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WrestleMania 31 predictions: Intercontinental championship ladder match

With WrestleMania 31 all set to invade Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California this coming Sun., Mar. 29, 2015, live on pay-per-view (PPV) and the WWE Network, it's time to go about making predictions for the biggest show of the year. The match card is filled out and the cSs staff of learned blowhards will give their best guess on who is going to emerge victorious this weekend.

But instead of doing this all in one post and giving you a wall of text and 3,000 words to read through, we'll give the top five matches their own post then cover the undercard.

Got it? Good. Up first:

Intercontinental championship ladder match

(Bad News Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan)

The General: The fan in me wants to overlook the racially problematic aspects of R-Truth's presentation on screen and root for the guy to win simply because he's made the most of what he's been given to work with. He's been arguably the most consistently entertaining of anyone in this match outside the ring. He's done next to no actual wrestling inside it too, which would make it that much sweeter if he got in there and turned in the performance of a lifetime. I don't think that's what is going to happen, however. This feels a whole lot more like a perfect set up for Bad News Barrett to retain the strap after an insane match that everyone will love no matter the finish. Looking up and down the card, the heels are going to have to win somewhere and this match has the right make up for exactly that.

Pick: Bad News Barrett

Sean Rueter: A case could be made for any of the seven men in the match. Sure, the case for R-Truth would be outlandish, but stranger things have happened...he did main event Survivor Series against John Cena and The Rock, for crying out loud. The real question is do you take Daniel Bryan or the field? And though I think Ambrose needs another title run to progress, as does Cody in his latest gimmick, and Barrett deserves a run where he's booked like less of a chump, and if they're never going to push Dolph to main event level he should be a mainstay of this scene, and Luke Harper is the most under-utilized guy in the picks are banking heavily on the rumor that they've decided to elevate the secondary titles. And you don't do that with the field.

Pick: Daniel Bryan

Keith Harris: With WWE clearly making a concerted effort to bring some prestige back to their secondary championships, I think we can completely rule out jokesters like Stardust and R-Truth from climbing up and grabbing the brass ring. Luke Harper is very talented, but WWE doesn't seem to know what to do with him. Having won the title three times last year, another reign for Dolph Ziggler at this present moment seems a bit pointless. Bad News Barrett has been booked like such a chump going into the match that usually he would retain, but would WWE knowingly risk the fans souring on the rest of the show by failing to put over one of their bigger favourites in Daniel Bryan or Dean Ambrose? Or would Vince get off on having Bryan come up short once again in front of the type of rebellious hardcore audience that ruined the Royal Rumble? I'm leaning towards Bryan winning as I doubt they'd make the same mistake twice and keeping him firmly placed in the Intercontinental mix would ensure that fans won't get ideas above his station ever again, but I wouldn't be surprised if they go with the youth of Ambrose or the swerve of BNB instead.

Pick: Daniel Bryan

Cain A. Knight: Count me among the group that is shaking their heads about the booking of Bryan and Ambrose on this card. These two guys clearly belong in the handful of important matches at WrestleMania 31, yet they are stuck in this "creative has nothing for you" undercard comedy angle. I don't really buy the argument that Bryan's return was too late for WWE to modify their WrestleMania plans, as I'm sure WWE would easily find a way to work John Cena into an important match if he came back from an injury in early January. And just as perplexing is why WWE decided to ignore how of hot of an asset Dean Ambrose was back in the Fall. For whatever reason they decided to transform him from an out of control ass kicker into a dumbed-down cartoon character who they must remind you is crazy with every other word on commentary. Oh and Daniel Bryan is a turd. Right, because that's the proper way to portray a legit top star. Anyway, this match is going to be a fun spot fest and will probably steal the show, but there is no instant credibility that will come to the title if Bryan wins. That will require at least a year of solid long-term booking, and WWE's track record says that just isn't happening.

Pick: Daniel Bryan

Joshua Gagnon: My initial thought was to pick Bryan, but going to go with Dean Ambrose, instead. He's had a solid post-Shield run, and I think it's fair to say he's due for a PPV win. While the IC Title was in his possession, his promos were white hot, and I hope he gets to run with it after WrestleMania.

Pick: Dean Ambrose

Jason Martin: Stealing the title was fun until I realized that was the entire plan to sell this match and add participants. At that moment, I was horrified. This is the freaking Intercontinental Championship, held by Shawn, by Macho, by Perfect, by Razor, by HHH, by Rocky, by Stone Cold. Wait a second; this is the freaking Intercontinental Championship, which has meant precisely dick to anyone within WWE throughout much of the last decade. Wade Barrett has lost every match on earth since winning the thing, which would be infuriating if not for the fact that it's sadly par for the course. The match itself will likely steal the show and the talent within the bout is nothing short of extraordinary. I felt until just a few days ago that it would be Dean Ambrose's night, that he's the guy they would want to hold the title, but once you stop and think, it would be almost unthinkable that WWE would troll the fans with Daniel Bryan and not put him over for the Championship. They can't be that out of touch. While I don't think the world would fall apart if Dolph or Dean won it, Daniel Bryan shouldn't be in it unless he's booked to win it. While I can't subscribe to the Lesnar reports, I do believe H might think Daniel Bryan as IC Champion could make it matter. It could also all be a smokescreen, a six week "make the IC Title look important so the match has interest at WM" idea. If that were true, however, why would they do so many stupid things in the lead-up to the match itself, devaluing the hell out of the Championship? The spots will be crazy, the match will be dramatic, and hopefully we'll see a new feud spin-off from the finish, but look, Daniel Bryan is in the match. How the heck does he not win it?

Pick: Daniel Bryan


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

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