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Official Fight Game Blog Wrestlemania XXV Preview

With my buddy GG at Houston currently participating in Wrestlemania 25 weekend festivities (poor guy almost lost his tickets!), I, the Beautiful Big D, have decided to take the bull by the horns and organize your official ONE STOP SHOP, thorough Wrestlemania preview on FightGameBlog. Today we will look at all nine matches and we will predict the winners with our panel of esteemed wrestling minds.

The panel includes the following:

GG – Fight Game Blog Lead Editor
Big D – Fight Game Blog Columnist and host of Big D and the Superfriends
Alan4L – Fight Game Blog International Correspondent
Eddy Zucko – GG’s friend who is in Houston.
Officer Dave Hancock – Indiana Police Officer and long time fan
Jereme Warneck – Wrestling Observer Video Game/Boxing Correspondent / Editor of Number1Contender.net
Adam Bogan – Lead DVD Reviewer from Angry Marks
Martin Marvel – Promoter of Pro Wrestling Eklipse and Independent Pro Wrestler (Eklipsepro.com)

Special Note: The order of the matches were taken from Fox 8 Australia and is the rumored match order for Wrestlemania this year. While I find it odd that they cap off the show with a big triple main (they normally include a buffer match in between), I sort of agree with it!

And thus we begin.

Match #1: WWE Intercontinental Championship: John Bradshaw Layfield (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

This match is scheduled to open the show as of this writing so I figure we’ll begin here. Like most of the matches on this card, this one had a weak build, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have history. Rey and JBL have feuded two times in the past. They had a short one month program in late 2005 used mainly as a placeholder for a monthly Smackdown PPV. The second feud was in the middle of 2006 during Rey’s abysmal reign as World Heavyweight Champion. JBL said that if he lost that match, he would retire, and he was defeated.

JBL would remain retired for about a year and a half before returning. JBL captured the Intercontinental Title from CM Punk on an edition of Monday Night RAW. The following week, Michael Cole said Rey wanted a shot. Yeah, that’s it. That’s your build. Lame eh? Rumors have been flying all week about Bradshaw wanting to retire with the strap and there is little doubt that he will be cheered just because he is Texan. Will he win and more importantly, will he retire? With Tazz leaving the company, a spot on the announce team is now open and WWE begins a new television show after Wrestlemania. Is the spot tailor made for JBL to return?

Big D – JBL
Alan4L – Rey Mysterio
Eddy Zucko – JBL
Dave Hancock – JBL
Jereme – JBL
Bogan – JBL
Marvel – JBL

Notes: Almost unanimous. Some of us think JBL will do commentary later in the show, but I personally think they will save that for Smackdown.

Match #2: Money in the Bank V: CM Punk vs. Kane vs. Finlay vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. MVP vs. Mark Henry

This is your annual Money in the Bank Match with the winner getting the magic briefcase and can cash it in for a title shot at any championship he desires in the next 365 days (unless it’s a Leap Year).

Now in the match we have four smaller guys who can bump (Shelton, Christian, Kofi,), we have two medium sized guys (Finlay and MVP) and we have the monsters rounding it out (Kane and Henry). I suspect we’ll see the big guys do some fun little spots and be used primarily as catapults and as fall-breakers for the high flyers. Kofi will do something crazy. They will tease Punk getting it again. Christian and Shelton both have immense experience in Ladder matches. So this match, by definition, will not fail to entertain and will basically be a cluster of spots. The other big question raised by many I have spoken to is – will the winner cash in the case THAT NIGHT? We shall see…

Big D – Shelton Benjamin
GG – Christian
Alan4L – Shelton Benjamin
Dave Hancock – CM Punk
Eddy Zucko – Shelton Benjamin
Jereme – Christian
Bogan – CM Punk
Marvel – Christian

Notes: So its down to 3 – Punk, Shelton, or Christian – nobody else has a chance

Match #3: Chris Jericho vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in a Gauntlet Match

The plans for this match have been changed numerous times from now until just this past week. To be honest, this was the one match on the show where I went from being extremely happy to being extremely disappointed. Chris Jericho against a bunch of over-the-hill legends, one of which has a bad hip and one of which can barely move, isn’t going to be winning any Match of the Year awards for 2009.

