Rasslin Roundtable — WWE Wrestlemania 28 (The Rock, John Cena, Chris Jericho, CM Punk)

Randy Orton vs Kane

James Alsop: This is actually the most important match on the card. Fact.
Winner
: Kane. After a Shooting Star Press. Afterwards, Cena and Rock will both come out and shake Orton’s hand, saying “we can’t top that, Randy” and then there will be a huge fireworks display, and then Undertaker will come out, ring the bell, and lie down in the centre of the ring for Orton to pin. The crowd leave with smiles on their faces.

I do actually think Kane will win.

Chris Sanders: The match that was created by a handshake? Or the match created because they didn’t have time to come up with something for Orton because of injuries. blah blah blah Orton is gonna look good in this.
Winner
: Randy Orton

Steven Gepp: So we’ve got 2 former world champions, see? And one of them’s a golden boy, despite literally shitting in people’s bags and being a general douche backstage, right? And the other one’s a good company man who does whatever they ask of him, okay? But they don’t have feuds for Wrestlemania due to injury/crappy booking/no one caring about them. So what do we do? Throw them together, while ignoring the history they had with one another! Perfect! Book it, Danno!
Winner
: oh, who the hell cares? Kane, for giggles

Rhett Davis: I have a feeling that everyone will be jumping on the Orton bandwagon for this match so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Kane will win. Sure Orton is a big baby face that hardly ever loses, but Kane has lost a ton of momentum since he returned as the Masked Monster. After all, Cena AA’d him off of an ambulance. Then he came back and beat up Orton, and then Orton has really dominated him. Kane wins this one on a whim.
Winner
: Kane

M.C. Brown: Kane hopefully will have a brand new look for this match. It won’t mean much more than that.
Winner
: Randy Orton

Kue: If we were to compare today’s roster to the previous, Orton would be the current ‘Taker. With that said, why not cap off that comparison with a slow-paced and boring match with Kane? Face victory would make the crowd happy. Let’s go with that.
Winner
: Randall

Mike Gojira: Even diehard Orton fans are saying, “Why the fuck should I care?”  This was a terrible way to get both guys on the card and we have to suffer as a result.  Kane’s pyro has been more intimidating than his wrestling prowess these days and Orton’s not in the title hunt, so……
Winner
: Randy Orton

Ralph Hardin: This is as good a way as any to get both of these guys on the card, I guess (and I have no idea where either of these guys goes from here, although an Orton vs. Jericho feud would be cool). So, this will probably get pretty brawly and should be pretty good, but let’s face it, Kane is pretty close to being done and Randy is the default back-up top guy should something happen with Cena (sorry, Punk), so I’d be surprised by anything that doesn’t end in R-K-O and 1-2-3.
Winner: Randy Orton

CB: 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

Cody Rhodes (c) vs Big Show
Intercontinental Championship

James Alsop: I’m just happy that the IC Championship is finally getting a worthwhile singles defence at ‘Mania! Let’s hope it isn’t a repeat of the last such instance, which Rey Mysterio won in about ten seconds after JBL fell on his arse.
Winner
: Big Show.

Chris Sanders: Sigh, the match that should never be. I know that statement seems a bit over-dramatic but I really had bigger hopes for Cody at WM. Even if he wasn’t facing Goldust, there are so many other better choices for an opponent. But my complaints aside, they’ve laid it on thick with Show and I think they’ll give it to him. Emphasis on the word “give”
Winner
: Big Show

Steven Gepp: I’m torn on this one. There’s a part of me that thinks that Cody Rhodes has played enough mind games so that the Big Show collapses in a crumpled heap of mental anguish here and he ekes out the win. Then there’s the other part of me that thinks it all backfires and Big Show goes on to win in 30 seconds with a series of WMDs. I think this match will surprise people, will be watchable and enjpoyable, and we will have a new champ-een.
Winner
: Big Show

Rhett Davis: When this match was first announced, I thought it was a dead giveaway that it was yet another ‘get-me-over’ win for Cody just as his match with Rey last year was. However, after reading a news article about Big Show holding every title in the WWE with the exception of this title, I began to have doubts. I’m not sure the victor is as easy as I originally thought, but alas I’m going to go with my gut and say that Cody pulls out the win amid dastardly deeds like using the belt when the ref isn’t looking.
Winner (and STILL I-C Champion)
: Cody Rhodes

M.C. Brown: Cody should hold the belt longer than Honky Tonk and Show could use the I-C win, but he still
has 3 wins @ Manias.
Winner
: Cody Rhodes

