Finally… The Chris… has come back… to the ISB! That’s right jabronies, it’s WrestleMania weekend, and that means that once again, it’s time for The Great One, the Sharp-Dressin’, WordPressin’, belt-notchin’, Pony-watchin’ People’s Champ to make a few guaran-damn-teed predictions for just how it’s all going to go down. But that’s not all. No no no no no, the most Electrifying Man on the Comics Internet isn’t just going to tell you what’s going to happen, the Sims is going to tell what should happen. IF YA SMELLLLALALALALA…
All right, that’s enough of that. Just be glad that this year’s WrestleMania is hosted by the Rock and not Dusty Rhodes, or you would’ve gotten an introduction all about dancing go-go bears and the cold-blooded sausage maker. Which, now that I think about it, would’ve been pretty awesome.
MATCH #1: The Corre (Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel) vs. the Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella and Vladimir Koslov
The Story: Wade Barrett used to lead the Nexus, which was basically just the nWo without old people. True to form, it then split up into two factions, The New Nexus (now led by CM Punk for reasons of hey, why not), and the Corre, which should always be pronounced as a pirate. Two of the guys in the Corre that aren’t Wade Barrett won the Tag Team titles from Santino and Koslov, and for reasons that I didn’t see because I don’t watch SmackDown but which I doubt were all that compelling, this led them into conflict with the Big Show and Kane. So we get a match with no coherent storyline and no title on the line at WWE’s biggest show of the year. Grape Job, WWE Creative!
The Prediction: Show/Kane/Santino/Koslov. This feud between Corre and Santino/Koslov will shift to Show and Kane, leading to a story where two huge dudes are routinely beaten up by a swarm of dudes that are only just really big, setting up Show and Kane to have a match for the belts at the next pay-per-view.
If I Was Booking: Santino wouldn’t even be in this match, because he’d be too busy winning every belt ever. WWE actually seems to have acknowledged that Santino’s totally gotten over with the crowd as the strongest comedy character they’ve had in years, and they’ve given him some really good, really funny moments out of it, like having him win the Divas battle royale in drag at WrestleMania 25 and being the last man eliminiated in this year’s Royal Rumble. As much as this match doesn’t make any sense, teaming him with Big Show and Kane is the same idea of teaming him with Koslov, but on a greater scale: He gets to be funny while someone else gets to be tough. I imagine he’ll hit the Cobra on every member of the Corre at one point, and hopefully he’ll get a push out of it.
MATCH #2: UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Sheamus (C) vs. Daniel Bryan
The Story: Daniel Bryan — better known to indie fans as Bryan Danielson — was part of the best Tony Clifton in recent memory when the WWE “fired” him for choking a guy with his own necktie in violation of their TV-PG rating, only to bring him back two months later — in which he’d been wrestling for other companies — as the secret seventh man in a tag team match against his former teammates. Unfortunately, despite being one of the most talented young guys on the roster, Bryan’s just sort of been floating around the mid-card and being used as the focal point for Diva matches, which is insane. Sheamus, meanwhile, has sort of plateaued after a monster push that saw him winning the WWE Championship twice and wrestling Triple-H at last year’s Mania. Again, there’s not much of a reason for these two guys to fight, other than just the title.
The Prediction: This one’s really tough to call. A win at Mania would keep Sheamus’s push going since he’s stalled after King of the Ring, but it could also help launch Bryan to bigger things. I’ll go with Sheamus.
If I Was Booking: I actually think Sheamus is really good. He’s got a good look, decent on the mic, decent in the ring, and the whole “brute strength against technical finesse” dynamic that he has with Bryan could lead to some really entertaining matches. If, you know, they would’ve set up a storyline going into this, because right now, they’ve given no reason for Sheamus to want that belt when he’s already this year’s King of the Ring. I’d have Sheamus keep the belt and taunt Bryan with it as taking away the only title he’s ever won in the WWE to set him up as a bully (reinforcing his role as the “strong” guy of the pair), leading to Bryan having to fight his way back to it as a more emotional victory. But again, that’s the sort of thing that should culminate at WrestleMania rather than starting there.
MATCH #3: John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki (From Jersey Shore) vs. Dolph Ziggler and LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool)
The Story: Jesus wept. There are matches that have no reason to happen, and then there’s matches out of the sight of God in defiance of all logic and reasoning. This is the latter, as Snooki from Jersey Shore teams up with a retired “Diva” to take on the only two women’s wrestlers in WWE with an actual gimmick, with two dudes thrown in to do the actual work of the match.
The Prediction: Celebrities win at Mania. It’s tradition.
If I Was Booking: This match would not happen. I know that there’s a long tradition of getting celebrities involved at WrestleMania that goes back to Liberace and Muhammad Ali, but jeez, Jersey Shore? Really? Also, Trish Stratus’s recent attempts to do a huracanrana on Raw were just embarrassing. Basically LayCool are going to have to carry Trish Stratus and somehow make it look like Snooki’s not falling down drunk — or at least make it look funny rather than sad — and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. You know what I would’ve done if I was booking? Maybe have the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles defended at Wrestle-Frigging-Mania, that’s what.
MATCH #4: “Dashing” Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
The Story: This is another one that I haven’t been keeping up with since it happened on SmackDown, but it’s also a classic setup: Cody Rhodes is justifiably proud of the good looks he’s managed to wring out his father Dusty’s genetics, and when they were marred by the World’s Worst Luchador Rey Mysterio, he went apeshit. Now they’re fighting. See, WWE? It’s not hard to give two guys a reason to fight!
The Prediction: Rey, most likely dressed as either Kick Ass or Hit Girl, will win.
If I Was Booking: Rey would be putting over the son of a son of a plumber in a heartbeat. As you might expect from the way I described him above, I am not a fan of Rey Mysterio, and do not understand push he still gets as the WWE’s resident luchador. His moves are touted as innovative despite being the most watered down version of high flying that it’s possible to get, even compared to his own earlier stuff in ECW and WCW. Cody, meanwhile, is highly enjoyable, talented, and funny. If I was running things, Rey would be nowhere near this thing, and Cody would be wrestling Goldust with Dusty as the special referee.
Match #5: Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Michael Cole (With Jack Swagger), Special Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Story: As crazy as it sounds, this match — between two announcers, one of whom has never wrestled in his life — has had more buildup than anything else at WrestleMania, and it’s actually the match I’m most looking forward to. The short version is that Cole, who is terrible, turned heel in support of the Miz, who then picked a fight with Lawler, picking on him for never winning the WWE Title and never having a match at WrestleMania. This led to a match between Lawler and the Miz for the World Title, but Cole betrayed his longtime broadcast partner and cost Lawler the match. Thus, Cole started a feud with Lawler, even going so far as to have a little Popemobile-ish plastic cage (or “Cole Mine”) built beside of the ring so he could call matches without getting a piledriver. It’s been amazing. Also, Stone Cold Steve Austin became the special referee for reasons I’m still not quite clear on, other than the fact that Austin loves to drop a Stone Cold Stunner on announcers. See Also: Every Monday Night Raw in 1998.
The Prediction: I will be absolutely shocked if we don’t see Cole get flipped off and Stunned when he tries to pin Lawler, followed by Swagger getting Stunned, and then Cole getting a piledriver.
If I Was Booking: Other than the involvement of Jack Swagger, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I don’t even think he’s bad, I just don’t know why he’s there.
MATCH #6: CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
The Story: When it’s done right, pro wrestling uses its continuity as much as comics do, which is why CM Punk and Randy Orton are fighting over something that happened three years ago. Short version: Orton kicked CM Punk in the head and caused him to lose the title, and now they’re fighting over which dude looks better with a buzzcut and full sleeves.
The Prediction: Pretty sure Orton’s going to get this one, either setting up the dissolution of the New Nexus or freeing Punk up to go for a title shot.
If I Was Booking: Punk is one of the better heels that WWE has going, which means that he’s almost wasted on a guy like Orton, who plays the face in exactly the same way as he plays the heel. Seriously, the only difference is that he hasn’t DDTed anyone’s wife lately. Anyway, as interesting as it is to see Punk out-heel everyone else, he’d work better going up against a pure good guy character, which is why I’d have him go through Orton, racking up a string of victories against top guys until you had him facing off against someone like Cena and just being a monstrously evil bastard. Except then Cena would call him “CM Sucks,” which isn’t even remotely clever.
