The Stomping Ground: The ‘Mania Midcard (The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback)

I need to apologize for not recapping last Friday’s edition of Smackdown. You see, I was all set to go on Sunday when I just started to feel kind of “meh.” Smackdown (and the general build to Wrestlemania) has been a bit droll as of late and a chore to recap every week. I briefly considered just dropping the recap of Smackdown altogether, but I know that some of you have come to appreciate my recapping style and so I’ve decided to continue. Besides, the only other mention of Smackdown comes in the form of Wednesday morning spoilers here at the Pulse. For the foreseeable future, I plan on recapping the show in a “Ten Thoughts” style, which will alleviate the pain of having to narrate the matches and segments while still maintaining my sense of humor.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the sudden advancement of the Wrestlemania midcard the WWE pulled out of its ass Monday night. What follows are my expectations for the matches advertised and/or rumored to occur on April 7th. With this company these days, you know they often switch gears at a moment’s notice.

Ryback vs Mark Henry
I really don’t mind this match, to be honest. It’s not that Ryback is really impressing me or anything; it has more to do with the traditional, intense brawl between hosses that gets Vince’s grapefruits ripening. I expect a few “Holy shit!” moments here with a big victory for the once-dominating Ryback.
Expections: 3/10

Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs The Shield
If The Shield’s last couple of matches are any indication, this should be a fun and chaotic six-man tag. I’d love to see The Shield go over again here, just to really make them appear dominant. The trio is in a weird situation at this point, as they have been made to look nearly invincible for months and a loss at any time could stall their push. Ryback was put in a similar situation when he met CM Punk at Hell in a Cell and hasn’t really recovered. I say let Ryback be the first to derail The Shield, as he hasn’t actually gotten revenge on them as of yet.
Expectations: 6/10

Despite losing dubiously to Antonio Cesaro in a 2-out-of-3 falls match a few weeks ago, there’s been no mention of Miz attempting to earn another shot at the United States Champion. Now he seems embroiled in a mini-feud with Wade Barrett over movie roles (?!). It seems rather obvious that the WWE is frustrated at his floundering as a babyface (which I more-or-less covered here) and is throwing him at every available heel to see if the crowd will get behind him. With two weeks left before the Showcase of the Immortals, it looks like he’ll be going after the Intercontinental Championship. That’s fine by me, because it will free up Cesaro for better things. Speaking of which…where the fuck has Antonio disappeared to?
Expectations: 4/10

Diva Match?
I thought they were going with Kaitlyn vs Layla (YAWN.) but then word spread of a rumored 10-Diva tag team match. However, it now appears that THAT match has been scrapped since the former Divas contacted for the PPV didn’t get what they wanted through contract negotiations. Regardless, expect some Diva snoozefest.
Expectations: 1/10

Rumored: Chris Jericho vs Fandango
So we get weeks of promos for a guy who STILL refuses to wrestle until you get his name right? Why should I care about a possible match with Y2J? I mean, I want to see Fandango get his ass beat like everyone else, but HE HASN’T EVEN HAD A MATCH YET. Debuting him at ‘Mania or even a week before the show is stupid, and if it’s true that McMahon has already eighty-sixed the gimmick, this won’t do anybody any favors.
Expectations: 3/10

WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston

Well that tag team division sure worked out swell, right? Langston, like Fandango, hasn’t wrestled on live TV yet and now we’re supposed to just accept the fact that he and Dolph are a tag team? Luckily, we have Ziggler and Bryan to save this match. I can see this opening the show, with Ziggler FINALLY cashing in after the World Heavyweight Championship bout.
Expectations: 6/10

Include the four main events and you have a 10-match card at Wrestlemania XXIX. Unfortunately not much on the midcard seems worthwhile, other than the two tag matches. I’ll be there no matter what, and I’ve often discovered that being at a live PPV exceeds one’s expectations. Hopefully that holds true in two weeks’ time.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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