Powell's WWE WrestleMania 29 Preview and Predictions: The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship, Brock Lesnar attempts to end Triple H's career, C.M. Punk tries to end Undertaker's Streak
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to the WrestleMania 29 audio review with former WWE creative team member Seth Mates Twitter.com/SethMates, Jason Powell, and Chris Shore. Join us on the ad-free version of the website (and access the members' section of our iPhone and Android apps) by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship: I convinced myself earlier this week that this would be the year. Cena telling Raw viewers that the face of WWE would change whether he won lost, similar followup statements, and the mere thought of WWE reverting to the safe, tired, and predictable formula caused me to convince myself that this would finally be the year that John Cena would turn heel.
Yet here we are on WrestleMania Sunday and I can't shake the feeling that we are indeed headed for another year of the same old stale Cena babyface routine. WWE fans supposedly had their break in 2012 when Cena's down year consisted of headlining WrestleMania, beating Brock Lesnar weeks later, and headlining most pay-per-views.
I am not a John Cena hater. It seems like anytime anyone suggests that WWE would be better off or simply more entertaining with Cena as a heel, they are immediately branded a Cena hater or a smark. Whatever. I firmly believe WWE business would be stronger and the product would be more entertaining should turn today than it will be if we get the usual Cena.
Go ahead and snobbishly snicker if you're the type of person who does so whenever someone dares to suggest what more than half the fans filling WWE arenas on Monday nights seem to be clamoring for. WWE fans are ready for a change, not a full year of the same old silly Cena character. Give him an edge, turn him heel, just don't give us the same old "this is who I am and I'm not changing" smirking Cena.
The Boston kid turns on The People's Champion and the WWE Universe under the Statue of Liberty set on the biggest stage of them all. Real money matches with Ryback, Randy Orton, and Sheamus are coming soon, and an actual storyline need for a rubber match between Rock and Cena next year. I would love to say that I am sticking to my guns and predicting all of that will happen. However, the safe bet is Cena staying the course and evening the score with The Rock.
Fortunately, I believe they can top last year's match and create memorable near fall moments. Regardless of the outcome, the build was strong and it left me looking forward to the rematch more than their original match. They've done good business on the mic and this feels like a big time match. Still, I can't shake the feeling that a big WrestleMania hangover kicks once Cena wins clean.
Prediction: John Cena pins The Rock to win the WWE Championship.
The Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk: Punk delivered a message in an interview with Peter Rosenberg to anyone who feels the Paul Bearer angle has been offensive. F--- You. I'm not sure whether I should feel f---ed. I wasn't offended, but I did find the Raw closing angle to be cheap, tacky, and even unnecessary. If that is grounds for a f--- you from Punk, well, f--- him back.
I was really fired up about this match when it was merely rumored. I never knew whether the masses would see Punk as a real threat to The Streak, yet I was confident that Punk, Paul Heyman, and Taker would do everything they could to make that happen. We may never know what the strategy for the build to this match would have been before the unfortunate passing of Bill Moody.
Once the man better known as Paul Bearer died, the focus became Punk doing everything but pissing on the man's grave (let me guess, Percy would have loved that too?) with the goal of making fans pay to see Taker get his revenge. Punk winning by pin or submission is an afterthought. They're teasing us with the possibility that Taker might be DQ'd or counted out to end The Streak. Ugh.
Despite the build, I am really looking forward to seeing the match these two produce. It's been years since many fans thought there was a hope in hell of Taker losing a WrestleMania match before the bell rang. Once it has, he and his opponents have made fans forget their preconceived notions and buy into countless near falls and submission teases. Punk and Taker are certainly great enough to do the same.
Prediction: The Undertaker pins C.M. Punk to extend The Streak to 21-0.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in a No Holds Barred match with Triple H's career on the line: This match has been the opposite of Taker vs. Punk for me in that I groaned at the idea of this match on paper, yet the build has been right up my alley. Paul Heyman's mic work and a big, bloody brawl was enough to make me forgive the SummerSlam snoozer and look forward to their second attempt. I love that the rest of the McMahon family stayed out of it and let the focus be the intensity between Brock and Hunter.
The addition of Shawn Michaels to the match at the last minute became a nice surprise only because the weeks went on and we had prepared ourselves for a WrestleMania without HBK. I'd enjoy seeing HBK throw in the towel for Triple H, leading to a bitter Hunter eventually dragging Shawn back into the ring for an unsanctioned street fight (that's how they got around Ric Flair being in the ring), but I'm not holding my breath when it comes to HBK wrestling again.
