WWE WrestleMania 30 Card: Last-Minute Predictions for PPV Event
The most anticipated event in all of professional wrestling is just over 24 hours away, and excitement is at a fever pitch.
Sunday night, World Wrestling Entertainment presents WrestleMania 30, live from the Mercedes Superdome in New Orleans. While in years past a single match would be recognized as the undisputed main event, this year's broadcast features three or four matches that could legitimately headline the show and still make for an outstanding cap to what should be a great night of action.
Daniel Bryan looks to conclude his eight-month journey back to the top of the industry, but to do so, he will have to overcome one of the most powerful men in the business, not to mention one of the greatest ring generals in company history, in Triple H.
If he can, however, he will head into a Triple Threat match against Batista and Randy Orton later in the evening to compete for a title he never should have lost back in August.
The Undertaker will be tasked with defending his WrestleMania undefeated streak against the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, in what is sure to be a tremendously intense and physical bout.
John Cena will face his fear and defend his legacy from the enigmatic and creepy Bray Wyatt, who has succeeded in playing mind games with the top star of the industry to this point.
With those four matches and four others making up the card, the show promises to be incredibly entertaining, at the very least.
Who will leave the biggest event of the year with their arms raised in victory and their newly won championships in their possession? Who will suffer agonizing defeat on the biggest stage that the business has to offer?
Here are a few last-minute predictions ahead of Sunday's monumental event.
Pre-Show Match: Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Tag Team Championships
On the March 3 episode of Monday Night Raw, the Usos ended their long journey to the top of the tag team mountain when they defeated the New Age Outlaws to capture their much-deserved first WWE Tag Team Championship.
It appeared as though they would have a date with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn on April 6, but somewhere along the line, the decision was made to feature the Outlaws in a six-man tag match and focus shifted elsewhere.
The Real Americans and Ryback and Curtis Axel were rewarded with Tag title opportunities after assisting Kane in a massive beatdown of The Shield on the March 21 episode of SmackDown. Cesaro and Swagger picked up a great non-title victory over the Usos four days prior and were already considered top contenders for the titles.
Ryback and Axel, on the other hand, had endured a great number of losses and were lucky enough to be on the WrestleMania card, let alone involved in a title match.
Los Matadores joined the fray when they scored a victory over Ryback and Axel on the March 24 episode of Raw and, somehow, were deemed deserving of a tag team opportunity.
The Usos and the Real Americans are the only two teams with a legitimate shot at winning the match and leaving New Orleans with the titles in their possession. The other two duos are simply there to give them something to do.
With that said, the Usos have been one of the best teams in the company for quite some time, and with their long-awaited title victory coming less than a month ago, expect them to kick off the night's festivities with a hot match that sees them thrill the 60,000-plus fans with their high-energy style and retain the titles after pinning either Ryback or Axel.
The Shield vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws
The Hounds of Justice enter WrestleMania as the hottest act not involved in any of the main events. Their recent babyface turn has given fans the excuse needed to cheer them, something a large part of the audience was already doing.
Sunday night, they will take on veterans of the mat wars when they meet Kane and the New Age Outlaws in a big six-man tag team match.
The issues between The Shield and the Director of Operations began when Kane attempted to take attention off of himself for losing a series of matches to Daniel Bryan and put it on The Shield, which had been dealing with a potential implosion. Kane gave out orders to Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, but the Hounds had other plans in mind.
They abandoned Kane during a match with Big Show, drawing his ire. When he demanded that The Shield attack Jerry "the King" Lawler in response to Daniel Bryan's Occupy Raw segment, which took place in Lawler's hometown of Memphis, the trio turned on him and left him lying following a triple powerbomb.
On the March 21 episode of SmackDown, Kane was joined by the New Age Outlaws and a host of other heel tag teams in beating down Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose and leaving them lying for the first time in the young stars' careers.
Days later on Raw, a match between The Shield and Kane and the Outlaws was made official. On the March 31 episode of Raw, Road Dogg and Gunn rescued Kane from what was sure to be a brutal beatdown, ensuring that the Director of Operations would make it to New Orleans in one piece.
The Shield is the logical choice here, given that all three members are younger and have more of an upside at this point in their careers than the opposition.
Expect an old-school wrestling match that is a bit more toned down from the Shield's standard fare but still sees Rollins pull out all of the stops with his high-risk offense and Reigns dominate with his Superman Punch and spear. Ambrose delivered on of his finest performances as the babyface in peril during a recent match against the Real Americans and could easily fill that role come Sunday evening.
Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational
Since June of 2013, there has been one consistent on WWE programming, and that is AJ Lee's status as the Divas champion. She defeated Kaitlyn way back at the that month's Payback pay-per-view and since then has successfully defended it against every cast member of the Total Divas reality show that has been put in front of her.