Jonah Kue: This will be a true test to whether or not Cody can carry a match. There’s so much hype behind him and so much dissatisfaction behind not pulling the trigger when it comes to his pushes that, if he fails to make this match watchable, it pretty much guarantees another year under the glass ceiling of the midcard. Personally, I think this match will sink rather than swim. Sorry, Rhodes.
Winner (and STILL Champion)
: Cody Rhodes

Mike Gojira: I’m not sure how much mileage Cody will get out of Big Show, but I suspect it will be something similar to how Rhodes handled Great Khali a couple of weeks ago.  As much as I’d like to see Show get his ‘Mania Moment and complete that milestone of holding every title, I’d much rather enjoy the lengthy title run of Rhodes the Younger.  I think the ‘E will choose the sentimental route.
Winner
: Big Show

Ralph Hardin: As much as this seems to be building toward Show giving Cody his commuppance and getting a Wrestlemania win, I just don’t see any reason to take the belt off of Cody, and it’s not like Big Show needs a run with the I-C title. They could go either way here. I suppose Rhodes could ber dropping the belt in order to move on to a feud with Sheamus should he walk away with the Big Gold Belt, and if Show wins, he could continue his feud with Bryan over the I-C belt. You know, I think I’ve talked myself into that idea.
Winner: Big Show

CB: Big Show 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. 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

Team Teddy (Santino Marella, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, and Booker T) vs. Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre)

James Alsop: On the one hand, there are several guys involved in this match who have no real place to be there. On the other hand, there are several guys involved who really deserve a WrestleMania payday in a match with high stakes and a clever hook. I actually prefer this kind of thing to the MITB match – at least when it’s done properly. It means that rather than one guy emerging from a mass of broken ladders and potential injuries, we get six men emerging victorious and with real bragging rights. Furthermore, considering that the winning GM becomes manager of both brands, it seems safe to assume that the men on the victorious team will all get heavily featured post-‘Mania in reward for their efforts. And that’s definitely a good thing. Especially because I think it’s obvious who the winning team will be.
Winner
: Team Johnny. A wily Otunga will get the pin on Santino by surprising the latter after Santino hits Mark Henry with the Cobra. The perfect double-bluff, bittersweet heel victory.

Chris Sanders: What this comes down to is what makes sense for WWE. Johnny Ace is the new authoritative figure character that they’re super high on and Teddy has been around for quite a while and has grown stale as a character. This match is just a way to further the character to the point that we’re suffocated with him (like most new characters pushed…del rio comes to mind).
Winner
: Team Johnny

Steven Gepp: I give this one 8 minutes, tops, more than half the people won’t even get into the ring, and the winner will be team Johnny because Zack Ryder turns on Booker T, thus giving Miz the final pin and setting off that next feud for the ages. The ‘make sure as many people as possible get a payday’ Wrestlemania match.
Winner
: Team Johnny

Rhett Davis: I called this match for awhile before it was announced, but, with no money in the bank, it’s only logical. It gets a ton of talent on the show and gets the crowd invested in a big spot fest. I really don’t see Long going over here as Laurinitis just has too much heat to just get rid of now. Plus Teddy has been around awhile and it’s time to shake things up as Vinny Mac would say. I’ll say Johnny’s team wins after Ziggler hits a big Zig Zag on Booker.
Winners
: Team Talent Relations

M.C. Brown: Like a weak Survivor Series team, I see no chance for Team Teddy.
Winner
: Team Johnny

Kue: I can’t think of a better match to open the show with and hype the crowd. This should be a pretty decent spotfest. If booking means anything, then the past few weeks of Miz failing will culminate in him getting the final pin for Team Johnny. That is, if booking means anything.
Winner
: Team Johnny

Mike Gojira: There’s a hell of a lot more mileage out of John Laurinaitis as GM at this point than there is with Long, who has been in charge far longer than I can remember.  The heel authority figure always provides a better dynamic in the long run, so I’m gonna go with Johnny Ace and his team of misfit heels.
Winner
: Team Johnny

Ralph Hardin: So, did Christian get legit injured or something? How Drew McIntyre (in storyline terms) gets a spot on the biggest show of the year after his abysmal showing as of late makes no sense. Oh well…this should be a fun mess, with plenty of comedy and hopefully some fast-paced action…the less Khali the better. From a storyline standpoint, the “Authority Figure” gimmick only really seems to work with a heel running the show, so I guess we’re going to get “Big Johnny” on both shows for a while. I’d expect Miz to score the pinfall, probably over Zack Ryder, because hey, why not?
Winners: Team Johnny

