So WWE is expecting a huge buyrate for Wrestlemania because they’re paying celebrities to tweet about it all week. P Diddy has done his bit (but then, he is performing at Mania), whereas Jay Z has been straight up blanking John Cena’s embarrassing pleas for retweets. Wrestling’s new obsession with social media is annoying enough as it is, but nobody is going to drop £17.95 (or $70 in the States) to watch something they’ve never seen before just because P Diddy tells them to. They need to get over this idea that Wrestlemania is some cultural phenomenon that everyone will watch even if they don’t follow wrestling. It isn’t the World Cup. It isn’t the Olympics. Wrestlemania brings back wrestling fans, it doesn’t bring in non-wrestling fans. It’s a huge visual spectacle for the newer, younger fans of the current generation and a nostalgic fix for the older fans like myself. Just like Christmas brings back lapsed Christians to church for the day, Mania brings back lapsed wrestling fans for the day.
As for the actual card, it’s fairly rammed. There are 9 advertised matches, built around Rock/Cena part 2, and supported by Undertaker/Punk and Triple H/Lesnar. There’s also the aforementioned P Diddy medley, the Hall of Fame inductions, a painful-sounding Miz/Barrett pre-show match, and probably a backstage skit where some minor celebrity gets to singlehandedly beat up 3MB. Joy of joys!
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All we ask for is good performances in the ring and – if they can manage – a logical booking decision here and there. It’s worth noting that the New Jersey/New York crowd is a smarky one, which means they will be overly hostile and vocal about what they think. If a match is boring them, they will let you know about it. Which means no slacking on the biggest night of the wrestling calendar.
Here’s the Sick Chirpse rundown of the Wrestlemania card:
Chris Jericho Vs Fandango
So this Fandango character is apparently a personal pet project of Vince Mcmahon, as he is (surprise) a bit of a sucker for egomaniacal gimmicks. It’s pretty great because he hasn’t even wrestled yet and has still managed to piss everyone off by totally smashing the character — a camp dancer who gets girls and has no time for people who mispronounce his name. Plus, his elaborate entrance routine is so troll-ific he’s got people booing him HARD literally weeks after he first appeared on screen:
It is a fairly amusing take on the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ culture but what few people know is that Fandango aka Johnny Curtis can go in the ring. Jericho has been a sickhead for well over a decade now and will defo be putting Fandango through his paces. It could be a pleasant, fast-paced surprise to open the show. It doesn’t hurt Jericho to take a loss at this stage and it is after all Fandango’s first match so expect him to (underhandedly) pick up the win.
Brodus Clay, Tensai & The Girls Vs Rhodes Scholars & The Girls
The Rhodes Scholars are a good team who deserve better than to be burdened with carrying Clay & Tensai to a decent contest at Wrestlemania of all places. Does anyone even care this match is happening? No, they don’t, but it’s Wrestlemania so we need as many wrestlers and matches as possible.
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Ryback Vs Mark Henry
It had to happen sooner or later: two of the biggest guys on the roster squaring off in a battle of the brawn. Mark Henry has somehow become this confident, mouthy, must-watch monster after years of being just another super dull strongman, whereas Ryback, while very Goldbergian in his offence, has finally managed to get over with the crowd in his own right. Ryback hitting his finish on Henry is infinitely more impressive than vice versa, so expect that to happen, sad as it will be to see Big Mark lose.
Team Hell No Vs Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
Big E and 3 guys who should really be doing better things with their time than wrestling each other. Ziggler still has the Money in The Bank briefcase for flip’s sake, why would he care about the tag titles? Also, shouldn’t have Bryan & Kane have fallen out months ago, building to a Mania match between them? Look for the champs to retain and — just had a brainwave — maybe Ziggler has his Mania moment after all by cashing in the briefcase on Del Rio or Swagger later in the show?
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Alberto Del Rio Vs Jack Swagger
Baby face Del Rio is a no fun compared to heel Del Rio, and Jack Swagger is someone we’d rather not see in any capacity. But, this has at least evolved beyond the ‘controversial’ immigration storyline. Jack Swagger & Zeb Coulter don’t like Hispanic people, and it makes sense that the Hispanic world champion would have an issue with that. But it all became bizarrely violent when Colter started ripping up Del Rio’s back with the jagged end of a broken crutch while Swagger ‘broke’ Ricardo’s ankle at ringside. Del Rio ended up looking like this:
Hopefully this one is kept short, and Ziggler gets involved after the bell.
