This coming Sunday is, once again, the Granddaddy of them All. Wrestlemania XXVIII.
While the Royal Rumble is usually my favorite PPV in any given year, WWE really puts its back into making Wrestlemania a spectacle. Last year was fun (and made more fun by the presence of a child who began the PPV believing that wrestling was merely real and who left the PPV a little man who knew that wrestling was poetically real) and this year looks like it’s going to have a handful of exciting matches with a handful of storylines of varying strengths behind them.
Let’s go up the card, starting at the bottom.
#8 Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres
If *I* were booking Wrestlemania, I’d put this match between The Main Event and Almost The Main Event. Give the audience a chance to catch their breath.
That’s all I’m going to say about that.
#7 Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali and Booker T) (with Hornswoggle) vs. Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Drew McIntyre) (with Vickie Guerrero)
Every year, they put one match on the card that has half the roster on it. Wrestlemania has *SOOOO* many buys that it’s a huge paycheck for any/everybody who gets to be on the card. The office does what it can to make sure that there are as many names on the card as they plausibly get on there in order to make sure that all of the wrestlers get a taste. This year, they’ve got 12 wrestlers involved. (Wrestlemania 2000 had 13 in the Hardcore Battle Royal)
I’m guessing “Team Johnny” wins and The Miz is central to the victory.
#6 Randy Orton vs. Kane
Sigh. Kane is one of my favorite wrestlers (if not *THE* favorite). His problem is that he tends to be a monster on television in order to lose at the PPV. I cannot expect this match to be any different.
#5 Cody Rhodes (champion) vs. The Big Show (for the Intercontinental Belt)
The Big Show has been the go-to guy for gimmick matches at Wrestlemania. He fought Akebono in a Sumo match, he fought Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in a (seriously *BRILLIANT*) match, and, more importantly, he loses at Wrestlemania a lot.
I expect that to change this Sunday. Big Show leaves with the IC belt.
#4 Daniel Bryan (champion) vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus squashes Bryan and leaves with the belt. It’s too bad, Daniel Bryan has among the best technical skills in the company… and they’re putting him up against a brawler. I hope that this means that Daniel Bryan gets back to wrestling wrestlers.
#3 CM Punk (champion) vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
This is the reason that I said that the storylines were of questionable strength rather than mostly positive. CM Punk, you see, is “straightedge”. No drugs, no alcohol, no steroids, no nothing. When he’s a good guy, he points out the benefits of clean living and willpower, and when he’s a bad guy, he points to the crowd, points out the downsides of letting oneself go and lack of willpower. In any case, the straightedge thing is central to the current storyline because, sigh, Chris Jericho is pointing out that CM’s father was an alcoholic and his sister had a drug problem. Is this true? If so, Wikipedia isn’t talking about it. If it’s not, I can’t imagine CM agreeing to it. In any case, I find myself made uncomfortable by the storyline rather than looking forward to one of them beating up the other.
Which CM is going to do. Beat up Jericho, I mean. CM Punk keeps the belt.
#2 HHH vs. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell
Two and three years ago, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker put on what are probably the best Wrestlemania matches in Wrestlemania history. These two matches are jaw-on-the-floor good matches. Holy cow, were they amazing. Last year, HHH and Undertaker put on a very good, very solid, worth what we paid for it, match. It was, however, not something that you talked about for half a year afterwards.
This year they’re hoping to top what they did last year.
I see Undertaker winning this one and announcing his retirement tomorrow night and showing up the following week to actually do it.
I hope, anyway. If HHH wins (something I wouldn’t put past him), I’mma be in a bad mood for a week.
#1 The Rock vs. John Cena
No belt on the line, no nothing. It’s just the first time we’re seeing Rock wrestle in a match in… what? 7 years? 8 years? Anyway, John Cena, as I’ve mentioned, gets booed out of the building by the guys while the women blow the roof off of the building with their cheers. They’re going to wrestle each other after spending a year insulting each other (and the insults dance startlingly close to “what they might actually really think about each other”).
I would hope that The Rock would end up losing to John Cena… The Rock, after all, doesn’t need the W but that’s my heart speaking and not my head. I know that not only is Wrestlemania the biggest PPV of the year, it’s also a commercial for the next couple of months of wrestling and the best way to get people to tune in is to have The Rock win… which is what I see happening. Darn him anyway.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to Wrestlemania. I think it’s going to be a good show. I think I can safely say that if you’re on the fence at all? You should get it too.
So that’s my recommendation for you this week.