Unfortunately, those same few contenders have been cycled through repeatedly and as a result, the entire Divas division has been rendered largely meaningless over the last six months. Sunday night, the WWE will attempt to rectify that situation with a 14-Diva Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational match.
In that match, the first woman to score a pinfall or submission will leave with the title.
Two months ago, it appeared as though Naomi was going to be the competitor to take the Divas title away from AJ. Then injury struck and those plans were put on hold. Now, with 13 different challengers gunning for the top prize in women's wrestling, the favorite is anyone's guess.
Emma, Rosa Mendes, Layla, Alicia Fox (sadly), Aksana and dark-horse contender Tamina can all seemingly be ruled out. None of them is part of the Total Divas cast, and if anyone is taking the championship from AJ, it will be one of the reality show stars.
Natalya may be the best ring worker and the most respected of the cast, but she has had her opportunities recently and does not have a great deal of momentum on her side entering the show. Eva Marie should not be allowed anywhere near the title, let alone in a match for it on the biggest stage in sports entertainment.
Cameron is nowhere good enough to hold the title, and Summer Rae is a heel. The likelihood that one heel ends another heel's lengthy title reign is extremely low.
Which brings us to the most realistic choices to dethrone AJ and leave with the title.
The Bella Twins are the stars of the Total Divas show and could easily leave the Superdome with championship. As noted above, Naomi was the favorite to capture the title before her gruesome eye injury.
By the end of the evening, however, the Divas Championship will reside where it currently does: around the petite waist of AJ Lee.
Matches like the Vickie Guerrero Invitational are tailor made to provide insurmountable odds for the heel champion, only for said heel champion to capitalize on an opening, score a pinfall or submission victory and stun the world. AJ will do just that, biding her time and sliding in just in the nick of time to pin a downed Diva and retain her title.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
On the March 10 episode of Raw, Hulk Hogan announced the first-ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The match, he revealed, would feature 30 Superstars competing in an over-the-top-rope match with the winner earning the prestigious Andre the Giant Memorial trophy.
While the match was instantly given meaning thanks to Hogan's personal announcement of it and the fact that it shares the name of the greatest giant in wrestling history, it was clear to see that it was really just the "Creative doesn't have anything for you right now" Battle Royal.
Regardless, the creative team has done a very good job of putting over the prestige that will come with winning the match and just how much former world champions such as Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Sheamus and the Miz want to win.
On the March 31 episode of Raw, an episode of Piper's Pit became an impromptu preview of the match as, Superstars fought all over the squared circle before being cleared out by the one star comparable to Andre, the Big Show.
WWE has repeatedly told us Big Show is the favorite to win the match, to the point that it simply cannot happen. While the World's Largest Athlete should be expected to have a great showing in a match that suits him well, expect another competitor's star to rise as he eliminates the giant and scores the victory.
The best bet? Alexander Rusev.
Rusev has been appearing before live audiences, cutting promos with the assistance of his social ambassador Lana, for weeks leading up WrestleMania. Though he is not advertised for the match, expect the Bulgarian Brute to enter the bout and dump Big Show over the top rope to win the match and immediately elevate his star on the biggest night of the year for WWE.
If WWE decides to hold off on the Rusev debut until Raw on Monday, keep your eyes on Ziggler, who has enjoyed a relatively hot win streak in recent weeks.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
The match this writer most anticipates is the one between John Cena and Bray Wyatt.
The promo work done by Wyatt has been some of the finest in WWE history, thus thoroughly enhancing a storyline that sees the charismatic, enigmatic "family" leader targeting Cena's legacy. He has stated his desire to show the world the real Cena and not the romanticized hero that fans are exposed to on a weekly basis.
The vendetta between Wyatt and Cena began back in January at the Royal Rumble when Bray, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper cost Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The followup took a backseat when it was announced that the Wyatt Family would meet The Shield at Elimination Chamber. At that show, the Wyatt Family emerged victorious and later in the broadcast appeared inside the chamber and, once again, cost Cena the top prize in the sport.
Wyatt has played mind games with Cena ever since, evoking fear in the leader of the Cenation.
On the March 31 episode of Raw, Cena played some games of his own, entering the ring in a sheep mask and standing side by side with Rowan and Harper. He then ripped it off and cleared the ring of the Wyatt Family. Bray watched from the ramp, curled up and signing, "He's got the whole world, in his hands."
Now that Cena has proven that he can dish out as well as he takes, one has to wonder what Wyatt will have in store for the West Newbury native this weekend at WrestleMania.
John Cena standing tall after outsmarting Bray Wyatt on Monday night's Raw may very well have sealed the former WWE and World Heavyweight champion's fate.
The company has a penchant for certain booking methods. One of the rules when it comes to its style of bookings is that the Superstar standing tall in the center of the ring on the Raw before the pay-per-view is destined to lose when the subsequent PPV rolls around.
With Cena standing tall to close out that March 31 show, fans hoping to see Wyatt celebrate the biggest win of his career on the grandest stage in the sport are feeling more comfortable that the third-generation star can leave New Orleans with his arm raised in victory.
There is still a great deal of money left in a Cena-Wyatt feud and thus, the story should continue with a Wyatt victory. He does not need a win to be elevated, but it would certainly help.
Expect to see Wyatt throw himself at Cena, utilizing his explosive offense to catch Cena off guard, setting him up for Sister Abigail and securing his first WrestleMania win.
Whether Rowan and Harper get involved remains the question.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
Take two Superstars who are extremely familiar with one another, put them in the ring against each other at the most important show of the year and watch the magic happen.
At least that seems to be the approach Creative took to writing the storyline for Undertaker and Brock Lesnar's match this Sunday night.
The entire program leaned heavily on the same story elements that have been part of Undertaker rivalries for well over two decades. Caskets, druids, eerie lighting and mind games were used to try to drum up interest in a rivalry that, at its heart, is a very simple one: Undertaker has an undefeated streak at WrestleMania and Brock Lesnar wants to be the man who ends it.
Watching Lesnar try to emote fear was somewhat comical given how many times he has wrestled the Phenom and how many times he has defeated him, most notably inside Hell in a Cell way back in October of 2002. In fact, Lesnar has an impressive win-loss record against the Deadman, a fact that the company failed to mention while building the feud.
Undertaker outclassed Lesnar throughout the entire program until the March 31 episode of Raw, where the Beast exhibited some of the strength, raw power and fury that makes him a very dangerous threat to the Undertaker's storied streak by delivering a devastating F5.
Death. Taxes. Undertaker wins at WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
What is there left to say about the Daniel Bryan-Triple H match that has not already been said?
The rivalry dates back eight months and is a textbook case of an authority figure not wanting a specific Superstar to be the top guy in the industry because of the way he looks. It worked nearly two decades ago for Steve Austin and Vince McMahon and is succeeding now, thanks in large part to the passionate support millions of WWE fans have shown for Daniel Bryan in his quest to rise to the top of the industry and capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
To do so, he will have to defeat the one man who has held him back for nearly a year and caused him repeated physical and emotional pain.
Triple H is a businessman on most nights, but come Sunday evening, he will revert back to the cerebral competitor who ended the careers of many and stunted the growth of even more by beating them in the center of the ring.
Determined to prove that the entire Bryan phenomenon is simply a fad, The Game will look to end Bryan and the Yes Movement once and for all by defeating him in the night's most hotly anticipated match and go on to compete for the title he covets so very much.
Daniel Bryan has overcome so many trials and tribulations since seeing his dream of becoming WWE champion at SummerSlam last August become a nightmare that the company must absolutely provide the payoff his journey warrants the right way. It must give fans the happy ending to the story that they have stuck by for nearly an entire year.
The only way to do that is to have Bryan go over Triple H in grand fashion, earning himself a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the night's main event. Whether that is via pinfall following the running knee or by submission with the Yes! Lock, the match must end with Bryan and the 60,000 fans in attendance pointing toward the heavens and chanting, "YES!"
Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Batista's return to WWE on the January 20 episode of Raw began a journey back to the top of WWE that has been anything but easy for the Animal.
At one time one of the most popular stars in the industry, Batista returned to a company that has changed. No longer is bigger better. In fact, the best wrestlers tend to shine through and earn high-profile spots on the card, a fact that he has learned in several encounters with Daniel Bryan to this point.
Despite winning the Royal Rumble in January and rediscovering some of the elements that made him one of the most entertaining villains in WWE prior to his departure in 2010, Batista remains an afterthought in his big return to the grand stage of WrestleMania.
Speaking of afterthoughts, Randy Orton is the current WWE World Heavyweight champion and, even more than Batista, has become an afterthought heading into the main event of WrestleMania, where his title will be on the line.
After devolving from the quick-striking, venomous Viper into a whiny, corporate champion who relies heavily on the interference of others to help him retain his title, Orton has fallen off significantly, to the point that he is largely irrelevant heading into Sunday's show.
In fact, the spotlight will shine brightest on the man who will join them in the night's Triple Threat main event. Either Daniel Bryan or Triple H will compete for the right to call themselves WWE World Heavyweight champion.
Bonus BOLD Prediction
After being defeated in his match against Daniel Bryan, Triple H will abuse his power one last time to get himself entered into the main event of the night, making it a Fatal 4-Way match.
Batista will hold the WWE title in time for his major motion picture Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy to hit theatres. With that said, he will not win it on Sunday night. Instead, Bryan will ignite the Yes Era in WWE by defeating Batista and Orton and capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The win will be an emotional one, as Bryan will celebrate the culmination of a 15-year journey that took him from bingo halls and National Guard armories to competing in front of tens of thousands of fans at the biggest event in the history of sports and entertainment.
A moment in time that will be looked back upon for generations to come as the night WWE finally listened to its audience and gave the fans everything they wanted.
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