WWE WrestleMania 29: Info and Predictions for Entire Fight Card
With wrestling fans worldwide approaching Christmas Eve levels of excitement, WWE WrestleMania 29 is imminent, and the "Showcase of the Immortals" needs to deliver.
While this year's card has seen its fair share of scrutiny, there are enough variables to leave fans with sufficient intrigue heading into the event.
Headlined by The Rock vs. John Cena, part two, the ending of that match alone could define not just the pay-per-view, but WWE itself throughout 2013.
Here, I'll examine the card in full and aim to concoct logical predictions, or at least as logically possible for a scripted event, using facts and figures to determine those most likely to leave the MetLife Stadium with their names etched in history.
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (c) vs. the Miz
With enough thought and consideration, Wade Barrett vs. The Miz could have been built to be an enthralling WrestleMania collision.
As things stand though, the match will take place on the Interactive Pre-Show, and few will care who wins, should they even choose to reveal the outcome during WrestleMania.
Both men are entering this bout with the momentum of squashed wasps, and a defeat will likely hurt both of them, while a victory will be colossal for the other.
Seeing as this feud began over who was the better actor, WrestleMania offers an opportunity for both to show off. And given their pre-show demotion, the two may end up being given more time than the average 10 minutes allotted for IC title bouts at the "Show of Shows."
For what it's worth, only seven Intercontinental title changes have occurred in 19 WrestleMania matches, but the odds may be in The Miz's favour here.
With neither man’s prospects looking too great post-WrestleMania, a Miz victory would be the only way of carrying the feud on, while a Barrett triumph would all but end their beef.
Miz regaining the strap would give the live fans in attendance an early reason for cheer at the MetLife Stadium, and this option makes sense for far more reasons than a Barrett win does.
Winner: The Miz
Tons of Funk & the Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars & the Bella Twins
It is particularly hard to envisage the fan that cares greatly about this bout, but it is equally as tough to fathom how Cody Rhodes has fallen so low in the WWE pecking order.
At the last three WrestleMania events, Rhodes first fought Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase in a Triple Threat battle before facing Rey Mysterio and Big Show in single matches.
This eight-man tag is a comedown, to say the least, but at least he and Damien Sandow have spots on the card, and talents such as these cannot afford to lose to a team of monster dancers.
Admittedly, the addition of the Bella Twins is a nice touch for this match, and their confrontations with Naomi and Cameron have been quite enjoyable to watch.
Whether this is because we finally have some Divas in a believable feud, I'm not sure, but if Team Rhodes Scholars don't triumph at WrestleMania, it spells disaster for them.
Rhodes and Sandow are two of the most talented midcard workers WWE has, and a big win on the grandest stage of them all is crucial if they are to generate some momentum throughout 2013.
While Tons of Funk could afford to lose this match, WWE's decision to align Tensai with Brodus Clay was a risky one, and a win at WrestleMania would go some way towards justifying it.
However, the inclusion of the Divas allows Clay and Tensai to be protected, to an extent, if one of the Funkdactyls takes the pinfall at the hands of a Bella.
Should a post-match brawl occur following the pinfall, Tons of Funk could send their foes packing before satisfying their fans with a WrestleMania boogie of epic proportions.
Winners: Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Depending on which side of the fence you sit, this match is either a huge slap in the face for Chris Jericho or the opportunity to have the standout match of the night.
Fandango's WWE arrival has sparked controversy galore in recent weeks, but the man previously known as Johnny Curtis has done an admirable job of gaining the character heat.
Reportedly, Vince McMahon is a big fan of Fandango, and with that in mind, there is a strong chance that he could prevail upon his WrestleMania debut.
In Jericho, however, WWE possesses a man who retained the World Heavyweight title just three years ago at WrestleMania 26, who has also relentlessly jobbed since his return in 2012.
Therefore, a defeat for Jericho would be far more damaging than for Fandango, who could impress on the grandest stage of them all simply by hanging with one of WWE's all-time greats.
Given Fandango's knack for the post-match beatdown, it may be a safe bet that Fandango ends up on top following the conclusion of the match.
With Jericho needing a big match win quite imperatively though, victory for "Y2J" in a stunning wrestling clinic would do enough to make both look strong, with an unsportsmanlike attack from Fandango ensuring he leaves WrestleMania with momentum.
