Jordan Middler looks at the main events at this year’s WrestleMania and names who he thinks will have their hands raised.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship
These two kicked off last year’s WrestleMania in a dark match, and boy have the fortunes of Bryan and Sheamus turned around.
In the last year Bryan has won Money in the Bank and gone on to cash it in on a weakened Big Show and win the World Title. Since then he has had a fantastic run, including a spectacular heel turn that turned out to be the best thing to happen to his character. Sheamus on the other hand has had success this year almost from the start. In the year since WrestleMania he moved from Raw to Smackdown, taking the US title along too. That stint with the title didn’t last long however as he lost it within weeks. He then turned face, becoming one of the most over guys in the company. After a string of PPV wins and monster reactions he won the 2012 Royal Rumble, shocking everyone in attendance as most expected a certain Chris Jericho to win (more on him later).
The Bryan/Sheamus feud was ignited at the Elimination Chamber PPV and since then these two have been at eachothers’ throats, setting up a match which promises to be excellent.
This may be an obvious one, but in my opinion it will be Sheamus that comea out on top. He has had such a successful run since turning face that it is the natural progression of the story to have him win the title at WrestleMania. However, the logic of the story is not the only thing that makes me think Sheamus will win. In 2011 Edge retired, vacating the World title; this sent the backstage into frenzy, realizing the Smackdown!roster was so thin, the higher ups drafted Randy Orton to Smackdown to try and give the roster a bit of depth. However, recently Randy has been suffering from frequent injuries which presented a problem; who can be the top guy on Smackdown when Randy isn’t available? This question can be answered in one way, giving Sheamus the title on the biggest stage of them all, this will not only cement his main event status but create an adequate replacement when Randy isn’t there.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
This match has the potential to be this generation’s Steamboat vs. Savage. A wrestling purist’s dream match in many cases, it was hoped for from the very moment Jericho returned. CM Punk has had the best year a wrestler possibly could. Ever since his groundbreaking promo he has had a rise to the top unlike any other. Since winning the title initially at Money in the Bank he has been the type of champion that has made people interested in the WWE again. Chris Jericho on the other hand, hasn’t been back for very long at all. After initially returning through a series of cryptic promotional videos he made an impact by almost winning the Royal Rumble, then eliminating two superstars in the Elimination Chamber. The night after, Jericho won a battle royal to secure his place against Punk at Mania.
Initially when planning this article I couldn’t decide who I think will win but then I realized, it has to be Punk. He has had too perfect a year not to end it with his big WrestleMania moment. Punk and the WWE have captured something amazing with his run. It has cemented Punk as a legendary superstar and is close to making him “the guy” – a status not many achieve. This is the reason Punk needs it. Jericho has had plenty of WrestleMania title matches. Punk has had some great matches at WrestleMania too, but he has never been in the main title match at the biggest show of the year. This win will not only thrust Punk to heights he never has been but launch a whole new era.
Winner: CM Punk
The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match (Shawn Michaels as special guest referee)
Last year Triple H took on The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVII and was an instant classic. Many were skeptical about the potential of the match since Undertaker’s opponent for the two previous years had been against Shawn Michaels, which delivered two of the finest matches in WrestleMania history. However, ‘Taker and Trips completely delivered and now they are going at it again this year, only this time it’s Hell in a Cell. The build to this match has been fantastic, after an intense return promo, Triple H initially declined the rematch.
Enter HBK. Shawn Michaels and Triple H’s promo against each other was so intense it turned this originally slightly mundane repeat into a totally unique and amazing feud. Although it wasn’t until a week later that the match was set. Undertaker’s fantastic promo against The Game was what set the match in stone. Now the final piece of the puzzle is in place, with Shawn Michaels appearing as the special guest referee.
This, in my opinion, is a total no brainer. This could very well be The Undertaker’s last match, he can’t lose. The Streak is so integral to the fabric of the WWE and that can’t end. When The Undertaker eventually hangs up his coat and hat it will be such an emotional moment for not only wrestling fans, but wrestlers themselves. I also believe that this shouldn’t be his final WrestleMania; he has to leave when all the focus is on him, and he can’t have his thunder stolen by anyone. Undertaker can never lose at WrestleMania and I truly believe he never will.
Winner: The Undertaker
John Cena vs. The Rock
I have already written plenty on the build for The Rock vs. John Cena so I’ll skip onto predictions.
The only way John Cena will lose if it is the catalyst for a heel turn. Otherwise the WWE could be making one of the biggest mistakes of all time. They cannot realistically have the biggest star of the current era buried by the star from the 90s. This would totally discredit everything that has happened to make Cena the star he is today. Also, Cena’s recent promo work against The Rock has frankly earned him the win. He has beat him in every single face-to-face promo since Survivor Series.
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s impossible to tell. The WWE may just decide to send the Miami fans home happy, but I’m afraid if they make that decision, it’ll be a giant mistake.
Winner: John Cena… or The Rock