It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, at least in the WWE’s opinion. Okay maybe a lot of fans are looking forward to it as well. Personally though, I have found the build for this card to be somewhat underwhelming. There are a couple of matches that I am still looking forward to, and I will still be ordering this show regardless of how weak the build has been. Overall, the WWE always seems to realize how big of a deal this is and they always treat it as such. I sometimes feel like the fans expect too much out of it, myself included.
And now that I have gotten that out of the way, here are my predictions from start to finish…
[Hulk Hogan's music hits to kick things off, which brings everyone to their feet, as Hogan comes out to start the show]
Hogan: You know something brothers, it feels damn good to be back where it all began. This is the event that created Hulkamania! This is the event where Hulkamania was born! And now in its 30th year, WrestleMania is bigger than ever, and I am going to make a prediction right now that this is going to be the greatest WrestleMania of all time, brother! And along with everybody here tonight and everybody watching around the world, wherever they might be; together, we can make it happen! You know when I think about the history of WrestleMania, this event brings back some very fond memories for yours truly. Whether it’s going one-on-one with the great one, The Rock, brother! Or whether it’s taking on Ooooooh Yeah, Macho Madness himself, The Macho Man, dude! Or even at WrestleMania 6, the ultimate challenge against The Ultimate Warrior! But the memory that trumps them all will always be WrestleMania 3, with 93,000 people watching live that day, as I pressed Andre the Giant over my head and I bodyslammed him, brother! That was a memory that will last with me until the end of time! And tonight, in the first ever Andre the Giant memorial battle royal, someone else is going to get a chance to have his WrestleMania moment! So without any further ado, let the celebration begin!
[As the Andre trophy is carried to ringside with its own music, a video package airs with highlights of Andre the Giant's career. Once the video ends, Superstars have already filled the ring, with some of the bigger names getting their own separate entrances]
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
I have to admit to being a little skeptical when this concept was first introduced. I originally thought it was going to get the pre-show treatment. However, I have to say that they’ve done a great job of making this match seem important by not only making it for something, but also including several big names in it such as Big Show, Sheamus, Del Rio, Mysterio, etc. I hope there are even some surprises thrown in there. I can definitely see RVD and Jericho both making their returns for this. I see a comedy spot involving 3MB, or maybe even The Miz at some point, where he tries to pull a Jerry Lawler, hiding under the ring for most of the match and then sneaking back in at an opportune moment, only to be dumped out by Big Show or Sheamus. I also see Kofi Kingston getting in his big battle royal spot at some point, only to eventually be eliminated anyway. I don’t know what’s going on with Damien Sandow lately; who did he piss off? As for Dolph Ziggler, I see him getting in some good spots. I definitely don’t think Ziggler’s winning this match, but I do hope he has a good showing and at least makes it to the final five or six. Sadly, I can see the eliminations being very fast and furious in this one. I also see Rusev eliminating a whole bunch of guys, including Jericho, Van Dam and Mysterio. After Sheamus and Christian end up eliminating each other, the field is narrowed down to the final four: Ziggler, Del Rio, Rusev and Big Show. They pair off, with Ziggler eliminating Del Rio after a tremendous series of counters. Ziggler then tries to go after Rusev, who meets him head on and dumps him out just like that. Big Show then rears back his fist and drives it home with the WMD to Rusev. It phases the Bulgarian, but to Big Show’s surprise, Rusev stays on his feet and just shakes it off. Show then looks down at his fist in amazement and then tries for the knockout again, but this time, Rusev ducks and as Show charges at him, Rusev actually back body drops Show over the top rope and eliminates him to collect the trophy.
[Highlights of WrestleMania weekend are shown next, with footage from Axxess]
[Renee Young is backstage, set to do an interview]
Young: Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel Bryan (holds for fan reaction). Daniel, things have gotten very heated between yourself and Triple H in recent weeks; some might even say personal.
Bryan: Personal? Let me make one thing clear, Triple H is the one who brought his family into this whole thing to begin with. As much as I respect Hunter as an athlete, I have zero respect for him as a businessman. In fact, I have zero respect for him as a man in general. And tonight, I’m not going to WRESTLE a man who most people back there call boss; I’m going to FIGHT a man who has cost me multiple championship opportunities, pedigreed and humiliated me in the middle of the ring, and constantly ignores the needs and wants of the fans of this business; the WWE Universe. Renee, you and I both know that as long as Triple H is around, I will never receive a fair championship match. So it’s up to me to make sure that he isn’t going to be around very much longer. And once I beat The Game tonight, there is nothing he can do about me claiming my rightful spot as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I might not ever be the “face” of the WWE, and to be honest, I don’t care. But I will ALWAYS be the face of the WWE Universe! Yes! Yes! Ye…(Bryan sees someone off screen, which seems to distract him)
[The camera pans to show The Shield standing there, and Bryan gets into a fighting stance]
Ambrose: Whoa, whoa, easy there tiger. We don’t want any trouble. As a matter of fact, we’ve got our own problems tonight.
