Halftime Hennessy’s two self proclaimed Wrestling experts trade emails about WrestleMania 28
Good day to you, Mr. DeLash. We are 6 nights away from WrestleMania 28 in Miami and I am feeling pretty pumped. We just had the final Raw taping and since the final Smackdown show is basically a Raw recap show, we are albeit finished with the buildup to WrestleMania in Miami. There is the Hall of Fame induction on Saturday and Sunday is the big show. I guess it’s customary to ask what you’re most looking forward to on Wrestlings biggest night, but I think everyone wants to see climax of Rock/Cena. So what are you LEAST looking forward to?
I don’t know about you but I have felt let down with the buildup of Rock/Cena. It has been nothing more than a “War of Words” between the two for weeks now. The only physical altercation was The Rock laying out Mark Henry and starring down Cena two weeks ago. I get that these two men don’t like each other, but hasn’t this battle of the legends felt inferior than other legend matches before, like Flair/HBK or Hulk/Rock? I don’t see this so much as an Attitude Era vs a PG Era match so much as a “We need 2 of the biggest names to raise our PPV buy rate” match. What do you think?
To cap this first message I would also like to bring up something that no one else has been talking about, but has bothered me ever since they announced Rock/Cena the day after WrestleMania 27 last year: Why isn’t Cena facing the Undertaker this weekend? I will start with an assumption that this is the final match for the Dead Man. His last match in the WWE was last year at WrestleMania against HHH. He is clearly getting very old and can’t compete or travel the same anymore. I believe that this match to extend the streak to a clean “20-0″ is exactly how his career is going to end. Saying all of that, shouldn’t we be seeing Cena attempt to stop Undertaker’s streak? Cena is clearly the face of the company and of this generation, and “The Streak” is possibly the biggest draw in WrestleMania history. Do you think Cena cowered from having to lose to ‘Taker this year? Was it an easier way out to feud with a mostly absent Rock for a year instead of building his character to take on the streak this year? Instead, we are getting ‘Taker/HHH part II (really Part III) in Hell in a Cell, which I’m not mad at. But I would have liked to see Cena take the loss instead of HHH for once.
Michael Bender. Good Day Friend. How appropriate too? I’m in the midst of a 7 day bender soiled with Wrestlemania knowledge and tidbits. Stoked would describe my current feelings toward Wrestlemania 28 in Miami where the roster of the WWE will be taking their talents to South Beach. The Hall of Fame this year does not do too much for me this year. Edge is a big time name for sure, but his “newness” is preventing me from really being pumped for the ceremony. This year’s top spot should have gone to Macho Man Randy Savage, but we all know how the politics get involved. Ron Simmons is a nice secondary induction as his longevity in the company is worth noting. DAMN. What do you think about Macho Man? Who heads up next year’s class?
Enough of the extra curriculars already and let’s get down to the business. Obviously the highlight of the card is The Rock vs. John Cena, more on that in a moment, but the match I am LEAST looking forward to is probably the Intercontinental Title match with Cody Rhodes and the Big Show. Personally, I am done with the Big Show character and gimmick. Goldust had campaigned for a Career vs. Title match against his brother Cody and would have been a mark out moment for true fans. This was one of my big misses on the card. If you had the abilities to adjust/alter one match on the card what would it be?
“Once in Lifetime” often comes around more than once, especially in the sport of wrestling. Questions marks run through my mind when attempting to figure out the finish to this match, but we can get in to predictions as the week wraps up. Totally agree on the overkill of the “War of Words” between Dwayne and John. Personally, I would have loved to see a main event on Raw that consisted of CM Punk, The Rock, Sheamus, Triple H vs. Jericho, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Undertaker but that was a pipe dream. I think the fear of losing either The Rock or Cena to a bum ankle or freak injury was to high after a year of hype. Could you imagine the hit on the buyrate if it was Cena vs. Miz Part II instead?
Totally agree with you on seeing Cena vs. Undertaker on the card. However, there was only one way to make this year’s Undertaker vs. Triple H epic and that was with a Hell in a Cell match. The WWE nailed it. These guys will lay it on the line and we won’t hear from them again until Summerslam. In fact the HBK thing does not do much for me as even having Mick Foley as the guest ref would have been fine with me as well. I’m thinking we see Cena vs. Undertaker next year (if not Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker).
I’ll leave with this one thought…Have the promos given by the top guys (Cena, Punk, Jericho, Triple H, Taker) not been some of the best work we have seen on the mic in a while??