This just doesn't feel like Triple H's last match. One flaw of the otherwise impressive build was that Triple H never sold the retirement possibility. He never convinced viewers that this could be the end or that he was feeling the pressure because he wanted to go out on his terms. Thus, the outcome seems rather predictable. However, I am all for the retirement stipulation being in play, as it gives the match meaning. The near falls will mean so much more than they would have if this were merely a grudge match with nothing at stake. I expect something to happen with Shawn that helps Hunter and protects Lesnar.
Prediction: Triple H wins and keeps his career alive.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship: I am thrilled for Zeb Colter. It's been such an insane year for him and his family after the loss of his granddaughter, and suddenly he finds himself playing a big role in a title match at WrestleMania. It's the biggest feel good story that you won't hear about during the WrestleMania broadcast tonight due to his heel role.
WWE wants Del Rio to be a feel good story. The "Born in Mexico, Made in America" line feels so forced. WWE desperately wants a Hispanic star. The question now is whether they are willing to admit to themselves that Del Rio just isn't the big star they hoped he could be. Swagger and Colter got off to a hot start by pushing the envelope with their political characters, but it feels like they peaked a few weeks in and have been repeating themselves ever since. We the people!
The Swagger and Colter characters are so one dimensional that they need to keep feuding with Del Rio. Okay, so Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara are options, but realistically you have to think this feud will continue. However, it doesn't have to continue with the World Hvt. Championship. Thus, I'll take Del Rio winning, Swagger beating the holy hell out of him after the match, and the opportunistic Dolph Ziggler cashing in successfully. Wishful thinking?
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler cashes in his Money in the Bank contract and wins the World Heavyweight Championship.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Based on the previous prediction, you may think I'm taking the popular "Dolph holds two titles" approach. I do believe Dolph comes out of WrestleMania with a title, but I don't know about two titles. It would be fun, but it might be a little too much. I could even see Dolph and Langston winning here, but then Dolph doesn't cash in later. Honestly, I don't have a strong feeling about this match, but I'll play it safe. Will we get a tease of Bryan losing in 18 seconds?
Prediction: Kane and Daniel Bryan retain the WWE Tag Team Championship with a little help from a friend.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry: If there is a clean pin, then Ryback goes over strong. It's low enough on the card that they could get away with doing a cheap DQ to set up the need for a rematch. It will be interesting to hear what type of reaction the WrestleMania crowd gives Ryback. Here's hoping it's something more clever than the tired Goldberg chants. Silliest Booking Scenario: Rob Van Dam debuts as The Fashion Cop and attacks Ryback for stealing his singlet. You just lost IQ points for read that. My apologies.
Prediction: Ryback wins.
The Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns) vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show: One of the trios is a unit, the other trio is a group of babyface wrestlers. The smart finish is The Shield going over strong. The other three can easily absorb the loss. There's plenty of suspicion that Orton will turn heel. Lord knows he wants to. Why not? It would give he and Sheamus something to do and then Show can move on to something else.
Prediction: The Shield win.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: I don't care what anyone says. I'm looking forward to watching Fandango dance his way onto the WrestleMania stage. This would be a great time for Fandango's female friend to do more than dance. It would please the band Foreigner, and a simple distraction could or leg trip would catch most fans by surprise simply because the sidekicks have kept such a low profile once Fandango's matches have started. Fandango is the new toy and, like everyone, I assume he goes over in his "debut."
Prediction: Fandango wins.
Brodus Clay, Sweet T, Naomi, and Cameron vs. Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, and The Bella Twins in a mixed tag match: The Bella Twins attempt Twin Magic. The referee gives them a "Really?" look while staring at their chests. Clay and company used the fun bag distraction to get the win. However, we all win if Sandow cuts a promo during his longer than usual walk to the ring.
Prediction: Clay, T, Naomi, and Cameron win.
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship: Miz told the world that the first match and the last match are the most important. Hey, Miz, next time go with the Reese Bobby approach by saying, "If you're not first, you're last." If anyone calls you on it, just claim you were on peyote when you said it. There was a time when I could have cared about the IC Title being relegated to pre-show status. 744 Barrett non-title losses later and I couldn't care less. It's a shame too because I love the old school tradition of the title and I really thought Barrett was just the right guy to make it mean something again. The consensus seems to be that Miz will win so they can have a babyface title change on the pre-show. Miz may not be very popular with the NY/NJ fans, so I'll go against the grain.
Prediction: Wade Barrett retains the Intercontinental Title.
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