One of the biggest questions leading into WWE WrestleMania 29 was whether The Undertaker would defend the streak. The Dead Man’s status will not be a question going into New Orleans as a report suggests that The Undertaker is ready to go and is already deliberating on an opponent for WrestleMania XXX.
This is great news, especially with all of the questions regarding the status of The Undertaker just weeks before WrestleMania 29. A new report on Wrestlezone.com indicates that the streak will be on the line and Undertaker is already talking possible opponents with Vince McMahon.
“Taker would like to work with either John Cena or Brock Lesnar,” a writing team member told WrestleZone exclusively. “Taker also has some ideas regarding The Shield. The whole scenario on Smackdown played out great, and Taker sees big money in those three.”
I never had a doubt that Taker would miss something as big as the 30th event but you always have to wonder when it comes to his health. Taker has taken some beatings the last few years and is noticeably slowing down in the ring. The story also reports that he will be undergoing surgeries on his right shoulder and left hip, although neither should prevent him from lacing up the boots.
Now that we know he is set to go, the big question now is who will get the chance at ending his streak. The story reports that Taker would like Brock Lesnar or John Cena to oppose him in New Orleans. Both are great choices and provide for high drama.
John Cena to me is the top choice here. I think the WWE badly missed the boat going into WrestleMania 29 on a Punk’s WWE title streak vs. Undertaker WM streak. That boat is docked and could sail again if the WWE can make the commitment to keep the WWE championship on Undertaker. The match would be huge and an appropriate main-event for something as monumental as a 30th anniversary event.
Brock Lesnar would probably be the ideal backup plan here if Cena is penciled in elsewhere. The realism here is what will make this one big. Most fans remember the confrontation between Brock and Taker at a UFC event and for those that don’t, there is plenty of time to tell that story. That real factor is something you won’t get between Undertaker and Cena. If The Rock really isn’t coming back and Brock is free, the match makes a lot of sense.
Speaking of The Rock, what about The Rock vs. Undertaker? It’s a curveball but why not? It doesn’t have the same luster as any of the other matches but it certainly has its appeal. The only problem here is that I don’t think there is anyone who would buy The Rock being the man to end the streak.
Finally what about one of The Shield members? Dean Ambrose is the immediate Shield member that comes to mind. They had an excellent match on SmackDown so you know it would be good. As far as an investment goes, you can’t get a better one here than using this match to elevate one of the younger stars of the future. I don’t know if anyone would truly buy Ambrose ending the streak but you have plenty of time to get him there if that’s the direction they want to go.
WWE creative have been on the money with The Shield. They have been booked better than any newcomers in recent memory yet at the end of the day I am starting to wonder what the end game here is for Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.
Like many of you I went out of my way last week to watch WWE Friday Night SmackDown after hearing about the main-event taped featuring The Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose. The match was great and even with Ambrose losing, the trio still left SmackDown strong. This is the one act that the WWE has protected and yet I can’t figure out what the payoff is going to be with the group.
What do you do with The Shield? As a trio I have to think they are very limited. That isn’t a knock on their wrestling because thus far they have been fantastic in the ring. But what do you do with a three-man unit like this? This isn’t a Von Erichs vs. Freebirds situation where you have two strong trios. I just can’t see in the big picture where The Shield wind up over the next few months.
In just a matter of several months the group has already feuded with the two top dogs in the WWE. Feuds with John Cena and The Undertaker have been fun, but what is left? How can you go from Cena and Undertaker to anyone else at this point? How do you capitalize on this ray of gold that WWE Creative has protected since their debut?
I took a look at the big picture a few weeks back and tried to predict the WrestleMania 30 card. A lot of things will change from now until then so anything not announced is purely guess work. Once I got into the nitty gritty of the card I couldn’t find a spot for The Shield. Sure you can book them against just any three guys and have a solid match. But there wasn’t a logical progression or program that I could envision for these guys 12 months from now.
I threw this question out on Twitter after SmackDown on Friday night. I expected to get the usual arguments you get whenever you pontificate on Twitter but I didn’t get any. Every tweet in response agreed with the question, “What do you do with The Shield?” Nobody had an answer and I think that could be a real problem moving forward.
One person suggested they add a veteran leader and make it a four-man group. I don’t think so. The Shield has been booked so strong that I think a leader at this point wouldn’t make sense. It is obvious from day one that Ambrose is the natural leader of the group. I think a fourth, unless it is a new guy on the roster, would also cheapen the gimmick.
The obvious answer is a three-way split with a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania. That just seems like a cop out to me. I think these guys have a lot of legs and a long shelf life. Sure I can see that scenario evolving at WrestleMania 31 but not 30. What is the point of this strong build as a unit anyway if they are just going to split? Ambrose lost to The Undertaker why? Because it was a singles match. To me I see this as the WWE establishing that these guys are unbeatable as a unit yet beatable apart.
