SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestlemania 25
   Sat, April 4, 2009



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Countdown to Wrestlemania 25
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
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CLICK HERE for a larger version of the poster.

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Why do I use that as the intro? Because in the opinions of most fans and scribes, 'Mania just isn't as exciting this year. For whatever reason, be it the matches booked, the seeming focus shift to John Cena's movie or other reasons, in the minds of most this just doesn't feel like 'Mania.

Of course, we've said this in the past and have in the end seen really good shows, so it's still up in the air as to what to truly expect. In the meantime, let's run down the card.


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Triple H vs. Randy Orton

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

It's hard not to put this match on last, except for the sneaking suspicion that the heel will come out on top. Who the heel will be though is to be determined. Despite everything Randy Orton has done to keep himself hated, the fans still cheer him. A double-switch could happen here, but it would take a lot of maneuvering to do so. I expect the turn to happen either on Raw or at Backlash, but for now let's book Orton to win the match.

Jason Clevett

This just doesn't have the "Mania Main Event Feel" to me. We've seen these two wrestle plenty of times before, including in a three-way at last years Mania, and the build up has been pretty lame. That said, Triple H always brings his "A" game for WrestleMania so I do expect a good match. Orton wins to begin the new age of Orton.

Matt Mackinder

Ah yes, these recycled feuds have so much luster, don’t they? Orton has high blood pressure and Triple H broke kayfabe on Raw to admit he’s married to Stephanie McMahon in “real life”. The WWE has built Orton to be the maniac of maniacs and that’s great and all, but when you’re not family, you don’t win the main event at WrestlaMania. Though, it would be a sweet swerve to see Steph or Shane McMahon help Orton win and be the next member of Legacy.

Mark Xamin

The roles should really be reversed here — Orton should be the champion and HHH should be the one chasing him for the title. Nonetheless, look for Orton to win this and reign as champion until at least Summer Slam.

Marty Goldstein

It's too bad Orton has to lose to the son-in law but that's the way the cookie will crumble.

Andy McNamara

This has been a tremendous emotional build with Orton easily becoming the hottest heel in the company. I don't think anyone is debating that Triple H will come out on top, but hopefully Orton is kept to look very strong. The Game retains gold with a Pedigree in the middle of the ring. After Mania, the writing staff has to start making DiBiase and Rhodes look like viable threats.

Bob Kapur

Though the buildup was a bit shaky with the HHH house invasion, this feud stepped up several notches the other week when Orton assaulted Stephanie - that was fantastic. With Vince and Shane now in the mix, the match might end being a bit of a cluster, but it should still be a solid match. HHH stands triumphant at the end of the day.

Chris Sokol

This match will contain a lot of interference, as Priceless and The McMahons will get involved at some point. Stephanie McMahon will probably show up towards the end of the match and wind up costing her husband the title. Orton wins.


WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH

Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

This is the very definition of bad booking. Vickie was so strong as a character a couple months ago, now she's just annoying. Are we really supposed to believe that both Edge and Show love her? Is this just going to end up like Dwight and Andy's love for Angela? Cena's bound to take the title here, in what coule be the lead-in to the end of Vickie Guerrero on WWE TV.

Jason Clevett

Another one without the Main Event Feeling to it, the Three-way has become a crutch in Wrestlemania booking. Sure, the match at WrestleMania 20 was a classic, but has any of the other three way matches been at all memorable? I had to actually wrack my brain to remember the match last year. The build for this has been complete garbage as well. Cena wins to send the crowd home happy.

Matt Mackinder

I like how Show was just added to the match because we’ve already seen Edge and Cena about 6,115 times. But Big Show? Come on, can’t the bookers, er, Creative Team, come up with someone else. CM Punk maybe? Cena has the fans, Edge has the title and Show has, um, well, a bald head. Edge as the world champ makes sense, but then again, so does Cena. But if Cena wins, does he move to Smackdown? Nah. He’s a Raw mainstay. Edge retains.

Mark Xamin

It’s either Cena or Edge walking out with the title, and since it’s WrestleMania, look for a title change…that means John Cena is your new champion. This is especially likely given the current world economic crisis — John Cena is a big draw and WWE will be putting the focus back on him this year, you can count on it.

Marty Goldstein

If Show wins I'll eat Cena's hat. I guess Edge.

Andy McNamara

Edge is taking time off after Mania so you know he's dropping the title. The obvious choice is putting the belt back on Cena *boring*, but with John's big movie coming out I could see him going on a run to promote the film. Vince has become increasingly paranoid on storylines being leaked so I could see Big Show getting the surprise win and Cena taking the belt from him at the next pay-per-view. I'm going out on a limb and picking Show.

