Wrestlemania is coming up on us very quickly, which you would know if you read any of the other 4 columns I wrote this week on the subject. In my final Wrestlemania preview we look at where the superstars competing on the show were last year, where they are now and where they’ll be next year. Just to clarify the latter will be a predication, not fact.
MONEY IN THE BANK!
1. Edge: Last year Edge was in the match of the night, defeating Mick Foley in a hardcore match. He has become the focal point of the MITB match this year after winning it at Wrestlemania XXI and is the odds on favorite to win it again. Look for everyone to beat on him in the beginning and then he falls down dead outside the ring only to win the match when Jeff’s done jumping off some gigantic ladder onto a spike. Next year he finally breaks into the main event when he defends the merged RAW/ECW title against Sting.
2. King Booker: Last year he teamed with his wife and they lost to the Boogeyman in a handicapped match. He recovered from this crushing defeat to become the best character of the year after winning the King of the Ring tournament and subsequently the world title. I don’t see too many big ladder spots in this match. Next year he will be in JBL’s spot as Smackdown color commentator, and he will be missing a foot.
3. Finlay and Matt Hardy: Both Finlay and Matt Hardy are returning to the same match they fought in last year. Expect some pretty innovative ladder spots from Matt and a whole lot of forearms and power moves from Finlay. Matt Hardy will be the special guest referee in the Edge/Sting match next year, and Finlay will be in the MITB match again.
4. Jeff Hardy: According to the WWE Jeff Hardy ceased to exist on April 21st, 2003, and only recently came back from whatever black hole he was sucked into. Jeff has been holding his lower back in pain A LOT during his recent matches but that won’t stop him from doing something tremendously stupid this time around that will force him back to pain killers. Jeff Hardy will once again cease to exist sometime in July.
5. Randy Orton: He was in the 2 minute long Smackdown triple threat main event match at last year’s Mania where he was pinned by Rey Mysterio. To his credit, he is the only competitor from that match to make it to this year’s event. He will show us this year that you can indeed perform a chin lock while on a ladder. Next year he will fight Triple H in first blood match and lose not only the match, but also the managerial services of Stephanie McMahon.
6. CM Punk: We all remember that last year he filled the much needed role of John Cena Gangster #3 in his home town of Chicago. After a hot start he lost an Extreme Elimination Chamber match to Test and became Bob Holly’s bitch. He seems to be on a bit of a push again and is considered to be the dark horse to win by people who think Punk actually has a future within the company. He does make it back on the card next year in the scrub battle royal.
7. Mr. Kennedy: This will be his first Wrestlemania. Last year at this time he was still working in Green Bay’s Meat Packery, the finest and only male strip club in all of Wisconsin. Many are predicting main event status for him this time next year, but he will be in the same match. Next year he might win though.
Ashley vs. Melina
8. Ashley: She was portraying the role of Trish Stratus’ only friend last year but did not appear on the show in a wrestling capacity. She looked very pretty and dreamed of buying a disgusting plastic body and sticking stuff into her face. This year she’s in the title match cause she showed her weird body nude to fanboys. Next year she’ll be portraying the role of best friend to Micki James.
9. Melina: Managed MNM to losery in the Wrestlemania dark match battle royal last year. This year she is the woman’s champion and in a field devoid of a potential Trish, she’ll be so next year as well.
Chris Benoit vs. MVP
10. MVP: MVP was not in the WWE for Wrestlemania last year. I’m kind of shocked he’s in it this year. I’d be surprised if he’s back for next year.
11. Chris Benoit: Ah, Chris Benoit. At Wrestlemania XX he beat Triple H and Shawn Michaels in one of the greatest triple threat matches of all time to win the Raw title. At Wrestlemania 21 he lost the MITB match to Edge. Last year he lost the US Title to JBL, and this year he’s probably losing the title to MVP. Will he be able to retain his cruiserweight belt at Wrestlemania 24? No, he will lose it to Jimmy Wang Yang.
Kane vs. The Great Khali
12. Kane: Kane kicked off Wrestlemania last year, teaming with the Big Show to effectively kill the pushes of Carlito and Chris Masters for the rest of the year. This year he and his hook are fighting Edge’s official replacement for all his matches, The Great Khali. Next year he’ll fight The Undertaker again and they’ll both fall into a flaming pit of lava or something and retire.
13. The Great Khali: He was not at Wrestlemania last year, but he was at the Hall of Fame dinner. This year he brings his high impact chops to Kane. Next year he’ll be back in the Royal Indian Army.
ECW ORIGINALS vs. ECW NEW BREED
14. All of Them: Only RVD and Matt Striker appeared on the show last year in the MITB match and pre-show battle royal respectively. They will be given under 8 minutes to represent their brand this year. They will all be fired by next year.
Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley
Umaga: Umaga just missed Wrestlemania last year, debuting on the next night’s Raw with a victory over Ric Flair. He is in the rare position of being the better worker in the match this year. Next year he will be teaming with Samoa Joe as the new Head Shrinkers as the lose the tag titles to Murdoch and Henry Godwin.
Bobby Lashley: Last year he was the weak link in the MITB match. This year he is the most impressive and strongest individual to ever live and nothing can or will defeat him except for Finlay. He will be back next year defending the US title vs. JBL, and he’ll also weigh about 100 lbs less after another random drug test shows more liver enzymes in his blood.
Undertaker vs. Batista
Undertaker: Last year he had a pretty sucky Wrestlemania match as he pretty easily shoved Mark Henry into a coffin. He may have an undefeated Wrestlemania streak, but so many of his matches have just sucked so hard and badly. Batista may not be the guy to bring out the best in him. See above about Kane and pool of lava for next year.
Batista: The Batista backlash has officially begun. This is his first Wrestlemania in the undercard world title match and his second world title match, although last year he was injured. He’ll be in his second undercard world title match next year as he defends against Rey Mysterio.
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
John Cena: He has won a world title match in each of the past two Wrestlemanias. This year he gets the honor of fighting a much more popular wrestler in a face vs. face match. I hope he goes heel and loses but more likely he’ll stay face and win. He injures his quad at the Royal Rumble and misses next year’s event, but he shows up and Battle Raps against a cut out of Bow Wow.
Shawn Michaels: Last year he fought and beat Vince McMahon. Vince took a HARD beat down to end the match. This is probably the last chance he’s going to have to be a world champion. I could definitely see Shawn winning and Cena turning heel the next night on Raw when he leaves his tag team partner during a title defense. Next year if Shawn is still with the company he’ll be fighting one of the new Hart kids.