CB: With me booking two heel World Champs by the end of the night, 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

Beth Phoenix and Eve vs Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos

James Alsop: I’m ok with this match. It’ll be fine for what it is – a cooldown between Hell in a Cell and Rock vs Cena. It’s also the match you’ll be pleased to point out to your girlfriend, because she might recognise one of the competitors. And celebrity endorsements like that – even when the celebrity is minor – really does help wrestling feel more mainstream. Which is no bad thing, even if the IWC disagrees.
Winner
: Beth and Eve, after Maria turns on Kelly to side with the heels. That’d surprise everyone, wouldn’t it? And Beth and Eve would both be given a nice boost by it. They’re the two girls that WWE is currently building its Divas division around, after all.

Chris Sanders: They always make the celebs look good
Winner
: Kelly Kelly and Maria Meningitis

Steven Gepp: Well, with recent news that this person I have no idea about has injured herself in a serious dance-related mishap which resulted in seven cracked ribs and contusions… who the hell was she dancing with? The entire Green Bay Packers defensive team? Don’t answer that… Okay, anyway, this Maria Menopause person comes out in a form-fitting lycra body-cast, and Kelly Kelly Kelly’s new partner is revealed to be Natalya. However, 10 seconds in, Natalya turns on KKKK and it’s 3-on-1. Hang on! The Bella twins come down, and now it’s 5-on-1. Finally Trish Stratus comes out, and it’s 6-on-1. That’s when the Hell in the Cell cage is lowered. And then Maria Menonononous turns on KKKKK, so now it’s 7-on-1. 23.4 seconds later and Kelly K has taken them all out, pinned the women’s champion Beth Phoenix in the middle of the ring and stands triumphant, basking in cheers for 5 minutes while all the rest lay on the ground dead. Yes, they’ll steal the WCW Uncensored 1996 main event, but without the Randy Savage character (because WWE seems to think that the only place Mr Savage exists is on CM Punk’s tights), and with only 7 bad guys (because WWE doesn’t like to admit Lex Luger ever existed either).
Loser
: The USA’s sewerage system, as surely that many people going to the toilet at once cannot be good for it
Winner
: Kelly Kelly and that TV chick

Rhett Davis: Well this match sure is happening. I’d rather have seen Beth vs Kharma or Beth vs Trish, but this is what we got instead. I digress. The Beth/Kharma would be a huge draw and it needs a huge build-up so I hope they build it for next year’s WrestleMania. It’d be interesting to see them stare-off several times through the year and then finally come to a head at Mania. Back to the match, no way that Maria is losing so we’ll say that Beth and Eve get into a fight and Beth gets rolled up by Maria. This would motion Beth and Eve into a battle and possibly Kelly Kelly as well.
Winners
: K-Squared and Maria M.

M.C. Brown: If Snooki can help get a victory, you would think Maria could, but the faces winning does nothing either. So I think this sets up a Kharma attack after Beth and Eve win.
Winner
: Beth Phoenix and Eve

Kue: Really?
Winner
: Kharma kills them all. Or puts me out of my misery.

Mike Gojira: The company could pull a rabbit out of its ass and have Kharma replace Maria, citing her rib injury as a reason, and let her destroy Phoenix and Eve.  It doesn’t matter either way because the celeb team is going over.
Winners
: Kelly and Maria

Ralph Hardin: It’s very difficult to feign even the slightest interest in this. I guess Kharma is being kept off TV a little while longer after what happened with her baby or something. Or was this the best they could do to draw some mainstream publicity via use of a celebrity this year? I don’t know, but I do know that the celebrity never, ever loses, so expect a win from KK and MM, with maybe (hopefully) a post-match beatdown wherein Kharma makes the save to give Beth a credible challenger (or I gues Nattie Neidhart could run out and fart on her or something).
Winners: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos

CB: 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…

Daniel Bryan (c) vs Sheamus
World Heavyweight Championship

James Alsop: Two years ago, Daniel Bryan was being depicted as the biggest loser on NXT. One year ago, his WrestleMania match with Sheamus was booted from the card at the last minute. This year, Daniel Bryan isn’t just on the WrestleMania card: he’s the WWE’s hottest heel and current World Heavyweight Champion. And Sheamus is an extremely deserving opponent. This clash is already the dark horse pick for Match of the Night honours.

