There is really only one thing that could bring this missing CST contributor out of hiding. A shocking return rivaling that of Shane McMahon's. Like Sting repelling from the rafters, I'm back to give to you, loyal CST readers, predictions for the superbowl of sports entertainment–WrestleMania. Tonight from Dallas, the Road to WrestleMania culminates in one the weakest buildups to the event that I can remember. (I can't comment on the pre-attitude era, as I was on my hiatus from professional wrestling during that dark time). This Mania has the potential to be a disaster. The PPV Roadblock was aptly named as it served as just that... all but killing the momentum and heat developing for Mania, resulting in confusing story lines, rushed and underdeveloped feuds. The WWE , however, always seems to find a way to bounce back and overcome the odds so I'm sure they have a few tricks up their sleeve (The Rock has been confirmed to appear, as well as rumored appearances by Stone Cold Steve Austin and HBK Sean Michaels). Without further adieu, I give to you the most compelling article ever written on this site (yeah I know, I just buried my fellow CST contributors to put myself over). Please enjoy...
Sunday, April 3, 2016
United States Championship Match: Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback:
The poor man's Rey Mysterio (Kalisto) battles Goldberg-with-less-it-factor, Ryback in this classic David vs. Goliath match that nobody cares about. (Thanks WWE for some compelling story telling). I like Kalisto - he has some talent. I used to like Ryback but he's gotten stale. I'm sure Donald Trump is rooting for Ryback (see what I did there?) and I think his wishes may come true unfortunately.
Winner: Goldber...er Ryback (New Champion)
Team Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde:
Poor Paige and Natalya - they deserve so much more and should be on the main card. They must of pissed someone off because they're way too talented for their current pushes into oblivion. Unlike just about everyone in the Universe, I'm actually looking forward to this. As I said, I like Paige and Natalya, and enjoy Brie Bella's work. In what seems like a typical WWE non-sensical booking move, Eva Marie (one of the most hated heel divas in NXT) has joined Team Divas (the faces). I actually see the logic in this angle considering Eva Marie has been part of the Total Divas show on the USA Network for a few years now. I could easily see Eva Marie costing her team... either by turning on them or just getting beat... but I have to think the Total Divas are going over here, in what could be Brie's retirement match. Please reserve partying too much after this one... we have a lot of show to go.
Winners: Total Divas
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz:
I'd love them to introduce TNA veteran Velvet Sky, Mark LoMancao's (a.k.a Bubba Ray Dudley) real life girlfriend into the mix. Google her and you won't be disappointed. Her TNA contract expired (or is expiring) so one can dream. I have no idea who should or will win this. I'll go with the Dudleys.
Winners: The Dudley Boyz, using a table (which they claim to have sworn off, those tricky bastards)
Main Card Matches
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho:
I'd care about this match a lot more if the WWE didn't already have 3 matches between the two. Bad booking, but WWE is going to milk these two top talents for all it's worth. Nonetheless, I'm sure it will be a good match. If they screw this up and give Jericho the win, I may boycott WWE, much like my infamous wrestling hiatus of 1990 - 1996 . There is no point in de-pushing Styles in favor of the part time veteran Jericho, although there was no point in Triple H going over Sting at last year's Mania either. For God's sake, Jericho put Fandango over at WrestleMania a couple years ago.
Winner: AJ Styles
The New Day (tag team champions) vs. The League of Nations:
The Unfunny New Day vs. The League of Boredom. I still have no idea if this is a title match, a 3 on 4 handicap match, or what.... and I don't really care to be honest. I want to like The New Day, but their schtick is just over-the-top and not funny. Kofi Kingston has a lot of talent (find videos of some of his Royal Rumble spots on the internet), but like Dolph Ziggler and Caesaro, can't seem to catch a break in WWE for whatever reason. Years ago it seemed he was getting a singles main event push in a feud with Randy Orton, but that was put to an abrupt halt. I never liked The League of Nations. Sheamus has always been boring, but Vince and Triple H love the big "monsters". Alberto Del Rio has always made me want to turn the channel. Wade Barrett has always been overrated in my opinion–whether as the leader of Nexus, Bad News Barrett, or King Barrett. Then there's Rusev–I liked Rusev (with Lana), but they've screwed him up, potentially beyond repair. Perhaps a surprise 4th teammate for New Day appears? (God please don't make this The Rock's Mania moment).
