WrestleMania 29 Predictions (Part One)

Pre-show InterContinental Title match:  Wade Barrett vs. The Miz

Poor Wade Barrett.  The first NXT winner really can’t catch a break during WrestleMania season.  In 2011, he was part of the losing side of an 8-men tag match that lasted less than two minutes.  Last year, during a 10-man battle royal on Raw (which determined then-WWE Champion CM Punk’s WrestleMania 28 opponent) he suffered a severe shoulder injury that kept him out of action for months.  Now, despite being pushed for the InterContinental Championship in January, the two-time champion will be defending his title not on the WrestleMania 29 pay-per-view but on the free Internet pre-show.

His opponent:  The Miz.

Barrett is a good talker and worker who deserves far more respect that he’s getting right now.  I mean it’s bad enough he has to job cleanly during non-title matches on TV which makes him look incredibly weak and vulnerable.  It’s even more humiliating that he has to defend the title against a guy not deemed worthy of a United States Championship push.  (And The Miz has won that title twice before!)

Since his good guy turn late last year, The Miz has been floundering in the mid-card.  Part of the problem is that he’s very annoying on the microphone.  The other problem is that he has no clue how to win over the audience.  CM Punk is an absolute master at generating the right fan response to things he says and does whether he’s a babyface or a heel.  The former Real World alumnus needs to follow his lead.

After not being able to win the U.S. belt from another underappreciated champion, Antonio Cesaro, suddenly he’s in contention for Barrett’s strap thanks to a clean non-title win he picked up against him on Raw.  Before that, the IC champ survived a decent triple threat championship match (also on Raw) that involved him and Chris Jericho.

So, how will this one end up?  I’m dreading the possibility of a second IC run with The Miz.  His character is lousy right now and just isn’t clicking.  At the same time, Barrett should be challenging for the WWE and World titles.  Why is he being booked so poorly as a secondary champion?

Since the YouTube WrestleMania pre-show has been expanded to an hour this year (it was a half-hour in 2012), perhaps Miz and Barrett will actually get a decent amount of time to put together a good warm-up match.  Despite his personality deficiencies, The Miz can actually wrestle.  Either way, it does the WWE no good to put the belt on a guy who hasn’t properly evolved into a convincing babyface.  The championship will stay where it is but expect some chicanery.

Prediction:  A cheating Wade Barrett retains the InterContinental title by pinfall.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

Long after his own NXT victory, Johnny Curtis is finally getting a push.  Repackaged as a supremely fussy ballroom dancer named Fandango, he’s entered into a rather strange feud with the former nine-time InterContinental champion.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when Jericho purposefully (and hiliariously) mispronounced Fandango’s name during a backstage promo on Raw.  (The very sensitive villain always wants it said, “Faannn….daannn….goooo!” or he gets really bent.)  Ever since, they’ve been having numerous physical altercations that have actually generated some interest.

Seeing Fandango using Beautiful Bobby Eaton’s guillotine legdrop on Y2J numerous times makes me think this could be a sleeper match at the Showcase Of The Immortals this year.  The fans are constantly taunting him with “you can’t wrestle” chants but I suspect that’s only because he’s a heel with a goofy gimmick.  Frankly, even though he really can’t dance (which is why he’s paired with a rather talented female to make him look better), the character is amusing and has potential.  Fandango has been continuously delaying his in-ring TV debut because he’s not happy with the way ring announcers, backstage interviewers and other wrestlers are saying it which makes his WrestleMania booking all the more important and crucial.  It really is make or break for him on Sunday.

Many will likely prefer to see Jericho go over here but he’s pretty much in the twilight of his career right now which means any kind of a future title run is not going to happen.  He’s in that Pedro Morales role of a legend ready and eager to pass the torch to someone of the next generation until he finally retires.  Even if they just get ten minutes to rumble this could still be a good one.  Jericho will go down after taking that guillotine legdrop.

Prediction:  Fandango by pinfall.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry

Long before these two monsters started their recent program, I thought this would make a decent WrestleMania match, so I’m happy the WWE bookers feel the same way.  After a couple of weeks of TV staredowns and not much else, things have recently gotten more physical.  For instance, there was a decent Smackdown segment last week where The World’s Strongest Man tried to choke out Big Hungry with a bar bell during a weighlifting challenge.  Ryback sold this attack beautifully with lots of coughing and spitting while lying helpless on the ground.  You know you’re being extra bad when even JBL believes you’ve crossed a line, so kudos to Henry for continuing to be such a dominant, heartless heel.

The vengeful attack on Henry last night on Raw was particularly clever.  Ryback used the big man’s opponent, the returning Santino Marella (who had just been squashed very quickly), as a weapon against the former World Heavyweight Champion since neither man are allowed to lay their hands on each other until the Granddaddy Of Them All.  (Booker T’s order, sucka.)  This neat little trick has allowed the two men to keep things interesting without having a proper one-on-one beatdown.

I can see several different endings here and wouldn’t be surprised if the one used is a double-countout or double-disqualification.  But Ryback needs a significant victory over a worthwhile opponent at a big-time event so I feel there will definitely be a winner.  If he can secure that victory using Shell Shocked, all the better.  After the match, though, expect the villain to generate some heat and set up a rematch for Extreme Rules.

Prediction:  Ryback by pinfall.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
7:54 p.m.

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Published in: on April 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] between February and August, I made predictions for every WWE pay-per-view:  Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania 29, Extreme Rules, Payback, Money In The Bank and SummerSlam.  So, why didn’t I […]


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