Sheamus, Big Show & Randy Orton Vs The Shield
The Shield is the sickest thing to happen to wrestling in ages. They’ve literally spent months running into the ring and ruining people’s matches, and beating any trio that teams up to take them on. Aside from the enigmatic Shield, there is extra intrigue here in that they have been foreshadowing a heel turn in the baby face team, with The Shield pretty much trolling them about who is going to turn on whom at Mania. The smart money is on Randy Orton, if anyone. Should be an intense match where everyone is hitting each other very hard.
Brock Lesnar Vs Triple H
Speaking of people hitting each other very hard, Viking Space Lord Brock Lesnar has a no DQ match with Triple H, meaning THERE WILL BE BLOOD and lots of it. Brock is the scariest, most believable dude on the planet whose character is basically a monster who doesn’t give a shit about anything except being paid to beat people up, which Paul Heyman has done a wonderful job of portraying on his behalf (since Brock is so terrible on the mic). HHH, of course, needs his win back from Summerslam and the chance to avenge his family and friends, who Brock has violently picked off one by one over the last few months. Could be a show stealer.
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Undertaker Vs CM Punk
Taker is 20-0 at Mania. You’d think this was a nice, round number to retire on but no; the Dead Man wants to keep going. This year there’s no Hell in a Cell around the ring to hide the ageing legend’s physical limitations, but there is super performer CM Punk, who can have a decent match with just about anyone.
The build for this one has been pretty insane, as it begun around the time of the real life death of Paul Bearer. Naturally, the WWE worked this into the storyline which, tasteless as it is, allowed them to go for the most shocking imagery they could to build the match — Punk rubbing Paul Bearer’s ashes in Taker’s face. Lovely.
Will Taker completely squash Punk for 20 minutes straight? Will Punk get any reasonable offence in to at least make us think he has a chance? Should be interesting despite the foregone conclusion.
The Rock Vs John Cena
Here’s the problem with this one. It’s the biggest money match in wrestling, I accept that. BUT, what exactly are they fighting for this time? Last year made sense because they’d never wrestled before, and because all the things Cena was saying were true — The Rock is an entitled celebrity who shows up whenever he feels like it, hogging all the limelight before jetting back to Hollywood, whereas Cena is someone who has been busting his arse non-stop for 10 years as the company’s number one guy, and is shown little appreciation for it. That right there is believable friction; there is definitely a score to settle.
This year though, what exactly are they feuding about? The Rock shows up, wins the belt at The Rumble, changes it to a Brahma Bull belt, and says he’s beat Cena before, which has given him the knowledge that he can beat Cena again, and that’s what’s going to happen. John Cena’s response is that he is an underdog (despite being the biggest star in the company for 10 years), that has never shined at Wrestlemania (despite headlining and winning numerous matches there), that his loss to The Rock ruined his marriage (despite the fact he had an IRL affair with a smut star) and that basically he cannot rest until he defeats the retired Duane Johnson in the second match in a series of ONCE IN A LIFETIME matches.
It makes no sense, but it is still a money match, which in my opinion can go one of two ways:
1. Cena gets his win back from last year, cementing his status as top dog who beat the leader of the Attitude generation, and goes on to do his babyface superhero thing for the rest of the year.
2. Rock wins again, sending Cena over the edge, leading to the long-awaited, much-needed John Cena heel turn (in which he will ironically be cheered more than he is nowadays). This is obviously the scenario most fans will be clamouring for, because lord knows they’re in need of a bit of a shake up.
So will any Sick Chirpsers actually be buying Mania? Streaming is the new buying for me, as I’m not going to shell out on something that has the potential to be great, but also the potential to be extremely shitty. And being in the UK, we’re the pricks who have to sit up until 5am watching it, aren’t we? I’ll be watching and reviewing, so let us know what you thought as well.
Wrestlemania 29 is this Sunday, 7th April at 12am on Sky Box Office.