The biggest night of the year for professional wrestling happens tonight at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Showcase of the Immortals. The Grandest Stage of Them All. The Grandaddy of Them All. WrestleMania XXVII is upon us.
"Finally, The Rock has come back to WrestleMania!"
Quite the unconventional opening for The Daily Zombies' Wrestling PPV Preview for the biggest Pay-per-View (PPV) of the year. But we just can't contain our excitement for the return of The Great One to WWE. We have mentioned earlier on how the plot development leading down the regular "Road to WrestleMania" pales in comparison to previous manias. As a pleasant surprise, the writers threw everything but the kitchen sink, and as a result, this is one WrestleMania we are truly excited about, once more.
For those unfamiliar with the mechanism of professional wrestling and thereby unable to recognize the importance of this event, you can just take this like a 'Season Finale' to a long-running season of your favorite TV series. This is where storylines are culminated, feuds are ended, careers are made, and legends are born.
Further illustrating my earlier point on how the writers upped their game for the biggest night of the year, we have a total of four noteworthy main event-level matches this years. Indicative of the great writing in the build-up during the latter part of "Road to WrestleMania", the card itself would not have made much impact if you were to look at it plainly more than a month ago. With quality booking and build-up, these match-ups have easily rise from potential mediocre encounters to true marquee events worthy of main-eventing "The Showcase of the Immortal".
Triple H takes on the unenviable challenge of ending The Undertaker's incredible 18-0 WrestleMania Streak, attempting to finish the job that his best friend, Shawn Michaels failed. John Cena challenges The Miz for the WWE Championship, while keeping an eye on The Rock for their slow-burning rivalry. The winner of the largest Royal Rumble ever, attempts to fulfil his self-prophesied destiny by taking the Rated R Superstar, Edge, for his World Heavyweight Championship. Longtime annoyance Michael Cole faces his colleague, the multiple-time World Champion (though none of these championships are sanctioned by WWE) Jerry "The King" Lawler.
2010 has been hard on WWE, with declining PPV buy-rates as a results of the transition period with the absence of veterans like The Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, who has officially retired since main eventing WrestleMania last year. Rising superstars like The Miz, Sheamus, John Morrison, Wade Barrett, and Daniel Bryan took on the challenge of elevating their status with vary levels of success. As a result, superstars of yesteryears return to lend a much-needed shine to the current stable. Front and center would be the pie-eating, elbow-raising Great One, The Rock, taking on the unprecedented role of hosting the WrestleMania. Meanwhile, The Rock's longtime nemesis and an icon of pro-wrestling himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin also returns as a special referee for the bout between Lawler and Cole. Popular retired Diva Trish Stratus also found her way back in the square ring, lending her expertise to this year's celebrity, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi from TV's Jersey Shore.
Doing away with the popular "Money In The Bank" match (as WWE has already introduced an entire PPV to the theme), there are also more rooms for other lower card matches including an eight-man tag featuring an assorted mix of midcard faces against the new heel faction, the absurdly-named "The Corre", and single grudge matches between Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes, as well as Randy Orton and CM Punk.
Who will have their hands raised up high on the "The Grandest Stage of Them All"? Allow us here at The Daily Zombies to look into our undead crystal ball for our preview and prediction.
In the meantime, as with our prediction for Royal Rumble, we have scored a 3/4 accuracy in our prediction for Elimination Chamber. Nevertheless, we wouldn't be gloating over that fact too much, having failed miserably in last year's WrestleMania when we betted on the HeartBreak Kid to end the Deadman's undefeated streak.
In addition, as per our WrestleMania tradition, apart from predicting the results in our preview, we will also be playing a mini-game of predicting the order of the matches. THe main event would be the first on our list, as opposed to our regular preview where we placed matches of more importance to the first.
With that out of the way, let's move along to the show.
WWE Champion The Miz vs. John Cena
It's a John Cena challenging The Miz for the WWE Championship, with no special referee, enforcer, or anybody at the corner of each Superstars (with the exception of Alex Riley at The Miz's corner). So why the hell is The Rock featured right smack in the center of the above picture?
Interestingly, third-party involvement has became a running motif of this year's show. From the Rock in John Cena vs. The Miz, Shawn Michaels in Triple H vs. The Undertaker, Christian in Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio, to Stone Cold Steve Austin in Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Michael Cole. The question remains: Will WWE play all the third-party swerve cards in the same show?
In the case for this match-up, the WWE Championship has never play a secondary role in a WrestleMania until now. We have not heard of any desire and drive in Cena to take the title, with him preoccupied in the war of words with The Rock. And in an interesting twist, here's a feud three years in the making.
Back in 2008, in an interview with The Sun, Cena openly derided The Rock over his loyalty to WWE, questioning his preference over the more lucrative movie career than the WWE.
And I quote (GDYC!):
"Associating with sports entertainment doesn't do much for his acting career. I get it.
"Just don't fuck me around and tell me that you love this.
"That's the only thing that gets me really pissed off."
Being the one and only Rock, the Great One, in his return speech as the special host of WrestleMania, retorted and mock both Cena and THe Miz in a promo like no other.
And in return, Cena has this to say. Or rather, rap.
The Rock respond, via satellite.
Then we have the "Yabba Dabba" Bitch delivering this disastrous response.
The Rock's dissing continues... and he's not above making a kid weep. Just the way we like it.
And then the final showdown at last week's Raw.
Cena attacking The Rock?! Are we at the verge of the much-anticipated heel turn of Cena? We hope we are. Anyway, at the WWE Fan Axxess event, The Rock was interviewed by by Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com.
"Yeah I'm gonna fuck him up." So much for Cena dropping the "F" bomb three years ago.
(Sidenote: Do check out the YouTube channel of Brian Fritz for filmed interview at the Fan Axxess event.
And here we are tonight at WrestleMania. Before we move on to the our prediction , we would like express our thoughts on the issue. For the record, the whole debacle with regard to who is the right party in the war of words between Cena and The Rock is simply a moot point. For starters, the essential character of The Rock resolves around the fact that he's a dick. And we loved it. A product exclusively available only in the good ol'Attitude era, The Rock talk trash to absolutely everybody, anybody, and we lapped it up for its sheer entertainment value. For the wrestling fans out there, try to think of a face who can easily transit into a heel and back with not much of a character change? The Rock remains his dick-ish self no matter he is playing the face role or the heel role. (Randy Orton could have excelled in his role that is reminiscent to Stone Cold Steve Austin's, had he not held back by the PGTV era. Head over to this interview conducted by PW Torch with former WWE creative team member (2009-2010) John Piermarini for more elaborate details on the restriction on the character of Orton.)
Cena, on the other hand, is the white-washed, kid-friendly product of the PGTV era, similar to the original incarnation of Hulk Hogan in the 80s, in an ironic twist.
What turned out to be particularly disappointing in the final face-off between The Rock, Cena and The Miz, was surprisingly The Rock (and I'm not talking about the semi-botched kip-up that he did). A master of rhetorical battles, the Great One could have put Cena in his place at ease. It was never about the rapping, the colored Tees, or the demographics. It was about Cena trash-talking about The Rock three years ago.
Okay, I have written so much about what transpired between The Rock and Cena that I am feeling real sorry for The Miz. Headlining WrestleMania as the WWE Champion for the first time, and all people kept talking about was the show's host?
If The Rock does not come out at the ringside before the match gone underway, all you can hear from the crowd would be the endless "Rocky" chants, if not "Cena sucks". THe match itself is heavily overshadowed by the animosity between the two icons, and would be serviceable at worst.
Predicted Winner: The Miz
With the prospect of a "John Cena vs. The Rock" looming ominously in the future, we can't help but felt that Cena, in his 7th straight Title match at WrestleMania, is bound to be distracted by the presence of the Great One and pay for that mistake.
As for the usual feel-good moment to close the show, how about The Rock landing The People's Elbow on Cena?
The only question remain would be whether The Rock would turn heel by giving The Miz an assist. If that is the case, then prepare for mixed response from the crowd as he lands The People's Elbow.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H (No Holds Barred Match)
And it all started with one stunning silent promo that set up the match.
With that, Triple H kicks off his second campaign to end The Undertaker's streak, since his failed attempt ten years ago at WrestleMania X-Seven. Will Hunter get to accomplish what his retired best friend, Shawn Michaels, failed twice?
The build-up to this match since the awesome silent beginning has been the usual trash-talking sessions by the opponents and it is only until this past Raw where things really pick pace at a tremendous speed when HBK himself makes a surprising appearance right smack in the confrontation of both opponents.
Following the Deadman's classic round two with the HeartBreak Kid, we have witness the spiral downward of quality in The Undertaker's matches, and this is especially evident when you look at the series of matches with Kane earlier last year. While the spark that ignited this year's Undertaker's challenge was cool, we were half-expecting yet another brawl fest that could not possibly reaches the standard of "slobberknocker" they had a decade back.
