It’s been a while since my last blog post, but no better time than Wrestlemania day!! Heck, two Sundays in a row should be national holidays! Today with the Granddaddy Of Them All, Wrestlemania 31, and next Sunday night – MLB Opening Night. (although many will consider Monday, April 6 the true Opening Day)
Tonight (err this afternoon in Santa Clara) is WWE’s grandest stage, their Super Bowl. The Showcase of the Immortals! On paper it does look to be a good card. One thing I’m very curious to see is how they decide to book and layout the main card matches. Now with two matches on the Pre-Show, we’re looking at only 7 matches on the main card to fill just under 4 hours. That’s an average of almost 35 minutes per match, which is not going to happen. This tells me we’re going to see some extended segments, elaborate ring entrances, and maybe a few surprises. OK, I do this every year, and my Wrestlemania predictions in recent years have been fairly sub par, but my boys keep asking me what they are for this year. So here goes…
Fatal 4-Way for WWE Tag Team Championship – Champions Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. The Usos vs. The New Day vs. Los Matadores
I said this on Twitter a few weeks ago when it was apparent the lame New Day gimmick and the Matadors were being squeezed into the tag title picture and I predicted this match would be on the Pre-Show. It’s a shame that the once prestigious tag titles have been relegated to the kickoff now two years in a row. Some of these guys deserve better. We the WWE Universe paying $9.99 a month for the WWE Network deserve better. Whatever happened to the history of classic Wrestlemania tag title bouts like British Bulldogs vs. Beefcake/Valentine and Hardys/Edge & Christian/Dudley Boyz? This just doesn’t rank, especially if it can’t even be on the main card. Let me put it simply. Anything other than Kidd/Cesaro successfully defending the titles will be a disappointment. FACT! I’ll go with them to somehow eek out a win retain.
2nd Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Last year’s event was decent and one would think Cesaro’s win was that impetus in taking him to that next level, possibly leading to a singles championship. That didn’t happen. He was essentially buried over the course of the next several months and then Vince told everyone he just didn’t have that “it” factor on the Stone Cold podcast. I was actually very happy to see Cesaro paired with Kidd and marked out when they won the titles a short time ago. So I’m hoping the same fate doesn’t happen to this year’s winner. I see two possible outcomes. Sandow finally snaps and ousts The Miz to win, OR the returning (for the last 2 months) Sheamus comes back and takes the crown. If Sheamus isn’t part of the Battle Royal then he’s going to leave some sort of mark on the IC Ladder Match.
Winner: Sheamus, alternate outcome Sandow
Main Wrestlemania 31 card
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – Champion Wade “Bad News” Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs.Daniel Bryan vs. Stardust vs. R-Truth vs. Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
One thing is for sure, and it’s a damn shame. Ziggler isn’t winning this one since he’s scored two pinfalls over Bryan in the last week or so. One finished the Gauntlet match on Smackdown and the other was a clean win in a decent but short match on RAW this past Monday. I’m also pretty confident in saying that Barrett won’t successfully retain the belt. I think he’s jobbed out to just about everyone on the roster over the last month. Dean Ambrose is a big fan favorite and could be a popular choice here, but I’m not seeing them go in that direction. I could envision a Shield reunion before Ambrose gets an IC Title run. Harper, Stardust and R-Truth are non-factors. That leaves the only outcome that really makes sense. Daniel Bryan gets another Wrestlemania moment and hopefully brings some honor and main event status back to the once prestigious Intercontinental Title – a la WWE Class of 2015 Hall of Famer Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Honky Tonk Man, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Owen Hart and the list goes on and on.
Paige/A.J. Lee vs. Nikki and Brie Bella:
Jeez, this one is being telegraphed a million miles away. Haven’t we already seen the “frenemies” falling out? Paige and A.J. will not gel for the entire match. Blood is thicker than water. Keep those cliches coming! Too bad Nikki’s not defending the Divas Championship tonight, but really, until NXT’s outstanding Charlotte and Sasha Banks get promoted to the main roster, there really isn’t anyone worth challenging for the title.
Winner: Bella Twins
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Don’t really have a lot to say about this match. Seems as though they need to keep Orton in some type of quasi-main event role even though he’s not THE main event anymore. Rollins IS the future. His performance in the Royal Rumble triple threat match was truly amazing. Mr. Money In The Bank is going to successfully cash in for the World title, it’s just a matter of when. Orton exacted some revenge on RAW a couple weeks ago and that should continue tonight in what should be a very good match. How about a missed Curb Stomp into an RKO outta nowhere sequence? A loss here doesn’t necessarily hurt Rollins as he still holds the all-important briefcase.
