The professional wrestling fan in me is begging to write this post.
WrestleMania XXVI is just a couple of days away, and the Granddaddy of Them All is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ones in recent memory. While I’m not a big fan of WWE’s brand of “sports entertainment” (I’m more inclined towards puroresu and independent wrestling), I always look out for WrestleMania. It is, after all, the biggest event for every wrestling fan out there.
The build-up to WrestleMania was interesting, although a ten-match card isn’t exactly something I’m happy with. Considering how WWE is marketing its product more along the lines of “sports entertainment” than actual wrestling, this is quite expected.
(A few things got me excited about the Hall of Fame this year, though: Antonio Inoki’s induction is a much welcome one, and Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon is an induction long overdue.)
I know the matches are booked and that betting on professional wrestling is like betting on the ending of soap operas, but hey, it’s WrestleMania. Anyway, without further ado, here are my predictions for WrestleMania XXVI.
Here we go!
10-Diva Tag Team Match
Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, and Beth Phoenix versus Michelle McCool, Layla El, Maryse Oullet, Alicia Fox, and Vickie Guerrero
I don’t like Divas matches in the WWE (it’s a shame that Mickie, Gail, and Beth are very good wrestlers), but I’m expecting a Santino Marella run-in. That said, I’m not looking forward to this match at all. Mickie’s team will win this match.
Rey Mysterio versus CM Punk
I’m liking CM Punk’s new “savior” heel persona. The big bind here is that I don’t think Rey’s getting much of a push from the WWE (this is why I want that Cruiserweight title back). The stipulation is that if Rey loses, he must join the Straight Edge Society, which reminds me a lot of the concept of Raven’s Flock back in WCW. Rey will lose this match, and the feud between Rey and Punk will continue until the next few PPV’s, where Rey will attempt to win his freedom from the S.E.S.
Triple Threat Match
Randy Orton versus Ted DiBiase versus Cody Rhodes
I’m not exactly excited about this (for all his talent, Orton has a very mean… headlock), but I’m going out on a limb and say that Ted DiBiase is going to win this one. It’s capitalizing on his role in The Marine 2, the induction of his father into the Hall of Fame, and that I see this third-generation WWE Superstar being in title contention in the very near future. I’m interested to see how a triple threat match will turn out to be technical, but we’ll never know until we see it for ourselves.
Triple H versus Sheamus
WrestleMania is Triple H’s show, and I’m seeing him winning this physical match. I used to be an unbeliever in Sheamus’ skill and ability to carry the company, but so far I’m impressed with the Celtic Warrior’s skills. Like I said, this match is going to be very physical with a lot of near-falls, but after a solid performance by Sheamus, HHH is going to win this one. It will also be a pretty good way to establish Sheamus’ main-event experience.
Tag Team Match (Unified WWE Tag Team Championship)
Big Show and The Miz versus R-Truth and John Morrison
I have the same sentiments for this as the Divas match (WWE isn’t paying enough attention to its tag team division, which is a shame) but I’m a big fan of Morrison’s in-ring style. Truth has been in the game for quite a while and knows how it is to hold titles, so I’m betting on Truth and the Shaman of Sexy to get this one. That way, Miz is freed up to a feud with Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson – perhaps my favorite wrestler right now) all the way to the end of WWE NXT, and force a showdown between Bryan and Miz for the US Title. Better yet, Show can go back to main-eventing PPVs and be in the hunt for either the WWE title or the World Heavyweight Championship.
No Holds Barred Match
Bret Hart versus Vince McMahon
Over a decade in the making, and it’s Bret vs. Vince. It’s No-DQ, so I’m seeing Hart Foundation interference here. I want to visualize the match in terms of the Montreal Screwjob, but either way, Bret Hart wins. Hart is probably in no condition to wrestle, so I don’t expect steel chairs and such coming into the match (although you’ll never know). There wouldn’t be blood in this either, but 12 years of bad blood between Hart and Mr. McMahon could finally culminate in a symbolic, memorable match, with Hart finally exacting his revenge on the boss.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian versus Dolph Ziggler versus Kane versus Shelton Benjamin versus Jack Swagger versus Montel Vontavious Porter versus Matt Hardy versus Evan Bourne versus Drew McIntyre versus Kofi Kingston
MiTB is one of my favorite matches, and this one is a hard call. My heart says Shelton, my spirit says Evan, my mind says Kofi, but either way, this is going to be one hell of a great match (Evan Bourne will do an insane Shooting Star Press of a ladder this year, trust me on that). What would have made this more interesting is if Drew’s Intercontinental Title was on the line instead of a 1-year championship contract (which contradicts the whole purpose of the Royal Rumble, but that’s just me) but expect some brutal ladder action in this match. Since I have to choose, the winner of this match will be Evan Bourne (I still find it hard to write that name down since I’m more familiar with him as Matt Sydal).
Singles Match (Career vs. Streak)
Shawn Michaels versus The Undertaker
Okay, this is hard. I want to see the streak broken, but another Michaels-Taker WrestleMania encounter is a place where you wouldn’t see it broken. Undertaker is going to win this match, but I cannot help but think of the possibilities of HBK breaking the streak and not retire. The least I want this to go is to have a swerve (like, say, DQ Michaels such that Taker wins, like a HHH run-in) but that’s the best way I can see Undertaker winning. I know it’s a blotch on the record, but I stand my ground that last year’s Michaels-Taker match was the best ever. You never know what’s going to happen, though, so this should headline WrestleMania this year.
Singles Match (WWE Championship)
Batista versus John Cena
I hate them both, but Cena winning the title is a long-shot if they want to prolong the feud between The Animal and The Doctor of Thuganomics. I’m predicting Batista will win this one (with a few knocked-out referees and a title belt in the picture). I’m interested in Cena’s ring entrance for this year, though.
Singles Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Chris Jericho versus Edge
This smacks a lot of drama, but the obvious way to go here would be for Edge to win the title and finally exact his revenge on Jericho. Jericho gets Speared and Edge gets the three-count, to an emotional fireworks display that Edge finally got the big one at the Grandest Stage of Them All. The match itself at WrestleMania will put a whole new spin on the feud over the World Heavyweight Championship, since there will be a few more grudge matches in the following PPVs where Jericho turns it personal. Regardless of the drama, though, this match will be a great display of wrestling, and is something that you shouldn’t miss.
There you have it, my predictions for this year’s WrestleMania. Drop me a line if you disagree or agree, but I can tell you this: while previous WrestleManias have been kind of lackluster, this is one to watch out for. With a lot of epic stories on the road to WrestleMania XXVII, the end of the road may very well be just the beginning.