Here we are at the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania! It’s also the one year anniversary of my pay-per-view predictions here at TWM! In that time, I have been 65.67% correct after going a perfect 8-0 at last month’s FastLane event. But we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to dive into the Show of Shows and see who will be walking out of MetLife stadium a winner. 16 matches… Let’s do it!
ANDRÉ THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL
The battle royals are always the hardest to predict because there’s never a clear direction from WWE going into them. Which is what made my correct prediction last year so excellent (had to get that in there). Oddly enough, this is the first year’s Andre is the first one with a real storyline going into it, that being the feud with Braun and the Weekend Update guys.
With that being said, I think the safest choice is to go with Braun. I thought about coming up with some elaborate way to have The Hardys co-win the thing, but I don’t feel like jumping through the mental hoops to get there.
Winner: Braun Strowman
WOMEN’S WRESTLEMANIA BATTLE ROYAL
I’ve called this the Not-Moolah Battle Royal because of what happened last year. I still like Chris Jericho’s idea for renaming it last year in honor of Sherri Martel and call it The Sensational Invitational. But I digress. I’m going to use this space to complain about Asuka.
Look, I get that not everyone we love can get pushed to the moon. As a lifelong fan of Christian, I had to come to grips with that in 2005. But Asuka was a very special talent when she was called up from NXT. She was undefeated forever until losing at Mania last year. Losing wasn’t an inherently bad thing in and of itself, but her booking over the past year has been absolutely pathetic. Anyone related to the “creative” surrounding her should be absolutely ashamed. Charlotte getting the SmackDown title does help the belt, but the only reason the championship needed help was because of how damaged the company made Asuka seem. It’s weird to see people patting WWE on the back for making the title switch just because it fixed the problem of finding a match that would’ve been thrown together. WWE created a problem and then fixed it. That’s not commendable.
So, I’m picking Asuka just because she could use a nice moment at Mania at this point. I don’t know that I actually expect WWE to do her a solid here, but I just want to put this scenario out in the universe and hope it might actually happen.
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – BUDDY MURPHY (C) VS. TONY NESE
I’ve been saying for quite some time that Buddy Murphy would lose the title at WrestleMania. My question was always who would win it and what would the story be? I know Nese won the tournament to become number one contender, but this doesn’t feel as big as last year’s tournament final title match or even Murphy’s win in Australia. Regardless, I hope these guys get the opportunity to really let loose and show what they can do on the big stage.
Will Nese win though? I’m torn on that now. Murphy has done a solid job as champ for the past 180-some days and I could see the company leaving the title on him and riding it out until a better rivalry brews up… but I don’t think that’ll happen. I’m going with WWE’s Premiere Athlete to get the win, claim the title, and kickoff Mania with a title change.
Winner: Tony Nese
RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – THE REVIVAL (C) VS. HAWKINS & RYDER
This match was added way late. I actually finished writing this article and then saw the tweet with this match in the Mania program. So, I came back here, deleted a later mention about Revival not being booked, and squeezed this pick in.
I’m curious about how The Revival are being booked right now. They supposedly asked for their release, was made to look like fools for a few weeks, and then became champs. So, did “they” put titles on Dash and Dawson just have them lose at Mania to The Major Brothers? Maybe. It’d be kinda strange actually, to have Hawkins booked in a title match at Mania just to have him lose yet again, right? I mean, he should end the streak here.
I’m going with The Major Brothers to win here, because why wouldn’t The Revival end their title reign to Curt Hawkins?
Winners: Hawkins and Ryder
KURT ANGLE VS. BARON CORBIN
Ugh, I can’t believe Corbin is Kurt’s final opponent… just kidding, I’m not one of those people. Look, Kurt is just not able to go like he used to. Not even close. Advertising his final to be with someone like Cena, or Undertaker, or whoever might be an available big name would probably result in a letdown. So with Corbin, they can tie a bow on their storyline and not get the fans hopes up too much in regards of what to expect.
And what should they expect? I said Kurt being “advertised” for a bigger match could lead to a letdown but I didn’t say him being in a bigger match necessarily would. Follow me here. What if Angle beats Corbin in just a matter of seconds? And then, Cena comes out and challenges him to one final match? The crowd would be hot for something like that and it wouldn’t matter if Kurt couldn’t be what he used to be, because everyone would be riding high on the moment. The expectations were set for Angle vs. Corbin, so a moment like that would have ample opportunity to exceed those expectations.