Another entry and another day closer to WrestleMania so it’s clearly a good day. I feel as if I could talk for days about the failure of the WWE Hall of Fame but I’ll keep my rant to within the confines of this post. There should be a wait limit for when a wrestler is eligible for the Hall of Fame. Edge is undoubtedly deserving of the honor but you’re correct, he was JUST in last years show and it doesn’t feel as special. As for Macho Man, I think if there was ever a year to induct him and bring his brand back into the WWE fold, this was the year. But perhaps the many rumors of why he was blackballed from the company to begin with are true and we will never see him.
Although I am not really looking forward to the Big Show/Cody Rhodes match its not my least favorite on the card. I am more upset about Kane/Randy Orton. I mean why is this match even going on? They clearly don’t know what to do with Orton when he doesn’t have the belt. It just looks like he was too big of a name to just throw in the big tag match and so they forced this Kane feud. Kane is the filler of the WWE. When Cena needed someone to battle for two months in the leadup to facing The Rock, who did they call? Kane.
Looking at the card I am unsure if I would alter one match, although I wanted the final heel in the Team Johnny match to be something more inspiring than Drew McIntire (I would have taken Albert Del Rio’s return instead). But I look at the card and I see there is not one traditional tag match on it.
Quick question: who do you think the current tag team champions are? Answer? IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK?!
No, but seriously it’s the legendary tag team of Epico and Primo. The belts are NOT even being defended this year. That whole division has become a joke. Everyone, besides the top stars, are just idling as a mid carders when there is a whole division that could be rebuilt if themed tag teams were to be promoted(Demolition! L.O.D.! The Rockers!) But no one wants to be Jannetty, and everyone thinks they are Michaels.
Here is my proposal: a PPV tournament for the tag titles like they do for vacant titles. Force mid carders to team up and STAY teams. Kofi and R Truth, Dolph and Swagger, Miz and a heel turned Alex Riley, the old NEXUS guys, New Hart Foundation, Usos. It seems everyone is just getting squashed in TV matches, why not turn them on the tag division and give them cool names.
I really think this is Undertaker’s last go round. I don’t think we are getting this amount of promo time this year and he’s going to come back next March to extend the streak again. I think HHH is going to give him an epic beating, even possibly some blood because of the Hell in the Cell aspect with ‘Taker coming out in the end somehow. The final scene will be Paul Bearer driving a hearse in at the end and them putting ‘Taker in the casket and driving away never to be seen again (or until next year when they induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame).
I’ll end with who do you think is going to steal the show this year? My heart wants to say the Hell in a Cell is just going to blow everyone away, but my head is leaning towards Jericho/Punk. Two masters at hitting the big spots and placating to the audience. Brodus Clay has to make an appearance at some point, right? Or is the entrance too long for him to shuffle down in the big stadium?
Hump Day and we are trending downward on the week straight towards Wrestlemania. Is it sad that arguably the highlight of the weekend is slotted at the last sliver on weekend time? The answer is an emphatic No. Totally agree on the Macho Man and the reason he is being shunned from the Hall of Fame. Actually, I am interested to see how the WWE plays out the Ric Flair angle here. He is under TNA contract, yet they chose to induct him? How will this roll out on TV and on the Wrestlemania DVD when it is released?
See I am such a sucker for nostalgic acts and angles in the WWE. I love when they tease old tag teams or stables or even reference them. When Kane came back in January with the mask and “long hair” again, I marked out for every appearance since. Although, I can see his schtick wearing out reaaal quick and this feud with Orton does in fact seem real fake. A simple no holds barred attached to this match would have bumped it dramatically. Orton does tend to bounce from feud to feud when he is not involved in the title picture. According to PWInsider.com, Del Rio was held off the card because they want to give him a big return angle and that is against Randy Orton. I am seeing some damn good matches out of the two of them with some stellar mic work out of ADR.
Can Drew McIntyre get some damn love? I’m glad he got that spot vacated by Christian because of the angle. I think it would do wonders for him to align himself either with Vickie Guerrero’s contingency or with Captain Johnny and Otunga. The dude on his own has no shot at getting over. The Team Johnny Squad is so solid compared to the travesty on Team Teddy. Great Khali is a joke and I think there was some other guys who could have gotten a rub from the match instead of Booka.
Ah Yes, the Tag Team division. The division that has been “retired” with the cruiserweight and hardcore divisions, just no one told Primo and Epico yet. P.S. They are a damn good team in the ring. The night Kane took out the entire 3 Team, Tag Team match I had visions of a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Title Match at ‘Mania: Epico/Primo vs. R-Truth/Kingston vs. Ziggler/Swagger vs. Kane/Foley. Epicness. Can you say marking out?
The Undertaker angle you proposed is scary good…and would be a perfect way to write him out of the ring.
As far as actual wrestling, I think Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus has a shot to give the overall best in ring performance. (Readers leaving the page now). However when you factor in wrestling plus crowd reaction, I would have to agree that Jericho and Punk will deliver the goods for sure. I truly do believe we have a 4 headed monster at the main event.
Maybe Brodus will get a match with someone slightly higher up the chain than Curt Hawkins or Heath Slater. Let him devour Ezekiel Jackson instead, since he isn’t being used for any reason yet.
Let me leave you with this…Have you seen a Wrestlemania card that is as strong as this one at the top?? We have 3 slam dunk buzz worthy Main Events for the average fan. An additional title match including an indy phenomenon matching up against the Royal Rumble Winner.
Well Ric Flair was inducted a few years back as an individual wrestler as this will be him going over in a group. I would have thought the sting of him bolting to TNA right after his Hall of Fame induction the last time would have soured the WWE, but maybe this is just a sign that TNA is not considered the potential threat it used to. I’ve always thought of Flair as an all time great but without a true home. He bounced around so much between NWA, WCW, WWF, TNA ect. that it was hard to give him grief at some point. What I am trying to say is that Flair is the Kenny Lofton of wrestling, except with Stan Musial stats.
I was trying to think of a WM with as many main events and if I was going to pick a modern one I would have to say WM 25. It had a very good Money In the Bank to leadoff, there was a solid triple threat match with Cena, Big Show, and Edge, the show stealing match of Undertaker/HBK I, and then HHH/Orton to close out. While the finale didn’t leave up to the hype of a main event it still had the promise of a solid card.
But I look at this years card and I have a “something’s missing” feeling. I could use a few wild cards for sure. Like why isn’t Bret Hart involved in this “Best Ever” feud with Punk/Jericho. He would have been an exceptional choice to be special ref or enforcer for that match. They have even used his old involve family members gimmick in the promos. My hope is that the Hall of Famers make a presence on Sunday night in some way.
So if Booker is going to be in the Big Tag match, does that open the door for Jim Ross to call the final main events? Wouldn’t the call be to have Booker injured in the match, then JR comes out to standing ovation and get on the mic for the final matches. The only way that would be better would be if Michael Cole is also someone injured and taken off, but we can only be so lucky.
I was thinking on Monday, and I think they gave away the finish to the Bryan/Sheamus match with the AJ interference again. They’ve really been playing it up lately, and it’s finally going to come to an end with Sheamus ducking the distraction and hitting the finisher and grabbing the belt. But maybe I’m outthinking the writing staff.
It is sad how the tag teams have just become jobbers for the Giants (i.e. Big Show, Kane, Henry). It used to be a superstar would make their bones in the tag division then raise to a singles star (Edge/Christian, Hardy’s, even Miz/Morrision as recent examples). Now, any time they get any TV time its just a squash. And who says that once you get your Main Event push (like R Truth last year) that you can’t go back to the tag division? Any of these mid carders in singles action are just being demolished by the current star on the rise. Last fall it was Mark Henry and this spring it’s been Sheamus. I wouldn’t mind seeing an angle where the mid card gets themselves organized and starts creating havoc in tandems.
Do you think there will be any heel or face turns at WM? If there are I would have to place the highest odd’s with Zack Ryder. When is that man going to snap and stop taking all this abuse? A true Long Island Legend would not let a girl (even that hoeski) run him ragged like this. I could see The Rock losing in front of his hometown and taking out his frustrations on Cena with a chair or even HBK turning heel. But those two are part timers so I guess it doesn’t matter if they turn or not. I think we all can agree that Cena won’t turn heel. He’s like the Veer or cough medicine. Just keeping shoving it down our throats until it works. Or at least thats what I took away from his final promo.
What else? Is Vince going to show up? Is The Fink going to call the main events? Will the WWE acknowledge that Yokozuna was NOT Japanese at the Hall of Fame ceremony? Will Mr. Fuji be in attendance? Too many questions too little time!
Ah true…The Dirtiest Player in the Game was indeed inducted and you are completely right about that Kenny Lofton comparison. I’m not sure there is another all time great like that, that I have trouble associating with a Federation. Bret Hart? WWE. Mick Foley? WWE. Rob Van Dam? ECW.
How about Wrestlemania 20 based off of purely BIG names. The card included matches like Flair/Orton v. Foley/Rock, Goldberg v. Brock Lesnar, Kane v. Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero v. Kurt Angle, and Triple v. Shawn Michaels v. Chris Benoit. I’m not sure the card lived up to the hype, but I think the names were hype enough. Sidebar, imagine the possibilities for the WWE if Lesnar and Goldberg had stuck around for a while?! Sheesh.
I’m hoping we definitely get some twists on the card, I bet that a lot of the guys left off the card will get their 15 seconds on the show for that Wrestlemania bonus that all superstars love. We will definitely get a “DAMN” from Ron Simmons at some point…at least I hope.
They HAVE to have JR on the call at some point during the show. Personally, I’m hoping the 12 man tag match is early on, so we can get Booker in the ring and free up a seat for JR. I think this match is the one where we have a lot of fishy outside interference and possibly some turns. I think the true wrasslin fans would see the genius in a Zack Ryder turn. My guesses for some interference in this match include Christian, the new Lord Tensai (aka Prince Albert), and potentially Brodus Clay for the good guys. I love, love, love the idea of Team Johnny forming a stable with Otunga and Tensai. When there are stables in the WWE, times are good.
The WWE is so big on their flavors of the week. How can a guy like the Miz main event a Wrestlemania and then barely make the card the next year? How did Sheamus win a King of the Ring Tournament and a Royal Rumble and generate hardly any buzz? Did Tyler Reks actually compete on a Survivor Series team at one point on a PPV? Now I am just rambling.
I actually think there is a chance that Cena turns Heel at Wrestlemania. Although, I am not sure how it will go down, I think it would be so refreshing for his character and the “Universe”. The only way to get him to be a full time Face again at some point is for him to go completely bad at first. Maybe a yearlong heel push towards a match with Undertaker next year would be ideal?
I also expect to see Stone Cold appear somehow in the Jericho-Punk feud. If not on Wrestlemania night, then in the very near future. They have begun to plant some seeds via Twitter.
Ahh we are just a few short days away from the SuperBowl of the WWE…and I think it’s time we start laying some predictions on the line. Loser buys the winner a pair of John Cena Jorts.
Final random sidebar… there are actually Vegas odds on the winners of these matches.
Predictions time! But instead of the Jorts can I get a signed pair of Hitman Shades? I’ll put down what I would do if I was booking the match, and one where I think Stephanie McMahon booked the match (aka my prediction). Matches are in the order of how I think they will go.
1. World Hvt. Title Match – World Hvt. Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
Me – I would have Bryan get worked over pretty good for 95% of the match only to catch Sheamus getting greedy and slapping the LaBell Lock on for the clean win.
Stephanie – $HEAMU$!!! $HEAMU$!!! $HEAMU$!!!
2. Randy Orton vs. Kane
Me – I think Orton needs a BIG statement win here. He needs some momentum going towards a title run. I wish that he goes after Cena after ‘Mania “for the fans”
Stephanie – They know no one cares about this match. Since they are probably going to put a lot of heels over I think they book Orton for a forgettable win.
3. IC Title Match – IC Champion Cody Rhodes vs Big Show
Me – I like Rhodes as the champion. He brought the White Belt back and he seems to relish being IC Champion. Throwing the belt on Big Show is just a waste at this point in his career. Rhodes with a KO punch.
Stephanie – I heard a rumor that if Show wins the IC belt he would have owned all of the belts in WWE. He doesn’t deserve it. Since they haven’t advertised that fact once I think Show is going to win via DQ and then embarrass Rhodes somehow.
4. Undertaker vs. Triple H
Me – I think this is way too early for this match but looking at the card I don’t know how they are going to fit in the Hell in a Cell anyway. I think ‘Taker is going to win but be “Dead” at the end of the match. Paul Bearer pulls the hearse up and loads The Dead Man away for the last time.
Stephanie – If she knows what’s good for her she will book it my way.
5. Team Long vs. Team Laurinatis
Me – I would have the final two be Kofi vs. Miz and have a double count-out. So to settle the match both Teddy and John get into the ring and scrap until Long hits a superkick for the win. Make sure Booker T is injured.
Stephanie – Otunga will be showcased and Booker injured. Team Long gets beat by some shenanigans and we all get more Johnny!