A WWE tag team championship seems inevitable but at this point that is almost like a step backwards when you are having matches with Cena and Undertaker. I’d love to see a longer feud with Team Hell No but who do you have after that? The tag team division is weak unless a new “super team” pops up.
I could easily see CM Punk turning babyface at some point and feuding with The Shield. Punk could grab two partners, Cena and Undertaker making the most sense, and have a couple of trios matches with the group. Unfortunately I think we have seen the last of The Undertaker for awhile so that is probably off the table. Even at that point you wouldn’t book this on WrestleMania.
So this brings me back to the question I asked at the start of the blog. What do you do with The Shield? Quite frankly I have no idea.
This week on WWE Friday Night SmackDown, we get a rare televised Undertaker match, as he goes one-on-one with Dean Ambrose in Ambrose’s singles debut. And hey, we’re immediately starting the show with a match.
MATCH 1-No Disqualification Match: Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
ADR fires off some rights, knees Swagger in the gut, and clotheslines him to the floor. He follows up with a suicide dive, landing on his feet in the process. ADR grabs Swagger’s bad arm and rams it into the steps, then goes under the ring for a kendo stick. As he gets in the ring, Swagger cuts him off, grabs the stick and begins attacking ADR’s bad knee with it. More strikes to the upper body with the stick by Swagger until ADR blocks one to the chest and gets back to his feet as they fight over the stick. ADR mule kicks Swagger in the gut, sending him to the corner. He charges in, but Swagger backdrops him to the floor. Outside, Swagger talks some trash and goes under the ring for a ladder. ADR gets back up and kicks Swagger in the face before he can get it, and now they’re trading punches up the ramp. Suplex on the ramp by ADR, and now he goes back for the ladder. He angles it on the apron as Cole calls it a “10-foot ladder” despite the fact that it’s clearly about the same height as ADR, if not a bit shorter. Swagger charges in, and ADR pancakes him into the ladder. Commercials.
Back from the break, Swagger is in control in the ring, with ADR locked in a front chancery. During the break, Swagger nailed ADR repeatedly with the kendo stick. Back to the match, ADR fights out of the chancery, but runs right into an elevated belly-to-belly for 2. Swagger goes outside and grabs the timekeeper’s chair. JBL calling the weapons in these matches “toys” pisses me off. Swagger gets on the apron, and ADR nails him with a step-up enziguri. Swagger rolls back into the ring and kicks ADR in the bad knee and hits a clothesline for 2. He goes back outside for the chair and wedges it in between the middle and top rope in the corner. ADR pops up with a double-knee armbreaker, and now both men are down. ADR is up first, and he hits a pair of clotheslines, ducks one and follows up with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Swagger rolls to the apron, so ADR pulls him through the middle and top rope, grabs the kendo stick and begins striking Swagger in the back with it. He hits nine strikes and follows up with a suspended Backstabber for 2. ADR calls for the rolling jujigatame and goes for it, but Swagger shoves him into the corner. ADR puts the breaks on and hits a thrust kick to the face for 2. ADR needs to not slap his thigh so obviously when he does that move. Anyway, he walks over to Swagger, and Swagger grabs him in the Patriot Lock. ADR counters into the jujigatame, and Swagger gets back to his feet, pinning ADR while still in the hold, only getting 2. He immediately sends ADR shoulder-first into the chair in the corner, getting 2 once more. Swagger rolls to the floor and grabs another ladder, putting it in the ring through the ropes. ADR see-saws it into Swagger’s face, and Swagger’s lip is busted open. ADR rolls outside, where Zeb has grabbed the stick. He distracts ADR, which allows Swagger to run the ladder into ADR’s face. Back in the ring, Swagger goes for the pin, getting 2. Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb, but ADR gets his knees up and immediately goes for the jujigatame. Swagger starts to block it, but ADR manages to lock it in. Zeb hands the stick to Swagger, and he breaks the hold by nailing ADR in the head repeatedly. He gets up, hits ADR a few more times, then throws a ladder on top of him. Swagger hits the falling Doctor Bomb and manages to get the 3.
WINNER: Jack Swagger. Decent match, but honestly, I liked last week’s match better.
Later tonight, Sheamus faces The Big Show, and Randy Orton takes on Mark Henry.
