The Three Count

T3C: WWE WrestleMania 21 Preview

Is Triple H about to lose the World Championship title? Is a spinning WWE Title belt about to be made? Will Undertaker lose his undefeated streak? Forget the questions, here’s the answers!

World Heavyweight Title: Triple H v Batista

Wrestlemania Factfile

* If Triple H loses he’ll be the first person ever to lose the World Heavyweight Title at successive Wrestlemania’s

* This is Batista’s first ever singles match at Wrestlemania

The Feud

It’s not been a happy few months for Evolution. After Randy Orton won the World Title, it was just 24 hours before Triple H and his cronies turned on him. Only one guy can be World champion in Evolution and his name is Triple H. With Orton out of the group and no replacement, Batista quickly became the junior partner but that wasn’t what he wanted. For months it looked as if Batista was about to turn face on Triple H but we were kept on the edge of our seats waiting for that inevitable moment. After New Year’s Revolution, Randy Orton began stirring things up between Hunter and Batista, then came the chance for Batista to be in the Royal Rumble, something Hunter definitely didn’t want. Of course Batista won the Rumble but who would he meet at Wrestlemania? A scared Triple H did everything he could to stir up matters between Batista and JBL. It was down to an overheard conversation that eventually saw Batista turn on his mentor setting up this World Title match.

The Preview

Last year Triple H dropped the belt to Chris Benoit, will history repeat itself this year and Batista take the title from Triple H? I think there’s a strong possibility that he will, though with rumours persisting that the pair will meet again at Backlash we can’t be certain the title change will happen at Wrestlemania.

It’s been a big year for Batista as he becomes the latest big guy to get a push. He’s a likeable guy for sure and his in-ring performances have greatly improved this year, no more so than in the Rumble and his Raw victory over Chris Benoit. But is he ready for the World Title? This isn’t a guy who wrestles long matches and that’s what World champions should be doing. Sure, we’re not in the age when Harley Race (interviewed in the next Piledriver) and others frequently wrestled sixty minute matches, but when has Batista had matches that have lasted twenty minutes? We need more than a few power moves from Batista if he’s really going to make it to the next level.

The feud has been ok so far if not entirely predictable. I’d love to see RIc Flair turn on Triple H this weekend and totally end Evolution forever. Can’t see that happening but it’d be interesting and Triple H and Flair have wrestled reasonable matches in the past.

So will it be King Batista this weekend? I have a feeling that it will be but wouldn’t be surprised if Triple H kept the belt only to lose it at Backlash.

The Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Edge v Shelton Benjamin v Christian v Kane v Chris Jericho v Chris Benoit

Wrestlemania Factfile

* Edge has never lost at Wrestlemania

* This is Shelton’s first singles match at Wrestlemania

* Christian managed to win and lose the Hardcore Title at Wrestlemania 19

* Kane is the only man to have lost to The Undertaker twice at Wrestlemana

* Chris Jericho has lost singles matches at the last three Wrestlemania’s

* Chris Benoit has won the World Heavyweight Title and the IC Title at Wrestlemania

The Feud

Without a scheduled opponent at Wrestlemania, Chris Jericho came up with the idea of a six-man ladder match at this year’s event. Raw GM Eric Bishchoff liked the idea and decided whoever won the match would receive a World Title shot anytime in the next year. Since then it’s been a succession of matches involving the six wrestlers (plus the hopeless Tyson Tomko) and plenty of use of ladders.

The Preview

You can’t go wrong with a ladder match can you? It’s an interesting gimmick match guaranteed to create excitement and when it comes to choosing a winner it’s not at all easy and that makes for an even better match.

But it’s not a perfect match. Why the hell isn’t the IC title on the line here? What is the point of Shelton Benjamin having the belt if it doesn’t get defended on the biggest card of the year? What if he loses this match? What credibility does the IC Title have then?

So who’s going to win? Here’s an interesting fact, this match seems to have four faces and two heels so will a face turn heel here to even matters up? I have a feeling that as it was Jericho’s idea in the first place he could be the guy to win this match and turn heel. I prefer this guy as a heel anyway. What about the others in this match? Christian just isn’t Raw main event standard, though he could do well on Smackdown. Benoit has had his time as champ, Benjamin can’t be thought of too highly otherwise he’d be in a proper IC Title match, Kane has a movie to promote so might miss some time and Edge seems destined never to get a World title, unless it’s for committing adultery.

