Handicapping Wrestlemania

Title: Handicapping Wrestlemania
Date: March 30,l 2008
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: Just like I did for the Royal Rumble, I decided to apply some odds to predetermined events. It saddens me that I haven’t made this an annual staple of the site.

It’s that time of year. The best time of year. March Madness, NBA playoff races heating up, baseball getting started, hockey kind of almost mattering, and yes, Wrestlemania. This year’s event is pretty lackluster, but it’s one of my favorite events of the year and I feel dedicated to watching it after years of being an in-the-closet WWE fan. Instead of a real Wrestlemania preview, though, I’m going to play my Royal Rumble card again and throw down a piece on how to handicap the Wrestlemania matches. That is, if you’re like me and you enjoy gambling on predetermined events, consider this your gambler’s guide to The Granddaddy Of ‘Em All.

Quick note: it’s outside this year and they’re promising the best pyro show ever.

 More after the jump (off the top rope)
WWE Title Triple Threat Match
John Cena (-140) v. Triple H (-180) v. Randy Orton (c) (+220) 

This is a pretty standard title match with very standard build. It’s been a pretty boring storyline. John Cena won the Royal Rumble but used his title shot at No Way Out, where he won via DQ against Randy Orton, but the title doesn’t change hands on a DQ decision. Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out to get this title shot, but they shoe-horned Cena in, too. Randy Orton has been the champion for some time and makes a pretty good cocky bad guy. Triple H and John Cena are fan favorites, which bodes well for their chances, plus I heard they’re supposed to feud with each other soon, probably for the title. Triple H is also Vince McMahon’s son in law, so there’s that. Orton is therefore the underdog despite being the champ. This will probably be a good match as all three guys are entertaining in the ring.

World Heavyweight Title Match
Edge (c) (+280) v. Undertaker (-440) 

The Undertaker is 15-0 at Wrestlemania and Edge has never lost (technically, he failed to win a ladder match last year because he was stretchered out). The build for this match has been phenomenal, since Undertaker is one of the best characters and Edge is the single best wrestler on the microphone. Two weeks ago there was a cool image of Edge bashing ‘Taker with a chair screaming “15-1 Deadman!” and the whole build has been intense and made you believe Undertaker could actually lose. That said, he’s the freakin’ Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

No Holds Barred Match
Floyd “Money” Mayweather (even) v. Big Show (-105) 

Man, this has been a frustrating storyline. They seemed unsure if they should make Pretty Boy Floyd a good guy or a bad guy. Ditto for Big Show, naturally. So what has happened is a build up that makes Money Mayweather look like an underdog but people are still cheering against him. This definitely had potential as a money making match if WWE could have secured another boxer for a tag-team match with Mayweather and a heel wrestler against a fan favorite boxer and a babyface wrestler. Ricky Hatton and Oscar de la Hoya were both rumored, and a match like MVP + Floyd v. de la Hoya + Rey Mysterio could have been cool. As is, it’s extremely tough to call – it doesn’t make sense for Mayweather to sign on to lose, but there’s no way they can have Mayweather win and have the fans not crap all over it.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Ken Kennedy (+110) v. Chris Jericho (-140) v. MVP (-160) v. John Morrison (+140) v. CM Punk (-105) v. Carlito (+320) v. Shelton Benjamin (+320) 

