By Will Pruett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@itswilltime)
The more I spend time thinking about it, the more I enjoy the two night approach to WrestleMania. While I miss the solitary main event label and will be overwhelmed by wrestling all weekend, giving us two shorter spectaculars instead of a seven hour show is the right move. Even when a card seems a little thin (like this year’s WrestleMania), it’s better to stretch it out over two nights.
Now, since I gave y’all the bad WrestleMania theme on the night one preview, let’s get into the show!
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the Unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship of the Universe: For every flaw this WrestleMania build might have had, this match has been expertly built. Roman Reigns is the unbeatable monster heel. Brock Lesnar is the unbeatable monster babyface. These two are doing some of their best work ever and have me anticipating a WrestleMania main event I was tired of four years ago.
WWE has unified their two world championships twice in their history. The first time stuck for about nine months. The second time stuck for about three years. Brock Lesnar has held both of those unified titles, but has never been the man to unify them.
Roman Reigns comes into this match having been elevated above literally everyone on WWE’s roster. He continues to dominate as Universal Champion and, should he win this match, one has to wonder what he does next. Does WWE keep him in this championship position hoping for a match with The Rock in 2023? Do they have enough fresh matches for Reigns to keep him going for that long?
Reigns is on the run of his career. He ended last year’s WrestleMania by smashing and stacking “Daniel” Bryan Danielson and Edge. At this point, it feels like Reigns must show a little weakness to keep it interesting. I want to see Reigns fight for more than the title. I want to see Reigns actually angry and out for revenge.
At the same time, Brock Lesnar is as interesting as he has ever been in the decade since his WWE return. While I originally believed this was the moment to crown Reigns, I now believe this is the moment to stretch it out.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Roman Reigns to win sole custody of the adorable championship babies those titles will make.
AJ Styles vs. Edge: This is one of the matches I hoped to see Edge have when he returned to wrestling in 2020. The brief glimpse of these two together in the 2020 Rumble stuck in my mind.
Edge’s efforts to reinvent himself as a brutal heel have been noble but less than perfect. Some wrestlers evolve past the point of reinvention. As a fan, I would rather see classic Edge vs. classic AJ Styles. Giving us new Edge with different music and fluffier hair isn’t going to change who Edge is in the ring. Being on the thinner night of the two night WrestleMania should help this match get plenty of time.
Prediction: AJ Styles defeats Edge in a really good and really fun match.
Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory: Remember thinking this match would feature Vince McMahon’s return to the ring? Everything about this story has been weird, including all of these Austin Theory segments we’ve seen since Survivor Series. Theory is not more popular or important despite spending time sitting near Vince McMahon.
At the same time, McAfee is as affable as a commentator and white male podcaster can be. He is the voice of the fans in WWE and, while occasionally over-enthusiastic, he’s a great commentator. This is a chance for McAfee to get some great spots in (like he did in NXT) and impress before sitting next to Michael Cole again.
Prediction: Pat McAfee defeats Austin Theory.
Randy Orton and Riddle vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy for the Raw Tag Team Championship: With the top title on Raw occupied by noted part-time wrestler Brock Lesnar, somehow the tag titles have taken extra prominence. This and the involvement of Randy Orton in this story has elevated the build to this match from basic to pretty good.
Chad Gable and Otis have been intensely entertaining as the third wheel team here. The Street Profits always bring a little something extra. Orton and Riddle feel both more cohesive than ever and more combustible than ever. I’d call this show the beginning of the end for their team.
Prediction: The Streets Profits win the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn in an Anything Goes match: I get a kick out of this being an Anything Goes match. Knoxville and Zayn have had a fun little rivalry with Zayn expertly selling everything Knoxville has done to get under his skin. I’d expect this match to be short with Zayn trying everything he can to defeat Knoxville, only to end up knocked out by a falling Knoxville.
Prediction: Knoxville does his best Shane McMahon impression and jumps off of something very tall to defeat Sami Zayn.
Queen Zelina and Carmella vs. Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan vs. Natalya and Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: This is the best WWE could think of for the best big match performer in North America, Sasha Banks? It’s absurd that WWE could not find a singles match for Banks after her performance in the main event of last year’s show.
The women’s tag titles stopped mattering quite as much when WWE released many of the women they had under contract and stripped the depth out of their roster.
Prediction: Sasha Banks and Naomi win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, proceed to glow.
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos: Lashley gets the big babyface return on Raw and the opportunity to defeat Omos, WWE’s newest monster, here. Omos does not have it and is the least intimidating wrestler I’ve ever seen with his height. It’s time to cut bait and use Omos’ to get Babyface Bobby over.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley ends the one year undefeated streak of Omos, then does cool lighting poses.
This night of WrestleMania does not look as fun to me as night one. Without the promise of a crowd losing their minds for Steve Austin to supplement the matches, this will be a struggle of a show to sit through. At the same time, the main event will be a major moment in WWE history and the promise of a great match should motivate us all throughout this show, as long as nothing drags on too long.
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.