By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
Whether you like or loathe WWE, you can’t deny that WrestleMania time is special to each and every wrestling fan. If you don’t like WWE then you had the G1 Supercard, NXT Takeover, Impact Wrestling’s United We stand, and a million independent groups all shouting trying to get your attention.
WrestleMania is obviously the big event of the weekend and this year looks okay on paper. There are some matches that I can’t wait to see reach their storyline conclusion and some matches that if I’m really not looking forward to. I’m at a steady 6.5 on a scale of the 0-10 excitement level-o-meter. So let’s dive in and see what I predict will happen on today’s biggest show of the year.
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch in a winner takes all Triple Threat match for the Raw Women’s Championship and the Smackdown Women’s Championship: I’m still not sold on Charlotte being in this match. When it comes to the argument that deserves it, I deserve a job that pays double what I make but that doesn’t match the reality. Though having a Triple Threat doesn’t ruin the match, it doesn’t feel the main event is as hot as it could be. A WrestleMania main event should be the culmination of a one on one story where fans are dreaming of seeing two wrestlers lock up and battle to prove who is better. It has watered down the intensity by throwing a third individual into the mix.
With that being said, despite WWE failing in its attempts to add extra spice to the match, this still feels must see. I’ve enjoyed the use of social media in this instance to really make the match seem personal and I did enjoy the backstage brawl from Raw this week. The match is not a main event because they are trying to shove women into an underserving position for good publicity, this is a main event that is worthy of being a main event.
I can see Becky winning this and that will be the show closing moment. I can see Bayley and Sasha coming out to celebrate with Becky and that will play into a storyline that Darren Gutteridge and I talked about on our free WrestleMania 35 predictions podcast (see below), and it’ll be a true feel good moment.
Prediction: Becky Lynch wins the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship: When Rollins won the Royal Rumble in January it looked inevitable that he would go on and beat Lesnar at WrestleMania and bring the belt back to Raw week in week out. Ironically, his pal Roman Reigns has put quite a bit of doubt over that. With Roman’s return from illness, the logical step after WrestleMania is to play out a feel good fairytale full circle type of story with Roman defeating Brock. As such, it seems that Seth is kind of the odd man out. I am predicting so many feel good moments on the show that I feel like there has to be some down moments to make the happy moments feel special. That’s laying out a card 101, and for me this would be the match where the babyface doesn’t win the title.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar retains the WWE Universal Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship: Along with the Triple Threat main event, this is the match that I’m looking forward to the most. WWE had KofiMania presented to them on a plate, and despite some stutters with Vince McMahon inserting himself into the program they have timed the peak of this feud perfectly. Kofi has been a revelation and it feels that for the first time the fans are able to release the gates of love and affection for him. Kofi has to win here, otherwise any chance of the momentum continuing will be lost. You also have the racial elements that they have sprinkled in along the way. There’s no way that WWE can justify not having Kofi win the match.
One quick note on Bryan. It was just over a year ago that he announced his return to the ring and his heel turn has been so well done in terms of the promo work he’s produced that he’s managed to turn all the fan’s who were showering him with love and affection against him. You don’t even hear pockets of cheers, he’s done that great a job. Not bad for a guy that supposedly couldn’t cut promos a couple of years ago, huh?
Prediction: Kofi Kingston wins WWE Championship.
Triple H vs. Batista No Holds Barred match – if Triple H loses, he must retire from in-ring competition: Some people feel that the build to this match hasn’t been as explosive as it could have been. I agree to some degree, but I think it was designed in that way. Look, in 2019, Triple H vs. Batista isn’t the main event and nor should it be. It’s a great side attraction. Although there was the cringe confrontation between Batista and Triple H a few weeks ago when Batista appeared to forget his lines, it hasn’t overshadowed the main events or the full time wrestlers, so it’s been enough for me. It’s almost certain that Triple H will win here. I can’t see any logic in Batista going over and ending Triple H’s in-ring career. I’m going to steal Darren’s joke from our audio review – wouldn’t it be funny as hell if Triple H’s entrance this year was him dressed as Thanos?
