Last week, Pulse Glazer had a post right here at Pulse Wrestling announcing WWE’s current WrestleMania card.
Below is a closer look at the officially announced proceedings from top to bottom, including my own rankings in the following three categories: Build (to this point), Expected Match Quality, and Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value.
The Rock returns to WrestleMania as Guest Host
WWE Champion The Miz vs. John Cena
Expected Match Quality: 6/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 9/10
In case you haven’t noticed, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has resurfaced as part of the WWE for the first time in seven years. That’s right, The Rock will be our guest host for WrestleMania, and it seems as if the Brahma Bull will be taking no prisoners as far as John Cena and The Miz are concerned.
The buzz has been off the charts for Rocky’s return, and, fleeting as it may be (regardless of what he says, we know he’s not back for good), I have thoroughly enjoyed nearly every part of Rock’s back and forth interactions with Miz and Cena, save for one too many “via satellite” appearances from The Great One and one AWFUL second rap from Cena.
You know what though? The real winner in all of this is The Miz. For the first time last week on Raw, Miz truly established himself on that higher level he’s been talking about for awhile now. His Rock impersonation followed by another systematic beatdown of John Cena was by far the Miz’ most epic night as WWE Champion, and he finally looks believable as someone who has Cena’s number and could actually prevail in a very tough WWE title defense on the grandest stage of them all. That was the last piece of the puzzle for me, and now the Miz – Rock – Cena triforce is complete. Take that Link!
Oh, one last note, is anyone else hoping for a Rock-Austin moment at WrestleMania to add a little touch of icing on the cake? I thought so.
World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
Expected Match Quality: 7/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 6/10
When they FINALLY got around to it over on SmackDown!, Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio has shaped up nicely. However, while I am not the biggest fan of three way dances, I still would prefer a Triple Threat match in this particular case with Christian added to the mix.
It doesn’t look like this will happen especially because it would devalue Del Rio’s Royal Rumble win, but it would have made sense to add Christian for three reasons: 1. Christian has a history with both the champion and challenger; 2. Christian deserves a spot on the WrestleMania card; 3. When Del Rio wins — and Del Rio will win — he would have done it against two of the better veterans WWE has to offer a blossoming superstar on the big stage.
Also, with Ricardo Rodriguez and Brodius Clay already stacking the odds in Alberto’s favor, Christian could have evened the odds in the ring, though I assume he will be hovering around ringside to either ensure fairness or turn heel.
I expect a solid match but nothing special outside of Del Rio’s first Big Gold Belt win.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton (Nexus banned from ringside)
Expected Match Quality: 10/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 9/10
I have extremely high hopes for this personal grudge match between CM Punk and Randall Keith “Randy” Orton. These are two of the best in the industry feuding in the prime of their careers, and this will be worth the price of admission on nuances and facial expressions alone.
Throw in the fact that Orton and Punk both generate huge reactions from live crowds everywhere they go and you have all the makings of an epic non-title match where everyone in the arena is emotionally invested in the outcome.
Yes, that’s how good they both are right here, right now, and I expect greatness out of them at WrestleMania.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H â€“ No DQ, No Countout, No Holds Barred
Expected Match Quality: 5/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 7/10
The first ‘silent exchange’ between Taker and Triple H has been the best moment of this whole saga so far. Since then, we’ve had HBK do everything he can to sell this match via videotape, and he’s done a good job in doing so. However, there is no way this can match what HBK and Undertaker did the past two years, and I think WWE knows this. Plus, I am sure they are saving something special for Undertaker’s 20th win next year, so this is really more of a placeholder than anything else.
I know THE STREAK is important as it is one of the only morsels of recorded statistics that WWE officially acknowledges, but all I am expecting this WrestleMania is a middle-of-the-road encounter at best.
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Michael Cole with Jack Swagger as Cole’s trainer and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the special guest referee
Expected Match Quality: N/A
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 10/10
For the past few months, Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler have been at serious odds with each other. It all started back on old school Raw on 11/29/10, when Cole interfered to cost King a chance to become WWE Champion in Lawler’s TLC match against The Miz.