Obviously, that’s just a hint of fantasy booking on my part, but all the normal rumor spots are observing that Cena is still doing something at Mania so why couldn’t it be something here? But even if this remains a straight up Angle/Corbin match, I have to go with Angle. Even WWE wouldn’t be dumb enough to put Corbin over Angle in his last match… although I guess I shouldn’t tempt fate on that one.
Winner: Kurt Angle
ROMAN REIGNS VS. DREW MCINTYRE
This oddly enough has the potential to be a sleeper match on this Mania card. That’s kind of weird to say about a one-on-one match involving these two men, but yet that’s exactly what we have in this one. I’m curious to see how the WrestleMania crowd reacts to Reigns after his return. It’s crazy to think that this is actually Roman’s first one-on-one match since the October 1stRaw where he beat Dolph Ziggler.
I guess I’ll also be curious in regard to the crowd reaction because Drew is a bit of a “darling” in the eyes of an international crowd like the ones we see at Mania. Will that help push fans back into the familiar habit of booing Reigns? Time will tell on that front.
The build to this match has been very simple and I think it’s been rather effective because of that. This is a great match for Reigns to return to and I’m curious to see how much time these guys will get to go at it. I think WWE has done an effective job (for the first time in a while) of making Reigns look like a sympathetic face after the dastardly heel McIntyre continues to take out Reigns.
By the way, how cool is it that Roman is actually back in time for a match at Mania? I really thought he would be gone past the Show of Shows and that he’d be watching this year’s Mania from the sideline. I’m very happy for his recovery and I think WWE would be crazy to not have him win here.
Winner: Roman Reigns
AJ STYLES VS. RANDY ORTON
I’m looking forward to this match more than any other non-main event matches. I have absolutely loved the build to this match and the feud between the guys really feels personal and has given this match an excellent backdrop. This is the first time in quite a while where I feel like Orton really has something he can sink his teeth into and I think he’s more than ready to try to steal the show with Styles.
I think this match could be a modern-day Steamboat vs. Savage in terms of how people will be talking about the match (especially by those who are also in the business). I know, I’m getting my expectations up REALLY high for this one, but I legitimately feel like that could (and quite frankly will) be the case this Sunday.
But who’s going to win? Well, that’s the only downside to being so into this feud, and that’s the fact that I have no earthly idea who is going to walk out of the match with their hand held high. And if I’m being honest, I really don’t care. I just want to see them tear the place down. Regardless of whether I care, I have to make a pick here or else this would be a weird predictions article. I’m going to go with Orton winning here. I can’t quite put my finger on it, so let’s just call this a gut feeling on my part here.
Winner: Randy Orton
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE – SHANE MCMAHON VS. THE MIZ
I hate this feud. It’s the only match on the card whose angle I have no interest in. Don’t get me wrong, the match could still be fun, especially with Shane in a falls count anywhere environment (IE, look for tall things to fall from). But the daddy issues stuff has been awful, asinine, and simply unrealistic. I also never fully understood Shane’s reason for turning heel. The only good thing to come from the feud is Shane calling George Mizanin a potato face.
I’m going to pick Miz to win this dreadful feud as it makes loads more sense this way, what with Miz’s dad getting punked out by Shane-O and all. That’s all I got for this one.
Winner: The Miz
NO HOLDS BARRED– TRIPLE H VS. BATISTA
I feel like, at any other WrestleMania, this match would be considered a candidate for the main event. But this year, I’d put it as probably the fifth “biggest” match on the card behind the woman’s title match, the red and the hemp WWE title matches, and the aforementioned Styles/Orton match. That’s not a criticism of this match by any means, but just an observation of how stacked this year’s Mania is on paper.
I’m excited to see Big Dave back in the ring again, but I wonder how well these two guys can work with each other in 2019. Triple H has, in my opinion, yet to look like he’s on the downslope of his in-ring career but he’s coming off an injury that many thought wouldn’t be healed in time for him to compete in a Mania match. Add that to the fact that 50 year old Batista hasn’t competed in a WWE ring in nearly 5 years and you can see my reason for concern in terms of match quality.
I feel like this feud has been given less time on television this year than it would’ve in years past. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had some nice segments but sometimes they get lost in a three-hour Raw. But that might be a good thing. Just like I said with the Angle match, having expectations set at a reasonable level will allow these guys to exceed expectations without half killing themselves to get there.
I’m looking forward to this match though. I hope you don’t think I’m being negative about it. I’m just voicing a few concerns but all in all I’ve liked the build as it was straight and to the point (unlike our main event) and that to me makes for the best feuds. The hard part is choosing a winner.