MATCH #7: The Undertaker vs. Triple H
The Story: This is another one that they’ve barely bothered to set up in storyline, but at the same time, they’ve found a way to actually throw some doubt on the outcome of a match that the Undertaker pretty much has to win. For those of you who aren’t aware, Taker has an 18 – 0 undefeated streak in matches at WrestleMania, and after two wins in a row over Shawn Michaels, everyone was pretty sure that WWE was going to let him retire with that streak intact. Triple-H, meanwhile, is the son-in-law of the guy who owns the company. The setup, then, isn’t one of storylines, but one that plays oon fans’ perceptions of Triple H’s ego and backstage politics, which are just as interesting. Now if only they could’ve done both.
The Prediction: 19-0.
If I Was Booking: See above. If Undertaker loses that streak, then WrestleMania loses one of its biggest draws.
MATCH #8: WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Edge (C) (with Christian) vs. Alberto Del Rio (with Brodus Clay
The Story: I don’t know what’s crazier: That WWE actually has a character they’ve referred to as “The Mexican Elitist” or that Edge is an eleven-time World Champion. And I say that as a guy who actually likes Edge. Anyway, they’ve been building up Del Rio for a while, including a win at the Royal Rumble where he even managed to defeat the Greatest Wrestler of Our Time, Santino Marella.
The Prediction: Del Rio takes the title. Unfortunately, this means that Edge will eventually be a twelve-time champion, which I assume they are only doing at this point to piss off Ric Flair.
If I Was Booking: Del Rio’s a SmackDown guy, so I haven’t seen much of him, but what I have seen, I’ve liked. The WWE could use more classic style characters to counterbalance guys like Orton, who are talented but devoid of a gimmick, and with the fact that Del Rio comes to the ring in a fancy car introduced by his own personal ring announcer who introduces him in Spanish, he’s about as classic a heel as you can get. Maybe Edge and Christian will get back together and WWE will finally remember that people actually like watching tag team matches.
MATCH #9: WWE CHAMPIONSHIP: The Miz (C) vs. John Cena, With The Rock Inevitably Involved Somehow
The Story: Speaking of classic heels, we have the Miz, who is fantastic, taking on John Cena for the WWE Championship, because that’s what John Cena does in April. The interesting part, of course, is that the angle’s involving the Rock, who is returning as the vague “host” of this year’s WrestleMania, and who has been sniping back and forth with Cena with devastating promos that have led Cena to once again employ the inexplicable Southern Accent that he uses to denote anger, despite growing up in West Newberry, Massachusetts. This is almost certainly setting up a WrestleMania XIV-style double-cross, as the Miz has also been taunting the Rock, although in true WM lead-in fashion, this week’s Raw ended with Cena slamming the Rock because… hey, why not?
The Prediction: Cena re-takes the title after the Miz pisses off the Rock.
If I Was Booking: As unfashionable as it might be, I actually like John Cena. Yes, there’s the Southern accent and the lame promos, and yes, he’s often involved in angles that don’t make any sense and don’t play out even remotely like they should, and yes, the only thing he sells is merchandise, but he’s been set up as this generation’s Hulk Hogan, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But, I do think it could be better, and I think the best thing they could do at WrestleMania is turn Cena heel.
I don’t think this will actually happen, but they’ve set it up perfectly by reintroducing the Rock. If you’re a wrestling fan around my age or older, you remember when the Rock made the big heel turn and cut the promo about how he never forgot the way the fans treated him when he first debuted. But here’s the thing: Those “Rocky Sucks” chants were never, ever as loud as the “Cena Sucks” you’re hearing now. It’s an open invitation to have him turn on the fans and push him as a monster of a heel, especially if it sets up Cena/Rock. Unfortunately, for good or ill, Cena’s the face of the company, and even if Kayfabe is largely a thing of the past, I get the feeling that Cena enjoys being the good guy, doing the Make-A-Wish stuff and saluting the troops and all that, and good on him for it.
If I was in charge, though, that dude would be pushing sick kids out of their wheelchairs in the ring — actors! Promise! — and cutting promos that even the Dudley Boyz would think went too far. And then, a challenger would rise. The embodiment of the forces of good in the WWE.
I’ll be expecting the call from WWE Creative any minute now.
UPDATE: I ended up correctly predicting four out of eight, since the US Title match was scrapped so that there would be room on the card to watch Hornswaggle rap. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong about Cody/Rey, especially since it ended up being a dude dressed as Captain America fighting a dude acting like Dr. Doom.
Also, I want you to know that I did correctly identify which match would see the Spanish announcers’ table get destroyed, two and a half hours before it happened. Those guys haven’t had a flat surface for an entire WrestleMania since 1998.