MATCH 2: Aksana vs. Layla
It’s funny how, even pandering to the hometown crowd with her Union Jack-themed outfit, the fans don’t give a cat’s ass about her. Layla starts by kicking Aksana in the gut, then shoving her ass into Aksana’s face. Aksana counters a corner whip, blocks a headscissors and sends Layla to the floor with a kick through the ropes after dropping her over the top. Aksana throws Layla into the ring and, as she’s attempting to be sexy on the apron (not buying it), Layla kicks her. Back in the ring, Layla rolls her up in a schoolgirl for 1. Jackknife gets 2 for Layla. Hair whip by Layla, but as she goes for it again, Aksana counters into a stun gun and follows up with a running knee to the face for 2. Aksana stomps on Layla’s hand, then applies a wristlock. She sends Layla into the corner, and Layla collapses to the mat. Aksana continues to work on the arm before hitting a snapmare and a kick to the back. Layla comes back with some kicks, and Aksana blocks the Bombshell and sends Layla to the mat for an elbow, getting 2. Layla counters an Irish whip into a roll-through pin, then continues rolling into a crucifix for the 3.
WINNER: Layla. According to Josh Mathews, Layla calls her new move Infinity. Yay.
We get a promo from The Shield. Ambrose says they stood face-to-face with the tag champs and The Undertaker, and what happened? Justice prevailed, and The Shield were victorious. They were unbreakable. It’s an injustice Team Hell No! are still champs, but not for long. The Undertaker escaped with his soul intact, but not for long. ‘Taker is still walking and breathing, and that isn’t right. Tonight, Ambrose is going to beat ‘Taker, if it’s the last thing he does. Justice, not ‘Taker, will be immortal. At the hands of The Shield, ‘Taker will not rest in peace, but he will believe in The Shield.
MATCH 3: Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Justin Gabriel
Rae hasn’t been formally introduced, but that’s who she works as in NXT, so that’s what I’m calling her until further notice. The whole crowd is chanting “ChaChaLaLa”, despite the fact that the music has stopped. Fandango boots Gabriel to the head, but Gabriel escapes a suplex, sweeps Fandango and rolls him up for 2. Fandango slides to the floor, then shoulders Gabriel on the way back into the ring before getting hit with an armdrag into an armbar. Fandango shoves Gabriel to the corner and breaks the hold with some punches before hitting a knee to the side of the head. Gabriel is tied up through the ropes, and Fandango nails some forearms to the back of the head, then jumps outside and nails Gabriel with Dolph Ziggler’s old apron kick for 2. Gabriel comes back with a jumping roundhouse and a standard one. In the corner, he floats over Fandango off a forearm shot and goes for a springboard cross-body, but gets nailed with a kick to the gut. Fandango hits a side-Russian legsweep and then goes up top and hits the guillotine legdrop for 3.
MATCH 4: Sheamus vs. The Big Show
Show immediately throws Sheamus to the mat out of a lockup. Another lockup, and Sheamus manages to throw Show into the corner. Sheamus fires off some rights and kicks, but is immediately stopped by a headbutt from Show. Show ties Sheamus in the ropes and hits a series of open-hand chops. Sheamus comes back with rights until Show just shoves him over the top rope and to the floor. Show follows and continues attacking Sheamus on the outside before rolling him back in. Sheamus cuts Show off at the apron, then ties him up for some forearms to the chest. Show shakes them off and headbutts Sheamus. Sheamus blocks a corner charge, but gets hit with a sidewalk slam. Running elbow connects, and Show gets 2. Show chokes Sheamus over the middle rope, then hits another headbutt. Final Cut connects, and Show gets another 2. Sheamus starts to fight back with right hands and goes for a bodyslam, but Show falls on top of Sheamus for 2. He then walks across Sheamus’ stomach before hitting another headbutt. Sheamus collapses against the ropes, and Show boots him. Sheamus’ upper half winds up underneath the bottom rope, so Show goes outside and hits an open-hand chop to the chest. Commercials.
Back from the break, Show is still in control, and he throws Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring post, sending Sheamus crashing to the floor. Outside, Show throws Sheamus into the ring steps, breaking them apart in the process. Show rolls back into the ring to start the count over and Sheamus makes it in at 9. Show throws Sheamus shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle, then drops his weight across Sheamus’ arm. Sheamus swings wildly and Show clubs him down with a forearm before applying a top wristlock. Sheamus fights out, knocking Show to his knees. Sheamus follows up with a snap DDT, then begins nailing Show with right hands. Show comes back with body blows. Both men are back up, and Sheamus hits a pair of clotheslines, a running shoulder thrust in the corner, a running kneelift, and the Battering Ram from the top rope. Sheamus goes for White Noise, but Show blocks it and goes for the chokeslam. Sheamus escapes and hits White Noise. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick, but Show sees it coming and rolls to the floor. Sheamus hits a running double axe handle to the back from the apron, but Show comes back with rights and crawls back in the ring. Sheamus hotshots Show’s left arm from the floor and goes back up top. Mark Henry appears out of nowhere and knocks the ring steps over, distracting Show. This allows Show to hit Sheamus with the WMD while he’s still on the top rope. Sheamus falls to the mat, and Show gets the 3.