Also, given that Bryan vs Sheamus never really happened at last year’s ‘Mania, this bout has also, in a very real sense, been a year in the making. By accident or design, then, that’s THREE matches on the biggest card of the year which can claim to have been a year or more in development. Who says that wrestling doesn’t do long-term booking anymore?
Winner
: Sheamus. Because Bryan is so good that he doesn’t need the belt, while a Sheamus win will help restore the legitimacy of the Royal Rumble.

Chris Sanders: Daniel Bryan has reached a point where he doesn’t need the belt anymore to carry a storyline. He’s established himself as a heel and he can move on from here. Sheamus is the guy that’s over with the fans as a face and (more importantly) over with the guy’s making the decisions. WM will be a vehicle to push Sheamus more to the top level.
Winner
: Sheamus

Steven Gepp: Am I allowed to say I’m looking forward to a Sheamus match? Well, I am. I have a feeling – and I said this a few times last year – that Daniel Bryan is some one they throw people against to see them have a good match. He is the WWE’s current broomstick champion (an analogy I stole from Scott Keith, who said Flair could have a match with a broomstick and get 3 stars). Will he stay chamopion?> Well, I see AJ getting involved somehow, and an ending that won’t sit real well, because…
Winner
: Sheamus, by DQ, so still champion, Daniel Bryan

Rhett Davis: This is one match in which I generally think everyone is wrong on. I think D-Bry is actually going to win this match. Sheamus has been on a huge role and with nothing but faces winning after this match (for me), I think D-Bry will actually pull off the win although through sneaky means. Sheamus can then continue to pound Bryan’s brains in at Extreme Rules, or whatever the next PPV is.
Winner (and STILL World Heavyweight Champion)
: Daniel Bryan “YES! YES! YES!”

M.C. Brown: Another predictable match with a Sheamus title victory. I think they do the opposite
Winner
: Daniel Bryan

Kue: This has been very reminiscent of Trips and Jericho at ‘Mania 18. The focus has been centralized on the relationship between AJ and Bryan. With that said, good booking would dictate that Bryan would win using AJ as a victim. But ‘Mania usually favors face victories in these big events. I’ll hope for the former.
Winner (and STILL Champion)
: Daniel Bryan

Mike Gojira: Both guys are being overlooked thanks to the more promising main events to come, which can only mean that they’ll pull out all the stops to get people to notice them.  And really, what more can you ask for?  Sheamus should win to put an end to the Royal Rumble Curse.
Winner
: Sheamus

Ralph Hardin: Hey, it’s the first of our four “Main Events” of the evening. Why not just say we have EIGHT main events and then everyone can say they main evented Wrestlemania? Anyway, I’d love to see DB keep the title and maybe feud with Orton or even Cena. His smarmy yet somehow oblivious heel persona is one of the better developed personalities on Smackdown right now. And, I’m not really sure how awesome World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus would be anyway. They would feed him all the lumbering big men and those matches would likely not be very good, so I’m gonna go ahead and call it for the little guy. And yes, I know this goes against my booking plans laid out in the Cody/Show match. Call it hedging my bets.
Winner: Daniel Bryan

CB: 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

Triple H vs The Undertaker (Special Referee: Shawn Michaels)
Hell in a Cell

James Alsop: I could say more about this match than any other, but I don’t think it needs my adulation. This will be the Match of the Night, and probably the Match of the Year. Like Rock vs Cena, this match has been over a year in the making – two, if we include Undertaker’s classic with HBK at ‘Mania 26. The story is timeless, HBK’s inclusion makes perfect sense, and both Triple H and Undertaker should be heading into their final match together in excellent shape. I can’t wait.
Winner: Undertaker. Because that’s how this story needs to end.

Chris Sanders: I wasn’t thrilled about another Taker/HHH match but adding a Cell adds a little spice in it. Last year, I wasn’t expecting the bumps both men took last year so I won’t go with my original assumption that the cage won’t make any difference. I see heel shawn ruining HHH chances in the end and leading to something at WM29.
Winner
: Undertaker

Steven Gepp: Part 3. I wasn’t overly fond of parts 1 and 2, why should I watch the next sequel with high hopes? Oh, that’s right, it’s in a cell. We have a cripple and a guy who sits behind a desk fighting in a Cell with another semi-cripple reffing. Should be a classic! I think the Undertaker matches have been overrated at WMs for a long time. I think the Shawn Michaels pair, while good, were not the greatest matches evahhhh! And last year’s was dull. But we have to have the obligatory Undertaker match, so I guess it’s better he stinks up the ring with another “era” guy than destroying the career of an up-and-comer, or fighting a new generation “star” that the crowd believes could conceivably have a chance of winning.
Winner
: Undertaker (foregone conclusion match)

