Thursday, March 26, 2015

WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions!!

Sigh.....well here we go with the official WrestleMania 31 predictions.  As I outlined, in great detail, whether you asked for it or not, I'm about as disinterested for this show as I've ever been for a WrestleMania event.  WWE's creative team needs the most monumental of shakeups to right this iceberg-bound cruise liner, as its Chairman is defiantly out of touch with his audience.  If any of the matches themselves had on-paper potential to be instant classics I'd at least have something to sink my teeth into, but besides Orton vs. Rollins I'd be surprised if anything on the card gets out of the 2.5-3 star range.

Anyway, let's predict this shitshow.  As always my associate Dan Moore is with me.  Say, by the way, Dan owes us an amusing/embarrassing photograph as punishment for losing the 2014 predictions season to moi.  Our final tally was:

Justin - 59/87, or a 67.8% accuracy rate
Dan - 53/87, or a 60.9% accuracy rate

So without further ado, let's see what you got Dan...

Well Justin won the predictions this year (though we both did pretty bad, actually). So here's the embarrassing picture I had to take. In the middle of this historically snowy winter here in Boston, I headed down to Cancun to deliver to Jingles this here picture of me drinking a totally embarrassing and inappropriate lady drink. It's probably tough to see amidst the gorgeous weather, lovely water and 80-degree temps, but that's a pink drink. I'm mortified.

What a goddamn welcher.  That kinda behavior'll earn you a shitbeating in some of those tougher neighborhoods.

Alright, prediction time.

Preshow: WWE Tag Team Title 4-way Match - Cesaro/Kidd vs. Usos vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores

Once again the Tag Titles are relegated to the Preshow, this time so we can make room for a musical medley at the start of the PPV.  Because when deciding whether or not to watch a wrestling show, my answer depends on the choice of musical act.  For f*ck's sake.

This should be a fine opening contest just like it was last year.  Too bad no one in WWE cares enough about it to put it on the PPV.  Remember a year ago when Cesaro was red hot and won the Andre Battle Royal?  Funny how WWE's creative efforts to get guys over actually result in career nosedives for most people.

Justin's pick: Cesaro/Kidd just won the belts so I doubt they'll drop 'em here on the Preshow.
Dan's pick: Besides the Usos, I don't see any other team being a real threat here. Team CK should retain.

Intercontinental 7-Man Ladder Match - Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth

You all know what I think of this clustermess.  It'll be enjoyable while it lasts and then we'll all forget about it like every other pointless multi-man Ladder Match.  But it should get the crowd going if it's on first.  Supposedly this is designed to elevate the I-C Title to importance again, but the Champion Barrett hasn't won a TV match in God-knows-how-long.  So you do the math.

Justin's pick: Originally this was intended to provide a nice 'Mania moment for Dean Ambrose, and he's still the safe bet.  On a certain level I'd say the only reason for Bryan to be in this match is so he can lend his credibility to elevating the I-C Title by holding it for a year and even main eventing PPVs with it.  Side note: Bryan will now have competed for every Championship at a WrestleMania event.  Hmmm, Bryan or Ambrose??  Dammit, gotta go with my heart - Daniel Bryan becomes a Grand Slam Champ.

Andre Battle Royal - Ryback, Mizdow, an NXT guy, and 17 other dudes

I won't list the participants here because none of them has a chance in hell of winning except Ryback, Mizdow and the NXT tournament winner.  Unless Sheamus returns here, which could happen.  Winning the Battle Royal could've been a prestigious thing, had WWE done ANYTHING with Cesaro last year.  But they didn't, so it's not.

Justin's pick: If Sheamus shows up, Sheamus.  If not, Ryback.
Dan's pick: Damien Mizdow cannot be stopped. He'll be the last one standing after disposing of his former boss.

Bella Twins vs. AJ & Paige

Despite WWE actually giving the Divas ten-minute matches on RAW lately, I still don't care about this feud.  The Bellas are still friends even though they feuded for three months last fall, and AJ & Paige still don't fully trust each other.  The match could be decent if given ten minutes, but if there isn't even time for the Tag Titles I doubt this'll go more than six.

Justin's pick: AJ & Paige to set them both up as Divas Title contenders again.
Dan's pick: Bellas win

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

This is the only match I'm interested in.  Rollins is great, Orton is always reliable.  There's no heat for this match since Orton already got revenge on Seth, but the match itself should be fifteen minutes of good wrestling.

