This is still kind of surreal. A wrestler from my own home town now part of the biggest pro wrestling organisation on the planet…
It’s finally here! Arguably the biggest weekend in the history of professional wrestling, and almost certainly in the history of Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, brings the biggest WrestleMania show of all time (yes, they say this every year, but this actually is!).
For so long so many had massive expectations of this event, dreaming up all manner of fantasy matches from CM Punk versus “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, to The Undertaker versus Sting, to The Rock versus Brock Lesnar and many more besides. Then once the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ began in earnest back in January, fans were subjected to some of the most worrying and unsatisfying decisions WWE’s Creative could have mustered.
The furore all surrounded the treatment of Daniel Bryan, who is currently the most ‘over’ (popular) WWE superstar since the likes of The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Beating John Cena back at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship only to lose it immediately to Randy Orton after a screw job by Triple H preceded a win over Randy Orton to retain the title only to be forced to hand the title back to Triple H and ‘The Authority’, allowing Orton to regain it. Bryan would then be moved out of the title picture altogether.
Then came one of the most controversial and downright disappointing Royal Rumble pay-per-views in recent memory. Randy Orton defeated John Cena to keep his belt before Batista, someone the fans really don’t care for, won the Rumble match to ensure he’d be facing Orton in the main event at WrestleMania XXX. To confound the fans misery, Bryan didn’t even feature in the match. Cue fan outrage.
With two of the fans’s favourite wrestlers in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan being horrendously booked in feuds with the likes of Kane and The Wyatt Family, something had to give. And it did. After the Rumble, Punk literally left the company. He took his ball and went home. He was burnt out and disillusioned with how he was being used. Daniel Bryan stuck it out though, and is now reaping the rewards of filling the void that CM Punk has left, hopefully only temporarily.
So onto the event itself.
Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan (Winner added to WWE title match)
The big draw of the card is definitely Daniel Bryan, as he faces Triple H with the winner being added to the WWE World Heavyweight title match against Orton and Batista. This feud has had a decent enough build-up, with Triple H beating seven shades of shite out of Bryan with a batshit mental Stephanie McMahon ushering him on. This week on Raw though, Bryan got his own back, taking out not just Triple H but also Orton and Batista. So who wins? It’s almost a certainty that Bryan wins this match. Anything else just makes zero sense. It won’t be straightforward though. Triple H will probably get the sledgehammer out after being pinned and add doubt to whether Bryan can make the main event.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
This feud could have been done a lot more thoroughly and started earlier but sure here it is. The WWE’s biggest star being so low on the card might seem a strange move especially for the biggest show the company has ever held, but there’s a method to this madness. Most signs suggest Bray Wyatt will get the win and receive an almighty heel push by beating the face of the company at WrestleMania, but I personally think Cena takes this. Expect Wyatt to take Cena to the limits with Cena eventually pulling the win out of nowhere, and the feud continuing on to Extreme Rules, where Wyatt then wins.
The Shield vs. Kane & The New Age Outlaws
This match really should be a showcase of how awesome Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins are as a team, but there are continuing doubts about whether the WWE plan to split the trio up. All signs suggest that this will happen. For one, The Shield have recently done a face-turn, becoming fan favourites, which might suggest an almost immediate reverse turn is imminent. Eventually, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will form a heel tag team with Roman Reigns going solo as a babyface, but hopefully this doesn’t happen on Sunday. I expect The Shield to dismantle their ageing opponents with consummate ease. Believe that.
The Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational
Whatever predictions I make won’t matter as I’ll be using this match as a cue to hit the bar and/or the toilets. No offence ladies. But while I’m here, let’s hope the keep the belt on AJ Lee.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Thirty WWE superstars vying to win a five foot bronze Andre The Giant trophy statue. This will most likely be quite fun and you can only be curious to see who the three ‘mystery’ entrants to the match are. The bookies’ favourite happens to be Alexander Rusev, who would be one of the ‘mystery’ entrants. One can dream that the other two entrants are genuine off-your-seat names, but will actually end up being WWE legends like Roddy Piper or Sgt. Slaughter. Personally, I’d love Dolph Ziggler or Big E to take this but it will probably be someone ‘meh’ like Rusev or Sheamus.
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (….to end The Streak?)
This one needs no prediction really. The Streak simply will not end, at least not this weekend. Why not? Because Brock Lesnar is only a part-timer and if The Undertaker ever was to actually lose at WrestleMania it would have to be against someone you were aiming to catapult to super-stardom almost immediately. The push of all pushes. Somebody like Roman Reigns perhaps. But don’t fret, this match will most likely be absolutely fantastic. Taker has stolen the show at the last five or so ‘Manias and Lesnar generally adds something special to a match that only he can add. This match will most likely see Lesnar demolishing Taker for the duration, before the Deadman makes a comeback and wins, probably by the Hell’s Gate gogoplata submission. In fact, this match could become somewhat of a pseudo MMA-pro wrestling match, with both men incidentally wearing MMA gloves and Brock also having using a kimura submission hold that comes from his MMA background. Taker to win all day long though. 22-0.
Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan/Triple H (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)
Everyone, including the bookies, has Daniel Bryan to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion by the end of Sunday night. In my experience of watching WWE PPVs though, getting your hopes up is a surefire way of having your WWE world come crashing down around you. It happens all the time. They love to piss off the fans to get heat, but will they really drop the ball so massively by giving to the belt to someone like Batista? Even in my most pessimistic of views, I STILL can’t see anything other than Daniel Bryan winning the big one. It has to be far too tempting for WWE. Imagine the scene: Bryan overcoming all the odds after two gruelling matches, beating three men and FINALLY getting the belt after all his hardship, and WrestleMania ends with tens of thousands of people in the New Orleans SuperDome chanting “YES! YES! YES!” at the top of their lungs with their hero finally the champion. It will be amazing.
As for how the match itself will go down, it most likely won’t be a straighforward shoot. Triple H will no doubt be involved either before or during trying to sabotage Bryan’s win. Dream scenario? Triple H interferes to try and cost Bryan the title, only for CM Punk’s music to hit to one of the all-time biggest pops and he Second City Saint returning from exile to help his old friend. Bryan then hits the running knee to pin Orton. Or else something involving Steve Austin. We’re gonna get something awesome. Either way, Daniel Bryan will finally become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Predictions in brief:
8-man Tag Team Pre-Show Match: The Usos
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt: John Cena
Divas Invitational: AJ Lee
Andre The Giant Battle Royal: Dolph Ziggler
Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan: Daniel Bryan
6-man Tag Team Match: The Shield
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: The Undertaker
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan