WrestleMania 29: The End of John Cena

Welcome to WrestleMania! The Granddaddy of them all… The Spectacle… The playground of the immortals… and 80% of the matches we’ve seen before. Last year I traveled to Miami to see what was billed as “Once in a Lifetime” Rock Vs. Cena, the match you would be telling your grandchildren about, and what happened? They turned right back around and sold the same damn match. I know, I know, this time it’s for the belt so that makes it different *does jerk motion and effeminately rolls eyes like Brad Maddox*. Belt aside, this entire WrestleMania has been poorly built, despite having a solid two months since the last PPV, the WWE has not given me a reason to be as excited. After a stellar year on the shoulders of CM Punk, the WWE seemed to be hitting a stride, they had a great heel, great manager, two babyfaces for him to compete with, and enough time to really position John Cena in a light that we hadn’t seen him in before. Pre Royal Rumble the buzz was loud, Taker coming back, Austin rumors, Jericho’s in the mix, Orton may turn heel, the leader of the Shield would be revealed… this was supposed to be a monumental WrestleMania only four months ago. Obviously the WWE creative minds stumbled at the finish line, once again bogged down with the mandatory, “We have to put Rock and Cena in the main event” figure out a way to make people care again.
Yes, Rock is funny, he can tell stories, and his routines are rarely boring, but where was the tension between he and Cena? Cena has done so much for this company, and while I personally am not a fan, I feel bad for the guy. He’s basically in a box where he can only say so much. He can’t be controversial, he can’t rip into the fans, he doesn’t even get to ding heels with cool one liners like face Jericho does. Cena’s only fun seems to be self-deprecating jokes about his own character and references to the Fruity Pebbles line from two years ago. They failed to up the stakes and give us a legitimate reason for Cena and Rock to want to destroy each other. The rest of the card with the exception of maybe two matches, is just as dry as the main event. WrestleMania 29 is big on names but very thin on story and without the motivation, without the passion, without the sense of “I can’t guess what’s going to happen”, you can’t have a phenomenal show. Let’s go match by match and break down RematchMania!

The Miz Vs. Wade Barrett (IC Title Match): Macho Man and Ricky Steamboat put on a clinic for the IC strap 26 Mania’s ago. This year it’s on the line during the pre-show. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, it gives Miz and Wade a chance to put on a solid 15  minute match that should benefit from the hot crowd just ready to get the show started. Storyline wise I think these two guys did the best they could to elevate the feud after WWE basically made it into a joke with the “Battle of the Movies” angle. Look for Miz to win with the figure four, an homage to Ric Flair who probably won’t be able to make the show due to the passing of his son Reid.

Team Rhonde Scholars & The Bellas Vs. Tensai-Clay & Cameron and Naomi: This is being billed as the opening match of the show, and while Cody will likely get a huge smark pop, this will be a train wreck. Naomi is probably the most athletic person in the match, so look for her to start hot. Hopefully we see a few high spots, a Golddust run in, and a victory for the face team within five minutes.

Chris Jericho Vs. Fandango: Fan-Dang-Go has gotten more heat for not wrestling than Antonio Cesaro has gotten defending the United States Champion. WWE smartly realized that Fandango, despite the lame gimmick, could be a future star, and I’m sure at this point in his career Jericho handpicked the man formerly known as Johnny Curtis for a reason. One of the better matchups in my opinion, Curtis will come out looking to prove that he belongs on the big stage and Jericho will try to prove that he still has it, in what could possibly be his last Mania appearance. Fandango by pin fall.

Mark Henry Vs. Ryback: Feed Me A Bathroom Break! Remember when Goldberg and Brock stunk up the joint ten years ago? Imagine that x5. Mark Henry is a gamer, but he’s at his best playing the dominator role. Ryback will need to be lead the entire match, and I see a slow grind leading to a hot finish where Ryback picks up the win to a limp pop from the crowd as they return from the concession stands.

The Shield Vs. Big Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton: The reason we need Money In The Bank back at Mania. This is basically a something to do match. They should throw in Rey Mysterio, Kofi, and Zack Ryder and really make it a kitchen sink brawl. Let’s face it the Shield are a good faction, but this is the same exact match they’ve had the last three PPVs and the mismatched team of Big-Shea-KO have nothing to gain or lose from this battle. It’s not as if it’s NWO Vs. WCW or Nexus VS. WWE, they aren’t fighting to save anything but their midcard spots. It’s a shame Orton’s star has fallen to this point, and that Big Show may be having his last Mania match. Winner the Faces.

Team Hell No Vs. Team AJ Lee(Tag Title Match): Team Hell No has worn out it’s welcome, last year Daniel Bryan was on top of the world and although he lost in 18 seconds “Yes” stole the show in Miami. This year look for a repeat of popularity as Team Hell no wins over Big E and Dolph… but don’t count Dolph out for long.

