Forget March Madness, Lent, and the Philadelphia Flower Show. It's WRESTLEMANIA Week baby! RAW will feature The Rock, John Cena, and The Miz in the ring for the first time ever. Smackdown will be the traditional go-home show with footage of the Fan Axxess. Wednesday night will be the WrestleMania Art showcase featuring superstar and diva appearances that benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Atlanta Sports Council. Fan Axxess lasts from Thursday night until Saturday evening with Superstar Snapshots, Superstar Entrance, WWE Memorabilia, live matches and Q&As at the Main Ring, Kid Zone, Undertaker's Graveyard, and WWE Shop. In addition to the festivities, fans will line up for autograph signings featuring Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, the USOS, and even CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW. Non-WWE sanctioned events during the weekend include Ring of Honor shows, Dragon Gate USA, WrestleReunion, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Standup, and a party hosted by Kevin Nash. Saturday night is the 3rd most anticipated night of the year with the annual Hall of Fame ceremony featuring the inductions of such luminaries as Abdullah the Butcher, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. (Fuck Drew Carey. Losing weight doesn't qualify HOF entry.)
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! WrestleMania hits Hotlanta! My biased, provacative analysis...
United States Champion Sheamus defends against Daniel Bryan
The U.S. Title hasn't been defended at Mania since 2007 when Chris Benoit defeated MVP at unfortunately Benoit's final Mania. Perhaps Vince thought the U.S. Tit...er, Championship was cursed, similar to the apparent King of the Ring curse that debuted on last week's RAW. Dave Meltzer suggested that a case could be made for any KOTR winner being cursed at some point in his career; however, the WWE had no intention of promoting Sheamus' losing streak as a curse. The Celtic Warrior was dropped quicker than Gilbert Gottfried from the Aflac commercials once his match with Triple H was scrapped. Luckily, the aggressive Irishman rebounded with a hard fought victory over Daniel Bryan to win the U.S. Championship. This will be Bryan Danielson's first WrestleMania appearance so I expect a promising performance from the former American Dragon. Witnessing Danielson's final ROH match at the Arena in Philly to paying $50 in order to watch him get slaughtered by Sheamus proves that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler & Lay-Cool
That's right, wrestling fans are paying $50 or more to watch SNOOKI pull Layla's hair! I'm more upset that Trish Stratus' return is being overshadowed by the third cast member of the Jersey Show to enter the squared circle. After years of snooze fests and bathroom breaks from Alicia Fox, Kelly Kelly, and Candice Michelle, we are getting some much needed Stratusfaction. Despite winning the World Heavyweight Championship for a cup of Yokozuna, Ziggler has been relegated to this 6 person mixed bag of TMZ clips. If anyone had any doubts that Morrison, not Miz was the Marty Jannetty of their team, look no further than the WrestleMania lineup. Miz = Main Event. Morrison = Holding up hands of Stratus and Snooki in celebration.
Winners: John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Speaking of underestimated former partners, Cody Rhodes has surprised the wrestling community by outshining Ted DiBiase and scoring a high profile match at Mania. I've been a fan of Rhodes' "Dashing" persona because he exhibits such realism and cowardice for his gimmick. The storyline behind this grudge match is old school, which at Vintage Blogs!, is preferred. Extracting revenge for his inadvertent broken nose from the 619, Rhodes recruited his papa Dust to distract Mysterio and allow Cody the chance to attack the luchador. Vowing to tear off the prestigeous mask of Mysterio, Cody Rhodes is hell-bent on breaking through the proverbial main event glass ceiling during 2011. As for Rey-Rey, what superhero costume will Mysterio don this year? My pick is the Green Hornet. That movie needs all the publicity it can get.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Brewing for months, the hostility between Orton and Punk will peak this Sunday. Unbelievably building since the fall of 2008 when Legacy bamboozled Punk out of the World Heavyweight Championship, this feud between two vicious rulebreakers has been captivating to follow. Similar to Randy Savage screwing the Ultimate Warrior out of the WWE Championship at the 1991 Royal Rumble, Punk costed Orton his shot at The Miz during this year's Royal Rumble. Preventing New Nexus from interfering during the long-awaited matchup, the Viper has punted each member into oblivion week after week leaving the "Straight Edge Superstar" defenseless heading into Mania. Although tradition tends to lean in the favor of the heel finally receiving his comeuppance by the rebellious face, CM Punk always has a trick up his sleeve. NXT won't be on, but Orton will still be "going to sleep."
