We now have a much more cohesive idea of what WrestleMania is going to look like. (Card is still subject to change, though.)
Before the show, they will have three matches:
André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali
Of those, I kinda wish that Alexander vs. Ali was on the main show. The first two are going to do what the old King of the Ring tournament used to do… namely, establish a new heel that was going to be pushed to the moon for half a year or so to see what happens. Given that we’re not likely to be really familiar with whomever it is that they decide to push, it makes sense that the Battles Royal would be part of the warm-up show rather than WrestleMania Proper.
But Alexander vs. Ali has a long shot at being match of the night (out of four possible matches of the night). Put me down as guessing that Alexander wins this one.
Now for the show itself. In the order that Wikipedia has the matches listed at this moment in time:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
They’ve been telegraphing that Reigns is going to be the guy to knock Lesnar down for a year now (hrm… maybe two years now). So it looks like this will be the WrestleMania where that happens. Sigh. My pick: Reigns defeats Lesnar more or less cleanly. (And that’s why they’re putting this match on the card early… they want people to go home happy and they don’t want the last moments of the PPV to have everybody in the arena booing.)
I hope Heyman sticks around afterwards, even if Lesnar doesn’t.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Another long-shot contender for match of the night (second of four potential matches of the night). Maybe. I love Nakamura’s charisma but he wrestles… weird. It’s like he’s from a parallel dimension or something. They call it “strong style” but if they called it “kicky punchy”, it’d do a better job of conveying what he does in a match. If he does the usual “strong style” thing, I take back that thing about it being a contender for match of the night. They might get a good story out of it anyway, but the match itself will be two very different kinds of charisma mixing like peanut butter and tuna fish. My pick: AJ.
The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor
Now this is a strong contender to be the match of the night (third of the four possible ones). All three of these guys can wrestle and, unlike that last match, they’re compatible. Peanut butter, chocolate, and cookies. They’ll hit it out of the park and The Miz walks away still the champion. (Perfectly acceptable cheating for the win. He’ll steal somebody’s pin.)
Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev
I appreciate that WrestleMania is the biggest PPV of the year with the biggest gate and biggest merch and thus they want to get as many people on the card as they possibly can. But, jeez. Fatal Four Ways are, like, really unsatisfying matches. You have 6 different 1 on 1 matches as any given two wrestlers roll out of the ring and then we pick one, at random, to win and it never feels like anything is at stake. I’d rather see two matches that were half as long as this one match is going to end up being. Let’s give the win back to Bobby Roode because he pins… oh… Jinder. And that will let there be a rematch of Orton vs. Roode at the next PPV.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax
Alexa has been champ for a while and they’re heeling the heck out of her and they’re playing up the bullying angle against Nia *HARD*. So Nia is coming in as a physical monster and an emotional underdog. Nia Jax will win in the feel-good match of the night.
And she’ll hold the belt for approximately a week before losing it again. (Remember when Zach Ryder won the IC belt? Yeah. Like that.)
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka
This is the fourth match that has a shot of being match of the night. It’s got a very good shot at pulling it off. (I’m torn between saying that Miz/Rollins/Bálor will be match of the night and this one will be. I could honestly see this one stealing the show.)
Flair will heel it up and Asuka will play Ricky Steamboat. Asuka’s streak remains intact and she walks out with the belt.
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD
This match isn’t about “who wins?”, it’s about “who is going to be Strowman’s partner?”
My guess is John Cena. And Strowman/Cena win the belts.
The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan)
This match is going to be a strong contender for hottest mess of the night. Give it to the Bludgeon Brothers. Why not.
Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
Ronda is interesting here. They know that she knows how to fight but she doesn’t know how to wrestle and she doesn’t know how to talk. She’s got metric buttloads of raw potential, but they need to train her and they need to protect her until she’s trained. She gets the pin, of course. She’ll pull Angle out of the fire and save his hind end and pin Stephanie to a huge pop… but the other three will be the ones who carry the match. My guess is that Rousey has less than a minute match time. She’ll beat Stephanie with the armbar and Stephanie will tap out nigh-immediately after 10 minutes of HHH and Angle put on a clinic to show the kids in the back how it’s done.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
This will be a fun match that will be all kinds of chaotic and will have everyone screaming at the television that they need to do a better job of protecting Bryan. KO and Sami for the win.
I’m thinking that Angle/Rousey vs. HHH/McMahon will be the last match rather than Bryan/McMahon vs. Owens/Zayn. They’ll want to close the show with ticker tape and Rousey waving victoriously to the crowd in photogenic shots that will play perfectly on all of the morning television shows on Monday.
So… what are you expecting to happen?
Or, on the off chance that you’re not going to watch WrestleMania for some reason, what are you reading and/or watching?