Women’s Title: Trish Stratus v Christy Hemme

Wrestlemania Factfile

* Trish Stratus is in her first one-on-one singles match at Wrestlemania having previously featured in triple threat matches for the title.

* This is Christy Hemme’s first match at Wrestlemania

The Feud

It’s all about jealousy and keeping your clothes on. Raw Diva Search winner, the extremely irritating skipping Christy Hemme, has posed for Playboy. That upsets Trish because she sees Hemme as a slut and upsets most fans as they’d much rather see Stratus in the magazine. After showing off her Playboy cover (well that’s all she has left to show off), Christy gets attacked by Trish and has ‘SLUT’ painted on her back. Angry, Hemme challenges Trish to a title match at Wrestlemania and fans of Victoria and Molly wonder why they bother being in the company. Hemme surprises Trish by hiring Lita to teach her how to wrestle and most fans wonder who’s going to teach Lita how to wrestle in the first place. Expect Christy to be good at missing spots, injuring both herself and her opponent and giving wrestlers a good time after hours.

The Preview

Hopefully this is going to be short and painless. Trish is ok in the ring but we can’t honestly expect much from Christy can we? I go for Trish to keep the belt. Where does Christy go then? Well how about Lita turning on her and costing her the match, after all she’s not the most faithful of women is she and what’s the point of her being a face when the fans boo her?

WWE Title: JBL v John Cena

Wrestlemania Factfile

* JBL: This is Bradshaw’s first singles match at Wrestlemania after plenty of tag matches

* John Cena has only had one match at Wrestlemania beating The Big Show for the US Title last year.

The Feud

John Cena manages to win a tournament to decide the Number one challenger for the WWE Title with a match at Wrestlemania guaranteed. He beats Angle at No Way Out and then attacks JBL at the end of the show. Non-stop arguing ever since with JBL costing Cena his US Title and destroying his spinning belt. Upset, Cena attacks Smackdown GM Theodore Long and is told he can’t touch JBL outside of a match otherwise he’ll lose his title shot.

The Preview

I still can’t believe that JBL is champion let alone the fact he’s beaten all the top stars on the Smackdown roster apart from his challenger this weekend. On the mic he’s ok, pretty good actually but I just don’t like him in the ring and there’s far too many unclean victories.

I believe his title run ends at Wrestlemania and Cena gets the title. It makes sense as the challenger has a movie and a CD to promote and I suppose a new spinning belt. Is he ready for it? Not totally certain, the good thing is he could have some opponents lined up for challenges who will carry him to a good match. Angle and Eddie Guerrero could be potential challengers.

This won’t be a classic (we all know the match that will be) and I go for Cena to get the belt. After that? Well I can’t imagine JBL turning face, he could perhaps go to Raw to feud with Batista or how about the inevitable split between JBL and Orlando?

Eddie Guerrero v Rey Mysterio Jr

Wrestlemania Factfile

* Eddie has never lost a singles match at Wrestlemania

* Rey Mysterio has only appeared at two Wrestlemania’s losing Cruiserweight Title matches on both occasions

The Feud

Is it a feud? Well not quite. This time last year Eddie was successfully defending his WWE Title against Kurt Angle, but the last twelve months haven’t been so great for Eddie, a point Chavo has readily pointed out. He’s spent a lot of time in the tag division with Booker T and now a title reign with Mysterio. What does it say about tag wrestling in WWE when neither belt is being defended at Wrestlemania. Chavo taunts Eddie about his fall from grace leading to Eddie challenging Mysterio – who’s pinned him a few times during the RVD/Mysterio and Eddie/Booker feud -to a match at Wrestlemania. During Smackdown they both accidentally cost each other their matches against the Basham Brothers.

