** Note: This was originally published over at http://www.wrestling101.com – I’m just adding it here  for posterity **

Well, hello. It’s that time of year again, the week leading up to WrestleMania! If you’re a wrestling fan (and if you’re not, then this column is gonna be a HUGE disappointment) this is your week before Christmas feeling; when everything seems to drag until that glorious day arrives. If you’re lucky enough, you can plan your entire year around this week and travel to the States and take it in.

Several people I know have done this, and I have to admit, it’s the one dream I have left in this world. One day, people… one day… but I digress. This is you official Wrestling101.com WrestleMania XXX Preview piece. So with no further ado, let’s get into it and start with the pre-show match:

Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way:

The Usos (c)
vs.
Los Matadores
vs.
The Real Americans
vs.
Ryback & Curtis Axel

First of all, let me just say it’s a disgrace that the Tag Team Championships aren’t being defended on the main show, instead relegated to the pre-show on the WWE Network. Still, they fare better than the Intercontinental Title (nowhere to be seen) and the US Title (seen, but barely ever mentioned) do in that respect.

This should be an epic high spot fuelled wake up match to fire up everyone in the Superdome before the main show starts, going by what we witnessed from all 8 men on Monday’s Raw. Ryback sticks out as the weakest link here, and even he has a couple of high spots that you can throw in and make something out of.

I don’t think you can take the titles off of The Usos at this point; they worked hard to get them, they got a HUGE reaction when they did, and they’re solid, hard workers. Plus you have the added attention that the Total Divas reality show has tossed their way, so it makes sense.

If they get a good 10-15 minutes, and everyone gets a shine, good for them. Should be on the main show though.

Winners: The Usos

Winner enters the WWE World Championship Match

Daniel Bryan vs. HHH

I think this will clearly be the first match on the card – it really has to be to make sense – and it’s a match that has the potential to be a show stealer. To be fair, there’s another two matches on the card that could do that as well.

This feud has simmered and bubbled and built and been dragged out, and let’s face it – been adapted into this match. The dirt sheets said that HHH was scheduled to face CM Punk at ‘Mania – obviously with his *cough* departure, those plans changed and we’re left with what I think is a better match… and a better use of Daniel Bryan’s talents than the rumoured Sheamus bout.

One thing that HHH is, amongst many, is a proud man – and I can’t see him phoning this match in as a few people have suggested. Daniel Bryan is perhaps the most talented in ring performer the WWE have, and the most over character they have right now. Putting him up against ‘The Big Bad Boss’ makes total sense, and with the slot in the main event on the line, adds even more weight to the match.

For the love of all things holy, and the collective sanity of the Internet Wrestling Community, Daniel Bryan HAS to go over. It has to be decisive. It has to be definitive, and even the WWE must surely see that. There’s part of me that would love to see HHH go over just to see the collective meltdown that Twitter and Tumblr would have, but no – it MUST be Daniel Bryan.

I’d expect a good 20-25 minute brawl here – no doubt there will be a couple of technical spots, because take nothing away from the man, HHH knows his stuff – and a clean win (or against the interference) for Daniel Bryan

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Kane & The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield

It’s nice to see The Shield stay in their three man tag team roots for this one, it’s what made their names, after all. Kane is still a decent worker, and has no problems doing what’s asked of him. Road Dogg can work a crowd, and Billy Gunn… well, let’s just try and ignore Billy Gunn. Billy-Gunn-o-Phobia is a real condition and I suffer from it.

If HHH is going to lose the Bryan match, then common sense would dictate that The Authority has to get some level of retribution here… but I just don’t see the value in putting 2 should-be-retired guys and one heading-for-retiral guy over the hottest act in the game. I really don’t.

There could be some kind of shenanigans that tease a split between Reigns and Ambrose/Rollins – and that would kick start the Reigns mega push, but surely that can wait for now. WrestleMania or the post WrestleMania Bizarro Raw is not the place to plant these seeds.

Expect a decent match up, Kane should do the heavy lifting on The Authority side, and I’d expect Reigns to be allowed some high spots as well – the scream before the spear or triple powerbomb is getting mighty over with the fans – but The Shield must stand triumphant.

Winners: The Shield

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

I’m not listing everyone in the match, as it’s pretty much any midcard/upper midcard guy without a proper match. It’s a nice way for those guys to get on the card somewhere, and I notice there’s still three slots up for the taking. Possible surprises? Returns? Some guy from NXT to get the nod?

Who knows… it’s logical that The Big Show would take the win here in a match designed to honour the original Giant, but I don’t see it happening. What it should be, is fairly short – say 10-15 minutes and spot after spot after spot. Get Khali out as soon as possible, have Kofi bounce around like a lunatic, as he does in these over the top rope matches.

And don’t let The Miz win.

