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Countdown to WrestleMania 28
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff





It’s The Rock and John Cena, Triple H and The Undertaker; and with the main eventers from last year’s Wrestlemania butting heads once again (sorry, Miz), there’s a feeling of anticipation for Wrestlemania 28 such as can only come with a year-long build-up. Soon, it will be time to see if the happening lives up to the hype.

Find out what the SLAM! Wrestling writers think is going to happen!


HONOURARY “MILLER LITE CAT-FIGHT GIRLS” MATCH

Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Beth and Eve should dominate, but I'm guessing Maria gets the heroic victory. Hey, at least she can do something in the ring, unlike her partner.

Greg Oliver

The filler before the main event, unfortunately. I've enjoyed Eve as a heel, and it would be a waste to slow down that push. The heels win in a short one.

Darren Wood

When WWE doesn't really give the audience a real reason to invest in the women's division, you'll find it no surprise that I couldn't really care less about this match. It seems pretty obvious that Kelly Kelly and the latest celebrity participant for Wrestlemania, Maria Menounos, will claim the victory.

Mike Andrews

KK & MM win in under five minutes. A shame Natalya was left out of this one, but her big Wrestlemania moment probably would've been winning by farting on somebody.

Dave Hillhouse

This match just screams out on behalf of who isn’t involved, with Natalya, Tamina, and Kharma watching through the curtains as the heels crush the new career aspirations of Menounos.


Bob Kapur

I want to marry Kelly Kelly.

Matt Bishop

Quick, off the top of your head tell me the last time the Divas/Women's title, the U.S. title or Intercontinental title were defended at WrestleMania? I'll wait. Heck, even I can't remember. Let me think real hard. OK, I had to look it up. It was Rey Mysterio beating JBL for the IC title THREE YEARS AGO. These titles, they clearly are important. I digress. Is there anyway Kelly and Maria don't win this match? I don't think so.

Jan Murphy (News/Features Editor for The Kingston Whig Standard)

Not many years go by where a celebrity isn’t involved in some way, shape or form. This year is no exception. Barring a surprise appearance by Kharma, this one has snoozer written all over it. And never bet against the celebrity.
"ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING ON SUNDAY? NO, ARE YOU?" MATCH

Kane vs. Randy Orton
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

I'm really not big into this one. Orton wins, but the Kane gimmick has already run its course.

Greg Oliver

Intriguing in the sense that neither relatively high-profile guy had a program heading into Mania, it seemed, so this got thrown together over the last month. Since there will be a lack of schmozz finishes elsewhere, I'll call for a double DQ.

Darren Wood

With Randy Orton seemingly becoming invincible over the past few months, it perhaps might be unwise for this writer to go for anything but an Orton victory. Therefore that's exactly what I am going to root for, albeit a tainted disqualification victory for the Viper after Kane's use of an illegal weapon.

Mike Andrews

Gonna go out on a limb here and go with Kane, though his feud with Orton seems run of the mill after the one with Cena was abandoned. We'll probably see Zack Ryder in some form, too. Still, a better place for Kane than the brief 8-man tag match at WM 27.

Dave Hillhouse

Orton wins, getting another handshake after the match – but watch out! It’s a trick!

Bob Kapur

Hopefully the pizza guy rings the doorbell just as this one starts, and I'm back in the basement just as it ends. Don't care about either guy, no interest in this match. The pizza guy loses, because I'm a notoriously low tipper.

Matt Bishop

Wait, why is this a real match again? Oh, because they needed to have something for these two to do? Yeah, that's a good reason. I guarantee three things in this match: Sidewalk slam, draping DDT and RKO. Take it to the bank. We can all rejoice when Orton wins because it means the match is over.

Jan Murphy

Befuddled a bit by injuries of late, Orton, I expect, will resume his feud with Wade Barrett when the latter returns from injury in the not-too-distant future, while Kane will continue on down the path of internal strife, perhaps leading to the eventual return of Paul Bearer. This match smacks of a throw-in. Take Orton.
GM CHALLENGE MATCH

Team Teddy (Booker T, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder) vs. Team Johnny (Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz)

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Team Johnny rules all, with Miz getting the pin.

Greg Oliver

Ultimately, it's about who will be the general manager of both shows, right? I pray that it's Teddy, since he is far more entertaining -- or maybe that's only because I rarely see his schtick on Smackdown, so it seems fresher. John Laurinaitis is tolerable as the Raw GM, but he's the long-time golden child so his team goes over.

Darren Wood

Teddy Long is stale. There, I said it. His character is predictable and boring, over on Smackdown (and even occasionally now on Raw) Long always books the blatantly obvious that even Stevie Wonder himself could see what is going to come out of his mouth. Having Johnny as the GM for both brands (if there is now a brand split) would completely provide some fresh ideas for heels and faces alike.