Rhett Davis: Honestly, this is the biggest title on this card. No matter who wins between Bryan, Sheamus, Punk, or Jericho, this match is the one that people will remember if Triple H somehow defeated The Phenom. Luckily, I don’t think we’ll see that day. The Undertaker will successfully defend his Streak. How is that? Well let’s see… I believe that the Deadman will be dominated and put through hell for most of match, but in the end Undertaker will take back over and then Tombstone Triple H in an attempt to end it. He’ll cross the arms and when HBK goes down for the three count, he stops. Taker glares at him and then HHH low blows Taker. DX then starts to team up on the Deadman under the deafening boos of the audience. Suddenly, the lights go out, come back up and Taker is standing behind them. The Undertaker then proceeds to kick both of their behinds and then Tombstones HHH and Last Ride HBK. He covers HHH and slaps HBK’s hand on the mat ala Austin vs Dude Love with Shane as a ref. Just my take on a cool situation, but it will be the Deadman going over Triple H as both men’s swan songs probably.
Winner (and NOW 20-0)
: The Undertaker

M.C. Brown: First, Brock Lesnar is coming in and F5ing the Undertaker due to their UFC dispute. Shawn Michaels will refuse to count. Then, Batista will come in and instead will attack Triple H. Undertaker will have Triple H pinned. HBK will again refuse to count the 1-2-3. This will lead to a final sequence where Undertaker wins.
Winner
: Undertaker

Kue: Call me a mark, but I’m looking forward to this match so fucking much. I’ve been wanting this match to happen, Hell in a Cell stip included, since 2001. And it finally is. HBK as the ref is simply icing on the cake. Undertaker and Trips, they’ve been my numero uno and dos fave wrestlers, respectively, since the Attitude era. So, all I want and expect out of this is a grueling, drama-driven match with a clean finish. And the streak intact. Hopefully, my expectations will be fulfilled.
Winner
: The Undertaker

Mike Gojira: Undertaker wins.  It’s the only logical way to go.  The cage is just a gimmick to hide Taker’s ring rust and general inability to maneuver (which we saw in spades last year) and HBK’s involvement is just to add some intrigue.  I’m not bashing this, mind you; I fully expect it to be an emotional roller coaster ride with plenty of close calls but there’s no way Taker goes 19-1.  What would be the point of the Streak if it ends with a loss and not retirement?
Winner
: Undertaker

Ralph Hardin: I really have to say that this should NOT be the Main Event. Both guys are basically retired at this point and this is really nothing more than a Specail Attraction. I could be a bit biased, though, as I have never been a fan of HHH and the Undertaker hasn’t been interesting to me in more than 15 years. Having said all of that, this should be AWESOME. They might even be allowed to bleed. HBK will no doubt figure heavily in the drama. I suspect he will come down firmly on the side of HHH but even the combined power of DX will not be able to end the streak. In fact, I’m hoping Michaels actually inadverdently leads to HHH losing and that in turns leads to a HHH/HBK “one more match” deal down the road (SummerSlam maybe). Anyway, no way ‘Taker doesn’t make it to 20-0. The only real question, I think, is does he come back for a shot at win number 21 next year (and against who)?
Winner: Undertaker

CB: 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

John Cena vs The Rock

James Alsop: Firstly, let’s just talk about match quality. The crowd will be hot – incredibly so – and that makes all the difference. The question is, and has been for some time, “can Rock and Cena put on a compelling match?” To which I respond as follows: OF COURSE THEY BLOODY WELL CAN! Ring-rust be damned! If anyone knows how to put on a main event match it’s The Rock, and ring psychology isn’t something that a third-generation wrestler – even an out of practice one –just forgets. We didn’t see the best of Rocky at Survivor Series, but despite what people thought at the time, the match wasn’t about making Truth and Miz look good – it was about establishing Rock as a force once again. And it did the job! I can’t see him giving anything but a top-notch performance.

As for Cena, it’s often been noted that although John is poor in main events on Monday Night Raw, he frequently puts on damn good pay-per-view matches. Why? Because Cena likes it when the stakes are high; he likes it when fans have a powerful reason to get invested in his work. Whether that reason is the WWE title or whether it’s the end of an epic grudge, Cena always makes the payoff count. This truly is the biggest match of his career, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Ergo, he’ll work his socks off on Sunday night.