Since that time, Michael Cole’s persona has escalated into a clearly delusional, egomaniacal, full-fledged heel who has bought into his own hype so much that he has dubbed his match with Lawler at WrestleMania as the true main event of the granddaddy of them all.
This turn in Cole’s character was further cemented on Raw last week in two different ways: 1. When they were both doing commentary, Cole put himself in his own plastic announcing booth called the “Cole Mine” to protect himself from Lawler; and 2. Cole fulfilled all of his newly twisted character’s desires when he trotted out Brian Christopher to drudge up somewhat believable Lawler family grudges and then wound up slapping the Ankle Lock on good old J.R. with help from Jack Swagger.
Needless to say, there is now no turning back for Michael Cole, and at WrestleMania, there is not one person watching in the arena or at home who won’t be invested in one thing and one thing only: seeing Michael Cole simply get his ass kicked by Jerry Lawler, to make things right with the wrestling world once again.
So let’s recap: This is a logically constructed feud that has been built up for nearly four months (check), has elevated the profiles of both characters (check), and currently has everyone wanting to see the good guy DESTROY the bad guy to get the payback he craves and frankly deserves (checkmate).
In other words, sign me up!
Snooki & Trish Stratus & John Morrison vs. LayCool & Dolph Ziggler
Expected Match Quality: 3/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 4/10
I know why this match exists on the WrestleMania card, but I am not sure what to make of it just yet. I am giving the build to this match low marks because it was simply thrown together after Snooki decided to grab a WrestleMania celebrity payday, and I would have rather seen more laser-like focus on Ziggler and Morrison before Snooki’s guest host turn and subsequent match acceptance last week.
Also, I don’t like the fact that a LayCool breakup was teased for a few weeks on SmackDown! before WWE decided to blatantly abandon (or at least shelf) the angle likely so that this six-person tag match could take place at Mania.
But hey, who would’ve thunk that Snooki could hit such a mean-looking Lou Thesz Press?
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Expected Match Quality: 8/10
Expected (Sports) Entertainment Value: 6/10
If you’re going to have a one-on-one match at WrestleMania, you better be able execute a storyline well and handle the bright lights of the big dance. Well, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio have done an admirable job selling this entire angle, with Cody surprisingly carrying the bulk of the load in this regard. Personally, I love the new twist on Cody’s formerly Dashing character, and everything that has been done to this point has been both nuanced and noticeable.
Aside from what I wrote last time about the Cody / Dusty / Rey angle that was played to perfection on SmackDown!, one segment where Cody really grabbed my attention was when Rhodes did that first backstage interview with Todd Grisham about his facial injuries with his back turned away from the viewing audience:
To be able to pull something like that off the way he did shows that WWE’s belief in Cody is valid, and I think Rey handpicked the perfect opponent for him in this non-title dispute on the WrestleMania card.
I hope you enjoyed this special preview of the current WrestleMania card. As always, feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and rankings in the ‘Comments’ thread below.
Around The Pulse
Blair A. Douglas has been on fire lately with his That Being Said reports, recapping TNA TV shows and PPVs. These are more entertaining than the shows themselves, especially when Jeff Hardy causes so much drama in the I-P-Z.
Meanwhile, Jonah Kue gives you just enough morsels about managers in his latest edition of Kue’s Korner that you will leave his space pleasantly satisfied but not too full.
I must also give shoutouts to Rhett Davis and Chris Sanders for ‘O’Really‘ being all ‘The Rager‘ each and every week in these parts.
Lastly, CLICK HERE to check out the plethora of columns and columnists that have done a stellar job covering everything under the sun as it relates to professional (scripted) wrestling.
Well, thatâ€™s all from me, until next time â€” CB.
Tags: alberto del rio, christian, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, edge, Jerry Lawler, john cena, John Morrison, Laycool, Michael Cole, miz, nexus, randy orton, Raw, rey mysterio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Rock, Smackdown, snooki, Steve Austin, Stone Cold, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, the streak, triple h, Trish Stratus, undertaker, wrestlemania, wrestlemania 27, WWE