Justin Barr

It’s finally April and I for one couldn’t be happier. Spring is in the air and while most people are caught up in the excitement of March Madness and the impending final four, my attention is directed elsewhere. No it’s not the start of the MLB season either or my Red Sox 3-1 start. My focus is fully on WWE’s biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania 29. Although the card may look deceiving to some and straight up lackluster to others, I myself am pretty pumped. I don’t think I’ve been this excited for Wrestlemania in a few years. I just have a feeling we’re going to get a couple of surprises. It’ll be a packed house at Metlife Stadium Sunday night in the Meadowlands with 80,000 fans expected. Being that Wrestlemania is in the NY/NJ area this year, be prepared for a chilly night. With that being said, I am very much looking forward to watching it in the comfort of my own home, with several adult beverages might I add. So with the event being only two days away, the card is pretty much final. Now it’s time to make some picks. Here are my thoughts and predictions for Sunday’s showcase of the immortals.

Pre-Show Match for the Intercontinental Championship
The Miz vs. Wade Barrett(c)

I can’t tell you how infuriated I am that this match is on the pre-show. The Intercontinental Championship hasn’t been defended at Wrestlemania since the 25th anniversary of the granddaddy of them all back in 2009. And that match was only 20 seconds for god’s sake. That stat alone should be enough to get this match on the card. While this feud certainly didn’t have great buildup, there was enough interaction between the two over the past few weeks where it definitely deserved a spot on the main card. Wade Barrett is on the cusp of breaking out into the main event scene, while The Miz has solidified himself as a very good mid-carder. Anyhow, pre-show or not I am still looking forward to this bout. I expect to see a fairly good pace to this match and expect both men to perform at their highest level. In the end, I predict Wade Barrett to deliver a wicked bullhammer and pin the former WWE Champion 1,2,3 to retain his title. The Barrett Barrage continues.

Brodus Clay, Tensai & The Funkadactyls vs. The Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins

By far the worst match on the card and I’m not looking forward to it by any means. This match should switch places with the pre-show match because that’s where Brodus Clay deserves to be, on the pre-show. I mean give me a break, Barrett and Miz should have this spot on the card, as they are two future stars. Brodus and Tensai should be peforming at little kids’ birthday parties since they like to shuck and jive so much. It’s a shame that Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow; two exceptional talents, are being wasted at the biggest show of the year. On the bright side, we get to see the Bella’s shake what their momma gave them. This match won’t go longer than 10 minutes and it’ll be somewhat ok simply because of the Rhodes Scholars. Unfortunately I think Brodus, Tensai and the Funkadactyls will pick up the win.

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho

Probably one of the most talked about matches on the card, is the eccentric newcomer Fandango (let the a’s breathe) taking on one of the best of all time, Chris Jericho. While some people are complaining about Fandango getting a spot on the card, let alone having a match against Y2J, personally I think this is the sleeper match of the night. What I mean by that is, a lot of people don’t even realize that Johnny Curtis is pretty damn good in the ring. So you pair him up with Chris Jericho who can make anyone look like a million bucks, and you’re going to get a very good wrestling match. I believe that this match has the potential to be one of the best of the night. Although we’ve yet to see him debut in the ring, I’ve been very impressed by Fandango’s aggression over the past couple of weeks where we’ve seen him really take it to the former first ever undisputed champion. Then you have Jericho, and really what more can I say about the guy? He’s 42 years old, in fantastic shape and can still do it better than half of the guys on the current roster. He is simply remarkable and I’m so grateful that he’s still out there performing for the fans and doing it at a high level which is all the more impressive. I hope this match gets at least 10 minutes so these two can really showcase their talents. My prediction is a very solid contest, with a lot of back and forth action. But in the end I see Y2J putting Fandango over, thus walking or should I say dancing out of Metlife Stadium victorious in his Wrestlemania debut.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry

When you talk about powerhouses in WWE, the two that should immediately come to mind are Ryback and the world’s strongest man Mark Henry. Even though I’m not a fan of Ryback, I certainly can’t ignore what he’s done since his debut. Which is simply destroy anyone/anything that gets in his path. But aside from mauling jobbers and taking on top caliber guys like CM Punk and John Cena, Ryback has never really faced anyone who can match him in power. Until now that is. Since Mark Henry returned a couple months ago he’s looked better than ever and he’s continued inducting people into the hall of pain. When these two had their first face to face encounter at old school Raw last month, you knew that these two monsters would eventually lock horns in the ring. Sure enough fast forward a number of weeks later, and the stage is now set for these two leviathans to do battle at the biggest wrestling event of the year. There are those who like me, are a little skeptical of this match, but at the same time I’m anxious to see the type of bout that unfolds between these two. I expect this match to not be very long, probably around the 9 or 10 minute mark. Don’t expect a fast paced match, but do expect a lot of high impact power moves. As impressive as Ryback is, I just don’t see him having the strength to lift Mark Henry over his head to deliver shell-shocked. I think both guys will hit their big moves on each other and there will be a few nearfalls. I pick Ryback to go over and get his Wrestlemania moment. As much as I’d like to see Mark Henry win, I think Vince wants Ryback to be in the spotlight.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Sheamus, The Big Show & Randy Orton vs. The Shield

Do you believe yet? Well, because if you don’t you better start. These three young men who make up The Shield have been absolutely unstoppable and I have to applaud WWE for finally booking a new, young stable the right way. But before I get ahead of myself, they still have to get the job done at Wrestlemania against three of WWE’s biggest stars. We all know The Shield works extremely well together and functions like a well-oiled machine. So we don’t have to worry about them not being able to co-exist. On the other hand, the team of Sheamus, Show and Orton is as combustible as can be. As of now it looks like Show is pretty much a face again, although right now I’d call him more of a tweener. But as we’ve seen recently he, Sheamus and Orton have had difficulty getting on the same page. Here’s the way I look at it. Sheamus has been so concerned with trying to get Big Show on the same page as him, that he’s completely taken his eye of off Randy Orton. We all know the viper has been itching to get back to his sinister ways and on Sunday I think we will see that happen. I have a feeling that Orton is going to cost his team the win thus leading to his long awaited heel turn and being that Randy is my favorite, this has been a long time coming. All in all I see this being a very good six man tag team match with a lot of exciting sequences, and a finish that we’ll all remember. I’m picking The Shield to remain undefeated and get their biggest win yet.

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker

Like most everybody there is always at least one match on the Wrestlemania card that I look forward to the most. This year that match is CM Punk vs. The Undertaker. One of the reasons why I’m looking forward to this match so much is because it’s a new opponent for Taker. What I mean is, the previous two Wrestlemanias Taker faced Triple H and then the two years before that he faced Shawn Michaels at consecutive Wrestlemanias. While I had no problem with them simply because the two with HBK were incredible and the two with Triple H were extremely brutal, I always like to see fresh faces at Wrestlemania. And I couldn’t think of a better opponent for Taker this year. A guy who has basically carried the company for the last two years and is currently the best heel in the business. He calls himself the best in the world and hey, if he wins on Sunday, then he very well may be. CM Punk has made this feud very personal and was really the fire starter for it. That’s no disrespect to The Undertaker, it’s just that he didn’t seem to have his usual passion that he usually does around this time of year. To be fair though, I don’t blame him. The man has given us literally everything he has for 20 plus years and then some. He has nothing left to prove. Plus with the unfortunate passing of his longtime manager and friend Paul Bearer, the man has got to be physically and emotionally drained. That’s why I love the fact that he’s facing Punk because I feel like he can light a fire under Taker’s ass. Punk’s heel work during this feud has been great and the ending to Raw this past Monday was just brilliant. Yes, I know a lot of people were offended but guess what? That means he’s doing his job right if he’s getting you to hate him that much. Besides I’m sure Paul Bearer wouldn’t have had any problem with it. So after all of that, when it comes down to it, these two are going to put on one hell of show. I see this match going at least 20 minutes with enough nearfalls to give your everyday mark a heart attack. Kind of like the match with HBK at Wrestlemania 25. Even at his age, Taker can still go in the ring and I don’t have to go into detail about Punk’s ability, it speaks for itself. Unfortunately for Punk, he will R.I.P. and the Deadman’s streak will extend to 21-0.

