Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz
WINNER: And NEW Intercontinental Champion, the Miz
Analysis: I like both of these guys, but Barrett's Intercontinental Championship reign has been incredibly underwhelming. That, and Miz actually has a WrestleMania streak of his own going. He's 3-0, including victories in tag team matches at WrestleMania's 26 and 28, and of course his successful defense of the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 27 against John Cena. Not that it means anything, but WWE might want to keep that going for a bit longer, just to see if they could use for future storylines. Barrett can always win the belt back next month at Extreme Rules.
Mixed tag team match
Brodus Clay, Tensai, Cameron and Naomi vs. Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Nikki Bella and Brie Bella
WINNERS: Brodus Clay, Tensai, Cameron and Naomi
Analysis: This will break up the big matches and allow everyone to take a bathroom break. I love the Rhodes Scholars, but really, this is just a match to get a lot of individuals on the card and the preshow. It doesn't matter and no one is going to remember it the next day. Hopefully, the Rhodes Scholars -- and Sandow in particular -- have a funny promo before the match starts that will be the highlight of the whole thing. You're Welcome.
Tag Team Championship
Kane and Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston w/ AJ Lee
WINNERS: And STILL Tag Team Champions, Kane and Daniel Bryan
Analysis: The angle here is this will be all about the kiss of death that is AJ Lee in the corner at WrestleMania. In fact, I could see this turn into a quick squash, a la the Sheamus-Daniel Bryan match a year ago. It could also lead to some dissension between Ziggler, AJ and Big E. Bottom line, the babyfaces win here in WrestleMania's opening match.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
WINNER: Chris Jericho
Analysis: This will likely be Fandango's debut match. And while I think tradition would tell you that you don't job a guy in his debut match, I think WWE will buck conventional thinking here because the Fandango character isn't necessarily supposed to be good, he's supposed to make you angry. This could also be a quick one, but I do think Jericho wins to get a rare WrestleMania victory for him (he's 4-7 in 10 WrestleManias, including a victory and a loss in the 2-out-of-3 falls Triple Threat match for the European and Intercontinental Championships at his WrestleMania debut in 2000, and two Money in the Bank losses at 21 and 24. He has a 2-4 record in singles matches, and won a Legends gauntlet match at WrestleMania 25). Fandango will exact revenge on Y2J in the coming weeks and ultimately get over in the feud.
Six-man Tag Team match
Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show vs. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
WINNERS: The Shield
Analysis: Eventually, the Shield are going to get their comeuppance. I don't think it's here. Orton, Sheamus and Big Show are all what I would consider secondary stars at this point. They are all as over as they are going to get. Besides, none of them have a ton of long-term history with the Shield (unlike Ryback, and WWE managed to work that into the storyline originally, before having on-screen authority figures change his WrestleMania match). It would be an awesome win for the Shield, and set them up for some big things -- including title matches -- down the road.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Analysis: Again, this is a pretty obvious one. Since Ryback debuted shortly after WrestleMania last year, it's been clear WWE is building him up to be a dominant force. I'm not sure how much Mark Henry has left in the tank, and this is a good showcase match for him to put over the newest monster, Ryback, and nothing more. It should be a very enjoyable, albeit predictable, hoss fight.
World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter
WINNER: And STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: Obviously, anyone who reads this blog knows I've been a big mark for Swagger. And while I wonder if his current Tea Party gimmick has legs, long-term, I do think he's more over as a heel than Del Rio is as a babyface. With that said, when this angle started, it was designed as a vehicle to put over Del Rio as a hero to the Hispanic audience. I think Del Rio gets his big win here, with an assist from Ricardo, but ...
Money in the Bank cash-in
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
WINNER: And NEW World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: During Del Rio's victory celebration, Swagger attacks him and injures his ankle with the Patriot Lock, leaving him prone for former tag team partner Dolph Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and leave as World Champion. And all will be right in the Ziggler-AJ-Big E camp, despite the dissension teased earlier.
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
WINNER: The Undertaker
Analysis: Much like Cena vs. the Rock, I can't see any way in which the Undertaker's Streak dies at WrestleMania. At least not this year and not to CM Punk. And especially not after they've used the real life tragedy of Paul Bearer's death to get heat for this angle. Having Undertaker fail to avenge Punk's disrespect shown toward Bearer and his urn would be poor storytelling, in my opinion. Some are concerned that another high-profile loss for Punk will hurt him, but if you believe the rumors, he'll be taking some time off to heal up after WrestleMania. Having the Undertaker destroy him is a good way to write him off TV. When he returns, he can reprise his devious heel role, or he could return as babyface, having seen the error of his ways. Bottom line, Punk needs to steal the show to prove he really is the best in the world, much in the way Shawn Michaels and Triple H have the last few years with the Dead Man.
No Holds Barred Career Threatening Match
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Triple H
WINNER: Triple H
Analysis: Believe it or not, this one was hard for me to pick. Originally, I thought the "if Triple H loses, his career is over," was a way to give Trips a final swan song in the biggest media/wrestling market in the world. It would also keep Brock Lesnar looking strong for his next big match. But, honestly, I don't think Lesnar needs to win to look strong, especially with the No Holds Barred stipulation. Triple H can get plenty of help from his friends to defeat Lesnar, who will still likely beat the tar out of the Game most of the match and look like a bad *** in the process. It helps to complete the narrative of Triple H avenging his family. Lesnar can be built back up quickly before he wrestles again.
The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
WINNER: And NEW WWE Champion, John Cena
Analysis: This one can't go any other way, right? Of course, I thought the same thing a year ago. At that point, no one realized that the Rock had agreed to work WrestleMania the following year and would face again face John Cena. The bigger question here is how far will John Cena go to win the WWE Championship: ie, will he turn heel a la Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 17. I think Cena finally letting on this past week on the Raw that the fans got to him will play into the story. With Rock slated to work Extreme Rules in May, I think we'll see Cena push the envelope and do something heelish to defeat the Rock at WrestleMania even if there isn't a true turn. Then we'll have a month leading up to the rematch where Cena either goes all the way as a bad guy or simply defeats the Rock again and they finally shake hands.