It is FINALLY WrestleMania week! Seriously, WWE seemed to run out of gas a little bit last week throughout Monday Night Raw and SmackDown because the four big matches have been completely built up by now and it seemed as if some folks were starting to repeat themselves a bit.
On the other hand, some of the mid card wrestlers are benefitting from the extra TV time as it has allowed WWE to flesh out some of the storylines for the secondary matches that normally get thrown together a week before the other PPVs.
But let’s forget all of that now because we are just six days away from the Granddaddy of Them All, and it’s time for me to take a look at the full card and tell you how I would book WrestleMania 28.
CB’s Slant: Booking WrestleMania 28
Dark Match: Tag Team Championship: Epico and Primo (c) with Rosa Mendes vs. The Usos
CB’s Slant: I picked a tag titles defense for the annual pre-Mania dark match because I think it would make sense to at least give the live crowd the treat of seeing every current champion in WWE wrestle for them. The Usos were the only real tag team I could think of that would be a good fit as challengers to face Epico and Primo since most of the other mid-carders are preoccupied with Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny, and, frankly, I just like that they are an actual real tag team.
Winners: Epico and Primo retain with a Backstabber from Primo following interference from resident Booty-Popper Rosa Mendez in a typical title defense for them.
Opening Match: Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. The Big Show
CB’s Slant: Rather than open with the World Heavyweight Championship match like they did last year, I chose the Intercontinental match between Cody Rhodes and the Big Show to open the show. Big Show’s theme song can pop the crowd early on in the night, he will simply be on a mission to shut Cody Rhodes up and knock him out after Rhodes’ not-so-flattering trips down memory lane where Show at WrestleMania is concerned.
There’s also another reason I picked this match to kick things off, and that’s because I can see Cody Rhodes cutting a pre-match promo making fun of both Big Show and everyone in Miami. Of course, that will lead to a camera cut to retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal — who confirmed he will be attending WrestleMania — and after Rhodes insults Shaq, Big Show will come out to his entrance. And, well, during the climax of the match, Rhodes and Show will be fighting near Shaq and he will deliver a Knockout blow of his own to Rhodes before Show finishes him off to the crowd’s delight.
Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Big Show
Match 2: Randy Orton vs. Kane
CB’s Slant: Orton vs. Kane is one of those get it out of the way matches, and I hope it is the quickest match of the night. They are feuding for very tenuous reasons, and while I’ve enjoyed some of their back and forth, the real objective for this match should be to put Randy over and build him back up into the title picture.
Winner: Randy Orton
Match 3: World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) with AJ Lee vs. Sheamus
CB’s Slant: One of the four main events has to go first, and they need to be spaced out a little bit. The number 3 spot is good for Bryan vs. Sheamus because Bryan’s “YES! YES! YES!” entrance can really draw solid crowd heat to keep the viewers engaged during what otherwise could be a lull in their respective energy levels.
Honestly, I hope Daniel Bryan remains the World Heavyweight Champion for a long time, and I think this is NOT the right time at all for him to drop the belt to Sheamus. Bryan’s still gaining a ton of momentum and he really has proven he can deliver the goods for WWE in this role. Sheamus is OK and all, he’s just not on the same level as Bryan.
At the same time, I also think it would be a travesty if the Bryan-AJ relationship is blown off here to get to the end result, as that storyline has been extremely entertaining and I think they can do a whole lot more with that over the next few weeks or even months before finally coming to a head.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Daniel Bryan
Match 4: Beth Phoenix and Eve vs. Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos
CB’s Slant: The second of the two get-this-out-of-the-way matches, and this one’s even worse because as we figured out together in the comments section a couple of weeks ago, this will actually be Maria Menounos’ THIRD match in WWE. Therefore, there’s just nothing novel to this and Menounos is nowhere near as much of a mainstream pop culture draw as Snooki was last year.
Like everyone else, I would have preferred an actual Divas Championship title defense, perhaps with a little something “special” like Trish Stratus returning to face Beth. Oh well…
Winners: Beth Phoenix and Eve, and then Kharma returns again to squash three of them as Beth sneaks away…
Match 5: WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho
CB’s Slant: A few weeks ago, I was ready to write off the execution of this feud as a little bit of a disappointment. However, Punk and Jericho have certainly kicked things up a few notches in the intensity department, though I still would have preferred them feuding over who is the “best in the world” exclusively over the “it’s now personal” mantra they’ve adopted over the past two weeks.
With that said, this match could steal the show and I’m sure Punk and Jericho are hoping to do just that. I do too, and I also want this match to get the time it deserves to tell the story IN THE RING, meaning I’d like to say 25-30 minutes of solid wrestling (especially with the GM match next on my card).
At the end of the day, there’s two conflicting theories at play: 1) Punk is the future and should win over an established guy like Jericho to solidify his championship reign; or 2) Jericho couldn’t have returned for nothing and so he should win here to cash in on his “end of the world as you know it” promises he’s failed to deliver on at the last two PPVs.
After much deliberation, I feel like if the Punk-Jericho feud is extended for a few more months, it can really do wonders for both Punk’s career and Jericho’s comeback. Therefore…
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Chris Jericho
Match 6: 12-Man Tag: Team Teddy Long vs. Team John Laurinaitis for full control of Raw and SmackDown
CB’s Slant: I don’t feel like getting into the particulars of who is representing each team at the moment, but I do think The Miz will ultimately not be involved in this match as one of the members of Team Johnny to continue his “hitting rock-bottom” storyline.