No Holds Barred Match
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H

If this was the first ever meeting between these two, I’d be a lot more excited. But being that this is one of the marquee matches, I’m still looking forward to it nonetheless. Their match at Summerslam was very enjoyable as they both beat the hell out of each other. I was probably just as surprised as anyone when Brock made The Game tap out. Although I was thrilled for Brock’s victory, knowing Triple H, he was going to get his revenge. I should’ve guessed that their second go around would be at Wrestlemania. The fact that this is a no holds barred match makes me very excited because I want to see these two guys destroy each other. Not to mention Triple H’s career is on the line. That right there adds a little more fuel to the fire. As much as I hate to say it, especially considering it’s Wrestlemania where anything can happen, this match is pretty predictable. We all know that The Game isn’t quite ready to hang up the boots just yet. I like how Shawn Michaels will be in his corner, so you’ve got to believe he and Paul Heyman will be getting involved in some capacity. Who knows, we may even get some blood. This will be hard-hitting and complete brutality and when it’s all said and done I see Triple H picking up the hard earned win. Unfortunately for Brock, Sunday night it’s game over.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
Big E Langston & Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan(c) & Kane(c)

The time has come for Dolph Ziggler to show off and show the world. What a better place to do it than at Wrestlemania. Unfortunately it’s not in a world title match but it’s for a championship nonetheless. This tag team contest will feature the in-ring debut of Dolph’s right hand man Big E Langston. We’ve all seen what Big E is capable of during a match that he’s not involved in, attacking from behind and decimating people with his finisher. So it’ll be interesting to see what he can do in the ring in an official match. Dolph’s work in the ring speaks for itself, but since this is Wrestlemania, I got a feeling he’s going to give it 200% and pull out all of the stops. Especially when AJ is your girl, you’ve got to make sure you’re on the top of your game. On the other side of the spectrum, Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan and Kane have been the tag team champions for 8 months now, winning the titles back at Night Of Champions last September. In my book, they’ve been a great tag team and entertaining as hell. They’ve had their differences but when it really matters they come together and function as a unit, thus the reason for their success. However, I believe that this is the end of the line for the champs. I’ve enjoyed this buildup to be honest and I loved what happened between these two teams on Raw with Dolph, Big E and AJ standing tall with the straps over the fallen champs. Look for AJ to be the x-factor in this match, doing anything it takes for her boys to win. This should be a pretty quality tag team match but in my eyes it all falls on Big E’s massive shoulders. Talk about a big debut. Wrestling in a championship match at Wrestlemania? It doesn’t get any bigger than that. I pick Dolph and Big E to win and become the new tag team champions. As for Daniel Bryan and the Big Red Machine, well I think it’s time that they head their separate ways. By the way, is it possible we’ll be seeing more of Dolph on Sunday night? If you catch my drift.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio(c)

For the sake of the prestigious world title itself, I pray to the wrestling gods (no not you JBL) that this match isn’t the opener. The last two Wrestlemanias, 27 & 28, have opened the show with the World Heavyweight Championship match. Now to me, not only is that terrible booking (who the hell books one of your main title matches as the first one on the card?) but more than that it’s completely disrespectful to the title and it makes me sick. To do it at Wrestlemania 27 is one thing, with Edge’s situation being what it was and whatnot. But then Vince and his goons had the audacity to do it for a second year in a row, last year at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami. Not to mention they did it to a match that I was very much looking forward to enjoying, that being Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan. It would be a huge mistake to do that a third time. This feud is probably my favorite one in WWE at the moment simply because of the angle. It’s borderline racial tension and to me these types of angles always cause a lot of commotion. What also makes it my favorite is the work that’s been done by the heel(s). Not to mention all of the attention that this program has garnered via Fox News and various other news/media outlets. Simply put, I love the new Jack Swagger. His new gimmick is awesome and his theme is just epic. Then throw in his manager Zeb Colter who has really helped elevate Swagger to a whole new level. Even though his stupidity earned him a DUI, I’m very pleased that he didn’t get pulled from this feud. Alberto Del Rio has been a solid champion since he won the title back in January. I was enjoying him as a face at first but now it seems like if it wasn’t for Ricardo Rodriguez, he’d barely be getting a reaction. I’m still a fan though as he is very, very good in the ring. The beating he took on Raw was vicious and I have a ton of respect for him toughing that out. This feud has been incredibly personal and it’s all going to come to ahead on Sunday. I’m sure Ricardo, crutches and all will be in his boy’s corner to even the odds as you better believe Zeb Colter will be in Swagger’s corner. I predict an outstanding wrestling match as these guys are two of the best workers today and I just can’t wait. I see Del Rio retaining but the way I see it this feud is far from over. Mark my words Jack Swagger will become the World Heavyweight Champion, just not at Wrestlemania. On a side note I have no clue if Dolph Ziggler is going to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase or not. It’s been hard to tell when exactly he’s going to do it, but if he wants to show off and walk out of Metlife Stadium with two titles, then Wrestlemania is sure as hell the place to do it.

