Advertisement

Chair Shots: WWE WrestleMania XXX preview and predictions

WrestleMania XXX is finally here, and there is a lot of intrigue surrounding this year's card, which has the potential to deliver the best overall in-ring product at a WrestleMania in years.

There is also plenty of intrigue over whether the WWE Network launched in February will have any problems with the number of people expected to stream the event. Hopefully, there are no issues, as I not only plan to watch the event on WWE Network, but major glitches could really hurt the long-term success of the network and the company.

Advertisement

With that in mind, here is a look at the eight announced matches for Sunday's WrestleMania XXX, some possible booking scenarios and my predicted outcomes. Enjoy, and make sure to

Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Usos (c) vs. Real Americans vs. Rybaxel vs. Los Matadores

Despite this ending up on the pre-show, I'm disappointed that Cody Rhodes and Goldust weren't added to this match and are instead in the battle royal, where it seems unlikely they'll be major contributors. I would've rather seen them than Rybaxel in this match (especially since Ryback and Curtis Axel were initially entered into the battle royal) and I really don't ever need to see Los Matadores and the vertically challenged individual in the bull costume. And while I like the Usos, it seems like they haven't exactly been featured prominently on WWE television lately.

For that matter it's a shame The Real Americans are stuck on the kick-off show too. Cesaro looked like he was on his way to a break-out moment a few weeks ago leading up to Elimination Chamber, and Zeb Colter's duo destined for a breakup. Here's hoping that instead, they win the titles on Sunday. And that they get a promo spot on the main show with Hulk Hogan, what with him being a "Real American" and all, according to his theme music.

WINNERS: And NEW WWE Tag Team Champions, Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger, the Real Americans

Andre the Giant Memorial 30-man Battle Royal

In what is essentially a way to get several members of the roster with nothing else to do on the show, the 30-man battle royal in honor of the Eighth Wonder of the World doesn't really have a participant who could greatly benefit from winning, unless that participant has yet to be announced. Of the announced participants, my top five favorites are: Big Show, Sheamus, Big E, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz.

Show has never really gotten his WrestleMania moment, and because of comparisons to Andre in the past, that's a reason to give him a win. However, I think his role will be more suited to help put over the eventual winner.

Sheamus is a perennial favorite of WWE management and would be a fine choice as well, although if he does win, I think this match should be a vehicle for a heel turn, as he's done about as much as he can as a babyface.

Big E is already the IC champion, but if he's being positioned to move up the card, a win here would go a long way. Instead, I suspect his budding feud with Alberto Del Rio will be furthered here.

Dolph Ziggler? He's a dark horse, but WWE seems to be getting behind him again and he'll be an important part of the upper mid-card post WrestleMania when the part-timers are gone.

Not announced yet, but possibly the odds-on-favorite is Alexander Rusev. He's been getting a lot of TV time for not wrestling any matches yet (sans a short appearance in the Royal Rumble) and if he's going to get a mega-push out of the gate, this is how you start it.

However, my pick to keep his WrestleMania undefeated streak alive is The Miz (kind of -- he and John Morrison lost in a pre-show match back at WrestleMania 25). After months of being an ambiguous tweener, Miz seems to have gone full heel lately, and has a string of losses heading into WrestleMania. A victory here could set him up as a potential title contender for a long-time rival in the coming months.

WINNER: The Miz

Six-man tag team match: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) vs. Kane and the New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn)

How long has it been rumored that The Shield is going to break-up? Instead, they turned babyface. Now, the rumor is that it's being done to start the Roman Reigns singles push with Ambrose and Rollins as heels. I think there is money to be made by keeping the Shield together a bit longer as a babyface trio. No one is dying to see this group broken up. So don't. Sell some t-shirts the next three months or so, then have one of them win the Money in the Bank briefcase (Reigns?) and get the jealousy angle going again.

Kane and the Outlaws? They're using their drawing power from the Attitude Era days (believe me, it still exists) to get people to pay attention and they'll put the Shield over.

WINNERS: The Shield

Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational: AJ Lee (c) vs. Natalya, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Naomi, Cameron, Layla, Summer Rae, Eva Marie, Rosa Mendes, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Emma and Tamina

With the rules of this match -- one fall to a finish -- announced, all signs seem to be pointing toward AJ dropping the title at WrestleMania. The obvious choice, of course, would be to put the belt on Tamina.