Bryan: Then what do you want?
Rollins: We just wanted to wish you luck out there. You know when you think about it, we’re actually not that different, are we?
Bryan: Let me make one thing clear, I will never be like you! And just for the record, you three are the ones who are gonna need luck.
Kane and The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield in a six man tag team match
Even though I agree that it may be a little premature, I was so looking forward to a triple threat match between Shield members, just based on match quality alone. Let’s face it, this is WRESTLEMANIA, and that feels like a WrestleMania match, whereas this does not. Having said that, I really did like the angle on Smackdown a couple weeks ago and giving The Shield a fresh coat of paint with a babyface run isn’t the worst idea in the world. I do see the team breaking up eventually though, but I hope they save the actual match for a bigger pay per view like SummerSlam or Survivor Series. The Outlaws haven’t been too bad actually since returning; I’ve especially been impressed with Road Dogg’s mic skills. I just don’t like this corporate Kane character and I don’t expect it to last too much longer after Mania. I see Kane going for a double chokeslam on Rollins and Ambrose at some point, only for Reigns to break it up with a spear. Rollins then hits the curb stomp on Billy for the win.
Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan with the winner getting added to the WWE World Heavyweight Title match later in the night
This is definitely going to be match of the night. It’s the one match on this card with a feeling of realism to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make this a no holds barred match or something on Raw tomorrow night. I can see this being booked similarly to Steve Austin versus Kurt Angle at SummerSlam 2001, where Triple H dominates the early portion of the match, but Bryan just refuses to lose. And after taking every bit of punishment that Hunter can dish out, Bryan finally starts to build some momentum, and actually makes Hunter tap to the Yes lock, with Triple H hanging on for as long as possible, before finally submitting. However, Bryan’s celebration is cut short, as Triple H nails him from behind with the sledgehammer after the match, and Bryan is carted away in a stretcher and then loaded into an ambulance.
[The announcers keep going over what just happened and keep replaying the footage, which leads right into the next match]
AJ Lee vs. Tamina vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella vs. Eva Marie vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Cameron vs. Summer Rae vs. Emma vs. Alicia Fox vs. Aksana in a Vickie Guerrero invitational match
I don’t know if this is supposed to be a gauntlet, another battle royal or just a free-for-all, but hopefully the rules will be clearly explained on Raw tomorrow. I just always hate when they just throw all the divas into one match like this; it’s just so lazy. It would be stupid in my opinion to do a title change in this match, since it would be so forgettable, considering the rules of the match (whatever they may be) and also the placement on the card. I would have much rather preferred to see AJ one-on-one with Emma or Natlya or someone for five minutes. I guess they just wanted to get everyone on the card. Even though I have no interest in this feud, I see Tamina doing all the work here, with AJ sneaking in the victory right under her nose. So I guess those two then pair off into a singles feud. But AJ really needs something to get noticed again, because she has really cooled off since splitting from Ziggler. Not that Ziggler is doing any better though.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
I really haven’t been so impressed with this feud as most people have been. Bray has been awesome on the mic, but I always question what this feud is really about; it just seems like there are way too many subtleties and the way this thing all started was just so lazy. So The Wyatts have cost Cena two title opportunities; so what? How many people have done that? I just think they could have been a little more creative with how this was put together. Other than that though, there really isn’t a lot to complain about, since promos have been pretty good at least and the match should be fine. I do see the Wyatts getting involved, only to get the boot from Cena. This is probably my boldest prediction yet, but I think Bray will end up winning this match clean-ish. After the interference by the Wyatt’s, Cena’s ankle injury suddenly comes back. He sells the injury throughout the rest of the match, but does lock on the STF. Cena is unable to focus on applying too much pressure, because of his nagging injury, which allows Bray to actually break free. I can totally see the crowd getting behind Bray at this point. Cena then fights out of the Sister Abigail and hits the AA, but only gets two, much to his surprise. Cena goes for another AA, but his knee buckles, because he’s unable to put weight on his ankle. Bray then hits Sister Abigail, but doesn’t get all of it, so he picks Cena up and drills him with another one and gets the win.
[Triple H and Stephanie are talking backstage]
Triple H: Do you believe how ungrateful those people are? And after everything we’ve done for them! All they want is their little goat-faced troll doll to represent them as the champion. They have to learn that people don’t always get what they want.
Stephanie: They might not get what they want, but if this is going where I think it’s going, they’re going to get what they need.
Triple H: Damn right they are! Now I have to go lace up and give them what’s best for business! And Daniel Bryan? Let’s just say I doubt he’ll be around to see it.