Furthermore, Rock’s rabble-raising, brawling style complements Cena’s extremely well: both men like strike hard and fast, with plentiful offence and high-impact moves. Science, submissions and ‘long games’ aren’t what either man is famous for, and definitely aren’t what the fans are paying to see. Rock has worked this style of match extremely well with Stone Cold in the past, and we’ll probably see a few nods to Rock’s previous ‘Mania main events as the match unfolds. The closest Cena will have come to someone matching Rock’s style is his match two years ago against Batista, and that was a minor classic.

In short, a worthy main event. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.
Winner
: John Cena. This match is about passing the torch, and if the end is booked correctly, both guys will emerge looking like stars. Dwayne Johnson doesn’t want to win: all he wants to do is entertain. The victory will be Cena’s, but the standing ovation will be The Rock’s.

Chris Sanders: Gotta say that I’m kinda stoked for this match…or at least for them to get on with it. I do think that whoever wins this match will more than likely face Brock Lesnar at WM29 (just a guess). That being said, I’ve never seen WWE cater more to one man than Rock over the past year and I don’t think it ends here.
Winner
: The Rock

Steven Gepp: Okay, I’m already over this one. You have to remember, the Rock was a big star when I was in my 20s/30s. My fandom was based on Steamboat and Savage, and so-called Attitude Era was just a mess to my mind. For every cool moment people want to point out, there were more than a dozen not-cool moments. Puerile dick jokes did not a humourous show make, and T’n’A that was much better to watch elsewhere did not a wrestling show improve. To me, that was ‘Attitude’. Wrestling took a backseat to external crap. So while the Rock is probably my favourite wrestler from that era, it’s like saying “my favourite American congressman” because there are so few good ones to choose from. As for Mr Cena, his by-the-numbers matches have bored me for a long time. If they let him wrestle like he did back in OVW, it could be good, but he is just dull. And the promos have been lacklustre. Why are people saying they’re good? That’s right – that congressman analogy. There’s so few good ones that one that actually sounds better than most is seen as great. Look, I expect the match to deliver, and I expect it to deliver because the crowd will make it, but I don’t expect a 5-star classic. I just hope I’m entertained.
Winner
: Cena

Rhett Davis: I’m just ready to see this underway. I won’t even lie, after such a terrible WrestleMania last year, I am willingly suspending my disbelief a ton this year. This match in particular is really making me anxious for this Sunday. On one side, we have The Rock who is in his hometown and can be a bit egocentric at times. But on the other hand, we have John Cena who is the top guy in WWE and Rock knows it. I see John Cena going over The Rock as Rock went over Hogan ten years ago. The crowd should be going insane for this one. I’m just ready to see the fight.
Winner
: John Cena

M.C. Brown: There should be a straight up winner here and I believe a rematch will be set the next day. Makes me believe John Cena will cheat to win since Rock would have no good reason to return unless Cena does something to insure his victory.
Winner(by hook or by crook)
: John Cena

Kue: So, we’re finally here. One year and an intense cooling down of this feud later, we’re at this “once in a lifetime” match. Well, until next year at MSG at the rematch. There’s a reason why this match is in Miami. ‘E is counting on the heavy bias from the fans towards the Rock. I know, I’m beating the dead horse of Cena’s heel turn, but I think something logical can happen here. Cena doesn’t have to change character drastically. Just get frustrated enough to cheat to win. And that’s what needs to happen. In order for Cena to stay relevant after this match, his character needs to that push to cross that line. And the Miami crowd is exactly the push that he needs. But that probably won’t happen.
Winner
: John Cena

Mike Gojira: The whole point of this match is to give the fans an underdog to root for.  I expect that by the time this is all said and done, the audience will be cheering for Cena because of his never-say-die attitude.  Either that or they could shit on him the whole match.  No matter what happens, the crowd reaction is the true star.  I sort of feel bad for Rey Mundo after his last column, which screamed “My life is riding on The Rock winning!”  Sorry bud, but perhaps you may have bet on the wrong horse.
Winner
: John Cena

Ralph Hardin: Wait, this has to be THE Main Event, right? Or does the logistics of the Cell mean it has to go on last? Well, this should be the finale, and it should be phenomenal. These guys have cut some very personal and edgy promos on each other on the lead-up to the big match (a year in the making, you know?). Both guys are true professionals in the ring, and the crowd will definitely be a huge part of this match. Cena will likely get booed heavily by much of the Miami crowd, but he’ll have his supporters, too I’d imagine. Now, as for the match, there’s really no reason for Rock to win this. He’s Hollywood bound again eventually, probably sooner rather than later, and Cena is the Face of the WWE now and for the foreseeable future. Unless there are plans for an extended feud or something, I’d say Cena wins this clean, probably followed by a handshake from Rock to “pass the torch” or whatever. I guess Rocky could get the win, though, and finally push Cena over the edge toward a heel turn…nah.
Winner
: John Cena

