All eyes will be on Atlanta’s Georgie Dome this Sunday, as the superstars of WWE roll in for the ‘grand-daddy of them all’ Wrestlemania 27. This years event is headlined by two blockbuster title matches and a meeting between two WWE icons, but the real excitement is the return of WWE legend The Rock, who is hosting the show in his first pay-per-view appearance in seven years. Sport.co.uk runs down the final card for Sunday’s showpiece event that you can live on Sky Box Office from midnight.
The Corre (Wade Barrett, Eezkiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater) vs Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov
Although this match seems to have been thrown together at the last minute, the feud between The Corre and Big Show has been bubbling under quite nicely on SmackDown over the last few weeks. Barrett has used the leadership qualities and star power gained from last years run with John Cena and The Nexus to establish the Corre as a dominant group on the blue brand and are functioning well as a unit. The face team got the better of Wade’s boys on the go-home Raw show and with little to be gained from a victory for Big Show and his cronies, we expect the Corre to go over in this match and then for Wade to go on and move into the title picture post Wrestlemania.
United States Champion Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan
It’s been a roller-coaster year for WWE’s first ever Irish World Champion Sheamus. Since competing against Triple H at last years Wrestlemania event, Sheamus has been be crowded King of the Ring but come-up frustratingly short in his quest to regain the top titles. Many expected him to face Triple H once again at this year’s mania but was taken out by ‘The Game’ on his return, on route to his own match with the Undertaker. While that may have killed some of the Celtic Warrior’s aura, he has reestablished it recent weeks, by taking the US strap off Daniel Bryan - who himself has had an up down first year with the company. We see Sheamus keeping hold of the title in a match that could really be a show-stealer.
Rey Mysterio vs Cody Rhodes
Cody’s transformation from ‘Dashing’ to the angry persona ashamed of his looks has been smartly done, even if the wrestling in a suit reminds us of 90’s star IRS. Sticking him with Rey is also a smart move, as the veteran constantly brings the best out of young superstars and this has all the makings of another stellar encounter. Possibly one of the toughest matches on the card to call, but we’re going with Cody to sneak it as Rey is normally happy to put over stars and already has a number of memorable Wrestlemania moments in his locker. His time will come again though, possibly next year with a possible match with newcomer Sin Cara.
John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki vs Dolph Ziggler and Laycool (with Vickie Guerrero)
It wouldn’t be a Wrestlemania without some celebrity involvement and this years show is no different with TV’s Jersey Shore’s Snooki making her crossover in a throwaway mixed-tag match. Even though Snooki’s mainstream appeal outside the States is minimal it has still attracted some media headlines and will be interesting to see how big a role she plays in a match against some the companies top Divas. It’s somewhat disappointing to see Morrison and Ziggler, two of WWE’s shining lights over the last nine months dragged into this match but with no Money In the Bank this year it’s a way to get them into an interesting angle. On the flip-side though, the match will mark Trish Stratus’ return to a Mania ring and we fancy her team, celeb and all to come out on top over team Vickie.
Randy Orton vs CM Punk
WWE’s creative team have invested a lot of time in this battle and after some bumpy moments it has fizzled just at the right moment leading into Sunday’s event. Orton has managed to take all of the New Nexus out of the match thanks to his infamous punts, but Punk has shown his no man to mess even on his own with his attacks on Randy (and his bus) over the last couple of Raw shows. This should be another exciting in-ring showing from two of WWE’s very best and we expect the Viper to overcome his injured knee and gain a final act of revenge on CM Punk.
Michael Cole (with Jack Swagger) vs Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
Unbelievable as it may sound but Michael Cole has probably been the best heel on WWE TV in 2011 and drawing heat only parable to Vickie Guerrero. Credit though must go to Cole, who has slowly evolved his heel role from behind the announcers desk in the build-up to Sunday with some enjoyable TV moments - including the ‘Cole-mine’ and the ‘An-cole lock’, but will surely get his comeuppance on Sunday from Jerry Lawler. The King finally gets his Wrestlemania moment to savior, and can expect a huge crowd response for kicking Cole’s butt all over Atlanta. The addition of Stone Cold Steve Austin as referee for this match surely makes a Lawler win a formality - as does a post-match Stone Cold Stunner to both Cole and his trainer Jack Swagger.
World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs Alberto Del Rio
Probably the match that coming into the pay-per-view has had the best build-up of all the card. Alberto Del Rio titanic rise up the card has been fully deserved and has seen him put in some great work over the last few weeks on SmackDown. Edge is also in the face form of his career right now, which has been helped by the return of old running buddy Christian and given the angle an intriguing side-story. With Christian without a place on the card, we expect him to be in Edge’s corner on Sunday with Del Rio’s NXT rookie Brodus Clay in the oppositions. We’ve fancied Alberto to triumph all through this program and with WWE playing-up the injured arm angle we still think you’ll see a new Heavyweight Champion crowned on Sunday. We also wouldn’t rule-out a heel-turn for Christian that would set-up an angle between the two former tag-team champions.
Undertaker vs Triple H - No holds barred
Following on from the epic Undertaker Shawn Michaels matches over the last two years, the Deadman puts his Wrestlemania streak on the line against another WWE icon Triple H - who returns from a years hiatus. The build-up to this match has at times felt a little forced (and they’ve managed to ignore the meeting between the two at Wrestlemania 17) but has seen some great mike work from both, notably from Triple H on Monday’s Raw that finally gave this bout the big match feel that it should have. The edition of Shawn Michaels to the feud on Monday’s Raw could mean a possible interference from the Heartbreak kid but questionable to what side he might be on. Ultimately though we’d be astounded if Taker lost this match and gave up the streak to someone like Triple H who doesn’t need the rub. We fully expect the Phenom to win in what will still be stand-out match no matter what the outcome and bring his streak up to 19-0.
WWE Champion The Miz vs John Cena
While The Miz goes into what we expect to be Sunday night’s main event as the WWE Champion you’d be forgiven in thinking he was just a spare part in what has become a build that’s been all about John Cena and The Rock. We still don’t know what Rock’s involvement as host will be in Atlanta, but after a program that has seen him trade classic verbal blows with WWE’s poster-boy Cena, the People’s Champ is bound to have some say in this match-up. To be fair to Miz though, he’s upped the ante to compete with these two WWE heavyweights and his satire of the Rock on Raw a few weeks ago was one of the feuds highlights. Before last Monday’s Raw we would have bet our houses on Cena regaining the WWE title but after seeing him give the Attitude Adjustment to Rocky there could be a surprise in store with Rock costing Cena the title with a Rock Bottom and setting-up a mouth-watering bout between the two further down the road. But then again this is Cena....
You can follow Sports journalist and Wrestling columnist Ash Rose on Twitter @AshRose83