We know that Ric Flair will most likely be in the corner of the legends but will Mickey Rourke be there? Jericho called out Mickey Rourke early in this program (when it was thought that HE would be the opponent for Y2J at the show), but in the past three weeks, Rourke has been less than an afterthought; barely mentioned on any of WWE’s broadcasts. Is Rourke even still coming, even in the corner of the legends?

We will have to wait and see. Due to the health of Piper and Snuka, I suspect they won’t be in there for a long time. The real dark horse is Steamboat. Now naturally I am not expecting a 1989 Steamboat to show up, but in 2004 he had a short feud with CM Punk and the man was still doing high cross bodies and moving better than a lot of 20 year olds. I’ve heard from insiders that he MAY surprise us all tommorrow night in Houston. I can’t wait!

Big D – Legends (Ricky Steamboat)
GG – Jericho
Eddy Zucko: Legends (Unspecified)
Alan4L – Legends (Unspecified)
Dave Hancock – Chris Jericho
Jereme – Legends (Ricky Steamboat)
Bogan – Chris Jericho
Marvel – Chris Jericho

Notes: Most people who picked the Legends figure Piper and Snuka will be out early and then Flair and Rourke will help Steamboat pin Jericho. Either that or Jericho beats them all, but then they all jump him. Maybe Lawler will get involved and JBL will take his place on commentary – who knows! GG says that he is idiodically stubborn with this one and thinks Flair lays him out after and a possible Ram Jam!

Match #4: Lumberjack Title for Title Unification Match: WWE Tag Team Champions The Colons vs. World Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison; winners get both Bellas.

The build up for this match has primarily been on ECW and Smackdown, so RAW-exclusive fans probably have no clue. Basically they are fighting over Nicole and Brianna Bella, the twin sisters on Smackdown. They’ve been slowly building this up for months with small matches and vignettes but now it’s actually become a Wrestlemania match. Miz & Morrison harrassed them on WWE.com’s internet show “The Dirt Sheet”. Miz & Morrison defeated the Colons on the February 13th episode of Friday Night Smackdown to earn a date with the Bellas, which was crashed by the Colons. I think match-wise, this will be a fun little tag team match, and how long has it been since we’ve had an actual straight, non-gimmicky tag team match for the belts at a Wrestlemania? The winners get all the chicks

Big D – Miz & Morrison
GG – Miz & Morrison
Alan4L – Miz & Morrison
Eddy Zucko – Miz & Morrison
Dave Hancock – The Colons
Jereme – Miz & Morrison
Bogan – Miz & Morrison
Marvel – Miz & Morrison

Notes: Miz & Morrison across the board (except one). I doubt that the Ricans go over here.

Match #5: Extreme Rules Brother vs. Brother Battle: Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

This is a match that irks me already. The storyline build up to this has been more riddled with holes than swiss cheese. The WWE’s utter lack of respect for their fanbase to change the past so frequently in this angle has caused me to easily fast forward anything resembling build up for this match. So Matt hates Jeff for whatever reason and allegedly burned down his house, tried to run him over with his car, and beat him up in a hotel room because he was sick of carrying his brother and was jealous of Jeff winning a title despite Matt carrying an alleged “World” belt longer than Jeff and prior to Jeff winning his (let’s bury the ECW title, why not?). Whatever. They had a feud in 2001, it went nowhere. They teased a feud in 2002 and that also went nowhere. I think the match will be fine. I think the feud can continue if either guy wins, but Matt needs the win and he needs it via devilish ways. Let’s see what our panel thought.

Big D – Jeff
GG – Jeff
Eddy Zucko – Jeff
Alan4L – Jeff
Dave Hancock – Jeff
Jereme – Matt
Bogan – Jeff
Marvel – Matt

Notes: Matt, the heel, should win if they want to continue the angle, but Jeff is the favorite. I think Matt should win but I predict Jeff taking it home and getting a feel-good Mania moment. All of us but two agree.

