Wrestlemania 28 takes place in Miami on April 1 (April Fools' Day), but the theme of the evening seems to put more emphasis on the "Attitude Era" of the late 90s-early 00's in 2 main events. The title bouts are being relegated to the undercard, and you can blame that on senile Chairman-CEO Vince McMahon, but that's another story for another time. Let's run down the card:
Intercontinental title: Cody Rhodes vs. The Big Show.
The angle around this match centers on Show's poor track record at Wrestlemania. Well, McMahon keeps putting him in a position where he can't win, and that's because of the simple fact that Show (Paul Wight) gained his first big break in WCW 17 years ago. McMahon believes that if he didn't "create" you, you're not going to get a fair shake with him unless you've earned your stripes. Rhodes, the youngest son of Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, defends the title only when Uncreative deems it necessary, which isn't very often, and, again, the blame falls on McMahon, who calls the shots for his cast of scribbling idiots. A win here allows Show to join an elite group of superstars who've held all of the active championships in WWE (on the men's side, anyway). However, it doesn't look like McMahon is willing to take a chance, and, well, that's his loss. Rhodes' inactivity with the belt will be his undoing.
Who should win: Big Show.
Who will win: Big Show.
WWE World title: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus.
It's funny how things work out. These two were matched last year, but the bout was knocked off the card at the last minute. With Bryan now the champion, and Sheamus having won the Royal Rumble in January, this makes up for last year's oversight. The x-factor is AJ Lee, Bryan's storyline girlfriend, who cut in front of Sheamus on Monday to prevent him from hitting the Brogue Kick on Bryan. The champ is misusing AJ, and, in this writer's opinion, this is McMahon's way of honoring the memory of the late "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who passed away 10 months ago, with Bryan in the Savage role of the bully mistreating his lady. This time, it's going to backfire, as Bryan's run ends after 3 1/2 months.
Who should win: Sheamus.
Who will win: Sheamus.
WWE title: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.
The issue is more about who's really "the best in the world". Daniel Bryan could lay claim to that title if he weren't on Smackdown and on Raw instead, since, as Bryan Danielson, he was doing just that in Ring of Honor 3 years ago. Jericho, who will be going on tour with his band, Fozzy, in June, has made this personal with his irresponsible, tabloid-bait attack promos on Punk. At best, it's certainly more entertaining than anything else on the card, and it will be a total shock if Jericho, whose last title reign was on Smackdown a couple of years ago, wins here. I just don't see it. The only way Jericho wins is if Punk gets out of control and gets himself DQd, and that isn't happening, either.
Who should win: CM Punk.
Who will win: CM Punk.
Randy Orton vs. Kane.
The "Big Red Machine" has gone back to a variation on the mask & wig combination he wore in 2002-3, claiming to have expunged all of his humanity, and that the journey will be complete with a win over Orton. Wrestlemania, however, is supposed to be about closure to feuds, not continuations, but try telling that to the creative team. Orton, however, has had the upper hand in this feud so far, so Kane needs to win this to advance this issue forward to the Extreme Rules show at the end of April.
Who should win: Orton.
Who will win: Kane.
Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos.
Extra co-hostess Menounos is pulling double-duty these days, as she's also competing on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. During training, she suffered two cracked ribs, and so her actual participation in this match is questionable.
Phoenix, the pride of Buffalo, and the current Divas champion, should be defending her belt in this spot, but of course McMahon wants the mainstream attention, and isn't satisfied with getting it with one of his main events. Add to this the fact that Torres, a former champ herself who recently turned heel, can't be trusted, as she covets the championship. With McMahon's track record with celebrities at Mania, well.........!
Who should win: Phoenix & Torres.
Who will win: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos.
Team Johnny (David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Michael "The Miz" Mizanin, Mark Henry, & Drew McIntyre w/John Laurinaitis & Vickie Guerrero) vs. Team Teddy (Santino Marella, Great Khali, Booker T, Zack Ryder, R-Truth, & Kofi Kingston w/Teddy Long & Hornswoggle).
Laurinaitis, the former Johnny Ace, has been acting GM of Raw since October, and covets the whole enchilada. Flagbearer Guerrero tried that 3 years ago, and quit after 2 months when she couldn't handle the pressure of a live audience working back-to-back nights, coupled with the relentless verbal abuse heaped on her by the faces. Her act hasn't changed since her return in October 2009 at all. McIntyre's a late replacement for Christian, who reaggravated an ankle injury earlier this week. Miz may be in there because a more likely pick, Alberto Del Rio, is still not 100% recovered from a winter groin injury. Laurinaitis' act is just as bad as Guerrero's if not worse because he lacks charismatic presence. He's a poor man's McMahon, and tha's what he really is there for, to be the on-camera analogue for the insane chairman, who's been forced off the air in part because of advanced age and perceptions of premature senility, among other things. However, the heel administrator act is tired, moldy, and needs to be expunged. Long has been GM of Smackdown, for 2 terms (2004-7, 2009-present), and has had to deal with Guerrero and her power-coveting schemes in the past. He's been the good soldier, and deserves to be rewarded, rather than forced out of office again for the 3rd time in the last 4 1/2 years. Given the championship resumes of both teams, this should be a show-stealer, but it won't.
Who should win: Team Johnny.
Who will win: Team Teddy.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H: Hell in a Cell (Special guest referee: Shawn Michaels).
Billed as the "End of an Era", namely, the Attitude Era, this is the 3rd Wrestlemania clash between Undertaker & Triple H, but they are making people forget the first one in 2001. Undertaker didn't compete again in 2011 after Mania, and has had wife Michelle McCool nursing him back to health. I shan't be surprised if the camera focuses on McCool, who hung up her tights last year after 7 years with the company, during the match. Some speculate that HHH & Michaels, collectively DeGeneration X, will try to screw over the "Deadman", but I don't see it happening. Much as DX fans want that to happen, the streak goes on for one more year.
Who should win: Triple H.
Who will win: Undertaker.
John Cena vs. The Rock.
This has been building to a fever pitch for a year. Rock interfered in Cena's title match vs. Miz last year, which has become an afterthought, considering that Miz has been plunged to the undercard since then. Cena is being portrayed as the wrestling lifer who, despite making three movies in the last 6 years, has vowed never to leave the company or its fans behind. Rock (Dwayne Johnson) is in between movie projects, but says his heart is still in the wrestling business. Some say there will be a sequel to this one, but Rock doesn't really have anything to prove. It's all about McMahon overmilking this match to maximize the profit margins. Will someone hand him a book on Santayana already? It's the Rock's hometown, and there's the matter of hometown stars losing in front of the homies when it comes to the Raw brand. Cena can relate to that, of course. It's been 8 years since Rock put over Randy Orton in a tag match at Wrestlemania 20 in New York. Will he do the honors again? I believe so.
Who should win: The Rock.
Who will win: John Cena.
I just can't see Cena losing two in a row at Wrestlemania. Period.
Of course, I could be wrong.........