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WWE WrestleMania 26 Preview and Predictions

Shawn Michaels vs. John CenaAll eyes will be on the WWE this Sunday when WrestleMania 26 comes to pay-per-view. Hardcore and casual pro wrestling fans will be watching WrestleMania 26 to see everything from the WrestleMania return of Bret Hart to arguably the most anticipated rematch in WrestleMania history. WrestleMania 26 on paper looks to be the biggest WrestleMania of the last several years.

Over the last few years, WrestleMania has centered around one match. Last year, it was Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker. The year before that was Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show. WrestleMania 23 was all about Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley with the celebrity involvement of Donald Trump and Vince McMahon. For the first time in several years, WrestleMania 26 will feature more matches with potential to steal the show than almost any other WrestleMania event in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment.

The very first blog written on CamelClutchBlog.com was a preview of WrestleMania 25? Last year I wrote, “On paper, this year’s show is very disappointing. I was extremely critical of the lineup during the last few weeks of my radio show. When I think of WrestleMania I think of big, first-time main-events. This year’s show is the antithesis of that. This year’s lineup is a big wakeup call to the problems that the WWE have had in elevating young talent. It is definitely not a good thing when the main-event is a match we have seen several times in the last twelve months. With that said, let’s break down the top matches.” That all changes this year, so without further delay let’s break down the top matches at WrestleMania 26.

Streak vs. Career: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. These two WWE superstars have arguably had the greatest series of matches in WWE history. Go back to their 1997-98 rivalry and I dare you to find anything but a great match between these two legends. It surprised nobody when Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker stole the show last year at WrestleMania 25.

The WWE has been shoving their WrestleMania 25 match down our throats since the day after WrestleMania. Needless to say, this year’s match has a ton of expectations that may be bigger than these two 40+ WWE legends can produce. I’d expect nothing less than another classic between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. I also foresee another situation involving a cameraman as that seems to be a signature spot between these two. I’d also anticipate them to play off of the spot last year when the Undertaker almost killed himself crashing on the floor.

The big question here more than any other match is the result. The immediate guess is that Shawn Michaels isn’t retiring. However, there have been rumors for the last three years that Shawn Michaels has been looking to hang it up. I have talked to several wrestlers over the years that know Shawn pretty well that have indicated that they think Shawn Michaels’ retirement is imminent. Yet, it just seems like such a quick way to end such a legendary career. As much of a cop out as it is, the match can go either way.

My prediction may be a bit out there, but it is something that I have been feeling for a few weeks now. I will go out on a limb here and predict that Shawn Michaels loses this match. I will go out on a limb even further and predict that Triple H turns on Shawn Michaels and costs him the match. I have been feeling a Triple H turn for awhile now. Now that Randy Orton is a babyface, there are no top heels on WWE RAW if Batista remains on SmackDown. There is just something about things said between Michaels and Triple H on interviews that lead me to believe something is brewing here.

WWE Championship: Batista vs. John Cena. If you would have asked me two months ago about this match I would have groaned and told you that I had no interest in seeing it. Yet, after several weeks of incredible buildup on WWE RAW, I am really intrigued by this one. Out of every match on the show, I think the WWE did the best job promoting this one. Yes, the angles between Bret Hart-Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels-The Undertaker have been great. But most fans wanted to see those matches anyway. Here is a situation where the WWE took chicken droppings and turned it into chicken salad.

I don’t have high expectations for this match. Show me one John Cena WWE match that is different than the other and I would tell you that you doctored the footage. On the other hand, Batista has quietly had a tremendous string of great WrestleMania matches. Batista has said many times over the years that he takes a lot of pride in trying to steal the show at WrestleMania. Could Batista’s motivation be enough to put this one over the top?

At this point, I think Batista has the potential to be the hottest star in the WWE. They have done such a great job of turning Batista around from a stale babyface into an incredibly hot heel. I feel he has much more heel charisma than any of the other top heels new or recent. Unfortunately, WWE RAW has no champion right now if Batista remains a SmackDown star. With that said, I predict John Cena takes the WWE title in what could be Cena’s greatest WrestleMania match of his career.

