Welcome to part 2 of this year’s Wrestlemania preview. In yesterday’s column KOBEsh and I broke down the undercard. Today, we tackle the main events. Some complaints have been made that the outcomes seem far too determined. We’ll continue to address the predicted outcomes as well as what might be a better direction to take. Without further adieu, let’s get at this thing.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Swagger (World Heavyweight Championship)
Why does Del Rio retain?
The Raw Librarian: Finally, what we’ve all been waiting to see. A millionaire Mexican aristocrat cheerleading for America against a Kurt Angle rip-off and his Uncle who holds Tea Party meetings in his basement. In all honesty I am the more excited about this match than any of the others if only for the fact that there is some unpredictability in the outcome.
Depending on where this match gets placed on the card will determine the finish as well. Another factor in this match is Jack Swagger’s real life DUI and possession of marijuana arrest that has seemingly gone unpunished. That’s a slightly different reaction than when the SAME EXACT thing happened to Rob Van Dam in 2007 and he was forced to abandon two titles and was suspended for 30 days. If it wasn’t for Swagger’s DUI, I’d say there was a pretty decent chance he would have won the title. But I think that would send the wrong message to the locker room, therefore I don’t see it happening.
Why does Swagger go over?
KOBEsh: MAMBINO’s resident librarian and Philadelphia’s own is obviously still seething because ECW alumni Rob Van Dam was thrown deep, deep into the doghouse for a pot bust (and never recovered), while Swagger has gone largely unpunished.
That being said, Swagger’s ascent has been so strong and rapid that I find it hard to believe that the WWE would simply Heisman his progress when it feels the natural ending point would be a title win at Wrestlemania. I’ve never been a fan of Jack’s, but he’s always been a decent ring technician (but not necessarily a great pro wrestling storyteller, ya dig?) and that lisp simply kills any momentum his physicality gives him. However, with Zeb Coulter and an extremely controversial anti-immigration gimmick, Swagger’s character has been stronger than I’ve ever thought possible. He’s riding such a hot button issue right now and to the chagrin of the non-believers, has been getting insane heat. The WWE has bet big on Swagger thus far–I don’t see any reason why they don’t just go all-in.
How SHOULD it be booked?
TRL: Like you didn’t see this coming. It would make sense in my opinion (as a completely biased Ziggler mark) to have Swagger win the title via shenanigans and then have Ziggler cash in the Money in the Bank. Obviously if Zigs and Soulberg win the tag straps earlier in the night, this scenario becomes increasingly less likely.
KOBEsh: Even as an unabashed anti-Ziggler protester, the WWE needs to let Zigs swim and see if they have the next Chris Jericho with him or he’s just the next John Morrison. If I were booking, I’d go with a Del Rio win (because, as I mentioned, I’m not a Swagger fan) and then a Money in the Bank cash-in. I don’t see any of that happening, but that doesn’t mean I’m incorrect.
Triple H vs Brock Lesnar
Why does Triple H go over?
TRL: I would rather watch the Great Khali wrestle Kevin Nash than have to sit through this match. HHH is not an active wrestler. Wasn’t the point of Brock Lesnar breaking H’s arm two times last year to end his career? So he is bringing him back in order to end his career again? I’ve said it on numerous occasions. I just don’t think these two have any ring chemistry. And while I admit to not being a fan of Mr. Helmsley’s, I’m man enough to admit that he is a good wrestler when he wants to be. His match last year with the Undertaker was a classic. I just think that the only reason this match was put together was so HHH could get his win back from his loss at Summerslam.
KOBEsh: I wholeheartedly disagree with my dude here, and am completely in the tank for this match. The build, I’d argue, has been the second strongest on WWE TV lately, next to only the Rock and Cena’s main event tango. Unlike many other observers, I thought their Summerslam match was decent, though not nearly as good as I expected. The difference? Paul Heyman.
Paul E. has put in some of the strongest work in his WWE/F career over the past few months, whether it’s acting as the sniveling hype man behind CM Punk or the mouthy, brash representative of BA-RAWK….LESSS-NAR. Heyman’s chemistry on the microphone and in the ring with Triple H might be better than the former UFC Heavyweight Champ’s, pressing all the right buttons and hitting the exact cadences with Hunter. Almost singlehandedly, Paul has made me care about this feud, simply with the way he quarterbacks two guys that, yes TRL, may not have the best chemistry with each other. Both men know they left a lot on the table during their SS 2012 match, so I expect this one to be a war. The WWE is usually an equal opportunity operation, so anything besides a Triple H win after Brock took the first battle would not make sense.
