Six-pack challenge for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella (with James Ellsworth) vs. Naomi
I was surprised to see Naomi topple Alexa Bliss at Elimination Chamber in February to become SmackDown Women’s Champion, but I was even more surprised to see her return in time for WrestleMania in her hometown of Orlando after relinquishing the title last month due to a knee injury. Bliss is the champion heading into the biggest show of the year, but she has five other top female performers gunning for her in a six-pack challenge match. Those women include Natalya, Carmella, Mickie James and Becky Lynch. It seems as if WWE have put this match on the kick off show, which hasn’t exactly gone down too well with a vocal section of the WWE Universe. Regardless of where the match takes place it should be an exciting match set at a frantic pace and allowing each woman their moment to shine. Carmella is surprisingly the odds-on favourite to walk out as champion, but I’m going to go with Naomi for the feel-good moment that she deserves.
Predicted winner: Naomi.
Joel Lampkin: It was a great achievement to see the SmackDown Women switched from the pre-show to the main roster because ‘By Gawd’ they have deserved it. The star quality stayed on Raw but the stars were created on the blue brand. Carmella, Alexa Bliss become major players and cemented themselves on the main roster. The build up the match at ‘Mania has been sub par but the quality is there for them to put on a truly great match and show the WWE Universe that the Women’s Revolution is not just a fad.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
I am a fan of the heel version of Neville, but the WWE Cruiserweight division has still failed to flatter. The self-proclaimed King of the Cruiserweights has held the title since the Royal Rumble, but faces his toughest challenge to date at WrestleMania against the awesome Austin Aries. These two men have never met in the ring before, so to many it will be viewed as a dream match. Sadly for those people, they’re going to have to watch it on the kick off show. This may motivate Neville and Aries to steal the whole show, and they may just do that. As Aries is a former TNA talent, I can’t see WWE allowing him to win in his WrestleMania debut so the victory goes to Neville.
Predicted winner: Neville.
Joel Lampkin: Neville, mate, he’s boss. The talent for the Geordie Warrior has always been there, he was just waiting for *that* push and he certainly got it, beating everyone in his path. The Cruiserweight Division had been screaming out for an established star to confront the champ and it was always going to be Austin Aries. Two major stars on the Grandest Stage, this is what ‘Mania is all about.
Prediction: Austin Aries
Battle royal match for the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Trophy
30 of WWE’s least important superstars will do battle in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal to win the meaningless bronze statue. NXT’s first Chinese Superstar Tian Bing will be among the men competing. The SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos – whose belts are the only titles not being defended on Sunday- and the rest of the blue brand’s tag division will also all feature. Other notable entrants include Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman and The Big Show, who sadly due to contractual disagreements will not be facing basketball great Shaquille O’Neal. I can’t see anyone other than Strowman dominating his way to victory here. It’s a shame he isn’t in a more high profile match, but there you go.
Predicted winner: Braun Strowman.
Joel Lampkin: The staple of The Showcase of the Immortals can produce the odd shock factor from the crowd although the build up to this one has been confusing to say the least. With performers entering themselves, then having to fight for their way in – it has been a bit of a mess. However, 30 men battling for supremacy to assert themselves into the spotlight, can produce a star, it happened to Baron Corbin last year as it handed him credibility. Who else needs ‘something’ to make them a star rather than going round and telling everyone that they are?
Prediction: Braun Strowman
Triple threat ladder match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
This match needed the addition of ladders otherwise this was likely going to be shifted to the kick off show. It will be an interesting watch to say the least considering none of the six men involved have any real experience when it comes to ladders. The Club have done reasonably well as champions, while Cesaro and Sheamus have become quite the tag team, but I feel this is Big Cass and Enzo’s time to grab that proverbial brass ring. This should be a wild ride from start to finish, with all of them taking some pretty insane bumps, but I feel Big Cass and Amore will be standing tall when it’s all said and done.
Predicted winners: Big Cass & Enzo.
Joel Lampkin: This match got exciting with a bit of steel fast, the tag-team division on the main roster for both bands has been dissapointing and even putting the titles on Anderson and Gallows has not helped make them the stars they should be (possibly due to previously poor booking). The pairing of Cesaro and Sheamus has been entertaining, pushing aside previous suggestions and Enzo and Cass have started to risk becoming stale – but what better way to kick off the WrestleMania show than with a high-flying spectacle…with *hopefully* although unlikely a shock appearance from a certain Broken One.
Prediction: Big Cass & Enzo.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
I’m absolutely flabbergasted that this match has made it onto the main show. I know it’s for a prestigious championship and it involves former WWE champion Dean Ambrose, but this feud has been barely visible on SmackDown in the build up to WrestleMania. Baron Corbin has been well protected since arriving on the main roster last year, so I can’t see him falling short to The Lunatic Fringe here. This match could’ve done with an added an gimmick or two to help pull things along, but I’m sure both men will be hell bent on delivering something special nonetheless. Ambrose may not win the WWE Championship again, but he always delivers in the ring and never fails to show effort. Ambrose will try his best to make sure this match is the making of The Lone Wolf.
