WrestleMania XXVIII Preview
After months of buildup, WrestleMania XXVIII finally gets under way this Sunday at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. It is a solid card from top to bottom, but most of the attention will be centered around three matches in particular: CM Punk Vs. Chris Jericho to determine who truly is “the best in the world”, Triple H Vs. Undertaker in the “end of an era” match, and of course the bout that was named the main event a year ago, The Rock Vs. John Cena.
To get input on the Granddaddy of Them All, PAC’s Sports has again solicited input and predictions on how the matches will play out from the panel, aka the league of extraordinary gentlemen (Aaron “Lake Show” Waymire, Jon Davis, BJR, and William “Drew” Cloninger). Here we go:
Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali and Booker T) (with Hornswoggle) vs. Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Drew McIntyre) (with Vickie Guerrero) 12-man tag team match. The General Manager of the winning team will become the General Manager of both Raw and SmackDown.
Waymire: I’ll give credit to the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager Mr. John Laurinaitis here. I don’t think anybody thought he’d be nearly as entertaining as he’s been in the authority role. But WWE has played it smartly here by sticking to his strengths, which is basically being annoying in short doses. For that reason, I see him taking control of both shows with a win. Even if he loses, I doubt he goes away. But I’d like to see an over-the-top celebration from him on the big stage. That could be hysterical!
JD: I thought this one was fairly obvious as Team Johnny had to win as heel authority figures tend to stick but I could see Teddy winning with Johnny Ace coming back as a manager of a stable (which we need more of).
BJR: This is going to be all comedy the entire match. Victory goes to Team Johnny. I don’t see anything special happening here, it’s going to be your standard multiple man tag team match. Each guy will have some time in the ring, eventually Santino or Ryder will end up in the ring and take most of the beating. Eventually one of those 2 will rally back, make the big tag to Kofi or Truth who will come in and kick off each of the 12 guys hitting their finishers. At some point and maybe after the finisher frenzy, VPTR/Interim RAW GM and Teddy will have at it. That will distract the ref, leading for something to happen to whoever the legal man is and then we will have a 1,2,3 and VPTR will now have total control.
Drew: I’m disappointed that they threw this match in the WM lineup to replace the Money in the Bank match and I think it is a waste of some good talent (Ziggler, Swagger, Kofi) for what basically amounts to a comedy match, but I digress. I see Team Johnny pulling this one out with either Ziggler or The Miz being the so-called winner. I think the possibilities for Johnny Ace are greater than anything they could do for Teddy Long and I don’t think there is any way they would pull Johnny off of TV at this point.
PAC: I am going with Team Johnny on this one. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I find the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager Mr. John Laurinaitis to be hilarious. Whether he is butchering lines on the mic or running through awkward backstage segments, the man plays his role well. Comparing the two teams, the members of Team Johnny are supposedly higher on the WWE food chain (though probably disappointed they find themselves in what could very well be a sideshow match), so I see Ziggler pinning Santino at the end for the victory.
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Waymire: Orton gets the win, and then it’s off to a championship feud again.
JD: Who honestly cares? No build up, no gimmick, thrown together on 2-3 weeks for filler. This is where money in the bank should have taken place.
BJR: This feud came out of nowhere. They both deserve to be at Mania, I just wish they could have put together a little bit better of a story line. Kane wins by DQ and this should make for a good opening match for the night.
Drew: Ugh. If I was in attendance, this would definitely be the bathroom/concession match. It feels like they threw this match together to appease Orton because they didn’t want to put him in the 6-man match. I think it would have been better if he were fighting Bryan (either one on one or as a 3-way with Sheamus). I say Orton gets the win building some momentum for another title run.
PAC: A bit of downward trend for Orton in terms of spot on the card. Just a few years back he was in the Cena role of always being in a title or top match at Mania, the last few Mania’s though he has been out of the top storylines. This was thrown together to appease these guys and get them on the card. I see Kane dominating and getting his physical move set in before Orton strikes for the RKO and the victory. No interest.
Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Big Show for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Waymire: Somehow I just don’t see Big Show winning the Intercontinental title at this point in his career. He’s a guy that can be plugged into a world title feud at any moment. Logic would be to let the young stud win, so I’ll go with Rhodes here by some fluke. Maybe with help from a Dusty bionic elbow?
JD: It better be Rhodes as he is right on the door step of main eventing (as is Ziggler). Then again they might throw the Big Show a bone as his records as Mania I’m pretty sure is horrific.
