Powell's WrestleMania 28 preview and predictions: Will The Rock or John Cena go over if there's a clean finish? Will Brock Lesnar get involved? Does Undertaker move to 20-0 at WrestleMania? Will a World Title change hands?
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***The following WrestleMania 28 predictions are made without inside knowledge of the planned match finishes.
There's been a lot to pick apart when it comes to the build for WrestleMania 28, and I can't say that I have much interest in some of the undercard matches. The great thing about this lineup, though, is that I don't feel like I know the results of most of the matches going into the show. I could see a number of the matches going either way. So whether I go 9-0 or 0-9 (or probably somewhere in between), I am not embarrassed to say now that I don't feel overwhelmingly confident in the majority of these predictions. It might sound strange coming from someone who does what I do for a living, but I love it when I feel that way going into a big show, as I love mystery, drama, and surprises as much as the next person.
John Cena vs. The Rock: The year-long build had its moments, but it just didn't live up to my expectations down the stretch until the strong go-home promo. Yet even that promo isn't something we'll be talking about years from now as a great money drawing segment. Nevertheless, the build is over and the match does feel like one of the biggest in the illustrious WrestleMania history.
We know Brock Lesnar is in Miami. We also know that he and Undertaker had words at a UFC pay-per-view that was considered a potential angle to help set up a match between the two. Perhaps WWE will still go in that direction, assuming they've struck a deal with the former UFC Champion. However, my money is on Lesnar getting involved in this match. The widespread rumor was that WWE officials were considering the idea of having The Miz interfere in this match at one point. I hated that idea because Miz just hasn't been treated like a big enough deal regardless of the WrestleMania 27 history.
Lesnar, on the other hand, is a big enough name that WWE could probably have him get involved and not risk too much backlash from the paying customers. Don't get me wrong, I want the match that's been hyped for a year as the biggest in WrestleMania history to have a clean finish, but I think it's more likely that we get Brock interfering to give the loser an out and a future storyline.
I could see Brock's interference going either way in terms of helping one man beat the other. I lean toward his interference setting up The Rock with a win, sending the crowd home happy from that standpoint, and giving John Cena a big program between now and next WrestleMania. Perhaps we still get Rock vs. Brock next year, but they could always set that up down the road and I hope they would, as I believe the cons outnumber the pros regarding announcing the main event in advance. For instance, you can't tell me that the Raw ratings would have bombed so badly throughout March if WWE had built to a big moment at some point between the Royal Rumble and the day after Elimination Chamber and created buzz for Rock vs. Cena at that point.
While my official prediction is Brock interferes, I don't want it to be labeled a copout, so I'll include a "clean finish" prediction just in case that's the direction they choose to go in. WWE has to know that Cena is going to be booed by a large percentage of the audience and having him win would send a lot of fans and pay-per-view buyers home unhappy. Cena is the full-time guy, though, and he's been so adamant in his promos about winning, whereas last year he didn't talk about winning the match or the WWE Championship because he knew he was losing. Thus, if there is a clean finish, I do believe it will be Cena going over. Again, though, I don't expect that to happen.
Prediction: The Rock wins due to Brock Lesnar's interference.
Undertaker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as the Special Guest Referee in a Hell in a Cell Match: Can they top last year's match? The addition of the Hell in a Cell structure and HBK gives them some extra help. Just about everyone expects Taker to win this match, yet if they are able to accomplish what they did last year, then the fans will suspend their disbelief and be hanging on every near fall, which is absolutely amazing when you think about it. It will be interesting to see whether the match is missing something for pay-per-view buyers without Jim Ross on the call.
Taker will get the Streak to 20-0, but the more intriguing question is how does he get there. My guess is that when push comes to shove, Shawn Michaels tries to help Triple H, only to have Taker rough him up and force Shawn to count the three (even if Shawn is knocked out and Taker has to count the pin himself). It would also be intriguing if Taker applied the Hell's Gate gogoplata submission and a reluctant Shawn had to call for the bell to save his longtime friend. Will any of this lead to Triple H vs. HBK at WrestleMania 29? Shawn was stern in his denial on Twitter. I wouldn't expect him to confirm it if that were the case, but I also wouldn't expect him to acknowledge it whatsoever. Thus, I don't believe so, though stranger things have happened.
Prediction: Undertaker wins clean.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship: Somehow, someway, these two will have a rematch at Extreme Rules in Chicago next month. Jericho really needs the win because his character hasn't been booked in a manner that lets him back up anything he says (see his "End of the World" comments leading into the Royal Rumble match he didn't win). Then again, Punk spoke in an interview recently about how WWE hasn't played hot potato with the belt since he won it. I'm all for building up the prestige of the title, but I do believe it and Punk can handle a brief title change. Thus, I'm going with Jericho to win, only to lose the belt in Chicago at Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Chris Jericho wins the WWE Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship: This is another feud that will continue coming out of WrestleMania. WWE officials are high on both men and while I thought it was a lock that Sheamus would win the championship at one point, I'm not as confident today. It's great to see these guys go from the ridiculous dark match snubbing last year into a title match on this year's show. I'm sticking with my Sheamus pick. Even if Bryan loses, this won't be his last title reign, as I believe he's established himself as a player in the eyes of Vince McMahon.
Prediction: Sheamus wins the World Hvt. Championship.
Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show for the Intercontinental Title: Cody did a great job of playing the obnoxious heel and getting under the skin of fans with those embarrassing WrestleMania videos. It struck me as a setup for Big Show finally having his WrestleMania moment. I'm not sure whether that moment will include capturing the title belt, as it doesn't seem like something Show needs. Rather, I expect a DQ of some sorts and then Show clocks Cody with the WMD knockout punch and plays that video on television this week to give Cody a taste of his own medicine.
Prediction: Big Show wins by DQ, Cody retains.
Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy in a 12-man tag: The build for the match was so disappointing in that WWE turned this into the comedy match that feels similar to the Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole match from WrestleMania 27. In the process, they've made the stipulation that the winning general manager controls both brands feel completely irrelevant. I assume Eve kisses Zack Ryder or manipulates him into doing something stupid that allows Team Johnny to go over. I also can't rule out Lord Tensai debuting and helping the heel team go over.
Prediction: Team Johnny wins.
Kane vs. Randy Orton: The birthday boy didn't exactly get a great gift in the form of a memorable WrestleMania match. Keep in mind that Orton was slated to face Alberto Del Rio, who Kane replaced due to injury. We know WWE has plans for an Orton vs. Del Rio feud, so I could see Alberto interfering and helping Kane win. If there's a clean finish, then it's Orton with the RKO.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins clean.
Maria Menounos and Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve. WWE has yet to acknowledge that Menounos broke two ribs while training for "Dancing with the Stars" recently. She says she's still wrestling, but I expect her to do even less than she would have if she were healthy. This should be short and sweet, and I could see all of the Divas getting involved in some way just to get them all on the show. I'm surprised it never got the lumberjill stipulation, though I suppose that could be something that occurs during the show.
Prediction: Kelly and Maria win via pinfall.
Epico and Primo vs. The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE added this match as a pre-show bonus. I guess this is replacing the annual WrestleMania "get everyone on the show" battle royal. It's nice to see the tag titles back at Mania even if they're not on the main card. I like the Epico and Primo pairing, and I enjoy watching Rosa jiggle when they win. I may be thinking with my, um, heart rather than my brain on this one.
Prediction: Epico and Primo retain the WWE Tag Titles, Rosa jiggles.
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