WINNER: The Big Show.
MATCH 5: William Regal vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
I realize that Regal is only out here because we’re in England, but I don’t care. Regal is one of my all-time favorite workers, and the fact that he’s taking on Barrett, one of my current favorites, makes me very happy. Before the match, Barrett says that he realizes we’re in England, and the country is infamous for grave robberies. He never would have believed the story until today, when he found out there was a body missing from a crypt, and that body is standing in the ring. But don’t worry Regal-you’re about to get sent back from whence you came at the hands of the great Barrett Barrage. Bell sounds, and Barrett hits some knees. Regal comes back with a clothesline and hits some kneelifts in the corner. Barrett lands a mule kick out of the corner and Barrett goes for the Bull Hammer. Regal ducks and hits a carousel suplex. He goes for the knee trembler, but Barrett moves and blasts Regal with the Hammer for 3.
WINNER: Wade Barrett. I was really hoping for more here, so I’m pretty disappointed. Still, I got to see Regal, which is always a good thing.
MATCH 6: Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Henry backs Orton into the corner, hits a clothesline and goes for the WSS. Orton escapes and hits some rights, knocking Henry to the floor. Orton follows and forearms Henry in the back of the head. Henry fights back with punches and headbutts and goes to lawn dart Orton into the post. Orton escapes and shoves Henry face-first into it. Back in the ring, Orton attacks Henry as he’s rolling in, then goes for the Garvin Stomp. Henry pops back up and hits a running clothesline before choking Orton over the middle rope. Henry hits some shoulder thrusts in the corner, but Orton manages to fight back with rights. Henry stays on his feet after receiving a clothesline, but gets knocked down on the second attempt. Orton hits a DDT and gets 2. Henry rolls to the apron, and Orton goes for the suspended DDT, which connects. Orton calls for the RKO, but Henry rolls to the floor. Orton follows, and ends up getting rammed back-first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Henry goes after Orton, but Sheamus runs down and hits a Brogue Kick to cause the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Mark Henry. Orton hits an RKO on Henry shortly thereafter.
MATCH 7: The Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins)
Rollins and Reigns distract ‘Taker, and Ambrose capitalizes with rights. ‘Taker mostly shakes it off and counters with his own punches, sending Ambrose to the floor where he gets rammed into the barricade. ‘Taker rolls Ambrose onto the apron, hitting a legdrop. Back in the ring, ‘Taker misses a running boot in the corner and falls to the apron. Ambrose baseball slides him to the floor, then follows out for some mounted punches before ramming ‘Taker into the barricade and throwing him back in the ring. Ambrose continues the attack, grinding his forearm against ‘Taker’s face in the corner before tying him up in the ropes and hitting a running seated dropkick for 2. Ambrose applies a cravat and eventually turns it into a neckbreaker for 2. Ambrose hits some rights, then mocks ‘Taker’s throat cut. ‘Taker goozles him and gets to his feet, but Ambrose fights out, and now the two trade punches. Ambrose hits a running kneelift, but then runs into a chokeslam. ‘Taker knocks Rollins off the apron, and as Reigns distracts the ref, Ambrose hits a low blow on ‘Taker and a modified DDT gets 2. As Ambrose goes to capitalize, ‘Taker traps him in Hell’s Gate and gets the tapout victory.
WINNER: The Undertaker. After the match, The Shield swarm ‘Taker and eventually triple powerbomb him through the table.
I’ve been doing this blog the last several years a week or so after that year’s WrestleMania wrapped up and once again it has returned by looking at the 2014 edition of the biggest show of the wrestling year, WrestleMania 30.
First and foremost I need to give credit where credit is due and say that this blog was inspired by Camel Clutch Blog creator Eric Gargiulo who “penned” a predictions blog just like this several years ago. I “borrowed” the idea myself and decided to give my own WrestleMania predictions one year before the event actually happened. So with that said lets take a look at my very early WrestleMania 30 predictions:
The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
This is a pretty easy prediction to go with since there were reported plans for the two of them to plant the “seeds” for a match in the Superdome at WrestleMania 30 the RAW after WrestleMania 29. I like the WWE going with this match because it involves two “part-time” wrestlers having a match at the biggest show of the year and not leaving a wrestler who would be more deserving to be in a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania (CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan to name a few) the “odd man out.”
Rock/Lesnar has a big match appeal to it and if it’s like anything compared to their SummerSlam 2002 encounter then wrestling fans will be in for a show at WrestleMania 30.
Ryback vs. The Undertaker
Right now it appears that the WWE has decided to take Ryback out of the babyface role and make him into a monster heel. Personally I love the move WWE creative has made because I feel that someday Ryback has the potential to “slide” into John Cena’s top babyface role and putting him as a heel, outside the “babyface shadows” of John Cena, will make him look stronger to the WWE audience.
