WrestleMania XXIV preview
Predictions for tonight's WWE pay-per-view:
WWE champion Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Triple H: It would be a huge surprise if Orton retained the title, especially because he has already gone through all of the top babyfaces on Raw. So that leaves either Cena or Triple H. Cena is on the verge of shooting his next movie, so I expect Triple H to become a 12-time world champion tonight. Triple H hasn't held held a world title -- excluding his reign of a couple hours in October -- since losing the world heavyweight title to Batista at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. As Triple H has said repeatedly, it's time for the king of kings to get back on his throne.
World heavyweight champion Edge vs. The Undertaker: An even bigger surprise than Orton retaining would be Edge leaving the show tonight as champion. I think Edge and Undertaker will have a good -- possibly great -- match, but I just don't see WWE ending Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak. Before Undertaker got injured, it's pretty common knowledge that WWE had been planning a lengthy title reign for him after he defeated Batista for the title last year at WrestleMania. He'll get the title back tonight and extend his streak to 16-0.
Floyd Mayweather vs. The Big Show: There hasn't been as huge a buzz about this match as WWE was hoping for, but a lot of people are curious from a "train'wreck" perspective. This one is really hard to predict, especially because WWE has never made it clear what the rules of the match are. One would think that Mayweather didn't agree to work with WWE to lose, but, on the other hand, how can WWE put the 5-foot-8, 150-pound boxer over its 7-foot, 441-pound giant? Perhaps there will be some outside interference (Rey Mysterio?) or some other kind of disputed finish. My guess is that Big Show is winning here in some fashion.
Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels: To many fans, myself included, this is the real main event. As Michaels admitted to me in an interview last week, he is feeling the pressure to have a great match. Michaels always delivers on the big stage -- or any-sized stage, really -- and I expect nothing different tonight. I think Flair will rise to the occasion as well. I would expect at least a 20-minute match, with Flair getting a lot of near falls before eventually succumbing to Michaels and ending his fabulous 35-plus-year career. The post-match scene, which is sure to include tears from Flair, Michaels and many fans in attendance, figures to be another classic WrestleMania moment.
Money in the Bank ladder match (Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, John Morrison, MVP and CM Punk): Before Jeff Hardy's suspension earlier this month, he was the heavy favorite to win this match. Now, all bets are off. In my opinion, three men have a legitimate shot to win: Jericho, Kennedy and MVP. Personally, I would like to see MVP go over and get to the next level, but I don't think it's happening. There has been speculation that Kenney will win, cash in his title shot after the triple threat WWE title match and leave WrestleMania as the champion.I don't think that's happening either. I'm going with the biggest star in the match, and that's Jericho. I also think there is a possibility that Matt Hardy might show up as a surprise entrant.
Batista vs. Umaga: This is the one match in which I don't expect a clean finish. There have been reports that Umaga will soon switch brands and join the Smackdown roster to continue the feud. I'm expecting a good brawl ending in a double disqualification.
Finlay vs. JBL (Belfast Brawl): After JBL brutalized Hornswoggle on two occasions, one would think that Finlay gets revenge here in his type of match. JBL is the bigger star, however, and I don't think this feud is ending tonight, so I'm going with him.
ECW champion Chavo Guerrero vs. battle royal winner: The 24-man battle royal to determine Guerrero's challenger will be broadcast on wwe.com before the pay-per-view starts. I don't have a strong feeling about anyone winning the battle royal. My first thought was Kane, but then I began to think that maybe the spot will go to a rising star rather than an established one. The problem is that I don't see too many rising stars in the battle royal. Kofi Kingston has potential, but it might be too early to plug him into a title match. Oh, what the heck. I'll go out on a limb and pick Kingston to win the battle royal and Guerrero to retain the title.
Maria and Ashley vs. Beth Phoenix and Melina (BunnyMania lumberjill match): I would rather see Mickie James teaming with Maria than being a lumberjill, but, oh well. Phoenix is by far the most believable wrestler in the match, so I'll go with her and Melina.