Always a tough match to call, I can tell you a few things. Foremost, the build for this match has been pretty cool with a lot of good microphone work and some good matches to hype it up. Additionally, it will be one of the top matches because, well, it’s a multi-man ladder match and there will be loads of high spots and big moves. For gambling purposes, you have to keep in mind that the winner receives a shot at a title of their choosing any time in the next year. That qualification probably eliminates Carlito and Shelton Benjamin who, while entertaining, aren’t big enough for a title shot yet. John Morrison, who has the lamest gimmick ever (a knock off of Jim Morrison of the Doors), is a long shot, too, even though he’s an ex-ECW Champion. CM Punk is an ex-ECW champion and is one of those ‘on the fringe’ guys who are probably going to be huge stars some day, so he’s got a good shot. Kennedy won last year but got hurt and never got his title shot and even though he hasn’t been seen a lot recently, he might be the best talker on Raw so he has a shot. Jericho is the most established in this group but doesn’t really need the win since he’s believable as a title contender anyways. MVP is my choice to win, both because he’s close to being a superstar (had feuds with Kane, Undertaker, Benoit, and Batista in the last year) and because he’s the second best bad guy, behind Edge. Imagine if T-O or Moss or Iverson, etc, became a wrestler…that’s MVP. Should be a fun match.

Belfast Brawl
Finlay (-600) v. JBL (+440) 

Okay, I probably shouldn’t even do this piece of junk justice. First of all, JBl is an ex-cowboy, ex-announcer, self-proclaimed financial guru who is out of shape and can’t wrestle. Second, the build for this match surrounds a leprechaun who is illegitimately Vince McMahon’s son but in ‘reality’ is Finlay’s son, and it was a ruse by the McMahon family to piss off Vince. Uhh, don’t ask me to explain anymore. This is the type of thing that makes me ashamed to admit to even knowing wrestling exists. For gambling purposes, Finlay has been a huge babyface and has been tortured in this storyline so there’s no way he loses.

ECW Title Match
Chavo Guerrero (c) (-110) v. The Winner of a 24-Man Battle Royal (even) 

I won’t try and handicap the 24-man battle royal both because I don’t know most of the people in it and because it’s technically not on Wrestlemania, appearing on WWE.com before the show. Chavo has been a funny champion, and he’s a good wrestler, so the match could be good. Since Chavo is a bad guy, I’d imagine a good guy will win the battle royal. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the battle royal winner is a shocker, and he then upsets Chavo. However, Chavo has to be a slight favorite as the champion and because the challenger will be ‘exhausted’ from a tough match.

Bunnymania Tag Team Match
Maria and Ashley (-1200) v. Melina and The Glamazon (+800) with Snoop Dogg as Master of Ceremonies

Snoop Dogg is the big sell here as the MC and should provide some humor with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Santino Marella, an asshole boyfriend who didn’t want Maria to pose in Playboy (she did anyways, on the forreal). Kim Kasvahardin is also going to be there for this match. Why? Good question. Other celebrities involved in the show are John Legend (performing America the Beautiful) and possibly 50 Cent accompanying Mayweather to the ring, but that’s unconfirmed. Umm, the ‘good guys’ will win this match and show some T&A.

SmackDown v. Raw Showdown
Batista (-220) v. Umaga (+160) 

This match has serious potential since both guys are fast-paced monsters with a really physical style in the ring. Plus, both are really over and intense, and the build has been good. They’ve each laid each other out once, brawled a few times, and destroyed jobbers to hype this up. The match is for ‘brand supremacy,’ which means nothing. Umaga is a wild Samoan with tattoos and intensity and no English and, well, every other stereotype. He also lost to Lashley last year, allowing Donald Trump to shave V-Mac’s head. Batista is the fan favorite and is a bigger star, so he gets the win even though Raw is the ‘flagship’ show.

Career-Threatening Match
Ric Flair (+200) v. Shawn Michaels (-140)

This will probably steal the show. Not only is HBK one of the best performers ever, you know they’ll be given lots of time and Flair will be on his A game since this could be his last match. A few months back they announced Flair would retire after his next loss, but he hasn’t lost since. He asked Michaels to be his opponent, despite both being fan favorites, because he wanted to show he’s still got it and can beat the best. They’ve built this up with a lot of talking, and they are two of the best on the microphone so it’s been great. The build has been such that you’d expect Flair to lose (he’s even being inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday night), but they could go another route.

Should be a fun show, though nothing spectacular. Hopefully I don’t threaten to fight a kid at the theatre like I did last year.

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