Brock Lesnar Vs. Triple H (Retirement Match): Their Summerslam match was good, not great like Brock Vs. Cena, so I understand the reason to have a do over. I would rather see Brock used to elevate a younger talent, but WWE is looking to stack the card rather than be innovative here. Of course, since Triple H’s popularity has never been on the level it should be, they have to drag out Shawn Michaels for some extra pops and interest in what should be a very brutal match. This is the end of the road for Triple H. Brock wins with interference from Shawn or Stephanie who will give the reason that they just want Hunter to finally hang it up for the sake of his children. Goodbye Game.

P Diddy Performs:  Bathroom break number 2.

Jack Swagger Vs. Alberto Del Rio (WHC Match): We The People Have Dropped The Ball! I don’t have a problem with racist storylines, some of WWE’s best work come out of ignorance and bias. The problem is you can’t do angles like this in a PG world. This feud has crashed harder than Matt Hardy after Happy Hour because it’s way too serious. JBL and Eddie Guerrero put on epic matches revolved around some of the most offensive promos ever cut because JBL knew how to play it tongue in cheek. Jack Swagger looks lost, like he’s trying his best to remember to look pissed off and threatening. Change your hair all you want, Jack, you still look like a kid playing dress up. Zeb Colter is a great character, but again, there’s no balance when the guy he’s promoting is that stiff. Alberto Del Rio has impressed me as a face, but he’s not good at playing this every man Mexican, he’s billed as an aristocrat and now you expect him to turn on the Che Guevara? We don’t believe it, and he doesn’t believe it. Jack Swagger may still be able to salvage this character after Mania, but he loses via arm bar to the champ. It’s not over yet. Zeb attacks Del Rio. Dolph cashes in his Money In The Bank to become the champ.

“The Undertaker’s too busy worrying about Paul Bearer’s streak of waking up every morning-- well that’s over!” 
                         – CM Punk

CM Punk Vs. The Oldertaker Undertaker: I didn’t like the way this feud started off, but Paul Bearer dying, as horrible as it sounds, gave it the much needed edge, that it was lacking. Let’s face it, Undertaker’s Promo’s are based on fear and supernatural mumbo jumbo, his opponents are forced to talk about respect and what the streak means, and it’s usually the same old song and dance each year. This time we get CM Punk not showing any respect, playing mind games with the master of mind games, and it’s stealing the show. This is the one match up worth paying for, and it should deliver the match of the year. As much as I would like to see Punk go over, The Streak will continue when Taker locks on Hells Gates and makes the Best In The World tap out. (Check out this article on how the NWO saved Undertaker’s Streak)

Hall Of Fame or Diva Angle: Last chance to take a stretch before the main event.

John Cena Vs. The Rock (WWE Championship): Here we go, twice in a lifetime and the second part of what’s sure to be a trilogy at this point… GI Joe Vs. The Marine. The Rock has lost a few steps, and his cardio isn’t up there with the full timers, CM Punk proved that. However Cena is a much better matchup. The brawling style will keep the crowd going back and forth, and although these two didn’t bring the fireworks in the buildup, this match should outshine the first because they trust one another in the ring. Cena will win. I repeat Cena will win. But here’s the kicker—Cena wins by turning heel!

The WWE are booking this as “The Rebirth”, being reborn has nothing to do with winning a title he’s won ten times already, it’s a change in lifestyle. The Rock’s last promo on Raw pointed to a “Connection” with the people, those same people are going to be in New Jersey booing Cena out of the stadium. This is the perfect night, the perfect opponent, and perfect crowd to pull a Hollywood Hogan. Maybe The Shield is revealed as Cena’s followers? Maybe he does it by cheating on his own. However it’s done, it will be monumental and a reason for WWE to say from now on, “You have to always tune in because anything can happen”. No one will remember Brock Vs. Triple H, No one cares who won the WHC belt. Taker isn’t losing the streak. So the only way to make WrestleMania 29 special is to make it the last time you see the “Never Give Up” Cena.

The Morning After...

Okay so I went 6-3 and Cena didn't turn heel-- lame. Was it a bad Mania? Not at all. Taker and Punk delivered, Brock and Triple H was much better than I ever imagined, and the ending of Rock-Cena more than made up for the slow opening that nearly put me to sleep. I think the true star of the night was Fandango (and his theme song) who came out almost as over as Daniel Bryan did last year.

Where does WWE go from here? Clearly Cena won't be turning heel but I don't know how long the WWE can go with the same old same old in terms of that character. Brock and CM Punk both need to be built back up to monster status, but against who given they both had their Cena PPV's? Dolph will need some really strong B-level Babyfaces to feud with after this Del Rio Angle dies out. Right now there are a lot of heels and not enough faces in the WWE to make great feuds... Stay Tuned to UFB for a preview of next month's PPV.

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