The amount of opponents for The Undertaker at WrestleMania are a slim list and if Brock Lesnar is going to be involved in a match with The Rock, then the next big thing (no pun intended) to threatened The Undertaker’s streak is to have the “everyday monster heel” of the WWE to challenge “The Deadman.”
John Cena (c) vs. CM Punk (For the WWE Championship)
When we look back at the John Cena vs. CM Punk feud historically, we will look back at it as defining an “era” of professional wrestling in the WWE. I believe we will put it upon the mantle piece of such era defining feuds like Hogan/Savage, Hart/Michaels and Rock/Austin. But what those feuds all have in-common that the Cena/Punk feud does not, is a main event match at a WrestleMania.
I loved listening to interviews leading up to WrestleMania 29 where CM Punk candidly said that he believed it should be himself vs. John Cena main eventing WrestleMania 29. Quite frankly, while Rock/Cena may look like the “big money draw,” John Cena vs. CM Punk could be a match that leaves people talking for years. Case in point their most recent RAW match back in late-February, arguably one of their best one-on-one matches of All-Time.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (For the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
This is the “wrestling fan’s” WrestleMania dream match right now. It’s two of the best in-ring workers in professional wrestling battling it out at a WrestleMania with a World Title on the line. Imagine if the WWE gave wrestling fans this match and allowed them to do battle for 25-30 minutes. Just the thought of that is making Wrestling fans around the world salivate.
The best thing about this is it has a very good chance of happening a year from now as they are two of the biggest rising stars in the company. Their popularity is growing at every WWE show and they have the ability to kick-off the “30’s decade” of WrestleMania in-style by quite possibly being that Cena/Punk feud that could define an era. To me, it’s the closest thing to a Hart/Michaels-like match that we may ever see in today’s professional wrestling landscape.
Chris Jericho vs. Triple H
Heading into this new “fiscal year” of the WWE will be pretty interesting. Throughout the year their will come times where these stars will be brought back to due battle with some sort of rising star like Chris Jericho did (i.e. Fandango or Dolph Ziggler) or due battle with an established star like Triple H did (i.e. Brock Lesnar). But now that WrestleMania 29 is in the books what does each of these two legend’s future hold for WrestleMania 30?
I’d personally love to see a throwback to one of the most underrated feuds of the “Attitude Era” and see Chris Jericho & Triple H battle it out for one more time. This feud actually headlined a Wrestlemania during that time period (WrestleMania 18) and a rematch between these two towards the end of what I presume to be their careers, would be a nostalgia match for the “older” wrestling fan. Not only that but I believe these two legends would give us a great match on the grandest wrestling stage of them all.
Plus who wouldn’t mind seeing another underrated feud, Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon, be rehashed one more time?
It is never too early to look into my WWE crystal ball and start making WrestleMania 30 predictions. I made WrestleMania 29 card predictions last April and let’s just say that I couldn’t have been more off the mark. It’s time to turn that around as we look ahead to New Orleans!
In taking a quick look back at my WrestleMania 29 match predictions from April 2012, I only got one match right. I hit on The Rock vs. John Cena and missed on everything else. It certainly wasn’t as easy to predict the twelve months out from Mania to Mania as I thought (or maybe too predictable depending upon how you look at it). 2014 looks like it could be different.
Predicting WrestleMania one year out is almost as difficult as filling out your March Madness brackets at any time of the year. Take a look at WrestleMania 28 a year ago. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan were in championship matches, Brock Lesnar wasn’t even in, and you had the whole Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy fiasco. The World Wrestling Entertainment landscape certainly looked a lot different this year.
So with this all said, let’s take a look at some of the probable WrestleMania 30 matches one year before this great spectacle invades Louisiana. Keep in mind that these are all just predictions and should not be taken as fact or cited as a source in any kind of report.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker Streak vs. Streak…I have been hanging my hat on this baby for the last couple of years and have been no closer since I first made the prediction. I think this match has to happen. It is the only Cena and Undertaker match that hasn’t happened ever in the WWE (well it has, but not on a big stage). This is a main-event the company can draw with in which they don’t have to pay crazy money for an outsider to come in and carry the event.
In my post-WrestleMania 29 blog I mentioned that the WWE really blew it by not going with a streak vs. streak match between Punk and Undertaker. I think that between this being the 30th event and probably the last for The Undertaker, they keep the WWE title on Cena all year long (gasp!), and go with streak vs. streak. Who wins? That is another blog altogether but say what you will about Cena, a match like that would be absolutely huge!
