I’m back again this year with my terse breakdown of WrestleMania, which comes to you live this Sunday from Jerry World aka AT&T Stadium, live on the WWE Network and pay-per-view.
Here's a terse run down of this year’s supercard from the professional wrestling juggernaut:
A 5-on-5 div.. women’s tag match comprised of the stars of E!’s “Total Divas” show - Brie Bella (in possibly her last WWE appearance), Natalya, Alicia Fox, Paige & pariah Eva Marie - take on “B.A.D. & Blonde” - Lana (her in-ring debut), Summer Rae, Naomi, Emma and Tamina. It’s an opening match that will be presented for free on the USA Network. Basically, an advertisement for WWE’s floundering show and a chance for viewers to see what kind of wrestler Lana is like. I expect an Eva Marie heel turn in this match, considering she isn’t a crowd favorite and WWE is pushing the “her teammates don’t trust her” deal. I also foresee a melee of finishing moves to end the match.
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boys
Gotta give Tag Cena something to do since they aren’t in the tag team title picture right now. So, let’s put them in a feud with a newly-turned Dudley Boys. The Dudleys are actually in an amazing position here as the legends that put over the mainstays. I just wish Bubba Ray would go on a solo run, as he showed in TNA that he can be an amazing heel. The dynamic of this match is interesting and it’s definitely a feud nobody could have predicted a year ago. It’s just kind of “there” when compared to the other matches on the event.
“The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal”
I like battle royals for a prize. Takes me back to the day when pro wrestling could have a battle royal as a main event and it would draw a zillion people to an arena. Don’t hate. A lot of people question why a battle royal is scheduled so close to the Royal Rumble, but I digress, it’s a nice match to get more people on the show and to win a MacGuffin. As much as I like battle royals, the hype for this has been kind of mashed in within the past two weeks. I guess Braun “Electric Razor Bread” Strowman is going to be your winner but maybe a returning Cesaro wins it for a second time and they give him the rub they should’ve given him two years ago.
The New Day vs. The League of Nations
Now that The New Day are practically the WWE’s top babyfaces, I am super psyched for this non-title match. Plus, there’s a rumor that some crazy spot is going to end this match that cements The New Day in the stratosphere. I enjoy the rejuvenation of WWE’s once dormant and boring tag team division. This one is a sleeper: it’s going to be up there with the main events of the night. There are many talented players involved and it’s just going to be a fun, talented, enjoyable wrestling match.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Kind of wish this was Styles vs. Kevin Steen for the IC title but I guess the WWE needs to reinforce Styles as a star with casual fans. Chris Jericho is a true professional and he’ll surely make AJ Styles look like a billion bucks. I say a billion because AJ always looks like a million bucks, anyway. Hopefully the WWE moves on from this feud afterward. I can see these guys giving us 20-25 minutes of something that, maybe, kids today will talk about in the future like old guys like me talk about Savage vs. Steamboat.
WWE United States Championship: Kalisto © vs. Ryback
I try not to be “negative wrestling fan” in these types of things but, sheesh, for as much as I care about Kalisto and know that casual fans need to see him beat a “big guy,” I just don’t care for this match too much. Hopefully this match is properly placed in a 7-8 minute slot so I can have enough time to go to the bathroom and grab another slice of pizza. I expect Kalisto to retain his title as Ryback saunters around in mediocrity.
WWE Divas Championship: Charlotte © vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
The last match that will ever be held for the WWE Divas Championship, as WWE is expected to rename it the WWE Women’s Championship the next night on RAW and bring an end to our long, national nightmare. I’m going to play a bit of gambler here and wager that this will be considered one of the best matches on the card and one of the best women’s matches in WWE history. It’s time for a change and no other place like WrestleMania to usher in that change. Sasha Banks might pick up the win here just to make the deal even sweeter. These ladies are personally three of my favorite wrestlers in the WWE right now.
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens © vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust
Is a multiple contestant ladder match for the Intercontinental title going to be an annual event? I hope not. I really wanted to see a one-on-one defense this year. But, with an injury-plagued roster, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Of course, this is going to be an amped up spot fest. In a good way. There isn’t one bad wrestler in the whole match. I hope Kevin Owens gets the win via suspicious circumstances that somehow leads to a ⅔ falls match with him and Sami Zayn at Extreme Rules. This is going to be bananas, but not too bananas, because there’s more of that to come.
Hell In A Cell: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
I went batshit crazy the night Shane McMahon returned. He was every backyard wrestler’s icon in the 90’s and 2000’s and even more revered because he didn’t have to do any of the crazy stuff he did. He could’ve just been an on-screen character and delegated his fights to henchmen. Nope. The son of a billionaire had to nearly kill himself so I could talk about it to new wrestling fans 16 years later. I don’t know if you’d call Shane McMahon a wrestler. But he’s not a non-wrestler. A special attraction? No idea.
So, here’s the deal. If Shane wins, he gets control of Monday Night RAW and, in essence, the WWE. Also, the Undertaker will never wrestle at WrestleMania again. After their extremely physical confrontation this past Monday, which led to Shane being Shane and hitting an elbow off the top rope through the announce table on ‘Taker, expect a match we’ll be talking about for a very, very long time. I can’t even predict what kind of spots they’re gonna do. Jerry Jones, I hope you have insurance on that jumbotron. Bonus: The WWE debut of the Bullet Club could shoehorn its way into this match’s closing moments.
No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
What’s not to love about this match? Dean Ambrose is going to use a barbed wire baseball bat at some point and Brock Lesnar is going to suplex Ambrose about 45 times. This match solidifies Dean Ambrose as a top guy, whether backstage machinations are skewed to disagree or not. Predicted winner: the fans.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H © vs. Roman Reigns
Every dirt sheet, wrestling prognosticator and fan on the Internet has been saying the same thing: Roman Reigns just isn’t getting over. Despite him being a top merchandise seller and house show crowds going gaga for him, you can’t deny that the guy is going to have about 70% of the audience booing him, just like I addressed last year. WWE had a good thing going with Reigns in December and decided to make him talk more and try to be Cena again, so the fans went back to rejecting him. They stopped his whole entrance through the crowd and made him more of a badass but, as people point out to me every day, it’s too little, too late.
If shenanigans don’t happen in the Hell In A Cell match with the Bullet Club, expect them in this match. Some people are predicting a “double turn” - where a heel and a face switch allegiances during the course of a match - but I don’t see that happening. I actually wonder if WWE will have Triple H retain. Something’s going down. I don’t know what. John Cena surprise involvement? Of all the main events, I’m least interested in this match’s storyline and wrestling and more interested in what the hell the crowd reaction is going to be like.
So, with WWE’s many injuries, this, again, will be a far better WrestleMania than pundits are saying. There will be a lot of surprises and maybe this is finally the dawn of a new era for the company. Only time will tell. Enjoy Sunday’s event!
By Dan Aleksander (@havetilfive)