By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WrestleMania 35 currently has fifteen matches slated for Sunday making it one of the heftiest WrestleMania cards of all time. It’s not an easy card to predict, with a lot of these matches feeling like they could go one of several ways in some cases. For the first time, women will main event WrestleMania, and it seems as if more championships than ever will be defended on the card.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships With Charlotte taking a last minute victory over Asuka with just two weeks to WrestleMania, the main event of the show this year will not only make history as the first women’s main event, but now it will see one of these three women leave with both the Raw and Smackdown Championships. The first of the champions, Ronda Rousey, is the most aggressive heel in the match and even though Charlotte and Becky are at odds right now, I see them teaming up at some point or another to take out Ronda. The former UFC Champion had an up and down set of performances as a babyface, but ever since turning heel, her promos and attitude have really seemed to click and garner real heat from fans, and she’s acted as a great foil for Lynch. However, I can’t see here taking the victory at WrestleMania for a lot of reasons. Rumors have circulated that she wants to start a family, and even aside from that, I feel that the women’s division doesn’t benefit from having Rousey built up as an unstoppable force anymore than she already has.
The second champion in the match is Charlotte Flair. The decision to put the Smackdown Women’s title on her was an interesting one, but it does make this match feel bigger and like it does warrant the main event even more. The decision to put Charlotte in the match has been met with derision, but it can’t be denied that it added an extra layer of unpredictability in the buildup. Whether that was a good thing or not is another question, and as far as WrestleMania is concerned, I don’t think her addition will matter as no matter what, the story at WrestleMania isn’t Charlotte’s to be paid off, it’s Becky’s.
The third competitor in the main event of WrestleMania 35, and the only one walking in with no titles, will be walking out with two. There are a lot of matches on this cards that could result in real wish fulfilling victories for WWE fans, and I don’t think WWE is going to go that way on all of them. However, in the main event, I absolutely believe that WWE is going to send the fans home happy, and that after a hard fought match, Lynch will force Rousey to tap out in the center of the ring and end WrestleMania 35 with both titles held above her head.
Becky Lynch wins the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships.
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship Another match in which essentially 100 percent of the fanbase will be rooting for one outcome. It’s hard to see anyone out there hoping for a Lesnar victory after so many years of him being the champion and not showing up week to week for Raw. At this time last year, the story was slightly similar, with the consensus being that Roman Reigns would beat Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 34. WWE swerved us all and extended Lesnar’s title reign until SummerSlam, but this time I believe that even WWE officials are aware that a change is needed in the title picture.
Rollins taking a clean victory over Lesnar four years after stealing the WWE Championship from him at WrestleMania 31 would the perfect way to solidify Rollins as a huge Superstar for years to come. Rollins is already a main event player and has been World Champion for an extended period of time before, but finally being the one to take Lesnar permanently out of the Universal Title scene would be the perfect culmination to the many year long story of the Shield vs. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. As a long term piece of storytelling, I find it hard to believe that the Universal Title picture could end in any way other than Rollins scrapping his way to a victory against Lesnar.
Seth Rollins wins the WWE Universal Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship The third world title match at WrestleMania 35 sees Bryan as a reviled heel taking on a veteran in Kingston, who has had a rocketed path to the WWE Title match at WrestleMania that is very similar to Bryan’s own rise to the title at WrestleMania 30. As much as WWE has in many ways stumbled their way into a few of the matches on this card, it must be said that the long-term stories that are being paid off at WrestleMania does give the card a very historic feel. Bryan has done a fantastic job making himself a hated entity in WWE right now, and while the whole better-than-thou vegan attitude could have easily been stale very quickly, Bryan has done extremely well in intertwining wrestling into that perspective to make the character seem grounded.
I have to also give credit to Vince McMahon. I originally thought that the Kofi Train would have run out of steam after Fastlane, Vince continually putting obstacles in Kofi’s way has really given him a lot of backing and fan hype before WrestleMania. Kofi and the entire New Day have run a seamless story of brotherhood and fighting against the man, in a way that has really captured the minds of so many fans. Because this is happening at the same time as Rollins fight against Lesnar as well as Lynch versus everybody, I don’t see Kofi walking out of WrestleMania with the Championship. I suspect that Kofi will come as close as possible to winning the title without doing it. I see Rowan getting involved as well as the New Day to ward them off, but Bryan eventually grinding out a victory. Maybe Kofi could win the title on the Raw or Smackdown after WrestleMania, however I feel that Bryan will retain on Sunday.
Daniel Bryan retains the WWE Championship.
