The road to Wrestlemania is paved with controversy. This year is no exception. For some wrestlers, the journey is treacherous. Some wonder if they will ever make it to the grand stage. Fans at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and those watching at home, will witness two controversial main event matches on April 7.

Since his return to the WWE in early 2013, Jack Swagger has developed an aggressive, “take no prisoners” type of attitude. The company also decided to pair the wrestler up with a manager – Zeb Coulter. The two of them are portrayed as individuals who are dissatisfied with the current state of America, which makes them the heels (bad guys) in this rivalry. The promos that have aired on the WWE’s Youtube channel, and on the television shows talk about immigrants coming into the country and “stealing jobs from the American people.” Also, Swagger and Coulter state they are real Americans who are speaking about what is best for the country, yet, the fans are clearly behind Del Rio, who is an immigrant.

After surprising fans by winning the Elimination Chamber match in February, Swagger earned the right to face Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 29. The build-up for this match has been, and continues to be based on immigration promos of Swagger and Coulter, but this time, Del Rio took the side of the immigrants, stating that they worked hard to earn what they have.

Because of this storyline, the champion has developed a “dislike” for the Swagger and Coulter characters, which I believe will create more excitement for their match at Mania. If Swagger wins, he will become the World Champion, and who knows what direction the WWE will take with the controversial characters. If Del Rio emerges victorious, it would be a win for the “hard working immigrants,” according to the champion.

I think Alberto will retain the World title after a hard-fought and thrilling contest, but I am not sure whether he will leave MetLife Stadium with the belt. My other prediction is that finally, Dolph Ziggler will use the opportunity at the biggest event of the year, to “cash in” the Money in the Bank briefcase he won in July, and win the World Championship. In other words, after Wrestlemania 29, I think Dolph Ziggler will be the champion, and hopefully commence a lengthy reign.

Another main event that fans await each year, involves the Undertaker. His Wrestlemania undefeated streak, is a special attraction at the show. Fans wonder if he will ever lose. Will age finally be a factor, and will his body hold up? This year, the future legend puts his streak on the line against the brash, cocky former WWE champion, C.M. Punk. Punk won a four-way match to earn the opportunity to end the streak. I think it was great that four wrestlers fought for this chance – it places importance on the streak.

At Wrestlemania 25 and 26, the Undertaker wrestled Shawn Michaels. At the following two Mania’s he battled Triple H. All of those matches were built on respect, and fans could hear that in the promos leading up to the event. But, this year, there will be animosity between Punk and Taker, but not just because there is a clear heel and a clear face (fan favorite).  There was also a real-life incident that occurred on March 7, and it will add to the build up.

Paul Bearer, former manager of the Undertaker and Kane, passed away. In my opinion, he helped make them into the intimidating, yet popular, stars they are today. There were three things that made him different from other managers. He had a unique and high pitched voice, a different pale look, and he always carried around an urn. Nobody ever knew what was inside, but whenever the Undertaker was losing strength during a match, Bearer raised the urn towards the wrestler, which allowed Taker to “rise from the dead,” so to speak, and commence a comeback.

On the March 11 edition of Raw, the WWE decided to do the right thing by honoring the memory of the former manager. It began with the Undertaker, in the ring, on one knee in his traditional pose, looking at a still photo of Bearer on the video screen. During Taker’s moment of reflection, C.M. Punk’s music interrupted, much to the dismay of everyone. He looked at the Undertaker, and offered “condolences on his loss…….at Wrestlemania”. That was the ultimate sign of disrespect, but it allowed for Punk to become more despised than he already was. And, that is also how a real life issue is used, to further a storyline.

A match was made for the main event between Punk and Kane, who brought the urn to ringside. After Kane won the match with a chokeslam, the Undertaker appeared on stage to acknowledge his “brother, and the memory of Bearer.” With Kane’s back turned, Punk slid into the ring, with the urn, and attacked Kane. Punk then left the ring, with the urn, grinning and taunting the Undertaker.

This show of disrespect adds even more animosity towards the Wrestlemania encounter featuring Taker and Punk. I believe this match can go either way. Punk can make his opponent so angry in the upcoming weeks, especially if he makes disparaging remarks about Paul Bearer, that Taker could lose his cool, and the match at Mania. If that happens, Punk can lay claim to being the one who ended the streak. The other side is that the Undertaker could use the memory of his deceased friend as motivation to win. I predict the latter will occur, resulting in the Undertaker being 21-0 at Wrestlemania. But, I am interested in what Punk will say and do, to get inside the Undertaker’s head in the weeks ahead and ruffle his feathers.

With these main events, and a host of other matches, Wrestlemania 29 promises to be a night full of drama, intrigue, and hard-hitting action. I know all the wrestlers will work their hardest to ensure the fans are entertained throughout the night. There will be bitter disappointment, as well as joy experienced by the wrestlers throughout the night. So, enjoy Wrestlemania, and the twists and turns the WWE will provide along the way.

Azeem Kayum

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