Now that the WWE Royal Rumble is in the books, we finally have a clear picture of what the WrestleMania card will look like – or do we? Yes, The Rock is the new WWE champion, and John Cena has won the Royal Rumble to set up a rematch with The Great One in MetLife stadium. But how do these results affect the rest of the roster? The first person it directly affects is former WWE champion CM Punk. Punk will not be champion heading into the Showcase of the Immortals, which means he likely will not be in the main event unless he is added to a triple threat involving Rock and Cena. However, a triple threat seems like a cop out to appease Punk fans; Punk deserves to have a match and a stage all to himself. Also, Rock vs. Cena is the match WWE wants for Mania and it is the match we will get.
If Punk is to face anyone at WrestleMania, the current rumor mill says he will face The Undertaker. While the result will be a foregone conclusion, Taker’s match is usually the most anticipated on a WrestleMania card. The crowd in New Jersey will eat up a Punk-‘Taker bout, and it would elevate Punk by giving him his first WrestleMania moment, despite it coming in a losing effort.
Two individuals who remained absent from the Rumble event, and from WWE TV in general are Brock Lesnar and Triple H. In the rematch that nobody asked for, Triple H is expected to return to the ring at Mania to take on Lesnar. Some fans are upset by this because Lesnar only has so many dates on his contract, which is set to expire after WrestleMania. Those limited amount of dates shouldn’t be wasted on two matches with Triple H, especially after facing The Game at last year’s SummerSlam event. Fans would rather see Lesnar tee off against Undertaker, The Rock, or CM Punk. However, there is the optimistic approach that a rematch between Lesnar and Triple H could be an improvement over their SummerSlam match and surprise people.
Then there is the undercard of WrestleMania, an undercard that is hard to figure out. At the Rumble event, Alberto Del Rio defeated Big Show via duct tape, continuing his title reign. Current rumors suggest Randy Orton will take on Sheamus, and Alberto Del Rio will face Dolph Ziggler; the issue between those two matches will be which one will feature the World Heavyweight Championship. It is ironic to refer to the title as the World Title because as far as stature goes it has become the equivalent of the Intercontinental title in the 90’s; it is no longer a world title. With that said, I believe Del Rio should keep the title to defend it against Ziggler. Both men could use help getting over with the crowd, but especially Del Rio, who continues to elicit a lukewarm reaction. The
Intercontinental World Heavyweight Championship can only help bring importance to a Ziggler-Del Rio match.
The tag team titles were also defended at the Royal Rumble, as Team Hell No defeated Team Rhodes Scholars. Many fans predicted that Team Hell No would lose last Sunday, prompting a singles push for Daniel Bryan heading into WrestleMania, but that is not how the WWE operates. The WWE has struck gold with Team Hell No, and they mean bring more interest to a formally dormant tag division. Team Hell No is incredibly over with the crowd and the WWE would be foolish to not carry that momentum to their biggest show of the year. Expect Kane and Daniel Bryan to defend their titles at MetLife stadium to a chorus of “Yes!” chants.
WrestleMania 29 promises to be an interesting night, headlined by The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE championship. But are these the matches everyone wants to see? Maybe, maybe not, but even the complainers will tune in on April 7th?
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This article was first posted on January 30, 2013