By John Moore
Below I go over alternate outcomes and directions that WWE can take during their big WrestleMania 32 matches. I base these on what seems most logical as well as the meta thought process of how WWE usually books things.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
What WWE Should Do: The Roman Reigns experiment has not worked for years, and therefore the only logical move here to end WrestleMania on a somewhat climatic note is to have the story of a double-turn be told throughout this match. WWE has the framework in place with Triple H being the right guy in the position to draw up a methodical match that allows for storytelling. We’ve seen this methodical pace work in Hunter’s favor in his last two singles matches so at least he’s primed to carry the framework of the match. It’s up to Roman and the agents to come up with a story to tell in between the ring bell. Roman has shown signs of reaching a break point in recent weeks with his coldhearted attacks on Hunter the past few weeks. I wonder if WWE can build up Roman’s creditability enough to have Hunter pass down the title of “Cerebral Assassin” somehow symbolically in this match?
What WWE Might Do: The scariest thought is WWE going all in with Roman as a babyface that no one is going to truly accept as the top guy. the real “breaking point” I’m keeping my eyes on is Vince McMahon’s. Now that he’s in the trenches again as an actor, he also get to see the top face Roman failure first hand. One small sign I see of WWE possibly changing their minds on Reigns is from Roman’s entrance the past few weeks. Roman hasn’t been coming out through the crowd which could mean two things, but both things lead to WWE noticing that this top face run isn’t working. One, WWE’s trying to hide the boos and apathy from the crowds that they are running. Two, Roman is seeing a slight character shift that might have him turn against the fans. Both are refreshing signs that at least WWE is aware of their mistake, but it’s up to them to eat crow and take another direction. What I see here is that WWE might have Roman Reigns capture the title on Sunday, but they will have the ending tell a story that would stretch a final decision on the Roman alignment for the Raw after WrestleMania.
Official Prediction: Roman Reigns defeats Triple H to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but with a post-match angle that will cause Roman to have further character development on the Raw after WrestleMania.
The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match
What WWE Should Do: WWE should have two goals to serve with this match. One, is to find a way to have Shane McMahon take control of Raw and end the reign of the Authority since there needs to be a huge shakeup of the way the show is run afterwards. Two, is to protect Undertaker’s creditability if he has to take the loss. The key to protecting Taker’s creditability is to not have Shane O come out as a world-beater. Those Shane punches gave me bad memories of 2009 when Shane single-handedly destroyed Randy Orton and the Legacy with the worst punches in the world. It seems like WWE is really reluctant to tell the underdog story for anyone that they see as important, like there is something wrong about being pegged “underdog”. What WWE Should do is what I believe what might do, but with the whole thought being that Shane isn’t Super Shane.
What WWE Might Do: What WWE might do is make Shane “Super Shane” and that would be the totally wrong move. I do believe that they have the right finish in mind come the time for a pinfall. I believe that John Cena has to be a part of WrestleMania in a huge way and this is the spot for him to do it. If WWE wants to pay attention to history, John Cena saving Edge’s neck and life was the reason that the Authority got back in power after Dolph Ziggler put them away. John Cena might be out to redeem himself for that hard decision and see this match storyline wise as a conduit to end the authority and make good. Cena will be selling his soul to the devil in a sense in that he will be crossing the devil in the form of Taker. I feel that Shane picks up the win with Cena’s help and this will set up a John Cena vs. Undertaker showdown match for possibly next year’s WrestleMania, and I see them somehow circumventing Vince’s stipulation of the “Last WrestleMania” thing.
Official Prediction: Shane McMahon defeats The Undertaker via pinfall with help from John Cena.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight
What WWE Should Do: WWE now as a bit more flexibility to deliver specific finishes and I feel that this match has the opportunity to be Dean Ambrose’s best match in WWE so far. Ambrose as a babyface is a crash test dummy, and no one beats up crash test dummies better than the beast Brock Lesnar. Expect lots of suplexes and trash cans. There might be some weapons and bleeding as well. If Dean is up to it, he must take one hell of a beating and even in loss he’ll come out better.
What WWE Might Do: What I fear WWE pulling off is trying to integrate the Wyatt Family somehow to get them on the show. Even if Braun wins the Andre Memorial, they might use that to transition him into this match. I fear that we might get Dean being brushed aside in favor of the Wyatts to set up something for Lesnar at SummerSlam or sooner. Sadly, I fear this is the final decision in some way or form, I just hope smoke or holograms aren’t involved.