The retirement stipulation would be a dead giveaway as to who would win if this were, say, 5 years ago. But, in 2019, it’s actually giving me pause. Could Triple H be ready to call it a career? It’s not crazy to think that a guy who himself turns 50 in a few months might retire, but when that guy is Triple H it just becomes a hard pill to swallow. Heck, when Ric Flair was this age, he was WCW champion. But I think we really have to consider that this might be Triple H’s last match…
But I’m picking him to win anyway. Because deep down, I just don’t think he’s ready to retire, especially since having an Authority figure who can wrestle is always useful from a storyline perspective.
Winner: Triple H
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP – SAMOA JOE (C) VS. REY MYSTERIO
I really thought this was going to be a Fatal 4 Way match with Andrade and John Cena added to the mix. It was weird how often Cena’s name was mentioned in relation to the US Title for about four weeks on SmackDown and then just abruptly stopped. I wonder if the original plan was for Cena to do something with his long-ago UPW foe Samoa Joe and the US Title, but things changed. Or maybe Cena shows up Sunday and just adds himself to the match and the reason all of the Cena talked stopped was to make that seem more surprising. I have absolutely no idea but I’m feeling confident this match is staying as is for the US Title.
As for this feud… meh. I really am looking forward to seeing these two guys go at it 1-on-1 for the first time ever, but there really hasn’t been much storyline reason for me to care about the outcome, which is really weird for a US Title match at WrestleMania.
I’m picking Mysterio to win because it seems like a big moment to have Mysterio win his first WWE title since returning and when I can’t decide on a winner I always go to the bigger moment.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP – BOBBY LASHLEY (C) VS. FINN BÁLOR
I’ve not been blown away by this feud, but I really think its sole purpose was to get Finn in a situation where he could wear the demon paint at Mania. I honestly don’t know why he didn’t wear it last year at Mania.
The demon’s addition makes this a rather simple on for me. I couldn’t imagine the demon coming back just to lose.
Winner: Finn Bálor
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – THE USOS (C) VS. RICOCHET & ALEISTER BLACK VS. THE BAR VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & RUSEV
There’s not much to say for this match here. This was randomly thrown together at the last second on SmackDown. I’m really confused by the addition of Black and Ricochet since everything on Raw had been indicating they’d get a title match with The Revival at Mania. Instead, The Revival was last-minute booked with the old Major Brothers while the NXT guys are now suddenly in the hunt for the blue brand’s belts.
I’m torn between said NXT guys and The Usos in terms of winning the titles. I could see WWE telling a story with having Black and Ricochet lose their NXT Tag Title match on Friday but comeback and win the SmackDown titles on Sunday. But would they have the Usos lose the titles in such a random way? I think so, actually. And the fact that Rusev or Nakamura could be the ones to take the fall make it even more likely. I’m going with our NXT crew to win the titles (and hopefully come up with a team name).
Winners: Ricochet and Aleister Black
WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS – BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS (C) VS. THE DIVAS OF DOOM VS. THE IICONICS VS. NIA JAX & TAMINA
I am really stoked to see Beth Phoenix back in a WWE ring once again as she was one of my all-time favorite women during her original run. I think it’s great to use her in this capacity as well, as her tag team with Natalya was made for this era of women’s wrestling (which at this point should just be called wrestling, really). But, how long is Phoenix back for? That would play a role in whether they would win the titles here. I’m thinking this is a one-off and so I’m not considering them for the win.
Believe it or not, I’m actually torn between the champs (who I still am not calling “the connection” name because I have standards) and The IIconics. Now, maybe I’m just a huge mark for Billie Kay and Peyton Royce (I am) but I could really see WWE putting the titles on them as chicken heels who the face team would chase to get the titles back from. It’s classic Midnight/Rock & Roll stuff (Bobby Eaton would be Billie Kay for sure). The problem with going this way is that it seems weird to have the heels win at Mania and have the faces chase from there. It seems backwards.
So that’s why I’m going with Sasha and Bayley to retain here. I think a win here will keep making the new titles stronger. In fact, the longer the champs, the stronger the titles get. So they might be keeping it for a while if they leave MetLife Stadium with the titles.
