(Yesterday, The Raw Librarian and I covered several different prospective main events that could headline Wrestlemania XXIX, emanating live from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. We’re both so fired up that new pants are entirely in order. Check out Part 1 right here)
Most Likely Match and Best Match For Business
KOBEsh: We covered this largely in our John Cena section yesterday, but it’s clear that Rock-Cena II is going to be in the cards. The only factor that’s somewhat murky is what the stipulations are going to be for the match itself. Will it be for the title? Will it be fought under the pretenses of No Holds Barred? Will there be a Special Guest Referee? Does any of that matter?
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE. This match is going to blow the figurative roof off of MetLife Stadium.
TRL: The Rock vs HBK Shawn Michaels
These two had real life animosity going back to the Kliq days. HBK was aware of how over the Rock was getting and knew it meant bad things for his real life best friend HHH. He gave a shoot promo or two where he talked about “the Rock always trying to steal the spotlight from Hunter.” IF this match were to happen, it’d have a solid backstory beyond two of the greatest ever going toe-to-toe.
This match will never happen. Neither men are interested (especially the retired HBK) and the WWE wouldn’t want to blow all this money getting the Rock to wrestle again knowing that there are bigger bouts out there (i.e. Cena-Rock).
Most Likely Match
TRL: Ryback vs. The Shield
Whether it’s in tag team format or Ryback vs Dean Ambrose with Roman Reigns as enforcer, everything points to Ryback being involved with the Shield at ‘Mania. I don’t see any other obvious matches right now. I like Ryback, but I like the Shield a heck of a lot more. I need to praise WWE creative for some rare long-term booking and development here. They have yet to screw up any of these young performers. Look for these men to be involved in a match together in some capacity.
KOBEsh: Ryback vs. Big Show
Until I went and saw for myself in person, I couldn’t discern on television whether or not Ryback’s ascent to the main event picture was more manufactured than it was actual fan sentiment. It seemed to me that the volume was turned up all around the former Ryan Reeves in nearly every segment he was featured in. His music blared so loud that it obscured how much fans actually were applauding for him. When he threw smaller men around the ring, they landed with such force that the actual buckling of the squared circle elicited a reaction from the crowd, but more in the vein of awe than affection. As he chanted “Feed Me More”, the audience of course chanted along with him, but as CM Punk echoed this past Monday on Raw, the WWE fan base are like trained dogs–they’ll chant just about anything as long as it’s delivered to them with the same measured vocal pacing. Did people actually like Ryback? Or was the audio emanating from and around him manufacturing his hype as much as the WWE could muster?
After watching the man fight The Shield in a TLC match in Brooklyn, I can attest that Ryback is more than hype. He’s the real deal Holyfield. The crowd eats him up, as if “Feed Me More” becomes more than just an infectious catchphrase. He’s physically imposing, brutal and pure charisma. He made a believer out of this jaded fan.
That all being said, Ryback’s strengths are best shown not as actual feats of physical will, but rather when he faces a scenario that becomes demanding even to a behemoth like himself. We saw this first in his Hell in a Cell match against CM Punk months ago, and again last month in a TLC war in the BK. Big Show, who is currently without an opponent, fits the bill. Show’s greatest matches, in my humble opinion, were his series against Brock Lesnar nearly ten years ago. Pitted against another man whose size and strength nearly rival his own isn’t just a visual spectacle–it’s the best way to give Show a match that he looks like he could lose.
Best Match For Business
TRL: Ryback vs. The Undertaker
This would be better if Ryback still had his undefeated streak going. Logically though, this doesn’t make sense. I don’t see anyone beating Taker at Wrestlemania and a loss for Ryback does nothing for him. A win on the other hand would cement Ryback as a wrestler that is here to stay; that the WWE is going all in on the Ryback character. But there is no way he should get the win over Taker when HBK, HHH, Flair, Edge, and the Big Boss Man couldn’t get it done.
KOBEsh: Ryback vs. Triple H
I agree with my colleague in that a match resulting in a loss against Taker does nothing for Ryback. And rest assured friends, he would lose that match.
The next best situation for Ryback clearly pits him against Triple H. At this point, Hunter is best used sparingly to put guys over. It’d be interesting to see if Ryback could use this match, win or lose, as a springboard for future success in the way that Sheamus used his match–a loss–against Hunter two years ago to move onto bigger and better things.
TRL and KOBEsh: Ryback vs Goldberg
TRL: While I think it’s possible that Goldberg will lace up his boots for one more big money payoff, I don’t think it will be against Ryback. Back in January of last year Jim Ross tweeted that:
“Goldberg vs Lesnar at WM29 would be miraculous i.e. HIGHLY UNLIKELY”
Goldberg responded by saying “I’d do it.”
Well, it’s good to know that Bill hasn’t closed the door to returning to professional wrestling, but my gut tells me that Ryback isn’t a big enough match for him.
Most Likely Match
TRL and KOBEsh: Brock Lesnar vs Triple H II
TRL: I’m sure there are some fans out there that want to see this match; just don’t include me as one of them. Cena vs Lesnar was great. HHH vs Lesnar was awful. I don’t want to see HHH get his precious win back when there are better potential matches. I just don’t see the point of bringing Lesnar in and paying him big money only to lose to John Cena and wrestle HHH twice. I hope that common sense will prevail and any idea of this rematch will be scratched.