Justin's pick: WWE's 50/50 booking dictates Orton will win here so Rollins' inevitable cash-in will be "shocking."  Then Orton's automatically a top contender for him.
Dan's pick: The Viper will get vengeance

Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt

I said it before, I don't see the point of this match.  Taker's streak is over, so he's not defending anything.  Wyatt doesn't stand to gain much by a win or a loss.  When Taker goes home the next day, where does that leave Wyatt?  It's the same conundrum they run into every year by featuring once-a-year performers at WrestleMania.  Win or lose, there's no overreaching consequences for these money matches because at least one of the participants is gone the rest of the year.  If a match has no reason to happen other than drawing a one-time buyrate, what's the long-term purpose?

Justin's pick: No way Taker drops two in a row.  Wyatt's been built up since October for essentially nothing.
Dan's pick: I honestly see no point in Wyatt losing this match. How does it help him to lose to a guy wrestling once a year...but Taker's gonna win anyway.  Pointless.

US Title Match: Rusev vs. John Cena

This should be solid and the buildup has been okay.  Rusev is one of the few new guys they've handled well.  He's still a monster heel who's been protected, and he holds a decisive if slightly underhanded win over Cena.  I like that Rusev doesn't need to take shortcuts but does anyway.  That's the mark of a good heel.

Justin's pick: That said, Cena's winning here.  He shouldn't, but he is.
Dan's pick: If Cena doesn't beat Rusev, who can? WWE's superman will be the first to pin the Bulgarian Brute.

Triple H vs. Sting

Ten years ago this would've been a helluva match.  Now with a 45-year-old fighting a 56-year-old I'm not expecting much.  I'd like this a lot better if it were just about Sting being a vigilante trying to bring down The Authority.  But Vince keeps sticking in that WCW knife to remind us all who won the war 15 years ago.  Yeah Vince, we get it.  WWE is all kinds of awesome and WCW sucked.  Move on.  In another case of "What then?" neither of these guys will be donning the tights on Monday's RAW, so what are the long-term ramifications of this match?

Justin's pick: Sting ain't losing in his debut.
Dan's pick: Stinger is the winner (by the way, I was never a WCW fan growing up. I know virtually nothing about Sting, and his appearances have meant zero to me. He does nothing for me because I'm clueless on his history...that is all)

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Well, this match just got a bit more interesting.  Brock announced Tuesday night that he's re-signed with WWE for at least two more years, which means there's a chance he walks out of 'Mania with the strap. 

You all know how I feel about Reigns.  The Levi Stadium crowd is probably gonna crap all over him and cheer Lesnar, especially now that Lesnar's "chosen us," so to speak.  I can only hope these two beat the ever-lovin' shit out of each other to at least make this a memorable bout.

Justin's pick: As of Monday I was 100% sure Reigns was winning here as planned, but now with Lesnar sticking around there are a few ways it could go.  Lesnar could keep the belt as a heel, giving Reigns more time to develop as a challenger.  Or Paul Heyman could do his old "frontrunner" bit where he panics thinking Reigns has Lesnar's number, and screws Brock out of the belt, leading to a double-turn.  Or, and this would be intriguing - Heyman attempts to screw Brock, but it fails and Brock retains anyway.  Then Brock goes after Heyman, who begs him off, and Reigns attacks Brock from behind, adopting Heyman as his new manager.  Then Brock continues as a part-time babyface Champion while the US and IC belts get pushed, and Reigns becomes a top heel.  Or maybe Rollins cashes in on babyface Brock, and he and Reigns become allies again.  I gotta say, Brock sticking around is the first thing about this match that's gotten my attention.

Anyway, I guess I'll still pick Reigns, knowing how stubborn Vince is.  But that crowd ain't gonna like it.  And Rollins will most likely cash in on RAW since that crowd will like Reigns even less.

Dan's pick: Here's hoping they make the right choice here and let Brock retain.

Well there it is.  I'm anticipating a chore of a WrestleMania, nowhere near the quality of last year's edition, nor the freshness and excitement of New Japan's WrestleKingdom 9 this past January.  But we'll find out soon enough.  Enjoy the show (if you can).

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