Well, it's that time of year once again, folks. It's WrestleMania weekend - and yes, it really is the entire weekend these days. In all actuality, with RAW and SmackDown both being huge shows right after the biggest show of the year, it feels like a five-day weekend, filled with countless hours of wrestling, talking about wrestling, and recovering from so much wrestling. I can go on and on about how much wrestling I'm about to consume, but that's not why you're here. So, let's get to the predictions, shall we?
NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
In this match, we have the Undisputed ERA coming in as the champs, although it's questionable who we will actually see participating in the match against the Authors Of Pain and the team of Roderick Strong and the UK Champion, Pete Dunne. One half of the UE, Bobby Fish, has been sidelined with an injury and will not be competing, leaving Kyle O'Reilly to go at it alone, or team up with his other partner-in-crime, Adam Cole (BAYBAY!). The problem with that, of course, is that Cole is schedule to compete in a ladder match in the same night. Storyline wise, that sets up nicely for Cole to look like the superstar he is on the biggest night of his career.
Of course, the Authors Of Pain are always a force to be reckoned with, but they are beyond ready to move up to the main roster, most likely right after this weekend. The Strong/Dunne team is intriguing, as those two could have some killer matches as champions, but I feel like it would drastically take away from the UK title, and prevent Strong from moving up onto the 205 Live roster.
Prediction: Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole getting the pinfall)
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Ember Moon comes in as champ, and she is going to have her hands full with MMA-turned wrestler Shayna Baszler. This feud has had a wonderful build-up, after their first match at the last TakeOver event before the Royal Rumble. While I think this match will be the most under-appreciated of the night, these two women have what it takes to put on a great performance together - and that's saying something, considering I think Baszler hasn't come close to reaching her full potential. Ember Moon is destined to be on the main roster very soon, which leads me to believe this will be Baszler's night.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler
NXT North American Championship Six-Man Ladder Match
A brand new championship (which has a very awesome old-school look to it), six very talented performers, a bunch of ladders, and an opportunity to steal not just the whole show, but the entire weekend - this match has it all. This might be my most anticipated match, to be honest, just because I have no clue what we could possibly see here. Killian Dane and Lars Sullivan are just in the match, I think, to add some elements of destruction. I don't see either one walking away as the inaugural champ. Adam Cole is a wildcard, because depending on the match order of the show, it could determine how he does here. If this match is BEFORE the tag match, it will probably just be used to make him look vulnerable and beat-up in the tag match. If this is AFTER the tag match, well then, he could very well walk away from TakeOver as a double champion.
Velveteen Dream is so incredibly over with the fans, I don't think he needs this title to at all. Sure, it would be fun for him to win it here, but I think he's on the fast track to the NXT Championship title picture after this show. That leaves us with the two guys making their NXT debuts (sorta kinda), EC3 and Ricochet. I think Ricochet is going to do some things in this match that some people have never seen done before, and it's going to be a jaw-dropping performance. I just don't see him winning, however, because it will be fun to watch him chase the title for a bit. EC3, on the other hand, has everything going for him to walk out as champion. His character will only be cemented by holding that brand new title.
Prediction: Adam Cole, BAYBAY!
Unsanctioned Match (If Gargano wins, he is reinstated; if Ciampa wins, Gargano is banished forever)
This match between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa is going to be completely nuts. It will probably be the second most emotional match of the weekend, behind Daniel Bryan's return to the ring of course. If there has ever been a perfect build-up to a match, this is it. Both guys are playing their parts beautifully, and the added stipulation makes the outcome incredibly hard to predict. With NXT being the launching pad for superstars to make the main roster, being "fired" from the brand isn't the worst thing in the world. Gargano is the feel good story here if he wins, but that leaves the two competitors in a difficult position after the show. Ciampa winning puts him over as a major heel, it separates the two for the time being, and builds anticipation for their next match sometime down the road.