Bob Kapur

Can't say I've liked the buildup for this one nearly as well as the other title match, and with the inclusion of the Big Show it won't be nearly as good. That said, Edge and Cena should be able to make this one pretty good. A feel-good ending is always nice at Mania, so look for Cena to somehow get the win.

Chris Sokol

Cena's out of the question since he's supposedly shooting a movie around summer-time. It looks as though the Edge and Big Show feud is going to continue past Mania. Edge gets the win here and retains, forcing a singles match-up between him and Show at Backlash with Vickie Guerrero as a Guest Referee or Enforcer.


INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH

JBL vs. Rey Mysterio

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

If Monday's match was done to build hype for Sunday's bout, then it failed. Rey may look like more of a threat, but we already know he can beat JBL. Rey takes the title and JBL's historic announcement is that he's bringing back WCW.

Jason Clevett

I have no interest in this match. Hopefully Rey wins.

Matt Mackinder

How this is even a match at ‘Mania is beyond me and why it’s Rey getting the title match is also beyond me. But I digress. What’s the “history” JBL is supposed to make here? Beat Rey, unmask him and then retire as IC champ? That’d be cool. We then would get weeks of tournament matches (and probably qualifying matches) leading up to a tournament final at whatever PPV is in June.

Mark Xamin

Mysterio will likely win the strap here, as JBL is pondering retirement and Mysterio needs something to rejuvenate him because he’s been lost in the shuffle lately. It wasn’t too long ago that he was the World champion…now look at him.

Marty Goldstein

JBL eats the 619 and Rey Rey win wins

Andy McNamara

This match was hastily put together, and then they gave it away for free on Raw! A bout that already meant nothing becomes even more uninteresting. Mysterio wins IC gold and JBL goes back behind the Smackdown announce table.

Bob Kapur

Have to say, I'm actually intrigued by what the big announcement from JBL will be. My guess is that he'll win the match and retire as champion.

Chris Sokol

Rey Mysterio will come close, but JBL gets the win in his home state.


  GRUDGE MATCH (EXTREME RULES)

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

The build just got too creepy on Smackdown a couple weeks back, but the bout itself will be great. Do yourselves a favour and watch the Eddie Guerrero/Edge Smackdown match on Guerrero's DVD. It will prepare you for this bout, which I expect to be very similar.

Jason Clevett

Remember how great the build was to Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart? I wish WWE creative had gone and watched that TV and it gave them some ideas. This feud has just been flat. I do expect a great match, although I also expected that in 2001 when they stunk up the joint at Vengence. Matt wins due to the extreme rules, to continue the feud.

Matt Mackinder

Is this feud one and done? The whole sibling rivalry thing has been done before, so this type feud is nothing new. We can only hope that Extreme Rules means more than tin garbage cans, plastic stop signs and metal chairs. These guys in a one-on-one match that caters to their strengths has the probability to be epic, but with WWE being watered-down these days, we’ll have to settle for the above toys being used in this match and some high-flying moves. Probably no juice, either. Older brother wins here, but my gut says he helps up lil’ bro and the two embrace like Randy Savage and Elizabeth did at WrestleMania VII.

Mark Xamin

Hardy har har, heel hits his finisher for the victoire.

Marty Goldstein

Will it be the match of the night? It's a lot of pressure on a couple of guys who were at their best in the 1980s. I seriously smell a swerve here, with Flair getting the upset victory, and then announcing his actual retirement on Raw with the whole company feting him.

Andy McNamara

Potential show-stealer right here. If Matt and Jeff go all out we should be seeing some high flying, risk taking carnage. Jeff picks up the 1-2-3, but only after both brothers are bloodied and exhausted..

Bob Kapur

This one could rival even the Money in the Bank match in terms of craziness. I've never been a big fan of the Hardys personally, but there's no denying they can deliver when it comes to daredevil moves. Matt deserves to get his comeuppance for everything he's done to Jeff lately, and Mania should be the climax of the feud, so look for Jeff to win.

Chris Sokol

Matt Hardy picks up the win to further the feud with his brother Jeff.


TAG TEAM TITLE UNIFICATION MATCH (LUMBERJACK MATCH)

Los Colons vs. Miz and Morrison


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

These four guys have had the best matches on WWE TV in the last few months and unifying the titles makes sense. If it wasn't for MITB, I'd say Ladder Match here, but I'm guessing that will wait for a couple shows (seems like a good fit for Extreme Rules). Miz and Morrison win.