Best Match For Business
TRL and KOBEsh: Lesnar vs The Undertaker
TRL: This has potential to be special. For reference, go back and watch their 2002 No Mercy Hell in a Cell match. It was an exhibition in visceral brutality.
Plus, think these two don’t have real life heat? Get back to me after watching this video.
This is the match I want to see and it is a legitimate threat to steal the show. The proper way to build this feud is to continue having Lesnar booked like a monster. Put over the fact that he destroyed John Cena. Even though Lesnar “lost” that match, Cena was definitely worse off afterwards. Put over Lesnar taking out COO Triple H. Have him coordinate “Shield-like” attacks on top stars and build it like no one in the WWE can stop him.
TRL: Lesnar vs Stone Cold
We would finally get to see the match we were robbed of when Steve Austin walked out of the WWE in 2002 instead of facing Lesnar with no build up. Gotta say I agree with Austin on this one. It was incredibly short sighted by the WWE creative team (this would happen more than once) to hot shot a match with no build up between Lesnar and Stone Cold. Done correctly, this bout had and still has the potential to draw serious money.
Most Likely Match
TRL and KOBEsh: HHH vs Lesnar II
KOBEsh: It’s becoming brutally obvious to the both of us that this is the match that’s coming down the pipeline. While I’m not as bullish on how poor the match will be as my man TRL, the prospect of Hunter lacing them up again for a rematch of a fight that I wasn’t excited for in the first place doesn’t light the world on fire.
Still, looking at the rest of the roster, it’s hard to see who else either guy could fight. In Brock’s case, a match against the Rock, Undertaker or Ryback would be highly anticipated, but it seems the Rock will be otherwise occupied and Ryback doesn’t seem like a big enough opponent to satiate a real-life egomanic like Lesnar. The Undertaker, as we just discussed would be the best match for business and would draw huge. However, a Taker/Brock match would leave Hunter without very many options for opponents (Punk? Sheamus again? Del Rio? The Miz? No thanks to any of those) and the WWE isn’t foolish enough to leave a big name performer like Hunter on the sidelines.
Best Match For Business
TRL: HHH sitting at home watching Wrestlemania
I would love nothing more than to get a live check in of HHH during Wrestlemania and when the camera pulls back, it’s HHH watching RVD vs Jerry Lynn from Hardcore Heaven or Living Dangerously.
KOBEsh: Triple H vs. Ryback
I went over this earlier, but Ryback is one of the only big names on the roster that Hunter hasn’t faced. To me, this is the only match Triple H could participate in to generate any sort of fresh excitement.
TRL: HHH vs HBK
This won’t happen for a number of reasons. Most egregiousness is the fact that there is not enough time to attain proper build up, although the avenue to create a feud certainly exists. Shawn Michaels could come out and say that he is furious at his best friend for allowing him to become a casualty in the HHH/Lesnar feud. But it certainly appears that Michaels is completely content with remaining retired. However, if there was one person HBK would come out of retirement for, I would imagine it would be HHH.
Most Likely Match
TRL and KOBEsh: Undertaker vs. CM Punk
KOBEsh: It almost seems inevitable at this point. I personally don’t love this match for the Undertaker, but looking at the rest of the roster, there’s only a few more opponents that would feel fresh and are “Wrestlemania-caliber” foes for the Dead Man. Could Sheamus work in this spot? Or Ryback? Or del Rio? Of course they could all work–Taker has carried Mark Henry and King Kong Bundy to serviceable ‘Mania matches. However, of the guys that the Phenom hasn’t faced yet, CM Punk is second to only one man.
Best Match for Business
KOBEsh: Undertaker vs. John Cena
Fighting CM Punk will make money. Undertaker fighting Brock Lesnar would no doubt generate headlines and drive the MMA crowd towards PPV buys. But Taker vs. Cena? This is a match of historic proportion. It’s the logical bout in a storied Wrestlemania lineage in which two mega-popular wrestlers from two generations clash: Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock and The Rock vs. Cena. It’s the last big money fight the Undertaker can wage. This wouldn’t just be a great match–it’d be history.
BONUS: The RAW Librarian’s Ultimate Wrestlemania dream match
1997-98 “Kliq” Shawn Michaels vs 1999-2000 “Whole F’n Show” Rob Van Dam…
The Show Stopper vs The Whole F’n Show…
Mr. Wrestlemania vs Mr. PPV…
HBK vs RVD
For obvious reasons this match will never happen. HBK is retired and seems content. The only way he’ll ever come out of retirement is for a Wrestlemania match against Triple H, Taker or Stone Cold Steve Austin. RVD is wrestling for TNA and appears to just be going through the motions to collect a paycheck these days. Moreover, they are both well past their primes, as Michaels is 47, Van Dam 42. Plus if you think the ability for time travel exists, you must be kinda stupid.
These two have only squared up one time and it occurred on the November 25th 2002 episode of Monday Night RAW. Regrettably, this was soon after Shawn Michaels returned to the RAW roster as an active wrestler. He had been retired in 1998 shortly after herniating two discs in his back, including crushing one completely in a casket match against the Undertaker. It was clear Michaels was still wary of how his back would handle the bumps that go along with a wrestling match. Despite the reservations, these two still had a phenomenal fight only to be ruined by an interfering Hunter Hearst Helmsley. It’s only fitting that HHH is responsible for ruining what could have been my favorite wrestling match of all time.
This has been fun. Feedback is always welcome.