground that will be broken, no storylines that we have not already seen.
Though I must say that I see the point and would have personally also been interested to see something fresh and new, for me this WrestleMania is still a big deal.
This is the night that WWE shines, the night that its best and brightest are featured. The top Superstars of the company are given a chance to do what they do and the rising stars are given the spotlight, all in the name of entertaining the fans.
This is what WWE does and no one does it better on the worldwide stage. WrestleMania is the Showcase of The Immortals and now it's up to Vince McMahon and company to prove it once again.
It's time to deliver.
This one may not be a WrestleMania dream match but it does feature Team Rhodes Scholars, and that is a good thing.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes were well received by fans from the moment they joined forces. They are very entertaining, their personalities mesh extremely well and fans flat out loved what they saw.
When it appeared as though the duo had went their separate ways, fans immediately cried foul. But now that they are back on the same page, it looks as though it's for real.
Their big WrestleMania test is not for the tag team championships, as some fans may have wanted.
Brodus Clay is a man who was red hot when he first returned to WWE. Sporting a flashy new gimmick and outlandish entrance, he caught the fans completely off guard. The buzz around him was that of a guy who was basically told to just go out there and have a good time.
Tensai debuted with some buzz of his own, though in a very different vein. Presented as a vicious, punishing monster, Tensai crushed every WWE Superstar he stepped into the ring with. Scoring a pinfall victory over John Cena, Tensai appeared to be headed for the big time in the company.
But somewhere along the way, plans went south for Tensai who did not really seem to get over with the crowd the way that he probably should have. Instead of leaving the man once known as Albert in this role, WWE creative decided to also let him have some fun.
And so we now have Tons of Funk, and at WrestleMania they will be joined by Cameron and Naomi, who will be in tow to counter the returning Bella Twins.
Again, this may not be the match we all wanted at WrestleMania, but everyone involved will surely step up their efforts to make it look as good as possible.
I would like to say that this would only be the beginning for Rhodes Scholars, as they continue to climb in the tag team division. But I happen to see this one ending on a lighthearted and upbeat note.
PREDICTION: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls win by pinfall
This one is an intriguing one for me.
Fandango—who has basically done a whole lot of nothing—is being thrust into the WrestleMania spotlight against one of the best that WWE has ever seen.
It's certainly not a match that anyone could have predicted back when the Fandango promos first started on Monday Night Raw. From a distance it looked just like any other ill conceived idea, a very weak character that would likely fizzle out before he even made it on TV.
And when we finally did see him, that seemed to be exactly what the fans wanted.
For whatever reason, WWE did not seem very committed to the idea, as each week a Fandango debut was teased, and then ultimately nothing happened.
Again, no one seemed to be losing much sleep over it.
But suddenly Fandango has heat with Chris Jericho, a man who has proven his mettle time and again in WWE.
Jericho has done it all in Vince McMahon's company, but now that he is a part time Superstar, the chances of him reaching the top once again as champion are likely slim to none.
So, who is the Chris Jericho we now see before us? I believe we are looking at a Superstar who is ready to use his talents and ability to give the rub to some of the company's younger workers.
Though it seems like an insane notion and perhaps one that many fans want no part of, I have to go with the new kid on this one. I believe that he will find a way to eke out a victory.
By hook or by crook, Fandango will win his first WrestleMania match, to a man who will most certainly make him look like a million bucks.
PREDICTION: Fandango wins by pinfall
Dolph Ziggler was supposed to have been booked against Chris Jericho on April 7th.
At least, that's what many of us thought.
Instead, we have The Showoff along with his mean muscle Big E Langston, challenging for the WWE Tag Team Championships.
But, at least this is a match we can work with.
Team Hell No have been dominant as WWE Tag Team Champions. The dysfunctional duo have taken on all challenges and despite their differences, they have come out on top every time.
Kane and Daniel Bryan are just great together.
Kane as the Big Red Monster, a man who ordinarily can intimidate any WWE Superstar within a thirty foot radius. But, for Daniel Bryan, a strong willed neurotic who is too stubborn to be scared, Kane is nothing more than someone who just doesn't appreciate him as a tag team partner.
Sounds like someone needs a hug.
Team Hell No operates like a well oiled machine and this will surely not change at WrestleMania when they face a pair that will not be as smooth of a combination.
The good news for fans is that Ziggler is called The Showoff for a reason. His work with Bryan in singles matches have been very good and this will certainly help the match be entertaining for fans.
Big E is an unproven commodity on the WWE stage but just his size and strength alone make him an intriguing matchup for Kane. This will provide the hard hitting aspect of the match, which should mesh well with the technical side of it.
Throw in the presence of AJ Lee at ringside and who knows what will happen.
Considering Dolph's not too distant future, in which he will most certainly attempt to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, combined with the fact that Langston is still so new to the main roster, and I have to give this one to the champs.
PREDICTION: Team Hell No retain the WWE Tag Team Championships by pinfall
This is a good one.
The moment that Mark Henry returned from injury to WWE, I for one believed that he would eventually be facing the monster known as Ryback.
Their gimmicks and styles are just so similar and when Mark went out, there was really no one like Ryback in the locker room.
Ryback is one of those faces who just seems to find an inner intensity, a guy who has been presented by WWE as a force of nature. He is a physical specimen, a worker who has power and complete confidence in himself. He is the kind of Superstar that Vince McMahon loves to spotlight, a man that fans can rally behind in almost any situation.
Ryback does have his detractors however, and his limited move set is often heavily criticized by those who feel he is nothing more than a catchphrase.
Mark Henry on the other hand, is a Superstar who has proven himself to the WWE faithful.
He was loyal to the company when they really did not have anything for him and especially in silly situations that anyone else would have walked away from.
But since then, he has been given his due, and shown the respect that he has earned through the years in WWE. Now that he is back, he could be headed to true heel dominance on the main event level once again.
However for that to happen, he really needs a win over Ryback at WrestleMania 29.
I for one do not see that, mostly because this is a match that Ryback needs as well. Ryback has been very successful on TV but not on pay-per-view, as The Shield takes him down a notch virtually every time they cross paths with him.
Ryback needs a quality win and he needs it now.
But, having this match end in a pull-apart, though not a victory, would not technically hurt Ryback, who would surely continue feuding with Henry in the weeks after WrestleMania.
PREDICTION: Match ends in a double count-out / no contest
The notoriously tough crowd in Philadelphia booed this match last week on Raw and the WrestleMania crowd in New Jersey may not be much happier to see it take place.
On the surface, it's a bout that seems to have all the components to be successful.
Wade is a great heel, a guy who is utterly despicable in every way. There is nothing redeeming about him, other than the fact he can put on a good match with nearly everyone in the WWE locker room. He certainly has a bright future in WWE because he can work, he can talk and he has a great look.
The Miz is a reality TV success story.
He went from being considered by many as just a wannabe pro wrestler, to being a WWE Superstar who is firmly cemented in the company. For the fans who have watched him grow and mature, they have witnessed a man whose love for the business kept him moving forward though he was believed to be a guy who would simply just wash out.
Here's the tricky part.
Since the end of The Nexus, Wade Barrett has been trying to find himself. Though he seemingly has all the right tools, he appears to just be going in circles.
Being Intercontinental Champion is a nice accomplishment but his win/loss record since getting the title is likely not one that many of us thought he would have.
The Miz was a good heel, a cocky loudmouth whose arrogance put him on the map. But when WWE decided to turn him face, fans were suddenly given a Miz that they did not expect to see. Now they were forced to look at him as something completely different.
WWE, apparently realizing just what they were asking of fans, decided to have none other than the Nature Boy Ric Flair to give Miz the rub on TV.
Flair gave his blessing for Miz to use his patented Figure-Four Leg Lock, a gesture that should have greatly helped the situation.
Yeah, not so much.
But, perhaps all of this will be just background noise on April 7th. Perhaps these two men will enter the WrestleMania ring and do nothing but impress us, giving all they have to put on the best match possible.
I for one am expecting just that. I am also expecting that Barrett will retain the Intercontinental Championship, as this feud could potentially go on past WrestleMania.
PREDICTION: Wade Barrett wins by pinfall, retaining the Intercontinental Title
Do you believe?
The trio of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have been untouchable from the moment they debuted in WWE. Their gang mentality has kept them on top every time they're in the ring as no one has been able to physically fight them off.
They plow through everyone put in front of them and despite how many times they have been tested, no one has been able to even put a dent in them.
They are the irresistible force.
But standing on the other side of the ring in this match is the immovable object, the man that WWE is hoping fans will believe can make the difference against The Shield.
Big Show is the one Superstar who could potentially do some real damage to the trio from NXT.
