By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
Finally, WrestleMania has come back to entertain us!
It’s here, the Granddaddy of them all, the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment, and one of my favorite days on the calendar each year.
So, without wasting too much time, the question we have to ask is who wins and who loses these matches?
Several matchups feel like they’ll have predictable outcomes, but we can still take an educated guess at the other matches, and also discuss some fantasy booking angles with which direction the story lines will go after WrestleMania.
Just to be clear, these are my predictions for the match and not necessarily what I want to happen. Those two lines of thought are in sync on several matches, but I’ll explain my reasoning either way below.
WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
This current run from Goldberg has featured two amazing moments with his shocking squash of Brock Lesnar at last year’s Survivor Series, and the nearly as surprising quick defeat of him in the Royal Rumble match, but that run has come to an end.
Goldberg will retire from wrestling once again after WrestleMania with Lesnar taking over the role of champion and top part-timer. No drama or suspense with this outcome, it will be predictable with Lesnar going over.
I’ll go one step further: Lesnar will return the favor with a quick squash match victory.
If that prediction is true, this match should be positioned in the middle of the card, probably right before the musical break as the first-half main event. They shouldn’t end WrestleMania on a squash match, and putting it right before the musical break with Pitbull makes sense to give fans a chance to catch their breath and take a mental break before the second half of the card.
I’ll take this prediction another step and predict the finish as well: Goldberg will get the jump on Lesnar quickly, bounce off the ropes like he’s going for the spear, but Lesnar will side step him to get his back and hit Goldberg with a German suplex. Two more German suplexes will follow to get the crowd chanting “Suplex City,” then Lesnar will end Goldberg’s title run with one or two F-5 finishing moves to get the 1-2-3 pinfall.
Going forward I expect Lesnar to keep the same part-time schedule he did the last time he was champion, and hold the WWE Universal Championship until SummerSlam.
From there, Braun Strowman seems like a logical and believable choice to take the belt from Lesnar at SummerSlam as one of the few performers on the roster who could be physically superior to the Beast Incarnate.
Pardon me if I throw up after typing this, but, in true Vince McMahon fashion, my prediction beyond SummerSlam is they’ll build up Strowman as the unstoppable force between SummerSlam and WrestleMania next year where they’ll put over…
I really might be sick, this is gross…
Yep, McMahon is that stubborn.
Winner – Brock Lesnar by pinfall in a quick squash match
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
Putting SmackDown Live’s top belt on a veteran like Randy Orton while John Cena takes another leave of absence to film a movie seems like the safe choice, but I think they’ll go the other way.
We’ve waited years for Wyatt to get his push; it’d be a shame for it to end just one PPV after it started.
Orton is a great performer and a certain Hall of Famer, but we’ve seen his championship story play out a dozen times already, and Bray Wyatt is at the top of his game right now. Keeping him as champ also opens up several fresh title feud options that could be very entertaining.
Wyatt vs. AJ Styles would be at the top of my list; that’d be fantastic.
Also wouldn’t mind a renewal of the Wyatt-Dean Ambrose feud.
Winner – Bray Wyatt by pinfall
WWE United States Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens will win this match; guaranteed lock city.
Chris Jericho is about to take a leave to go back on the road with his band, but even if he wasn’t, the logical and big picture move here is to put over the younger guy who the company wants to keep in a prominent spot.
Winner – Kevin Owens by pop-up powerbomb
WWE Intercontinental Title: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Tough call here, but it’s time to give Baron Corbin a title push.
Ambrose is one of the best promo guys in the business, but the Intercontinental Championship feels misplaced around his waist, and this current title run has been flat.
Think they should shake things up, move Ambrose back into the WWE Championship picture, and give Corbin a chance to shine in his biggest opportunity since joining the main roster.
Corbin needs more reps and work on the mic, but he’s put on a few five-star matches recently, so I like the potential of a Intercontinental Championship title run from Corbin.
Winner – Baron Corbin by pinfall
Non-Sanctioned Match: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
Another match that falls into the guaranteed lock city category: Seth Rollins will win this match, feel free to bet the house.
Winner – Seth Rollins by Pedigree finisher
Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker
There are rumors that the Undertaker needs hip surgery and because of that this could be his last match. If that rumor is true, then the Undertaker with his old school mindset will definitely go out with a loss and put over the younger talent that WWE will be relying on for years to come.
However, if that rumor is false and the Undertaker has told WWE that he plans to continue to wrestle, then he should be booked to win. His WrestleMania record shouldn’t take another hit unless he’s about to retire.
If WWE creative still wants to stubbornly hold on to their plan to make Reigns the company’s top babyface, they won’t get there by having him win this match clean. I was at the Royal Rumble and believe me when I tell you the boos were deafening when he eliminated the Undertaker.
Fans already hate him for the way he’s been shoved down their throat by creative, so booking him to be only the second person ever to beat one of the more popular babyfaces of all-time will be rejected loudly and with extreme vigor.