However, the last encounter between the two "Last Outlaws" really exploded in our face with one of the best ever promo from all three Legends, especially Triple H. I hereby take back whatever I have commented about the Cerebral Assassin based on online research on what an egoistic man he was. To begin with, he did took on a midcard role in last year's WrestleMania XXVI taking on Sheamus in a twelve-minute bout.
What struck me in the segment was how humble and honest Triple was. When Shawn posed the question to Hunter, "What in the world makes you think you can do what I couldn't", Hunter's answer was nuanced and composed that it shocked me. Hunter told Shawn that the truth is he got soft and that somewhere along the way Shawn decided it was more important to be the Showstopper and Mr. WrestleMania, and that he doesn't have to win every night to be those things. But Hunter is no HBK. He continued, "I'm not Shawn Michaels. Not even close. I have to win." He stepped toward Taker and said, "And I will win."
To me, that's Hunter admitting publicly that he is not as good as the "Showstopper" and that he will never ever be. Shawn, the "Mr. WrestleMania", can remained popular with the fans no matter he wins or loses for his charisma and wrestling abilities but Hunter has to actually win to be how he is today. Shawn was so good that he could get away even in defeat, but Hunter has to be booked to be a dominant force with an impressive win/loss records to get the attention and respect of the fans. And that is saying a lot. A brutally honest lot.
Added to the remarkable performance was how Hunter mentioned about the pact he had with HBK sixteen years ago, and how The Undertaker responded with the utmost respect telling Triple H that he respects him enough that he'd want him to be the person to tell him when his time is up, but that time is not now, was just icing on the cake. The subsequent physicality and the final scene where HBK just walked away, shaking the confidence in Hunter, was a perfect closure to the stand-off. This is in my opinion, one of the finest wrestling promos ever, subtle and compelling enough to attract fans to the other-wise one-sided affair.
So, the promo was near-perfect. How will the actual match be? I strongly suspect that both The Undertaker and Triple H will bring their A game for the match but being both at their late period in their respective careers, this should be able to surpass their match-up at ten years ago at WrestleMania X-Seven. That said, the emotional element, and the possible involvement of HBK should more than make up for that.
For those curious about Triple H's very own win-loss record at WrestleMania, it stands at a less than stellar 7-7. A big kudos to Lance Storm on that one.
Predicted Winner: The Undertaker
Despite the strong promo, I am still of the opinion that if HBK can't break The Undertaker's Undefeated Streak, I just can't think of anybody that can.
The unthinkable feat of breaking The Undertaker's streak has by now transformed into the single most prestigious accomplishment one could achieved, surpassing all championships. Should it be broken by someone, there is without the shadow of a doubt on what an impressive course of career path that someone is deemed for. The only workers that I can think of now that could have done it in the beginning of their respective careers are Brock Lesnar (who cleanly defeated The Undertaker in back-to-back PPVs) and Randy Orton (who failed at one Mania but succeeded in the subsequent SummerSlam), but they just didn't do it, for one reason or the other. Triple H might be called "The Game' and "The King of Kings", but the man that beat the streak just isn't the prestige he would be having. BUt once in while, WWE does something unthinkably bat-shit crazy, so I'm really hopping this ain't one.
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole with special referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Finally the moment is upon us!
After consistently ruining Raw with his annoying antics (both intentionally and not), the moment to layeth the smackethdown on Michael Cole's candy ass is at hand. That said, I have to sincerely congratulate the writers for their great work in turning Cole into an absolute dick that is even more dick-kish then he ever was (which is quite a feat in itself considering what a douchebag he already was with his "vintage" comments.
As for Jerry "The King" Lawler, this is what he gets for his long term service and loyalty to WWE.
Match quality-wise, what match quality? This is a sheer spectacle, and the shorter it gets the better. Remember what happened between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon last year?
Predicted Winner: Jerry "The King" Lawler
If Michael Cole wins, the entire WWE Universe might just go super-nova and have an anti-big bang, then proceed to an instant heat death. The only question would be how many stunner and piledriver (chances are they might lift the ban for the occasion) can one jackass take?
World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
For the fourth straight WrestleMania in a roll, Edge is involved in the title picture yet again tonight. His opponent, Alberto Del Rio, is a staple example of the up-and-coming Superstar with a meteoric rise. Fresh off winning the largest Royal Rumble in history, he arrives with a trusty sidekick in his corner (but not his limousine), the NXT finalist, Brodus Clay, the King Kong Bundy of our time.
