Kester's WrestleMania 29 Preview and Predictions: The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship, Undertaker vs. CM Punk, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, and more
By Ryan Kester
The following predictions are made with no foreknowledge as to what the finishes or booking will be. They are predictions made solely based on what WWE has done before and what would make sense for storyline purposes.
The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship: WWE did a much better job with this build than they did last year. It hasn't been paced perfectly, but both men are so focused on the win that it has created the big fight feel that WWE is relying on to sell the show. Best of all, we're getting a guaranteed WWE Championship match as the WrestleMania main event.
In regards to the finish, it would be quite the shock if the closing image of the PPV wasn't John Cena standing tall over The Rock with the new WWE Championship in his hand. The only unknown variable will be if Cena is standing tall with his same usual character or if WWE follows through with the seeds planted on Monday and he turns.
Personally speaking, that would be the strongest story. Cena being unable to put away The Rock and cheating to capture the gold would fit with the themes that have gone into this build. However, predicting a Cena heel turn at 'Mania is a well-traveled road and one that is unlikely for WWE to take. Would it make for the best story and freshest product out of the big show? Certainly. Is WWE ready to give up their biggest babyface without Rock being around full time? Doubtful.
Cena goes over clean after a long fight and is left looking for a credible opponent post-Mania.
Prediction: John Cena pins The Rock and becomes the WWE Champion.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk: Oh, what a sour turn of events. When this match was first announced it was an exciting thought and one of the most anticipated matches on the Mania card. The build to this show initially held a lot of promise, but it was derailed when WWE elected to take Paul Bearer's death and run with it as the impetus for this feud. Now we are left with a match that will likely still be solidly wrestled but doesn't have the great story to make the technical display mean much.
There is little question to the outcome of this match. Undertaker is going to win the match to keep The Streak a WrestleMania staple.
Prediction: The Undertaker extends The Streak to 21-0.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred match with Triple H's career on the line: Paul Heyman deserves a great deal of gratitude for the build towards this match. Triple H and Lesnar have both shown some excellent intensity in their interactions and brawls, but Heyman's acting and mic work brought this to another level.
I would be surprised to see Triple H win here simply because there's so little to be gained from his victory. He's not going to be on the active roster and Lesnar just signed a contract extension. WWE needs Lesnar to live up to his high-profile badass hype, and Triple H needs an excuse to focus on the corporate side of the company when he's on television. Plus, this could easily give him the big WrestleMania retirement match that he's earned after so many years of wrestling for WWE.
Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H to bring his wrestling career to a close.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship: This is another match that will suffer from some unfortunately bad storytelling. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter had a lot of promise initially, but the story here never got past the basic idea that the babyface and the heel simply don't like each other. Dynamic personalities could take a story that basic and run with it, but both the Swagger and Del Rio acts have been one-note for weeks.
Originally, a prediction for Jack Swagger going over would be the safe bet considering how enamored WWE was with Glenn Beck mouthing off about the act. However, the time has come to pull the trigger and have Dolph Ziggler cash in his Money in the Bank contract and the beating Alberto Del Rio suffered on Monday could easily be the foreshadowing of this match's finish.
Alberto Del Rio will win his match against Jack Swagger after being further brutalized. He may even put Swagger away with the cross arm-breaker to give Swagger the out that he was winning the match but got caught. Then, Dolph Ziggler will cash in his contract successfully to walk out of WrestleMania with Championship gold.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio retains World Heavyweight Championship to then lose it to Dolph Ziggler.
Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston for the Tag Team Championships: If Ziggler does cash in his contract on Sunday, there will be little reason for him to be one-half of the Tag Team Champions. On top of that, this match has been almost exclusively built around Langston making his debut and not around the championships that are on the line. Langston can easily feud with either Kane or Bryan coming out of this match without holding Ziggler back in the midcard.
Even without the idea that Dolph Ziggler is moving on to the main event, there is little for Daniel Bryan or Kane to do in the current midcard and main event scene. They fit a good niche for WWE at the moment and still get enough of a reaction that there's little point in rocketing them towards a split. Furthermore, there are few babyface teams for WWE to pair against a heel tag team that's getting a stronger push than the tag team titles.
I expect that we will see a somewhat swift conclusion to this match with one of the member of Team Hell No putting away Ziggler. Langston can then go on a tear and beat up both babyfaces to give him the WrestleMania spotlight after a match that has been built around him.
Prediction: Team Hell No retains before being ran down by Big E.
Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Big Show vs. The Shield: It's time for the next chapter for The Shield. WWE has done an excellent job of establishing the group thus far, but they have taken a back seat during the build for this match and it would be a mistake to have them lose when they are already on the back burner.
I believe that there will be moments of dissention between Orton, Sheamus, and Show, but ultimately it will be the same team unison that WWE has been pushing that will bring The Shield a victory. Hopefully, after this event, WWE will focus more on the heel faction and give them a story that goes deeper into their motivation and the group's mindset.
Prediction: The Shield defeats Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry: This is an interesting pairing for WWE's annual big man 'Mania match. Ryback is over as all get-out and Mark Henry has returned to his demeanor and dominance that made his WHC run so entertaining. Ultimately, Ryback needs the high profile win more and he is the act with greater longevity for WWE. As an added bonus, Henry would only need one segment with a brutal attack and an angry promo to get his heat back.
Ryback will win after an impressive Shellshock.
Prediction: Ryback defeats Mark Henry
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: Traditionally, Chris Jericho could easily be expected to job for an up and comer; he has a history of elevating WWE's current pet projects. WWE has certainly put a lot of effort into getting the Fandango concept over.
This time, however, it would make sense for Jericho to go over. Jericho has earned the WrestleMania moment even if it is over a minor act like Fandango. I can easily see Fandango getting in another attack on Jericho tomorrow to set up the pair having a return match at Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Chris Jericho defeats Fandango.
Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins: Oh, Tons of Funk. So much potential for a monster heel tag team, but are serving as a goofy act for the kiddos. They play their part well, but it would be surprising to see WWE derail the momentum Rhodes Scholars has been gaining as of late.
Prediction: Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bellas defeat Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship: It's difficult to drum up any excitement over a midcard belt match these days. WWE is relentless with undermining the midcard titles by having them lose repeatedly to upper-midcarders and main eventers. Wade Barrett is no different and he needs to get away from the belt as quickly as possible and start getting wins again.
Miz has improved some since his return, but he needs more character development than the figure-four leglock if he's going to return to the main vent picture again. He's been floundering for a while now and a midcard championship run, at least with how WWE has handled them lately, is really the last thing he needs. Still, Barrett has promise and potential now, whereas Miz still has a long road ahead of him.
Prediction: The Miz defeats Wade Barrett and becomes the Intercontinental Champion.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter.
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