Mike Andrews

Tough to imagine seeing more of Johnny Ace, but it pains me to predict Team Johnny going over due to some sort of interference or chicanery by the Miz or Otunga. Would rather see Teddy Long prevail, though. Miz has been demoted to a filler match after winning last year's main event so it's tough not imagining him having an impact on the outcome. Either way, it's a good bet those Team Johnny/ Team Teddy shirts will be in the WWE.com clearance bin by Monday.

Dave Hillhouse

Johnny is the new blood (on TV, anyway), and a heel GM is always better business. Methinks Teddy Long is getting a swan song.

Bob Kapur

Well, it beats Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler from last year, if only because there is talent on both sides of the ring (for the record, that wasn't intended as a knock on Lawler). I'm guessing Team Johnny wins, which is a win for fans who like to watch Johnny Ace fumble and stumble his way through promos, and a loss for the other 99% of the audience.

Matt Bishop

First, let's all hope they take the stupid T-shirts off and don't wrestle in them. Second, Theodore Long is an awful general manager. How does this guy still have a job? Not only that, he's been incompetent for years! Remember when he traded Triple H back to Raw for Booker T and the Dudleys in 2004? Yikes. It's time for a change and John Laurinaitis should be the man in charge. If you don't got it, get it. If you don't get it, figure it out!

Jan Murphy

This match got a lot more leadup exposure than perhaps it deserved. Not only that, but matches with so many competitors rarely produce anything in the neighbourhood of memorable. It seems clear that Laurinaitis’ camp will carry him to control of both programs given how well he has settled into his position on Raw. Long will be missed, but he’s been doing it for a, ahem, long time now. Change is inevitable. Particularly in wrestling. The real winners here are Otunga and Marella, while the real loser appears to be the extraordinarily talented Ziggler.
  INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Cody Rhodes (Champion) vs. Big Show
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Rhodes deserves to keep the title; he's been way too awesome in his role. But really, this story has you being sympathetic for Big Show, which is a task and a half. Take Show to win the last active WWE belt he hasn't collected in his career.

Greg Oliver

Alas, I think this one will have to be kept short. Since there are so few true heels going over on the show, I'd have Rhodes steal one on this big stage to set him up for a bigger stage, challenging Sheamus.

Darren Wood

Only one winner here in my opinion and that's The Big Show. Rhodes' constant bashing of Show's past Mania appearances and his stellar work on the mic over the past few weeks point to the fact that the landscape of this feud has been exceedingly one sided. Show will capture his first Intercontinental Championship and therefore hold every title that WWE presently has.

Mike Andrews

Rhodes has had the IC belt a while now, so gotta go with Show on this one. Plus Rhodes got the win in his match last year while wearing that stupid headgear.

Dave Hillhouse

Cody Rhodes puts his money where his mouth is and wins it clean. Big Show is just a big prop.

Bob Kapur

The build for this one saw Cody bring up all of Show's embarrassing Mania appearances. I think he gets his comeuppance, and Show gets the title.

Matt Bishop

OK, I have two schools of thought on this one. First, what purpose does Big Show have holding the IC title? None, really, but they've really been making him look bad recently. I think it's time for a Cody Rhodes main event push, personally. I think Rhodes holds onto the title here, but Big Show will win the match via disqualification.

Jan Murphy

Rhodes has brought stability and glory back to the Intercontinental title, once considered a very close second to the WWE title. To be honest, The Big Show doesn’t bring much these days, often jobbing to up-and-comers or the victim of an upset here or there. Rhodes is destined for bigger and better things for sure. A loss here makes little sense. Take Cody.


WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

I was totally sold on Sheamus being champ coming out of 'Mania, but now... there's just way too much heat on Daniel(son) and the belt completes him like Honky Tonk Man back in the day. I can see Bryan easily taking the win here, and losing it later to Undertaker to give the Deadman one final title run.

Greg Oliver

The crowd pops for a Sheamus win.

Darren Wood

My heart says Bryan, but my head says Sheamus. While this whole feud has been built poorly, there is something entertaining about Bryan as champion. His somewhat intriguing storyline with AJ is evolving quite nicely and it would be a shame for him to lose. However, the percentage of superstars winning World Championships after claiming the Royal Rumble prize is dramatically falling and since winning the Rumble, Sheamus has lost a tonne of steam. Head rules heart on this one and says Sheamus to claim his first World Heavyweight Championship.

Mike Andrews

I've enjoyed watching this one progress, although still disappointed Sheamus didn't resurrect his "little Daniel Bryan" line from the NXT feud between the two. The set-up points to a future title reign for Sheamus, though I could see AJ used as win bait once more for a Bryan victory. It's the old Randy Savage using Liz as a shield trick, one of the most-done -- and most unpopular with a crowd -- villain tactics ever.