Some think one of the Total Divas will win the strap, giving some closure to the second season, which is expected to wrap at WrestleMania.

Instead, I think AJ survives against all odds -- maybe even with an assist from Tamina, inadvertent or purposeful -- and gets a much deserved WrestleMania moment after carrying the division for the past year. A new challenger should emerge on Raw the next night, possibly turning the Paige on the NXT chapter in the Divas division (hint, hint).

WINNER: And STILL Divas Champion, AJ Lee

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

When it was first rumored, I didn't have a whole lot of interest in this match. But the writers have done a fabulous job with it, creating this angle seemingly out of thin air that the Wyatt Family wants to tear down Cena's legacy. And while he doesn't get enough credit for his work on the stick, it's actually Cena's promos in reaction to Wyatt that have made this special.

My biggest problem with the Bray Wyatt character was that his promos, while compelling because of his charismatic delivery and word choice, didn't really make a lot of sense. Cena explaining that, yeah, they don't really make sense, but that's why he's so scary, kind of flipped a switch for me. Suddenly, Wyatt did have a motive. To borrow a line from Alfred the Butler in the Dark Knight -- some people just want to watch the world burn. Wyatt is the charismatic Joker trying to tear down Cena.

This should be a fun, physical encounter, but one that ends the way most John Cena WrestleMania matches do. That's OK, though, because this feud is long from over after Sunday.

WINNER: John Cena

The Streak: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman

Does it get any easier when doing pro wrestling predictions than picking the Undertaker to win his match and continue the Streak at WrestleMania each year?

Still, once the bell rings, expect this to be a brutal and fantastic physical encounter between these two. Taker had the upper hand in all of his run-ins with Lesnar and Heyman over the past month since the match was made official until Raw from Washington, D.C., where Brock F-5'd the Undertaker, gaining the momentum heading into the pay-per-view to put the Streak in doubt.

The biggest question is will the Undertaker keep the so-called Streak within the Streak of having great WrestleMania matches alive? I think the answer is obvious.

WINNER: The Undertaker

Winner is added to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H

Besides the Undertaker's Streak, this match might be the easiest to call on the card, because there is no way Bryan isn't getting into the main event, right? Right? While I agree with the premise that Bryan will definitely be in the main event, I could see WWE trying to swerve us here and have this match end either in a no contest or even with a Triple H victory by nefarious means, only to have Bryan inserted into the main event anyway, making it a Fatal 4-Way, thanks either to WrestleMania host Hulk Hogan and maybe a bunch of other mega-stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin that WWE has contracted to appear at WrestleMania.

Depending on where this match is positioned on the card, however, that kind of booking could be detrimental to the rest of the event. For example, should Triple H defeat Bryan in the opening match, but it not announced Bryan will be a participant in the championship match until right before it begins, you'd have a cloud over the remainder of the show and would suspect the crowd would attempt to hijack it. While it would certainly keep the crowd hot, it would be a major disservice to the rest of the workers on the show.

Here's a better idea, Bryan defeats Triple H in the opening contest, then gets destroyed by the Game post-match. A backstage segment after the second match could see doctors telling Bryan he should go the hospital and not compete, only to have him declare he's competing come hell or high water. That way, it leaves the end in doubt, but you know Bryan is going to give it a go regardless.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan or Triple H

Daniel Bryan is going to be part of this match. The better question is whether Triple H will also join the fray. At the very least, he's going to be involved one way or the other. It will be interesting to see how good the match quality is here, as Batista has had a couple of stinkers with both Orton and Bryan on television over the past month. Hopefully, everyone brings their A-game for WrestleMania. The Triple Threat -- or potential Fatal 4-Way -- allows more latitude in having different combinations in the ring at the same time. And remember, Triple Threat (and Fatal 4-Way) matches are no disqualification, so expect a few "extreme" spots and the finish to this one to be a bit overbooked considering the build-up.

The bottom line, however is that there can only be one person who emerges from WrestleMania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Regardless of the story told in the match, the winner is obvious ...

Advertisement

WINNER: And NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Advertisement
Advertisement