411's Roundtable Preview: WWE Wrestlemania 30 (Part 1)
Posted by Sean Garmer on 04.05.2014
Daniel Bryan takes on Triple H for a spot in the WWE World Title triple threat, John Cena battles Bray Wyatt and more as WWE presents Wrestlemania 30! Check out the roundtable for all the details and be sure to join 411 for live coverage on Sunday night!
The 30th edition of "The Showcase of the Immortals" comes to us from New Orleans, Louisiana from inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome. 75,000 screaming fans from all around the world have gathered to watch "The Greatest Spectacle in Entertainment." This year also proves to not only be a historic year for WWE's flagship extravaganza, but also a pivotal one as well. WWE has the potential to make several stars on this show just by how they book certain matches, which is really what Wrestlemania has been about for all these years. The list of names that became stars at Wrestlemania reads like a who's who of wrestling's history. Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, The Shield, and possibly whoever wins The Battle Royal all stand to make their star shine a little brighter if they are given the chance to put on a great showing at Wrestlemania 30. For Bryan and Bray Wyatt in particular, the form in which they lose or win, could also have a huge effect on their stardom. However, Wrestlemania 30 won't just be about the superstars and divas who do battle in the ring, but it's also about the WWE as a whole. Wrestlemania 30 is the first EVER PPV to air LIVE on the one month old WWE Network. A seamless live stream could bring even more people to subscribe to The Network, just as a potentially chaotic stream of the event could drive people away from subscribing to it. That being said, with all the ways people can view Wrestlemania 30 this could possibly be the biggest Wrestlemania ever in terms of at home viewership. The WWE, the superstars, the technical staff, and pretty much everyone involved will have to be on their toes to deliver a tremendous event for fans everywhere. I for one can't wait to see how the show unfolds in just a day's time, and I'm sure many of you feel the same way. Whether you are anticipating the Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan match-up to see if Bryan can get another shot at the WWE Championship, or if you want to see if Undertaker can overcome The Beast Brock Lesnar. There is plenty to see in the announced seven matches (eight if you include the pre-show match), plus you know there will be several legends, hall of famers, and probably some surprises occurring on this show as well. So, enough blabbing from me, let's get to why you are really here, those match predictions.
Wyatt Beougher, MMA Fact or Fiction Organizer
Tzor Simovic, Weekly NXT Reviewer, Wrestling Zone Video Reviewer
Dino Zucconi, Smart Marks
Alex Crowder, Weekly Main Event Reviewer
Mike Chin, The Magnificent Seven
Mike Hammerlock, The Wrestling Zone 8-Ball
Daniel Wilcox, Thoughts From The Top Rope, Music Zone Reviewer
Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight
Nick Sellers, Canvas Critiques
Justin Watry, Truth And Lies
Robert S. Leighty Jr., Wrestling Zone Video Reviewer
Matthew Sforcina, Ask 411 Wrestling
James Wright, The Heel Report
Ryan Byers, Total Divas Reviewer,
Jack Stevenson, Wrestling's 4 R's
Derrick Cannon, 411 Wrestling Contributor
Sean Garmer, WWE Roundtable Organizer, Games Top 5 Organizer
WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4 Way Match: (Champions) The Usos vs. Real Americans vs. RyBack & Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores w/ El Torito Pre-Show Kickoff Match
Wyatt Beougher: Poor Usos - all they ever wanted was to appear on the main card of Wrestlemania, and I think until probably a week ago, they honestly believed they had a shot, holding the tag team championships and all. Then BAM - pre-showed. Still, though, this should be a really good match, as the Usos are steadily improving in the ring, the Real Americans are all kinds of awesome, Rybaxel are far better in the ring than their utter lack of charisma would have you believe, and Los Matadores...well, they're competent and they have Torito (speaking of, can you imagine if they'd just have given him the Sin Cara gimmick?). The Usos have been pretty great since they started their feud with the Outlaws, but I'm still calling for a Real Americans win here, since they teased the break-up and now they're back to being on the same page. (And even if the RA don't win, we're going to see some cool spots in the match because of them.)
Winner, and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The Real Americans
Tzor Simovic: I think that this match is a good choice for the pre-show since it should be a fun, action packed tag team match. I predict The Usos to retain since they just recently won the championships and they deserve a reign, as well as a Wrestlemania moment. Also pre-show matches are usually won by babyfaces in order to get the crowd into the show. The only serious contenders in the match are The Real Americans, who have been a great team and in my opinion they deserve a title reign as well. I don't think it's happening though since Cesaro seems to be heading to a babyface single run. Los Matadores are there to get some fun moments and Rybaxel are there simply to have 4 teams in the match.
Winner: The Usos
Dino Zucconi: Let's first admit that we're 99% sure that Rybaxel and Los Matadores are getting nowhere near the belts. Are we all okay with that? Great.
Now, this becomes a battle for my heart. Since the tag division was "re kicked off" or whatever a couple years ago, the Usos have long been the forgotten team, always being used to put some other team over, or to be a quick contender for the month, only to slide right back down the card. Their victory over the New Age Outlaws was a genuinely happy moment for me as a fan, and I hoped they'd enjoy a long run. However, Cesaro and Swagger are a team that I had fantasy booked together mere weeks after Swagger's return early last year. I figured they'd be a good "hoss" team that could run over everyone in their path. However, they've been the heel equivalent of the Usos, used to make other teams look impressive.
So, do I continue to wish the Usos a nice run, or do I root for the team I wanted to see get a monster run with the belts? Do I also hold out hope that Hulk Hogan will somehow get involved with Swagger and Cesaro at some point on this show? Maaaaaaan...
Winners... and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The Real Americans
Alex Crowder: Finally, the tag team division looked stronger than ever only to dissipate just as quickly. I'm actually very disappointed that this did not make the main card. Nevertheless, I still look forward to watching it on the preshow. This match if given even a little time will probably be better than half of the main card. You have Cesaro who is as hot as anyone in wrestling today. The Usos continue to improve and have the feel of a true tag team with great tandem moves. The same can be said for the somewhat underrated Los Matadores. I'm sure Torito will pull off a few moves too. My only gripe with this match is the inclusion of Rybaxel. Imagine if Cody and Goldust replaced them. Still, they shouldn't bring it down too much. I'm expecting a possible sleeper hit.
