The Raw Story: Wrestlemania predictions

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Diva’s Tag Team Match: Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly vs. Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix (C)
No mention of any changes being made to this match, so I guess Extra host Maria Menounos’ rib injury won’t keep her from appearing at Wresltemania. There’s quite a bit of matches to get through, so let me keep this analysis simple — Menounos pins Eve with a roll-up. Maybe not quite as short of a match as we’re expecting, but I can’t see this one going over five minutes.


Singles Match: Kane vs. Randy Orton
This feud is merely the result of having two guys deserving a spot at Wrestlemania with nothing to do in the weeks leading up to it. The apparent solution is to put them in a program together and half-ass a storyline and character motivations for them. I kind of like Kane, and I kind of like Randy Orton. I think you’re getting the sense that I don’t kind of like this feud. It’s a poor excuse to find a place for two big names on a pretty stacked card, but here it is. Much like Kane put over Cena at Elimination Chamber, I see that happening again here with Orton. The only way Kane wins, or if there is a screwy, indecisive finish (the latter is the more likely of the two) is if Creative wants to keep this thing going past Sunday, which I hope is not the case. Orton wins cleanly after a decent back and forth match.


Intercontinental Title: Cody Rhodes (C) vs. The Big Show

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In my column last week, I expressed concern that Cody continually embarrassing Big Show and getting the better of him strongly hints at Big Show absolutely destroying him at Wrestlemania. Part of me senses that it will happen, and Big Show will walk out as the new Intercontinental Champion. I can’t bring myself to predict that, though, because of how much of a wrong move it’d be. WWE of course makes arguably — and sometimes not even arguably — the wrong move a lot of times, but with how much support and screen time they’ve given Rhodes in making him look like a legitimate heel, it would be a huge mistake to have him get knocked out at the company’s biggest PPV. How he beats the Big Show, I’m not sure. Winning clean is ideal, yet overly optimistic. I won’t be surprised if Big Show goes over here, but I have enough faith in WWE to at least make the right move in continuing Cody Rhodes’ dominance.
To add, I would be OK with a Cody Rhodes loss only if it meant his ascension into the main event picture. Him facing off against a babyface champion for one of the top two titles would be interesting to see, and he’s definitely close to being ready for that kind of spotlight.


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Twelve-man Tag Team Match: Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
This past Raw finalized who would be on each team. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre and captain David Otunga will represent John Laurinaitis; Team Teddy will include captain Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Zack Ryder and late edition Booker T. I guess that means no Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio or Christian for this year’s Mania, or at least it would seem that way. I’m expecting Lord Tensai to make his debut (or return, technically) during this match, especially if he is going to come back as a henchman for Johnny Ace. This seems like a likely scenario, although I’ll throw out another possible opportunity for his return later. Either way, I see Team Johnny coming out on the victorious end here. WWE has actually done a very good job building to this match, and I only wish they’d have enough time to give these superstars — most of them (sorry, Khali) deserving of spots on the card — an elimination-style tag match. It doesn’t seem that way. One pinfall wins it, so expect a relatively quick bell to bell contest once we trudge through all of the intros. Like I said, though, Team Johnny wins it, perhaps with the help of Lord Tensai.


End of an Era (their words, not mine) Hell in a Cell match: Triple H vs. The Undertaker with special guest referee Shawn Michaels
There’s been some recent chatter online that WWE wants to announce one of next year’s Wrestlemania main events soon after this year’s is complete. That could even mean that this thing is announced on Monday. With that, there is talk that a potential Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels match could very well be the one setup a year in advance. That would certainly imply some kind of finish to Sunday’s hell in a cell match where HBK screws over — either intentionally or accidentally — Triple H, leading to an Undertaker victory. That’s really not a farfetched idea, nor is it necessarily a bad one (although I’d hate that Undertaker would go 20-0 with an asterisk). Remember, though, that plans are constantly changing when it comes to the WWE brass, especially when word spreads online and surprises (if you want to call it that) become obvious. Whether or not WWE is getting ready for a HBK/Trips match next year only matters so much to me when taking into consideration Sunday’s Undertaker/Triple H match. I figure the ending will be some scenario in which Undertaker wins to keep the streak alive while also allowing Triple H’s massive ego to be satisfied in taking another Wrestlemania defeat. Like I said, HBK getting involved sounds pretty plausible here. Either way, I think we’ll be in for a quality match; I’m not saying it’ll be like Hell in a Cell matches from years past, but it should still be good. Undertaker will win some way or other, and the streak will live on.


World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Sheamus
It’s for a major title, so I’m putting it ahead of even the hell in a cell match in terms of importance. That’s the way things should work, shouldn’t it? It’s more likely, though, that this match opens the show or falls somewhere in the middle. I can’t seeing it get main event placement, though it probably should. Sheamus has gotten the upper hand over Bryan for the duration of this feud. I see that continuing on Sunday. WWE is clearly backing Sheamus and pushing him as far as he can go, so a loss any which way would be counterproductive. That’s not to say I believe Sheamus needs the win more so than Bryan does. I honestly feel that Sheamus losing would have no ill effects on his push, because Bryan would likely cheat to win anyways. But I can’t remember the last time Sheamus lost (against Mark Henry last year?), and there’s little chance Daniel Bryan will be the one to cool off his hot streak. Maybe AJ will play a role in the finish of the match, or perhaps do something after it, but I’m not counting on it. Bryan has had a decent run with the belt, and I see the Sheamus as WHC era beginning at Wrestlemania. This prediction really isn’t much of a stretch. I’ve been having sleepless nights the past few weeks thinking about what Daniel Bryan will say when he comes down to the ring or wins a match if he no longer is champion, because he certainly can’t continue to yell “Yes!” or “World Heavyweight Champion!” Very upsetting.