Dave Hillhouse

Sheamus is popular, but Bryan is just starting to become truly loathed. I see him getting DQ’d out of the match, but bouncing up the ramp with a “YES! YES! YES!” and the title.

Bob Kapur

I think that one title will switch hands this year, and as much as I'm a fan of Bryan, I don't think that Mania will be a fun night for him. He'll lose both the belt and AJ in the same match.

Matt Bishop

Sheamus has to win, right? After all, he was pinned on Raw on Monday, which can only mean one thing: He goes over here. It's going to be sad to see Daniel Bryan's title reign ended. He's been awesome and has really come into his own. Hopefully they don't do endless rematches between these two at the next few pay-per-views which would make Bryan irrelevant. I think this will open the show and we'll have a new champion, sadly.

Jan Murphy

This rivalry will not end here. A case can be made for either man in this one. Bryan has done everything asked of him, and then some, exceeding expectations in many cases while becoming a top heel. Sheamus is again on the brink of superstardom and putting the title on his waist could never hurt. Still, I see no reason to stall Bryan’s progress. He has been a worthy champion and is a rising star. That counts for something. Take Bryan.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

CM Punk (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Punk in theory should go over, but WWE knows it has a volcanically hot potential with Punk pursuing the belt next month at the PPV in Chicago. Putting Jericho over does not hurt Punk by any stretch, so consider this one another 'Mania win for the proud Winnipegger.

Greg Oliver

One of the world titles has to change hands, but it won't be this one. Punk retains and Jericho has a hissy fit like only he can.

Darren Wood

In what I expect will be the opener (I know, incredible isn't it?) I fully expect Jericho to take the title and Best in the World moniker from CM Punk. This, if given the time, should be as JR would say a 'helluva wrestling match'.

Mike Andrews

This one, really, oughta steel the show. Normally, I hate seeing a wrestler's family used to further a feud. But, both Punk and Jericho have excelled at drawing sympathy and heat from the crowds, er, WW(E) universe. It's really worked and, somehow, Jericho's phoned in promos make the tactic even more effective. Wanna say Jericho takes the belt here, but not so sure the 'E would put it on him right now. It's a toss up, but should be the real match of the night from two guys, other than Triple H and 'Taker, who really know how to do it old-school.

Dave Hillhouse

Jericho wins at the end of an almost foregone classic match. Punk will win in the long run, though, because he’ll get the title back and won’t drown his sorrows in the meantime.


Bob Kapur

This could be the Ricky Steamboat-Randy Savage, HBK-Razor Ramon or Bret Hart-Owen Hart of the modern era – the match that people will talk about decades later. I think that this feud will continue through until SummerSlam, so the question is who draws first blood. I think Punk holds on to it this time, but will lose it at the next PPV.

Matt Bishop

Interesting match here and one that has the chance to steal the show if given enough time. I definitely see this feud continuing after WrestleMania, so which direction to go here? Extreme Rules next month is in Chicago, which as we all know is Punk's hometown. So do you want to have Punk chase the title into his hometown or lose it there? I think Punk retains here and Jericho does some dastardly in the coming weeks to get a rematch.

Jan Murphy

This is as close to a draw as one can get in a match. Both men are brilliant technicians inside a ring. Both are wonderful and innovative with a microphone. Both think outside the box. And both are hugely popular. While there is no obvious reason to take the title from the waist of Punk, for the sake of keeping this epic storyline going, I see Jericho winning, thus extending the life and turning the table. Take Jericho.
"THE END OF AN ERA"

The Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell with Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

The story of 'Taker vs. Trips is going to be secondary to Trips vs. Michaels, setting up WM29's semi-main. I'm guessing we get HBK doing a similar spot to the SummerSlam '97 with Shawn cranking Trips with a chair "accidentally" while intending to hit 'Taker. This is going to have to be bloody as all heck.

Greg Oliver

If this was Triple H seven or eight years ago, I might be able to justify him going over, but not now. Even if 'Taker was truly retiring, then HHH shouldn't be The Man to beat him. Taker wins, but I expect something Michaels does to lead to it, whether it's an accident or intentional.

Darren Wood

Again?! Really?... That was my first reaction when this encounter was announced and I still feel that way to this day. Expectations here are that Undertaker will bare his newly acquired bald head to the world, if I was Taker, I would have showed it before. Let people get used to it instead of being in awe of its shininess. Look for Twitter trends worldwide to be more about Taker's head rather than the match. I will concede though, that I am actually looking forward to the first Hell in a Cell encounter since Wrestlemania XV. This match should be great, my only worry is the reliance of this match to tell a story with special guest referee HBK.

