By Frank Lucci
Spring is here and the WWE is gearing up for their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania.
While ‘Mania 32 has had many setbacks, from injuries to….more injuries, the McMahons are soldiering on with who they have available. Despite many fans and critics ready to write the Pay-Per-View off, over 84,000 tickets have been sold for the event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This means that the WWE universe will at least make WrestleMania 32 a big financial win for the company and a memorable spectacle to behold regardless as to whether the event itself is a hit or miss. Here is Spaceman Frank’s ‘Mania 32 predictions.
Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback (United States Championship match)
It’s funny how without John Cena the U.S. championship has gone from respected belt to jerking the curtain on the pre-show. Kalisto is a great wrestler and fine champion who deserves a properly built match at ‘Mania. Instead he gets a newly turned heel in Ryback and nonexistent booking heading into the event. This could have been a promising feud, with Ryback really hammering home his “I hate small people” gimmick by taking out Kalisto’s tag partner Sin Cara and El Torito so the masked luchador has a personal stake in beating Ryback. At the end of the day, it’s better than nothing. Kalisto wins to pop the crowd early.
The Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D. & Blonde (Lana, Summer Rae,Naomi, Emma and Tamina)
It’s the cast of Total Divas versus the female wrestlers not good enough to have a title match. With three good wrestlers out of ten (four if you merge Naomi and Alicia Fox into one person), this will not be a five star classic. Throw in Lana having her first match ever and the always controversial Eva Marie making the card and this could be a Botchamania highlight reel. Hopefully things will be kept short and fast paced so the women have a chance to put on a good match. Total Divas win because they have a show and the others don’t.
The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz
Last Summer the Dudley Boyz came back to the WWE and proceed to do fuck-all for several months. Last Fall the Usos also came back from injury and proceed to do fuck-all for several months as well (TIME FOR A ‘MANIA FEUD BROTHER!). Having the Dudleys turn heel and renounce using tables is a good idea, but this feud means very little with nothing at stake. This contest should have been for a title shot or at least a tables match to give fans something to look forward to. At least the match itself should be fun to watch. The Dudleys win because they are the veteran team and The Usos can take the loss and still be cheered by the kids who miss Cena.
Kevin Owens (C) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)
Why the WWE decided this match needed to be a seven man ladder match and not the U.S. Championship match I have no idea. The WWE have an obvious money feud with Owens vs. Zayn, but apparently last year’s ladder match warranted a repeat. It also speaks volumes about the current roster depth that Zack Ryder and Sin Cara are rounding out the participants of this match. That being said, this could be a show stealer as there is loads of talent in the match who will be willing to put their bodies on the line for the belt. Owens has been a great heel and deserves to keep his title, so I see him taking advantage of his main rival Sami Zayn having wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas two days earlier to win the match and retain his championship.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
On paper this match is nothing special. However, the rumors for the last few spots in the match make the third annual battle royal intriguing. The Wyatts are not booked for WrestleMania, leaving many to expect Bray or Braun Strowman to win the match and comically oversized trophy. However, none other than Cesaro has been spotted in Dallas without an arm sling, leading many to assume he will be making an appearance after several months on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Bray, Braun and Cesaro are all potential winners as long as they actually get in the match, but if not i’m going with Heath Slater since the Social Outcasts were among the first participants announced and the surprise alone would spark a great reaction.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
It would be much more important if this was not the fourth match between the two grapplers.
Jericho is best as a heel and Styles is a perfect foil for him, but the two should have been kept apart more before ‘Mania. Considering that pretty much every Styles match with a popular WWE wrestler has dream match potential it would be better if the former “Mr. TNA” had a big name rival to take on instead of WWE’s most frequent part timer. This feud has not been bad, but at this point I expect Styles to win and move on asap.
The New Day vs. The League of Nations (3 on 4 handicap match)
Another curious booking decision by the WWE is to have the tag team championship not defended at WrestleMania. Even weirder is the fact that I feel like The New Day have beaten every member of the League repeatedly for the past few months. The New Day are one of the best things going in the WWE, but they need some real rivals stat or they could quickly fade into the background. This will be remembered more for whatever entrance and promo The New Day has beforehand than what happens in the ring, and there is no reason to believe the tag champs lose here.
Charlotte (C) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat match for WWE Divas Championship)
This feud has quietly been one of the better put together matches heading into WrestleMania. Charlotte has been great as the heel champ, Becky is the scorned friend and challenger with a score to settle and Sasha is the wildcard who can swing either way if push comes to shove. Throw in Ric Flair, Snoop Dogg and a potential return to the Women’s Championship the following night on Raw and this easily could top the men’s matches on the card. While Charlotte has been a worthy champ, Banks will beat Becky to win the belt, setting up Charlotte vs. Banks for a later date.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match: If Shane wins he controls Raw and Undertaker cannot compete at ‘Mania again if he loses)
Shane O’Mac coming back was great…until he started talking…and trying to throw punches…and they threw in too many stipulations into the match. Shane coming back should be great, but in 2016 there’s no reason he should be facing The Undertaker in one of his final matches. Blaming injuries is too easy, the WWE should’ve had someone available for one of their most legendary performers then the boss’ 46-year-old son. The WWE has been desperately trying to show Shane as a threat to Taker but I’d believe my dog is the queen of Neptune before I’d believe “The Money” beats The Phenom. Taker wins, everyone cheers and Shane probably bleeds a bunch.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (Street Fight)
The street fight to end all street fights. Ambrose may have found a perfect opponent in Lesnar as he can go all out against The Beast while getting thrown around like a ragdoll. I can see the two going at it in the crowd as tens of thousands of people swarm the two men. Having WWE legends Terry Funk and Mick Foley giving Ambrose pep talks and lethal weapons (that couldn’t possibly be used in the match) is a nice touch. The only downside is that Ambrose is most likely taking the loss here, even though he’s been overdue for a big win for some time. This match will be physical and most likely the best worked match of all the big main events at ‘Mania and I see Lesnar taking home the victory after suplexing everything and everyone in sight.
Triple H (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)
The WWE has backed themselves into a corner here.
With crowds refusing to cheer Reigns and slyly behind Triple H, this could end very, very poorly for WWE. While the crowd at last year’s ‘Mania were treated to a surprise Money in the Bank cash in, this appears to be Reign’s time to take home the gold. Reigns has done himself no favors in interviews, with condescending remarks towards adult fans who boo him. It’s no wonder that Triple H has the crowd behind him considering shite comments like that. The hottest mess in what is a hot mess of a card, Reigns wins the belt after the crowd loses their voices from booing so the WWE has an easier time piping in cheers on replays of the event.