It’s impossible to pick a winner here, but you’d think it should go to a heel, just for the boasting purposes of carrying the huge trophy around with them all the time… unless Cesaro sneaks in the match somehow. Then he should win. But… if he doesn’t – I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s earmarked for Titus O’Neil

Winner: Titus O’Neil

 The Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational

I really, really don’t care. Really. Summer Rae is getting the rocket push thanks to Total Divas, but she’s nowhere near ready to be given a title. AJ Lee probably should sneakily retain somehow, and then drop the belt either at Raw or the next PPV as she’s becoming just a little bit stale… I’d love to see Natalya get another run with the title, but I have this horrible feeling a Bella is going to take the gold home with them. This, folks, is the very definition of a Sandwich match – go make something nice to eat while it’s on.

Winner: AJ Lee

 John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Outside of the Daniel Bryan / HHH match, this has had the best build for WrestleMania. I’ve loved every second of this. Bray Wyatt is the best thing on WWE television (outside of NXT) in a long time, and Cena has been holding his end up too. I do wonder why John Cena becomes a Southern man when he launches into his righteous anger fuelled promos, but that’s another question for another day…

I honestly have high hopes for this. Cena is at his best when he’s working with a powerhouse (his matches with Umaga were some of my favourites of his) and Bray just keeps getting better and better. I don’t think a loss does Cena any harm, especially if the Family get involved somehow.

Cena knows to being his A game for the biggest show of the year, and Wyatt seems like the kind of guy that knows when to step it up too. Luke Harper has been on fire recently, I’d like to see him involved somehow, and y’know what? A cheap, screwy, Family helped win is still a win and fits the Family gimmick perfectly.

If Bray is up for it, and Cena is up for it, this could be a hell of a match. Here’s hoping.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Defeat The Streak

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

There’s been money in this match for years, since the Lesnar / Undertaker confrontation at a UFC PPV… which makes it even more ridiculous that it’s had such a poor pre match build. The contract signing was a nice angle, but other than that, it’s been much of a muchness.

The empty coffin angle has been done before, the almost biblical speeches from the Taker have been heard before, and Brock bouncing around like a pinball for Taker’s offence hasn’t convinced anyone that the streak is in any real danger.

Unlike previous years when there was the tiniest amount of doubt in your mind, this year? None. Taker is winning this and the only question is how good is the match going to be? Only Brock ad Taker know how willing they are to sell for each other… Brock has shown he doesn’t mind bumping – but CAN Taker bump in a manner that Brock’s offence needs?

We’ll see on the night, and knowing Taker, and Brock, and of course Paul Heyman – I think there’s maybe something special being brewed in this match. I don’t think it’s going to come close to touching the epic HBK or HHH matches, but if the land lies right, we should hopefully see a damn good match, on a par with last year’s CM Punk match.

Winner: The Undertaker

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista vs. tbc

Monday’s Raw showed you the disaster that was awaiting the WWE if they ploughed ahead with their plans to have Orton and Batista face off one on one in the main event; it may well have been the first WrestleMania main event in front of an almost empty house. Nobody wants to see Orton vs. Batista. To be honest, nobody wants to see this incarnation of Batista. His heeling it up at the press conference this week is the most animated he’s been.

Slotting in a third guy allows Batista to take the breaks that he clearly needs in his matches – his conditioning since returning has been terrible. Orton can only work with what’s put in front of him, and working a singles match with Batista would truly have been a curse. What of Randy Orton? Well, it’s a good job he has the Championship belts, because he’s been pretty much anonymous in this build up.

I don’t know what the problem with Orton is, or how to fix it – but something needs to be done soon. He’s just bland beyond belief in this current heel role. It’s not the dynamic “punt era” Orton that we had, or even exciting. Everything he does is calculated and smooth – but it’s dull.

If indeed Daniel Bryan comes into the mix, it will at least keep the crowd interested – perhaps even in their seats – and pay off the “Yes Movement” angle that’s been running. In all honesty, Bryan HAS to win here. He simply has to be given the epic pay off to the rabid crowd support he’s been given over the last few months.

Here’s a random thought though – HHH and Bryan goes to no contest, and BOTH guys go in the main event! Oh, man – can you imagine the reaction? It amuses me to think about it, but no, surely, SURELY – it has to be Daniel Bryan.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

So there you go, folks. It’s nearly here! Remember, Mitchell will be at http://www.Wrestling101.com live blogging the whole show as it happens, so make sure and check that out. I’ll be back on the Monday afterwards to live blog the traditionally insane post WrestleMania Bizzaro Raw – look out for that!

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re watching – have fun! I intend to cook my traditional WrestleMania chilli and have a couple of beers while sitting firmly on my comfy couch and take it all in.

Enjoy WrestleMania Sunday!