Hello and welcome to the grandaddy of them all, IT’S WRESTLEMANIA 35!
First of all, apologies for the delay, I’ve been quite busy this week, but I’m sure you all want what’s best for business: top quality wrestling content and chat of course. As an apology, here’s that photo @Yesiamaduck made of me pointing at the sign:
So, Mania, this year begins at 10 pm GMT Sunday 7th, April and given there are 16 confirmed matched and one other match rumoured, it’s due to run until 5:30 am, so you know, prepare yourself. Here’s the card:
WWE WrestleMania 35 matches
Winner Take All – Ronda Rousey © vs. Charlotte Flair © vs. Becky Lynch: Well, we’ve made it. In can not be understated how big a deal this is. Of course, there is a healthy dollop of sycophancy that must be swallowed down every time WWE self-congratulate themselves for “making history”, but whatever, we can look past that for the sake of what has been created here. The plan was always Flair vs Rousey, it was rumoured since last year’s Mania, and even then, it was being earmarked as a potential main event as early as a year ago. But then The Man Came Around and confirmed it. What a year all three of these amazing women have had - yes Rousey can be clumsy on the mic/social media and gained her reputation from another sport/industry but she’s such a talented performer it doesn’t matter - but especially Becky. She has achieved the levels of unifying fandom that Daniel Bryan managed 5 years ago and I genuinely believe her inevitable victory will be as big a moment as Bryan’s at the Superdome at WMXXX. Considering Becky has been on the pre-show the last couple years and getting horribly booked, the way she has turned everything around for herself and the entire women’s division is absolutely incredible and I (as well as many others) are so happy for her. Now, let’s just hope the crowd aren’t completely fucked by the time this match comes around like the last couple of years. However, given its not Reigns headlining for the first time in FOUR FUCKING YEARS, we should be grand. (Prediction: Becky, titles unified on Raw next night.)
Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar © vs. Seth Rollins: While there’s a certain feeling of inevitability with this match, it should be pretty terrific. It is surely Rollins to lose after yet another lengthy Lesnar run and without the contract negotiations or the prospect of a plodding Reigns match over him this should both be great and Rollins crowning at the top. Much like the other world title match, there is a nice bit of full-circle storytelling here recalling Seth’s MitB cash-in at WM31 on Lesnar (well, Reigns) and it would be really awesome for him to find a way to slay the beast. (Prediction: Rollins)
WWE Championship – Daniel Bryan © vs. Kofi Kingston: I, like many others, am sure, genuinely can’t believe this is the WWE Championship match at a Wrestlemania. How fucking far everything has come to get to this point is quite incredible. What I have really enjoyed about the booking to this and the match itself is how full-circle it is. Kofi is playing the role of Bryan from 5 years ago - who has let power corrupt him for “evil” even if his vegan/environmentalist message is actually a very positive one - and there are not many guys who have been around as long as he has who deserves this more. Now, whether Kofi can actually win is another matter but it would be a pretty amazing moment given he’d be the first African-American champion since The Rock (yes I know he’s half-Samoan) and given it’s against Bryan, would tie things up really nicely. It’s pretty exciting that the two hottest matches of the year are the women’s title match and a world title match between a vegan environmentalist and a much loved Ghanaian huh? (Prediction: Kofi Kingston)
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre: Ah ffs, whatever. Reigns is riding a wave of good-will after his leukaemia recovery, and good for him. I still don’t care though. (Prediction: lol obviously Reigns are you kidding?)
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton: This one literally just depends on whether Orton gives a shit or not, but given it’s Mania and it’s Styles, this should be decent, even if it was slightly knocked together last minute after realising the two don’t have a lot else going on lately. Styles has produced magic with the likes of Cena, Reigns and Lesnar so no reason he can’t do the same here. (Prediction: AJ Styles or possible bullshit finish to continue the feud)
Triple H vs. Batista (No Holds Barred; Triple H’s career on the line): You know what? I’m weirdly looking forward to this match. And I’m not a particularly massive fan of either guy. But they work well together, they always have, and will Tri pretty much has the same match at Mania every year now (bar Ronda last year) Batista is actually big and scary enough to cause an actual threat here and hopefully, the two knock lumps out of each other. The heel/face alignments are all screwed up on this one, but whatever, none of that really matters on these one-off marquee mania matches anyway as you know they’ll show a hand of respect to each other by the time of the final bell. (Prediction: Paul Triple Hunter Hearst Helmsley Michael Levesque)
Intercontinental Championship – Bobby Lashley © vs. Finn Balor: The only thing to note about this match is that the updated Mania poster has Deamon Finn on it. Read into that what you will. (prediction: Balor)
United States Championship – Samoa Joe © vs. Rey Mysterio: WHY IS ALMAS NOT IN THIS MATCH!!! Almas and Rey were creating weekly magic not that long ago and Joe can adapt to whatever is around him cuz he’s the best. Fuck’s sake lads. Anyway, Rey apparently is a late fitness test after banging his ankle up this week, so we might see Almas after all - which would be great, but the only sad thing is we’d be denied some classic Dominic bollix, who is all grown up and at ringside as a ploy for Joe to do his nasty heel shit. Joe better win this, by the way, I cannot be arsed with how much he loses anymore, but don’t be surprised if Rey pulls it off. Either way, this could be great. (Prediction: Joe)
Women’s Tag Team Championship – Sasha Banks & Bayley © vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Nia Jax & Tamina Snuka vs. The IIconics: Just putting it on record now, I would love it if The Iiconics won, love it. Tbh this match is pretty nothingy, it feels like while having women’s tag titles is a good idea it means they have to book heatless matches like this with everybody’s favourite: Tamina, who seems to purely exist to make Nia look not as bad at this point. I guess this will be nice for Beth but I feel it’s a bit shitty of her/her character taking a spot from the young active talent she constantly promotes on commentary, but whatever, it’s Mania season. (Prediction: Boss ‘n’ Hug retain)
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon (Falls Count Anywhere): Well, we all know where this is going don’t we? It’s time for another game of “WHAT INSANE HEIGHT IS SHANE WILLING TO JUMP OFF THIS YEAR?” The build for this has been a bit meh, but kudos to the Fed for sticking with Miz as a face, and to his credit, he’s doing a really good job of it. I can see Miz moving on to some singles title action again after this, possibly even one of the world titles. (Prediction: The Miz, Shane dies)
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin (Farewell Match): So there’s been a lot of heat over potentially Angle’s final ever match being against the ultimate boy big banter breakfast Baron Corbin, but honestly I think it makes sense. As long as Corbin wins. And I’m by no means a Corbin fan (though I think he’s a great shit-talking heel) but fair fucks to Angle for choosing a guy who actually needs the push and will only help his career as a mega heel to wind up the smarks. Given WWE has a tendency to back out of its own booking these days though, expect a smoz involving John Cena and Taker and the lads saving Kurt one last time for some stupid reason. Whatever happens, thank you, Kurt, for your incredible career, but please, please, please stay retired after this Sunday/Monday. (Prediction: Corbin)
While I’m here, the rumoured last minute match to be added is John Cena vs Elias. I imagine in a squash for Cena to get his heat back after the Elias/Taker debacle at Mania last year.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – The Usos © vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura: I’m sure this will be grand. Rusev and the big Nakker still makes no actual sense, but the rest of these guys are great (although no New Day! Sad face ) Given they’ve been booked as absolute stars since arriving, I can very much see Richochet and Black losing the NXT match but winning here or hell, possibly even doing their best Triple H cosplay and winning both! (Prediction: Richochet & Black)
Raw Tag Team Championship – The Revival © vs. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins: Jesus Christ. Ryder and Hawkins are gonna win, aren’t they? Also, I kinda assumed Richochet & Black would be booked here - which would have been a much better match - but I guess they’re going with the culmination to the storyline nobody asked for. (Prediction: Ryder & Hawkins)
Cruiserweight Championship – Buddy Murphy © vs. Tony Nese (Kickoff Show): Kind of a shame the cruiserweights are consigned to the pre-show once again, given this will probably be quite a good match, but given it’s such a packed card and 205Live have put on a heel vs heel final to change it from Cedric Alexander is… interesting, though they’ve been teasing a face turn for Nese during this tournament anyway, so expect Murphy to heel out on him to win and keep this feud going. (Prediction: Murphy)
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Kickoff Show): Confirmed entrants : Braun Strowman, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil, Tyler Breeze, Jinder Mahal, No Way Jose, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, Lucha House Party, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Viktor, Konnor, Ali, Shelton Benjamin, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Otis, Tucker, EC3 - Much like the Women’s Battle Royal, this surely is just to give Braun something to do given he also seems to keep just missing the top of the card, plus, he still hasn’t actually won this yet. Fun fact, Heath Slater is the only confirmed participant to have entered every ATGMBR since it began at WMXXX, however, he could be joined by Goldust and Fandango if they show up. (Prediction: Strowman)
**Women’s Battle Royal (Kickoff Show) **: Confirmed entrants : Asuka, Carmella, Naomi, Lana, Mandy Rose, Soya Deville, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Mickie James, Zelina Vega - Poor, poor Asuka. She had been treated awfully since becoming a plot device to get the belt of Becky for her underdog face turn. Here’s hoping a rather pissed off Asuka just tears through the entire division here, but don’t be surprised if someone mental like Mandy Rose wins given Vince seems to have a massive chub on for her. (Prediction: Asuka)
Saturday night will see this year’s Hall of Fame class inducted, which I won’t be able to watch all of as I’m working Sunday, but here’s the class:
The 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Class
The Honky Tonk Man - Eugh, fuck off ya dick.