Steve Austin vs. CM Punk. If this match is ever going to happen it is going to happen here. I can see the WWE going all out to try and get Austin back in for the 30th WrestleMania. Austin hasn’t ruled out the match although according to reports most close to him seem to think it’ll never happen. Will that one last huge payday tempt Austin to lace up the boots one more time? I have serious concerns about The Rock coming back next year and without him, the WWE will need to grab someone else to help fill those shoes. If it doesn’t happen at WrestleMania 30 it’s never going to happen.
Backup plan – CM Punk vs. Triple H. I know that these guys have already had their big match but if you look at the big picture, what else could either really do next year that would have any kind of impact on the show? I hope for logic sake that Triple H is wrestling on the show because if he doesn’t, his win over Brock makes even less sense. So I am going to assume he is in. Punk makes the perfect foil and it would be a great opportunity for Hunter to return the favor and pass the torch so to speak. Does Trips fear the embarrassment of being booed at the expense of Punk’s fans? Maybe, but I think this one has to at least be on the white board when it comes to planning the New Orleans event.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE world heavyweight championship…I was pulling for an Orton vs. Bryan match this year and that didn’t happen. I know Orton has his critics but take a look at any of his matches with Ziggler and tell me they aren’t all fantastic. These guys have some sick chemistry together and I could see a scenario where Orton winds up with the title during the next 12 months as a heel, and a babyface Ziggler works his way back into the title picture with a win at the Royal Rumble. Yep, Ziggler wins the Rumble and challenges Orton at Mania next year!
The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. We all know the story of this one by now. This match has been planned for awhile but the angle got sidetracked after The Rock went home the day after WrestleMania 29. Does it happen? Honestly I don’t think it does, but I have to at least include it on the list. The star power here is probably the biggest that the WWE can grab from two guys the level of Brock and Rock. I am just not so sure The Rock is so eager to risk his next movie against the likes of Brock. If he got injured twice against Cena, he will fall completely apart against Brock. But it is on the books so it needs to be here.
Backup plan – Brock Lesnar vs. Batista. There have been all kinds of rumors lately of Batista returning to the WWE, which are nothing new since those same rumors reared their head last year at this time. Batista coming back to wrestle Brock makes sense, especially if you play off of both of their MMA backgrounds. I think this match would be pretty good, although I would be disappointed if Batista didn’t return to his heel character he portrayed before leaving. What else do you do with Brock if The Rock isn’t interested in returning to the ring?
Backup plan #2 – Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk. Quite frankly I am expecting this one to come a little bit earlier, around SummerSlam. Brock is a babyface plain and simple. The fans love him. He will be turning babyface sooner or later and if the WWE is convinced Rock isn’t coming back, and the Batista idea isn’t feasible, maybe they shoot the angle here and turn Heyman and Punk on Brock? It would give both Punk and Brock a big match, probably a damned good one on the big event. I know it is coming but whether it comes at WrestleMania 30, SummerSlam, or WrestleMania 31 is anyone’s guess.
Stay tuned to the Camel Clutch Blog throughout the year. We will be posting WrestleMania 30 predictions all year long, as well any news reports that break regarding the match card. We don’t need to wait until January to get in on the fun.
This past Sunday I was able to live out most every wrestling fan’s dream by attending my very 1st WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium. The atmosphere & excitement was like no other and I highly recommend it to any wrestling fan that is or has contemplating going to the “Super Bowl of Wrestling.” With that said I thought I’d figure to give some my thoughts on the 29th installment of WrestleMania:
- The Miz def. Wade Barrett
Not a bad opener to start off WrestleMania and I completely understand the time constraints of it being on the pre-show. Therefore it wasn’t as good as some of their recent RAW matches but it got the crowd on the right foot with a Miz victory. It’s nice to see two stars with a ton of potential, be pushed up and down the hierarchy of the WWE only to make their climb back to the top.
- The Shield def. Sheamus, Randy Orton & The Big Show
The Shield was very over with the NY/NJ crowd which came as a surprise to no one. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns continue to grow on WWE television and I really hope are given the ball to run with now that ‘Mania is in the books. If the stars align correctly this trio could one of the best groups/stables from this current decade.
As for the “superfriends” trio of Sheamus, Orton and Big Show, I got to admit I was pretty surprised they went back to (or stayed with) The Big Show heel turn. All three stars really have looked weak throughout this whole thing and I am intrigued with how WWE handles these stars heading into Extreme Rules. Currently they don’t reflect the top star “mantra” that they should be receiving in my opinion.
- Mark Henry def. Ryback
This was your typical “brut” match. I thought both stars did a lot with what they had and made it work for the most part. I’m not a fan of these type of matches but Ryback and Henry proved that they are much more athletic then the normal “brut” matches we have been accustomed to.
