Thursday, March 31, 2011

[Wrestling] WWE WrestleMania XXVII

I've attempted to put this little column together for most of the day... can't seem to shake off the write-rust. Gonna give it another go... haven't written anything of substance in quite some time now... nothing for fun, anyway.

Anyhoo... off we go. WrestleMania 27! We'll attack this beast from top to bottom.

WWE Championship Match
The Miz (c) vs. John Cena

Regardless or where this match falls on the card, I feel this is THE main event of the evening. Most places I've seen this program discussed, the main focus was placed on the ongoing discourse between John Cena and WrestleMania "Host" The Rock, leaving the actual MATCH somewhere in the background. I think it's been played quite well so far, however, this past week on Raw, the WWE may have crossed the proverbial rubicon in teasing us with a potential Rock/Cena match-up... that I feel they're going to have to eventually deliver.

As for the match, I must admit... I figured The Miz would have dropped the title, either at the Royal Rumble or in the Elimination Chamber... leaving him free to give Jerry Lawler (who we'll discuss later) his inaugural WrestleMania match. I've enjoyed the Miz's reign thus far, and feel his sneak attacks on Cena in recent weeks have been extremely well played... however, I don't see him leaving Mania with the strap. With a heel more than likely going over in the World Title Match (spoiler: I'm picking Del Rio), I think they'll give Cena the win.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Edge (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio

Alberto Del Rio has sure become a big deal... pretty quick. Not too many will "get" that, I'm sure. Del Rio fulfilled his "destiny" by winning the 2011 Royal Rumble match, launching him into the WrestleMania "Main Event" (which I'm guessing will be placed firmly in the mid-card) and a shot... er, opportunity for the World Heavyweight Championship. I really can't see him losing here. Across the ring, we have Edge... who, well... I'm not really sure where I see him fitting right now. It simply seems as though there isn't a whole lot left for him to do... On Smackdown! he's either World Champion or challenging the World Champion. He's in the 2006-2008 Batista rut, which wasn't a whole lot of fun to watch. While I was hoping for the inclusion of Christian into the match, it appears that he'll probably get involved in some way... possibly costing Edge the title, either by accident or design.

No-Holds-Barred Match
The Undertaker vs. Triple H

Okay... I *know* I've seen this match before... Could've sworn these two faced off at WrestleMania before... nah, if that were the case, they'd have surely mentioned it, right?

All joking aside, I guess I kind of understand their not bringing up Hunter's WrestleMania X-7 loss to The Undertaker... many younger fans probably haven't the foggiest idea it even happened. I can understand it... but don't appreciate it. I keep feeling as though I should care about this match more... or at least, that I'm being told by the WWE that I should. This match is being portrayed as the second coming of Hogan/Andre. Though I can't argue it'll probably be a better match from a technical standpoint (may even be match of the night), there's no way this match has anywhere near the spectacle.

The Streak is the thing, of course. Winning this year, would put the Undertaker at 19-0 at WrestleMania. The recent face-to-face confrontation these two shared on Raw (along with a surprise visit from HBK) just may have served us a bit of a curveball. They were clearly setting up the classic guy who looks better on the go-home Raw loses the PPV match, with Michaels telling Triple H he wouldn't be able to win. Even with all of that, I can't see The Undertaker losing here. I think NEXT year will be the more likely end to the streak, with Taker hoping to go 20-0.

It bugs me whenever I think of how the WWE blew John Cena's WrestleMania undefeated streak in a lousy three way match at WrestleMania 24 (Cena's WM record now stands at 6-1). If next year, Cena were to challenge the Undertaker to a streak vs. streak match... now, THAT match would have a decent amount of spectacle to it.

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton

I'm a big fan of CM Punk. It bugged me that he was taken off program with Cena and put with Orton for WrestleMania. I wanted the Raw Main Event to be Cena/Punk for the WWE Title (with, as previously mentioned... the Miz vs. Lawler). I haven't really enjoyed the New Nexus storyline. Prior to losing Wade Barrett, the Nexus felt like a force of nature... now, they're just a faction. Hell, right now, they've all been punted back to FCW. Orton's always come off a bit wooden to me... kinda dug his more sociopathic persona, right now it's like he's being shown caring for his family... I just don't "get" Orton as a sympathetic character. I think Orton will take this one, in a great match.

Rey Mysterio vs. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes

This is the match I've forgotten about several times while running down the card in my head. Cody Rhodes has grown leaps and bounds as a competitor and a character, and Rey always shines in big-match scenarios... The lead up to this match was almost done in the background... very well done. The announce team making comments during the Royal Rumble that Cody couldn't compete due to the facial injury suffered at the hands (err, knees) of Mysterio... leading to the confrontation and challenge. Fun build which will lead to a fun little match. I think Mysterio will take it.

Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Michael Cole

This match is a bit of a double edged sword for me.

On one hand, it displays the importance and prestige of a "WrestleMania Match". Jerry Lawler has mentioned in passing on commentary for the past several YEARS that he's never once had the opportunity to compete at WrestleMania. It goes a long way to show how competitors strive to and work their entire career hoping to showcase their talents at WrestleMania... and cements it as the biggest show of the year... not just for WWE... but for the entire wrestling world. It's great the Jerry Lawler, after nearly 20 years in the WWE, is finally getting his match.

On the other hand... he's facing Michael Cole. So, we've already established the prestige and honor it is to have competed at WrestleMania... and instead of giving Lawler a match against a credible talent... we get Michael Cole? Don't get me wrong, as a character... Michael Cole has been fantastic since the inception of NXT and his heelish character... a character we've all been begging to see Jerry Lawler throw a fireball at... I was just hoping, again, that we'd have Lawler vs. The Miz (with Michael Cole).

This is probably the match that has been given the most build... as Lawler and Cole are ALWAYS on-screen (at least vocally), and I must say... the build has been absolutely fantastic. I'm hoping the fall-out of this match has Cole left on Smackdown! as a commentator, while appearing on Raw as a manager... with Jim Ross returning to Raw's announce booth permanently. Oh, yeah... the match... Lawler wins... hopefully with a piledriver.

WWE United States Championship Match
King Sheamus (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

I'm glad they're finally showcasing a secondary title at WrestleMania. Sheamus and Bryan have had some really fun matches leading up to this... and I'm quite confident they'll "bring it" at WrestleMania. I'm very excited to see Bryan Danielson's first WrestleMania match. This is the only match of the show that I can't with great confidence, pick a winner. If I have to choose, which I don't... but I will anyway... I think Daniel Bryan will re-capture the United States Championship.

6-Person Mixed Tag Match
John Morrison/Trish Stratus/Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler/Layla/Michelle McCool

Up until recent episodes of Raw I had no idea what a "Snooki" was. I know I'd heard the name before, and that she was on a reality show of some sort, but I wouldn't be able to pick her out of a line-up... and life was just a little bit nicer. I haven't followed TNA Wrestling since Hogan and the gang came in... but I'm hearing they are also using Jersey Shore people... jeez.

Anyhoo... the match. It's a real shame to waste the talents of... well, everybody involved in this match... in this match. Ziggler and Morrison certainly deserve better... and a Trish return to the ring would've been, in my opinion, best served in a non-gimmick match. Perhaps a one-on-one with Layla El or Michelle McCool.

This being a celebrity match, Snooki's team will more than likely get the win... more than likely with Snooki pinning Ziggler after either a botched "finisher" they teach her, or via capitalizing on a Starship Pain. Not looking forward to this one... and it will ultimately be this generation's "Limp Bizkit is WWE's favorite band", in trying to use popular culture without realizing how terribly it dates the product.

8-Man Tag Team Match
Big Show/Kane/Santino Marella/Vladimir Kozlov vs. Wade Barrett/Heath Slater/Justin Gabriel/Ezekiel Jackson

Hmm... Just where in the hell is Diesel? I was hoping that Big Daddy Cool would somehow get involved in this one. While we're at it... where's Kofi Kingston? He certainly deserves to perform at WrestleMania more than... err, Santino? Kozlov?

Oh well... what can ya do? The Corre needs to get the victory here to stay strong. I feel that since the original Nexus dissolved, the founding members lost a bit of their cache. Don't get me wrong, three of the four members currently carry championship gold (Intercontinental and Tag Team, respectively) but, the dangerousness of the original Nexus just isn't there.

The lack of a Money in the Bank ladder match really hurts the card, in my opinion. Too many worthy competitors are being left off the biggest show of the year. Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Christian, Evan Bourne, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase, Mark Henry... guys that should have fit somewhere on this show... ultimately will be relegated to the pre-show Battle Royal, that nobody will care about, or even mention the winner of, possibly only in passing. Hell, they could have debuted Sin Cara (Mistico) in the Money in the Bank match. Maybe even Awesome Kong.

Warts and all, this IS WrestleMania, and should be a good show. Haven't decided if I'll head to O'Sullivan's for this or maybe just order it and have some friends over. I am looking forward to it, for sure... and will hopefully share my thoughts on the proceedings after the show.