[Hulk Hogan is shown walking through the hallway, and walks right up to the Andre the Giant trophy winner Alexander Rusev]
Hogan: Congratulations brother! Great showing tonight. You need to hold that proudly!
[Hogan extends his hand, but Rusev and Lana just look at each other and walk right past him, leaving him hanging. Rusev also has a brief staredown with Big Show as he exits]
Show: You know what Hulkster, don’t even worry about that guy man. He might have won the battle, but if he keeps this attitude of his up, he’s going to lose the war. But I tell you what, nothing would make me prouder than holding that trophy myself.
Hogan: That’s the kind of attitude I want to see brother! And who knows? Maybe this might be an annual addition to WrestleMania! And maybe The Hulkster might be in it next year!
Show: I’ll look forward to that, brrrrrother!
The Usos vs. The Real Americans vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores in a fatal four-way match for the WWE Tag Team Championships
I don’t know what sucks more: the fact that this match is going to be very short, or that it might even be bumped to the kick-off show. Much like the divas match, I cannot see a title change here. The Real Americans are the only team that I think have any chance of winning the titles, but I think winning them in a multiple-team match like this will do them no favours, as it will just be forgotten. Also, I see no point of taking the belts off of the Usos at this point, since they’re over with the fans and they consistently have good matches. Plus, they really haven’t been given much of a run with the titles. I am a little surprised that Cody and Goldust are not in this match, yet Rybaxel and Los Matadores are. The Rhodes brothers had a ton of momentum at the end of last year, but ever since losing the titles in January, they’ve been getting Damien Sandow treatment in the tag division, and I don’t know what’s up with that. Anyway, I see a mistake by The Real Americans costing them the match. Swagger perhaps accidentally nails Cesaro, which leads to the Usos picking up the win. And then after the match, Cesaro turns on both Swagger and Zeb, just like Andre did on Bobby Heenan at WrestleMania 6. And then Cesaro swings Zeb, after getting rid of Swagger.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Again, I was looking forward to this match ever since I heard the rumours after last year’s Mania, but the build has just been very underwhelming. Heyman’s promos have been great and it at least makes sense why these two would be feuding, but these two have had very little interaction, and in the little interaction that they have had, Taker has gotten the better of Lesnar both times. They really need to hammer home a great segment on tomorrow’s Raw, because I currently have zero confidence that Brock can break the streak. I see Lesnar kicking out of at least one tombstone and Taker kicks out of two F-5′s. Lesnar then applies the kimura for an extended period of time. Taker’s hand is raised three times, but on the third one, Taker’s arm stays about an inch above ground. Lesnar celebrates prematurely, only for the ref to inform him that the match isn’t over. Lesnar tries the kimura again, but Taker grabs his arm and pulls him into the Hell’s Gate. Lesnar starts to fade, but then powers Taker right off the ground and hits a powerbomb. Taker tries to apply the move again, but Lesnar again hits a powerbomb for two. Lesnar tries another F-5, but Taker flips over and picks Lesnar up for another tombstone to get the win.
[Footage from the Hall of Fame is shown next. All of the inductees are then introduced on stage]
[Cameras in the back show Stephanie McMahon running and screaming, as she runs right up to Triple H, who is found unconscious, over a broken table]
Stephanie: Oh my God! What happened? Go get some help! Get he…(Stephanie sees someone off screen) what did you do?
Ambrose: What’s best for business.
Reigns: Believe that!
Rollins: What do you think? (as he looks at someone off screen)
Bryan: Yes! Yes! Yes! (the fans join in with the chants, as Bryan’s music plays)
Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
With Bryan being added to this match, it’s going to get a whole lot better; at least based on crowd reaction. The match should also be much better in the ring. I see both Orton and Batista trying to get rid of Bryan in the early going, as they attempt to settle their own differences one-on-one. Bryan will not stay down though and continues to interject himself. For the finish, I see Batista going for a Batista bomb on Orton, but before he has a chance to load him up, Bryan delivers a flying knee, which sends Batista into the ropes. Batista bounces off the ropes and right into an RKO, but rolls out to the floor. Orton goes for an RKO on Bryan, but Bryan counters into a backslide. Orton tries to roll through it, but rolls right into position for the Yes lock. Just like Triple H did earlier, Orton holds on for as long as possible, but eventually taps, which makes Bryan the champion.
[After the match, Bryan holds the belts up high, as the entire arena erupts in 'Yes' chants]
So there you have it.
Here are my match predictions for Extreme Rules:
Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Batista, Randy Orton and Triple H in a six-man elimination tag team match
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker in a casket match
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in a gauntlet match
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane in an extreme rules match for the US Championship
Alexander Rusev vs. The Big Show in a last man standing match
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter in a handicap match
The Usos vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores vs. Air Boom vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Ascension for the WWE Tag Team Championships
AJ Lee vs. Tamina in an extreme makeover match for the Divas Championship