By Will Pruett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@itswilltime)
Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the readers how I feel a second? WWE’s television product for the last three months has been bad. The five hours of weekly main roster television meant to get me so hyped to see WrestleMania I invent a freakin’ time machine and skip life until Sunday has almost caused me to lose my smile.
However, it’s WrestleMania season and as my pentecostal upbringing causes me to yell on occasion YOU CAN’T STEAL MY JOY, DEVIL!!! So this year, I’m previewing WrestleMania like a human who has only watched WWE pay-per-views since December and let me tell you, this card is awesome.
Let’s get into the preview and predictions, but first let’s get to the SWEET ASS MANIA JAMS!
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships: Women in the gosh dang main event of WrestleMania. This is history. This is progress. This is a moment I’ve been dreaming of for years with each incremental step feeling as burdened and pained as possible. Becky Lynch’s Royal Rumble win was an epic moment on par with the best Rumble wins in history. Ronda Rousey has had mostly good-to-great matches since joining WWE even if her Twitter game is weak. Charlotte Flair feels a little unnecessary, but could be the glue to hold this epic encounter together.
Say what you will with WWE’s style of self congratulating during epic moments, I will allow it for this match. This one will be one of the great WrestleMania main events in history. We’ll all be privileged to see it.
Prediction: Becky Lynch wins the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships by pinning Ronda Rousey and I weep.
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins is a little guy and WWE has made the story of Brock Lesnar that he is slightly vulnerable to little guys. Hey, they’ve done worse. Brock is going to have his WrestleMania smash shorts on and Seth is going to work super hard. This match will be tons of fun. Looking forward to a Brock Lesnar match feels weird and wrong and I hate it. Let’s get through this title run and do something interesting please.
Prediction: Seth Rollins burns down the stadium or beats Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Universal Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston stole the show and created a top spot for himself in the Elimination Chamber. Like a teenager at a youth camp alter call, I found myself shouting “I believe” at the screen as he almost won the WWE Championship. Fastlane felt like a way to jerk around Kofi’s new believers to get to WrestleMania. Fastlane is the treading-water-iest PPV of the year.
Daniel Bryan has been an excellent heel WWE Champion and it’s crazy to type that a year after his in-ring return. I don’t want Bryan to lose, but given the religion I found in the last paragraph, I have no choice…
Prediction: Kofi Kingston defeats Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship and whoa that sentence is wild to type for so many reasons.
Triple H vs. Batista: DRAX IS BACK!!!
So, holds are not barred and Triple H’s in-ring career is on the line. This has Jeff Jarrett’s Impact Zone walk and/or brawl written all over, but with a much larger audience. Hey, Batista hasn’t wrestled in a while but is usually great. Triple H is coming off of an injury in the Saudi Arabia blood money match Shawn Michaels broke
his word my heart to have.
This is going to be fun and probably short. It’s nice to see Batista again. I pray his gear is blue and his night is sublime.
Prediction: Triple H benefits from Thanos’ work and DraxBatista disappears.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre: While I was excited about Drax being back, Roman Reigns being back warms my heart more than most things on this show. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Reigns is getting excellent reactions because wrestling fans don’t completely suck. I cannot wait to see him in another singles match after watching The Shield’s “We’re gonna’ teach ‘em how to say goodbye” match at Fastlane.
Drew McIntyre is a fine choice for Roman’s first match back. While I’d love for this to be a long feud, this is all about Roman winning. Perhaps they heat this up again on Monday night? Either way, New York yelling along with Roman’s pre-Spear primal scream is going to be neat.
Prediction: Roman Reigns superman punches his way to victory and looks super cool. Vests are neat.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin: Kurt Angle’s last match is against a weird waiter from Chilis. Well, I don’t make the rules here… Kurt Angle is an all time great who has looked absolutely awful in every match since returning to WWE. May he play his greatest hits and have a great retirement.
As a bonus: With John Cena is missing from this show, have Kurt easily dispatch Corbin or Corbin do something rude. Cena enters and has a good-ish eight minute match with Angle demonstrating both men’s ruthless aggression, then we get out of here.
Prediction: Kurt Angle defeats Baron Corbin, John Cena, and the odds against him having one last great match.
Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio for the United States Championship: After two years on the roster, we are finally getting a Samoa Joe singles match at WrestleMania. My heart is happy. Joe is great. Rey Mysterio is flying around like a 21 year old sensation again. This is going to be fun.
Prediction: Samoa Joe defeats Rey Mysterio to retain the United States Championship because I can’t pick another heel to win on this show.
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz: Shane McMahon is a heel. My world is falling apart. The Miz is a babyface and showing great fire. What world is this? Are they fighting for the Saudi blood money trophy here? Falls count anywhere, which means Shane is going to fall off of the Statue of Liberty and I’ll be overjoyed. Shane McMahon is the true best in the world.