Winner: Chris Jericho
WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
Perhaps worryingly, reports of Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania have dried up in recent weeks.
Several opportunities have presented themselves during the last nine months for Ziggler to claim the World Heavyweight title, but each time he has been thwarted.
In this respect, calling a winner here is quite tricky.
If Ziggler is destined to cash in, which would be the first Money in the Bank title triumph in WrestleMania history, it may mean that Team Hell No will defend their belts.
That is entirely speculation, but Sky Bet price this match with equal uncertainty, narrowly pricing Kane and Daniel Bryan at odds-on with the opportunity for a Ziggler cash-in beautifully set up.
Should Team Hell No retain, it is extremely likely, despite his awful 2013, that Ziggler will become World Heavyweight champion following Alberto Del Rio's match with Jack Swagger.
Basing a prediction on another bout is perhaps ludicrous, but Ziggler being paired with AJ Lee and Big E Langston was surely done for greater achievements than claiming the Tag Team Championships.
Aside from a potential Ziggler cash-in, Kane and Daniel Bryan more than deserve a WrestleMania moment together, if only for keeping the tag team belts as relevant during their reign as they've been in years.
Winners: Team Hell No
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Few WWE Superstars have had a more topsy-turvy 12 months than Ryback.
From relentlessly squashing multiple jobbers to challenging for the WWE Championship, Ryback has been in a state of limbo since falling to John Cena at WWE Royal Rumble 2013.
Fortunately, his momentum has returned during this feud with Mark Henry, and a WrestleMania moment where "Big Hungry" overpowers the "World's Strongest Man" will set him up for a monstrous 2013.
This match won't be a catch-as-catch-can classic, and if anything, it may end up dragging if given too long, but a brief show of strength will catapult Ryback right back into the WWE title picture.
Henry has failed to set the world alight since his return this year, and while he still looks and acts the part, WWE has not done enough to convince fans that Henry has a chance of winning.
Had Henry performed outlandish acts of violence during this feud, like he did when he took out Big Show and Kane in 2011, then this may be a tad harder to call.
Instead, Ryback is all but certain to triumph on his WrestleMania debut, and expect this win to lead to WWE or World Heavyweight title gold in 2013.
The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show
WWE has built this rivalry up perfectly over the last few weeks, and its many variables make it one of the most intriguing matches on the card.
Aside from The Shield—who remain unbeaten in six-man tag team bouts—making their WrestleMania debut, the key element here is Randy Orton.
Orton has played peacemaker between Big Show and Sheamus up until now, but few moments have presented themselves better for a reported heel turn than during this match.
Arguably, the best route for WWE to play this card would be for Orton to attack Sheamus, cost his team the match and begin a feud with the "Great White" while developing his heel character throughout the spring.
WrestleMania needs some twists given its lacklustre card, and an Orton heel turn would go some way to ensuring fans' memories of the events are of more than just The Rock vs. John Cena.
If anything, an Orton heel turn is too obvious, and WWE may wish to throw a curve by simply seeing The Shield lose cleanly, just to drive fans potty.
With The Shield running through all their competition so far though, a loss would serve to confuse, given the momentum they have built, and they are certified favourites to prevail.
The Orton heel turn is the dynamic which could shape the conclusion of the match. It would not only make for a milestone WrestleMania moment for the "Viper," but it could pave the way for an exciting 2013 with Orton at his dastardly best.
Winners: The Shield
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Whilst sad to say, it remains so that this year's World Heavyweight Championship feels more like a midcard match than a main event.
Jack Swagger's rise to prominence from anonymity has been fascinating, but it is a fact that several other Superstars deserve this spotlight ahead of Swagger.
Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Sheamus or Chris Jericho would have provided instant prestige to this year's title match, which serves to explain the severely tepid reaction for this feud to date.
Regardless, it is happening, and inevitably it will end up being a thoroughly decent match involving two sensational in-ring workers.
It is also one of the toughest matches to predict on the card. Sky Bet price Del Rio at odds-on, but neither would suffer drastically with a loss, while in likelihood fans will be more anxious to see if Ziggler cashes in his Money in the Bank contract.
If there is one guarantee to be made regarding this year, it is that outside interference will definitely occur.
