On the Redskins roster, there is no bigger pro wrestling fan than defensive end Adam Carriker. Whether it’s the childhood stories of watching Monday Night Wars with dad, or his proposed wrestling moniker (“Dark Horse“), Carriker is an educated, loyal fan.
As all wrestling fans know, Wrestlemania 28 happened Sunday night, the Super Bowl of sports entertainment. But on Friday afternoon–before any metal chairs were bent over Undertaker’s back–Carriker offered his full analysis and predictions for the show.
Here’s his list of predicted winners, via his player blog at ProInterviews.org. Click through for more detail:
1- Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve
2- Randy Orton vs. Kane
3- Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
4- Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show
5- World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
6- WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
7- The Undertaker vs. Triple H (H-ll in a Cell Match with special ref, HBK Shawn Michaels)
8- John Cena vs. The Rock.
When the dust settled, Carriker finished 6-2 in his predictions. Here is what the Redskins’ strongest man had to say:
“To me, the best match was the one between Undertaker and Triple-H,” he said. “That one had the best storyline and the best execution. Probably the best wrestled match was Punk vs. Jericho. And probably the worst wrestled match of the night was Cena vs. The Rock, if you ask me.”
And I was asking him. So in your opinion, what was missing?
“There was just so much…I dunno if they were just buying time for The Rock because he hasn’t been in a one-on-one match in nine years. From being a football player, I know that you can’t train specifically for a game, no matter what you do. You can’t train for that atmosphere, you can’t train for that emotion, it is impossible. You can come as close as you want, but it is impossible.
“It just felt like all through the match, there were all of these counts to 10, and there was a lot of really acting like we’re tired. There was all of this buying time. And I have to assume that Cena was doing this for The Rock, since he can’t be in the best ring shape. I’m sure he’s been training and practicing, but he hasn’t been actually wrestling matches like Cena has.
“It’s like they were buying time for him to rest.”
As aesthetically disappointed as Carriker may have been, he was still pleased with the overall performance of both entertainers, when they actually…y’know…wrestled.
“One of the things that I love about The Rock is his athleticism and his ability to do moves that nobody else can do,” he explained. “And he still did those moves, but he did ’em like a guy who hasn’t done ’em in nine years. They weren’t quite as coordinated, and they didn’t look like they did when he was wrestling nine years ago.”
As the last match of the night, Cena-Rock was the show’s 2-minute touchdown drive to seal a win for the WWE. The Rock kicks out of an Attitude Adjustment at the 2.9-second mark and turns around to hit a signature Rock Bottom for the win. Everyone except Cena is happy right?
“I was shocked,” Carriker said, and not in a good way. “When I was making my predictions, there were certain matches that were hard, like Undertaker vs. Triple-H. How are they gonna have ‘Taker beat him two years in a row, if he just beat Sean Michaels two years in a row? With Cody Rhodes and Big Show, I was thinking, ‘Man, I think they wanna take Cody Rhodes to bigger and better things, but how many Wrestlemania matches can The Big Show lose? And then Orton and Kane was tough, because they probably wanna get Orton back in the title pick, but Kane is making his big comeback…
“Those matches were tough, but when it came to Cena-Rock, despite the hype, that was the first one I picked,” he continued, incredulously. “I was like, ‘Rock’s been gone for nine years. He’s like 37-38 years old. So even if he was in his prime, this would be a tough match to pick. How are they gonna have a guy who is almost 40 come back and beat a guy who is much younger and been doing it consistently. You know The Rock is gonna leave and go back to making movies, so what’s the point in having him win?
“If you have Cena win, that’s like the passing of the torch, and he carries the company on to maybe some sort of new era. To me it was easy, and I was actually rooting for Cena–which may not be the popular thing to say–but I was actually rooting for him. I was shocked they had The Rock win. I was totally befuddled.”
Baffle and bewilderment aside, Carriker said that he still enjoyed the four-hour masterpiece. Whether or not his wife would agree is probably debatable.
“Of the Wrestlemanias I’ve watched, it was one of the better ones,” he said. “It’s tough for me to rank a Wrestlemania, because I missed about six or seven years of shows where my dad wouldn’t let me watch. The only thing that holds it back for me is that the one match that’s been hyped for over a year, really wasn’t that great. There was no signature moment, so that knocked it down a bit for me.”
And there you have your Wrestlemania report, straight from the Dark Horse’s mouth.