As fast as 2018 is marching along, it seemed like “The Showcase of the Immortals” was taking its sweet time arriving. But it’s now Sunday morning, a week away from WrestleMania 34! An unexpected sick day allows me to make some WrestleMania predictions early. Check them out after the Break.
The card is subject to change.
There are 9 Title Matches(!) and 2 Battle Royals on this year’s card. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
“Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal”: This Battle Royal had so much potential, 2 years ago. You had big names actually promoting their entry into the match. Now, it’s just a catch-all for wrestlers not in actual WM matches. There are ways to improve the ATGM Battle Royal but I won’t go into them with this post. Instead, I will just predict – and really hope – that this takes up one of the Pre-Show slots.
Prediction(s): if he is healthy, Samoa Joe will enter and win the ATGM Battle Royal; if Joe is not healthy, Dolph Ziggler is my pick over Matt Hardy.
The Fabulous Moolah Memorial Women’s WrestleMania Battle Boyal”: unlike the ATGM, there is some nice intrigue with the 1st ever Women’s Battle Royal. Also, unlike the ATGM, I care to watch this match. I would like to see a surprise NXT entrant or 2 make it to the last 4 but that’s a “heart” pick, instead of a “head” pick
Prediction(s): this is tough. My NXT surprise entrant(s) are Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. I think Sasha and Bayley will eliminate each other – one of them illegally – sparking this slow-simmering feud into a full-blown inferno. My winner pick: Ruby Riott.
John Cena vs. The Undertaker: unless this ends up as some kind of audience/backstage fight, I don’t see John Cena getting his match with The Undertaker.
Tag Team Titles: The Bar (Champions) vs. Braun Stowman and TBD
The fact that Strowman won a Tag Team Contender’s Battle Royal, and that the Title Match is a WrestleMania match, says all you need to know about Management’s thoughts on the tag tea division on Raw. I am interested to see who Strowman picks as a partner (if he picks anyone); that’s about as deep as my interest lies. This should be a Pre-Show match… but it probably won’t be.
Prediction: Strowman and TBD.
Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz (Champion) vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
This could be a WrestleMania Main Event in most other years. The Miz has carried the “mid-card” for the last few years, with awesome (no pun intended) promos, pretty good rivalries, the occasional “Miz TV” segment, and constant good-to-great matches. You throw in a resurgent Finn Balor (who is still smiling) and Seth Rollins, mix with multiple-interactions in the ring, and you have the recipe for a “Match of the Night” candidate.
Predictions: Finn Balor pins Seth Rollins to win The IC Title; Seth Rollins jumps to Smackdown. The Miz not being pinned or submitted keeps this feud open for as long as needed, while (likely) Rollins get a fresh start on Smackdown.
Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. Nia Jaxx
On paper, Jaxx should win this match, easily. She has the size, strength, and motivation advantages, after enduring weeks of psychological abuse from Bliss and Mickie James. Matches, however, aren’t fought on paper.
Prediction: Nia Jaxx wins by DQ.
I will be very surprised if Mickie James doesn’t interfere in this match more than once. This interference will cost Bliss the match but allow her to keep the title.
Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Roman Reigns
The drama isn’t with who will win, it’s how this match will play out. There have been some surprisingly/consistently good mic segments with Reigns, countered by some not-unusually violent answers by Lesnar. I think we will all enjoy the final match in this rivalry.
Prediction: Roman Reigns wins the Universal Championship. That will be the easiest pick I make. Brock Lesnar is rumored, via multiple sources, to re-sign with UFC. I don’t see him leaving with the WWE’s Universal Title.
Authority vs. Roster: Stephanie McMahon and HHH vs. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle
I’m wary of this match. There’s plenty of excitement for it, don’t get me wrong, but you have to look and see what you have:
- a still-in-shape-but-sporadically-wrestling HHH
- a very-in-shape-but-not-a-wrestler Stephanie (go check out some of her posted workouts on Facebook)
- a wrestler-with-a-history-neck-injuries Kurt Angle
- a former UFC fighter-turned-wrestler, in her first match, Ronda Rousey
Will it be a ‘classic’? Doubtful. There might be too much ‘protection’ from the Authority side. Will it be entertaining? I hope so.
Prediction: Angle and Rousey win.
Cruiserweight Tournament Finals: Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander. The guy on a Hot Streak (Ali) against the guy a lot of the fans have wanted to see as Champion (Alexander). This might end up on the Pre-Show; I’d tune in early, just in case – this match could steal the entire show.
Prediction: Cedric Alexander becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship – Triple Threat: The Usos (Champions) vs The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
The Usos and The New Day have had some amazing encounters for the Tag Team Titles in the last 2 years. Now you have a Wild Card team in the mix: the oddly-attired, but very dangerous, Bludgeon Brothers. In this rivalry, The New Day feel like “placeholders”: they are in the match so that they don’t go 2 straight WMs without a match. And it’s The New Day – well, one member of them – that will take the pinfall loss.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers pin The New Day to become the new SD Tag team Champions. I don’t know if this leads to The New Day returning to Raw but I think the Tag Team divisions on both brands will finally be shaken up.
United States Fatal 4-Way Championship Match: Randy Orton (Champion) vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode
This match is odd, in that there wasn’t a ton of buildup for it (Orton wins the Title; Orton can’t beat Mahal; Roode wants his rematch; Rusev pinned Orton in a Tag Match) but these 4 could put on a pretty good match. I think it ends up on the Pre-Show or opening the Main Show. Expect a new U.S. Champion at the end of the match.
Prediction: Rusev wins the United States Championship
Authority vs. Roster: Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon(?) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
We’ve come a long way since the days of “FIGHT FOREVER!”:
Instead, Owens and Zayn have run roughshod over Smackdown for the better part of a year, with their main targets being Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. Bryan has finally been cleared by WWE doctors to compete (YAY!)… only for Shane to have a medical emergency (BOO!). As much as I am wary of the Raw version of this match, I worry about this match. Will Bryan continue to throw caution to the wind and do such things as land on his head after Corner Dropkicks!!…? Will Shane be able to do much in this match? Will Shane be able to make this match?
- Owens and Zayn win, via pin on Shane
- There will not be a clean finish.
Call it hunch that I’ve had since this whole simmering feud started. One of the Smackdown Authorities will do something to the other that will lead to Owens and Zayn “winning” the feud, whether it was intentional or not. That hunch is Daniel Bryan.
Main Event: Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (Champion) vs. Asuka
Asuka won the Royal Rumble and picked Charlotte as her opponent. Charlotte has been Champion since mid-November. I am greatly looking forward to this match – the story told in the ring will be phenomenal.
Prediction: Asuka wins the Smackdown Women’s Title
Main Event: WWE World Championship: AJ Styles (Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I don’t think I have to hype or recap any of this story, because there is plenty of hype for it. What we all should do is grab a snack, open your beverage of choice, sit back, and enjoy what might end up being one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time unfold.
Prediction: in a classic, Shinsuke Nakamura becomes the WWE World Champion
I’m reluctant to call this a “rivalry” but whatever it is, I think it continues after WrestleMania, possibly into SummerSlam. No complaints from this end.
As always, I say that I am by no means an “expert” match picker, despite a pretty good record the last time I tried this. It’s just for fun – hopefully we all enjoy WrestleMania 34, regardless of the outcomes!