Winners: and STILL Tag Team Champions The Usos
Mike Chin: It's a shame that with so many multi-person matches, WWE couldn't get this one on the main card, but better pushed the pre-show than bumped from the show altogether, I suppose. The Real Americans look on their way to a split, Los Matadores are a comedy team, and Rybaxel still feels like a placeholder for me for two guys WWE doesn't want to let go of but also doesn't have much to do with. I see The Usos prevailing and hopefully they'll have some more interesting competition to defend against in the next few months.
Winner: The Usos
Mike Hammerlock: I never should have underestimated the WWE's ability to botch up the single best thing it had done in the past year. The rebirth of the WWE tag scene in 2013 bordered on the spectacular. The tag teams helped kick Raw and Smackdown up to a new level and tag matches stole the show at numerous pay-per-views. The reward for that should have been tag matches near the main event of the card, and storylines for multiple teams. Instead the division is being put down with a bolt gun to the head. The Usos and Real Americans are fully over with the crowd. They have literally done everything right. Yet they have been relegated to the pre-show in a four-hour PPV as a complete afterthought. There is no storyline at all based around the the Usos' four-year quest to become champions and how much these belts mean to them. It apparently doesn't matter that Cesaro has been the single best in-ring performer in the WWE in 2014. The tension between Cesaro and Swagger has been back burnered. It is preposterous that any of these four guys find themselves in this predicament. They'll get about seven minutes for four teams to squeeze in a match. That's not even enough time for a decent spotfest. I get why Rybaxel and Los Matadores are here, though both those teams have more talent than they get credit for. It's matches like this that make a person question what exactly WWE Creative gets paid to do.
Winner: The Usos
Daniel Wilcox: There's a couple of points of discussion here. First of all, he choice of challengers seems bizarre, with Cody Rhodes and Goldust excluded in favour of Rybaxel and/or Los Matadores - the only logical explanation I have for this is that something might be set up between the Rhodes Brothers in the Battle Royal. The second contentious issue is this match's "relegation" to the pre-show. I look at this as a positive thing for two reasons - first and foremost it means that this match is going to get more time - it's a two-hour pre-show. These guys are mostly pretty able and should be able to deliver a pretty entertaining match given anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. Furthermore it means the matches on the main card get a little bit more time and that can only be a good thing. As for the winners, you have to rule out everyone bar the champs and the Real Americans. Much like the Shield, the Real Americans seem to have put their differences aside in favour of sticking together but that could be a red herring. The Usos have deserved a run with the tag bels for a good while now though, and it'd be a shame to see them drop the belts so soon. And you have to go with the logic that the faces go over in the pre-show. The Usos retain.
Winners: And STILL WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos
Michael Weyer: Man, the tag division looks better than in years and you waste it on a pre-show? It should be a fair match as the guys are capable of working well together, Rybaxel clicking better than I thought. It's basically Usos vs Real Americans, the other teams are just in the mix to spice it up and while tempting to say Americans get it, I think I'll lean to how these four-ways almost always end with the champs retaining and that shouldn't change here. A shame it's not on the real show but at least a good way to kick things off and get the crowd going and nice to have this many teams to use.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Nick Sellers: I half expected this to get pre-showed, which is a shame considering Cesaro and the Usos in particular have been fantastic lately and deserve to be on the main show. I'd have also stuck Ryback & Axel in the battle royal and probably the Matadores too, although the latter will provide some nice comedy value. Either the Real Americans win (I quite like the thought of Zeb and his boys doing the "We the People" taunt with the gold in hand) and that leads on to a feud with the Usos as challengers, or the champs retain and we get a Cesaro face turn afterwards where he gives Swagger and Coulter the big swing. I'll play it safe and go with the latter.
Winners: The Usos
Justin Watry: First off, I am picking The Usos to retain in a good 10-15 minute match. With two hours of pre-show to work, this can get time. Now onto the issue of this being on the pre-show, there are two thoughts from my end. First off, it does not surprise me one bit. Just a very quick search through past WrestleMania events will tell you this match was bound to get moved to the pre-show. I noticed that two weeks and wrote about it accordingly. Now, why do I have zero problems with this being moved to the pre-show? Simple. I understand what purpose it serves. This is discussed a little bit already, but what do fans WANT in a pre-show match? Feel free to discuss this below in the comment section. What do YOU want in a pre-show pay-per-view match? Do you want to see JTG vs. Zack Ryder OR a tag team title match? Do you want Yoshi Tatsu vs. R-Truth or something like Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow? Once people figure out what the pre-show is all about, maybe the perception of a "pre-show match" will change...
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Robert S. Leighty Jr: Kind of annoyed that the Tag Title Match is once again being shunted to the pre-show slot. The match should be solid and perhaps they will get a little more time on the pre-show, but who knows. The Real Americans seem like the logical choice to get a run with the Titles as they are pretty solidly over, but The Usos have found their groove as well. The other 2 teams are basically non factors as far as I can tell when it comes to winning this thing, so I will stick with the Usos retaining to keep the crowd hot before the Main Show starts.
Winner, and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Mathew Sforcina: First of all, just a note about my picks. I'm not attempting to troll, or to make some sort of point about WWE's booking. This is all plausible in my mind, and I'm hoping I'll be jinxing most of this, or something. I'm just not picking silly to make a point, all right? All right.
We start with a seemingly common tradition now, the bumping of the tag title match because who cares about tag wrestling, right? We need room for a battle royal and the Diva... Thing. So, you know, the match with one of the best tag teams around today, a team with two of the best wrestlers in the WWE right now (and a top tier manager), a gimmicky tag team that is at least fun and has an over midget and also Rybaxel is there! Who cares about that?
Well no-one, that's the problem. But with 2 perfectly cromulent choices, 1 off putting but not that bad choice, and the other one, guess which I think WWE will go with?