Me – Well both Maria Menunos and Kelly Kelly are on my “list” so I am rooting for them. Celebs always look good at ‘Mania and even with 2 broken ribs from DWTS. But we are all hitting the bathroom for this one, right?
Stephanie – Maria gets the pin
7. WWE Championship – WWE Champ CM Punk vs Chris Jericho
Me – I can’t see them taking the belt off Punk. And i wouldn’t want them too anyway. This match should steal the show in terms of pure wrestling abilities. I see Punk’s rage coming into play.
Stephanie – WWE flies in Punk’s family to sit ringside. Watch him get beat for 20 minutes, and then pull out the win in the end.
8. The Rock vs. John Cena
Me – It all comes to this. Did The Rock just get ready to put over Cena in the end? Rock’s legacy probably won’t take much of a hit by losing to Cena, but it is in Miami and the crowd is going to be in a frenzy for him. The crowd will NOT be going home happy if Cena hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle for the Win. If it was me, I am letting Rock win clean and acknowledge that the Attitude Era is better than the PG era, once and for all.
Stephanie – Cena is going to win. And I am going to want to vomit. The crowd is going to boo. Maybe they will throw stuff in the ring like the good all days.
Mr. DeLash, your move.
I very cautiously glazed over predictions, so that you get my pure gut predictions. I’ll give a quick snip on each match and who I think is booked to win, not necessarily who I would like to win. 8 Matches in total….
1. “The Great White” Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (w/ AJ) – World Heavyweight Title Match.
The match will satisfy the pure fans right off the bat. Like you alluded to Mike, I think AJ costs Bryan the match and Sheamus catches Bryan after a failed attempt at an assist from AJ. Bonus points, this leads to a 3-way Feud with Bryan v. Sheamus v. Orton heading in to the Spring.
2. “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show vs. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes – WWE Intercontinental Title Match.
Easy. Cody Rhodes wins in a dominating performance that continues his push towards winning a Heavyweight Title at some point in 2012. At some point he will lose the Intercontinental Title, but I do not think that comes here. Big Show is a classic stepping stone these days.
3. 12 Man Tag Match. Team Johnny (David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Drew McIntyre, The Miz w/ Vickie) vs. Team Teddy (Santino Marella, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali, Zack Ryder, Booker T w/ Hornswoggle) – Winner Takes over GM Control on both shows.
Team Teddy will provide some comedy for the match, and I actually think a majority of the competitors in the match will put on a great show. I think Team Johnny wins simply because he is the better character and I think he has the workings of some sort of faction taking place. Would not be a surprised to see a heel turn somewhere here, but ultimately I think Ziggler pins Santino to win the match if this is elimination. Oddly excited for this match.
4. “The Big Red Machine” Kane vs. “The Apex Predator” Randy Orton.
As we both have alluded to in this dialogue, the classic “Throw Together” match. Orton moves on quickly from the feud and takes care of Kane.
5. “The Straightedge Superstar” CM Punk vs. “The Ayatollah of RockNRolla” Chris Jericho – WWE Heavyweight Title
Hmm, this match has not really left much indication of which superstar will leave with the title belt. My gut is that Jericho wins the title here. I do not think this feud is over by a long shot. Once the Triple H/Undertaker and Rock/Cena feuds resolve at Wrestlemania, this feud will be given more time to shine.
6. Classic Divas Match. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres
Um, no input. I guess the TMZ Chick and Kelly Squared win?
7. “The Game” Triple H vs. “The Deadman” Undertaker w. Shawn Michaels as referee – Hell in a Cell
Again without reading your predictions, I know you are leaning towards this being Taker’s last stand. I disagree. I think he has at least one more match in him next year against either John Cena or Brock Lesnar. Again, it has to be someone on par with Triple H for Taker to match up with. Hell, maybe one final Inferno match against Kane. Either way, I think Undertaker wins and HBK calls it straight down the middle.
8. “The Great One” The Rock vs. John Cena – “Once in a LifeTime
I think the Rock wins. It’s his hometown and he did not come back to look weak to John Cena, who fans can’t decide if they love or hate. This match will probably be a solid 30 minutes and have multiple close finishes. I would not be surprised to see a hand shake at the end of the match, with Cena pulling Rock in for an “AA”. The following Raw will have Cena basically come out and go full on bad guy. Or not.
Sooooo that will do it. Get Stoked folks. Would love to hear your feedback on this column and if you would like to see more of this going forward. Who do you have winning the matches? What are you looking forward to at Wrestlemania 28?
Follow us on Twitter: @MichaelBenderJr and @EricDelash