At Edge's corner, we have cult fan-favorite Christian, the longtime partner and best friend of Edge.
Now that we have our cast of characters round up, how will the match actually turned out? Alberto Del Rio has been unfortunately hit-and-miss in terms of in-ring-capabilities )despite his very well done demeanour and mic skills that had garnered great heat) as evident from his series of matches with Rey Mysterio. On the other hand, Edge is fully capable of putting up a wrestling clinic depending on his opponent, as evident from the impressive Elimination Chamber match that he had with Mysterio.
By all logic, this match should be just fine serving its storyline purpose well. Just don't go expecting any WrestleMania moments here.
Predicted Winners: Alberto Del Rio
While one might think that the role of Christian in Edge's corner is to counter Brodus Clay's presence, we are pretty certain that he plays a role much more than that. Namely, screwing Edge and as a result letting Del Rio leaving the Georgia Dome a new World Heavyweight Champion.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler & Lay-Cool
We might actually be pleased to report that we are not having any Divas title defence here at WrestleMania, but the sad news is, in its place we have this atrocity. Snooki from the popular MTV reality series, Jersey Shore, is here to lend some Hollywood shine.
We can only pray that the match consisted of 95% of in-ring action from Ziggler and Morrison, both of whom talents are absolutely wasted here.
Predicted Winners: John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki
There is just no way that WWE is allowing their celebrity cameo to look bad here.
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
The war between Orton and Punk has been exhilarating from the start, to say the least. So much so that I am absolutely fine with the New Nexus being totally buried in the midst of the action (for me, Nexus is always about Wade Barrett, and with him leading an ugly offspring version of the faction now, the less we talk about the Nexus the better). However, I am of the opinion that this match could have been on a higher card for the title. Just so you get my earlier point on how Orton are being held back by the PGTV era.
Expect an intense match that should easily be among the top three match-ups for the night.
Predicted Winners: CM Punk
Heh, I betted on Punk last year and flunked (that rhymed). But I'm gonna stick to my guns this year for Punk to go over Orton to further the feud to another level. An extreme level, to be precise, since we are having Extreme Rules next month.
Eight-Man Tag Team Match
It's Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov vs The Corre (Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, and Wade Barrett. So now you know what WWE has in mind since "Money in the Bank" are scrapped here at Mania.
Anyway, with news on the injury angle that Kozlov suffered at the hands of The Corre after his match-up with Tyler Reks, we are betting that Kofi Kingston will be taking his place just to continue his current feud with Barrett.
Predicted Winners: The Corre
While the New Nexus has more or less dissipated, I have a strong feeling The Corre is just getting warmed up. Having the Intercontinental Championship along with the tag team championship in the faction is in fact an accomplishment that the Nexus (both new and old) never clinched. Chances are WWE will take this opportunity to further build up Ezekiel Jackson as the dominant big man by taking out both Kane and Big Show.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Yet another intriguing singles match. The writers' efforts to roll out more storylines over the single matches this year are commendable. Apart from kicking off a perfectly relevant storyline for the Orton vs. Punk program, what transpires between Mysterio and Rhodes have been expertly rolled out.
Rhodes, who has been surprisingly impressive in his psycho masked freak role, is likely to take the opportunity to further cement his Superstar-dom, while Mysterio is quite possibly the best opponent (in terms of both size and skills) for Rhodes to do just that.
Predicted Winners: Rey Mysterio
A predictable feel-good ending for Mysterio is something WWE can't resist. Moreover, if we have correct all this while, there are too many heel wins for the night already. Nevertheless, we are predicting a post-match beatdown from Rhodes to further the feud to the "extreme".
United States Champion Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
A most commendable match-up that will be a perfect showcase for Sheamus, who has notably improved since last Mania, and Bryan, the cult fan-favorite who has never disappoint us yet.
Expect a potential show-stealing match to kick off this year's WrestleMania.
Predicted Winners: Sheamus
Sheamus has come a long way after his meteoric rise in 2009. This match could just be the opportunity for him to make a perfect rebound back into the main event picture, a stage of which Bryan, unfortunately, has not attained.
Hey it's WrestleMania we are talking about. If there's only one PPV you watch for the year, this has to be it. With classic storytelling and intense matches, this is something you just can't miss.
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