By Will Pruett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@itswilltime)
Friends, it is time again for one of the year’s great holidays! After waiting more than two full years, a full-capacity WrestleMania in a real stadium is upon us. We won’t be haunted by ThunderDome clips while trying to watch this show and we won’t be subjected to an Edge vs. Randy Orton match that is somehow still happening in the WWE Performance Center. No. It’s time for wrestling to move on to JerryWorld in Dallas and for me to write some very serious predictions for this show.
But before we do, it’s time to celebrate a great moment in WrestleMania theme song history with the 20th anniversary of Saliva’s performance of Superstar from WrestleMania 18!
I fully remember listening to this (and the next) Saliva album over and over solely because of their WWE association. What a time to be a mediocre nu-metal band. For real though, WrestleMania 18 might have my favorite WrestleMania set of all time. That was a work of art.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin joins Kevin Owens on the KO Show: It’s not a match, but it is a match? It’s almost a match. Like a Christian couple obsessed with purity culture saving themselves for marriage, this thing is getting as close as it can to a match without fully going in. Steve Austin is usually good for an ATV ride and a beer bash at WrestleMania, so doing a little more physically should be fun.
Kevin Owens has been a silly, but engaged foe for Austin. Would I rather see these two in an absolute blood feud that drove Austin back to the ring because he had nothing else to lose? Yes. Will I take Austin opening up “one last can” on Owens because Owens dislikes the geographic region Austin is from? Sure. Why not? It’ll work.
Steve Austin will look great and drink his new Broken Skull American Lager, a beer that is definitely worth drinking this WrestleMania weekend.
Prediction: Steve Austin destroys Kevin Owens after taking some surprising bumps in an almost-match and proceeds to contemplate appearing on a Saudi show.
Seth Rollins vs. An Opponent of Mr. McMahon’s Choosing: Okay, so it’s probably Cody Rhodes and it will probably be a pretty cool moment when Cody finally appears at WrestleMania. The build to this match has been simultaneously hapless and well done. Crowds have been clamoring for Cody for the past month. Rollins has done a nice job in his role, but his role sucks. Rollins has lost every week and, in three months, gone from a wrestler who took Roman Reigns to his absolute limit to a mid-card nerd.
So yes, WWE succeeded in making fans anticipate Cody Rhodes’ arrival, but they failed to make his opponent seem like anything more than an afterthought. Instead of beating the wrestler who took Reigns to his limit and could win a championship at anytime, Cody will beat certified nerd Seth Rollins.
Prediction: ADRENALINE IN MY SOUL THIS IS A WIN FOR CODY RHODES.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: We’ve known about this match happening for the last three months and I have not been excited about it once. Their previous match at Survivor Series 2018 was pretty good until the non-finish. Everything else these two have done together, including the buildup to their 2019 WrestleMania main event with Becky Lynch, has been disappointing.
Charlotte feels separate from the rest of the paper-thin Smackdown women’s roster. Ronda Rousey provided a jolt when she returned to win the Royal Rumble, but I cannot say she’s captured my imagination.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte Flair to win the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship, then looks upset when the crowd boos her for it.
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship: This match is almost the complete opposite of the Smackdown Women’s Championship match. At SummerSlam, I was legitimately upset about the returning Lynch ending Belair’s title reign on Smackdown. At the time, I didn’t believe Becky would get over as a heel and believed she couldn’t get the crowd to love Bianca more than they love her.
I was wrong. Bianca Belair comes into this match ready to make a major babyface statement at WrestleMania and win a title for the second year in a row. Becky Lynch has had an excellent title reign with some excellent matches. The Raw Women’s roster is not necessarily better than the Smackdown one, but it looks far deeper after the work Becky has done since SummerSlam.
This will be the match of the night and one of the most compelling matches of WrestleMania weekend.
Prediction: Bianca Belair defeats Becky Lynch to win the Raw Women’s Championship.
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin: When we first began this pandemic, McIntyre was the hottest babyface in WWE going into a WrestleMania match with unbeatable monster Brock Lesnar. Two years later and he’s sword boy stuck a never ending feud with Baron Corbin. The pandemic has not been kind to a lot of people in WWE, but creatively, it has been horrid for McIntyre.
Baron Corbin is where both interest and joy go to die.
Prediction: Drew McIntyre takes far too long to defeat Baron Corbin, but has to do so again in a sword-on-a-pole match next month at WrestleMania Backlash.
Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz and Logan Paul: I know Logan Paul is sort-of an athlete and mostly a vlogger custom made to upset people with taste. I know The Miz is good at doing Miz-things and has carried this feud for the most part.
Rey Mysterio will work hard to provide a WrestleMania moment for his mediocre son. This match will likely be better than it has any right to be and feature a fun double 619 on the vlog man.
Prediction: Rey and Dominik Mysterio win and Rey rides out of WrestleMania on his son’s shoulders.
The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: I was surprised to see this was not Nakamura’s first tag title match at WrestleMania. After watching the last couple weeks of WWE TV, I actually really enjoy Rick Boogs’ act and how he combines with Shinsuke Nakamura. This all works.
The Usos are always a match away from winning the tag titles again and them losing here adds a little bit to night two’s main event.
Prediction: Nakamura and Boogs win the Smackdown Tag Titles and dance with Pat McAfee.
Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus and Ridge Holland (with Butch): This show has a lot of tag matches. This match feels quite sad after Big E’s broken neck. I’ve picked a babyface-heavy show, so while I’d like Woods and Kingston to get a sentimental victory for their friend Big E, I think Butch will help Sheamus and Ridge get the win.
Prediction: Sheamus and Ridge Holland win.
If this show did not have the promise of Steve Austin and Kevin Owens getting physical, I wouldn’t be excited about it. With that segment, I know the crowd will be absolutely nuclear. Add in the likely debut of Cody Rhodes and another star making moment for Bianca Belair and I believe this will be a really fun night of WrestleMania.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.