Your Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Rybaxel (Shellshock on Uso #1 and Matadore #2)
James Wright: So we got a multi-team match for the tag titles at Mania, but it is on the pre-show and has no other stipulations, and the teams involved don't inspire too much interest, bar possibly the champions themselves and one half of the Real Americans. Still it is a step in the right direction and we already have other multi-person matches to create other special moments so there isn't too much hinging on this match in terms of enjoyment of the event, probably hence why it wasn't placed on the main card. However arguably that is the problem, this should be more important, and it should have more impact on fans enjoyment of the show, but ah well. I say we see the breakup of the Real Americans and a retention by the Usos.
Winners: The Usos
Ryan Byers: Hey, it's time for my annual participation in one of these roundtable columns! There are really only two viable candidates to win this four-way match, the Usos and the Real Americans. Though I have seen some people online picking Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro to win the belts, I have a hard time seeing that. There has been dissension teased between the two for several weeks now, and having them gain the championships would either mean that we backpeddle on that storytelling or do the Russoriffic "tag team partners who don't get along" storyline for a few weeks, neither of which fit WWE's recent booking m.o. I would expect that the Usos win, pinning either Real American to retain the championship and setting up the latter team's final breakup. My only hope is that, if the final split happens during this Wrestlemania season, it occurs on Raw and not here, because I'm afraid many people will forget about it or not see it if it is on the meager Wrestlemania pre-show.
Winner: The Usos (or, as readers of my Total Divas review know them, the Cookie Monster and his brother
Jack Stevenson: I don't think it's fair to relegate this to the pre-show considering two of the four teams have been putting in terrific work over the last few months, and there's a perfectly meaningless Battle Royal sitting selfishly on the main card. Still, this will hopefully receive a bit more time than previous pre-show matches and should be a fun, fast paced affair. Only the Usos and the Real Americans are championship worthy contenders, and the latter seem on the verge of imploding, so I'd imagine the Usos pick up the victory here.
Winner: The Usos
Derrick Cannon: I fully expect this to be a highly competitive match despite being on the pre-show. The match will come down to either the Real Americans or the Usos. It's likely that Cesaro will be going solo in the near future and possibly feud with his teammate Jack Swagger. This match could continue to set that up along with hinting at a Cesaro face turn. The Uso's haven't held the titles for a long time period, so I expect their title defense to be successful.
And the winners are: The Usos
Sean Garmer: I hate that The Usos and Real Americans have to be on the pre-show, but their match has the least amount of story going into Wrestlemania 30. Also, it has the potential to deliver the best action out of the undercard matches and let's face it, even WWE knows hardly anyone cares about two of the teams involved in the match too. I hope they give the match at least 15 to 20 mins, since they have 2 hours of pre-show to get through, to let all four of these teams have their time to shine and put on something great to get Wrestlemania 30 started off right. That being said, I think this match will cause the final crack in Real Americans and we will see them break up on RAW. The other two teams are just here to fill out the match and this leads to The Usos rightfully retaining their titles. Not to mention, WWE seems to be really behind them and I bet they will have the belts for a long while.
Winners AND STILL WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Usos
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Mark Henry, The Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Santino Marella, Heath Slater, Big E, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Titus O'Neil, Dolph Ziggler The Miz, Sheamus, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, R-Truth, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali
30-Man Over The Rope Battle Royal
Wyatt Beougher: There are a bunch of filler guys in this one, so let's hope they at least get to do some fun stuff before they're eliminated. And while I'd prefer a guy like Sandow get the win (by actually, y'know, being smart) to jump start a push, I think the usual suspects who *could* actually win are as follows: Big Show, Rick Ross Mark Henry, Big E, ADR, and Rey Mysterio. Henry's been more or less marginalized since returning from injury, so I feel like he's an outside shot. Big E already has the IC title, which they've finally remembered means he loses every non-title match he's in, so he's out. Alberto Del Rio is actually a possibility, but I think his lack of connection with fans is going to hurt his chances. And while Rey Mysterio certainly has to be considered a dark horse to win this whole thing based on how the WWE likes to push him, I find his half-speed moveset insulting so I hope he loses in spectacular fashion. (Note: Normally, I'd throw former world champions Christian and Sheamus into the mix, but it's pretty obvious that they're just going to eliminate one another leading to their blowoff match at Extreme Rules.) All signs point to a Big Show win in this one, with the way that the commentators have been repeatedly pointing out how good he is in the Royal Rumble and with him being the modern-day Andre the Giant (and also Andre's son, for a while).
Winner: WEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL....It's the Big Show.
Tzor Simovic: This match should be fun to watch and it could tell many stories since many superstars who are involved have had some sort of interaction. I also predict a babyface victory here, simply because i can't imagine a heel character winning the Andre the Giant Memorial, since it should be a moment for people to cheer not boo. The obvious pick here is Big Show, at least he is the man that WWE wants us to consider as the most viable threat. My prediction is Hulk Hogan surprise entry and victory, although he is too old to have a match, he probably can manage a battle royal. It would be a nice moment for Hogan to win the Memorial, since him and Andre have great history and it would get a nice pop in my opinion.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Mark Henry, The Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Santino Marella, Heath Slater, Big E, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Titus O'Neil, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sheamus, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, R-Truth, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali
Dino Zucconi: The Andre the Giant Memorial Over the Top 30 Man Battle Royal at WrestleMania is going to be a fun addition to the card, I feel. While it may not matter much in the grand scheme, giving someone the win at the Andre the Giant Memorial Over the Top 30 Man Battle Royal at WrestleMania can easily give someone a little lower on the card a nice bragging point, or it can give someone a bit higher up a tipping point to go on a bit of a run. With the ring full of examples of each, this gets to be a bit tough. Big Show feels like the favorite, but I'm gonna roll with MY favorite, instead! And with that said, I have a feeling that the Andre the Giant Memorial Over the Top 30 Man Battle Royal at WrestleMania is going to be snakebit!