Torrie Wilson - Aye sure, good for you hen.
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake - LOL, MAIN EVENT ED LESLIE! INDUCTED BY CUNT HOGAN? All those years of sucking up to Hogan and changing your gimmick weekly finally paid off Ed, welcome to the boys club Hall of Fame.
D-Generation X - CHYNA’S FINALLY IN THE HALL OF FAME!!! Sort of. Anyway, WWE historians will tell you DX is the reason for The Attitude Era’s success, so I’m sure we’ll get plenty of reminders regarding that here. Fun Fact, Shawn Michaels will join Ric Flar as a two-time hall of famer along with…
The Hart Foundation - Bret Hart! Jim Neidhart also going in, but none of the other Harts, which is a bit of a shame but whatever. It’s quite fun Shawn and Bret go in as two time Hall of Famers together… but wait! There’s also
Harlem Heat - BOOKER T!!! A massive lol at Stevie Ray being a Hall of Famer, but whatever, the team deserves it for this moment along, and given the man will be in the building I really, really really hope they make fun of it:
The Warrior Award goes to one of their own staff, Sue Aitchison, who spearheaded WWE’s relationship with Make-a-Wish, so that’s nice isn’t it Andrew?
The Hall of Fame is on Saturday rather than Friday so NXT Takeover doesn’t have to compete with NJPW/ROH’s G1 Supercard event happening at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. I don’t follow closely enough to give a detailed rundown (I had no idea Jay White was champion now?!) but with matches such as:
Jay White vs Okada for the NJPW Heavyweight Title
Jay Lethal vs Marty Scurll vs Matt Taven for the ROH title
Naito vs Ibushi for the Intercontinental
Zack Zabre Jr. vs Tanahashi for the British title (god this will be good)
Ospreay vs Jeff Cobb
and of course, BULLY RAY VS JUICE ROBINSON IN A NYC STREET FIGHT!
This should be a fucking class show.
The festivities kick off tonight however in the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn as it’s NXT Takeover: New York which the pre-show starts at 11 pm tonight and the main show at 12, at a much more palatable five matches at two-and-a-half to three hours. Tonight’s card includes:
NXT Takeover: New York card
|1||War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) © vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet||Tag team match for the NXT Tag Team Championship|
|2||Pete Dunne © vs. Walter||Singles match for the WWE United Kingdom Championship|
|3||Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole||Two-out-of-three falls match for the vacant NXT Championship|
|4||Velveteen Dream © vs. Matt Riddle||Singles match for the NXT North American Championship|
|5||Shayna Baszler © vs. Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Kairi Sane||Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship|
It is such a shame Ciampa got injured (again) just before this, this was supposed to be the big pay-off for a year plus long storyline which not only effects him but also sees Aleister Black end up in the tag division. Still, luckily they have an extremely talented individual in Adam Cole (Baybay!) to put on a great match with Gargano which will hopefully allow people to forget what could have been and enjoy this title match. (Prediction: Adam Cole Baybay!)
Elsewhere, the tag match will be interesting given Black & Richochet are on an unstoppable run… to the main roster. In theory, they should lose as they are leaving anyway, but as mentioned before, it would be kinda fun for them to have ALL the tag gold. I haven’t actually seen any WALTER matches yet but I understand he’s great and Pete Dunne is such a boy that it will obviously be great. Velveteen has been rumoured as a call up after this weekend, which could see him losing the title but I kinda hope he’s not going just yet, it feels he still has a bit of work to do in NXT first. Meanwhile, given the women’s is a fatal-four-way can very much see Bayzler losing the title here without having to do the job and given I can see both her and Kairi Sane coming up to the main roster after this weekend, this is probably Bianca Belair’s time to shine (though don’t count out Io Shirai, all four of these ladies are great).
And that just about does it. Hope you all have a lovely Mania weekend, try not to get too smashed (we’ve got A LOT of wrestling to get through here people!) and we all keep the bants cleaner than some of the bullshit finishes. Hope you’ve enjoyed this recap, I’m off for a nap now before I become nocturnal for the weekend.
Love! Sevvy x