BJR: Big Show after a really good match. Watching Cody Rhodes during this match will remind you a lot of Flair, Tully, etc. I’ve loved this feud the past several weeks, it has felt like a feud from the 80s/90s and that’s the type of character Cody reminds me off. Big Show to me is no longer your typical big guy, he can actually be agile, expect him to keep right up with Cody during this match, it’s going to go back and forth but expect Show as your new IC Champ.
Drew: I’ve really enjoyed this angle as it has played out. Cody has progressively gotten better (especially on the mike) and is turning into one of the better heels on the roster. I think Cody retains but this feud will continue to build throughout the spring and summer.
PAC: Cody is without a doubt one of the top young superstars in the business. He has been on a role ever since his “Dashing” gimmick of a few years back, and I still think his match with Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania XXVII was the best on the card. The build to this one has been humorous, and I expect Cody to retain. At this point in his career the IC title does nothing for Big Show, while Cody is still ascending and can use the rub. If WWE is smart they will inject Rhodes in the title picture by this time next year.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship
Waymire: Another hard match to predict, which is what makes this year’s WrestleMania such a great show. I’ll stick with Bryan retaining. Like the other title match, this feud can continue afterwards.
JD: I almost don’t care as I am fairly indifferent to both guys in this match. Bryan’s shtick is getting kind of old and Sheamus is fairly boring as a babyface and this match has weak build up.
BJR: Ehh. They’ve had way too many matches between each other over the past two months, no interest. Nothing really special here, Sheamus will take a good amount from Bryan, Bryan will take some pretty nasty looking bumps, but nothing we haven’t seen with Mysterio vs. any big guy. This is going to be your typical big guy vs. little guy match. This also has HHH all over it, Sheamus wins after a long match and multiple finishers delivered to Bryan.
Drew: Bryan is my favorite guy on the roster right now (after Punk & Jericho). He is consistently entertaining and great to watch. I think this would have been a better wrestling match with Orton (Sheamus is solid, but still a little limited in the ring), but I have faith in Bryan to make whoever he is fighting look better. I say Sheamus wins it, possibly due to AJ turning on Bryan and costing him the belt.
PAC: Picking Sheamus to win this one. After a rough go only a year ago, he is back to being pushed to the moon. Should be a good match with the contrasting styles each brings to the table, and no matter who wins they will be able to keep this feud going into the summer.
CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
Waymire: I see Punk getting his revenge and keeping the title here. I also don’t see this feud ending anytime soon. With the Rock-Cena and Triple H-Undertaker feuds either ending or being put on the backburner after this event, I definitely see these two leading the way on Raw to be the main focus.
JD: I’m gonna go Jericho here as this will set up a couple more matches between the two. This will likely steal the show in terms of actual wrestling.
BJR: I’m taking Jericho here. This will be one of the best pure wrestling matches of all time. It’s going to be all over the place because these are 2 guys who are the best in the world at what they do. We’re going to see submission skills, aerial skills, wrestling holds, illegal holds, action out of the ring, then back in the ring then up to the top rope then to a submission we’ve never seen before then a flying cross body figure four leg lock. I have no idea what I just typed, but that is what we will all be saying when this match is over, “I have no idea what I just witnessed, that was the greatest wrestling match I’ve ever seen”.
Drew: In my opinion the best match on the card. I would love to see a 30-45 minute brawl here filled with high spots and technically superior wrestling. I think they have only scratched the surface with this feud and can keep it going well into SummerSlam. Originally I thought Punk would win, but I saw that Jericho extended his current contract so I’m changing my pick. I say Jericho wins the belt but this angle keeps going strong for several more months.
PAC: Can’t wait to see this match, and hope they get 25-30 minutes to work with. Out of the three biggest matches on the cards (Trips/Taker, Rock/Cena being the others), this one has gotten the least amount of time on RAW to promote the feud. It’s a shame because they are both world class workers and talkers. Expect to see everything from action off of the top rope to old school “catch” moves in this one. Would love to see Y2J win this one, but I think Punk gets the pin on a reversal move of some sort with the feud then continuing on throughout the summer. This match will steal the show, and in terms of all-time Mania matches could very well end up being up there on the level of Steamboat/Savage WrestleMania III or Y2J/HBK atWrestleMania XIX.
Triple H vs. The Undertaker Hell in a Cell match with special guest referee Shawn Michaels
Waymire: I think there’s little doubt The Undertaker goes to 20-0. I’m sure many fans accept this as the outcome, but are still looking forward to seeing what tricks they pull out for this one.