Mike Andrews

We finally get to see Taker's new haircut and possibly the end of wrestling's greatest ever bromance. I don't really foresee Michaels outright turning on Triple H, but I could see a miscalculated Sweet Chin Music or chair shot hitting Trips instead setting him up for a Tombstone. I was at WM 27 and, seeing how truly banged up Undertaker was afterwards, it's tough to imagine a HIAC this year. That said, still don't see the streak ending but, if somehow it does, you gotta bet on some sort of Triple H heel turn taking shape.

Dave Hillhouse

It’s like a James Bond movie -- The Undertaker is going to win, but we will all tune in to see how it happens. Really nice to see that Hell in a Cell is being used because it serves the story, not just because it’s time for the pay-per-view of the same name.


Bob Kapur

I didn't like how the build for this one started, with HHH suggesting that The Streak was somehow not as important as who walked out of last year's match and who had to be carried. The Streak is the gimmick, that's what's important, and fortunately, that's what they reinforced since then. I really like the addition of HBK and the HiaC element into this one, but ultimately they won't make a difference in the outcome. Taker's streak continues, and all is right in the world.

Matt Bishop

I know blood is banned and everything, but if there was ever a match these days to have blood in, this one would have to be it, right? It's Hell in a Cell and these two are going to want to have the best match on the show. Undertaker hasn't been in action for a year now and he probably won't be in action for another year after this, so he's going to leave it all in the ring. Triple H isn't a full-time performer anymore, either, so I expect the same out of him. At this point, there's no reason to end The Streak. It's something real special in a world of scripted outcomes. If they end it, especially here, I think it'll be a big mistake. Taker goes to 20-0 and then on another 10-month vacation.

Jan Murphy

Some things are and should remain sacred. Such is the case with The Undertaker’s unthinkable and unblemished record at WrestleMania. Not only that, but the timing and the opponent don’t seem right here. There may be a time to consider busting up the perfection, but this is not that time. I expect a brutal and bloody match. One that may push the boundaries of extreme violence, but in the end, there is only one right decision -- for the fans, the Undertaker and the business -- and that’s to keep the streak intact. Take the Deadman.
ONCE IN A LIFETIME

John Cena vs. The Rock

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

WHAT YOU THINK
Do you think John Cena will turn full heel before WrestleMania 28 for his bout against The Rock?
No way. - 24%
Yup. - 29%
He'll be more heelish, but not a full heel. - 46%
The obvious choice is Cena winning, since he's the one "sticking around" and seems destined for another title run; yet I wouldn't discount some sort of shenanigans to turn Rock into an epic heel, leading to the rumored Summerslam rematch.

Greg Oliver

If Cena loses, he looks weak. If Rock loses, what was the point of it all? There has to be a clean finish. So I'll take Cena.

Darren Wood

The match for the ages, should be one that has fans and critics alike on the edge of their seats. Okay so I'm not expecting a 5-star encounter, but the drama and crowd involvement alone, should drive this clash to be among one of Wrestlemania's top moments of all time.

Mike Andrews

For the most part, I've enjoyed the build-up... though not for a full year! Rock will look like a million bucks, but Cena takes it. Should be a good one. It better be .... it's been the focal point of the company since this time last year!

Dave Hillhouse

The Rock wins with a heel turn, sending Cena into a psychological tailspin until he can finally get his revenge at Wrestlemania 29.


Bob Kapur

The story here is whether they will pull the trigger on a full-fledged Cena heel turn. The fan in me really hopes so, since the character needs to be revitalized in order to remain interesting. The WWE shareholder in me hopes not, since it would mean a big drop in merch sales. Either way, though, I think he's going to win.

Matt Bishop

This one really has me thinking. I've come to the conclusion that the only way I'm going to accept John Cena winning is if Brock Lesnar (or someone of similar stature) comes out of nowhere and gives The Rock the F5, leading to a Cena win. If that doesn't happen, we need a clean finish one way or another here. Any type of screwjob finish could have some bad outcomes, especially in a match of this magnitude. I'm paying my $64.95 and I want a clean finish (unless Lesnar is involved somehow). Maybe I should fly down to Miami right now, buy a ticket and make a "CLEAN FINISH OR I RIOT" sign. Either way, it's unfortunate that I think Cena's going to win. But hey, it's The Rock's hometown, so it's no surprise he'll be doing the jobski there.

Jan Murphy

Cena has completely and utterly dominated the self-proclaimed Great One during all of the leadup to this match. I see no reason for that to change. Cena has never been more correct about anything than when he said he has to win this. The Rock will leave following this match, returning where he sees fit and where his schedule will allow, while Cena will continue to show up at house shows and work day in and day out. A loss to The Rock at this stage not only sends a very poor message, but it practically kills Cena’s career. The Rock had his time, his heyday. This is Cena’s time to shine. I’m in camp Cena.

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The matches may only happen once in a lifetime, and eventually eras will come to an end … but you can always rewind and watch it again!




RELATED LINKS
  • Rock vs Cena: Predictions from the stars
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