WWE World title: Chris Jericho vs. Edge. For some reason or another, this one just isn’t clicking for me. In what should be one of the most anticipated matches on the show, I almost feel like this one is an undercard match. The match is many months in the making once Chris Jericho trashed Edge after he suffered an injury, which put him on the shelf for several months. The former tag team champions will duke it out for the honors of SmackDown’s top championship.

I think a big disconnect here for most WWE fans is Edge as a babyface. After over five years of being one of the most devious heels in the WWE, he just magically appears as babyface? There wasn’t any setup or anticipation here to get the minds of WWE fans simmering for that big turn. As for Jericho, as great as he is he really hasn’t been booked on a main-event level over the last several months. These two have a lot of convincing to do in my opinion come WrestleMania 26.

That said, I think the match will be fantastic. If Edge and Chris Jericho are given enough time, it is possible that they could steal the show over the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. Both guys have a ton of pride in having great WrestleMania matches. It has been over five years since Chris Jericho has had the opportunity to compete in a WrestleMania main-event. Both guys are good friends so the trust factor is there as well, which is big in a situation like this. I would expect nothing short of a great match between these two and if not for the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, a show-stealer.

I really lean towards Chris Jericho walking out of WrestleMania 26 with the belt. Edge has already speared Jericho several times, so he doesn’t need his heat back. As a matter of a fact, a Jericho loss would almost make this feud a total squash. Not to mention that a loss greatly helps Edge get some much needed sympathy from the fans. Look for Jericho to cheat a win and retain the title at WrestleMania 26.

No Holds Barred: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon. Whoever thought we would be reading that? Bret Hart will make his first WrestleMania appearance since his WrestleMania 13 classic, to wrestle 60+ Vince McMahon. It may not be flashy on paper, but I don’t think there is anyone that isn’t getting excited about seeing Bret Hart back in a WWE ring.

I expect a ton of gimmicks and gaga in this one. One could almost be assured that members of the Hart family will be involved. Bret Hart practically said so in his promo on the go-home WWE RAW show. I would also not be surprised to see an appearance by the “Boy Wonder,” Shane McMahon for one night only. Unless Linda or Stephanie is running in, Vince is going to need backup and Shane works in this situation.

I don’t expect much from Bret Hart. As nice as it is to see him back in the WWE, he looks heavier and slower. Hey, I hope I look half as good as he does at his age but this isn’t the same Bret Hart we have been accustomed to seeing over the course of the last three decades. Vince McMahon can only do so much, which is scary considering how limited Bret may be inside of the ring. I expect a lot of brawling, some blood, and a broken table or two between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon.

I have a real sneaky suspicion that this feud is far from over. I expect this one to roll over into Extreme Rules with possibly a Submission Match or Stretcher Match. I predict a major screwjob here which leads to a Vince McMahon win. Do you really think you aren’t going to see a screwjob here?

Triple H vs. Sheamus. This is a very odd match to say the least. This feud came out of nowhere and for the first time in years, Triple H is not wrestling in a main-event match at WrestleMania. For the new kid in town, this is a make or break opportunity for Sheamus. Anything less than a very good match could mean the end of the run for Sheamus. Talk about pressure!

I will stick with my theory from above in that Triple H will be turning heel before the night is over. Sticking to my prediction, I think Sheamus wins this one. For one, a win by Sheamus presents a great opportunity for the youngster to get over in a big way at WrestleMania. Two, Triple H will get his heat back at the end of the night by turning on Shawn Michaels. Three, this could set up another series down the line similar to Triple H vs. John Cena in which Trips lost the first one and thus the two were able to play off of it years later. I expect a lot of brawling, but nothing great given the time frame that they will likely get. In the end I look for Sheamus to take the win here and get his steam back for a long run in 2010.

Other Matches:
Money in the Bank: Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston
WWE Unified WWE Tag Team Championship: ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz) vs. John Morrison and R-Truth
Triple Threat match: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

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WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3 – 1995-1999 (WrestleMania XI-XV)

WWE WrestleMania – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 4 – 2000-2004 (WrestleMania XVI-XX)

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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