Predicted winner: Baron Corbin.
Joel Lampkin: This match has literally been the least built out of them all, Dean Ambrose has been relegated to the midcard and despite being one of the top guys on SmackDown he has disappointed. Corbin on the other hand has been knocking on the door of the main-event scene and maybe a title run will help cement him as one of the top dogs, sorry wolves on the main roster?
Prediction: Baron Corbin
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
This has to be one of the most intriguing matches in recent WrestleMania history. Over the past 12 months Styles has cemented his reputation as the best wrestler in the world by producing a series of fantastic performances in his debut year with WWE. The fans have felt frustrated that despite having such a stellar year, Styles is not main eventing WrestleMania, and instead is facing the SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon. The counter to this argument is that Shane is as dedicated a performer there ever has been and is always willing to put his body on the line. Being placed in a high profile match with Shane suggests WWE have plenty of faith in Styles. Styles is truly phenomenal in the ring, while Shane is always fun to watch, so this has all the ingredients to be something really good. With it being a regular match there’s no chance in hell Shane comes out the victor.
Predicted winner: AJ Styles.
Joel Lampkin: Those who complained are set to be blown away, the pairing of Styles and Shane may have raised eyebrows but the chemistry these two have built over the past few weeks has been incredible. The straight wrestling match suggestion will likely fall out of the window and there should only ever be one guy going over in this case. The Phenomenal One has been incredible since debuting at the Royal Rumble last year and missed out on a ‘Mania victory last year to Chris Jericho, this will year will be different, this could be the show stealer!
Prediction: AJ Styles
WWE United States Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
The battle of the former best friends. Man, I’m pumped to watch this one. Let’s face it, Kevin Owens failed miserably as World Champion. Now, I’m not saying it was all his fault as WWE’s booking did not help him, but I think it’s safe to say he won’t be headlining PPVs anytime soon. This feud has arguably been the best written on the entire WrestleMania card. Chris Jericho is a full on babyface once again and this could very well be his last WrestleMania, so we can expect something memorable from Y2J. The crowd will be red-hot for this contest and it could go down as a classic. Jericho could spring a surprise and win, but it would be a surprise so I’m hanging my hat on KO.
Predicted winner: Kevin Owens.
Joel Lampkin: Still struggling to get over Chris Jericho’s question: “Why am I on the list?” that segment was gold and as has this storyline. From best-friends to bitter enemies has been one of the staple storylines of pro wrestling since the dawn of time and few could have executed it better than these two Canadians. Jericho is expected to leave the company soon and what better way to exit than having Owens absolutely decimate him.
Prediction: Kevin Owens
Mixed tag team match
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
This is quite feasibly SmackDown’s real WrestleMania main event. It has been built up that good. The promos alone have been fantastic. The match itself probably won’t live up to expectations, but that’s another story. All of the heightened drama of real-life promos have made this one what initially felt like a waste of Cena and Miz’s talents a match which is actually one of the most anticipated on the entire card. A shock win for Miz and Maryse is a possibility that I’m tempted to go with, but they will probably get their comeuppance here. I doubt Cena will propose to Nikki after match however, as everyone is expecting.
Predicted winners: John Cena and Nikki Bella.
Joel Lampkin: I am far too excited than I should be. The hatred between Cena and Miz has been real and adding Maryse and Nikki Bella to this feud has been great. There SHOULD only be one way to end this with Mr Face that Runs the Place flat on his back and having Miz showcase himself as the star that he is because he should and WILL hold the WWE Championship once more. Oh and if Cena proposes, fair play, Nikki is a diamond!
Prediction: The Miz and Maryse
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton contested one of the most boring PPV main events in WWE history at No Mercy last October, so I hope the decision makers see sense and don’t put these two on last at WrestleMania. Their story has been great, but their in-ring work together has been far from it. A triple threat bout involving Luke Harper would’ve been better, but I’m guessing The Viper put his foot down on that one. Whether we want to see it or not, now is the time for the Apex Predator to devour Wyatt and become WWE Champion in one fell swoop.
Predicted winner: Randy Orton.
Joel Lampkin: Bray Wyatt finally got the big one didn’t he, but was Randy Orton versus the Eater of Worlds the match everyone wanted to see? Probably not. Regardless of how their last encounter played out, the use of mind-games in this feud different, but in a good way as it mixed things up. With one main title changing hands later in the show, I cant see it being repeated because does anyone want to see another Orton title run?