Bobby Lashley vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship The one thing that I can say about the buildup to this match is that it has had consistent TV time. I don’t know whether that’s necessarily been a good thing because this storyline has just run out of so much steam. Because Lashley is so antagonistic towards Lio Rush, I don’t understand why Rush is still at his side. I feel like Balor and Lashley will have a good match at WrestleMania, however I am not captivated by this story in the slightest. They haven’t given me any reason to think that Balor needs to win the IC Title, or why Lashley keeping it would be any better. I think overall the IC Title picture has more potential if Balor wins and goes onto a better storyline with someone else, therefore I see Balor in what will undoubtedly be an awesome Demon entrance at WrestleMania, squashing Lashley in very little time and winning the Intercontinental Championship.
Finn Balor wins the Intercontinental Championship
Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship After months of feuding with Andrade on Smackdown and seemingly building up to a WrestleMania match with him, Mysterio will be challenging Joe for the U.S. Title at WrestleMania. This match came very much out of nowhere and sort of left Andrade without anything to do, as well as taking away the possibility for any actual story for Joe and the U.S Title heading into WrestleMania. It doesn’t help that in the buildup to WrestleMania, Samoa Joe and Mysterio have lost in recent singles matches to Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin respectively. Joe and Mysterio both being amazing wrestlers could lead to an entertaining match, but part of me also finds it hard to believe that they’ll be able to click in any sort of fantastic way while wrestling a WWE style match. Overall, I see this match being a very short one in which we get some cool spots and ultimately leading to no change with Joe putting Mysterio to sleep to retain.
Samoa Joe retains the U.S. Championship
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce vs. Nia Jax and Tamina in a four-way for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles While I am glad that Women’s Tag Team Championships have been introduced into WWE, they don’t feel like they have much importance attached to them. The buildup to this match has had some exciting spots so far, such as the realization that Phoenix would be returning to take a shot at the title alongside Natalya, and I think that the match will be worked in such a way to give each of the teams a shining spot at WrestleMania. I don’t believe that Phoenix is slated to stay on as a regular performer after WrestleMania, therefore I don’t see her and Natalya getting the victory, although I do believe that they will have some fun spots in the match. Jax and Tamina will obviously be the big bad in the match whom the rest of the competitors will team up to keep down at a certain point. I think Jax and Tamina will get their run at the tag titles at some point, but I don’t think it will be now.
Bayley and Sasha banks were the right first tag team champions, however their reign hasn’t been the most exciting. I think that for WWE to really make these titles worth something, the fans need to see them in the hands of heels and have faces chase after them to really make it worth something with faces win the tag titles. For that reason, I believe that the IIconics will be the ones who win the tag titles at WrestleMania. Being that it is a four-way tag match, it’s a good way for the heels to get the victory by stealing it away. I think they could also steal one away by pinning Phoenix so none of the current wrestlers eat the pinfall. I think that it makes sense for the IIconics to be the second champions as they are a real tag team, and that their propensity to garner a reaction could be a good way for the tag title picture to gain steam.
The IIconics win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship The buildup for this cruiserweight title match has been really fun over the past few months on 205 Live, and the number one contender’s tournament really gave way to some great matches, and think 205 Live fans are behind Nese. That being said, I don’t think that Nese has enough momentum behind him to warrant taking the title away from Murphy, who has been doing a stellar job as WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Both of these guys can go and have a great amount of chemistry, and the story between them as former friends sets this up to be an intense match. I don’t think that Murphy will lose the title at this point, though if he is to lose the title in the future I feel that it could be used to really build up a strong babyface, something that Nese isn’t just yet.
Buddy Murphy retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
The Usos vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev in a four-way for the Smackdown Tag Titles This match was only put together on the go home Smackdown before WrestleMania by host Alexa Bliss. I did like the idea that the Usos were being punished for forfeiting their spot in the gauntlet match against New Day the week before. So this sort of ragtag title match does have some semblance of story with it essentially being Vince taking on the Usos, That being said, it doesn’t excuse the fact that none of the challengers really have a claim or any sort of personal gripe against the Usos. I’m sure this match will be fine at WrestleMania, and I actually think WWE might use this to be a gratifying moment during the show and give Black and Ricochet their first main roster titles. However, even with that being a tempting prediction, I feel that WWE will have a fair few other title challenges and will instead choose to keep the Usos strong and have them retain. I can’t see why they could do placing the titles on Sheamus and Cesaro going forward and I didn’t even know that this Rusev-Nakamura thing had any sort of permanence to it.
The Usos retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
The Revival vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins for the Raw Tag Team Championship So, for absolutely no reason, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins who last held tag team titles over a decade ago, are getting a Raw Tag Title shot. This will probably be on the pre-show and honestly could be a good match. There’s no story here other than the generally terrible booking of the Revival. I’m actually going to go with the swerve on this one, I see Hawkins finally getting rid of his losing streak with a championship win, as it seems like a very WWE thing to do. And considering how strange the booking of The Revival has been, it just seems like a fitting end to their title reign.
Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins win the Raw Tag Team Championships
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match Honestly, the fact that this story has been brewing since Shane’s win at the Best In The World tournament is rather impressive. It’s not often that WWE has a plan like this that the fans were very against at first, only to get them behind the Miz in the way they have. I think we all forgot that Shane can be an effective heel as he was so many times during the Attitude Era. Shane has done a terrific job in making himself a very unique type of heel on Smackdown. I don’t see Shane winning though, as it really doesn’t make sense for this story to continue after WrestleMania and there’s no reason for him to beat one of WWE’s biggest stars in The Miz. I feel that the stipulation here is set up to see Shane fall off something very tall, which will lead to his defeat, so let’s just hope he does it in as safe a manner as possible and hasn’t picked out any of New York’s Skyscrapers as his target jumping pad.
The Miz defeats Shane McMahon.
Batista vs. Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match with Triple H’s career on the line Batista’s awesome character work has seemingly come as a surprise to many WWE fans, although it really shouldn’t have given how diverse an actor he’s become. While the buildup to this match with Triple H has had some strange moments in promos from both Triple H and The Animal, overall, they have got me excited for this match. Knowing that Batista has had this match in the back of his mind for years as his final match makes me very intrigued to see what he has planned and how he wants to go out. I do think it is plausible to see both men bow out after this match with a Batista victory because of Triple H’s injuries and just the amount of time that he has been wrestling, so I won’t be surprised if Batista does win. However, my feeling is that while Batista wants to go out against his longtime friend and Evolution teammate, Triple H has a different ending in mind for himself, namely in using his last match to put over an NXT talent or something of the sort. Therefore, I see Triple H surviving and keeping his career for now.
Triple H defeats Batista.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles Even though the reasoning for having this match at WrestleMania is rather flimsy, I’m actually looking forward to this one more than a lot of other. Orton seems like he’s really invested in this story and when Orton is motivated he is one of the absolute best in the world. I think that Styles and Orton will get enough time to do something dynamic and fun. While the obvious result might be for Styles to pick up a big WrestleMania win against someone like Orton, I feel that WWE wants to make a moment in this match and that Orton will get the win after a fantastic RKO to take Styles out of the sky.
Randy Orton defeats AJ Styles
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin After a long and glorious career, it will be sad to see Angle wrestle his last match this Sunday. The Hall of Famer is currently set to take on Corbin to much disdain from fans. WWE hasn’t done the best job building this match, with both Corbin and Angle losing clean in the weeks before WrestleMania. I honestly don’t see Angle retiring against Corbin. WWE likes having big moments at WrestleMania, and with so many matches I feel some will be sacrificed for other moments. I see Corbin being beaten in about 30 seconds to anticlimactic fanfare before John Cena’s music hits and WWE does the right thing and gives the fans and Angle what he deserves, a retirement match at WrestleMania with one of his greatest rivals.
Kurt Angle defeats Baron Corbin, loses in subsequent surprise match to John Cena.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre McIntyre has been captivating in his promos and his attitude in the buildup to this match at WrestleMania. It does feel like a match that could go either way, which is impressive in and of itself as it’s rarely that way when facing Reigns. Being put in a program with McIntyre has been the right call for Reigns upon his return as there was no need for him to come right back into the title picture. This match will be a good one, and I suspect that it will end in a triumphant comeback singles win for Reigns at WrestleMania. I don’t know how you can do anything else other than have Reigns take a big win after returning a leukemia battle.
Roman Reigns defeats Drew McIntyre
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal Well, the only bit of story that we have about this battle royal has been Braun Strowman versus Colin Jost and Michael Che. Therefore, I don’t see this going any other way than Strowman winning. I will be unbelievably annoyed if Jost or Che happen to win which, knowing WWE is not completely impossible. I’m sure we’ll get one surprise or another in this match, maybe Booker T and Stevie Ray might make an appearance after their Hall of Fame induction and/or maybe some of DX as well. However, Strowman winning in my eyes is the right choice and what I think will happen.
Braun Strowman wins the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal Another match to get everyone on the card with no build. At least not any obvious build, although I feel that WWE have been setting up Lacey Evans to finally make her main roster debut here. Apart from her, the only other person I can see winning is Asuka and I don’t think she really needs it. If Evans got the win here, I think it might give her some momentum as she starts to wrestle full time. It honestly makes no sense if she doesn’t finally have a match because then they’ve unnecessarily been wasting screen time on her before WrestleMania.
Lacey Evans wins the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal.
Check below for Will Pruett and Jake Barnett’s WrestleMania Weekend Preview for more thoughts on WrestleMania 35.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...