Slightly off topic post incoming…
WrestleMania is typically the most exciting WWE special (should we still call them pay-per-views?) every year. It’s the biggest, oldest show the company puts on. It’s “the grandest stage of them all”.
There are 12 confirmed matches at this point, but WWE clearly isn’t done setting this up. They have to fill, what, six hours with content? (Don’t get me started on why a four hour show needs a two hour pre-show)
Anyway, let’s take a look at what’s going down in 11 nights in Orlando, Florida.
WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
One guy who’s been showing up occasionally for a few months defends against another guy who’s been showing up occasionally for a few years. At this point, I don’t think Goldberg can put on a match that goes over 90 seconds. Here’s hoping his defeat is quicker than his Survivor Series victory over Lesnar.
Who should win: Brock Lesnar
Who will win: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt absolutely needs to win this. His time at the top of the card is barely a month old, and a clean win over Randy Orton would really help cement his place—especially considering Randy Orton’s had the psychological upper hand until last night. A loss wouldn’t be the end for Wyatt, but winning the title doesn’t really do much for Randy Orton at this point.
I’m still hoping we see Luke Harper added to the mix.
Who should win: Bray Wyatt
Who will win: Randy Orton
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Nia Jax
This match is 75% great. I’m not a fan of Charlotte’s grating heel persona, but she’s undoubtedly among the best in ring talent currently signed to WWE. Sasha Banks and Bayley are incredibly talented as well, and their matches in NXT range from really good to instant classic. Nia Jax, on the other hand, is shaky on the mic and limited in the ring. This still has the potential to be one of the best matches of the night, though.
Who should win: Bayley
Who will win: Bayley
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. the entire SmackDown women’s roster (Becky Lynch, Natalya, Mickie James, Carmella, more likely)
Alexa Bliss has done a great job as the top heel in the SmackDown women’s division since debuting after last year’s draft. She’s forced to defend in possibly the vaguest match in WrestleMania history, though, so her second reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion seems poised to end at WrestleMania. Who’s taking the title? No idea. But I’m looking forward to whoever WWE has up their sleeves as surprise entrants in this match.
Who should win: Asuka
Who will win: ?
WWE United States Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
The former “best friends” have been among the top reasons to watch Raw for the past six months. A lot of that is owed to Chris Jericho performing at his peak night in and night out. The catchphrase machine has added a couple more to the list, and his in-ring work is (obviously) still excellent.
Kevin Owens explored new dimensions of his character throughout his time with Jericho, but here’s hoping he shifts back toward the dominant force he was in NXT and during his WWE debut. I’d love to see Owens get the win right out of the gate, but I’m expecting a Jericho win to really get under his skin and make his inevitable win that much sweeter.
Who should win: Kevin Owens
Who will win: Chris Jericho
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
So… apparently this match wasn’t official until last night’s SmackDown? The booking’s been obvious since last month’s Elimination Chamber (at least), so I assumed this was one of the first matches confirmed from WrestleMania.
Corbin still has a lot of work to do to be a top player in WWE, but they’ve shown a decent amount of restraint not going full Roman Reigns with him so far. A Corbin win isn’t exactly exciting, but he’s good enough in the ring that I’m not actively dreading this match. A glowing endorsement, I know.
Who should win: Dean Ambrose
Who will win: Baron Corbin
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
The Raw Tag Team titles have been afterthoughts since The New Day lost them to Sheamus and Cesaro late last year. Enzo and Cass seem to have pretty much run their course on the main roster, and Sheamus and Cesaro seem overdue for a breakup at this point. It’s a shame considering the talent involved, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one shows up on the pre-show.
Who should win: Gallows and Anderson
Who will win: Gallows and Anderson
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
Neville is great. Austin Aries is great. Their match at WrestleMania is going to be great. We can only hope WWE gives these guys a decent amount of time to go out there and steal the show. Neville’s reign has only lasted a couple months, but anything other than an Austin Aries win just doesn’t make sense.
Who should win: Austin Aries
Who will win: Austin Aries
Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker
I like Roman Reigns.
Let me clarify. I’m trying damn hard to like Roman Reigns despite WWE’s insistence on making me hate him. He’s a good performer who got pushed to the top way too fast. When that didn’t work, WWE kept pushing him down fans’ throats for what felt like forever. He needs an extended break from the title picture, and a match with The Undertaker is without a doubt the most high profile non-title match he could have at WrestleMania.
I’m going to say something unpopular here: Roman Reigns should win this one. Being the face of WWE clearly hasn’t worked for him, but a dominant heel run could set him up nicely for the next inevitable attempt to make it happen. He wouldn’t be ending the streak, but doing something that’s only been done by Brock Lesnar would still be an impressive mark on his resume. It really only works if WWE goes all in on Reigns as a dominant heel to be reckoned with, though.
Who should win: Roman Reigns
Who will win: The Undertaker
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
We’ve already seen John Cena and The Miz face off at WrestleMania, and we haven’t seen Maryse in a match in over five years. I really don’t know what to expect from this one. I have to assume John Cena and Nikki Bella pick up the win, but *shrug*
Who should win: It doesn’t matter.
Who will win: John Cena & Nikki Bella
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
AJ Styles is one of the best wrestlers currently in WWE, if not the single best. Shane McMahon is a respectable performer with an eye for spectacle. If nothing else, this should have one or two of the most exciting moments of the night. It’s unlikely to be anything less than good, but this one could easily be great.
Who should win: AJ Styles
Who will win: AJ Styles
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE hasn’t given fans much of a reason to care about this match since its inception. It’s great that Andre the Giant gets an annual callout, but winning this battle royal hasn’t meant much, if anything, to this point. I’m not even going to bother picking a winner here, because I don’t think it would even be worth the effort.
Who should win: Somebody
Who will win: Probably somebody else
Unconfirmed Matches and Participants
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins’ knee is a big question mark at this point. It’s not clear how much of it is storyline and how much is based on reality, but it looks like we’ll be getting something that’s more brawl and less match from these two. Whatever ends up happening, I expect Seth Rollins to get some measure of revenge here.
What will Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor be doing on WrestleMania night?
Finn Balor returned to action at a WWE live event earlier this month, but he hasn’t made his TV return yet. Is it possible they hold him until after WrestleMania?
Samoa has been a dominant force since debuting on Raw last month, so he should be expected to win whatever match he’s put in (assuming he gets one). I’m guessing he’ll find his way into the battle royal and dominate there.
It’s unfortunate to see Sami Zayn lost in the shuffle heading into WrestleMania, but there’s not really anything that makes sense for him at this point.
As for Strowman… a handicap victory over half of the cruiserweight division? (Please don’t actually do this, WWE)
Will the SmackDown Tag Team Championship be defended?
It would be an absolute travesty for new champs The Usos to be left off the WrestleMania card, especially since theirs is the only title not currently being defended at the show. They’ve been doing the best work of their consistently entertaining career since last year’s heel turn, and I’d love to see them have a decisive first title defense on wrestling’s biggest night of the year.
What match are you most excited about heading into WrestleMania? Who do you think should/will win these matches? Did you not even click on this, making the last 1600 words a waste of time and energy? Let me know in the comments.