Alex Crowder: Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of battle royals; however, battle royals if anything are never boring. This match might be the most difficult to predict. Big Show has been built as the runaway winner making me think he will lose. That leaves Big E, Sheamus, Del Rio, and the mystery participants as the possible winners in my mind. I'm going to eliminate Del Rio by virtue of not wrestling the Big Man style. I think one of the unnamed participants will win the match. I almost felt like Piper's Pit this Monday was implying that a legend would enter for a second until Piper hugged Show. I'm not sure if the 3 mystery spots are filled. I would like Bad News Barrett to win, but I think Alexander Rusev will enter and win. Rusev from what I've seen is not half bad. Certainly better than Kozlov, plus it lets us see Lana again which is always welcome. I just see Rusev getting the Kozlov push. Let's not forget Kozlov beat Undertaker clean. Alexander Rusev will probably get a major push by winning the battle royal. Otherwise; if Rusev does not enter I'll say Sheamus or Big E wins.
Winner: Alexander Rusev
Mike Chin: Two real possibilities for this one: WWE pushes a new talent like Big E or Alexander Rusev, or they go with a sentimental tribute pick and let Big Show walk out with the trophy. Personally, I'd rather see a fresh talent get the rub here, or use it as a way of getting someone like Dolph Ziggler or The Miz a fresh start. That said, I have every expectation that this will be one of WWE's last big moments for the Big Show as realizes Andre's legacy to the fullest by winning a big ol' Wrestlemania battle royal.
Winner: The Big Show.
Mike Hammerlock: Oh, this is going to suck. The history of battle royals at WrestleMania is a long and ignominious one. They're never good and almost always terrible. Part of it is the format: 30 guys in a pig pile allows for minimal storytelling. The Royal Rumble perfected the battle royal concept and this is just a sad, antiquated format best left to the weekly programming. It has no business at a WrestleMania. Plus, if they really wanted to memorialize Andre, they'd have held a drinking contest. Anyway, I suppose somebody's got to win this thing. If it were me booking this, Cody and Goldust would use their tag team excellence to clear out everyone else and then they'd go at it for 10+ minutes, escaping a slew of near eliminations. Eventually Cody would win with Goldust raising his hand to celebrate the victory and the crowd would be fully hooked. Nothing like that is going to happen. Dolph Ziggler remains insanely over despite the regular attempts to bury him and I hold out no hope he can win this one either. What we know will happen is three surprise entrants are still coming. I'm assuming Rusev is one of them and, if so, then he's got an outside chance of winning. A repeat of his Royal Rumble performance and he's DOA. Carlito's in town, so I'm hoping he gets into this match.
Big E is a serious contender. Using the Transitive Property of Professional Wrestling, it would actually make the IC title seem important if he won this. Certainly it would give him and the title more luster than the microfeuds he's engaged in to date. Mark Henry could get some mileage from a win, but he's been too banged up. Sheamus is my 1A pick. He's been dynamite since his return and he deserves to be in the championship scene mix. He's also established as a battle royal ringer, utilizing his beer-fueled ginger strength. Yet I suspect this is designed to be Big Show's lifetime achievement award. He's never going to win the Royal Rumble. He's also done the job nine times at WrestleMania. Despite the storyline they were pitching us, beating Cody Rhodes in 2012 did not constitute a career-defining WrestleMania moment. Winning this would allow Show to claim what's rightfully his: the mantel of being the undisputed best giant since Andre. Good for him, but the match likely is headed for ** territory.
Winner: Big Show
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Mark Henry, The Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Santino Marella, Heath Slater, Big E, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Titus O'Neil, Dolph Ziggler The Miz, Sheamus, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, R-Truth, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali
Daniel Wilcox: Despite the Big Show being billed as a favourite, I don't think we have an obvious front-runner in this one. I also don't see anyone being immediately elevated to the top of the card with Orton, Batista, Cena, Wyatt and Bryan likely battling over the title from now through the summer. If it turns out that Alexander Rusev makes his re-debut here, look for him to be established as a dominant force with a big win and coming out as a challenger for Big E's Intercontinental Championship. With or without Rusev, Big E is going to have a good showing in this match. I expect Sheamus to make it to the final few moments of the match but there's no benefit of putting him over here. The same could be said for Big Show. As eluded to earlier, I think Rhodes and Goldust will have a part to play in this mach and they have a history of eliminating each other in these types of scenarios. There's also three or four spots left to fill and that means there's going to be some wild cards - these could be legends making cameos or returning Superstars. DDP's in town, that would be a nice addition. Rob Van Dam has been primed for another return for a while now. And Chris Jericho said last week that he won't be at WrestleMania XXX, which pretty much means he will be around somewhere. But I'm going to stick with the theory that Rusev is in the match and he's coming out of it as a big, big deal.
Winner: Alexander Rusev
Michael Weyer: So we got enough guys here? It should be a fun mix of light guys and giants for hits although has to hurt for Del Rio and Sheamus to have sunk to this and would have preferred seeing Big E defending the IC belt on his own. Possibility of them giving it to a newer guy like Rusev and even the wild idea of Santino as a funny winner. But I think it's clear that we're seeing Big Show as the winner as the guy's long been denied a major Mania victory and who else could be winning something named after Andre? It'd be a nice late capper for his career and the biggest guy in there so I'll go with the flow and pick him as the victor here, hopefully they get enough time to make it fun instead of a ten minute quickie battle royal.
Winner: The Big Show
Nick Sellers: Essentially this is an upgrade from the pre-show battle royals they normally book every year, but a welcome one nonetheless. If it works well I'd be more this become a regular Wrestlemania attraction. One gripe though; with the greatest of respects to solid workers like, say, a Justin Gabriel for instance, having more lower-midcarders like him who don't get a lot of TV time does kind of give this less prestige. I think it'd have more impact with a smaller number of the best midcard acts coupled with one or two surprise returns just to cap things off. Big Show looks to be the favourite, given the giant connection, and he's my pick too although this could be used as another platform to give a younger worker a rub in the same way the King of the Ring or the IC title used to do. Hopefully we get a couple of surprise returns in a similar manner to how we get them in the Royal Rumble.
