By Jeffrey Lutz
I'm on the eighth floor of the Marriott Marquis with the bright lights of downtown Atlanta sneaking in through the window. I'm helping cover the Final Four for the Wichita Eagle as the hometown Shockers made an improbable and surreal run to the national semifinals. Friday, I saw NBA legends Bill Walton, Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor, and I walked past Ice Cube in the lobby of the hotel. My voice was heard on SportsCenter as ESPN carried the press conferences live, capturing the questions I asked Michigan star guard Trey Burke and coach John Beilein.
And I'm thinking about finding a bar in Atlanta that's showing WrestleMania so I don't miss WWE's biggest show of the year. Putting priorities in order has never been my strong suit. Worse yet, I made a food analogy in the headline of this blog entry.
I've offered my WrestleMania predictions both in written form and in my debut on the Dot Net All Access Podcast along with Will Pruett and Jake Barnett. I didn't say everything I wanted to say, so I'm here to expand on some of the points I made in those mediums while offering some new thoughts on the eve of WrestleMania 29.
--Triple H has to lose. I say that not as someone hoping he loses, but as someone hoping WWE makes good on its advertising. There's a rule in television that if a gun appears on screen, it has to be used. The retirement stipulation is the gun. I know Triple H can win and not retire, but name another match stipulation that doesn't come to fruition. A First Blood match will always include blood. A Last Man Standing match always ends when someone can't answer the 10-count. WWE hasn't played up Triple H's possible retirement as much as it could have so maybe he's winning here. But he shouldn't. The gun has been shown, now it needs to be fired.
--I said in audio that a possible Dolph Ziggler Money In The Bank cash-in will precipitate a Ziggler babyface turn, but I've changed my mind. I got wrapped up in the idea that people have become so tired of the Alberto Del Rio-Jack Swagger feud _ if they were ever invested in it in the frist place _ that Ziggler winning the World Heavyweight Championship from either would make him one of WWE's most popular performers. It will, but he already is. I expect Ziggler to receive the Daniel Bryan treatment as a beloved heel among the more savvy WrestleMania crowd, and he'll be a babyface for one night. After that, though, it's back to being a heel. There is plenty of new ground for Ziggler to chart as a heel champion.
--I also said in audio that being a wrestler is The Rock's 15th most important job, with acting listed in each of the top 14 spots. I'm not changing my mind this time, but I do want to clarify. I strongly believe that Dwayne Johnson enjoys being a part of WWE. I don't think he's miserable backstage waiting for WrestleMania to end so he can go shoot Hercules and finally do something he loves. I do think he likes acting more than wrestling and that being a wrestler is, to Johnson, just like playing the Tooth Fairy or an inner-city football coach. Everyone in WWE is an actor, Rock just happens to be the best at it. I'm not going to hold it against him if wrestling is no longer his truest passion.
--I haven't talked or written much about the C.M. Punk-Undertaker match because I don't know what to say. Undertaker is a character built on mystery on subtlety, but there has been none of that in their storyline. WWE has opted to take Paul Bearer's death and exploit it to the highest degree possible. It's admirable in a way that WWE chose a story and went all the way with it, it was just the wrong story. It didn't fit Undertaker's character and it didn't create suspense over who would win this match. There never really is suspense attached to an Undertaker match at WrestleMania, but the outcome has never been surer than it is this year.
--Which match will steal the show? Well, probably one of the main events. WWE stars have used the term "steal the show" so often over the last two years that it has come to define the undercard match that exceeded the limited build it received in the weeks leading to the event. Under that definition, it's Chris Jericho vs. Fandango. No two performers will work harder than the veteran Jericho trying to get everything out of his limited remaining mileage and the debuting Fandango who surely wants to make a strong first impression. This match probably won't go longer than 10-15 minutes, but at a fast pace it should draw in fans at the arena and those watching at home.
Happy WrestleMania Sunday. Enjoy the show if, unlike me, you can find a place to watch it.
Jeff Lutz has written for the Wichita Eagle newspaper in Kansas for over a decade and debuted with Prowrestling.net on November 4, 2012. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lutz's Blog: WrestleMania 29 leftovers and extra helpings - More on why Triple H must lose, Undertaker and C.M. Punk, The Rock, Dolph Ziggler, and more
Apr 7, 2013 - 12:00 PM
Apr 7, 2013 - 12:00 PM
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