The Preview

As pointless as this match is, it could be one of the best of the night. Everyone is expecting Guerrero to turn heel sooner or later and the fact Chavo has just dropped the Cruiserweight Title to Paul London is interesting. Could the tag champs split up and Los Guerreros reform? I think Eddie will turn heel and could eventually start a feud with John Cena that would be pretty good. I’m not sure where Mysterio is going, a feud with London would be ok I suppose, we’ve all seen him against Chavo plenty of times. I go for Eddie to get the win.

Sumo Match: The Big Show v Akebono

Wrestlemania Factfile

* The Big Show has never won at Wrestlemania losing every single time to John Cena, The Undertaker (in a handicap match with A-Train), a hardcore title match against Raven and Kane and the Wrestlemania 2000 Four corners Title match.

* This is Akebono’s first Wrestlemania

The Feud

Basically set up during the WWE Tour of Japan. Akebono was at ringside, had a bit of a staring match with Big Show in the ring and next minute we’re stuck with a sumo match between the two giants.

The Preview

Oh what joy! Big Show in a sumo match, but will he wear traditional gear? Now that would be a bum rap! The only other Sumo match in WWE history was when Earthquake met Yokozuna. At least Earthquake had real sumo experience. This is a terrible novelty match but I presume Big Show will win unless WWE have other long term plans for the Japanese star.

Shawn Michaels v Kurt Angle

Wrestlemania Factfile

* Shawn Michaels first appeared at Wrestlemania V alongside Marty Jannetty.

* Kurt Angle has lost four title matches at Wrestlemania!

The Feud

This all goes back to the Royal Rumble where they cost each other the chance to win. Angle gloated about it and then Michaels told Teddy Long that he wanted to meet him at Wrestlemania. The following week on Raw, Angle attacked Michaels after his match with Edge. Later that week on Smackdown Michaels repaid the complement. Since then Angle has been belittling Michael’s Wrestlemania achievements and then attacked Michaels again at Raw this week.

The Preview

This is the main event of Wrestlemania, forget the sumo and the other title matches this is the match people want to see. The two best wrestlers in the WWE get to meet for the first time and we all know it’ll be a classic. But who wins? This really is a bit of a toss up but I go for Angle to win to give him momentum towards a possible title match with John Cena. As for Michaels, go on let him go to Smackdown to continue the feud. Anyone up for the sixty minute Iron match between the pair?

The Undertaker v Randy Orton

Wrestlemania Factfile

* The Undertaker may be 12-0 but he’s only ever had one title match at Wrestlemania beating Sid at WM13

* Randy Orton has never had a singles match at Wrestlemania

The Feud

With no chance of a title match at Wrestlemania, Orton was told by Superstar Billy Graham that he needed something that would make people stand up and pay attention. So the legend killer decided to challenge The Undertaker. Cue contract signings, Orton slapping Undi, Randy attacking Stacy, weird electrical stuff, rings catching fire and a double cross by Cowboy Bob Orton.

The Preview

It’ll be a real shame if Undi loses his unbeaten streak at Wrestlemania. OK It’s putting a younger talent over but we’re talking about an opponent who is a former World Heavyweight Champion not some kid like Daniel Puder or Maven. Orton hasn’t been a success as a face so a heel turn was inevitable and poor old Stacy had to get bashed again to create that. This should be a good match but will Orton win? He has time off after this match to get a shoulder injury sorted out so perhaps he might not win. How about him getting injured by Undi then coming back to face him on Smackdown? I go for an Undertaker win (now call me a sentimental git!).

There’s also talk of a inter-brand thirty man Battle Royal on Heat but few details are available at present.

Piper’s Pit with Steve Austin

This should be entertaining but hopefully not too long as the man with a million WWE lives (him and Jannetty) Roddy Piper interviews the returning rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin. It’s inevitable that Piper will get the stone cold stunner but where next? Piper could be a decent addition to the roster as an interviewer and commentator but not a wrestler. As for Austin, can he wrestle or is he here just to promote his movies?

It’s not a bad card and of course there’s also the Hall of Fame inductees with Hogan bound to get some massive cheers. There’s also talk of a segment with Hassan. It upsets me that there’s only three titles up for grabs on this card. The Tag division is being totally ignored and so are the US and IC belts. Not a good sign for sure.

Stephen Ashfield