Match #6: 25-Diva Miss Wrestlemania Battle Royal

There isn’t much to say here. This is an obvious filler match to bring back some familiar names from the past and calm the crowd down from a big match. We’ve heard crazy rumors about Santino entering the match, Missy Hyatt returning, and all sorts of stuff. The match will definitely incorporate all of the current WWE divas including champions from both brands. Does the winner matter? Probably not. This is your bathroom break portion of the show. I also suspect the entrances being longer than the match (see Wrestlemania X-Seven Gimmick Battle Royal).

Big D – Trish Stratus
Eddy Zucko – Santino Marella
GG – Santino Marella
Alan4L – Gail Kim
Dave Hancock – Trish Stratus
Jereme – Vickie Guerrero
Bogan – Santino Marella
Marvel – Trish Stratus

Notes: Eh… does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? I suspect most of us will be taking a leak. Lots of us picked A GUY or Trish to win

Match #7: World Heavyweight Championship: Edge (c) vs. The Big Show vs. John Cena; Winner Gets Vickie Guerrero

This has been the “joke” match of the card, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, except the fact that the World Heavyweight Championship is on the line. The main storyline heading into the show is that Big Show and Edge were both sleeping with Vickie (who is technically still married to Edge in kayfabe) and John Cena is stuck in the middle, making fun of all three of them on his road to recapturing the championship. A lot of people I’ve spoken to think this match will be bad but I actually don’t think so. You’ve got Edge, a great worker and ring general who can carry the match. You’ve got John Cena, who always turns it up for Wrestlemania (check out the last 3 years). Then there is Big Show, who people think he’s a bad worker but had tremendous matches last year with the Undertaker and is now in there with two hard workers. This match will NOT suck! In addition, Vickie Guerrero is now on the line – so doesn’t it make the most comedic sense for Cena to win? Lets check the panel.

Big D – Cena
GG – Cena
Eddy Zucko – Cena
Alan4L – Cena
Dave Hancock – Cena
Jereme – Cena
Bogan – Cena
Marvel – Edge

Notes: Cena almost across the board here. While Cena is scheduled to go off and do another movie, he is still the favorite to get the strap back, specially if Orton takes it in the main. I would hope Edge would win but I doubt it logically. Edge can always get it back later.

Match #8: Legend vs. Legend: The Undertaker vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels

This… THIS is the match that everybody wants to see. Arguably the two most tenured workers still working a relatively full time schedule in the business going at it. Every time they have met they have had great matches. Three times on Pay-Per-View Undertaker has faced HBK.

Their first match in September of 1997 at the In Your House: Ground Zero PPV ended in a no contest, leading to the next month’s Hell In A Cell Match at In Your House: Badd Blood. This was the first ever Cell match and regarded as one of the best ever, even garnering the infamous five-star rating in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The third and final contest was at the Royal Rumble 1998 in a Casket Match that Shawn won after almost breaking his back on a bad bump (causing him to take five years off). That match was primarily used to get the Kane vs. Taker feud over in preparation for Mania 14. This time, there WILL be a winner. Shawn has been on the upper hand of this feud since it’s onset about five weeks ago and has tilted the scales way too far in his favor for him NOT to job. I’m sorry, but anybody who thinks Taker will lose to Shawn is foolish.

Big D – Undertaker
GG – Undertaker
Alan4L – Undertaker
Eddy Zucko – Undertaker
Dave Hancock – Undertaker
Jereme – Undertaker
Bogan – Undertaker
Marvel – Undertaker

Notes: Guess what folks – the streak ain’t ending due to Shawn Michaels. Maybe next year.

