Gutteridge’s “Man vs. Machine” Wrestlemania 29 Predictions: Can Wrestlemania overcome a weak build to deliver a memorable show? Will WWE ’13 manage to predict the biggest show of the year?
By Darren Gutteridge
Can Dot Net contributor Darren Gutteridge predict the outcomes of pay-per-view matches better than the WWE '13 video game simulator? Let's find out together.
Although this may be down to my transition from ‘childhood mark’ fan to ‘cynical, above-it-all’ fan, I can’t remember a Mania card I have been less excited for. While last year certainly wasn’t built spectacularly well, I was incredibly excited for HHH vs. Undertaker, as well as Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (a prime example for never getting your hopes up).
This year, while on paper it’s arguably better looking than Mania 28, not one feud has really captured the imagination. In fact, a good selection of matches have felt thrown together a few weeks out, instead of foreshadowed from the Rumble onwards. Having said that, great wrestling can always overcome a lame programme, so lets hold out hope that the wrestlers give us everything to make this not turn into a challenger for Wrestlemania 27’s status as the ‘worst Mania of the modern era’.
Last time out, I predicted 6 matches correctly, and WWE ’13 only managed 2. I sensed it may be closer than this when I started this tongue-in-cheek competition, but now I have a crushing 3-0 lead over an inanimate disc.
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Title: This, a match for a title that once upon a time meant so much to so many, is getting bumped to the pre-show, instead of the mixed tag? For shame. If anything, you would want Brodus to get the crowd jumping with his dancing, but it’s not like many people will care for either match. If anything, they have picked the wrong undercard champion here. Miz and Cesaro were already feuding for the US Title, why not carry that on?
My guess here, and it is only a guess, is The Miz picks up the win and the belt. Why? Because he cracked a million Twitter followers, and we all know that is the most important thing a wrestler can do these days. Wade, hopefully, uses this loss to escape the mid-card hell, and push into the main event picture between now and Wrestlemania 30.
Prediction: The Miz defeats Wade Barrett to win the Intercontinental Title
WWE ’13: Barrett defeats The Miz
Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Sweet T) and The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) and the Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki): You think the Intercontinental Title getting pushed to the pre-show is a travesty, try telling that to Antonio Cesaro, who has been very impressive in his debut year, US Champion for going on 8 months, and still doesn’t have a match, yet Tensai, The Bellas and The Funkadactyls do. I’m excited for Sandow’s Mania debut, as he has been the best new thing in WWE this year, but I can’t see this being anything other than a 3 minute squash/buffer match.
Prediction: Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls defeat Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins
WWE ’13: Rhodes won for his team by pinning Clay
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango: It looked for all the world like we would be getting Dolph Ziggler vs. Jericho, but alas, someone had the bright spark to crowbar Ziggler into a feud with Team Hell No, and lump Jericho with Fandango. And having said that, this (THIS!?!) has been one of the more consistent builds of the whole card. Jericho mocks, Fandango gets the drop on him, and then shows good intensity on the mic. How Fandango gets the sneaky drop when his entrance requires a giant metal rig with streamers on it to be erected I’ll never know.
Would they have brought Jericho back to job for three PPVs in a row? I doubt it. If Jericho is hanging around until Extreme Rules, I could see Fandango getting his launch pad win there, but I foresee a simple end to this simple story, with the babyface getting his revenge on the heel. Look for this to be the ‘get everyone on the card’ match, with it turning into a lumberjack match.
Prediction: Chris Jericho defeats Fandango
WWE ’13: Jericho defeats Fandango
Ryback vs. Mark Henry: Speaking of being crowbar’d into feuds, I can’t help but feel Ryback should be angry he’s not getting the chance to face The Shield on Sunday instead of Henry. The Shield has targeted Ryback more than anybody else, so shouldn’t he want to be there for their supposed downfall? That thought plays into my prediction for both the six-man match and this one.
Ryback has had a lot of losses on PPV, so if WWE has any sense, he’ll win here. Henry if Teflon, as he can lose here, destroy (insert babyface name here) the next night, and people will buy into him again. Hell, he could be a nice buffer feud for Cena going into Extreme Rules if Rock isn’t hanging around. I’m not expecting a classic, but a few feats of amazing strength may be enough for me to give a damn and pay attention come Sunday.
Prediction: Ryback defeats Mark Henry
WWE ’13: Ryback defeats Henry
Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns): I think I’d be more into this match if either Show, Sheamus and Orton had bickered more, or if it felt ‘final’. Unfortunately, WWE moved away from the ‘tension’ angle, showing the three babyfaces working well together over the past few weeks, and there is no indication that if they lose, The Shield will go their separate ways.
All of that added to the Ryback question mark leads me to believe this will be the nailed on heel victory of the night. While growing a little stale, The Shield just need to clarify their purpose and direction, and they can easily become hot again. There is no reason to split them yet either, as they haven’t developed unique enough personalities to suddenly branch out as three singles guys and not immediately sink. My guess is the babyfaces argue, the Shield capitalises, and at Extreme Rules, Ryback inserts himself into Show’s position and gets revenge for all The Shield has done to him.