CB: 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. 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’… JOHN CENA WINS. 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.
Winner: John Cena

CM Punk (c) vs Chris Jericho
WWE Championship

James Alsop: Sometimes amid all of the whining and pettiness, we wrestling fans forget just how lucky we are. Have we all forgotten that CM Punk is WWE Champion? And not just in name – in actions as well. Punk has been booked as the most dominant heavyweight champ since John Cena c.2005. He’s won everything – and what he’s lost, we’ve all been allowed to forget. Remember him losing to HHH last Summer? Me neither. The guy has been kept consistently interesting, too. He is a Grand Slam champion. He has a compelling character. He wins in varied, interesting ways – pinfall, submission, flash wins and surprise kicks to the head – and as far as I can recall, the only men in the company with more recognised signature moves than Punk are Sheamus and Undertaker. The IWC’s favourite wrestler is currently being promoted as The Best in the World. How amazing is that?

In fact, the only man who can match that level of love among wrestling’s hardcore fan-base is Chris Jericho. Who is facing Punk. At Wrestlemania. For the freakin’ WWE Championship and title of Best in the World. How lucky are we? Very, I’d say.
Winner: Jericho. Jericho as champion is the natural progression of a story which has only just started.

Chris Sanders: I’m sure this doesn’t need to be said but match of the night. I’m more looking forward to this than Rock and Cena, to be honest. I keep going back and forth on whether WWE would want Punk to continue his reign or have Jericho win to continue the feud. Jericho is being advertised as still being around post Mania and booked for matches against Punk, so who knows. Punk hasn’t really gotten his retaliation so I’m gonna go with that angle.
Winner
: CM Punk

Steven Gepp: I was fine with this being about the best in the world, but then the whole ‘Punk’s family are screw-ups’ thing came into it and I graoned. Then I stopped. Remember Savage v Flair, WM8? That was going along swimmingly until the whole ‘she was mine before she was yours’ storyline involving Elizabeth came in to play. Many groaned about that, but it was revealed to be Flair mind-games and still resulted in an absolutely awesome match. Fast forward 20 years (yes, 20 years!), and we have the same thing with, I am really hoping, the same result: an awesome match.
Winner
: Punk

Rhett Davis: This match will probably be the match of the night and rightfully so. Both of these men love to perform, and neither will stand for this match to be a dud. I’m probably most anticipating these three main events, but this one will most likely be the most technically fun to watch. Rock/Cena brings the wonder, Taker/HHH brings the brutality, and this will bring the mat base technical wrestling. Punk will most likely win this match as this match probably wouldn’t be happening unless it was to put over Punk.
Winner (and STILL WWE Champion)
: CM Punk

M.C. Brown: If the feud continues, what’s the point if CM Punk just beats Jericho clean? Sure he can kick him in the nuts and get a rematch, but this match is too predictable otherwise.
Winner(and new Champion)
: Chris Jericho

Kue: Let’s face it. Since Cena, Punk has not had a substantial victory to really put him over as the new face of the company. This is his chance. Jericho is the rival he’s needed. The taunting promos from Jericho about Punk’s family was understandable, as it was a way to get the crowd emotionally invested in the feud. It also did one more very important thing: it made Punk seem like he’s at a disadvantage. And with him seemingly fighting out from under, it will make his victory that much more poignant. Should be a great match, either way.
Winner (and STILL Champion)
: CM Punk

Mike Gojira: I hope this match gets anywhere from 30-40 minutes on the card.  These two are kings of the near-falls and their story is simple: proving who’s the best in the world.  That should be all the reason they need to put on the match of the night.
Winner
: CM Punk

Ralph Hardin: I’m just doing these in the order they were listed on the post for the roundtable, but it’s entirely possible that the WWE Title match (you know, the most prestigious title in the business) will be on the card THIRD FROM THE TOP! Well, it should at least be an awesome match. The build for this did get a little heavy-handed over the last few weeks. I was perfectly okay with the “I’m the best wrestler in the world/No, I am” idea they started with. So, Punk has been champ for a while, and I’m already calling for the other champ to retain, but Jericho doesn’t need another title run necessarily. But Y2J really hasn’t made much of an impact since his return. Also, giving Jericho the belt could lead to a program with Cena, and I like that idea. Those two have a good deal of history going back to Cena’s debut as a generic babyface. Maybe then Punk and Bryan could tear it up over the WHC? I don’t know. It’s hard to call, but I’m going with…
Winner: Chris Jericho