Match #9: WWE Championship: Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) (c) vs. Randy Orton (w/ Legacy)

This has been the most hyped match on the card and will certainly close the show. Randy Orton’s journey back to the WWE title has been… rather strange… but definitely full of it’s ups and downs. Orton won the 2009 Royal Rumble by eliminating… you guessed it… Triple H. The week prior, he made himself famous by booting Vince McMahon in his 60 year old skull. After the Rumble, he was beaten to a bloody pulp by the ever so powerful air punches of Shane McMahon. This led to Orton beating Shane at the No Way Out PPV, the same show that Triple H captured the WWE Title. The following night, Orton put his hands on Stephanie McMahon and Triple H ran down, finally revealed to the entire world the worst kept secret in the business; he is indeed married to the boss’s daughter in REAL LIFE! *gasp*. The storyline peaked there and then vastly went downhill with nonsense stare downs and in-home invasions, but quickly picked up two weeks ago when Orton laid out Hunter and Steph and planted a kiss on Steph. It was the best angle Orton has ever done. This past week, ehhh… not so much.

This match I think will be pretty awesome. I expect plunder to be used as well as a plethora of false finishes. There has been lots of talk of one of the McMahon’s turning and joining Legacy or maybe somebody from Legacy helping Hunter win and the like, and while I do expect outside shenanigans (specially with the return of Vince and Shane), but I honestly doubt that there will be a big turn. Still, I wouldn’t be shocked. As for the winner, Wrestlemania is typically the show where the big babyface closes the show triumphantly and gets his revenge and his title, but I feel that rule should be broken this year. After all of this build-up, Orton MUST win and close the show as champion. I don’t feel Hunter retaining will satisfy anybody and I also predict him to be booed by the Texans and Orton to be cheered like big face.

The best thing to do in my opinion is to give Orton an extended title reign and plant the seeds for an eventual Ted Dibiase Jr. face turn and then head in the direction of Ted vs. Orton, perhaps for next year’s Mania or maybe after that. Orton needs to hold the title for a long time as all of his previous reigns have been short. The issue is, Orton has already won the title about three or four times – which sort of makes it played out and makes it hard to find fresh challengers. Had Orton never won a World Title and they built this up the same way, I think this match would have twice as much meaning as it does. However, maybe we’ll see a double turn! Who knows! I’m excited!

Those are my thoughts, let’s see what the rest of the “Great Ones” say…

Big D – Orton
GG – Orton
Alan4L – Orton
Eddy Zucko – Triple H
Dave Hancock – Orton
Jereme – Orton
Bogan – Orton
Marvel – Orton

Notes: You saw my thoughts above. Lots of possibilities here in terms of finishes and the future of the WWE. GG is weary of picking Orton as I’m sure we all are, but it just makes the most sense. Then again, WWE isn’t known for making sense all of the time. Either way, it should be a fun match despite the fact that we’ve seen it over 1,000 times. WWE, please push new guys in 2009 so we have fresh matches next year!

Extra show notes:

– Kid Rock will perform a medley of songs at Wrestlemania. Expect this segment to go about 10 minutes. I know Kid Rock is way past his peak in terms of popularity and considered old, but Kevin Dunn loves Kid Rock – so there’s your reason why. This performance is scheduled to be sandwiched in between Matt vs. Jeff and the Divas Match.

– According to sources, with Tazz leaving WWE, the announce team will be Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler. I’m excited to have JR calling a Wrestlemania main event again after the embarrassment that was Cole and Coachman last year, but can we stand four hours of “vintage maneuver”? Maybe we’ll get lucky and they will bring back Heidenreich to sexually take advantage of Cole and get him away from ringside.

P.S. Grisham will be doing the backstage stuff.

– Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger sings America The Beautiful to open the broadcast.

– We expect some kind of wacky vignette sometime during the night. In addition, the Hall of Famers will come out and waive to the crowd.

Overall the card might have had the worst build up in a decade, but match-wise, I sincerely doubt that it will leave a bad taste in anybody’s mouth. I would like to THANK all of my fellow writers for giving me their pics as well as you for reading. We will see you soon!

From everybody here at Fight Game Blog – Enjoy Wrestlemania 25!

Photo by mark.benton and shared via creative commons

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