Winner: Big Show
Justin Watry: Before we get to the match, I am going to try and fill the final three spots. First off, the long assumption has been Rusev shows up here. Thus, he gets a spot. Since there are plenty of guys in town for the Hall of Fame ceremony, I could easily see Trish Stratus, Lita, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ultimate Warrior, or somebody else get involved. Finally, since WrestleMania is in New Orleans, why not Papa Shango? Makes sense to me. Regardless, this should be fun. Now to the winner! Originally, my feeling was a heel had to win in order to carry the statue around all year and gloat about the victory. Picture Owen Hart with the Slammy Awards. Just annoy people all year round. However, if rumors are to be trusted (rumors, I know), the statue is five feet tall. Well, that tells me this will NOT be carried around year round and simply go away after a week or two. In that sense, a face character can win. Big Show is too obvious of a choice and has been almost TOO dominant in the build up. My three choices all along have been The Miz, Sheamus, or Rusev. I will stick with one of those three. Sheamus gets the big win, poses with Hulk Hogan after the match, and gets to beat up 3MB...as they run into The Hulkster's fist.
Robert S. Leighty Jr: The Big Show is the favorite and looked dominant on RAW, so can't see him winning this thing no matter how much it would make sense. I am holding out hope that the Real Americans (especially Cesaro) get into the Battle Royal. I think this will be a pretty good battle royal by battle royal standards and there should be some fun spots and moments.
Mathew Sforcina: Now, see, if WWE is gonna do the MZR thing, if Miz, Ziggler and Ryder are going to form the Angry Young(ish) Men, this is where you do it. The three of them work as a team, toss everyone, declare themselves co-winners and then wrestle The Shield every night for 3 months. Which would be good. Instead we'll get a Big Show push because that's totally new and exciting and different. Yay.
Your Winner and NEW Giant Trophy Holder: Big Show (Tossing Great Khali)
James Wright: The Royal Rumble do-over, once again not featuring Daniel Bryan, although this time that is a good thing! Personally I would like to see Dolph Ziggler win this one, it would make up for how things went down last year and it would be a nice boost for the show off leading into the new year. It's weird to think that most of these men have no one to feud with leading into this match as I'm not sure where all the interesting interactions are going to come from, still hopefully what happens here will lead onto some new feuds after Wrestlemania, and we still have to see who the remaining three men are. While I am glad that so many guys are getting a place at Mania I am surprised they haven't built up Big Show more before the event, it is like they have been treating him as if his win is a foregone conclusion, but he has looked super weak as a competitor recently and I just cannot buy it right now. I just hope Mysterio doesn't pull out the victory. In the end this one is hard to pick whatever way you slice it, so I am going to go with my original pick and hope that the thing is entertaining, also where the hell is Barrett in all this?!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Ryan Byers: Am I the only one who thinks that the placement and promotion of this show on the card has been just plain weird? A battle royale just seems like such an old school, slow placed match for a modern show, and the most recent battles royale (yes, that's the proper plural) on Wrestlemania cards have been thrown together afterthoughts as opposed to this match, which has actually been one of the three or four most heavily promoted matches on the entire card. They've been hyping the hell out of it, and I'm afraid young fans who are actually seeing a battle royale for one of the first times will be disappointed by just how bland a bunch of guys laying on the ropes for twenty minutes can be. As far as predicting a winner is concerned, if you've paid close attention to the promotion for this, there are actually three spots in the match that are being held open for "surprise" or unannounced entrants (one often-dropped name being Rob Van Dam). With so many mid-carders and directionless main eventers in the match, I think the best odds of winning actually go to one of those unannounced wrestlers, and I think that the best way to use a battle royale built on the name of a giant is to use it to promote your newest giant, which is why I'm going with . . .
Winner: Alexander Rusev
Jack Stevenson: I'm really not anticipating this very much, Battle Royales are mostly boring and while WWE have done a decent job hyping the concept and the prestige of being linked to Andre the Giant, the fact that the match itself is filled by ambling midcarders kind of undermines the importance of it. I have no idea who will win, I'm terrible at predicting anything and considering there's thirty potential winners in this, three of whom haven't even been announced yet, I'm almost certain to get it wrong. I think I'll just go with my favourite. It's your time to shine, Goldust!
Derrick Cannon: This is an excellent way to pay homage to Andre the Giant. That said I highly doubt that a big man will win here given the current style this match has been portrayed for nearly over a decade. This should be a great way for someone to revitalize their career. If Zack Ryder enters with the gimmick that he has portrayed on Last Resort I'd actually pick him. Since there has not been allusions of this happening as of yet, it is more possible that the Miz uses this as the setup towards a major heel turn and continue his string of Wrestlemania accomplishments.
And the winner of the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal is: The Miz
Sean Garmer: my friends and I have been saying for a few weeks on our Wrestling 2 the MAX podcast There's two ways of thought on this, WWE had Hogan involved so they felt it only made sense to make an Andre trophy to be able to mention him as a tribute to him and make a one-off battle royal in his honor. The other thought is that since the winner has to carry this around for a year, it would go to someone that want to make a star. This whole PPV seems to be about the latter and I would bet Alexsander Rusev will be in this as one of the surprise entrants. I mean seriously, why waste all the time with having him on RAW and Smackdown almost every week if he wasn't going to be in this? I'll go ahead and say Rob Van Dam returns in this as well and that Jake "The Snake" gets to have his Royal Rumble moment here in New Orleans to a huge ovation! I could see Sheamus, Ziggler, Rusev, and Big Show being the final four and Rusev wins it by eliminating Ziggler.