Prediction: Johnny Gargano (he deserves it!)
NXT Championship Match
We have Andrade "Cien" Almas - the most least likely guy to ever put on an all-time classic match - defending his title against my personal favorite NXT superstar, Aleister Black. I have no doubt in my mind that these two can match the quality of performance that Almas and Gargano had a couple of months back, as we've seen Black in some classic matches himself. These two have different styles, but I think they can work well together, especially if they get the main event slot where the pressure of outshining everything before them will push them to the max.
The problem with this match is that I can see either or both of these guys on the main roster very soon. We already saw Almas hold his own in the Rumble this year, and Black is prime for a main event push. Picking a winner is almost impossible, as it can honestly go either way. But, because I think an Aleister Black/ Velveteen Dream rematch is in the cards this summer for the title, that's my pick.
Prediction: Aleister Black
WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal Match
Sasha Banks and Bayley will be the main story told in this match, but I don't see either one winning. We'll probably get a couple of legends appearing in this match, but not to the extent that we saw at the Royal Rumble. I think we'll see a handful of NXT women in this match, showcasing what's to come in the women's divisions on the main roster. Prepare for an upset here, I think.
Prediction: The Iconic Duo (yes, co-champions, because ... wrestling)
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Match
As long as we don't Gronk interfering in this match this year, we'll be okay. I expect a few fun moments, maybe a couple of surprise entrants, and not much else. It will be fun, but let's be honest here - no one is watching WrestleMania for these Battle Royal matches. I can list a handful of guys that I'd like to see win, but until this match actually has some sort of reward for the winner, who cares? Maybe Mark Henry will have one last match coming off his Hall of Fame acceptance and get the win.
Prediction: Mark Henry
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Cedric Alexender is battling Mustafa Ali for the vacant Cruiserweight championship. While this match will be fun and exciting, a part of me is slightly disappointed that these are the only two Cruiserweights appearing on the show. I can't help but hope for Neville, the King of the Cruiserweights, to interject himself into this match somehow and give it a shot of adrenaline. Then again, these two guys have EARNED this match on this card, so I'm happy letting them do their best to impress the fans. Whoever wins this doesn't matter, as the division is clearly in a far better position than it was a couple of months ago.
Prediction: Mustafa Ali
Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match
What a match this is shaping up to be! Three incredible superstars in a position to tear the house down and make the IC title feel like the most important championship in the company. The Miz is such a good heel champion, and having two formidable foes like Seth Rollins and Finn Balor is only making him look that much better. I'd like to see the Demon come out to play, but they tend to hype up those special appearances, so I don't expect it to happen. I don't think Finn or Seth really need this championship, at least not in the way that Miz does, so that's where I'm leaning as of now.
Prediction: The Miz
United States Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Randy Orton is champion, but only because it was the only title he hadn't won in his career. Jinder Mahal is in this match just to keep up the impression that his WWE Championship title reign wasn't a complete fluke. Bobby Roode looks, feels, and acts like a champion, and I don't think he had a long enough run with the belt before he lost it to Orton. And then we have Rusev, who hopes to celebrate Rusev Day with a championship victory. Seriously, this dude is so over with the crowd, and it's all because of "Happy Rusev Day" - how crazy is that? He was slid into this match because the crowd, every SmackDown, is relentless with their Rusev Day chants, and I suspect they will carry him to a win.
Prediction: Happy Rusev Day!
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
This match is super intriguing, because I don't quite think we know the full scope of it yet. I have a gut feeling that this match, for whatever reason, will be turned into a TLC ladder match. It just feels right, doesn't it?
I'm stoked for the Usos to finally have a match on the WrestleMania card that isn't the pre-show, because they deserve it. The New Day are still super popular, and with this match being technically a no-DQ match (even without any added stipulations), it means all three members can theoretically get involved. The Bludgeon Brothers are going to be fun, as they consistently impress, going back to their Wyatt Family days. If the match stays the way it is, it will be fun, but a TLC match could make this a classic. Either way, I think it's time to put the titles on the Bludgeon Brothers.
Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers (in a classic)
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
I feel sorry for The Bar here. As good as Sheamus and Cesaro are, there is no chance anyone but Braun Strowman walks out looking like a million bucks. I don't know who Braun's tag team partner will be, but I don't think it matters. Personally, I'd like him to go at it solo, win the match alone, and drag both belts around by himself for a while - until he gets bored with tag matches and moves on to bigger and better things. But, there's a good chance he'll have to get a partner, which could be anyone. Big Cass? Kane? Big Show? Kurt Hawkins? What about Alexa Bliss?!
Prediction: Braun Strowman
Raw Women's Championship Match
It would be a damn shame if Nia Jax doesn't win the title here. As much as I like Alexa Bliss, her whole fat-shaming angle she's been doing recently is pretty awful. She's better when she's cunning and manipulative, not catty and a Mean Girl. Not much to say here, really, other than it's time Nia becomes a dominant champion.
Prediction: Nia Jax
SmackDown Women's Championship Match
This match right here, between Charlotte Flair, coming in as champion, and the undefeated Asuka, is going to be one for the ages. For the last couple of years, we've seen the "women's revolution", where female competitors have been afforded the same opportunities as the men, both in types of matches, and the opportunity of quality of matches. That being said, if this match isn't given ample amount of time to possibly steal the show, I would be shocked - SHOCKED I say!
On one hand, we have Charlotte who has been the centerpiece of the entire Women's division since she joined the main roster. On the other hand, we have Asuka, who has brought her undefeated streak over from NXT and has continued her warpath of destruction all the way to a championship match at WrestleMania, which was cemented when she won the first ever Women's Royal Rumble. Charlotte has been an excellent champion, no doubt about it, but defeating her only props up the lucky individuals to do so (like Sasha and Bayley). On the other hand, Asuka and her streak has been legendary, and while it has to come to end SOMETIME (right?), I don't see it happening before she peaks and becomes champion. It wouldn't be "Brock beating Undertaker's streak" type of shock if it happens - but it would be close.
Charlotte winning would cement her as the best on the planet. But I feel like she already has that crown, and losing to Asuka, here, wouldn't tarnish it. It would just make the conversation a little more interesting.
But wait! That's not all! I have a hunch that we may see a Carmella appearance after this match, especially considering that both women will be absolutely exhausted after this grueling battle. Whoever wins, Carmella will be there to pick up the scraps, as she'll be cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase. If the WWE wanted to create nuclear heat on Carmella that would last forever, they could have her come in and beat the undefeated Asuka for the title. As crazy and memorable as that would be, I see Carmella losing to an exhausted Asuka, thus making Asuka the very best in the world.
Rowdy Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H
I wish I cared about this match more, I really do. I'm into the story being told here, but other than that, I've seen nothing that makes me excited to see this happen. It will be fun seeing Stephanie in the ring again, but Ronda has been questionable at best in the last few weeks. I think she has *some* potential, but when you look at the other top women in the divisions, she isn't even close to being considered a serious contender. Triple H wrestling is always nice to see, and he continues to prove every time that he can still go. Kurt Angle, however, is hard to watch. Sure, he's had some decent moments in the ring since his return, but he still looks like an old man trying his best. If Ronda had a different partner, maybe I would care more, but this is the match-up we get, folks.
The smart money is on Ronda winning her debut match, but I think there's potential here for an "upset" of sorts.
Prediction: Stephanie McMahon & Triple H
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (w/ their jobs on the line)
I. Can't. Wait. For. This. Match!
When Daniel Bryan's music hits and he comes out on stage, that arena is going to absolutely explode. I can't wait. I get goosebumps just thinking about it, so I can't even imagine what I will feel when it actually happens. There's a good chance that I might even have a tear or two in my eye.