Prediction: Triple H wins.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin in Angle’s farewell match: Certainly not the opponent I would have chosen for Kurt’s final match. John Cena would have been perfect, but at least there is a storyline reason for it with Baron making Kurt’s life a living hell late last year. For that reason I feel Kurt should go over here. I know the tradition in pro wrestling is that you go out on your back, but to wrap up the story in a palatable way, I feel Kurt has to get a semblance of revenge.
Prediction: Kurt Angle wins his farewell match.
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz in a Falls Count Anywhere match: Despite the family orientated promo from Miz, I still don’t fully buy into him as a babyface. I think he’ll be fine through this program with Shane but afterwards I’m not so sure. I see him winning here to get some semblance of momentum moving forward. As for Shane, I suspect the whole point of a Falls Count Anywhere match is simply to let Shane fall off something high and I’m sure that will be the finish.
Prediction: The Miz wins.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre: I played devil’s advocate in the WrestleMania audio special this week by saying it would be a good storyline idea to have Roman lose here. The idea being is that he’s not fully recovered from a cardio standpoint, and then they could have him spend six months building back up to be championship level. Of course, that’s not going to happen, but I thought it would create an even bigger fairytale storyline for Roman and allow for the fans to really back him instead of feeling he’s being forced upon them again. But we all know Roman is going to win here. It doesn’t matter what the quality of the match is, the WrestleMania moment is that Roman is there and appears to be healthy.
Prediction: Roman Reigns wins.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton: Well, gosh darn, I never thought they would make me care about an Orton WrestleMania match, but they sure did, folks. The mic work between AJ and Randy has been tremendous, especially with the worked shoot comments that have really hit home with the audience. The key here is that it feels both men truly believe what they are saying is true, perhaps not to the same degree as they are indicating on their promos, but there is some element within them that feels what they are saying. I’m going to go for Randy winning here, because when in doubt with an Orton match at Mania, go for Randy.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins.
Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship: Rey is said to be good to go despite suffering an ankle injury on Monday. This match hasn’t really had any kind of storyline love, but it should be a good, competitive, and fun athletic contest. Because I feel Joe needs to be rebuilt in 2019 after losing all of his feuds last year, I’m going to go for a Joe victory.
Prediction: Samoa Joe retains the U.S. Championship.
Bobby Lashley vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship: I’m disappointed to say that I legit couldn’t care less about this match. It pains me to feel that way as someone who rates Balor very highly. WWE hasn’t done a good job with him for years and it’s starting to turn away some of his biggest backers. With the Demon character being undefeated on the main roster, I don’t see any reason why they would feed that to Lashley. Surely, there has to be a reason that Finn has been made to look so weak against Bobby.
Prediction: Finn Balor wins the Intercontinental Championship.
Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev: This match was only announced last minute so there’s no real reason aside from getting everyone on the show. As they reportedly re-signed with WWE recently, I’m going to go with The Usos retaining.
Prediction: The Usos retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Nia Jax and Tamina in a four-way for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: I really like the four babyfaces and I don’t really want to see the four heels. That’s how this match lines up to me. I’m looking forward to seeing Phoenix on the big stage again, but I think Sasha and Bayley retain here so they can start telling some form of WWE vs. MMA Horsewomen storyline.
Prediction: Bayley and Sasha Banks retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: This will be an entertaining match, but ultimately it will be forgotten 16 hours later when ‘Mania is over.
Prediction: Buddy Murphy retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: If Braun Strowman doesn’t win, then I’m going with EC3 with the help of the SNL guys distracting Strowman.
Prediction: Braun Strowman wins.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal: I feel Asuka will win and this will be WWE’s way of feeling like they have made up for her losing the Smackdown Women’s Title so close to WrestleMania.
Prediction: Asuka wins.
Check out Haydn Gleed and Darren Gutteridge’s WrestleMania 35 special podcast below.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Mike McMahon of PWTorch.com discussing his background and podcast work, plus a long chat regarding Impact Wrestling coming out of Slammiversary, including a breakdown of the notable additions to the roster, and more...