Winners: Bayley and Sasha Banks
WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP – BROCK LESNAR (C) VS. SETH ROLLINS
This has been a very middle of the road build for a title that WWE has usually treated as the more important of the two big belts. It would seem like Seth Rollins winning here would make the most sense, as we’ve seen the whole “Brock beats the challenger you all thought was winning the title” thing last year. But Vince just has such a hard on for Brock that I wouldn’t put anything past him at this point.
But I don’t want to put Brock winning out into the universe because of everyone on this card, he’s the only person I legitimately do not like. Not in a “boo, you’re a heel” sort of way, but in a “you’ve been doing the same gimmick and same suplexes for 6 years now and I really don’t want to physically watch any more of your matches so won’t you please go back to failing drug tests in the UFC please,” sort of way. Like, I get that most people don’t like Baron Corbin, but I think he’s just being an effective heel. But, Brock is my Baron Corbin. I’m tired of his stuff. He’s like a heel 1980s Hogan. Same moves, same matches, same results. Except Hogan worked house shows.
Which is why I’m going with Seth. It’s not even a prediction as much as it is a wish, as I think there’s a good chance WWE goes with Brock here just to screw with the fans.
Winner: Seth Rollins
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP – DANIEL BRYAN (C) VS. KOFI KINGSTON
I am so ready for KofiMania to run wild in East Rutherford! I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high, because I could totally see WWE dashing all of our hopes and dreams here, but I can’t contain myself. I want to see Kofi’s long journey be rewarded with the WWE title!
It’s funny, if you told someone in 2015 after WrestleMania 31 that in 2019 fans would be clamoring to see Kofi take the WWE Title off of Daniel Bryan, you would’ve been looked at like you were crazy. At WrestleMania 31, Daniel Bryan was basically just coming back from his first injury where he had to forfeit the WWE Title. He was still quite possibly the most popular person in the company. Kofi was part of a trio of way too positive babyfaces who were looked at as losers. In fact, at that Mania is where the New Day Sucks chant really started. And they weren’t heels yet. It’s hard to believe how far all three men from the group have come and we are now on the doorstep of seeing Kofi grab the ultimate brass ring on the biggest stage of them all. And if Daniel Bryan wins, the crowd will be insanely disappointed. How weird is that?
Winner: Kofi Kingston
WINNER TAKE ALL, WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – RONDA ROUSEY (C)VS. CHARLOTTE FLAIR (C)VS. BECKY LYNCH
After all the acrobatic booking that WWE needlessly took to get here, we are indeed here. It’s time to shatter the last of the glass ceilings in WWE. I’m not sure why WWE couldn’t have been more straight-forward with the booking, but I complained enough about that during last month’s FastLane article (and I don’t want to rehash my Asuka complaints) so I’ll refrain here.
This match is historic for the obvious reason, but it’s also one of the hottest main events WWE’s done at Mania, gender be damned. You have a bona fide household name who has never lost a match in WWE with Rousey. You have one of the most talented in-ring performers with the genetics to back it up with Flair. You have one of the most popular and over wrestlers of the last decade with Lynch. None of those descriptors have anything to do with these wrestlers being women. It’s true regardless of gender. This match isn’t being shoe-horned into a main event just because WWE wants to look progressive, this is a main event match because it is legitimately the best match-up on this card.
So, what more can I say for perhaps the most talked about main event in WrestleMania history? Not much, besides who will win. This match has been labeled “winner take all” (or should it be winner takes all?) but nothing has been confirmed about the Blue and Red titles being actually unified with this match. So it’s possible the winner here would defend both titles ala Seth Rollins when he was both US and WWE champion in 2015. That doesn’t really matter in terms of who might win, but I thought I’d put that out there.
I’m going with Becky Lynch to win because her losing here would be like Austin losing to Michaels at XIV, or Benoit losing at XX, or Cena losing at XXI, or Daniel Bryan losing at XXX. It just seems ordained from the very beginning. Sometimes the finish we see coming a mile away is the right finish. Just because it’s expected doesn’t mean it’s bad just like something unexpected doesn’t automatically equal good. I’ve used this analogy before, but it’s like ordering a pizza. When the doorbell rings, I expect pizza. If I open the door and find a guy with Chinese food, yeah, I was surprised (or even swerved) but I’m definitely never ordering from that place again. Delivering to the fans what is expected isn’t inherently a bad thing if it’s something the fans not only expect but want. And the fans want to see The Man take it all.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Well, there you have it. Now there’s nothing left to do but wait to see what the Granddaddy of Them All gives us this Sunday. Feel free to tell me what you think about these predictions. It should be a really fun show! And remember as always, until next time, make good decisions.