By Jake Barnett
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Championship: I’m going to avoid repeating what has already been echoed by the other contributors on the site and just say that the build to this match has left a lot to be desired. There are some interesting possible outcomes for it, but they depend on Roman Reigns turning heel in the process of winning the WWE Championship. I don’t believe that will happen at WrestleMania, unless WWE has a sudden change of heart about making Roman Reigns an inspirational figure. He’s going to win this match, and stay babyface, and probably be booed heavily as he does it.
Roman Reigns wins, and WWE will continue to pretend that the negative reaction to him is only a small percentage of fans.
The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell in the Cell Match: I’m not a fan of the build to his match either. I liked Shane’s stunt elbow drop on Monday, but for the most part this feud burned short and bright with Shane’s return and has been rather disappointing since. Everything from Shane accepting the match when Vince made it clear he had all the leverage, to the weak promos from Shane the rest of the way through had led this feud down a mediocre path. I expect big things on Sunday in the form of theatrics, interference, and stunts, and perhaps that’s all they need. I don’t see why they would set up this stipulation if they didn’t plan a major shakeup on Monday, so I will predict a Shane McMahon victory after some Attitude Era level shenanigans.
Shane McMahon defeats the Undertaker, and gives wrestling fans somebody else to blame for the uninspired booking.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose: This might be the most fun match on the card. I’m guessing we see a very competent garbage brawl that proved that Dean Ambrose can hang with Lesnar, but can’t quite defeat him on his first attempt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this feud get bigger and resurface around SummerSlam, with Ambrose wanting another shot at The Beast. The build to this match has been fair to good, but the second one will be much better after these guys build some history together.
Brock Lesnar wins, but Dean Ambrose doesn’t lose anything.
Intercontinental Ladder Match: Kevin Owens should be in a singles match on this show. That being said, this match will be an entertaining brawl. I don’t think the outcome is really in question, but what will be interesting to see is what singles feud develops out of this match for people like Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens retains, but who will work their way into a singles feud with him?
The New Day vs. League of Nations: New Day’s entrance continues to generate buzz, but that’s about where it ends for this match. I have a lot of faith in New Day to entertain, so this match carries some expectations in that regard, but League of Nations has yet to gel as a unit and are in need of desperate reinvention. I’m not sure if they will survive much past WrestleMania, which would only help everybody involved.
New Day wins and hopefully embarrasses the League enough that they disband for good.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the Divas Championship: This match has had a competent build, and I expect them to have an opportunity to deliver a show stealing performance. Despite all that, I don’t feel like creatively they have earned a title change here. Becky has been very good and is essentially they only true babyface in the division, but when you add Sasha to the picture all the interactions between these three women have been that of disdain and one-upmanship. It has been entertaining, but there is no emotional core to this feud, and for that reason I expect things to remain at status quo until after WrestleMania, when a singles feud can develop and WWE looks at adding Bayley to the main roster.
Charlotte retains her championship, but for how long is anyone’s guess.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho: This match feels like a coronation more than anything. The feud has been good on television for the most part, but Jericho’s motivation feels pretty flimsy and while his mic work has been good it’s been a rehash of better work from eight years ago. Styles needs a big win on a big stage to set up his rise up the ranks of the WWE Card, and this match will allow him an opportunity to show he belongs there.
AJ Styles wins and has his first WrestleMania moment.
Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Championship: Ryback’s “bigger is better” character is essentially his bully character with slightly different catchphrases. This story has lacked subtlety and has done little to make Kalisto feel like a deserving underdog champion. I think WWE wants us to treat Kalisto like a younger Rey Mysterio, but they continue to fail to make him feel like something special. It would make more sense for this to be the ladder match, as that’s how Kalisto put himself on the map.
Kalisto wins and gets polite applause.
The Dudley Boyz vs. The Usos: Neither team in this feud has done much to add anything to their act in recent memory. It feels like you could capture a moment in time from either team’s career and put them in a match and it would feel largely the same. This match had a pre-show level of effort put into it, and thus deserves to be there.
The Dudley’s win.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: This match was recently bumped up to the main card, so I expect some surprise entrants into the match and therefore it should be a lot of fun. Battle Royals are a fun diversion and offer a nice break in between more intense matches, so that will be a great place to use this one.
A surprise entrant wins, perhaps Cesaro.
Total Divas vs. B.A.D. and Blonde: This branding and cross promotion spectacular will show off exactly how much the E! partnership means to the WWE. That’s about it.
Total Divas is available on the E! Network, check your local listings.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Mister Saint Laurent, who offers passionate words about what MLW delivers that pro wrestling has been missing, addresses criticism of MLW's contracts, straying from the path that his family paved for him, discusses the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view event that will be held on November 2 in Chicago, and more (62:44)...