Show has been put in more handicap matches during his career than arguably anyone in WWE so 3-on-1 is nothing new for him. Though he is a heel himself, he is still not a man to be taken lightly, or to be threatened by anyone, no matter which side they're on.
And, his tag team partners are certainly not to be taken lightly.
Sheamus and Randy Orton are two of the most bankable and reliable in-ring performers that WWE has. Each man has had his problems with The Shield and WrestleMania 29 will be their opportunity at some real payback.
Now for the twist.
The outcry from fans for a Randy Orton heel turn has been absolutely deafening. So many people want to see The Viper find his fangs, and they believe that the best possible moment for this to happen will be on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
For me, while I do believe this turn will happen eventually, I do not feel that Randy could end up leading The Shield.
The fact is that the trio has been working very well and have gotten over without a leader at the forefront.
To introduce one now could hurt the group, instead of help them.
However, I do believe that Orton will cost his team the match at WrestleMania 29. He has always been a cold blooded loner and we could see him return to that mentality on April 7th.
PREDICTION: The Shield wins by pinfall, thanks to an assist from Randy Orton
What a difference a little time off can make.
When we last saw Jack Swagger, he was a frustrated young man who was "walking out" on his WWE career. Basically, he could not buy a victory and his patience in himself and his situation had all but run out.
He was calling it a day and for fans who saw him lose for so long, it was basically good riddance.
But when Jack returned, he did so with an edge that he did not have before. Swagger looked less like the directionless loser that fans knew him to be and more like a very focused, very driven individual.
And it was all thanks to his newfound mentor, Zeb Colter.
The man also known as Dirty Dutch Mantell instilled a new confidence, a new intensity in Jack Swagger that fans did not expect. Suddenly, we were all faced with a man who claimed to be a "real" American, a heel who used the hot-button topic of immigration to get over with the crowd.
With Colter by his side, Swagger became very relevant, very quickly. So relevant, that he is now headed to WrestleMania, challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship.
But the man currently wearing the gold is no pushover, as Alberto Del Rio has taken exception to Swagger and Colter's stance on foreign immigrants living in the U.S.
He has taken the role of the sympathetic figure, the man fighting against racism and bigotry, in a storyline that has had many fans talking since it first began.
Though I believe that there is enough here to keep this rivalry going well past WrestleMania, I do see Jack Swagger leaving WrestleMania as the new World Champion.
He is still hot right now and giving him the gold would establish him as one of the top heels in the company.
PREDICTION: Jack Swagger wins the World Heavyweight Championship by pinfall victory
And now, for the rematches.
We originally saw this one last year at SummerSlam, when Brock defeated The Game in a no disqualification match. Triple H left the ring with a loss and a "broken" arm.
In a solemn speech on Monday Night Raw, The Cerebral Assassin appeared to be giving up, believing that perhaps he just did not have enough to keep going. The moment was created to make fans believe that perhaps they had just seen the last of Triple H.
Fast forward to this year, when WWE CEO Vince McMahon found himself on the receiving end of a Brock Lesnar F5.
Fans were suddenly faced with the very real probability that we would be seeing Triple H versus Brock Lesnar, most likely at WrestleMania 29.
McMahon's "injury" gave The King of Kings reason to put on his crown once again and climb back into a WWE ring. Triple H is seeking redemption, not only against the man who nearly ended his career last year but against the man who took out his father-in-law.
This match is not about whether or not Hunter believes he can beat Brock, at the end of the day it's not about winning or losing.
For Triple H, it's about violence.
It's about aggression. It's about going to that dark corner of himself, that place where he will stop at nothing to hurt someone to get what he wants. Brock Lesnar is the man on The Game's chopping block and he will surely be ready for redemption on April 7th.
But if he's not ready, then Paul Heyman's match demands will be met when Triple H's shoulders are counted down and he is then forced to retire from the ring. The sun sets on Hunter's career and Brock moves on to the next victim.
However I don't believe that will be the case.
I feel that WrestleMania 30 will be too big, too important, for Triple H not to perform. Hunter needs a win against Brock Lesnar and WrestleMania 29 should be that win.
BOLD PREDICTION: Triple H wins by submission
If a pipe bomb is dropped in a cemetery and no one's around, does it make a sound?
The answer to that one is a most definite yes, as The Deadman is back from the grave once again, this time to defend his undefeated streak against CM Punk at WrestleMania 29.
Punk of course has been doing what he does best—causing controversy. By mocking the late Paul Bearer on TV, many feel that Punk has crossed the line. However, WWE has allowed him to continue undeterred, pushing the disrespect for Undertaker to an all time high.
