WrestleMania XXVIII is mere hours away and anticipation for the showdown is through the roof. All eyes are on John Cena and his challenger, The Rock, who makes a grand return in a face-off being billed as “the biggest match of all time.” Cena, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H and more of pro wrestling’s finest will face off on April 1 at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, during the main event for the 28th edition of the WWE’s annual WrestleMania throwdown. Two experts and WWE enthusiasts, XXL Mag’s Editor-At-Large Shaheem Reid and Hip Hop Wired’s Senior Editor Kazeem Famuyide, shared their winning predictions for the face-off tonight.
John Cena vs. The Rock
They have billed this match as “once in a lifetime” and have even called this “the biggest match in history.” The Rock hasn’t wrestled in the WWE’s biggest event of the year since WrestleMania 20. Ironically that was the same card John Cena made his WrestleMania debut. Since then, as you know, The Rock’s Hollywood career has gone to even greater ascension with films like the fifth installment of “The Fast and the Furious” while Cena has become Vince McMahon’s top shotta. Cena took the spot once held by grapplers such as The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels as the face of the company. Cena is polarizing, with women and children as his main fans while the men have been known to boo him relentlessly. all the while, Cena has kept his grin, playing by the rules winning championships and selling merchandise. Meanwhile the Rock is still cherished and cheered and by God, nobody can cut a promo like that man (well, except DJ Khaled).
So here you have it, Legend Vs Icon. Imagine if Muhammad Ali would have had the chance to fight Mike Tyson. Wrestling hasn’t seen a match like this where two mega stars from two different take on each other since The Rock fought Hulk Hogan at Mania 18. In that case, Rock was the icon facing the legendary Hulkster. Now with the roles reversed, how will Rock handle the weight? With a win of course. Obviously The Rock isn’t coming back full time, he has ton of films on his slate, but make no mistake, he didn’t come back to lose. This match has been advertised for a year and with both combatants having a serious work ethic and kinetic charisma in the ring, the monumental face off will live up to it’s epic hype.
Prediction: The Rock out wills Cena and executes his Rock Bottom finishing maneuver for the win.
The Undertaker Vs Triple H in a Hell in a Cell Match. (Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels.)
“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels is enjoying a little bit of street cred right now, courtesy of 50 Cent’s shout out in LoveRance’s “Beat It Up,” but how credible will be as a referee? O the intrigue. In one corner, you have The Undertaker who just two years ago, ended the HBK’s career when he pinned Michaels in their “Career Vs The Streak” match at Mania 26 (we’ll address said streak shortly). About a decade prior to that in 1998, Taker put Shawn on the shelf for five years during a casket match. According to the storyline, Michaels suffered a back injury so severe in that match that he wasn’t 100 percent in during his heavyweight title defense later the year at WrestleMania 14. Shawn eventually lost that match to Steve Austin (Mike Tyson was the special guest ref for that one). So bottom line, Shawn has no love for the Taker.
Triple H on the other hand is Michaels’ best friend in and out the ring. They formed DeGeneration X together in the later 90s and reformed the factions a few years ago before Shawn retired. Triple H inducted Michaels into the WWE Hall of fame last year. So it seems like a no brainer that HBK will call the match in favor of his homie… Nope! There’s a twist. In the weeks leading up to the match, Michaels and Triple H have had a clash of egos as to which one was the better wrestler and Trips has been sonning Michaels saying he will be able to do what Shawn couldn’t, beat the Taker at Mania. Which brings us to “the streak.”
The Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania. 19-0 to be exact. Shawn Michaels tried twice to no avail to beat him and this is Triple H’s second time in two years to try. Third time overall. Undertake at Mania is like Michael Jordan in the NBA finals. He is unstoppable. Just when you think he’s done, he shows resilience and finds a way to win. His “streak” is Wrestlemania tradition and his matches regardless of if they are a title or not, are main event status. This match takes place in a Hell in a Cell, a match the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels pioneered. The ring is completely surrounded by steel and even has a roof. The chaos in these matches have become legendary and the injuries very real. So will Triple H (who is the COO of the WWE on and off camera) be able to finally stop ‘The Deadman”? Not a chance in Hell.
Prediction: The Undertaker pins Triple H in a brutal show stealing match. Shawn Michaels goes for one of his patented super kicks on the Taker and accidently hits his friend. Damn!
CM Punk Vs Chris Jericho in a WWE Title Match
No doubt about it that Rock Vs Cena and Undertaker Vs Triple H have overshadowed the two big title matches at WrestleMania but make no mistake, Punk (the Champion of Raw) and challenger Jericho will absolutely bring the house down with their scientific wrestling skills. While the aforementioned other matches will be shows of brute strength bitter brawling, Punk and Jericho will put on their tights and match each other hold for hold and talks trash during the match. More than a title is up for grabs here, it is also bragging rights. Since Jericho made his return to the WWE in January (Chris takes hiatus from time to time to focus on other interests such as his rock group Fozzie and “Dancing with The Stars”) he has claimed to be “The Best in the World.” Punk also claims to be just that. In the past couple of weeks, the feud has gone beyond competition and gotten personal. Jericho has taken swipes at Punk’s family.