Winner: Alexsander Rusev:
Vickie Guerrero's Divas Championship Invitational: (Champion) AJ Lee vs. Naomi vs. Cameron vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Eva Marie vs. Emma vs. Aksana vs. Alicia Fox vs. Summer Rae vs. Rosa Mendes vs. Layla vs. Tamina
One Fall to the Finish
Wyatt Beougher: Count me in with what I'm assuming is the minority of fans who want to see Tamina and AJ just work together to destroy all the other Divas in what is sure to be the worst match on the show. Also, count me in with the fans who would've much rather seen AJ in a one-on-one match with the Dread Pirate Funkadactyl (I know she didn't have the eyepatch on RAW anymore, but that was a cool visual) or even a triple threat match with the addition of Nikki Bella (yes, she's the worse of the Bella Twins, but she's also the one that's been on a winning streak of late). However, good for all of these Divas to get Wrestlemania paychecks for probably less than five minutes of horribly chaotic work. I'd very much like to see AJ retain her title here, but I just don't think it's going to happen. Fortunately, I also doubt that she'll eat the pin, so that'll give her something to do after Wrestlemania. I'm going with Nikki winning, to placate Cena for what I hope is his loss later in the show.
Winner and NEW WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (ugh)
Tzor Simovic: I'm not looking forward for this match, all participating Divas will be in the match and the first pinfall wins the title, i expect many botches. Although AJ is by far the best Diva in WWE's roster, i don't think she'll retain as she had a long reign but meaningless lately since she loses all the time. My pick is Tamina, I think at the beginning she will be protecting AJ but at the end she will turn on her and win the title.
Dino Zucconi: I'm sorry, I really just don't care about this match at all. And really, given the way it was put together, I don't think we're supposed to care. Sure, we always have the fear that one of the Bellas is finally gonna get the belt because of Total Divas, but you know what? I'm staying strong on this.
Winner... and STILL Divas Champion: AJ Lee
Alex Crowder: This match has disaster written all over it. I expect a few botches in this one with so many women in the ring at once. I'm sure portions will be good though such as Summer Rae and AJ or Natalya and Alicia Fox, etc. Anyway, I almost wanted to say Brie Bella would win or say Tamina would win because it makes the most story sense. However, somehow I just see AJ retaining. AJ appears to be the most over diva, and I think even WWE is smart enough to be grooming Paige for that championship. If only AJ was facing Paige at Wrestlemania instead.
Winner: and STILL Divas Champion AJ Lee
Mike Chin: This will either be the start of a big push for someone or the crowning moment of AJ Lee's run before Paige comes up from developmental to unseat her. Nikki Bella has a good shot, to complement Daniel Bryan's story. I see Emma as a dark horse with a shot, since she's still new and can go in the ring. In the end, though, I see AJ carrying on for the time being.
Winner: AJ Lee
Mike Hammerlock: My eyes are already burning from this one. I guess they couldn't be bothered to bring in a serious challenger for AJ's title. Seriously, it's WrestleMania. This should have been AJ vs. Trish Stratus. Maybe have CM Punk come back to help vulture a win for his rumored fiancée. That would feel big. This is Russoriffic. I can't be made to care about this match since the WWE clearly views this as nothing more than filler.
Winner: AJ Lee
Daniel Wilcox: I'm not as down on the Diva's division as the majority seem to be, but there's potential for this to get ugly. That said, a lot of these women have shown significant improvement over the last year and those that haven't will not be asked to do much of the heavy lifting in this match. I'm also kind of expecting Vickie Guerrero to make herself a late addition to this match just to get beat down by AJ Lee, which is inevitably going to get a good response. I guess the only genuine threats to the title are Naomi, the Bellas and Tamina as an outside chance. But it seems somewhat daft to end a near year-long title reigns in a multi-gal scramble so we'll go with the likely outcome of AJ Lee retaining by hook or by crook. It wouldn't surprise me if she hires a new second to replace the ineffective Tamina and that leads her to victory. Is Kong in New Orleans this weekend?
Winner: And STILL WWE Diva's Champion, AJ Lee
Michael Weyer: Once more, the Divas are reduced to a train wreck of a battle that's likely to not even go to ten minutes. It's just way too many ladies in the mix here and these matches are usually a mess anyhow. Yes, it'd be a great way to move the belt over but pretty clear to me that AJ keeps it as it's a great way to continue her run as a cocky champ, having beaten all these ladies. This is mostly just to give us a future episode of Total Divas, no real merit as AJ keeps it and hopefully not too bad to watch.
Winner and STILL Divas Champion: AJ Lee
Nick Sellers: My hope from a booking perspective would be that whether or not AJ wins, they establish another diva as a red-hot challenger and maybe they can get a nice rivalry going over the title for a change. They've tested the waters with different opponents and by now you'd hope they've got a good feel for who they might want to line up next for AJ. This would've been a great vehicle for someone like Paige to debut and maybe even win the title. But an AJ victory here and some boasting the next night on Raw leading to an open challenge would be just as effective.
Winner: AJ Lee
Justin Watry: Ugh. My original thought was AJ Lee drops the title. I wrote about it multiple times. She has to at some point and if she is eyeing up life after wrestling, WM is the perfect place to move in a different direction. Then after going through the list of opponents, I figured out that nobody really could do much with the Divas Title. Maybe the Bella Twins. Maybe even Vickie Guerrero puts herself in the match. Maybe Kharma or an NXT girl is ready to come to the main roster. Who even knows if there can be mystery entrants? That rules for this have been so secretive. Then it hit me: AJ Lee will probably retain. You know what though? Screw it, Tamina Snuka wins the Divas Title and moves on from AJ Lee. Why not?
Winner and NEW Divas Champion: Tamina Snuka
Robert S. Leighty Jr: The deck is massively stacked against the champion her mainly due to the fact she has run through everyone in the division, with the exception of Tamina. People will complain that if AJ loses she is being punished by association with CM Punk, or that the WWE wants a change to Brie Bella to have a moment with her and Bryan both being Champions at the same time. I will go against the odds and say that AJ somehow retains, even though I don't feel great about the pick.
Winner and Still WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee
Mathew Sforcina: In an ideal world, after everyone enters, Kharma comes out, everyone else bails, she slaughters AJ, wins belt, leaves, building to Khamra V Paige at WM31. In a just world, replace Kharma with whatever WWE-ised name Del Rey would use. In this world, this match basically calls later on. If Brie wins, then Bryan's walking out with the gold. If Naomi or Aksana walks out with the title, then WWE's suddenly decided to book the division 'properly'. If AJ walks out with the belt, then Punk's come home. And, if what I suspect will happen, status BEEPing quo.