JD: Without a doubt the Undertaker and from what I’m reading HBK will have something to do with it which will lead to a HHH vs. HBK match next mania. That’s why HBK was introduced in the first place, especially with the whole he’s better than HHH. So definitely Taker in this one.
BJR: I really don’t know about this and am not excited for this match. I’m more interested in what the Cell will actually look like in an open stadium. This is going to be the same match we saw last year with blood. I’ve thought about what the high spot of this match is going to be and I really don’t see what they can do. Taker can’t jump over the top rope, he’s going to break his neck. We all know Cloninger has a better aerial assault than HHH so nothing crazy will happen there. I don’t see either one of them being thrown off/through the top of the cage. So I guess that leaves a match for HBK to toy with everyone as to who will he screw and when if anyone at all. I really hope the Undertaker wins this match, he deserves it and the fans don’t care to see it be all about HHH/HBK.
Drew: Unfortunately they have managed to suck all of the excitement out of this match with the endless promos and force-feeding it to everyone who watches. I don’t see any high-flying spots here (Triple H has never been one to do those and Taker is too old). Obviously Michaels will get involved at some point and I’m guessing he will tease costing Triple H the match, but end up trying to win it for him. In the end though, I don’t see Taker losing at WrestleMania. He takes out Michaels and Triple H to move to 20-0.
PAC: They had to inject the Cell and HBK into this one to try and make it a match to see, because without it not sure what the interest level would be for a third Mania match between two guys with limited mobility at this point. Despite the wear and tear on both of these men, they are both great with in ring psychology and making sure every move means something. There is no way Undertaker doesn’t win, all depends on whether he beats HHH straight up or if they have HBK get involved. I’d like to see Taker give HHH the beating of his life, gaining a measure of revenge for the beating he took last year, causing HBK to take pity on his friend and call the match/throw in the towel.
The Rock vs. John Cena
Waymire: The giant mystery about this match is if it truly is the only time we’ll see these two wrestle. There’s the rumor of a best-of-three series, which would make this one a true toss-up. Even Rock and Hogan met a second time, though nobody talks about that match. I’ll go with Cena here. I think that when Rock is away again and Cena needs new opponents, there’s some great potential for someone to step up and beat “the man who defeated the Rock at WrestleMania.” That would be some instant credibility for a new star.
JD: If Rock/Hogan, plays a role then I think we are looking at Cena but what should happen is having the Rock that directly leads to Cena turning heel. I would bet anything that Vince still does know what he wants to do and is going back in forth. In most cases you can see who is going to win (Taker/HBK or Taker/HHH) but in this case, how does Cena win and beat the Rock in Miami? How does Vince let his top money earner get beat? I really really hope we do not have outside interference. If I had a gun to my head, I’m going to have to say Cena wins (which will make me very angry).
BJR: I’d really like to give you a long prediction on this one because there are so many ways to go with this. However, I’d like to simply say this will be the greatest match for each of us to witness since Hollywood Hogan vs. The Rock at Mania years ago. The entrance of each guy will be off the chart, we will see someone get cheered louder than ever and we will also hear someone get booed like we’ve never seen. From there this match will include both guys big moves with some brand new ones tossed in. The crowd is going to be all over the place and hot the entire match, it will be electric and simply amazing. Five words for your readers; sit back, take it in. Winner – The Rock.
Drew: I’m not sure where to go here. I’ve heard they may turn this into a trilogy (another match at SummerSlam and the 3rd at WM 29) but who knows at this point. I could see Rock winning and Cena using that loss to turn heel. I could also see Cena winning and Rock coming back later this year to exact revenge. The pessimist in me expects to see a subpar match – Cena can only do so much and the Rock has got to have some ring rust on him from years out of wrestling. Ultimately, I see Cena pulling out the victory but then Rock hits him with a Rock Bottom during the celebration to end the show and go out on top.
PAC: This match will certainly have the big match feel we haven’t really seen at a Mania since Hogan vs. Rock way back in 2002. Given the nostalgia factor and being in Rock’s adopted hometown of Miami, crowd reaction will definitely be in his favor. People bang on Cena’s workrate, but on the big stage and against quality opponents he can put together a good match. Rock is in great shape and will be motivated to prove he can still go. I am torn on the decision. Match will be back and forth with each guy using a lot of the others guys patented moves (which we tend to see in a lot of these big matches anymore, ever since Rock/Hogan really). Makes sense for Cena to win since he is the company guy right now, but if they are going to do a trilogy series between the two could have Rock winning here in Miami and then Cena taking the next two. Cena will probably win, and if that’s the case I share the sentiments of JD.Follow us on Twitter:@PACsSports