U.S. Championship match – Champion Rusev vs. John Cena
Rusev has had an impressive year. He has not submitted or been pinned during his time in WWE. That ends tonight. Cenation will chant “Let’s Go Cena” while the other half chants “Cena sucks.” Rusev put a pretty good beatdown on Cena at the last pay-per-view (err Special Event) Fast Lane. Tonight will be the soon-to-be Springfield College Athletics Hall of Famer John Cena’s night. Not sure if he’ll pin Rusev after an Attitude Adjustment, or if he’ll make him tap out to the STF. Either way, Rusev loses on the big stage.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Many are surprised we’re actually getting The Deadman in the ring tonight at #WM31. We’ve heard nothing from him and not seen Taker once since Brock Lesnar shockingly ended The Streak last year. Wyatt has done a tremendous job on the mic in his promos to build the match all by himself. This is one great opportunity for The Eater of Worlds and the so-called New Face of Fear to share that big stage with The Phenom, one of the greatest of all time. I only hope that Taker can go and make this a decent match. It doesn’t have to be a 4 or 5* classic. The big question is will his retirement match be next year at #WM32 in Arlington, TX in front of 100,000+ in attendance? Or is this it? I can’t see him losing two years in a row, and maybe he does lose in Texas last year, just like Flair did to Michaels in Orlando in Naitch’s retirement match. Let’s go with that scenario. Wyatt puts on a great show for us tonight but winds up resting in peace.
HHH vs. Sting
This is awesome! Of all tonight’s matches, this is the one I’m probably most excited about, and likely more so for the entrances than what we might actually get in the ring. What can HHH do to best his entrance with his harem of three from last year? Does Sting come down from the rafters? Wait a minute. Are there even rafter at Levi’s Stadium? Maybe we descends from the upper deck or even flies in on a giant crow. Whatever we see it’s going to be a potential once-in-a-lifetime WWE ring entrance for the Stinger. I expect both of these guys (45 and 55 years old) to be in tremendous shape and can only assume they’ve been planning this match out for quite some time. It could easily close the show but I don’t think that’s going to happen tonight. This is probably the toughest match for me to predict as I can easily see it going either way. If it’s Sting’s only WWE match, he has to win. If HHH and The Authority are still going to wield their power, there’s no reason why The Cerebral Assassin can’t go over. Since I’m looking at one outcome in the main event, I have to go with the “face” in this one.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship match – Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
WIth Lesnar’s recent announcement that’s he’s re-signed with WWE and won’t be returning to the Octagon, we now have so many possible outcomes for this match – so many moreso than if we all knew he was out the door after tonight/tomorrow. That’s one way to look at this. Another way to look at this match is to remember that tomorrow night’s Monday Night Raw could almost be called Wrestlemania 31 1/2. Annually it’s the best RAW of the year and big things happen. If we don’t see a Rollins cash-in on Lesnar or Reigns tonight, then it very well, and very likely, could happen tomorrow night. As for Lesnar vs. Reigns, I’m not saying it’s going to be an excellent match but it will be exciting. One thing I’m learning is to never doubt with Paul Heyman preaches. Lesnar is a beast and he will put a pounding on Reigns. Does he suplex him 16 times into oblivion like he did Cena at SummerSlam? I don’t think so. Reigns will likely land his Superman punch and deliver a spear or two, but I just don’t see Lesnar being pinned by those. Heck, he could kick out after 1 like he did after a Cena AA. Another factor to consider here is Reigns’ cousin The Rock. We saw him “help” and embrace Reigns at the Rumble in January and he very well could make an appearance tonight. Does it help or hurt Reigns remains to be seen. There’s a lot of chatter about a double turn with Lesnar going babyface after a double-cross by Heyman/Reigns. I’m not buying into that, at least not tonight. Could I be wrong? Of course, and I usually am at Wrestlemania. I just honestly feel that Lesnar is too big an attraction to take the belt off him right now. His commitment to remain with WWE for the next however long his contract is just gives me too many reasons to doubt that the Championship goes to Reigns tonight, even if only for a minute or two prior to a Rollins cash-in.
I certainly am excited for tonight and can’t wait to watch the big event with my boys. To everyone who is in attendance tonight, take it all in and enjoy Wrestlemania for the celebration of pro wrestling that it is! I will one day get there myself.