WrestleMania 29: Stars pick their favorites

April, 6, 2013
4/06/13
3:00
PM ET
WrestleManiaAP Photo/Dave AlloccaThe Rock vs. John Cena is WrestleMania 29's main event, but will it be the most interesting match?
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- To me, WrestleMania 29’s most intriguing bout is CM Punk versus The Undertaker, the superstar most likely to steal the show is the showoff himself, Dolph Ziggler, and my favorite all-time WrestleMania match is Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat versus “The Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3.

But I was curious how WWE superstars would answers the same three questions, so I asked a handful of them as they prepared for Sunday’s WrestleMania 29.

Here are their surprising answers:

WRESTLEMANIA 29’s MOST INTRIGUING MATCH

CM Punk: “Triple H and Brock Lesnar have the no-holds barred match, and people love bells and whistles. I’m sure you’re going to see tables and chairs and stairs and sledgehammers … people love to plunder.”

Brodus Clay: “CM Punk vs. The Undertaker. I honestly think Punk is going to take it this year, and there’s going to be an upset. I was wrong last year when I went with Cena over The Rock, and I’m taking Cena again this year, but I’m also going with the sentimental pick and taking Punk over Undertaker.”

Jimmy Hart: “Somebody asked me the other day who I thought was going to win between The Rock and John Cena, and I told them, ‘I can sure smell what The Rock is cooking, but I’d sure like to eat some of those Fruity Pebbles that Cena eats in the morning for breakfast, too.’ I’m just going to buy me a ticket, sit at ringside, and whoever wins, that’s who I thought was going to win in the first place. Ride the fence, ride the fence.”

Cody Rhodes: “Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H because this is a really different dynamic than I’m used to seeing with Triple H. We’re used to seeing Triple H on the grand stage of WrestleMania, but to see him out there with Brock, you’re talking about two completely different worlds, personally, on an entertainment level, and just everything. I’m very curious to see how it all plays out.”

Hornswoggle: “Punk and Taker. The wrestling fan in me is really excited to see what goes down and how they work together again. I think Punk is actually going to do it. Undertaker is going to be 20-1.

Sgt. Slaughter: “I’m thinking CM Punk vs. the Undertaker could be the end of the streak. Punk is going to be here for awhile, and he just always seems to have an answer for everything.”

Paul Heyman: “Chris Jericho vs. Fandango because I don’t think anybody realizes just how talented Fandango is. The man can wrestle and is going to shock a lot of people. What a fantastic first opponent to have in Chris Jericho. All those ‘You can’t wrestle!’ chants are going to go away quickly, unless the fans just want to prove themselves right, but this guy is going to be a bonafide star.”

Kaitlyn: “Fandango vs. Chris Jericho. What is to be expected in this? Fandango has never wrestled in front of the WWE Universe and he’s having his first match at WrestleMania 29 against Chris Jericho, who is probably a way better dancer than Fandango. He was on Dancing with the Stars, so I just hope to God that there is a dance off. A straight-up, hardcore dance off.”

Dolph Ziggler: “I’m looking forward to John Cena vs. The Rock because our fans, the WWE Universe, they’re so vocal, whether they love somebody or hate somebody, and I’m looking forward to their reaction when these two guys enter the ring. Are they going to cheer both? Are they going to cheer one and boo the other? Are they going to boo both of them? It’s once in a lifetime … again. It’s New York, it’s all these fans coming in from all over the country who love wrestling, they love sports entertainment, and they love voicing their opinions, and that’s what’s so cool about WWE. 70,000 people are going to voice their opinion, and I can’t wait to see what they say about these guys.”

WRESTLER MOST LIKELY TO STEAL THE SHOW

CM Punk “I’m actually a big fan of Fandango. He’s not a rookie. He’s really good, and I think people are going to see that. Plus, he’s in the ring with Chris Jericho, and nobody can have a bad match against Chris Jericho.”

Brodus Clay: “Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler is just so amazing at everything he does, and WrestleMania will be his time to shine. If not Dolph, look out for Sweet T. His dance moves have been at a fevered pitch and he’s unbelievable at some of the stuff he’s been working on lately. You can’t deny his experience and his success in Japan, and then there’s this other side to him that the people in the back know … he’s a funny guy. He’s more of a one-liner guy, like Seinfeld, and that doesn’t really translate to dancing, but he’s having fun out there. Also, his way of approaching day-to-day business and his work ethic have been rubbing off on me, as he’s one of those guys, if he sees something he wants to do, he’s not going to stop until he gets it right, and he’s really a lot of fun to work with.”

Jimmy Hart: “Ryback is a hungry, up-and-coming guy who is just so strong. I can see his match against Mark Henry going to the floor, and then you never know what’s going to happen.”

Cody Rhodes: “I think Fandango has the potential to make a massive name for himself. He’s in there against Chris Jericho, and his first match is at WrestleMania. I’m not sure what the hardcore of the hardcore fans really are going to perceive or think of him, but still, the opportunity is there. I’m actually surprised that he gets the ‘You can’t wrestle!’ chants because honestly, I can’t think of a much harder move to do than jump off the top rope with a leg drop and then execute that every night. He did it twice, and he still got the ‘You can’t wrestle!’ chants, but then again, when the people are yelling, that’s a good thing.”

AJ Lee: “Dolph Ziggler will steal the show and your girlfriend. There’s nobody who performs at the level he does, and working with him the last few months has really opened my eyes to his unbelievable work ethic. He’s a company man and so educated on every statistic of our business. He wants to be the best he can in that ring and he wants every one of his matches to be the best show ever. I’ve never met anyone like that, and I really want him to have that moment at Mania.”