So with pride and a belt on the line, who will reign victorious? Jericho will be up to his cheating ways and find out a way to escape with the title.
Prediction: Jericho hits Punk—who proudly proclaims not to drink or smoke or indulge in drugs—over the noggin with a bottle of Peach Ciroc while the ref isn’t looking.
Daniel Bryan (Champion) Vs Sheamus (Challenger) in a World Heavyweight Title Match.
Classic match up of Bryan the champion and acclaimed technical wrestler Vs brawler Sheamus. It’s a shame, but Sheamus’ roughneck style wont be any match for Bryant. Sheamus has been known to lose his temper and get disqualified. Bryant will use his cerebral acumen to maintain the upper hand.
Prediction: Bryant slithers his way to a cheap win, using his girlfriend, WWE Diva AJ, as a distraction. Look for Bryan to take a page out of the later great Macho Man Randy Savage’s book of using AJ has a human shield much like Mach did Miss Elizabeth quite often.
“Team Teddy vs Team Johnny”
Prediction: With GM position and controlling rights to both WWE shows “Raw” and “Smackdown” on the line GMs Teddy Long and John Laurinitis both assembled teams of six wrestlers each. Look out for emerging star David Otunga who is also Jennifer Hudson’s husband to lead Team Johnny to victory with some sort of cheating tactic.
Cody Rhodes (Champion) vs The Big Show (Challenger) Intercontinental Title Match.
Prediction: The Big Show is over seven feet and 400 pounds but has never been successful at Mania. He’s the opposite of The Undertaker. Despite an overwhelming size advantage, Rhodes pulls out a win, outsmarting the giant.
Randy Orton vs Kane
Prediction: This is clearly a mismatch. Besides a size and strength disadvantage, Orton is superior to Kane in every way. Kane just isn’t in his class. Orton will hit is RKO finishing move around the 10 minute mark to gain the victory.
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs Beth Phoenix and Eve.
This match lacks the big star power of last year’s Diva’s match where Snooki had her first match and surprised everyone with her athletic prowess. Menounos doesn’t stand a chance in the ring with Beth Phoenix AKA “The Glamazon” aka the most dominant female wrestler we’ve seen since Chyna (VH-1 reality star turned porno vixen Joanie Laurer).
Prediction: Phoenix manhandles her adversaries en route to an easy win.
John Cena vs. The Rock
This match has been built up for so long that there is no way that this match cannot go off without a hitch. Wrestlemania is in The Rock’s hometown of Miami, so everyone expects The Rock to beat John Cena and send home the crowd happy after an entire year of anticipation. That’s exactly why I think John Cena is going to win. Cena’s been putting a little bit more edge into his character lately so I think Cena might finally “embrace the hate” and take a sleazy way out of a win in order to defeat The Rock. This would have a raucous Miami Sun Life stadium boo Cena completely out of the building. The subtle signs of Cena finally embracing his dark side have been there and what way to put a stamp on it then on the biggest stage of them all?
The Undertaker v. Triple H w/ Shawn Michaels as Special Referee (“Hell In A Cell”)
Let’s make this clear. The Undertaker will never, ever, ever, lose at Wrestlemania. There is entirely too much money riding on finding that one person to defeat the Phenom and end his unprecedented 19-0 streak at the Superbowl of Pro Wrestling. He will go 20-0 and overcome some fishy officiating from the person he sent into retirement (Shawn Michaels). There will be blood, and there will definitely be a moment during the match where you wonder if somebody might really be dead. However, somehow, The Undertaker will win and survive.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship.
For my money, this will be the match of the night. Two of the best pro wrestlers in the world will put on an absolute clinic on the grandest stage of them all. CM Punk, who has jumped from underground sensation to mainstream star with real life beefs with Chris Brown and NFL Star Shawne Merriman, will shine the brightest by defeating the former competitor from Dancing With The Stars, in Jericho.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan was thought to be a transitional champion when the diminutive vegan cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase and became World Champion. However, the development in his character has carried him into a show he was cut from one year ago as the company’s world title holder. Bryan’s proved he can carry himself without the championship as a top heel, so I expect the Royal Rumble winner, Sheamus, to win the title. Sheamus has been a company favorite since he entered WWE and a restart with another world title run might be good for him.
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny For Control Of RAW and Smackdown.
The WWE thrives with a heelish authority figure, and they’ve found that in John Laurinitis. Teddy Long has had one of the longest careers of any non-wrestler in the history of the business so this could possibly be his swan song. Expect for Johnny and the bad guys to take over both shows, but look for Teddy Long to get in his licks before taking the loss.
Cody Rhodes vs. The Big Show for the Intercontinental Championship
You’ve got to give it up for Cody Rhodes for brining prestige back to the company’s secondary title and for evolving his cocky and arrogant character past the comic book villain type of character he played a year ago. Rhodes has embarrassed The Big Show week after week about his past Wrestlemania fails, so I expect the long-running Intercontinental Champion to drop the title to the giant to finally give him a triumphant Wrestlemania moment.