Unlike many of Undertaker's opponents through the years, CM Punk is man who is not easily intimidated. He is unaffected by the blue light, the fog and the mind games that are played by Taker and instead pushes all of that to the background.
Now, it's Punk on the offensive, with the psychological leverage, on the Superstar who has made a career on getting inside the mind of his opponents.
This is Punk's opportunity to finally prove, once and for all that not only is he The Best in The World, he is also a WWE legend.
Punk's character is supremely confident in his ability and believes that he truly has The Phenom on the ropes. He feels that he will definitely be the one in 20-1.
Now back to reality.
This is Undertaker. This is WrestleMania. This is The Streak.
There is no one in WWE, now or in the immediate future, who I believe is a real threat to end Taker's amazing run at Mania. This includes CM Punk, who will undoubtedly have a great match against Undertaker, but one that he will not win.
I do however believe that Kane could play a part in this one, perhaps costing Punk the win because of the disrespect he has shown to the Brothers of Destruction and Paul Bearer.
And, after the bell rings, could we even see Kane possibly chokeslam Undertaker, setting up WrestleMania 30?
I'll call that one wild speculation, instead of a prediction.
PREDICTION: Undertaker wins by pinfall, The Streak goes to 21-0
This is it folks, the one that WWE is putting their money on.
John Cena, the face of WWE, versus the man who defeated him at last year's WrestleMania, the current WWE Champion, The Rock.
The fact is, you either love or hate this one. There has not really been anything in between, as the fans who have been very vocal about their disappointment in this year's WrestleMania are the same ones who are unhappy with its main event.
While I can understand the frustration and the criticism, the fact is that John Cena, love him or hate him, is still the face of WWE. And being in that position means that he will main event WrestleMania.
So, the match that was billed as "once in a lifetime," is now seeing a sequel.
Much like Brock versus Hunter, this one is about redemption. Cena is looking for the victory against a man he believes he can beat now, and should have beaten, last year. Cena is a man who has always believed in himself and his abilities and the Superstar standing across the ring from him is just another worker that he should conquer.
But The Rock is not just any Superstar. He is one of the most legendary performers WWE has ever known, a talent who has done it all and took on every challenge. He has faced the biggest names in the business and come out on top. He is the epitome of a winner, a man who works hard and trains hard to be the best. For him, Cena is just another challenger that will be denied.
This is WWE's big money match, its drawing point.
They are counting on this one, not only to sell the event but to deliver in the ring. Both men are very accustomed to the bright lights of the main event and this will be no different.
The outcome? It's a bit hard for me, I must admit. Part of me says this will be John Cena's match to win, his return to the top of the WWE Title heap and as the undisputed face of the company. Again, he is still the man to beat in WWE and the championship would solidify that once again.
But considering the fact that The Rock is still booked after WrestleMania, then I believe this one is totally up for grabs.
This is no longer a slam dunk for Cena, in my opinion. This one could go either way.
And, if Cena does indeed lose, this will be two years in a row that he is beaten in a match that he claims he has to win. If those moments keep accumulating, then who knows?
Perhaps this will all lead to the much debated heel turn that fans have been waiting for from John Cena.
Sorry folks, you're getting no real prediction on that one.
PREDICTION: The Rock wins by pinfall, retains the WWE Championship
There you have it folks, my predictions for what some would call a very predictable WrestleMania 29.
I know, my choices may not be yours and to be honest if I'm right in my picks, then only one championship will change hands, thus making for a somewhat less than monumental card.
I totally agree with you on that one.
But while we're mulling all this over, let me hit with you a few final thoughts.
-Kaitlyn vs AJ Lee for the Divas Championship
Where is this match? I for one believed it would have been added by now, but as of this writing, it has not been booked. Why not?
-United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
He's not booked as of this writing either. He's the U.S. Champion. Where is he?
-CM Punk gone after Mania?
Wrestlezone.com is reporting that CM Punk is not being advertised for events after WrestleMania 29, including Extreme Rules in May.
This could be due to Punk needing time to heal up. If that's the case, then he will almost certainly not be defeating Undertaker, and begs the question as to who the new top heel will be after he's gone? Randy Orton, perhaps?
-Why John Laurinaitis?
The fact that John was thrown back on TV so randomly, makes me wonder if there is something else in the cards for the former GM. Could he be involved in some way—maybe in a big way—at WrestleMania?