It’s that time of year where being a wrestling fan becomes a full-time job.
WWE has decided to blast us with 14 matches on ‘Mania Sunday, which on paper seems insane. But at the same time, there is very little fat to trim from the PPV, and I can honestly say I am stoked for about 11 and a half of the matches. Sure, it is going to be a long night, but this has the potential to be the best of the six plus PPV’s WWE has insisted on putting on in the WWE Network Era.
The big questions I have for the event is 1) when will I be able to pee during the event and 2) how bitter and angry I’ll be during the Universal Title match. The build could have been better for some matches and Raw and SmackDown still are tolerable only as a series of Youtube clips, but IT’S ‘MANIA SEASON BABY! You can’t not get at least a little bit of excitement going when thinking about it. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my WrestleMania 34 predictions.
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
Big mistake to have both battle royals on the preshow as it is hard enough to get people to care about the men’s one before throwing women in their as well.
I would have had the women’s battle royal and the Cruiserweights on the main show and throw the Raw women’s championship match and the US title match on the preshow. Anyway, WWE really screwed this one right out of the gate by initially naming it after The Fabulous Moolah.
To use their “what if kids google her and find out what she did” anti-Chyna logic, there is plenty of popular and talented ladies involved here, but not a whole lot of story to go around. Bayley and Sasha Banks are getting the most screen time, but I see them eliminating each other to set something up later. Outside of that I could see Becky Lynch win since she really needs something in the win column. She is my pick of the announced people in the match, but I will cheat a bit and take a flyer out on Ember Moon being a surprise entrant and winner.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE has not exactly stacked this match with a murder’s row of talent, instead giving people a chance to remember that Rhyno and Zack Ryder are still employed.
The honor of winning this match has lost all meaning, so I hope they have some decent action planned for this thing. Out of the announced people in the match I do not feel particularly keen on any of them, so using the “well, I have one of his shirts” logic I’ll give Heath Slater the nod. However, I’ll take a flyer out on a returning Samoa Joe winning this thing since Joe needs to be on a WrestleMania card finally and get a win as well.
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This was the second match announced for WrestleMania.
205 Live has been a very exciting program to watch as the tournament unfolded. Cedric continues to be the guy we truly hope gets a big break and gets the push we know he deserves. Ali has built a groundswell of support by getting you invested in his story and cutting better promos that most of the main roster. But these guys are an inch or two too small SO AWAY TO THE PRESHOW WITH YOU LADS!!
Seriously, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes the WWE has made with the WrestleMania card is putting this in the preshow and it is a continued sign that the 205 crew are stuck in no man’s land. I wish both men could win this match, and no matter what, I think they will have a hell of a match that pumps up the crowd. I am split 50/50 between the two, but Ced has been my boy for longer so I want him to finally get the crown.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship Match)
The simple story here is Bliss has gone full mean girl on her IRL best friend but onscreen rival Nia Jax.
This has lead to lots of crying from Jax followed by unbridled rage. The complicated story is that WWE continues to treat women differently from men, since you do not see Braun Strowman crying in the corner because The Bar made fun of his height.
Slightly problematic, but Jax has said she is fine with it and it is a solid bet she will win. Jax has deserved a high profile win for years at this point, since most big match she is in ends with her losing. She will steamroll the tiny Bliss in a fun but short match and finally get the big win on the biggest stage of them all.
The Bar (C) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
If WWE does not make a Brains Strowman shirt I have lost faith in humanity.
I think Braun should be able to challenge for the belts solo since it would lead to some more interesting future booking. Plus, it would give him something to do while they fart around with Roman before they realize Braun is better in every single way.
While the Bar continue to be as solid as ever, it is hard to compete with the magic that is Braun. As much as I want to see James Ellsworth make his triumphant return to WWE and be Strowman’s partner, I doubt that will happen. I could see Rey Mysterio being the mystery partner for a similar dynamic, plus it could give Rey a chance to recover while Braun does the heavy lifting. However, I think Big Show will return and the pair of massive men will win the championships off The Bar.
Randy Orton (C) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship)
This match is Rusev’s to win, which makes it all the more shocking that he was a last minute addition to this match.
His merch sales have been through the roof in 2018, and you would think that if WWE cared enough about the Bulgarian Brute to make Rusev Day calendars they would have a plan for him during ‘Mania.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton is farting about SmackDown as per usual and has added nothing to the US belt as champion. Roode has quickly lost momentum as well and needs to be a heel ASAP. In other news, Jinder continues to Jinder his way through life, and I could see him eventually get the Rusev circa 2015 treatment with the belt.
But all in all, it is Rusev’s time and there is no way they completely ignore the babyface connection he has with the crowd right? Right???? Rusev wins on Rusev Day and we get America-loving foreigner Rusev filming skits at The Alamo and national parks for six months.
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day vs .The Bludgeon Brothers (Triple Threat for SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
First off, I am super happy all three of these teams get a chance to wrestle on the main card of WrestleMania this year (New Day hosted last year). Second, this could be a sleeper hit on a long card.
Give these guys around 15 minutes and let them go balls out and it could be an amazing way to invigor the crowd after say, a Roman or Ronda debacle.
The Usos have been great as champs, and The New Day continue to find ways to keep their gimmick fresh. Meanwhile, the Bludgeon Brothers are not exactly a new team on the scene, but MY BOY Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are looking like killers thus far (now if only they dressed like real people).