Your Winner and NEW Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (AA on AJ)
James Wright: If this is AJ Lee's last night as the divas champion then at least she will be going out on the big stage in a big fashion. Of course if AJ does retain then she will have no real challengers any more so that could leave her open for a new feud after Mania with a returning or debuting diva of some sort. Short of that I see the possibility of a Brie Bella title win, even though she hasn't been pushed any more than anyone else. After all the WWE loves weddings, and Brie and Bryan's is likely to be the finale to this Season of Total Divas, and what better way to frame that event than to have the bride and groom as dual champions.
Winner: Brie Bella
Jack Stevenson: There's actually a surprising amount of talent in this match; over half the 14 can be described as 'perfectly competent,' and a select few are actually pretty good. Still, this will be far too chaotic to be any good, it's another slap in the face for women's wrestling. AJ's title run has been looooooong and there's nowhere left to go with it, but there's also no one that do a much better job, and since I'm predicting mostly fan favourite victories I'll back her to retain the title, perhaps for the last time.
Winner: AJ Lee
Derrick Cannon: AJ Lee's run as champion should by all means continue. That said I doubt that it is where this match will lead to. I'm torn between picking either Tamina or Naomi. I feel that it is more likely for Tamina to gain the title at Extreme Rules if AJ Lee were tor retain. With that said I'm guessing that a crowd favorite will emerge victorious, and were a Bella Twin defeat AJ the backlash would be incredibly high. The reactions towards Naomi's quest to gain the championship have been more positive. I expect her to reap the rewards of her quest for the gold and do so by pinning AJ or possibly Summer.
The winner and new divas champion: Naomi
Sean Garmer: That's probably way too many Divas in here that could possibly win this that WWE will probably go with one of the Total Divas then by having AJ retain once again. I mean it would be quite a feat by AJ to retain against all the odds and beat everyone, but this is Wrestlemania and I have feeling WWE has more than considered having a great ending with Brie and Bryan holding belts at the end. You have to admit it would be a sweet moment that would add a lot to the wedding in a week. I'd like to see it happen personally, but I also wouldn't mind seeing it go to Naomi, who looked all but certain to be the winner before her injury, or even Emma in a total surprise. Tamina would make a lot of sense, but so few people would care that I just don't see it happening here.
Winner AND NEW WWE DIVAS CHAMPION: Brie Bella
Corporate Kane & The Corporate Outlaws vs. The Shield Six Man Tag Team Match
Wyatt Beougher: I know a lot of people are complaining that the Outlaws are involved in this match, and that a bunch of people bit on the rumor that Kane would call up the Ascension to partner with him for this match; however, the Ascension make no storyline sense as Kane's partners, while the Corporate Age Outlaws just fit within the constrains of the story. Is it going to be a worse match because of that? Probably, but I'd argue that it won't be a whole lot worse, as the Ascension doesn't really do anything too impressive that they'd have made this match heads and shoulders better than the current version. In fact, based on the "casual" WWE fans (the celebrities who buy tickets and once-a-year wrestling fans who tune in for the biggest show of them all), the Outlaws are probably a better choice, as their nostalgia act should play perfectly with that demographic. Unfortunately for anyone tuning in who has no idea of how awesome the Shield are, the storyline for this event *should* be "watch HHH and his buddies get their long-deserved comeuppance", so they might be sorely disappointed with the result of this match. I'm actually cool with the Outlaws getting a PPV payday, as it should provide the perfect opportunity for a face Shield showcase match. Of course, they could also finally go through with the long-rumored plans to break up the Shield, and corporate Dean Ambrose would be a pretty interesting route to go; however, I'd prefer to see the Hounds of Justice stay together and win this match decisively.
Winner: The Shield
Tzor Simovic: The build to this match has been good, this storyline is great since not only The Shield didn't break up, instead they turned The Shield babyface and they seem more dominant and united than ever. I am happy that Kane gets his Wrestlemania moment, he a great servant to this company, although i am not as excited with the NAO. They don't seem to be in a good shape and they didn't prove that deserved this moment. The match should be good but not very long. The Shield has to win, they have a lot to gain from a Wrestlemania victory while Kane and NAO don't, they should be retiring soon and there is no need to take this moment from The Shield. I expect Reigns to pin Kane for the victory, as he is heading for a big push as a babyface,i really hope that this push will be done with The Shield united, since together they can do great things.
Winner: The Shield
Dino Zucconi: It's been billed as "The Attitude Era against the Reality Era", but I think we're just going to get an energetic six man tag out of the whole thing, with not really much of anything actually on the line. The Outlaws have shown that they can still go (somewhat, in short bursts), so they can provide a rest for each other, as well as for Kane, as they try to keep up with Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns. I could see some ridiculous shenanigans leading to a DQ or countout loss for the Shield which leads to more bickering, but I'm going to pick against that line of thought, and I'm taking the Shield to win this one straight up.
Winners: The Shield
Alex Crowder: This is probably the match that interests me the least. The worst part is the possibility that The Shield loses to set up further dissention in the ranks. Maybe, Rollins and Ambrose betray Reigns. I just don't see it happening though, not yet. That kind of swerve seems to Russo like at this point. I'll say The Shield almost loses due to dissention but picks up the victory anyway.
Winners: The Shield
Mike Chin: By all rights, The Shield should win this match, as a hot young property with three guys who could each be main eventing Wrestlemania in the coming years. I smell a rat, though, and think that Wrestlemania may well see Dean Ambrose revert to his more natural heel self to set off a feud with Roman Reigns on the biggest stage possible, and give Kane and the Outlaws one last Wrestlemania win.