Hornswoggle: “Fandango. Between his entrance and his wrestling ability, I’m telling you right now, he’s going to steal the show. Everyone is going to leave WrestleMania talking about what he did. Everyone will remember him. He’s so good in the ring, and the fans chanting, ‘You can’t wrestle!’ just pumps him up so much. I’m good friends with him, and he loves those chants because he wants to prove to those fans and shove it down their throats that he’s one of the best in our company.”

Sgt. Slaughter: “I watched The Rock grow up in the business with no thought that he’d get where he is today. He was just this wild kid with mischief on his mind. Every once in a while we’d throw him in the ring and make him give up and beg for mercy. I remember one time, he came up to me one time, and he’d always be asking me questions about the business. He’d be like, ‘Hey, Sarge, what would you do here, or how would you do this?’ But then one day, he came up and said, ‘Hey Sarge, can I ask you something?’ And as he started asking me, I yelled, ‘It doesn’t matter!’ He just froze and looked at me as I laughed, and little did I know, the son of a gun would turn that line into all sorts of good things. I never got a residual from that yet, but I’m working on it.”

Paul Heyman: “CM Punk is driven to be the best in the world. He lives and breathes and obsesses about this industry. This is a huge platform for him. I don’t know if wrestling the Undertaker shouldn’t be the main event, but wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania has taken on a life of its own. It’s bigger than a title match, and CM Punk is hungry to be recognized as the man and the main event and the best in the world, and this is the perfect platform for him.”

FAVORITE ALL-TIME WRESTLEMANIA MATCH

CM Punk: “Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart was amazing, and I’ve talked to Bret about it. They were going up against the Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon ladder match, and maybe I’m just selfish, but I always try to relate things to stuff I’m doing, so when I was talking to Bret about it, Bret asked me what Taker and I were doing. We don’t have Hell in a Cell, we don’t have a stipulation, and we’re competing against the Brock and Triple H match that does, so how do you compete against that? Him and Owen had the competition of the ladder match, but they didn’t need the bells and whistles, they didn’t need the furniture, and I don’t think me and Taker do either. So I have a lot of love, I have a lot of respect and admiration for that Bret and Owen match because that match was incredible, and they didn’t have the ladder to fall back on so to speak. Hopefully Taker and I can follow in those footsteps.”

Brodus Clay: “When Haku and Andre The Giant formed the Colossal Connection, I was hyped. Growing up, I always wanted to be a member of the Heenan Family, so I thought they were the greatest team ever. When they took on Demolition at WrestleMania, that was my favorite match, and also my most heartbreaking. To me, nobody seemed to notice that Haku was beating up two of the baddest guys in the business by himself, because Andre’s back was so bad by that point, he could hardly stand. Demolition pulled it out, and then at the end, you had Andre and Bobby Heenan and the backhand, so that match always has a special place in my heart.”

Jimmy Hart: “WrestleMania 1 really sticks out, because if it wasn’t successful, we wouldn’t be here at WrestleMania 29. It was such a groundbreaking experience back then, and nobody knew if it was going to work. They were taking stars from different genres and putting them on TV, and it wasn’t even pay-per-view back then, it was closed-circuit TV. They wanted people to go to a movie theater to watch wrestling, and people were like, ‘What!?’ Slowly but surely, year after year after year, it’s just built up so much momentum and really caught on. I remember WrestleMania 1, I went out with King Kong Bundy and the match was 16 seconds against SD Jones. I was just in such awe. You looked over to the left, and there was Liberace, you look over to the right and there was Muhammad Ali and Cyndi Lauper. It’s still a great, fond memory. As we go along in life, some of our favorite restaurants aren’t there anymore, hotels are gone, but buddy, it’s hard to kill a memory.”

Hornswoggle: “The ladder match with Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels is still my favorite. I remember the first one I watched was Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior, so that still holds a place in my heart, but I remember watching that ladder match and seeing so many things I’d never seen before, it’s just such a classic match and it shows what WrestleMania is all about, putting it all out on the line for that one night.”

Cody Rhodes: “You won’t hear this from anyone else, but the moment I enjoyed most was The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage in the career ending match. It wasn’t the match itself, but the moment that followed, with Elizabeth jumping the rail and them reuniting. There was a real-life dynamic there, and I remember them showing people in the crowd crying, and Bobby Heenan was wonderful on commentary. Gorilla Monsoon had planted the seeds earlier, and they were finding her in the audience, and it was just a really well-done romance in a wrestling ring.”

Sgt. Slaughter: “Being in the center of the ring with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII was a very special moment to me. Unfortunately, I was an Iraqi sympathizer. I remember when Vince McMahon laid it out for me after I got back from my G.I. Joe Real American Hero run that I had. I thought he was going to take that Real American Hero and go all the way to the top, because Vince always told me how I was more popular than Hulk Hogan before I left to do G.I. Joe. So Vince’s incentive for bringing me back was, he had this layout for the Los Angeles Coliseum, and it was going to hold 104,000 fans, and that made me think that Hogan and I would have the record for the main event of WrestleMania VII, and the bragging rights that went with it. But because of the character and all that we did with it, we had so many death threats and bomb threats and security problems, that they told Mr. McMahon that he was going to need to fund the security at the Coliseum, and that was going to run $5 million. So he didn’t want to take the chance and we moved inside. It would’ve been nice if we could’ve had those 104,000 fans in there watching you.”

Paul Heyman: “Steve Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston, Texas, in 2001, because I was privileged enough to be the commentator for that match along with Jim Ross. It was just a mesmerizing encounter with two guys at their absolute peak of their performances and at the top of their game putting on a match of a lifetime.”

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