As for the match itself, I think it's going to be superb. I think putting Bryan in here to work against two guys he's known and trusted forever is incredibly smart. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will keep him safe, while putting on a wrestling clinic at the same time. Shane McMahon is a serious wildcard here, because before he was hospitalized, I would have said that Shane was here to take all the big and crazy bumps. And he still might be, but I think they'll be a little more cautious with him. I also think there's a good chance that one teammate might turn on the other, most likely Shane on Daniel, but it's really just a guessing game at this point.
If Shane/Daniel win, then KO and Sami will remain fired - from SmackDown. Meaning, we would definitely see them on RAW very soon. If KO and Sami win their jobs back, then so be it, and I wouldn't see it as ruining Bryan's return at all. Either way, I expect this match to be fun and emotional and awesome in all the right ways.
Prediction: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
WWE Championship Match
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. The Dream Match. A match that no one - NO ONE - would have predicted a few years ago would ever happen at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. It's crazy to think that these two superstars have both made it here, to this point, on the grandest stage of them all. It doesn't feel real.
Every bone in my body hopes that these two are given as the proper spotlight to do what they do best. This has the potential to be a WrestleMania classic - not because of big surprises or huge spots, but because the sheer wrestling skill that will be on display here. It's going to be awesome, and I just hope that even the casual wrestling fan will be able to appreciate the work put into this match.
Both men could win here and I wouldn't mind, honestly. AJ Style is a phenomenal (pun intended) champion, and would continue to be if he retains his title. Shinsuke is a special talent that hasn't been given the opportunity to show why he's called the King of Strong Style, at least on the main roster. I hope this match provides him with that, because win or lose, this is his moment to shine. We've been conditioned to expect the Royal Rumble winner to go on to WrestleMania and capture the championship, although it doesn't ALWAYS happen. This might be one of those cases. And side note, I can't WAIT for his entrance - it will be incredible, I hope.
Prediction: AJ Styles
Universal Championship Match
Is Brock Lesnar really going back to UFC? Will the WWE continue to shove Roman Reigns down out throats? Does any of it matter?
I will say this - they have done an excellent job at making this match interesting and unpredictable. When Roman Reigns won the Elimination Chamber to earn a championship match, I think we all collectively rolled our eyes. It felt too predictable. And it felt like him beating Brock for the title was equally predictable. And it still does. BUT ... we've seen and felt this from Brock before. We've all been here, assuming he was leaving the company and definitely going to be losing the title, only to be swerved. I'm completely torn.
I don't really have a problem with Roman winning here, as hard as that is for me to say. I don't have a problem with a part-timer being champion either, at least not for the foreseeable future. And while there is no Seth Rollins to possibly run in and save this match, it can and should be still a hard-hitting, physical, fun match to watch.
Maybe Bruan will come in and just demand to be in it. Who's going to stop him?
Prediction: Brock Lesnar (just because)
John Cena vs. The Undertaker?
Will this match happen? Will Undertaker be there at all? Will John Cena really be in the crown the entire show just as a fan? Which Undertaker will we actually get, if he does appear? So many questions, so few answers at this point.
The build-up of this match, or potential match, has been weird and unique. I still can't wrap my head around how they managed to go all the way to WrestleMania without even having a gong sound or lights go off to indicate the Undertaker is around. And if they do end up having a match, how weird is it that it's completely unofficial STILL? I mean, sure, we're all still talking about it, even if we're talking about it not being the thing we want. But it's still crazy to me.
Do I want to see this match? I sure do, just because it will have that Rock/Hogan electric feel to it. Will it be a classic match? Of course not. But I just don't want Undertaker's last match to be a loss to Roman Reigns, I suppose.
Prediction: Undertaker comes out and beats John Cena
That's all I got! It's going to be a fun, emotional roller coaster of a weekend, but that's why we like pro wrestling in the first place, right? Enjoy!