Any team could walk away with the belts and I would be happy, but I am going to be biased and say The Bros. win the belts and MY BOY brings the blue and silver strap home to Western New York.
The Miz (C) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship)
This is another tough one to call.
The Miz has been his glorious best as of late, having a healthy baby girl born and winning 100K for homeless dogs by winning the Mixed Matched Challenge. On that note, YA DON’T SEE ROMAN REIGNS HELPING SHELTER DOGS DO YA??!! SOME BIG DOG YOU ARE, YOU PUTZ!!
Miz has to deal with two stellar workhorses that it can be argued need to belt. Finn is trying to get the Balor Club (now with more than one member!!) off the ground, and Rollins has been ramping back up to pre-knee injury levels as of late.
What I really want is Miz to come within days of becoming the longest reigning IC champ of all time then lose leading to an epic meltdown. What I see happening is Finn remembering he can put on the paint and stomp people to death and win the belt. Seth has no backup and Miz should probably take some paternity leave after ‘Mania.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
The real main event for women’s wrestling for the weekend (though it probably will not be the last women’s match on the card) sees Asuka defend her streak against arguably her toughest opponent yet.
Charlotte is someone I can see beating Asuka once her streak is already over, but not before. Having Asuka face Ronda in a year is much more of a money match, unless Ronda failboats hard in the following months. That being said, this should be a hell of a match, and Flair is one of the few women that can match Asuka’s physicality in the ring.
There are some rumbles that Carmella will cash in here, but I see her going to Raw to make up for Asuka jumping ship and cashing in on Jax or Bliss. Asuka wins in an epic encounter that makes you pause and think the streak may end.
Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
This could be fine, but I have a feeling the audience both in the arena and at home will have little patience for this match.
Triple H moves at glacial pace against younger opponents, but against Kurt and his dead shark eyes I do not see much vigorous action happening. Meanwhile, we got a non-wrestler and actual executive taking on a former UFC champ.
Ronda has not exactly wowed as a pro wrestler thus far, but awkwardness on the mic aside, she is still an elite athlete. If she went against someone she could just trade blows with and do some chain wrestling with this would be fine, but against Steph? No way this is going to be smooth.
Name one offense move in Stephanie McMahon’s moveset besides a slap. I’ll wait.
That being said, if this match ends with Kurt and Ronda getting the double tapout victory in less than ten minutes I’ll consider it a win for the company. Team Tapout beats team Board Members in a hot mess.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
This shocker of a match came together at the last minute and probably has more to drive the hype up for WrestleMania and any single other match has.
The immediate flood of support for DB has myself and most other wrestling fans on a high, and I cannot wait to see Shane get beat up in front of his stupid kids and then give a hot tag to Bryan.
They also have the perfect foils in Sami and KO who will do everything they can to make both men look good. There are lots of rumors that Shane or Bryan will turn heel here, but I do not know if I see it happening at WrestleMania. Both these guys resigned their authority roles, so I see this as a chance to reintegrate DB into the active roster and give Shane a chance to disappear for a bit to refresh his character and maybe comeback as a bad guy.
But this is WrestleMania and Daniel’s first match back will be a clean win with no shenanigans so the crowd have a happy moment before the main event (shudder…it’s getting closer).
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
What everyone wants the main event to be besides Old Man Vinny Mac sees two of the best in the world square off at the biggest show of the year. Shut up and take my money.
This has not gotten the grandiose treatment that the Universal Title match has gotten, but it does not need it. Everyone knows this is the Savage/Steamboat match on the card and could be something truly special.
Do I expect them to knock each others brains out like they did at Wrestle Kingdom? No. Do I still expect a spectacle? Yes.
Shinsuke should have the entrance of the night which will be worth the price of admission alone. I really hope WWE does not drop the ball and have this be the opener. I will chug a beer in anger if that happens. As for who wins, I think it is Shinsuke’s moment here and pulling the trigger on him later will not nearly mean as much.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker
While not an official match on the card, I cannot imagine WWE would allow Cena to drag ‘Taker’s name through the mud for nothing.
What remains to be seen is what version of Undertaker we get, both in terms of look (Biker ‘Taker rumors have been a hot topic as of late) and how healthy he will be. He did not look great last year, and post-hip surgery makes me worried about how many bumps he will be capable of.
This is more of a curious sideshow more than a match that I am really looking forward to, but if it wipes the taste of last year’s debacle of a main event out of my mouth I will be fine with that. It will also be interesting to see how salty Undertaker is after Johnny Boy effectively turned the Dead Man into a heel during the build.
As for who wins, if this is closer to the beginning of the show I can see ‘Taker passing the part timer torch to Cena. If ‘Taker comes out as the American Badass towards the end of the show I think he will pull out the victory. I’ll go with historical precedent and say ‘Taker wins to get some revenge on the Neon Knight.
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship Match)
We got the best version of this match three years ago that featured Brock beating the piss out of Roman for 90% of the match before Seth Rollins came in to win the belt. Now, we have no last minute contract renewal by Lesnear, no Money in the Bank cash in (imagine Baron Corbin being the savior of ‘Mania), and no reason to allow Brock to dominate Roman.
I really wish they would put this match on first to placate Vince so he could go to bed and AJ vs. Shinsuke can headline. Instead, I think WWE is going to wait until the entire crowd is tired and ready to boo this match into oblivion or file out early. I cannot see this match being worth the previous six or so hours of waiting. Roman wins, nobody is happy, and everyone goes to bed angry and disappointed. Happy ‘Mania day to all.