Prediction: The Shield defeats Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show
WWE ’13: Ambrose won for his team by pinning Orton
Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Firstly, I think it may have been a mistake not to culminate AJ’s breakout year with her winning the Divas title at Mania from Kaitlyn, in what could have been a very personnel feud.
Moving on, I’m excited that one of my guys from NXT is getting to ‘debut’ at Mania (I wish Cole would stop saying Bryan and Kane couldn’t possibly know anything about Big E, since he’s been wrestling on NXT for 6+ months), and think this could be a sleeper hit of a match. We all know how good Ziggler and Bryan are, but Kane and Big E can bring some big time strength and aggression to compliment the technical side of the match. Look for AJ to play a role in the finish, with Ziggler and Big E going over and Team Hell No finally starting their road to breaking up.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston defeat Team Hell No to win the WWE Tag Team Championships.
WWE ’13: Kane won for his team by pinning Ziggler
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Title: I can’t believe this made it to the show. This feud has bombed from the get go, and nothing they have tried, from comedy skits to injury angles, has kick started it. Del Rio is a weak, desperately pandering champion, and Swagger hasn’t stepped up to the plate with his new character.
Happily, this should be the end. Ricardo will get to rough up Zeb Coulter, Del Rio will make Swagger tap, and we can all move on. What that means for Swagger I don’t know (go pick on Sin Cara?), but the quicker he and Del Rio are taken away from the title picture the better. This PPV, I won’t pick Ziggler to cash in. I would like him to, but the idea of his MITB contract running out of time is a good storyline, so I’ll hold out for that.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio defeats Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Title
WWE ’13: Del Rio defeats Swagger
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred match, with Triple H’s career on the line: Arguably, this match has enjoyed the best build. Maybe ‘best’ is pushing it, but it’s defiantly the most consistent. While The Rock and Cena have had a few inconsequential promos along their road, where they did their usual shtick, every time this feud had been spotlighted, they have built a new nuance into it. There has been very little wasted momentum, and now everything has come together to make for an eagerly awaited brawl.
The no-DQ rules should allow for them to build drama similar to how HHH did last year with Taker, with a lot of weapon spots leading to very close falls. Heyman and HBK can help build said drama on the outside, and really get fans to believe that HHH’s career is nearly over. And I, for one, think it will be HHH who loses on Sunday. We all know his corporate responsibilities are mounting, and he now has a chance to go out on top like HBK did. Whereas as I don’t see this being a set in stone retirement, I do see this being the last we see of HHH, in the ring at least, for a few years, and the start of Lesnar’s more substantial return to WWE in 2013.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H
WWE ’13: HHH defeats Lesnar
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk: I can’t believe they managed to mess this up. The really disappointing thing is, you can easily see how good this could, and should, have been. Some of the tones of ‘The Streak vs. The Best in the World’ have been touched on, but it has all been muddled in WWE’s inability to steer clear of utilising Paul Bearer’s unfortunate death as storyline fodder. If we had had a similar build, with exact same timings of beat ups and promos, but with all the Paul Bearer content stripped out and replaced with ‘I’m better than you’ talk, we could perhaps be looking at one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of recent memory.
Instead, we have a match with an OK-to-poor build that could be very good in ring, but is unlikely to overshadow Taker’s four previous Mania efforts. The reason something like Taker vs. HHH from last year worked so well was because of the emotion generated in the run up to Mania, which led into a tense, emotional match, that wasn’t a technical marvel, but it didn’t need to be. This is the match I’m looking forward to the most, but thats almost by default at this point. My prediction follows Wrestlemania rule #1 – Taker never loses.
Prediction: The Undertaker defeats CM Punk
WWE ’13: Undertaker defeats Punk
The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Title: I’m not as down on this rematch as others seem to be, mainly because when they have had in-ring promos with each other, they have brought their A-game. Last years ‘battle of the putdown’s has gone away, and been replaced by two men convinced they are going to win. My only disappointment is that Cena’s ‘down year’ included beating Lesnar and CM Punk, winning both the MITB briefcase and the Royal Rumble, and main eventing PPVs ahead of the WWE Champion. If they had really gone to town, and had Cena losing left, right and centre up until the Rumble, the anticipation would be fever pitch right now.
Of all my predictions, outside of the Undertaker no-brainer, this is the one I have most faith in. Rock’s not stopping around, so Cena is the logical choice to win. Metlife Stadium won’t like it, but there ain’t no way Cena’s losing at two Manias in a row. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a rubber match between the two at Wrestlemania 30.
Prediction: John Cena defeats The Rock to win the WWE Title
WWE ’13: Cena defeats The Rock
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this preview, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg , where I’ll be live throughout the PPV
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