Winner: CM Punk
Michael Cole w/Jack Swagger vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler...Special Referee: Austin
The match that I'm salivating for. The match that I would pay $50 for without any other matches. Cole that lying, pestering, cowardly, belligerent prick finally getting his scrawny ass whooped by the King. Lawler's first WrestleMania match ever. The possible return of J.R. to the commentary booth. Swagger getting Stunnered. The Attitude Era is bleeding all over WrestleMania...and I LOVE IT. This match has the most predictable outcome; yet, everyone is dieing to see it. Russo and all his swerves can go draw in Libya. Fans will pay to see a predictable outcome as long as the buildup is boiling and the result is positive. There better be a piledriver to break Cole's neck and crush his voicebox.
Winner: All Hail The King!
World Heavyweight Champion Edge defends against Royal Rumble Winner Alberto Del Rio
Once upon a time, the Royal Rumble meant that the winner would headline against the WWE Champion in the biggest match of WrestleMania. Those days are long gone, which is a shame because Edge and Del Rio have been tearing up Friday nights for months now. When Undertaker and Kane were stinking up the joint, fans were clamouring for fresh blood in the main event scene. Del Rio has answered our prayers by emerging as the new top star of the WWE. By simply announcing that he would win the Rumble and then going on to do just that, Del Rio exhibited that cocky, successful heel aura that has been lacking in the past few years. As for Edge, his days are numbered. I'm as much of a fan as the Rated-R Superstar as Zazzy, but this will be his fourth consecutive WrestleMania loss in a World Heavyweight Championship match. And it won't be Rodriguez' fault, or Brodus Clay's fault, or even Del Rio's fault. No no no...I predict that Christian screws Edge out of the championship. Maybe he'll pose for 5 seconds of flash photography.
Winner and NEW Champion: Alberto Del Rio
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
I don't care what the WWE promotes; this is not the main event of WrestleMania 27. If Triple H's career was on the line, then sure. But straight up Streak vs. Nothing but Roster Burying Promos doesn't warrant the coveted main event slot. For some assinine reason, the WWE isn't mentioning the fact that it is the 10th anniversary of their first classic Mania match. In 2001, this was an awesome brawl. In 2011, this will need two broken announce tables, chairs, a sledgehammer, blood, and even Stephanie McMahon. Shawn Michaels video packages are tremendous buildup, but I want HBK involved to spice up this bone dry slugfest. As Allah as my witness, Triple H has no chance in hell of ending the 18-0 streak. When Michaels was attempting to dethrone the Deadman, I had faith in the Showstopper twice. This year I can't fathom The Game pedigreeing The Last Outlaw and scoring the pinfall. It's like the Dark Knight Rises being better than the Dark Knight or the Situation believing his roast jokes are funny. Just doesn't make sense. The Undertaker needs a huge rebound in next year's Mania for his 20-0 win. Zazzy predicts Cena. I hold out hope for Sting. Could it be Jericho?
Winner Or I'll write TNA reviews EVERY WEEK FOREVER: The Undertaker
WWE Champion The Miz defends against John Cena...Hosted by The Rock
Although The Rock is listed as the host of WrestleMania, he has only been involved in the feud between Cena and Miz. This should be the main event because it has all of the essential WrestleMania elements: unstoppable, cheating heel champion finally facing the superhero. Five months of the Miz on top has been exciting, refreshing, and entertaining; however, all good things must come to an end. That end is the STFU of John Cena. While I crave an ambush on The Rock and subsequent Cena heel turn, Vince is set in his ways of the good guy sending the crowd home happy at the end of Mania.
Winner and Once Again WWE Champion: John Cena
Keri Hudson and Justin Bieber are scheduled to perform patriotic themes and Bob Barker has confirmed his appearance. The Rock will certainly keep the excitement at a fever pitch by interacting with Hornswoggle, Mae Young, and hopefully Stone Cold.
WrestleMania is in 6 days. AW HELL YEAH!