CB: 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

Closing Statements

James Alsop: Assuming that WrestleMania goes as planned and that Randy vs Kane doesn’t go lastq, I’d like to go out on a limb here and say that I think this could be the top-to-bottom best ‘Mania in many, many years. Undertaker vs Triple H will steal the show, but Cena vs The Rock will set the tempo in the WWE for years to come. The best thing is, regardless who any of the winners in the four main events are, I can’t see a downside. Every road leads to a whole world of interesting possibilities. Some have said that WWE has backed itself into a corner this year – I beg to differ. As far as I can see, the future is bright, unpredictable, and begins this Sunday. See you all on the other side!

Chris Sanders: I must admit that I have very high hopes for this year after the colossal ‘wamp wamp’ that was WM27. Although, aside from the matches, expect wacky April Fool’s Day backstage segments…most likely involved Hornswaggle, Natalya farts, or William Regal tell a story about his conjoined daughters in his basement (one of those would be amazing, take a guess). We’ve got rappers playing in rock and cena and (after I rewatched the last outdoor Mania) expect plenty of fireworks. Lets have some fun

Steven Gepp: Looking on this after writing it up, 2 matches look like must-sees – Sheamus/Bryan and Jericho/Punk – 2 matches look like potentially okay – Rock/Cena and Show/Rhodes – 1 match looks like no matter what people say they are going to be abused, but could well be intriguing – Taker/HHH – and the rest look like being crap – chicks, teams, Kane/Orton and tag titles. So, about on average for recent Wrestlemanias. My biggest issue is that I can see these matches taking a grand total of 2 hrs, 5 minutes of match time, leaving 1 hr 55 of extraneous crap. A long night. It’s Wrestlemania, so it’s going to be a spectacle, but I have a feeling it’s going to be an average show.

Rhett Davis: After last year’s dreadful show, this WrestleMania looks to be a complete opposite. I was almost ready to give up on the product last year after Mania. This year looks like it could possibly be the best card of all time! Most of my picks were on whims and just because there need to be some shocks and the ones I chose weren’t really devastating so we’ll see how it goes this Sunday. Oh and Rey Mundo…. #CenaNation #ToothFairy.

M.C. Brown: I am sure my heel heavy picks won’t go down like this, but I just think it’s too predictable to go with Punk and Sheamus. If Punk and Bryan both were to win by some chance, then for sure I think Big Show would win the Intercontinental Title. I believe one title will change hands. With Rock vs. Brock tease, I clearly think that’s a ruse. The interference needs to be in the Hell in the Cell match. No matter who or how, Triple H will have Taker pinned. HBK won’t make the count though. That should be the automatic dramatic near fall. Could it be a reason to bring back HBK vs. Triple H for next year for a final farewell match to them both? Never say Never. Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar next year. I’m calling it.

Mike Gojira: Last year’s Wrestlemania held so much promise but was dogged down by too much Rock (if you can believe such a thing is possible).  This year we have four solid main events and an “okay” undercard.  It’s practically a guarantee that this year’s event will trump last year’s in every way possible.  What’s not to love?  Enjoy the show, folks.

Ralph Hardin: Is that the whole card? This show is four hours long, right? No tag title match? No Funkasaurus squash? Hey, why not have Brodus Clay single-handedly destroy Primo & Epico to go ahead and put the tag-titles out of their misery? Surely there will be some kind of filler, unless a few of these matches are going 45 minutes or something. It does look to be a very good show, and none of the winners seem exceptionally obvious (even the Streak at least on paper looks to be in jeopardy). All in all, a pretty stacked card, and the kids and I will be watching it all unfold. As far as my predictions, I try to keep possible long-term storyline ideas in mind when making my picks, which is probably pointless, because I’m not sure the WWE writers do. Enjoy the show!

CB: This will be one of the best WrestleMania shows … ever. Last year was pathetic to say the least, and with all of the hype for Rock-Cena and three other awesome main events to supplement the show-closer, there is no way WrestleMania 28 won’t deliver SOMETHING for everyone. I really have an optimistic feeling this year, and so I say let’s just enjoy the ride and I’ll WE’LL see you on the flip-side!

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