By Haydn Gleed
Here we are folks, the big one, WrestleMania. I’ll admit that despite the ho-hum build and the fact that I’m not as excited as I usually or even should be for Sunday’s big event, but simply as a wrestling fan I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to it. Let’s get right into my predictions.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It’s still up in the air whether this will end the show, but since it’s the championship match and it was the major focus of the go-home Raw, I assume it’s going on last. The intrigue in this match is high, but unfortunately from a WWE perspective it’s not for the right reasons. People will be watching to see the reaction to Roman Reigns, which WWE might consider unfair but for the many reasons that have been highlighted over the last two years, the fans are just not ready to accept Roman as the top babyface and there is a very real possibility that the biggest show of the year could go off the air with close to a 100,000 people booing Roman as he stands center of the ring as the supposed conquering babyface. We will see on that.
Away from the politics/fan reaction of the match, I expect a decent to good match. Triple H has received a lot of praise for his performances against Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler, and I’m one of them who wanted that put out there because credit where credit is due, but you have to remember there was another man standing across the ring from Hunter in both matches who at this stage are far better performers than Roman is. Equally, there was a time when Triple H would be able to carry someone of Roman’s raw but yet unrecognized potential and get a good match out of him as Daniel Bryan did last year. Whether Hunter can do that at this stage of his career is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, because of the occasion I expect everything to be pulled out in terms of planning and possibly smoke and mirrors to make this match one to remember.
So wins? I haven’t seen anything that would suggest that Triple H will continue as champion. We will have a situation where Roman is holding the belt up to finish the show. For me personally, I would love to see a double turn, as the boos that will accompany Roman’s music at the end of the night is what WWE should be looking for. However, there is a nagging in the back of my head that WWE won’t pull the trigger on a major heel turn on the biggest show of the year, at least on this occasion. For me, it is far more likely that Roman wins straight up clean, stands in the middle of the boos, and cuts the “Die Rocky Die” promo the next night on Raw where he will turn on the fans for their reaction to him leading up to and the night before.
Prediction: Roman Reigns to win clean and turn heel on Raw the next night.
Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell In A Cell match: Yes we all know that this match doesn’t make any sense from any angle you look at it. I’ve got a house that could fit into the logic gaps that are in this story…….but I am looking forward to it. I’ve already written my feelings on the actual match in a previous blog so I’ll direct you towards that, but suffice to say that despite every wrestling knowledge bone in my body cringing at this, I am looking forward to it.
So the finish, where do we even start?! Despite my reservations, because of the stipulation regarding Shane ousting the Authority, I was sure Shane was going to go over someway somehow. After listening to Jim Ross on Dot Net Weekly last week (check out the $2 sale to become a member and listen to that very show) explaining how it would be insanity to not monetize Undertaker’s last WrestleMania match, it put doubt in my head.
After thinking it through however, and despite the fact I hate stipulations being broken, there’s nothing to say that Undertaker turns up and confronts whoever the powers that be next year. All he would have to say is because of X, Y, and Z reason that Shane won this year, he didn’t find it fair to go out that way. He can then say that he wants to face John Cena in one last big battle and win or lose, he will retire or something along those lines. After all if Shane is still in charge of the company and promotes fairness on the roster, then why wouldn’t he agree to it? So I have Shane going over in this match.
The question then becomes how. There have been some interesting tweets flying around from Bullet Club members, and Dot Net sources even noted that the idea has been at least discussed to have them interfere on Shane’s behalf at WrestleMania, but I’m not sure that’s the best thing to do. After all, Shane wants to take over to bring back fairness and stop the tyranny of the Authorities reign……by having two, three or four hired guns win you the match is not the best way to start that reign to promote that things are changing.
There will definitely be some crazy moments, and bumps that the competitors shouldn’t be doing at their age. I write that with all due respect, but they will be there. For the sake of a prediction, I assume Shane will do some crazy bump that will ultimately have Taker down for the three count. This will be followed by a hug and probably a Vince McMahon chokeslam.
Prediction: Shane McMahon wins to gain control of Monday Night Raw.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose: I’ve quite liked the build to this match. The legends handing over their “toys” that they were synonymous with during their WWE runs was a nice little touch leading into the hardcore brawl. The performances of Heyman and Ambrose on the mic have been decent both on their own and confrontational but ultimately somewhat disappointing, but good entertainment nevertheless. Despite all of that however, I can’t shake the feeling that this is beneath where Brock Lesnar should be.
Let me clarify. I’ve purposely said should be because this is where WWE have placed him. Lesnar no longer feels like a major special attraction as he did when he came back and that’s WWE’s fault. Either intentionally or accidentally, that’s where he is currently. Of course, as a part timer you can’t always expect to hog the spotlight and be in every main event, that’s fair enough, but even when he’s around these days he just feel likes another person on the roster, not someone who transcends the top of the roster. Again, whether this is by accident or design by WWE is a blog for some other day.
With that being said when the bell rings, I am looking forward to see how the battle commences. With the stipulations of the match as they are, it’s not going to look out of place that the smaller Dean Ambrose will gain a lot of offense and it won’t make Brock look weak in the process. Therefore, and it’s probably going against the tide, I see Dean Ambrose getting the win here with Brock possibly coming back for SummerSlam to avenge the loss. Using the narrative from my prediction of the Reigns’ match, I can see Dean being the first man to take on the heel champion and by beating Brock that will give him the momentum and the logical storyline steppingstone to Roman. Yes, it will take something further away from Brock, but we are still at the point where it will only take a month or two of carnage where Brock destroys an office, a car and possibly lifts an arena and throws it across town away from looking like a monster again.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles: Let me take you back a couple of months to the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles made his WWE debut and the crowd went wild. Fast forward two months and he struggles to get the crowd to chant along with him. In all fairness to AJ, it’s 90 percent not his fault. There have been occasions where the setting has seemed to play on his nervous system and he hasn’t performed as well as he could, but WWE has to take responsibility with the way they have treated him. He is not damaged beyond repair and I hope they do right by him in this match.