Jason Clevett

Glad to see the tag titles on the show, and this could be a good match even with the lumberjack stipulation. I'd look for the Colons to walk out with the straps.

Matt Mackinder

Please open the show with this match. None of these guys are top-notch material. Matt Bishop would backhand me if I didn’t pick his man-crushes Miz and Morrison, so I’ll take my chances and say the Colon boys win all four belts and get both Bellas amid outside interference aplenty.

Mark Xamin

Finally, they’re doing something smart! With the tag team division so weak, unifying the titles is the right move. I hope Morrison and The Miz win because I don’t think Carlito and Primo are ready to carry the division yet. So, that’s my pick — Morrison and The Miz. The Lumberjack stipulation is a cheap excuse to get everyone not on the card some camera time at the biggest event of the year.


Marty Goldstein

Hmm, Colon-ialism wins out over Miz and Morrison.

Andy McNamara

Good to finally see the two tag belts merged; maybe now this title can mean something again. A nice slow build with these two teams has been a nice change in the tag division and the addition of The Bella Twins was a good touch. The good guys, Carlito and Primo, take home WrestleMania glory.

Bob Kapur

Unfortunately, what could have been a very good match will suffer - lumberjack matches aren't a favourite of mine. This will be the standard cliche finish where interference from one of the outside heels will lead to Miz and Morrison getting the win.

Chris Sokol

The Colons use their quickness to get the advantage and take the titles away from Miz and Morrison.


GRUDGE MATCH

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

The build has been the best all year, and you can thank Michaels for that. It's obvious that 'Taker wins, but I almost get the feeling there will be a heel turn tease post match with 'Taker going ballistic on HBK, only for Shawn to be saved by Batista.

Jason Clevett

One of only two matches I am really excited about on this show (what does that say?). The build has been great, and really this is one of the last few "dream matches" in WWE. I remember the reaction at the Royal Rumble in 2007 when they were the last two left. To WWE's credit they let this stew for another two years before pulling the trigger. Undertaker will maintain his streak but it will be a hell of a match to get there.

Matt Mackinder

In all honesty, this should be the last match on the card. But it’ll probably be stuck somewhere in the middle. How much longer can either of these guys go? I hope this gets at least 20-plus minutes. Michaels has been coming out ahead on TV recently, so common sense would say he loses at ‘Mania. Not so, say me. The Streak hits 17-0.


Mark Xamin

Undertaker wins in what will no doubt be his best WrestleMania match ever. If his losing streak ever comes to an end, it would be against a young, rising star to put them over; not an aging Shawn Michaels who doesn’t need the rub — he’s already a legend.

Marty Goldstein

The most surprising thing on the show would be seeing Taker staring at the lights. 17-0

Andy McNamara

Oh baby I'm looking forward to this one! What a fantastic early '90's type of build with borderline cheesy vignettes coupled with deadly serious promos. I pray that Undertaker pulls this out and they save his 1st Mania loss to be to a youngster who needs the rub. After a classic battle it will be The Dead Man who stands tall.

Bob Kapur

This should be the epic match that everyone talks about for years to come. Taker's streak has become so meaningful to fans that for it to break would be a major suprise, and I think a major disappointment. Even though Shawn is probably the only person deserving of the honour, I don't think it's going to happen.

Chris Sokol

HBK will put on quite a show, but in the end 'Taker's streak will prevail.


 

MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH

CM PUNK VS. FINLAY VS. SHELTON BENJAMIN VS. CHRISTIAN VS. KANE VS. MARK HENRY VS. MVP

 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

This is looking pretty weak. A month ago I would've picked MVP, but with the US title now around his waist that's not going to happen. Shelton Benjamin deserve the spot more than anyone now and will get the chance to run for the title, likely against Cena.

Jason Clevett

Each year it seems WWE gives us some odd additions to this match, yet it still works out to be something pretty cool. Punk won last year so he is out, and I can't see him taking it. I will go with Christian, a ladder expert, to walk away with the briefcase.

Matt Mackinder

Somehow imagining Mark Henry climbing a ladder makes me want to skip a meal or even seven. Yikes. I like Kofi Kingston or a repeat CM Punk win here. My dark horse is Christian.

Mark Xamin

Either Christian or CM Punk, but since Punk dropped the ball with his last opportunity, I’m going with Christian. There are more storyline opportunities that way — he can bother Edge and they can feud over the main event spot, or he can bug Cena about running him out of WWE a few years back. MVP is the sleeper though.

Andy McNamara

Ok the only two viable options are either MVP or Christian to win. CM Punk could do it, but he won last year and I think he is stuck in the Intercontinental level for now. My heart says Christian, but my brain tells me that he will be punished for his TNA choice for a while longer. MVP grabs the briefcase.

Bob Kapur

What a strange combination of people in this match - Kane? And, seriously, Mark Henry? Though how cool would it be to see him pick up a ladder and move it away from the briefcase while someone else is climbing it. I think Christian will pick up the win. He's strong enough on the mic that having him come out on TV every week and brag about being the new Mr. MitB will be quite entertaining. Can't say the same about anyone else.

Chris Sokol

Gail Kim picks up some steam and wins the Battle Royal.


 

MISS WRESTLEMANIA MATCH

Maria vs. Natalaya vs. Melina vs. Maryse vs. Rosa Mendez vs. Tiffany vs. Jillian Hall vs. Katie Lea vs. Kelly Kelly vs. Alicia Fox vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella vs. Gail Kim vs. Mickie James vs. Candice Michelle vs. Eve Torres vs. Michelle McCool vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Layla vs. Sunny vs. Torrie Wilson vs. Jackie Gayda vs. Molly Holly vs. Victoria

 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

As odd as it sounds, this one has some good intrigue. A few could win here between a potentially returning Trish, Gail Kim, either belt-holder or, of course, Santino Marella. I'll go a different route and pick Sunny.

Jason Clevett

This is a tough one to pick. On the one hand, it would be great to see a legend like Sunny win, but at the same time that would be at the expense of all of the girls who have worked so hard all year to get to this spot. Likely this will turn into a comedy, with Santino taking out one of the contestants and replacing her to win.

Matt Mackinder

Incredible – 50 breasts in one ring. Who wins? Who cares? But if I had to pick, I’d say Sunny outlasts the other 24 in what will obviously be a quick three-minute match.

Mark Xamin

Word on the street is Sunny will be making an appearance in this one. Who cares who wins, honestly?


Andy McNamara

ummmmm Trish Stratus?

Bob Kapur

If Mae Young is in the match, she wins, simply because there's no way she's going over the top rope. Trish Stratus probably deserves it more than any other woman, though I wouldn't be too upset if Sunny won it either. Too many choices, so I'm just going to sit back and watch the beauties in action.

Chris Sokol

Gail Kim picks up some steam and wins the Battle Royal.


 

GRUDGE MATCH (HANDICAP)

Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat/Roddy Piper/Jimmy Snuka

 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

This won't be good unless it's Steamboat in for the majority of the match. Jericho wins the battle, but loses the war after Austin comes out for a Stunner. To top it off, we get the RamJam from Mickey Rourke.

Jason Clevett

Oh what could have been. Such great promos from Jericho, so much great potential... and then this. While I am excited to see Steamboat wrestle again, as talented as Jericho is I can't see this being much more than a gong show. Hopefully Jericho wins, but gets his comeuppance afterwards, perhaps with a Stunner?

Matt Mackinder

Let’s see – DVD of Piper. Check. DVD of Snuka – upcoming. DVD of Steamboat – soon? This storyline got boring right from the start and it ends here. Mickey Rourke gets involved and helps the old-timers win. This much is clear even to a blind and deaf person. I hope Y2J pouts after the match, too. It’s always nice to see a near-40-year-old throw a hissy fit. WWE is also making him to be a softer, "me use big words that most fans don't know what they mean" version of Orton. I call that lazy writing by the Fed.


Mark Xamin

Dumbest angle of the year, bar none. The legends will win with help from Ric Flair and possibly Mickey Rourke.

Andy McNamara

This could either be a terrific Mania moment or a total disaster. I'm thinking this will be kept relatively short with Jericho going after Mickey Rourke and Flair. The Legends will win somehow and I'm thinking Rourke gets in the ring and lays out Y2J.

Bob Kapur

Way to blow a marquee match and somehow not set up Y2J against either Stone Cold, the newest flag-bearer for the Hall of Fame, or Hulk Hogan, the true centrepiece of the earliest Wrestlemanias. If Steamboat can work even as half as well as he did twenty years ago, it should be a good match. If not, well, it's going to tank pretty hard. Should be fun, though. Y2J gets a cheap win, but in the end, the Legends, Mickey Rourke, and Ric Flair will be standing tall in the centre of the ring.

Chris Sokol

Jericho wins the match through questionable tactics, only to be confronted by "Stone Cold" Steve Austing, who comes to the aide of his fellow Hall of Famer's and levels Jericho with a Stunner.


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-- compiled by Jon Waldman

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