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. The Rock(c)

I’ve already gone overboard on talking about some of these matches so I don’t want to do it again. Especially for a match that didn’t need an encore. I’m going to try and keep it short and simple. So I might as well apologize right now ahead of time because it probably won’t be. The buildup to this match hasn’t been nearly as good as the buildup to last year’s epic encounter. This time around, John Cena says it’s about redemption, while for The Rock, it’s about his legacy. Seeing as how in my eyes this is the most predictable match on the card, I’m actually starting to have second thoughts. Cena has seemed almost a bit heel-ish if you want to call it that, over the past couple of weeks on Raw. During his promos you can just sense how badly he wants and needs to win this. Which leads me to my second guessing. What if it’s just not in the cards for Cena to beat The Rock? What if he loses Sunday and that just causes him to snap? Could that usher in the decade long heel turn we’ve been waiting so patiently for? There are so many scenarios that could play out it’s crazy. Unfortunately, the scenario I just talked about with Cena losing the match and his mind only happens in my imagination. I should know better, but hey a guy can dream can’t he? Now, as far as the WWE Champion goes, The Rock is heading into Wrestlemania with a lot of confidence. And could you blame him? While he and Cena have each cut very good promos over the past month or so, Rock got the last laugh with his Rock Bottom on Cena two weeks ago on Raw. The Great One is already booked for Extreme Rules so we know he’ll be hanging around for a bit after Mania. So the question is, will he drop the title to Cena and have the rubber match at Extreme Rules? Or like I said earlier it just may not be in the cards for Cena to go over. The Rock is feeling good and if I were him I would too. He beat Vince’s golden boy in the middle of the ring at last years Wrestlemania in his hometown. Cena says he beat himself last year and that this time around it’ll be a different story. The Rock will walk into Wrestlemania as the WWE Champion for the first time since Wrestlemania 17, just a little over 12 years ago. I remember last month on old school Raw where The Rock told Cena dead in his eye, I know I can beat you again. I believed every word of it and still do. Since it’s the main event I predict this match to be at least 22-25 minutes long with a lot of nearfalls. I don’t expect it to be as quality of a contest as it was last year but it’ll still be a good bout. As much as I’d love to see Cena snap and finally turn heel it’s most likely not going to happen. It pains me to say it, but I’m picking Cena to score the pinfall victory with some possible post-match activity. Either way, it’ll be an entertaining match to close out the show.

The showcase of the immortals is just under 48 hours away and I for one couldn’t be happier. I mean let’s face it, whether it’s a crappy card or a stacked card, you should enjoy the show regardless. It’s Wrestlemania for god’s sake, wrestling’s superbowl. As fans this is our show. We travel from different countries from all over the world, just to come together to watch these incredible athletes perform on this grand stage. Wrestlemania really is a spectacle and whether you’re watching from ringside or on your couch at home, it’s a sight that should be seen. Metlife Stadium will be on fire come Sunday night and it’s a good thing because it may be a little chilly towards the latter part of the show. Wrestlemania is the one night of the year on the wrestling calender where superstars can become legends and careers can end in the blink of an eye. Countless memories have been made over the years at Wrestlemania and I expect tomorrow night to be no different.
Justin Barr
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