We are in the final straight to Wrestlemania! This is usually the best time of year to be a wrestling fan, and this year we have a lot of potential. How it is all executed remains to be seen – and I’m talking about quality rather than outcomes. I’m pretty set on how I’ll be predicting the main card to go, save one or two matches.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This column is all about something I wrote way back at the end of August last year; an article where I predicted the Wrestlemania card 6 months in advance. You can read that article, with my reasoning for each match here. It was a bit of fun, with some wild guesses from out of nowhere, some wild guesses based on what storylines were like at the time, and some educated guesses. I thought it would only be right to go back and see how I did.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose
Wow was I wrong here! At the time of the original article I believe Ziggler had only just started to really fall down the pecking order, so there still seemed to be a chance he would return to the world title picture at some point. And of course the World Heavyweight Championship has been retired! Little did we know back then. Anyways, Ziggler will be entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, while Dean Ambrose will be teaming with his Shield counterparts to take on Kane and the New Age Outlaws. As you will see if you read my reasoning for this match though, I was going to use this to break-up the Shield. I was going to do it in a crazy way that makes no sense looking back, but it was already in my mind 6 months ago. Now that The Shield has turned face there are even more legs to the group, so this is a really long build to their eventual split, which is a rarity we should all cherish in WWE in 2014.
Sheamus vs Ryback
You know what I said about Ziggler only just starting to fall down the card? The same applies to Ryback, only he was a little bit further down I believe. Sheamus had been out for a month or so at this point I think, but we knew he was going to return around Royal Rumble time. This was gonna be an all out slug fest, just two guys going out there and beating the hell out of each other for 10 minutes or so. As it is, Sheamus is one of the favourites to win the Andre Battle Royal, while Ryback is teaming with Curtis Axel in the Tag Team Championship match. I also had them in opposite roles – Sheamus as the heel and Ryback as the face. I still think Sheamus would be better as a heel (maybe he gets cocky after winning at Mania?), but I don’t think anyone really cares about Ryback at this point. He’s fallen too far too quickly. It’s incredible looking at him and the Shield, who debuted attacking Ryback to get heat, compared to where they are now.
Triple H vs The Rock
This one was based on the rumours that Vince McMahon was going to return to challenge the Triple H/Stephanie regime, with control of the WWE being on the line here. Triple H vs Vince’s handpicked guy. What’s happened since then? Well, there’s still no sign of Vince, Trips has continued to rule over the WWE Universe, getting more and more crazy as the weeks go on as a result of Daniel Bryan, and we still haven’t seen The Rock since Wrestlemania 29. Triple H will face Bryan at Wrestlemania 30, with the winner being added to the WWE Title match. It’s not a bad story they’re telling, but I still feel like they screwed Bryan’s push up, so I don’t think that match is ideal. But at the same time, with CM Punk leaving, who else could Triple H face? In that sense what we are seeing on TV week after week is absolutely the right move.
Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker
I got one right! It’s the only one I correctly predicted, but 6 months in advance getting any right is an achievement. Basically my argument for this was that there’s nothing else for Brock to do except challenge the streak. That’s not really true anymore. They teased Brock going after the WWE Championship, so they could always deliver on that. If not, Bryan has been built up to the point he could face Lesnar, and there is a lot of young talent who could really benefit from beating Lesnar (I’m looking at you Roman Reigns). What’s left for Taker? That all depends when he retires. I get the feeling that you can count the number of matches Taker has left on one hand. This could be it for him. Personally I would like to see Taker vs Cena, because I think that is the biggest possible match the WWE could put on. And in two years time, who knows who’s gonna be big enough to challenge the streak. Bryan? Reigns? Wyatt? Ambrose? Anyone else? We’ll have to wait and see for that one.
WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton vs CM Punk
This was supposed to be Punk’s return to the title picture for the first time since losing it to The Rock. The first time he’s challenging for it in 14 months after a 434 day reign? I think that’s long enough. I thought this match up made sense because Orton was the Authority’s poster boy, and we all know how Punk has a problem with authority. In that sense I was along the right lines for this one, since the plan before Punk walked out was for him to face Triple H. I even said Orton would walk into Wrestlemania as WWE Champion, so I was very nearly there for this one. Obviously everything changed when Punk left, and there’s still no sign of him coming back. Orton on the other hand will be defending (and losing) the WWE Championship in a triple threat match against the 2014 Royal Rumble winner Batista – who we didn’t know was returning when I did these predictions – and the winner of Bryan vs Triple H.
Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
I didn’t even have this one for the title. Again let me clarify here, the original set of predictions came right after the news that John Cena was going to be out until January – which obviously didn’t happen. At the time though I believed Daniel Bryan would become the new face of the company, and so when Cena returned you would have these two as the two most popular guys in the company – battling for the alpha male status. I said you could set it up by playing up that Cena never got his rematch for the WWE Title after Bryan beat him for it at Summerslam, and more importantly for this one that Cena never got a chance to prove he really was the better man. I said that I could see this turning into the next Austin vs Rock – I really could see this one going three Wrestlemanias eventually. That’s why I kept the title away from this one, you needed something to make the rematch even bigger. What’s happened since then? Cena came back from his injury early in typical Cena fashion, and Bryan was booked horribly in Cena’s absence, but still managed to become the most popular guy in the company. They’ve both won World Championships since then, but both came up short against The Authority/Randy Orton. And both have been the focus of Bray Wyatt. I’ve already spoken about Bryan’s role on the card, while Cena will face off against Bray Wyatt himself at the Grandest Stage of Them All. I intended for this one to close out the show, so again I got something right in that Daniel Bryan will likely be in the last match. Little victories, but I’ll take them when I can.
So there you go. I didn’t do brilliantly obviously, but there were certain things that I could/would never have predicted – like Batista coming back to the company and winning the Royal Rumble, Hulk Hogan returning or CM Punk leaving. I might make that article an annual thing, just to see if I improve. I didn’t predict an undercard, because that really would have been impossible, considering it’s extremely unlikely I would have predicted a 30-man battle royal or a 14 diva title match.
The predictions for the actual line-up will be posted at the end of the week. This week will be quite busy, with my monthly news in review column due to go up in the next day too. As always, share us with friends, like us on Facebook, but most importantly, thanks for reading.