The big four bouts scheduled for WrestleMania 29 on Sun., April 7, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, -- Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, CM Punk vs. Undertaker, The Rock vs. John Cena -- will each get their own "Road to WrestleMania" post but the undercard is only fit for a single hitter.
And it's a quickie no less.
That speaks to the relative lack of planning that seemed to go into the preliminary match-ups WWE has booked for the show. That's not necessarily a reason to knock the company for its strategy, though it does seem shortsighted. It's just that there have been bigger fish to fry.
With all due respect to everyone else, of course.
Let's run down the card as it looks as of this writing:
- Ryback vs. Mark Henry
This match has received perhaps the most simple and straight forward booking of any match in some time. The two shared a few intense staredowns and teased fans with an inevitable confrontation. What more could we ask for? Any good WrestleMania needs a HOSS FIGHT and this is it.
- The Shield vs. Big Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton
Although this feels like a fairly thrown together match, the booking has been building toward it for some time. It's arguably been as simple as the Ryback-Henry build up but with less purpose. The Shield's initial mission in WWE was to fight against injustice but that narrative has been lost along the way. They were also paid to work for Paul Heyman and CM Punk but that story has seemingly been dropped. Now, they're simply running in and putting the hurting on some variation of Sheamus and Orton, though Show was thrown into that mix by way of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ryback was initially going to team with the babyface duo but Show, though he hasn't officially turned back to the good side just yet, got the spot after proving it's better to fight against a common enemy than amongst each other.
- Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston
All it takes is one episode of Monday Night Raw featuring one match between Ziggler and Daniel Bryan and one bit of interference from Big E. and one bit of Kane wanting/getting revenge and one bit of AJ Lee prancing around with all her connections to everyone involved here and why not book a match for the tag team championships? That's what we've got with these four. It could represent the beginning of the end for Bryan and Kane as a team, or it could represent the beginning of the end of Ziggler and Langston getting along with each other for the sake of AJ or it could just represent another match on the card with gold on the line. We shall see.
- Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
In storyline, the only real rhyme or reason for this match is the fact that Fandango ran across Jericho in the back during an interview and was ruthlessly made fun of. That led to his getting angry and interfering in "Y2J's" affairs, and just like that, the two set up a match at the grandest stage of them all. What this is in reality is WWE being high on the Fandango character and wanting to do what it can to help get him over. A win over Jericho, or at the very least a strong match at WrestleMania, would go a long way towards accomplishing that goal, or setting him on the right path to get there.
- Wade Barrett vs. The Miz
After a solid triple threat match on Raw that also included Chris Jericho, the two have been going back and forth across the wide expanse of WWE shows. Miz defeated Barrett via submission, mostly clean if we're not counting a nut shot before the bout from Triple H, that led to his asking for the match. Obviously, he got it, and now they're off. Not a whole lot being offered here but a title switch seems entirely possible, so there may be a pop for that.
- Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls vs. Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins
When the Bella Twins returned to the fold a couple weeks ago, they quickly aligned themselves with the Rhodes Scholars, whose break up on SmackDown a month or so back has seemingly been completely forgotten about. With Brodus Clay having teamed up with Tensai to create Tons of Funk alongside the Funkadactyls, it was only natural that the eight wrestlers enter into a feud with each other. Sure enough, that's what happened and the match was quickly made for the big show. They might even get to have it on the PPV broadcast, though it seems likely it won't get much time.
There's the preliminary card. Stay tuned for a detailed look at the big four over the coming days.