SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestlemania 26
   Sat, March 27, 2010



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Countdown to WrestleMania 26
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
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If I need to orate about WrestleMania XXVI at all, it's to someone who's brand new to the wrestling game. For those of you who fit this description, welcome to the single biggest wrestling weekend of the year. As much hyperbole as WWE generates about this being the "showcase of the immortals" and the "Super Bowl of wrestling", it's true.

Let's not waste any more time. On with the show folks, because this, indeed, is it.


GRUDGE MATCH (No DQ)

Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara

A quick point. The fact that the Hart Dynasty got ZERO rub from this angle is criminal. Now to the match. I just hope Bret doesn't get hit in the head, because I was still under the impression that he should never wrestle again due to the stroke. This will obviously be a brawl with plenty of plunder. Although no other roster wrestlers benefit from the angle it will still be entertaining as this seemingly impossible reunion of Hart and the WWE plays out.

Jon Waldman

There's something about this match that rubs me the wrong way. Here you have two guys that are both not ring fit. Vince is in his 60s and Bret's been in poor health. I am so afraid of something going wrong here and someone suffering irreparable damage, that I'm not sure I can even watch this match. Without Vince being able to bleed, this is a nothing bout. We'll get the Sharpshooter moment, hopefully, but honestly this is not one I am keeping my eyes open for.

Bob Kapur

While this might be a good opportunity to use Bret to help elevate the Hart Dynasty - imagine the rub they would get if they turned on him, and cost him the match, thereby becoming instant mega-heels - I think this one is a slam dunk. Fans have been waiting for years to see Bret get his revenge. And he will, by making Vince tap to the SharpShooter in the middle of the ring.

Mark Xamin

I can't even tell you how happy I am to make a prediction on a Bret Hart match. He's been my idol since I was a kid and is the reason I got into covering wrestling. Without a doubt, this is where Bret Hart finally prevails over Vince McMahon, finally putting the Survivor Series incident of 1997 to bed. What exactly did Vince McMahon mean when he said Bret was "screwed" this Sunday though? It's no DQ, so expect a possible run in for Vince. Bret will be limited in what he can do (can't take a blow to the head or fall on his back, for example), but being, in my mind, the greatest wrestler of all time and having the incredible mind for the business that he does, Bret will find a way to make it worth the price of admission. The Hitman overcomes the odds and walks out like a true hero. And just like HBK...I hope this isn't the last we see of him.

NOTE: For more picks on this match, including thoughts from Stone Cold Steve Austin, Joe E Legend, Natalya and David Hart Smith, and more, check out Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon: The Predictions.


GRUDGE MATCH (Career vs. Streak)

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker

WHAT YOU THINK
It's Shawn Michaels versus The Undertaker at WrestleMania. What will happen?
HBK ends The Streak - 18%
Taker ends HBK's career - 54%
The TNA option: A screwjob non-finish - 28%

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara

No doubt the match itself will be spectacular. The nervousness comes as to whether Michaels ends Undertaker's historic streak. HBK does need to nor should he beat Taker. That glorious moment must be saved for a prospect who needs that huge push. Ending Undertaker's streak will make a wrestler...that spot is not for Shawn Michaels. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the Dead Man wins and HBK takes a vacation.

Jon Waldman

WWE has positioned this match very uniquely. Here you have Shawn Michaels as the ultimate sympathy babyface. People will say they want 'Taker to win to preserve the streak, but I'm not sure any want it at the expense of HBK's career. In fact, WWE has the great opportunity to do a great heel turn for 'Taker -- 'Taker does defeat HBK, but rather than let him have the farewell moment, beat the everloving crap out of Shawn on the way "out". Let HBK be bandaged and bruised and beat up for a few months, then campaign for a return career vs. career bout say at the Rumble. In the interim, have mega heel 'Taker dominate HBK's buddies like Triple H and Cena to show just how dominant he is, building to the return bout. For this to work, Taker has to win, and really, I don't like that, because this is supposed to be the time when the good guy wins. I don't want Shawn losing, but if it means WWE comes out strong, I guess I have to accept it.

Bob Kapur

Can they recreate the magic from last year? I hope so. Will the ultimate outcome be the same as last year? Ditto.

Mark Xamin

With HBK taking time off (and whispers that this could in fact legitimately be his last match), there is little question that the streak continues. The real question is, can they top last year's classic? I think they can. I just hope this isn't truly the end of Shawn Michaels.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Chris Jericho vs. Edge

WHAT YOU THINK
Who will be World champion after WrestleMania on Sunday?
Chris Jericho (c) - 26%
Edge - 74%

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara

I absolutely love this feud. Two fantastic promo men who can deliver in the ring. What could be better? The spear storyline has been terrific and this title fight will battle Taker/HBK for match of the night. Edge wins clean with a spear for his WrestleMania moment.

Jon Waldman

While I may have bought a PPV to see these two fight at one point, I'm not buying 'Mania for it. There's almost been too much time to build this bout up. We all knew it was going to happen and once we got the first couple promos it was set. Because of this, the vehicle's been in neutral for a few weeks. In the end, I'm going with the overwhelming consensus that whoever wins will not be the title holder at night's end.

Bob Kapur

Somehow, Jericho retains in a screwy manner. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have to defend against the MitB winner right afterward, and with the help from Edge, that person will win the belt.

Mark Xamin

Edge won the Royal Rumble in dramatic fashion, Chris Jericho is the super heel, Edge is the baby face...all adds up to an Edge victory with the SPEAR...SPEAR....SPEAR.


  WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Batista vs. John Cena
 

WHAT YOU THINK
Who will be WWE Champion after WrestleMania 26?
Batista (c) - 32%
John Cena - 68%

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


From what I thought would initially be a bland angle, this has developed into an entertaining storyline. Batista has been magnificent cocky heel champ and has shown he can cut some good promos. Naturally the fact that Cena has never beaten The Animal at WrestleMania means that Cena will pick up the 1-2-3.

Jon Waldman

To me this is simple - if this bout goes on last, Cena wins. If it doesn't Batista wins and the feud continues.

Bob Kapur

I've never liked Batista more than I have during this build. I think the feud will continue on. To do that, my guess is that Cena gets the win here, which causes Batista to attack him on RAW to renew the fight.

Mark Xamin

Little doubt that Superman wins this. Cena takes the title and likely holds it through SummerSlam. Too bad, because I like this heel role Batista is in and it would be a shame to cut him off as he's really starting to hit his stride; but alas, such is life in the WWE.


  MONEY IN THE BANK MATCH

Participants: Christian, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, MVP, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, Jack Swagger
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


The Money In The Bank Match has become a staple of WrestleMania and signifies who will be getting the next big push. Right off the bat we can knock out Kane, Benjamin and Hardy...probably Bourne too who is only there for spectacular ladder jumps. Christian would be a great choice to go into a feud with Edge. Since Drew McIntyre has been a focal point, I'll lean towards him.

Jon Waldman

When the participants first started being named, I wasn't sure who would come out on top. Now that we have the full slate, there's only three guys that can win to me - Kofi, McIntyre and Christian. McIntyre's a bit too fresh-faced, but he has the god push right now. I think he needs more time with the IC belt though, so he's out. Kofi is a great choice to win this because the fans have embraced him and he's ready for the next step up, but I can't see him being champ on his first try. Instead, I'll go with Christian, cashing in vs. Edge and turning megaheel.

Bob Kapur

After doing his time in ECW purgatory since his return, It's finally time for him to break through the glass ceiling. He wins, and as I predicted in the Edge-Y2J match, goes on to bigger things.

Mark Xamin

Shelton Benjamin takes his traditional role for a high spot or two but ends up coming up short. Dolph Ziggler isn't ready for the main event yet. Evan Bourne falls into the Shelton Benjamin category...there for a high spot and nothing more. Drew McIntyre is the IC champion and is nowhere near main event calibre. Kane has no drawing power any more. That leaves Christian, Swagger, MVP, Hardy, or Kofi as legitimate threats to win. I have to go with either Christian or Swagger, with my money on Christian.


  GRUDGE MATCH

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


CM Punk's cult like group has been so well done and he fits a crazed leader role perfectly. Mysterio has no hair to shave and will play his typical come from behind underdog role. With Rey coming out of the match victorious I hope that Punk does not lose momentum.

Jon Waldman

This is an early pick for feud of the year, but the momentum could die at 'Mania. Rey needs to lose here and Punk needs to work Mysterio over for a few weeks, eventually leading to a mask vs. freedom match. Let's sit back and watch the match of the night folks. Punk gets the duke.

Bob Kapur

The new stipulation that Rey has to join the SES if he loses makes me think he will. That can set up a match down the road where he puts up his mask vs his freedom. Still don't know how a "straight edge" life of no drugs is supposed to be bad... though I love beer too much to totally embrace it personally.

Mark Xamin

I really hope CM Punk wins, because building up this feud with Rey being forced to join the Straight Edge Society would be a recipe for one of the best feuds in a long time. Both of these guys can get it done in the ring...this could be the sleeper match of the night. I'm going to guess Punk, since not every babyface can win on this night.


  UNIFIED TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH

Show-Miz vs. John Morrison/R-Truth
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


I have no interest in the Morrison/Truth team and the sooner The Friday Night Delight can get back to singles action the better. Show and Miz make a terrific heel tandem and should retain.

Jon Waldman

Morrison and Truth aren't exactly lighting it up for me as a tandem. Show-Miz are actually pretty good as a duo and I think there's more to be done with them. The question is whether Otunga and Bryan get involved, and I think both will, with Otunga getting the duke for the heels and going over to Miz's side.

Bob Kapur

Sho-Miz are too much fun to not be seen on both shows. They retain.

Mark Xamin

I'm guessing The Miz takes the fall thanks to Bryan Danielson...err, Daniel Bryan.


  GRUDGE MATCH (Triple Threat)

Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


The explosion of Legacy comes to a head. This trio never received the push as a unit to be a dominant force. Ted DiBiase is poised to take the next step and poor Cody Rhodes will get lost in his dust. DiBiase grabs a huge win over his former mentor and partner.

Jon Waldman

I've really enjoyed Orton in his work and DiBiase is solid, but Rhodes is the weak link. I think he gets pinned, but by who is the question. I think Ted Jr. sneaks out the victory here.

Bob Kapur

Sho-Miz are too much fun to not be seen on both shows. They retain.

Mark Xamin

Randy Orton wins after the tension between Rhodes and DiBiase boils over and they end up fighting each other.


  GRUDGE MATCH

Triple H vs. Sheamus
 

SLAM! Predictions

Andy McNamara


Never thought I would see Triple H in the mid card at Mania. I'm guessing The Game takes out the young pasty Irishman and begins a post WrestleMania world title run.

Jon Waldman

I'm really torn here. I've liked Sheamus so far (albeit the title win was early) and Trips has decent momentum coming out of the latest DX incarnation. The bout is so throw-together though that I don't think the end result means anything to either guy. I'll take Sheamus to win.

Bob Kapur

I see Sheamus pulling off the upset here.

Mark Xamin

Talk about slapping two guys together for no other reason than they fact they had no one else to go up against...anyway, The Game teaches Sheamus a WrestleMania lesson and gets the win.

RELATED LINKS

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    -- compiled by Jon Waldman