**This post is dedicated to the late Paul Bearer (William Moody) who died at the age of 58 on Tuesday 5th March 2013. **
Monday’s RAW was a defining moment on the Road to WrestleMania; The Phenom, The Deadman, The Undertaker returned, signalling that he would be back and competing at WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey.
The Deadman returned at the top of the show, encased in his shroud of darkness and mystery, and told everyone within the WWE, fans and superstars alike, that he would be at WrestleMania to once again defend his undefeated streak.
The race was then on for four of WWE’s biggest stars today: CM Punk, Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show. A fatal-four-way was set up to decide who would face The Phenom, something that struck me as a little odd considering it doesn’t feed into an over-arching story, it’s merely a match set-up out of the blue. But who am I to complain? Taker’s back for another WrestleMania match, and we won’t be able to appreciate that for much longer considering the 47-year-old’s physical shape.
So Punk won, and we now have Undertaker vs CM Punk as another match on the card of WrestleMania 29 alongside The Rock vs John Cena for the WWE Championship and Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship; not bad for the first few matches announced!
It’s here that WrestleMania begins to take shape. With a WrestleMania mainstay like The Undertaker confirmed to be back for the Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania suddenly has a beacon of power and authority back to support the two title matches already announced.
The Rock vs John Cena for the WWE Championship is obviously a huge match. They had a fantastic match at WrestleMania 28 which saw The Rock coming out on top, but this year, things are different. The Rock holds the WWE Championship, and with him not being a permanent member of the WWE roster, I expect John Cena to leave WrestleMania as an 11-time WWE Champion.
On the other side of the coin, the World Heavyweight Championship will be contested between Alberto Del Rio (c) and the newly-reinvigorated Jack Swagger. Swagger’s latest patriot gimmick with Zeb Colter has gone down a storm, with WWE receiving political press from the angle that sees Swagger and Colter making risque comments towards non-Americans much like the champion, Del Rio. I see Swagger walking out of WrestleMania once again the World Heavyweight Champion.
There are also a few matches that should be taking shape over the next few weeks as the Road to WrestleMania heats up. On Monday’s RAW, a Ryback vs Mark Henry match was teased with the two entering a stare down on the entrance ramp. This could be a big match between two powerhouses, and could lead to a WrestleMania moment for Ryback if he could lift Mark Henry up for Shell Shocked.
Another match that could take place is Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler. These two have had a few run-ins over the past few months, with Ziggler eliminating Jericho from the Royal Rumble after Jericho had a fantastic showing upon his return. Maybe WWE will have Ziggler beat Jericho (if the match takes place) and then cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase.
Finally, there should be a Tag Team Championship match somewhere down the line, as well as other matches yet to even be teased. There are still 31 days until WrestleMania, with four RAW shows and five SmackDown shows to take place in that time. Things can change, but know for certain, that things will get very, very interesting.