Putting over Reigns with the Undertaker retiring or taking an extended leave is logical, but they should use this moment to pull off a heel turn for Reigns. He’s going to be booed either way, so they’d be best served using that reaction instead of fighting it.
As mentioned earlier, Brock Lesnar will defeat Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship, and believe it or not booking Reigns to defeat the Undertaker could hurt that title run.
One of the main resume bullet points they use to pump up Lesnar is that he’s the one loss on Undertaker’s WrestleMania record. So, if Reigns becomes the second person to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania and that previous accomplishment by Lesnar is lessened by whatever degree, then it undercuts the person they just made champion.
Paul Heyman would no longer be able to use the line, “the one in 23-1” or 24-1 if they booked Undertaker to win.
“One of the two in 23-2” just doesn’t have the same ring.
So, if the Undertaker needs time off or is retiring—though his sendoff retirement match should be a casket match or buried alive match—then putting Reigns over makes sense, but not if Undertaker plans to keep going.
I want the Undertaker to win, but this is a prediction article and not an “I Wish” article, so…
Winner – Roman Reigns by pinfall after three spears.
RAW Women’s Title Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
With Bayley and Nia Jax getting the shine on last Monday’s go home episode of RAW, it’d be surprising to see either of them holding up the title when the match is over. Nothing is guaranteed and they might be trying to trick us, but most of the time creative boosts up the person who is about to take a loss.
This card already has several very predictable outcomes, so going with Charlotte isn’t a great idea, and she just had a WrestleMania moment last year by winning the triple threat match to claim the new Women’s Championship.
That leaves Sasha Banks.
Sasha is a fan favorite, she’s the next in line as far as deserving her WrestleMania moment, and Sasha going over could set up a great feud between her and Bayley. Right now they’re story line friends, but creative can easily book something into this match with one going after the other when their back is turned to breakup that bond.
Bayley and Sasha had two incredible matches at NXT Takeover Brooklyn and NXT Takeover Respect back in 2015, so here’s to them renewing hostilities.
Winner – Sasha Banks by submission
RAW Tag Team Title Triple Threat Ladder Match: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Now that Bray Wyatt has finally won a singles title, the biggest booking oversight in WWE currently is that Enzo & Cass have yet to win the tag team championship, both in NXT and on the main WWE roster.
Gallows & Anderson, and Sheamus & Cesaro should remain in the title picture as two of the best tag groups in the company, but with The New Day falling flat and nearing a likely split, they need to put the belts around Enzo & Cass who are the biggest fan favorites in the division by a wide margin.
Winners – Enzo & Cass
Mixed Tag: John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
We all know Vince McMahon will put over Super Cena, but if creative is willing to look big picture instead of short-term gratification, the Miz should be booked to win this match.
John Cena is about to leave to make a movie, so he doesn’t need the forward momentum from a win. He also has one of the best resumes in wrestling history, so a loss wouldn’t hurt his standing for when he returns from making that movie.
Cena can afford to take the loss here, so put over the guy who can help the company now.
The Miz has been on fire since the brand split and has produced outstanding heel promos in every feud he’s had for over a year. He’s ready to be put back in the main event picture for the WWE Championship, so creative should book him to win and push him into that position.
The Miz is believable in his role, he commits to being annoying 100 percent of the time instead of making the mistake of trying to seem cool to the fans, he cuts great promos, he can work in the ring, he gets reaction, and he’s dependable; he’s the best heel on SmackDown Live’s roster.
But, WWE Creative will put over Cena because that’s what always happens.
Winners – John Cena & Nikki Bella by double submission
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
Another match that falls under guaranteed lock city status; what big picture/future booking purpose would be well served by Shane McMahon winning?
AJ Styles is by far the best performer on SmackDown Live and needs to be kept strong with a win.
Winner – AJ Styles by pinfall
(Kickoff Show) SmackDown Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi
Feel confident that neither Natalya or Carmella will be the winner, but it’s wide open after that.
Becky Lynch would be my pick to win, but Alexa Bliss has been a great heel champion, so she’s deserving as well.
However, with Naomi coming back from injury to reclaim the title she was forced to vacate, and competing in her home town of Orlando, expect WWE creative to go for the feel good moment and put the title back on Naomi.
Winner – Naomi by pinfall
(Kickoff Show) WWE Cruiserweight Title: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
I don’t care much for the Cruiserweight division.
They work too fast and too often their matches turn into spot fests between stunt men instead of a wrestling match, but I’m excited for this matchup between Neville and Austin Aries, who are by far the most compelling performers in the division.
Aries is the biggest money draw in the division, think they’ll put the title on him to give the division a boost.
Winner – Austin Aries by submission
(Kickoff Show) Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Guaranteed lock city for the “Monster Among Men.”
Winner – Braun Strowman