Zeb Colter and Ricardo Rodriguez will make their presence known, just as they have throughout the duration of this feud, and they may even contribute to the conclusion of the match.
However, Ziggler's contract is the key variable here, and expect the winner, whoever it may be, to fall foul to the first ever cash-in at WrestleMania.
For that reason alone, the babyface Del Rio may yet prosper at WrestleMania, initially anyway, before moving on to a feud with the heel Ziggler throughout the spring.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
No Holds Barred: Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (Triple H Retires If Lesnar Wins)
Hindered by a thoroughly underwhelming build, much as their first bout at SummerSlam 2012 was, Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H simply has to deliver at WrestleMania 29.
The predictable stipulation of "The Game" being forced to retire should he lose is slightly interesting, albeit quite redundant given his sporadic appearances, and in that respect, this match is quite hard to call.
In many ways, Triple H winning is pointless. "The Game" requires no further accolades, especially at WrestleMania, and a win for Lesnar is pivotal should he move on to a WrestleMania 30 date with The Rock.
However, Triple H's insistence on remaining in the WrestleMania spotlight might yet see him triumph at the MetLife Stadium, especially now that Shawn Michaels is scheduled to be in his corner, with both men seeking vengeance for their suffering over the last year at Lesnar's hands.
With the main event being filled by The Rock and John Cena, one has to imagine that Triple H will not be retiring at WrestleMania 29.
When Triple H does end up hanging up his boots, it will most likely be in a grandiose time slot and, more importantly, in a segment to close out a show.
Therefore, a gruelling victory may be likely, where Lesnar is the man walking out of his own accord, but a badly beaten Triple H is be the victor.
Winner: Triple H
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
The wrestling world was in mourning following the death of William Moody (aka Paul Bearer) on March 5, but it's hard to deny that as a result, The Undertaker vs. CM Punk is arguably the most anticipated match at WrestleMania 29.
CM Punk's blatant disregard for Bearer's memory, and desire to steer Undertaker to the brink of implosion, has turned the dynamic of their battle completely on its head.
Furthermore, Punk's hints at trying to obtain victory by disqualification or count-out add a further layer of intrigue, with this scenario rarely pondered ahead of Undertaker's defence of his streak.
While a Punk victory, even by disqualification, is unlikely, it wouldn't mark the first instance of an Undertaker match at WrestleMania ending this way.
Giant Gonzalez took on The Deadman at WrestleMania IX, with the bout ending in disqualification following interference from Gonzalez's manager, Harry Wippleman.
Punk has talked an excellent game heading into WrestleMania, displaying his versatility further on the microphone as he looks to convince fans he can be the one in 20-1.
However, with Triple H and Shawn Michaels both failing twice to beat the streak in the last four years, don't bet on Punk being the man to do it this year.
Punk will try every trick in the book to get Undertaker to lose by any means, but on April 7, expect him to rest in peace.
Winner: The Undertaker
WWE Championship: The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
While The Rock vs. John Cena is hardly the most anticipated rematch in WrestleMania history, the outcome of their WWE title bout will certainly be intriguing.
With Rock up 1-0 in this series, which could feasibly continue at WrestleMania 30, logic dictates that WWE's poster boy will not lose a second straight match to the part-time "Great One."
Bearing in mind that Cena has lost two successive WrestleMania matches, a third would be a damning blow for his character, and Rock going 2-0 up in this series seems needless due to his imminent return to Hollywood.
Having Rock best Cena twice in a row makes a mockery of WWE's current full-time main event elite, and WWE may yet be contemplating a third, decisive match between the two, especially given the financial success of WrestleMania 28.
While Cena is the heavy favourite to claim redemption, the manner in which he does so will be the defining moment of the pay-per-view.
A standard, clean Cena win could send the MetLife Stadium into outrage; such is the frequency of which that scenario has played out on the grandest stage of them all.
While a heel turn is perhaps premature, especially given Cena's relentless marketability and popularity, a victory as a result of a poor referee call, such as Rock's foot being on the ropes during a pinfall, may serve as an enticing way to keep the feud alive.
Regardless, Rock enters as the overwhelming underdog, and it would take a brave man to bet against Cena on April 7.
Winner: John Cena
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