Official Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Dean Ambrose via pinfall after a rough beating. The Wyatts pop up afterwards.
Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat for the Divas Championship
What WWE Should Do: This match has the opportunity to be a match that steals the show due to all three of the talents involved. I feel that the a huge disservice was done to Sasha Banks as the build hasn’t really developed her character. Becky developed a lot on her own in the feud a few months ago and Flair has been allowed to flourish throughout her heel run with her father. WWE Should use this match to try to put a spotlight on Sasha Banks. The decision is tough, but I would have Charlotte retain her title for this match and a few months leading to SummerSlam possibly to build up a showdown match with Sasha. If WWE is going to take any of the divas in the “Total Divas” match seriously, they can easily have Becky Lynch sidetracked there to keep her occupied and relevant.
What WWE Might Do: The worst thing that WWE could do is cut this match short. I also would rather they not have a title change here. I also hope that WWE doesn’t have Charlotte lose the title to Bayley tomorrow because Bayley needs to start from the bottom up, look at Sami Zayn’s tepid reaction recently. Even if the time is cut short, I still expect these three pros to put on one hell of a match in a limited amount of time.
Official Prediction: Charlotte defeats Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch to retain the Divas Title.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
What WWE Should Do: WWE really needs the announcers to send the correct message here in the match that might steal the show alongside the women’s match. Jericho and Styles are two professionals who have a lot of pride in the art they produce and we have seen both of these men pull it out when it counts. Jericho is prone to holding back on matches when they don’t which means he might have been saving up for a great match at Mania. AJ Styles was a person who faced Kurt Angle almost monthly at one point and every time he put on a good to great showing. He’s face Jericho several times now and he can easily deliver in the best way that he can tell a story and that’s in the ring. I see AJ moving on with the win here with Jericho being knocked out. If they were going to do the handshake bit, they should save it until tomorrow where Jericho can give an extended promo that will possibly be interrupted by Kevin Owens or someone.
What WWE Might Do: WWE might have Chris Jericho win to stretch this out to the next PPV? And no one wants to see that right? Maybe we get the Bullet Club but that’s Devitt’s thing not AJ’s right?
Official Prediction: AJ Styles defeats Chris Jericho with the Styles Clash.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
What WWE Should Do: This is more of a what WWE Should have done in that Kevin Owens deserved a one on one showdown match with AJ Styles in this place, but luckily Chris Jericho stepped up on his end to keep AJ in a decent position. Ryder, Sin Cara, and Stardust shouldn’t even be in this match; if they wanted participation points, you can have a number one contender match or the Andre Memorial. Kevin Owens should win because Dolph, Sami, and Miz shouldn’t at this point. The match might be fun, but overall inconsequential and should see progression the night after.
What WWE Might Do: If WWE really is itching to do so, they might just give Sami Zayn the intercontinental championship through this match to give him his big WrestleMania moment. As I write this I’m slowly seeing how WWE can make this work, it would just require a lot more focus and work which is something not usually given to the IC division on a consistent basis. WWE might have Sami win here and have him lose it immediately tomorrow. It’s how they write that loss. WWE has told one part of the Steen vs. Generico story well in NXT, they just have to get the other parts right if they want to follow the same format. What puzzles me in that sense is why do they have to keep going into the Steen vs. Generico well when it might help to tell fresh stories with Zayn unmasked?
Official Prediction: Sami Zayn wins the IC Title, and loses it the next day.
Kalisto vs. Ryback – United States Title Match
What WWE Should Do: WWE should have made this match the multi-man spot-fest and not do whatever they are doing with Ryback?
What WWE Will Do: Kalisto wins? It’s simple!
Official Prediction: Kalisto defeats “The Big Guy” via pinfall to retain the U.S. Championship.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
What WWE Might Do: There is no should in this match since it is a “get everyone on the show” type. I think the favorite to win is Braun, I’m not sure on how confident WWE is in him these days. My prediction either goes to Titus O’ Neil making the surprise win to shock the internet. Maybe we get a returning Cesaro? How is he on the recovery end? I heard he’s supposed to come back in April.
Hopeful Prediction: Cesaro becomes a two time winner and they hopefully make this mean something this time.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...