Winners: (If it's a title match) The New Day; (If it's non-title) The League of Nations
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Kevin Owens (C) vs. Sami Zayn vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler, vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara:
In the words of good ol' JR, "WHAT IN THE HELL IS THIS ALL ABOUT?!" I get that Neville's broken ankle probably threw a wrench in the original plans for this match, but this is what the WWE creative team came up with? Borderline mid-carders/jobbers-to-the-stars? Zack frickin' Ryder? In a WrestleMania title match? I'll give Zack credit - he got himself over - years ago - for about 5 minutes. Why they didn't just focus on the Owens/Zayn (a.k.a El Generico) years-long rivalry I have no idea, other than them not thinking Sami is ready for the spotlight in a one on one match. If they had eyes, they would see that Zayn vs. Owens could potentially steal the show, however, the WWE machine can be a stubborn bastard. I'm sure the match will be exciting because, well, it's a ladder match. And please... for the sake of us and Cody Rhodes... let this be the sendoff of the Stardust gimmick!
Winner: Kevin Owens (retains)
Divas Championship Triple Threat Match: Charlotte (C) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
The match featuring the daughter of Ric Flair, the cousin of Snoop Dogg, and Becky Lynch, I'm actually looking forward to this match a lot - possibly the most or second most on the card. I seriously think the Divas are the best thing going in WWE right now. Becky Lynch, to me, is REALLY good in the ring and I hope the WWE rewards her with the title. They just don't seem to be as high on her and she does the job a lot to put others over. Charlotte and Sasha are also really good and I could see any of the three winning. My gut tells me Sasha, but I'll go with my heart in a bit of a surprise.
Winner: Becky Lynch (new champion)
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:
A nice way for the WWE to get most of its talent on the WrestleMania card, problem is it's a bunch of guys nobody really cares about. It was conventional wisdom that Braun Strowman was a lock to win this as there were big plans for the behemoth strong man, including a feud with Brock Lesnar. Thank the Lord that someone successfully got in Vince's ear and put a stop to that potential train wreck. Braun is stiffer than an adolescent during the Attitude Era and really shouldn't even be on the main roster. They've been focusing on the Social Outcast, Big Show, and Kane on Raw but I think this is a tease, or swerve if you will. There's a guy on the roster who was getting a nice little push for a while, who seems to have been all but forgotten the last few weeks. Like Strowman, a feud with Brock Lesnar seemed like a sure thing. From battling the Undertaker at WrestleMania last year, to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal the next... so is life in the WWE.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar:
I hate what they've done with Ambrose. Just getting his ass kicked week after week got repetitive and boring. Jobbing clean to Triple H at Roadblock was worthless. They needed to validate Ambrose, not Trips there. I see Brock dominating this match, but in a shocker, Ambrose prevails when Bray Wyatt interferes, setting up the Wyatt/Lesnar feud that they abandoned after Royal Rumble.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Hell in a Cell Match for control of Monday Night Raw: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
Definitely the most compelling match of the card, this one could go a number of ways. With the way the angle has been written, I personally have no idea how either man loses. Is the 21-1 at Mania Undertaker really going to lose to a non-wrestler? But how does the WWE (through Shane) tell us Raw (their product) sucks and then not have Shane go over to fix the problem. I pray they don't go conservative here (I mean in story telling... I'm sure Shane and Taker will go all out... Shane's insane). There has to be some kind of swerve here... you can't tell everyone your product sucks and by the way nothing is going to change, so by that, I'm going with Shane. Although this is the WWE and Vince McMahon, the smartest people on earth, who never really think their product sucks so who knows. By the way, I'll just say Shane received one of the most insane pops I've ever heard when he returned to Raw. (Aside: The three biggest pops I can recall off the top of my head - Hulk Hogan saves Eugene from Muhammad Hassan at WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan basically anytime, Shane McMahon returning to Raw earlier this year).
Winner: Shane McMahon
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (C) vs. Roman Reigns
Oy vey what the WWE did to poor Roman Reigns. The man was SO over as a member of The Shield... the muscle of the group just beating people's asses, the crowd ate it up. At his runner-up finish at the Royal Rumble where he eliminated a record amount of combatants, the crowd was chanting for the then heel to win the damn match. Now that could have been because of their hatred for Batista, but there's no denying, with the right writing, Reigns could've been loved. Fast forward a few years, including an inexplicable decision to not have Daniel Bryan in the Royal Rumble which caused the fans to take out their disappointment and frustration on Reigns, and he's a booed babyface, pushed down the fans' throats like John Cena. I feel bad for the guy because he has talent. His matches are pretty good. WWE Creative failed him and a change in character is needed. But like I said before the WWE/Vince McMahon is one stubborn bastard. I can easily see Reigns winning clean to the oblivious delight of Vince. I've heard the pundits hope and plead for a swerve, perhaps a Reigns heel turn on The Rock, but I don't see it happening... at least not here at Mania.
Winner: Roman Reigns (new champion)
And there it is. Tune into the WWE Network (just $9.99 per month, first month free including WrestleMania) tonight to see if I'm as good as CST resident handicapper, SamVox and his Lox or just a jobber destined for smoky bingo halls and empty high school gymnasiums.