Prediction: The Miz defeats Shane McMahon and sometime in the next three months feuds with heel Daniel Bryan. This world makes no sense but is so beautiful.
The Boss and Hug Connection vs. Tamina and Nia Jax vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. The Iiconics for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: At long last, there are tag titles for women and WWE is throwing what used to be an entire female roster into the title match. Good. This is a fun opportunity for these women to kill it. Bayley and Sasha Banks have looked good as tag champs, but Beth Phoenix is back and I’m a sucker for sentiment. Seeing The Iiconics get a chance to perform at WrestleMania is a cool bonus this show is offering us.
Prediction: The Boss and Hug Connection defeat everyone to retain the titles because I want them to face Io Shirai and Kairi Sane at the San Jose Takeover.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton: Randy Orton does some cool things in the ring, especially around WrestleMania time.
AJ Styles always does cool things in the ring and WWE has him locked into a new contract and a puppy. This should be enjoyable for what it is.
Prediction: AJ Styles defeats Randy Orton after Orton turns a 450 into a RKO for a two count at some point.
Bobby Lashley vs. Finn “The Demon” Balor for the Intercontinental Championship: Last time we saw The Demon, he was supposed to be the Pumpkin King vs. Bray Wyatt in drag.
Thank goodness this never happened. The Demon is a pretty cool thing that makes no logical sense. I don’t mind Finn Balor getting painted up for big matches, but I do mind that The Demon hangs over all of his non-Demonic matches. Such is life I guess. If we’re pointing out logical flaws in wrestling, starting there seems silly.
Bobby Lashley is perfectly passable in every way. He’s a great Intercontinental Championship level wrestler and I enjoy Lio Rush’s hype-man act.
Prediction: Facepaint Finn has the entrance of the night and murders Lashley and Rush and maybe a fan in the front row.
The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev vs. The Bar vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Ricochet is in a match at WrestleMania and 2019 isn’t the worst year I could imagine. This will be an action packed sprint and we’ll all be in a better mood after watching it. Put the belts on Ricochet and Black. It’ll be fun.
Prediction: Ricochet and Aleister Black win the titles and name their team The Two and Only giving me a new logical flaw to nit-pick.
The Revival vs. Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins for the Raw Tag Titles: Since I’m going into this pretending I didn’t watch the last two months of TV, I’ll assume WWE has been telling an amazing story of Ryder and Hawkins coming ever closer to an epic victory with them saving a culminating moment for a hometown crowd who will love it. Yep. That sounds like what a competent wrestling storyteller would do…
Prediction: The Revival lose to Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in the conclusion of a good story WWE was too busy to tell.
And then there’s a pre-show:
The ‘Dre: It’s funny to me that Braun Strowman is in this match. Name a colder big name character in WWE right now. I’ll wait. I don’t remember what Braun has done over the last two months, but a casual reading of Wikipedia says the Weekend Update hosts from Saturday Night Live are in this too. Weird. Braun feels like too obvious of a choice here, so…
Prediction: Andrade wins this match and changes his name to Andrade-Dre because the world is a cruel joke of a place.
The ‘Dre but for Women and Definitely Not Named After a Monster of a Human: Moving this match to the pre-show gives us just two women’s matches on WrestleMania. That’s not a good look, despite one of them being the main event. I’ll say Asuka wins this match since she was Smackdown Women’s Champion last time I saw her. What happened to that anyways? I was looking forward to an Asuka singles match on this show…
Prediction: Asuka wins and does Asuka things with a trophy that could be used in a 7th grade sex ed class.
Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Look, I know 205 is “part of the main roster” according to Maria’s Twitter account, but let’s be honest: this match would be a lot better on the Takeover pre-show on Friday night. Let’s hope it’s able to do what the Royal Rumble Cruiserweight match did and captivate a crowd that has been conditioned not to care.
Prediction: Tony Nese wins the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, I guess.
Y’all, this card actually rules. WrestleMania is actually going to rule. Wrestling is the best thing in this universe despite all of the moral quandaries supporting it creates. Who has time for morals today though? WE’VE GOT 39 HOURS OF WRESTLING TO WATCH LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Will Pruett writes about wrestling and popular culture at prowrestling.net. Of interest to him are diversity in wrestling and wrestling as a theatrical art form. To see his video content subscribe to his YouTube channel. To contact, check him out on Twitter @itswilltime, leave a comment, or email him at email@example.com.
Check below for Will Pruett and Jake Barnett’s WrestleMania Weekend Preview for more thoughts on WrestleMania 35, and check out the return of ProWrestling.net live with Will and Jason Powell taking your calls coming out of the biggest show of the year on Monday at 3CT/4ET at PWAudio.net.