On the other hand, Chris Jericho has been fantastic and been close to the high standard we all came to expect from him. His reintroduction made him look like an old rocker who was oblivious by how much he had aged, but since his heel turn he has been back to the old Jericho that the fans love to hate. When he snapped on Raw and started smashing the chair against the ring post, whether intentional or not, it brought back memories of the WCW Jericho who snapped. It made you believe that despite being so set on not taking the match against Styles, in that moment he had lost his mind and the match was on. In my mind Styles has to win this match. Each have a win over the other, and in order for Styles to try and be ignited and move up the card, nothing but a clean win will do here.
Prediction: AJ Styles wins clean
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder vs. The Miz vs. Stardust in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Well, we knew it was going to happen one way or another, there was going to be a ladder match for a secondary title. I can listen and very much agree that it should have been for the U.S. Title, but we have what we have and I’m sure it’s going to be a great match. We can take out Zack Ryder, The Miz and Stardust as potential winners straight away as they will be there to take the big bumps and I believe Sin Cara will be there to show some insane crazy move using the ladder that will get the crowd on their feet. So that leaves us with Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and obviously the current champion Kevin Owens as the real contenders.
While I’m sure many of you and the fans in the building will be looking for a Zayn win, I’m not. It’s not because I don’t like or rate him, far from it, but I want him to go on a journey before winning gold, and he’s only just come up to the main roster. Dolph Ziggler had a great match against Triple H, but he is stuck in mid-card purgatory unless he turns heel at some point and the company really gets behind him, so I see Kevin Owens winning here and hopefully reigniting a long term feud with Zayn or a program with AJ Styles, which they have already hinted at.
Prediction: Kevin Owens retains
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the Diva’s Championship: This could and should have been so much bigger. All three women are incredibly talented especially Sasha Banks, however they haven’t really gotten out of second gear with the build-up. Charlotte has been built up well, but the other two have either been in fighting and looking bratty or have been talked down to by the Champion that you don’t necessarily take them seriously. You get the sense that WWE have been relying on fans knowing the back story for each of the three ladies from NXT which of course 80-90 percent of the fan base wouldn’t necessarily be watching the show. I believe Charlotte will take this one because they haven’t spent a lot of time building up either of the challengers as being a viable champion in waiting at this time.
Prediction: Charlotte retains
New Day vs. The League Of Nations in a 3 on 4 Handicap Match: 12 months ago, Rusev was entering the arena with a tank, on Sunday he will be facing a team that are pimping out fake cereal and unicorn horns. That says it all about this match. It’s not going to be a bad match, all seven men are talented individuals, but there’s no juice for me to sink my teeth into with any outcome. I still don’t know if New Day are heels or babyfaces as they have flipped flopped so much over the last year, and League Of Nations are better as individuals then they are in a team. Out of all of the main card matches, this is probably the one that I am least excited about. Ah to hell with it, lets say New Day win.
Prediction: New Day win.
Kalisto vs. Ryback for the US Title: This has been bumped to the pre-show and in all fairness it hasn’t been given enough of a build for me to really complain about it. The basic premise has been Ryback wanting to prove he’s better on his own than as part of a team. And the reason we should care about Kalisto as the U.S. Title holder……..uh…….I’ll get back to you on that once WWE decide to give Kalisto some character. I see this being a feel good moment on the pre-show where the undersized babyface champion gets a win.
Prediction: Kalisto retains.
Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D & Blonde (Naomi, Tamina, Emma, Lana, and Summer Rae): This could have been a lot of fun, but they have literally thrown this together at the last minute. Out of the ten women in the match there are three women who can’t wrestle well (I’ll let you guess who I’m talking about). Again, going by the rule of trying to create a happy atmosphere heading into the main show, I’ll go with the babyface Total Divas team to win.
Prediction: Total Divas win.
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz: When this feud first started, I was actually quite excited. The Usos had found themselves in a rut and weren’t going anywhere, and the opportunity for them to work with an established legendary team and the potential to grow as characters to match their obvious skills in the ring was exciting. The Dudleys attacking them and putting them out for a week made me assume The Usos would come back fired up. No no, The Usos came back out smiling and the feud seems to have stalled since. The action in the ring will be fun, but like so much else on the ‘Mania card this year, with some more thought and a bit more attention it could have meant so much more. If only WWE had a weekly three hour show that they struggle to fill up with meaningful tim……..oh hang on….
Prediction: The Usos win.
The Andre The Giant Battle Royal: When this concept was introduced a couple of years ago, it was done with some fanfare and seemed like a great little concept to have something meaningful on the undercard of WrestleMania, a match that you could put everyone in who wasn’t in a big feud at ‘Mania and it felt like it could really be a platform to push someone up the card. But they haven’t treated the winners or winning the match as important since a half hearted push for Cesaro after he won the first contest. Such a shame as it could really be something to look forward to each year.
This year, we have Big Show and Kane in the match, and everyone else feels like the home for the jobbers, the old folks and the “guys we had huge hopes for but they fell asleep in a booking meeting and will forever be punished” aka Jack Swagger. So far 16 people have been announced for this so I’m guessing there will be a nice surprise or two. I’m going to guess that Titus O Neil is a surprise entrant, wins the thing, and WWE try to capitalize on any fan sympathy that is still there following his 60-day suspension.
Prediction: Titus O Neil wins.
As always, agree or disagree with any of my picks, feel free to get in touch and let me know either through twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org