MLD’s WrestleMania 29 Warm Up for April 7th, 2013

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WrestleMania_29_posterThe road to WrestleMania finally ends tonight as WWE pulls into MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the biggest show of the year. The stage is set and while the path to get here may have had some bumps and even a few questionable detours, there’s an inescapable excitement when the show is imminent. With mere hours to go, we’ll touch on this past Monday’s Raw, review tonight’s card, and make our predictions for the “showcase of the immortals.”

Also, we’d love for readers to interact with @MLDtweets throughout the night for some bonus WrestleMania action.

THE JASON: This past week’s Raw was what each show should strive to be: focused. It promoted each match for tonight’s card, gave us a few good matches (Daniel Bryan/Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho/Antonio Cesaro), and provided a few comedic tidbits with Santino making his (not-entirely) long-awaited return.

PTB: Jericho/Cesaro was excellent as all of Jericho’s in ring work has been in recent weeks and Fandango continues to be entertaining. With Cesaro being left off the card for WrestleMania tonight, let’s showcase his match from last Monday before diving into tonight’s card.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk

THE JASON: At the end of the show, the match that we’re both most interested in, Undertaker vs. CM Punk, got the spotlight. I thought that they could have done much more with this fued and that Punk seemed a bit handcuffed with what he was allowed to say. They kept to a very basic storyline which was to make Punk as despicable as possible with no room for a gray area. Despite the limitations, Punk really channeled his best early 90’s heel thus far and has made the match interesting. Punk dumping ashes on Taker’s body and then wiping the remainder on his chest made for a pretty stellar visual.

PTB: I don’t know about him being handcuffed. It seemed to me that Punk’s (along with Paul Heyman’s) words and actions over the last few weeks have made him the most villainous he’s ever been. Despite the quick build up for this one, it currently stands out as one of the most personal feud in which the Undertaker has ever been involved. Unfortunately, it’s fueled primarily by the real life passing of William Moody (Paul Bearer). Punk also hit an incredible note with “I am the one in 20-1.”

THE JASON: That is unlike the visual I noticed of Punk when I was in Party City the other day. Since Punk has the Pepsi and Cobra emblems tattooed on each of his shoulders, the WWE marketing department has airbrushed out his tattoos. It leaves him with huge empty flesh-colored patches where the origin point of his tattoos probably were. It is really bizarre looking. Do they do this on all of their merchandise? I don’t recall his video game likeness being affected the same way. Would it be that difficult to change the Pepsi logo to a red circle instead?


PTB: I’ll never forget the Party City circular I received in the mail advertising “bleeding child horror” costumes for Halloween. It seems like they would let a little copyright infringement hold them back. From what I can tell, all of his tattoos are intact for the WWE ’13 video game (in stores now!).

THE JASON: In any case, I don’t think that the end result of the match is in doubt. I expect the Undertaker to win and then go back into hiding until WrestleMania 30.

PTB: No question the streak remains unbroken. There’s a chance we get a run in by Brock Lesnar or someone else (dream booking: Sting) setting up next year, but at the end of it all Undertaker comes away with a win here. Punk may disappear for a bit after this match (more dream booking: tonight turns into a Casket Match, Punk disappears until Summer returning at a live show in Chicago, by this point Cena is the baddest of the bad and Punk makes it his mission to take him down).

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, No Holds Barred with Triple H’s Career on the Line

THE JASON: Despite having already been done at SummerSlam last year, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar has been the best built match from a storyline perspective for the show. The retirement stipulation is still needless for a guy that only wrestles once a year, and Shawn Michaels’ involvement being added at the eleventh hour doesn’t really add much to the match at this point. Heyman has been great as Lesnar’s mouthpiece and his work Monday was exemplary as usual.

PTB: Even though we may not care that much, I have to argue that Rock vs. Cena may have more story behind it than Brock vs. Triple H. Primarily, it has the advantage that of going all the way back to 2011. Heyman made the difference here though.

THE JASON: I’m having a tough time believing that Triple H will lose to Lesnar again, especially after suffering two broken arms and putting his career on the line. I think that would be the best decision though and further the incredible mystique that Lesnar brings. As I had mentioned previously – Cena is going to need someone to feud with. I see Stephanie and Shawn all involved at the end of this.