Prediction: Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
If Seth Rollins really is fit to go, then this should be the best match of the night. Seth Rollins’ face turn has been a mixed bag to say the least, but a strong showing here will do him the world of good moving forward. It is a bit strange to have Triple H call Rollins weak for getting injured when The Game missed almost a year and a half of his career after tearing both his quadriceps muscles. The stage is set for Rollins to get his revenge in what should be an intense and emotional brawl, with HHH using every trick in the book to thwart Rollins. Rollins will fight like his life depends on it and Triple H will hopefully be at his unmerciful best to ensure the fans sympathise with the babyface. Rollins needs the win, but this isn’t going to be Triple H’s last WrestleMania, and if he can’t even beat a one-legged man then he’s as good as finished. Triple H to win.
Predicted winner: Triple H.
Joel Lampkin: Does Rollins know what he is getting himself into. The Game has shown himself to be far more ruthless than ever before and the added injury to The Architect may mean he will not be at full health. The former Shield member struggled to overcome the King of Kings during an episode of Monday Night Raw and on the Grandest Stage where Triple H always raises his game he may need outside help to get the win especially during an ‘unsanctioned match’ but proving he gets the right help he should and could get one over on the veteran.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
Fatal 4-Way elimination match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
This should’ve been a one-on-one match between Bayley and Sasha Banks, but WWE decided to shoehorn in the rest of the Raw Women’s division too. The entire build up seems destined for The Boss to turn heel and stab her best friend in the back. The odds have Bayley retaining, but I’d be stunned if that were to happen. Sasha to either win the title or cost Bayley against Charlotte seem the most obvious conclusions.
Predicted winner: Sasha Banks.
Joel Lampkin: All four women have a shot at greatness, Bayley reigned supreme on the last episode of Raw – a typical warning sign of an impending loss. Charlotte is set for great things and could get to no.5 but the inclusion of the dominant Nia Jax may be the biggest obstacle. Sasha Banks seems to be in it for the long-game helping herself into the title picture by defeating best-friend Bayley but theres only place this title should be going, via a direct heel turn from The Boss.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This is all about whose yard it really is. This wouldn’t really work in the UK, as “garden” doesn’t have the same ring to it. They should both put up a fence and be done with it. Regardless of the slightly ridiculous back story, this is the one I am most looking forward to and I hope it’s the main event. If this is to be Undertaker’s last ever WrestleMania, then he deserves the chance to headline one more time. Undertaker is reportedly suffering from serious hip problems which require surgery. Hopefully it’s not as serious as some are making out. Each year Undertaker miraculously finds a way to defy father time and deliver when the lights are on brightest, so hopefully the injury doesn’t deprive him of doing so again. It seems as if WWE are viewing this as a ‘passing of the torch moment’, but I’m not convinced the fans are ready to say goodbye to Undertaker yet, much less embrace Roman Reigns as their new hero. There’s no way Roman turns heel here, especially with Cena effectively becoming a part-time attraction. Sadly, Roman wins this as clean as a whistle and as convincing as Chelsea are winning the Premier League title.
Predicted winner: Roman Reigns.
Joel Lampkin: This decision will split hairs. On one hand you have a guy edging towards retirement, who wrestles one match a year, squaring off against one of the hardest workers in the company. On paper it looks easy but this is pro wrestling and this is The Undertaker we’re talking about here. Few men have created a legacy such as The Deadman and creating a streak like he has, he deserves every accolade there is. With that being said, The Big Dog, has overcome Triple H and many others, proving himself as one of the most dominant performers in WWE. He separates opinions but his ability is unquestionable – he should overcome The Phenom but hopefully in an interesting way…
Prediction: Roman Reigns
WWE Universal Championship
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
Brock Lesnar is the single most dominant athlete in the history of WWE, but Goldberg is The Beast’s Kryptonite, there’s no way round it. Lesnar has destroyed legends such as Undertaker, John Cena and Triple H, yet lost to Goldberg in Les than 90 seconds at Survivor Series last year. Goldberg also defeated Lesnar all the way back at WrestleMania 20 in that infamous match where both men were booed out of the building by a rabid New York crowd. This match will be the main event at WrestleMania simply because it’s the one most casual fans want to see, and is also the biggest attraction on the card. These two giants of the industry will square off one final time, but don’t expect an Undertaker/Michaels classic. This isn’t going past 10 minutes. However, it should still be fun. They have the ability to work a gripping, ultra brutal, shoot-style fight, which will end with Lesnar finally toppling Goldberg once and for all.
Predicted winner: Brock Lesnar.
Joel Lampkin: The match to attract the armchair fans, and the match that is the main attraction. Goldberg has wrestled less than 10 minutes so far and in that time he has accumulated a Universal Championship, undeserving? Possibly, but he is there as the centrepiece and has created a great talking point prior to his match with Brock Lesnar. The pair’s story extends all the way back to WrestleMania 30 when the WCW legend defeated The Beast, this could be Lesnar’s last chance at the veteran and he WILL make it count.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar