We are only hours apart from WrestleMania 27.
After two months of building up, we’ll finally see the end of several feuds, but a few will probably keep going.
Despite all the big names that left the company recently, the WWE managed to have a good card for this night.
We have nine matches scheduled, some of them very attractive.
It seems a perfect time to analyze the build-up of the event and how could every match turn out.
Singles Match for the United States Championship
The once-skyrocketed Sheamus was being buried in the past months.
He went from winning the King of the Ring tournament to losing against John Morrison, then Mark Henry.
Then he got destroyed by Triple H and lost in 30 seconds against Evan Bourne.
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan had gone from a good feud against the Miz and great matches against Dolph Zigger to become the trigger of the Bella Twins heel turn.
So, after Sheamus lost a match against Daniel Bryan by count-out, he asked for a US Championship match...and he got it.
Sheamus won one week later and Bryan invoked his re-match clause for WrestleMania.
This could be a great opener for the show. Daniel Bryan is one of the best in-ring performers in the world and Sheamus had great matches in his feud with Morrison.
By winning, Sheamus could recover the momentum lost in the past months, while Bryan could move on to another feud—even a WWE Championship match if the Miz keeps the belt a bit longer.
There was a time when you actually had to make merits to get a title match.
Now, Sheamus just had to lose 6,304 matches and promise to quit if he didn’t win to get his opportunity.
Sheamus should retain his title cleanly.
Singles Match with Special Referee “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The anonymous RAW general manager decided to make a 61-year old commentator the first No.1 contender to the Miz’s WWE Championship...and that old man almost beat the champion.
However, the other commentator in the show prevented Jerry Lawler from winning the match.
That started a feud that continued until another title match for the 61-year old man, in which Michael Cole intervened again.
Lawler lost his second title chance and challenged Cole to a match at WrestleMania 27.
Cole said yes, as long as he could pick the man on his corner and the referee.
Cole presented former world heavyweight champion Jack Swagger as his trainer and was ready to appoint JBL as the referee, but “Stone Cold” Steve Austin appeared in the contract signing and put himself in the match.
We get one more appearance Steve Austin at WrestleMania.
Jerry Lawler finally gets a WrestleMania match after many years with the company.
WWE Creative has spent much more time building up a feud between commentators than actually putting over the young wrestlers in the roster. The build-up has had a bit of bad taste, especially the mentions to Lawler’s recently deceased mother.
Jack Swagger went from world heavyweight champion to Michael Cole’s sidekick in less than one year.
We all know how this will end: Lawler will kick Cole’s ass, we’ll see a stunner from Steve Austin—probably on Swagger—and they will end celebrating with beer.
Two weeks before the Royal Rumble, Rey Mysterio accidentally broke Cody Rhodes’ nose while hitting the 619 with an exposed knee brace during a match.
Rhodes underwent facial reconstruction surgery, missing the Rumble and the Elimination Chamber and blaming Mysterio for ruining his “dashing” looks.
After the Elimination Chamber, Dusty Rhodes appeared on SmackDown to force his son to apologize to Mysterio.
But it turned to be a set-up and Cody attacked the Master of the 619.
Rhodes challenged Mysterio to a match and promised to deliver the same punishment he suffered: a kick with a exposed knee brace over Mysterio’s head.
The mere fact that Cody has this match is a push for him, considering other young starts like Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase or Evan Bourne didn’t even make it to the card, while John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger are in filler roles.
Rhodes has been great since the start of the feud, delivering great promos and getting a lot of heat from the fans.
This could be a show-stealer.
Rhodes has great skills and Mysterio, although injuries have slowed down him, still has enough to make a good match.
The build-up has been very good, using a little incident during a match to start a big storyline.
I can’t think of anything wrong about this feud yet.
It has been reported that Rey Mysterio handpicked Rhodes for this match, which should mean the start of a push for him.
In that case, Cody should win.
But considering Mysterio is one of the top faces in the WWE, it probably won’t be a clean finish, allowing the feud to continue at Extreme Rules.
Eight-man Tag-Team Match
Since Wade Barrett’s arrival to SmackDown, he stated he wanted to take down the biggest man on the roster, Big Show.
Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel joined Barrett to form the Corre, keeping the attacks on Big Show and also regaining the tag-team championship from Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov.
The Corre made the mistake of interfering in a Big Show-Kane match, leading to an awkward reunion between the Giant and the Big Red Monster (the “you complete me” moment).
The Giant and the Big Red Monster later saved Santino and Kozlov from an attack by Barrett and company.
Later, Barrett defeated Kofi Kingston to become the new intercontinental champion.
Kofi won the rematch by disqualification, getting attacked by the Corre and saved by Big Show and the other faces.
Finally, this Saturday Kozlov was viciously attacked by the Corre during WWE Fan Axxess, which probably means Kofi will replace him in the match.
While the New Nexus was quickly buried, the Corre has looked strong in this feud, capturing two titles and beating their rivals many times.
Many fans believed Kofi Kingston was on the verge of being released after losing the Intercontinental Championship and being left out of the WrestleMania card.
But now he could continue a feud with Barrett, which should benefit both.
The partnership between Kane and Big Show could revive the tag-team division if they win the titles after WrestleMania.
It seemed the creative staff was very dubious about what it was doing with the Corre at WrestleMania.
At first, a Corre versus Nexus match seemed logical, but that idea didn’t even make it to the Royal Rumble.
It seems odd to have the tag-team and intercontinental champions in the same match and not make them defend their titles.
It’s a shame Kofi doesn’t have a bigger match in singles competition, especially after his great series against Dolph Ziggler of last year.
To keep them looking strong, the Corre should win this match.
Let’s hope they end pinning Big Show or Kane, not Santino Marella.
Mixed Tag-Team Match
Snooki guest-starred Raw a few weeks ago, slapping Vickie Guerrero and fighting with LayCool later, helped by Trish Stratus.
Dolph Ziggler got involved to help his former girlfriend and John Morrison had nothing better to do than helping Trish and Snooki.
At least Ziggler and Morrison are on the card. They should carry most of the match to make it watchable.
It’s great to have Trish back in the ring, at least for a short span.
LayCool are the more interesting characters in the Divas division, so better having them in this weird match that just making a multi-divas bout like in the past two years.
No wrestling fan wanted Snooki in this match.
Kelly Kelly was supposed to be part of this feud, but she was replaced by the Jersey Shore “star."
Guest stars usually win at WrestleMania and returning veterans like Trish are also made to look good most of the times.
But on the other hand, we have LayCool, a duo that usually finds a way to get the victory. A victory for Ziggler over Morrison could be a great kickoff for a proper feud between them.
Considering Jerry Lawler will surely win against Michael Cole, the heels should get the victory in this match.
After a one-month feud against John Cena, suddenly CM Punk changed his target at the Royal Rumble, interfering in the WWE Championship match and costing Randy Orton the defeat.
A day later, the leader of the New Nexus explained that this was in revenge for what Orton did to him almost three years ago.
The Viper had punted Punk on the skull before his first world heavyweight championship defense, which forced CM to vacate the title.
Punk pinned Orton in the Elimination Chamber and one week later, the Raw anonymous general manager announced a match between them at WrestleMania.
The Raw GM arranged matches between Orton and all Nexus members, stipulating that if they lost, they would be banned from WrestleMania.
If they won, they would be allowed to be in Punk’s corner.
Randy defeated all, punting them in the skull after each match, effectively ending the Nexus.
This is a very well-developed feud and should be an excellent match. Punk is the best heel in the WWE and Orton has looked great in his antihero role.
The crowd will probably be split in this match, which allows the creative staff to avoid a obvious ending.
John Cena struggled with the Nexus for six months and the Randy Orton get rid of them in three weeks?
It seems we have a new Superman in the WWE.
This is probably the toughest match to predict in this card. However, now that the Nexus is gone, a victory for Punk would allow keeping this feud for a bit longer.
Orton doesn’t really need to win, while for Punk this would be a big boost, even if it is not a clean victory.
Singles Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto del Rio stated many times that winning the Royal Rumble was his destiny, and he delivered.
The day after the RR, Del Rio announced he would challenge the world heavyweight champion at WrestleMania.
Then he started a mini-feud with Kofi Kingston, which he won.
Meanwhile, Edge was stripped of the title and fired by Vickie Guerrero. But then he was rehired by Teddy Long and recovered the belt the same night.
He later defended it at the Elimination Chamber.
Right after the match, Del Rio attacked Edge, but Christian appeared to save his friend.
In the following weeks, the rivalry between Del Rio and the Canadian duo intensified, with Christian defeating the Mexican Aristocrat twice in singles matches.
To make things even, Del Rio brought Brodus Clay to the feud, which helped him to attack his rivals many times in the last weeks.
Their last encounter was in last Monday Night Raw. Edge & Christian won, but Del Rio managed to be the last man standing by snapping a cross arm-breaker on both Canadians after the match.
We got to see Edge & Christian back together after many years. This could lead to a feud or at least a tag-team run (maybe both) in the next months.
The inclusion of Christian in this feud has been a big boost for the storyline.
It has also given hope to Captain Charisma’s fans that he will be added to the title picture soon.
Del Rio has consolidated as the best heel in SmackDown and seems headed to win his first world championship in the WWE, with less than one year in the main roster.
For Christian’s fans, it’s probably a disappointment that he wasn’t added to the world heavyweight championship match.
But that could be a lose-lose situation: If Del Rio wins anyway, that would make both Edge and Christian look weak; if Christian wins, it kills Del Rio’s momentum.
My only complain about this build-up is that nothing happened in the last SmackDown. They rushed the last “episode” of this storyline to be presented in Raw.
Del Rio has had the best build-up in years and he will probably win the championship. The most intriguing aspect of this match is how he will do it.
Will Christian interfere in the match, costing the title to his friend? Will we see a heel-turn from any of the Canadian stars?
After being buried alive at Bragging Rights, the Undertaker returned in the March 21st episode of Raw, only to be interrupted by Triple H, who also returned that night.
None of them said a word, but a simple stare at the WrestleMania logo was enough to make the challenge for a match.
Since then, they never faced each other until this week’s episode of Raw, in which they were interrupted by Shawn Michaels.
Michaels ended up losing his temper after Taker played mind games with him and tried to super-kick the Deadman, but almost got choke-slammed in the process.
Triple H wanted his friend to tell Undertaker why the King of Kings would win, but HBK left the ring saying that he couldn’t do it.
Despite their age and injuries, Taker and HHH will surely manage to stage a good match.
HBK’s involvement added fuel to this feud.
Triple H is a more credible menace to the streak than Wade Barrett, Taker’s original opponent in the preliminary plans for WrestleMania.
Let’s be honest: The build-up of this match has been boring.
I didn’t mind to see them not saying a word in their first faceoff on March 21st, but the fact they didn’t even share a ring in the following four weeks didn’t help increase the interest in this match.
There has been only one punch (well, kick) attempted in the six weeks since this feud started...and it was actually from Shawn Michaels.
Singles Match for the WWE Championship
On the March 14th episode of Raw, the Rock returned to the WWE as the guest host for WrestleMania 27.
The People’s Champion made fun of John Cena and the Miz in that appearance, saying he would see them at WrestleMania.
Six days later, John Cena became the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, while the Miz defended the title against Jerry Lawler.
In the next Raw, Cena brought back his rapper gimmick for one night only to respond to the Rock’s comments.
That same night, Cena and Miz were scheduled for a Tag-Team Championship match against the Corre, with Miz winning the match almost by himself.
But the Corre invoked their re-match clause immediately, then Miz betrayed Cena to let him lose the belts.
Cena and Rock continued mocking each other for the following weeks, while Miz took advantage of that to attack Cena several times.
Finally, in the last Raw before WrestleMania, John Cena and the Rock faced each other in the ring, but the Miz interrupted them.
After Cena left the ring, Miz and his apprentice Alex Riley attacked the Rock, but the latter countered and threw both off the ring.
Cena took advantage of that to apply an Attitude Adjustment on the Rock.
After seven years, the Rock is finally back on the WWE and he is having his long-awaited feud with John Cena.
The Miz has held his own in the storyline against the two icons. He now looks like a true main-eventer.
John Cena’s rapper promo was great, reminding us his best moments of many years ago.
After many years asking for a Cena’s heel-turn, at least the WWE teased us with the Attitude Adjustment on the Rock last Monday.
The build-up for this match has been almost perfect. Maybe it took a bit too long to finally get the Rock involved in a physical confrontation, but that was probably for the best.
People will always find something to complain about. But I don’t find anything serious to criticize about how this storyline has developed.
Two months ago, everybody would say that John Cena was going to win this match. Now, it’s not that clear.
The Rock is definitely the X-factor in this match. Will he cost Cena the match or wait until after the end to retaliate?
I still think Cena is going to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Miz manages to be the last man standing.