- Team Hell No def. Ziggler & Langston
I wasn’t a fan of the buildup for this match because while the WWE Tag Team division was a bright spot for the WWE in 2012, a tandem of Ziggler and Langston never materialized as an actual tag team until weeks before WrestleMania. Having Ziggler and Bryan in the ring against one another during WrestleMania was enough for me and I thought the match was good as well. I think had the WWE given more focus to these four superstars we could’ve gotten a lot more emotional attachment to this match from a fan’s perspective.
- Fandango def. Chris Jericho
I was in the majority when I felt this match could ultimately steal the show from an undercard’s perspective and frankly it did not. The finish was sloppy but it was made up for as both stars are heavily over with the WWE fans. Fandango is going to be a major player in the WWE and Chris Jericho continues to prove why he is one of the best in the business as he continues to help build for wrestling’s future.
While the first match didn’t “blow our socks off” like we thought, I do look forward to seeing an eventual rematch on a smaller stage then WrestleMania. I still have high hopes for this feud and the potential it has.
- Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger
The Del Rio/Swagger feud fell way below expectations and rightfully so. If you go back 12 weeks ago one of these stars was a heel and the other wasn’t even on WWE television. Fast forward to post-Elimination Chamber and one of them is being pushed as a major face (Del Rio) while the other is being pushed as a #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship despite just being back on television (Swagger).
It’s to work a World Heavyweight Championship match like that with those things restricting them from connecting to the audience and it doesn’t help it was for a WrestleMania. Like many matches on the card I feel like if it was given more room to grow and be built the fans would’ve accepted it more. It had a ton of potential but overall I feel like it fell flat out of most, if not all, the WrestleMania matches on the card.
- The Undertaker def. CM Punk
This was the best match from the event hands down. Despite everyone “knowing” what will happen the fans are completely invested with every near fall, reversal or regular move when The Undertaker is performing at WrestleMania. It helps when “The Deadman” is quite possibly facing the first person since Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21 to really give people hope that “the streak” could end.
Huge props to both stars for putting on a show under the type of injuries they had. It was a great story told in the ring and I look forward to watching it again once the show comes out onto DVD.
- Triple H def. Brock Lesnar
Other then Undertaker/CM Punk I felt like this match told a great story inside the ring that led to a compelling finish to the match. Both guys really beat the hell out of one another to give the fans a solid match and that’s exactly what they got. Despite Lesnar losing 2 out of his first 3 matches back in the WWE I still feel like he is as strong as when he debuted.
The Triple H/Lesnar feud in my opinion was highly underrated as well and gave fans one of the better buildups heading into MetLife Stadium. I’d be perfectly fine if the WWE wanted to move forward with some sort of “rubber match” between these two at another Summerslam to really end this thing on the right note and unfortunately for Triple H the right note is by getting Lesnar over again as a monster heel. Once again, great job by both guys at WrestleMania.
- John Cena def. The Rock
Sadly the majority of fans could careless about this match and that’s unfortunate for all the hype it received two years ago as being one of those last “mega-matches” in professional wrestling. The match started off slow but I felt really picked up towards the end and had a lot better flow then their WrestleMania 28 match in Miami. While I would’ve preferred to see some sort of heel turn from John Cena (because who doesn’t at this point) or some sort of finish that left us talking, the WWE decided to let all the talking be done in the ring.
The silver lining in this all is that there are questions surrounding both of these wrestlers in regards to what’s next for both of them. Will The Rock ever wrestle again especially after the injury he suffered? Who will be able to feud with John Cena heading into the summer? Can Ryback be that guy?
Overall I was very impressed with the show as a whole and felt it was really solid. Undertaker/CM Punk went beyond expectations and everything else didn’t make me desire anything more but left me pleasantly pleased with the performances. WWE does a hell of a job with their live shows and I felt WrestleMania lived up to all that they deem it to be.
When it’s all said and done I felt like WrestleMania 29 was a 4-out-of-5 show from my standpoint. Very solid show from top to bottom that will probably be one of, if not the best, WWE pay-per-views of the year.
WWE WrestleMania 29 is history and it is time to start looking forward to Extreme Rules. Yet before we get our tables, ladders, and chairs ready I think now would be a good time to look back at the biggest WrestleMania in WWE history.
I thought it would be an interesting idea to reflect on WrestleMania and take a look at where things are going, opportunities missed, and try and make sense of what the heck WWE creative was trying to accomplish. My key takeaways from Sunday’s event are…
When is Randy Orton turning heel already? WrestleMania was the perfect set up for the Viper to go back to his roots. Orton had practically begged for it for months and all roads appeared to lead to the big turn. But it never happened. I don’t know what the deal is with Orton. I can’t remember a star pushed as hard as Orton that was demoted for as long as the former champion. I know he has his detractors but let’s face it, he is one of the most solid workers in the company. His run as a babyface has long grown stale so why they are holding on is anyone’s guess.