Also, since I have booked the two big title matches and have both of the heels emerging victorious (Bryan and Jericho), I have a feeling that Team Johnny will win this match so that WWE can give Raw and SmackDown a “sense of urgency” with all of the heels in charge at the moment. Besides, Teddy Long has been SmackDown GM for a very long time, and Vince usually jumps at the chance to shake things up when the opportunity presents itself.
Winners: Team Johnny
Match 7: Hell In A Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (Shawn Michaels special referee)
CB’s Slant: Let me set the record straight right now in terms of where I stand: THE STREAK WILL NEVER END.
I can’t put it any clearer than that in terms of the result, but what I do like about this match is the same thing I’ve liked about the Taker-HBK and Taker-HHH series: It’s not about the result, it’s about the journey.
For example, I’ve seen the movie “The Usual Suspects” a million times, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. The beauty of this film is that even after you know the end result, you immediately want to go back through it and find all of the clues along the way that you may have missed the first time around. And no matter how many times I see it, I am still mesmerized by just how amazing the whole thing was put together.
I attribute those same feelings I have for “The Usual Suspects” to any of Undertaker’s recent defenses of THE STREAK at WrestleMania, and I’m sure there will be at least one or two moments where I will “suspend my disbelief” and think the impossible will happen. But it won’t, because that would be like the cop actually arresting Kevin Spacey, and then we’d be deprived of that brilliant moment where he lost his limp and Keyser Söze was revealed.
I don’t want to be robbed of that moment at WrestleMania, where Undertaker somehow did it again. And I won’t be…
Winner: The Undertaker, hopefully clean, but likely thanks to an “inadvertent” assist from Shawn Michaels
Match 8: Throw-in Match: Brodus Clay vs. The Miz
CB’s Slant: I am throwing this into the mix as a last-minute addition to the Mania card so that there is some kind of filler match to go between Hell In A Cell and Rock-Cena. Of course, they could always alternatively fill this time with the standard “Please welcome the WWE 2012 Hall of Fame class” announcement and introductions to give the inductees a chance to wave to the crowd.
However, I am going with an add-on match of Miz vs. Clay because after all of his complaining, Miz will be given a match against Brodus as one last chance to prove himself. Maybe Miz even says if he loses, he’ll leave WWE forever.
But then a funny thing will happen, and before the match even starts, Miz will just SNAP on Brodus Clay and go ballistic. He will then get help from all of the people who have lost to the Funkasaurus, who will come out and assist Miz in completely SQUASHING Brodus Clay the way Clay has squashed so many others in his matches.
Miz can then have his Mania moment, rebuild his character up, and begin a new run as a dangerous heel with backup who is not to be overlooked again.
Winner: No Contest
Closing Match: The Rock vs. John Cena
CB’s Slant: Ah, yes, The Rock vs. John Cena. If you didn’t know, this match has the following tag-lines…
ONCE IN A LIFETIME!
TEAM BRING IT VS. THE CENATION!!
THE TOOTH FAIRY VS. FRUITY PEBBLES!!!
…but I digress.
As for what I would like to happen or what I think will happen, I’m still on the fence.
On one hand, John Cena NEEDS to win this match to keep the credibility he has established over the years and to prove he can hang with The Rock in the ring. At the same time, however, The Rock can’t be made to look like a total chump because that would be unfair to his legacy.
What I DON’T want to happen is for The Miz to get involved and cost one of them the match, which is why I booked the throw-in match of Miz vs. Clay to get that whole Miz question out of the way for this epic encounter. An unclean finish here would just be horribly disappointing and I think some fans would be lost forever if WWE went that route.
Instead, I’d like to see a well-fought, solidly executed one-on-one match with no interference that keeps the crowd equally engaged every move and writhing in anticipation for the end result. As for what that result will be, well, here goes nothin’…
Winner: John Cena
So why does Cena win out here? Partly because The Rock cost him the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 27 last year, but mostly because it’s just better for WWE’s future to give John Cena a victory over The Rock that he can carry with him for the rest of his career.
As for HOW CENA WILL WIN, I still haven’t quite figured that out. I was toying with the idea of Rocky locking in a Sharpshooter that gets reversed into the STFU, but I can’t see The Rock agreeing to tap out to Cena on the WrestleMania stage. What I do know is they will likely kick out of each other’s finishers (and/or use each other’s finishers) at some point to sell the suspense.
Ultimately, the most logical result from where I sit would be to simply use Rock as Cena’s clearest path to a full-on heel turn. Cena can just get so frustrated with The Rock kicking out of the Attitude Adjustment and refusing to tap to the STFU that he finally SNAPS with the stakes so high because he knows he has to win at all costs because this match means EVERYTHING to him. Maybe Cena then cheats to win, but he does it WITHOUT ANY OUTSIDE HELP.
I am not saying that will happen because of WWE wanting to protect the money they make with Cena as the ultimate good guy and Make-A-Wish Foundation wish-giver, but that’s how I would book it for the purposes of giving the viewers something shocking and buzzworthy — yet very reasonable given the story being told — to close the night.
That’s it from me — ENJOY WRESTLEMANIA — CB.
Tags: Beth Phoenix, big show, chris jericho, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Eve, john cena, John Laurinaitis, kane, Kelly Kelly, Maria Menounos, randy orton, Raw, Road to WrestleMania, Rock, sheamus, Smackdown, Teddy Long, The Rock, the undertaker, triple h, undertaker, wrestlemania, wrestlemania 28, WWE