PTB: What can we really expect in the ring from Punk/Undertaker and Triple H/Lesnar. Punk is going to turn in a performance for the ages and hopefully Taker can do the same. Lesnar/HHH is probably just going to be a brawl. Both feuds have a great story, but only Punk is working a regular schedule. Undertaker worked a brilliant match with Triple H at WrestleMania 28, but are we getting that Taker and that Triple H this Sunday or the guys that showed up for WrestleMania 27  for a match with lots of high impact spots surrounded by just as many rests. Either way I see a win for Brock here.

THE JASON: I don’t think we’ll be disappointed with the results of Punk/Undertaker or HHH/Lesnar, especially in the case of the latter. Since 3 of the 4 guys only work (barely) a part-time schedule I think you’ll get performances where they let it all hang out.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Championship

THE JASON: I can’t say the same about Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger. I’ll be glad to see this whole thing end. I don’t see how Del Rio isn’t winning after the beating that he took this past Monday. While I’m glad to see this angle being steered back to a serious direction, I still am not enamored with it and I anticipate Swagger being brushed away from the main event picture at this match’s conclusion.

PTB: Swagger versus Del Rio has almost become an afterthought for me. This was a feud that I thought had tremendous potential, but it completely lost me somewhere. Most likely it’s because it quickly devolved into repetitive drivel in the form of pre-recorded videos and attacks on Ricardo Rodriguez.

THE JASON: I’m predicting Del Rio winning, but Ziggler cashing in the briefcase in the aftermath (after winning the tag titles).

PTB: Those are bold predictions for Ziggler given the stop-and-go push he’s gotten. I’m with you on a Del Rio win, a successful Ziggler cash in, but he and Big E. Langston won’t be leaving with the tag titles tonight.

Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston vs. Team Hell No for the World Tag Team Championship

THE JASON: Now speaking of Ziggler, while I don’t think the Tag Title is the best placement for a guy of his caliber I can’t help but feel that he’s being slotted into that match as misdirection. They haven’t been drawing as much attention to that Money in the Bank briefcase lately and cashing in at WrestleMania has the virtue of never having been done yet. I think that the big push is finally in store for Dolph and his crew of AJ and Big E. Langston. I think they walk out with the Tag Titles. I don’t know if Bryan and Kane will finally break up or not, but there will be YES chants regardless of the outcome.

PTB: This is the undercard match I’m most looking forward to. If nothing else, I think this is going wrap most of those feuds/angles/pairings by the time the night is over. Kane and Bryan will break up soon enough, but I think they get a WrestleMania win first.

The Shield vs. The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus

PTB: I think the Shield’s momentum is grinding to a halt by involving them with Orton and Sheamus. I refuse to throw the Big Show’s name in with them because I think he continues to do good work. The Shield needs to win this though.

THE JASON: I agree, and I think that much like the Undertaker’s match, the result isn’t in doubt. There is no way that you beat the Shield now. These guys are the future, and do you really want to mess with Roman Reign’s Samoan symbiote tattoo? That thing will getcha. Someone get that guy to a bell tower ASAP.

I say the Shield take this with the triple powerbomb on Big Show and Orton turns on the good guys post-match.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry

THE JASON: Ryback showed he’s not just a catchphrase by brutalizing Mark Henry with Santino’s body this past Monday. Hooray, he can be smart! This match will likely be short and ugly. Ryback wins. Goldberg chants will be very, very audible.

PTB: This could be the quickest match on the card. It could be under five minutes including entrances.

Tons of Funk/The Funkadactyls vs. Rhode Scholars/The Bellas

THE JASON: I really have nothing to add here. I’m hoping for a good pre-match promo by Sandow. This will be short and I see it being placed after Triple H vs. Lesnar. I’m guessing the good guys and girls win and consequently must dance.

PTB: I almost can’t believe this is on the card, and it’s the returning Bellas that put it there. I’d love to see the Rhodes Scholars take this, but they’ll make the appearance into a win regardless. Tons of Funk will take it, even though The Tippin’ Scales is a much better name for their dance team.

Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. The Miz (WWE Active pre-show)

PTB: Barrett vs the Miz just seems so predictable with all of the effort that’s been put behind the Miz. The Marine DVD, MizTV, and Ric Flair passing the Figure Four Leg Lock to him represent a lot of faith from someone at WWE, but it’s not clicking with me. Miz gets a lot of mic time, and none of it is thrilling. I feel like he’s either at a loss for words or tripping over them most of the time, and he’s all too ready and willing fall back on a “Really?” He’ll win the IC belt and I just hope it gets the same kind of attention Miz does. The title and Barrett deserve better.

THE JASON: The only consolation I can take from this is that if recent history teaches us anything then if Miz wins the belt he should start losing tomorrow.

PTB: Miz had the nerve to say the most important matches on the show are the first and the last. He may have a point, but there’s a problem. His match isn’t on the show.

THE JASON: Miz is winning. I am not caring.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

PTB: Who knew Jericho’s involvement with Miz and Barrett would lead to one of the biggest WrestleMania wild cards. Jericho versus Fandango could be a show stealer, but we have no idea what Fandango can do in the ring. He definitely got a few on air matches in after winning NXT as Johnny Curtis, but I never saw them. In fact all I remember from him were bits complaining about not getting a chance to debut and now he’s deliberately avoiding it!

THE JASON: Believe it or not, after being so down on Fandango, I am somewhat looking forward to this match. Jericho has carried plenty of guys to decent matches, and I’m sure he’s going to bring his A-Game to the big show. Regardless, Monday’s match showed just a snippet of what could have been ihad they committed to pushing Cesaro. That was a good little match and I love that Jericho has been in with guys who are taking the old school Liontamer-version of The Walls of Jericho. And Jericho should be U.S. Champ right now – along with a host of other guys who have beaten Cesaro. And you think that the IC title deserves better? Zack Ryder’s internet championship is worth more than the US title at this point.

I’m expecting Fandango to win in his debut match.

PTB: I think Jericho gets a win, but Fandango comes out of the match with a ton of momentum for 2013.

John Cena vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship

THE JASON: The show will close with John Cena vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship. The build has had its ups and downs as the majority of what needed to be said was already done so two years ago.

PTB: I have no doubt about what we’ll see in the ring after last year, but the rematch and accompanying hype does nothing for me. A Cena heel turn might be the only thing to get me on board at this point and by no means do I hate Cena. I just think I might hate this feud.

THE JASON: I think that the main point of interest from the past two weeks has been flashes of heel comments coming from Cena. There is certainly an added element of interest here – if Cena NEEDS to win, then what will he resort to in order to win the match. This was similar in the build to Rock vs. Austin from WrestleMania 17, although it was far more subtle. Austin kept telling the Rock that he would do anything to win the belt. Will Cena follow suit?

PTB: I honestly think he might. A real turn for Cena could be a really satisfying payoff to the slow burn of Cena’s growing frustrations. Either way, Cena leaves with the title on Sunday.

THE JASON:Ultimately, I don’t see a heel turn happening for Cena. I think it’s just added intrigue for this match and essentially the only thing that they can do to get the adult, male portion of the crowd not to boo him. It could be the time to do a heel turn, and it would give Cena a rejuvenation that his character desperately needs. But he’s still the face of the company and they don’t have another top good guy to put in his place, so he’s winning and staying a babyface.

THE JASON: Anything else you feel gets added last minute? There are still a lot of guys who have nothing to do. I have to wonder if Kofi/Cesaro gets added to the pre-show. Will any legends play into some backstage skits?

PTB: Unfortunately the closest Cesaro is getting to WrestleMania this year is his awesome new logo t-shirt appearing on C.M. Punk at the press conference earlier this week. I think disappointment about his absence runs far and wide.

PTB: I think the card for tonight is set and the only surprise additions to the action will come in the form of outside interference and no extra matches.

Keep it here at MLD tomorrow as we recap tonight’s event, prepare for tomorrow’s Raw and look at how we fared with our picks.

The following matches are scheduled for tonight’s WrestleMania 29 live on from MetLife Stadium on pay-per-view:

  • John Cena vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship
  • Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, No Holds Barred with Triple H’s Career on the Line
  • The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
  • Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Championship
  • Ryback vs. Mark Henry
  • The Shield vs. The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus
  • Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston vs. Team Hell No for the World Tag Team Championship
  • Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
  • Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. The Miz (WWE Active pre-show)

All photos courtesy of WWE.com. Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
April 1st, 2013 edition / April 8th, 2013 edition (coming tomorrow)

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