"Best in the World" for the WWE Championship: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (C)

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This really is a tough one to call. For the most part, Jericho has gotten the better of CM Punk since he returned. The last few weeks in particular, Jericho’s obvious trolling of the champ has given him troubles and gotten to his head. Some of the matches on the Mania lineup seem rather predictable, while this one really just leaves me guessing. Y2J is probably done with this stint of his WWE career once summer gets going and things start back up with his band, but that still leaves him with a couple months as a WWE superstar as opposed to a rock star. What will he do during that time? (Of course, as I'm writing this, I come to find that Jericho actually may be sticking around for longer than originally expected. This news just makes my point even more relevant.) Additionally, what would be the point of his return if he didn’t win the Rumble, didn’t win at Elimination Chamber, then loses again at Wrestlemania? Punk needs to face some adversary in order to ultimately be made to look strong in the long-run, so I’ll take a guess and say Jericho wins on Sunday. I don’t expect a finish one way or the other though really. What I do expect is a great match. These two are great in the ring and hopefully will be given enough time to just do their thing. Cutting this match shorter than 20 minutes long, from bell to bell, because of a musical performance or a backstage promo would be awful and hurt any significance the WWE Championship may still carry with it. But yeah, I say Jericho wins, keeps the title for a month or two and then puts Punk over at a future PPV.


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Once in a Lifetime: John Cena vs. The Rock
I’d love to put the two world championship matches above this one in order of importance, especially since I mentioned how the titles should of higher value than anything else, but I won’t fool myself into thinking this match right here isn’t the main event. The build has been for a year now (for some wrestling fans who dreamed this match would one day happen, it’s been many years), it features the company’s current top star with one of the company’s top stars in history. It’s gotten main event booking, it is what will sell the tickets and PPV buys. This is your main event whether you like it or not. The feud leading up to it has been mediocre at best, with both guys just kind of using the same talking points throughout the year instead of beating the hell out of each other. Instead, they’re leaving that for Sunday. I can’t really say I blame WWE for going that route; the match more or less sells itself, and while some fans may be disappointed that this feud didn’t lead to physical contact on the weeks building up to Mania, I doubt that was a make-or-break factor. Casual fans want to see Rock vs. Cena because, well, it’s Rock vs. Cena, and loyal fans … heh, they will act as if they aren’t spending money on the PPV come Sunday, or threaten to just stream it online; either way, they’ll be watching it. Let’s not kid around, folks. Anyways, this, again, is a very tough one to call. I honestly don’t feel strongly one way or the other with my decision. But for one, I am glad to see The Miz plugged into that 12-man tag match, because that should mean he won’t be interfering in this one. Could Lord Tensai possibly return to interfere? There had been discussion that maybe he would feud with Cena following Wrestlemania, so him costing Cena his match against The Rock certainly would propel that. It’s an incredibly dumb idea, which means in WWE booking land that I shouldn’t completely put it out of consideration. What needs to happen here is a clean finish. The only way I, and a lot of folks classified as the Internet Wrestling Community, would be satisfied with a cheap finish is if it meant Cena turning heel. Taking into consideration what Cena said on Monday, as well as what he’s been saying for a long time now, I don’t see him turning heel. And as of right now, I’ve read nothing to confirm that Rock vs. Cena will be a best of three. That’s definitely a possibility, but I’m going with what I know.
Rock will put Cena over at Wrestlemania. Even I, a huge Rock fan, understands that it’s the right decision. Rock is the legend, Cena is the current guy. The current guy more often than not should be put over, just like what Hogan did for Rock over a decade ago. People aren’t going to like it, and I’m not going to like it, no matter how hard WWE has tried to get people to like Cena. People don’t want to see the people’s champion lose. But we must face the very real possibility that Rock not only came back to entertain, as he says, but to make John Cena look like a million bucks on the biggest stage of the wrestling business. The PPV is in Rock’s hometown of Miami. When Cena pins Rocky 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring, Miami may spontaneously combust. I wonder how much trash will be thrown from the stands down to the ring. It’s terrifying to think about.
But to protect myself from being completely wrong here, I’ll remind you that I think it’s very possible this could turn into a best of three, “three times in a lifetime” match, with the last one coming at next year’s Mania. In that case, Rock wins on Sunday, then loses the next two. That’s definitely overkill, but hey, it’ll still make them money a year from now.
See ya next week, folks. Enjoy Wrestlemania 28, if you can.

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Welcome to the Wrestlemania go-home edition of The Raw Story. First, grant me these bullet points before jumping into this week’s column:

• I’m changing it up this week. Instead of a recapping Raw, I thought it would be an appropriate change of pace to give my Wrestlemania 28 predictions. I guess I could have attempted to do both, but that’d just be ridiculous, so no. [Editor's Note: My eyes appreciate it, Daniel.]
• The order of predictions in this column is based on how important I think each match is in relation to the entire lineup (from least to most important), and not how I think the actual order will shake out come Sunday.
• Whether or not this should be the case, the fact is that I can’t help but watch WWE’s product differently when I know I’ll be writing a column about it afterward. There’s added pressure, and I don’t want that feeling to be looming over me on Sunday. As such, I’m going into Wrestlemania planning on not writing a review of it. Maybe I'm using reverse psychology on myself and will decide to write a column. Maybe it’ll be so terribly bad or surprisingly good that I will have no choice but to voice my opinion. But for now, I’m leaning toward just doing my usual Raw Story next week.
• I didn’t realize the Raw go-home show actually meant going home… No Triple H, Undertaker, HBK or Jericho? WWE really mailed it in on Monday.

Now let the predictions begin…

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