How should it be booked?
TRL: Maybe give the guy you’re paying 5 million dollars a year the victory? Brock Lesnar is a bigger draw than John Cena. What do you think does bigger numbers for Extreme Rules; Lesnar vs the Rock or Cena/Rock III? Brock brings in Attitude era fans, MMA fans and offers something unique that quite frankly cannot be imitated in the WWE. There is a sense of danger when he is around. What does a win at Wrestlemania do for HHH? He is the COO of the company and he wrestles once a year. Why again should this guy be getting a win over someone who will presumably be a major force moving forward?
Undertaker vs. CM Punk
Why does the Undertaker win this one?
KOBEsh: Couldn’t agree more, though I feel that if the Streak ever ended, it should have been to Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 21. However, being what it is, I don’t see the Undertaker losing, not just for the reasons my colleague outlined, but also for the fact that I don’t believe this is his last match. If this indeed was Taker’s swan song, I’d be much more hesitant to believe he was going to win against a younger star with still much to prove in pro wrestling. Seeing as the WWE hasn’t mentioned it (and thus leaving a bunch of money on the table), I’m thinking that Wrestlemania XXX will be the Phenom’s retirement.
I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it a thousand times–the only part of the Streak that has any suspense now if the momentary feeling in the midst of the match that maybe….maaaaybe, Undertaker could lose. CM Punk certainly gives you pause, but ultimately, the legend cranks his Wrestlemania record to 21-0.
I think that Taker winning is the right decision. Gotta keep selling those t-shirts and churning out those DVDs. But I do think a Wrestlemania win over the Undertaker would do way more for CM Punk than it would for some of Taker’s previous opponents like HHH, Michaels and Flair. Undertaker wins, but if booked correctly, a Punk victory could bring us another “Year of Punk.”
John Cena vs. The Rock II (WWE Championship)
How does Cena redeem himself?
TRL: I cannot wait to see the crowd reaction for this match. North Jersey/New York crowds are notoriously smarky. I anticipate John Cena will not be getting anywhere close to a 50/50 crowd reaction the announcers are always telling us he elicits. I’m not sure it will be on the level of Hogan/Rock in Toronto, but it’ll be close. That being said, I’m pulling for John Cena in this one. I want the WWE champion to, you know…actually be on WWE television. That monstrosity of a championship is growing on me and I would like to see it on RAW more than once a month. Prediction: Rock goes for an AA, Cena reverses, new champ.
KOBEsh: I’m completely with TRL here. I don’t see any other way to do this. Cena must win, must win clean and without rebuke.
One additional thought though: if there ever, EVER were a time for a John Cena heel turn, this would be the night.
ANY other options?
TRL: I’m afraid not. Bet the farm on this one folks. There is no possibly scenario where a Rock victory makes sense. Unless he is willing to forgo millions (and MILLIONS) of dollars to come back as an active wrestler, the Rock has to lose. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Great One mixing it up with Brock Lesnar or
battling putting over the Shield. But I no longer want him as my WWE champion. By the way I’m already dreading John Cena coming out on RAW with two mini “spinners” places on the side of the belt.
TRL: Wrestlemania usually delivers. Despite the lack of build up for MANY of the matches on the card, it should still be a pretty solid show. Rock/Cena won’t be Bret/Owen or Steamboat/Savage, but it will be entertaining. Taker wrestles once a year, but his matches are always considered a contender for MOTY. Paul Heyman will be at ringside for TWO matches so there’s a plus. I’m also pretty excited for the will he/won’t he with Ziggler. I am very curious to see what Mark Henry and Ryback do in the ring together. And anytime the Shield is on screen turns into Must Watch Television.
KOBEsh: I’ll be live-tweeting the event (if indeed cell service cooperates in a stadium with near 100,000 people…and thus, 100,000 cell phones), so get at me @TheGreatMambino.
TRL: Gracias. Stay tuned for a review of the event next week and perhaps a word from my esteemed colleague who is lucky enough to be there in person.
Feedback/Comments/Complaints – @TheRAWLibrarian