Winner: Kane and The New Age Outlaws
Mike Hammerlock: I hate to sound like a broken record, but was this card put together by monkeys? I love the Shield as much as anything currently going on in pro wrestling. They have been non-stop awesome since their WWE debut. At Elimination Chamber they fought what I consider the current Match of the Year leader against the Wyatt Family. They dominated the Royal Rumble. Now they're buried in the undercard of WrestleMania up against a group of WWE pensioners. Ri-fucking-diculous. Kane and the Outlaws should stand no chance against the Shield. Literally, this should be a squash. They need to turn this match into a no-DQ affair so Kane and Friends can call in an army of help. If so, watching the Shield rip through half the roster would be cool. Yet I fear this is headed toward a ham-handed plot twist. Either Ambrose turns on Rollins and Reigns, or Ambrose and Rollins turn on Reigns. Either way, what we get is the unspectacular and premature split of the best wrestling faction to come along in the past decade. Yippee. Can't wait.
Winner: Kane and the Old Age Outlaws
Daniel Wilcox: While people don't seem to be overly pleased with the choice of opponents for the Shield at the biggest show of the year, I'm merely happy that the trio are still together. From day one, they have been booked to near-perfection up till now. Again, there's speculation that the inevitable split could occur at WrestleMania or very soon thereafter, but that doesn't necessarily have to factor into the decision here. If WWE is still as high on Roman Reigns as the Royal Rumble suggested, then there's no point not giving him and his team the big WrestleMania win over three guys who should only really be used to put younger guys over, as has been the case the last few months. And that's why I have no issue with the New Age Outlaws getting a big WrestleMania pay day. Regardless of outcome, this is the Shield in a six man tag team match and thus we're almost guaranteed a good showing, even against ageing opposition. Seth Rollins is going to absolutely bust his ass to get this match over. Especially if this is the Shield's last hurrah, this match has potential that is going unnoticed because of the controversial booking of the match. Split or no split though, you have to believe in the Shield.
Winners: The Shield
Michael Weyer: I had thought the Shield would be facing each other here by this point, their new turn a surprise. WWE sees the star power in these guys and want to use it properly and having them keep it up as a face unit is a smart move to build them up more. Kane and Outlaws are just doing a Mania hurrah, they're the lambs to sacrifice for the Shield's new popularity. Tempting to say they cheat so HHH's buddies can talk a Mania win but I think WWE plays it smarter here to let the Shield win and continue their nice push for the year.
Winner: The Shield
Nick Sellers: I think they've handled the Corporate Kane stuff reasonably well, but I'd have liked them to blur the lines a little more in terms of building him up to being "the monster" again. His first physical altercation since turning corporate should be saved for an event like this, when a superstar pushes his buttons over several months to the point where he can't take it anymore, dons the mask and goes absolutely crazy. They've already loosened up on the kayfabe ruling that he can't put his hands on other superstars and that hasn't helped the aura, but it's still a gimmick with some mileage left in it. Speaking of mileage, it seems like a Shield split is inevitable in the near future but I still think they'd be best of sticking as a trio, getting themselves even further established and still expanding their individual personalities before that time comes. One last thing on this match: I find it fitting for the New Age Outlaws that after they both made good with the WWE again and turned their lives round, they got a tag title run and now a spot on a Wrestlemania card again. Good for them.
Winner: The Shield
Justin Watry: Not a bad matchup here. I trust Kane. I trust the New Age Outlaws, even though it is time their little comeback ends. That leaves The Shield, who I also trust. All in all, this may not be a big spot for The Shield, but this is what we have...and I trust all six men to deliver. Let the three future main event stars defeat the Attitude Era stars and create a mini passing of the torch moment. Then work towards making Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns solo stars.
Winner: The Shield
Robert S. Leighty Jr: I must admit that I didn't think the Shield would make it to another Mania intact, but here we are. I actually think this can be a fun match as the Shield are great in 6 Man Tag Matches, and I think the NAO and Kane will be motivated by their younger opponents. The Shield should win this one rather easily no matter.
Winner: The Shield
b>Mathew Sforcina: It'd be a hell of a moment, right? The Shield, walking in as a unit, only for 2/3 to turn their backs on the fans, and leave the Golden Child to be destroyed, that'd be a WM moment for the ages, right?
Your Winners and STILL 2/3 Lucky to have a job: Kane & The New Age Outlaws (Mugging of Reigns)
James Wright: This old school vs. new school match is pretty fitting for the event, although no other match on the card really has the same theme, but maybe the point of these matches are to be different, so that's fine. The Shield seemed so close to breaking up over the past few months and now they look like a much more cohesive unit, although that can all easily change at the event. If this is the final match the Shield have together as a unit it is on a big stage, but it is a little strange and perhaps anti-climactic, and as such I really hope that the Shield do not break up right now and at least continue until they can have a fitting farewell. As such I just can't see the young hounds losing to the old lions.
Winners: The Shield
Ryan Byers: There's always a chance that I'll be proven a fool in the end, but, in my mind, this is the easiest undercard match to call a winner for. The breakup of the Shield no longer appears to be imminent, and it looks like they're going to go on a bona fide babyface run for at least a few months before we revisit it. (Or, if we don't get that babyface run for a while, I think that WWE is basically throwing money out the window.) In order to keep them hot as good guys and an established unit, there is absolutely no way that they can or should lose at Wrestlemania, particularly not to the 1990s revival act of the New Age Outlaws and Citizen Kane.
Winner: The Shield
Jack Stevenson: I could see Kane and the Outlaws winning here just to extend the feud beyond Wrestlemania, but the Shield are one of the hottest acts in wrestling at the moment and WWE are too aware of that I think to deny them a strong victory here.
Winner: The Shield
Derrick Cannon: This should be an exciting fast pace match even if the end result is extremely obvious. The shield will be victorious in a match that will include several intriguing high spots, spears, fameassers, and possibly a few chokeslams. Even in their victory they could return to showing signs of tension within the Shield.
Winner: The Shield
Sean Garmer: I don't have a problem with The Shield's opponents here as many seem to, but anything but a win here for The Shield seems to be backwards thinking. The Shield deserves to have at least some kind of a run as faces before doing a split so that WWE can see if the team has any longevity left in them. Once again, I believe in letting the younger crew have their moment here and The Shield should walk away intact and by powerbombing Kane back to hell.
Winners: The Shield
That's it for Part 1 of the 411 Wrestlemania 30 Preview. Go here for Part 2 to check out the upper card and the main event.