As we approach the biggest show of the year this week, it’s a good time to look at what might happen during and after the matches. There’s always some surprises every year at Wrestlemania, but this year looks like it might be the most predictable in recent memory. Below are predictions for the winners and card placement.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: On the go-home show, it was announced that this will be a six-pack challenge match and that a returning Naomi is the final participant. Even though Vince isn’t fond of giving wrestlers wins in their hometowns, expect Naomi to win for a feel-good moment in the pre-show. She’s over somehow already with her “Feel the Flow” catchphrase and entrance, so WWE will ride it while they can.
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship: This is one of the few exciting matches on the card if actual wrestling is your thing. You have an interesting dynamic with the cocky heel taking on the cocky face, and both men can deliver great. Neville needs to win this match and solidify his position as “the King of the Cruiserweights.” To take the belt off him this soon would undermine that and take away his momentum of being a monster heel in the division. WWE pulls the trigger on these sorts of things too soon often, so it’s possible Aries picks up the win, but likely Neville retains. This has been announced as a pre-show match, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The quality will be deserving of the main show, assuredly, but it might get lost on the massive card. This will give the men time to have a solid match.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: This match has more surprises than enough the Royal Rumble anymore in terms of participants usually (e.g. Tatanka last year) even though most of the lower card is announced for the match already. Sami Zayn, who sadly has nothing on this card, needs to win this to capitalize on the Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman storylines this year. This will probably be a Braun Strowman win though since he lost clean to Roman last month. Either way, this is a spectacle. If it’s exciting and that would mean a Sami win, it could possibly open the show. If not, then expect it to be a come-down match after one of the more thrilling bouts.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a Ladder match for the RAW Tag Team Championship: This match-up, which the audience will have seen every iteration leading up to the three-way, is one of the more boring on the card. It likely that this is a pre-show match, but it could hope to climb to the second match to bring them down from whatever opens the card. The outcome is a toss-up. If Gallows and Anderson are moving to Smackdown, then might drop the belts. If not, them to keep the titles so a fresher babyface team can chase them. There is the possibility of a Matt and Jeff Hardy surprised as it seems all but confirmed they are signed again with WWE, but again, don’t get your hopes up. A RAW/Smackdown debut would be more likely.
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse: This will be technically sound with the males all the way through, but this match is nothing more than a tie-in and promotion of Total Bellas. Given that the story so far has been that Nikki doesn’t have a ring (go, women’s revolution), this match will likely end with a Cena and Nikki win, probably with a double STF, and then a proposal by John Cena. Both Nikki and Cena are supposed to be disappearing after this show for a while, so it’ll be a decent enough send-off for them, and The Miz can go back to being awesome in more meaningful feuds, including another possible World Title run at some point this year.
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon: This is another spectacle match, and one of the most maligned on the card by many internet fans who see it as “wasting” AJ against the part-time, stuntman, son-of-a-promoter Shane. The build was better than many give it credit for although the WWE has certainly botched who is the heel and who is the face here in some ways. They are billing this as a “real” match, no stipulations included, so expect Shane to give AJ more of a fight than he expected because he’s “arrogant,” but Styles will win in the end.
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship: I called this “The Heart of Wrestlemania” a few weeks ago and still maintain that attitude. For dedicated fans, this match features the best storytelling of the year and will have the most heat. It could also steal the show in terms of in-ring work as well. Kevin Owens will go over, which allows Jericho to leave for a while and reinvent himself once again.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Championship: This match is a real toss-up. It could be great, or it could be awful. It could be Ambrose, or it could be Corbin. This is most likely Corbin’s “coming-out” a year after his introduction by winning the Andre battle royal. This match is a good candidate to open the show as Corbin is a rising star and Ambrose is one of the most consistent stars that will get cheered.
Seth Rollins vs. HHH: This match will be solid as HHH can still work a match as evidenced by the match last year with Ambrose at Roadblock. This match should be kept relatively short, but since it’s Hunter, he’ll be given at least twenty minutes which will lead to Seth selling for thirteen minutes and then coming back at the end. Rollins wins via Pedigree although they should let him get a Curb Stomp in for good measure and a huge pop.
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship: This feud has been so mishandled up to this point that the outcome is completely unpredictable. Now that Charlotte’s PPV streak is over, that doesn’t matter. Having Bayley win the belt before ‘Mania means that moment doesn’t matter. Nia isn’t ready to be champion yet as she’s getting no reaction from the crowd and is too green. Sasha turning heel makes the most sense since the tease of that has been building for a month or so. This will leave Bayley as the betrayed babyface that can chase a heel Sasha to Summerslam in Brooklyn where they held their famous match two years ago.
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship: This match will be determined and also determine a lot of post-Mania booking. If AJ is going to Raw and Reigns or Rollins, or any other babyfaces which are sorely needed, to Smackdown, then Wyatt winning makes the most sense. I expect a possible reformation of a stronger-than-ever Wyatt Family and the chance for them to run roughshod over Smackdown for a while. Unless WWE has huge plans for the Wyatt Family finally, this match will not close the show despite being billed as “the main event.” In fact, this makes sense as the show opener. Cole can announce this is “one of their X number of main events tonight” and the crowd can pop for Randy’s music. The build for this has been dreadful in recent weeks and any excitement is been sucked from the program, so opening the big show makes sense.
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship: This will be a short match with Lesnar finally going over Goldberg with an F5 and winning the Universal Championship. The theory is that this will lead Roman finally beating Lesnar for the title the next night, Summerslam, or even next year at Wrestlemania. This all sounds right, but WWE could swerve us with who might take this title with so many returning or new faces in the near future. This match is too short to be the main event and doesn’t feel big enough now, especially as Goldbert has lost some steam recently. This will probably be the penultimate match.
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns: This match makes the most sense for the main event. It’s Roman, of course, against a Wrestlemania legend. Roman is going to win, much to the chagrin of most of the audience. This will solidify Roman as the only other man but Lesnar to pin the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The biggest question about this match is whether Reigns turns heel here. It’s needed for Roman and his future. However, my expected finish is that Strowman attacks Reigns after the match is over given the fact that he’s still lurking around in this feud, and The Undertaker and Roman fight him off before shaking hands to signify ‘Taker passing the torch to Roman.