Dolph Ziggler deserves better. If you are to believe that hard work will lead to success in the WWE than you will be proven wrong with Ziggler. Even with little time Ziggler went out there and made the most of every second of his brief match at WrestleMania. He has had the Money in the Bank case since July and while we have all been teased with an eventual cash-in he is still walking around with the contract. It makes zero sense logically that a man with an opportunity to wrestle for the world heavyweight title at WrestleMania doesn’t cash it in. He looks like a fool at this point. Even if he does cash in nobody is going to buy him right now as an unbeatable champion. It’s time to pull him off television for awhile and bring him back when they can do it right. The more he is seen on television every week the more he is being wasted.
I understand that the WWE love to pump their chests out about Twitter but I don’t need to see a Twitter crawl every match when I am paying $70 for a pay per view. I really can’t think of anything more annoying in recent memory than having this ridiculous crawl pop up every ten minutes. What was the end game here? Did they expect me to stop watching the event I paid $70 to see and jump on Twitter and tweet about what is trending? I don’t think anything is wrong with it on RAW or SmackDown, but not on a show you are charging people to watch. It’s enough already!
As I watched The Undertaker vs. CM Punk start I was reminded of one of the biggest missed opportunities in WrestleMania history. Imagine how huge this match could have been if CM Punk never lost the title and you had a streak vs. streak match, the WrestleMania streak vs. WWE championship! I know that The Undertaker wouldn’t be around for a big WWE title run but he is already booked on a house show in England. You can’t tell me you couldn’t have convinced him to do one more match on Extreme Rules and drop the title back? There is a good chance that the WWE will never have a chance at something as big as Punk’s title streak vs. The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak fall into their laps again. At the end of the day I really don’t think Rock vs. Cena 2 needed the title and they could have had something absolutely huge if they kept it on Punk.
Chris Jericho is everything that is right about pro wrestling and is the model of how a veteran should take chicken crap and turn it into chicken salad. Jericho was originally booked to wrestle Ryback at WrestleMania but plans changed. Instead of crying about it he embraced it and publicly told fans that he was going to do the best he could to get a good match out of Fandango. He was a one man show here. The match was very good and it had nothing to do with Fandango. Jericho was awesome at Mania and took a match that nobody wanted to see and turned it into one of the better matches on the event.
The Ryback finish tells me that the big man is getting ready to feast on John Cena. The WWE already teased a Ryback-Cena match at the Royal Rumble and I don’t think that was an accident. Plans changed as Ryback was booked with Jericho, then Big Show, and then Mark Henry. There is no reason he should have lost here unless he is turning heel. Take a look at the big picture and there is nobody ready to challenge Cena. The turn is one that makes sense (maybe that’s why Orton didn’t turn) and if he isn’t turning, the finish of the match is one of the dumbest in recent memory….but not the dumbest.
Speaking of dumb finishes, so why was Brock Lesnar brought back? Anyone? You know when everyone cried that the sky was falling after Cena beat him I retorted that the loss was no big deal. The idea that Brock as a part-timer would be rusty against Cena made sense to me. This one didn’t. The loss at WrestleMania was a big deal. You have a guy now that you are paying more than just about anyone on your roster who was brought in for three big matches and is 1-2 in all of them. At some point Lesnar’s draw as a bad a$$ is going to wear off when people look at him and think, “Well he lost to Cena and Hunter.” It is one thing losing to Cena but losing to a part-time 40+ year old aging wrestler is a whole other story. As I asked with Twitter, what is the end game here? How can anyone justify this finish? Hunter needed his win back? In that case let’s bring back Batista next year and pay him $5 million.
Who’s up for John Cena? Nobody was positioned coming out of this card other than maybe Mark Henry as any kind of a killer challenger for John Cena. So you put the title on Cena, great job, now what? Sure you could go back to CM Punk but a) Punk has now gone 0-3 in his last three big matches, b) it’s time to give Punk some wins, and c) it’s been done enough and it isn’t that big of a draw. Is Triple H going to challenge Cena? Heck that is the only reason his finish would have made any sense. Maybe they can go with Cena vs. Big Show 5000? There is a serious problem here with talent depth and the WWE did a tremendous job at WrestleMania to make sure that nobody was elevated. I say look for Antonio Cesaro as a wild card here. By not appearing on WrestleMania he avoided a loss on a big show. Cesaro is fresh and he and Cena would actually be kind of fun. Other than Cesaro and maybe Henry I have nobody else in mind that makes any sense.
Finally, the WrestleMania 29 results were just way too predictable. I think this hurt a lot of interest going in. They really played it safe and didn’t turn anyone or change any major titles. I don’t always think predictability is a bad thing but here you really needed to shake something up whether it was Rock winning or Brock winning (which is really what they should have done). It was a fun show but it felt kind of average with a lack of real excitement seeing everything play out exactly as I thought it would.