WrestleMania 29 is shaping up to be a blockbuster event.
I know it's eight months away, and WWE has at least six pay-per-view events before it, but hear me out.
Today, we live in a big-name, part-time environment. What I mean by that is that the biggest draws in WWE – like Brock Lesnar, The Rock, etc. – appear sporadically. One place you can almost guarantee they will appear is at WrestleMania, the biggest event of the year.
The Rock appeared at the WrestleMania 29 press conference in February and confirmed that he would be a part of the festivities. The release date of his movie "GI Joe" has been pushed back to March 2013, so there is a chance that publicity for that film may impede him from participating, but I expect “The Great One” to be at MetLife Stadium on April 7.
The Undertaker seems to be on a one-match-per-year schedule, with that match happening at WrestleMania, where he is 20-0. WrestleMania has become synonymous with 'Taker's streak. I can't speak for The Dead Man, but the analyst in me sees one or two more matches for the Undertaker at 'Mania, including WrestleMania 29.
There have been several reports concerning Brock Lesnar's contract with WWE and how many dates he has, etc. While we may not know for sure, you can confidently guess that “The Next Big Thing” will appear at WrestleMania, as that was likely part of the negotiations.
Floyd Mayweather announced that he will be at WrestleMania 29. In fact, the quote is, "I'm about to go back to the WWE. Yes. WrestleMania, yes. WrestleMania, I'll be back." It might be a cryptic quote, but it's not out of the realm of possibility to deduce that “Money” means in a physical capacity – i.e. in a match.
Triple H is mulling over retirement on WWE TV right now, but I'm not sure how many in the WWE Universe believe him. I certainly don't, and I see at least one more match for The Game -- certainly one at WrestleMania.
Chris Jericho is a wild card in this situation. Here's Fozzy's schedule for February and March:
Feb 23, 2013
Feb 24, 2013
Mar 01, 2013
Mar 02, 2013
Mar 04, 2013
This is by no means exhaustive, and could leave “Y2J” open for a WrestleMania match. However, Fozzy dates could fill up, and Jericho has mentioned in the past that he prefers to return to WWE “full time” during his months-long stints (participating in as many live events, TV shows and PPVs as possible). Is it too soon for Jericho to return to make another big impact like his last WWE run? Maybe. Does he care to return and is WWE out of his system for the foreseeable future? Likely. He has mentioned that Fozzy is his first desire these days and nobody can blame him. His latest WWE run, at least in my opinion, was selfless and successful.
There may be surprises yet to come, similar to WrestleMania 28, which saw Maria Menounos, Machine Gun Kelly, Flo Rida and others all involved in some capacity. I haven't even mentioned the outside chance that Stone Cold Steve Austin be a part of WrestleMania 29. Never say never.
Sprinkle in the top regularly appearing names – John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio – and all of a sudden fantasy bookers everywhere are geeking out.
Aside from the talent involved, I think one key factor will make this WrestleMania more monumental than in previous years – it's in New York/New Jersey.
With the WWE Hall of Fame likely at Madison Square Garden, and WrestleMania just on the NY/NJ border, that's over 16 million people locally at the doorstep of WrestleMania this year. Factor in the amount of people that travel for the “Granddaddy Of Them All” and that's an even more substantial number. Most of all, the New York area will always have a soft spot for WWE. MSG has been home to three WrestleManias (1, 10, 20). WrestleManias 2, 4, 5, 11 were all held in the area, but not since 20 have we seen the Showcase of the Immortals near the state, and never in a stadium setting. This might be the opportunity for WWE to create the biggest event of all time, in their proverbial backyard.
All factors considered, prepare for a monumental event -- and I'm saying this well in advance of the “Road to WrestleMania.” I just wonder what the weather will be like on that day?
Arda Ocal is an on-air personality with theScore Television Network. Follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube playlist, featuring interviews with WWE Superstars past and present, most recently Booker T, Tyler Reks and Bret “Hitman” Hart.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun