Welcome, everyone to (the strangest) WRESTLEMANIAAAAA OF ALL TIIIIMMME! TOO BIG FOR ONE NIGHT! TOO BIG FOR A CROWD! FIGHTING IN THE FACE OF CORONAVIRUS!
What a strange time to be, amongst other things, a wrestling fan eh? What is normally the biggest week of the wrestling calendar is now going to be summed down to a surreal, empty arena Wrestlemania and like many other industries, praying independent promotions can weather the storm.
Before we break-down this weekend’s showcase of the, err, mortals? A quick nod to AEW who are keeping up business (for now) too beginning a TNT (i.e “Television” mid-card belt) tournament next Wednesday (8th April) as they barrel towards Double or Nothing II on May 23rd (MEANING AEW IS ALMOST A YEAR OLD ALREADY!!) assuming they are still operating by that point…
Anyway, Wrestlemania 36 marks the first time the event is held over 2 days: Saturday 4th and 5th, Midnight BST time, with 8 matches per night. This is actually quite a decent idea given Wrestlemania has been too long for a few years now but also given there’s no other entertainment being produced at the moment, might as well stretch it out over the weekend right? Wrestlemania can be watched for free with a 1-month trial subscription (or other means) and also worth reminding the network is currently free to watch every previous “big 4” ppv (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam & Survivor Series) + some documentaries.
While there’s no indication which night will host which match yet the whole thing has pre-taped so something will air this weekend!
|1||Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair||Singles match for the NXT Women’s Championship|
|2||Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre||Singles match for the WWE Championship|
|3||Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns*||Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship|
|4||Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler||Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship|
|5||John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt||Firefly Fun House match|
|6||Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina||Fatal 5-Way Elimination match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship|
|7||The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles||Boneyard match|
|8||Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins||Singles match|
|9||The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)||Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship|
|10||The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza (with Zelina Vega)||Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship|
|11||Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (with Lana)||Singles match|
|12||Elias vs. King Corbin||Singles match|
|13||Edge vs. Randy Orton||Last Man Standing match|
|14||Sami Zayn (c) (with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Daniel Bryan (with Drew Gulak)||Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship|
|15||The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross||Tag team match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship|
|16||Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler (with Mandy Rose)||Singles match|
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair|Singles match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Both women’s singles matches (haha fuck off Smackdown’s multi-woman bollix) have (yet again) the potential for being show stealers as has been the case for a good three or four years now? Presumably they will be split over each night as a result. I can see Charlotte winning this to give Rhea a bit of babyface fire as, fantastic as she is, she is still rather green and WWE just love giving Charlotte all the titles all the time. It really depends if Charlotte wants to work NXT again for a bit (or, become their Brock Lesnar and barely ever show up). Speaks volumes for NXT’s rise in stock that its women’s title is being competed for on the grandest show of them all while the main women’s title (sorry/not sorry Bayley) on RAW is also being competed by a, at this time of writing, NXT talent.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre|Singles match for the WWE Championship
Poor Drew. This is supposed to be his big moment and like Rhea Ripley and Shayna Bayzler, has unfortunately been denied it by this unprecedented times we are currently living in. While all normal booking logic dictates a Drew babyface victory here, all “normal booking logic” doesn’t apply to Brock Lesnar and given the empty arena, I genuinely have a feeling Lesnar is retaining this to hopefully have another go whenever its safe to do a big show again. I hope I’m wrong about this but If that does happen, I pray Drew doesn’t get forgotten about in the interim…
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns|Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship
So as we all know by now, Roman Reigns (quite rightly) decided to forgo this match for health concerns (and not because Goldberg is an unsafe worker). The most likely replacement is Braun Strowman, but man can you imagine if this played instead?
Prediction: Strowman I guess, who cares?
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler|Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Presumably the end of one of the WWE’s finest women’s champions ever (note: I’m not neccesarily speaking of the run itself, just that Becky has been a great champion) as the female Brock Lesnar gets her moment to shine. And even as a massive Becky mark, that’s completely fine. They’ve correctly booked Bayzler as a killer, continuing her momentum from NXT and legitimising her only loss to date from Rhea Ripley by giving her equal footing on this show. Backing down now would have catastrophic consequences for this build, push and division and its time for Becky to be an underdog again anyway, so the choice now should be not who but how? Could see this being a bit of a squash match, Becky going away for a little while, then coming back for her title whenever the next big show is allowed to be.
Prediction: Shayna Bayzler
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt|Firefly Fun House match
Like Taker vs AJ, this ought to be complete bollix and I can’t wait for it. Just please, please, please be 1) better than that house of horrors match with Orton and 2) Let Wyatt win this time? Remember how good their original feud was at first until you defaulted to “Cena wins lol”? Given Cena’s been a lot more forgiving since that feud back in 2014 (!), partly because Cena is part-time and largely in Hollywood now, and if The Fiend doesn’t win this then you might as well declare Wyatt’s career in the pan AGAIN, Wyatt should win but like Lesnar, normal rules don’t apply and the tradition for heels in these kinda stipulations don’t tend to go well. Wyatt’s best hope is that they can get away with writing Cena off for a while as he’s barely there anymore, anyway…
Prediction: Should be Wyatt but… Cena.
Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina|Fatal 5-Way Elimination match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Ah who the fuck cares? The only notably thing about this is the Smackdown Women’s Division is so shit they couldn’t be arsed replacing Dana Brooke who’s off with the (potential) coronas. This match purely exists for Sasha to turn on Bayley and/or maybe pull the trigger on a face Lacey Evans as there’s no crowd around, hopefully not.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles|Boneyard match
Complete Bollix part 2! I have no idea what this is going to be other than perhaps the return of Booger Red/Biker Taker and some worked-shoot promos. Feels like a bit of a waste of AJ Styles but then again he’s not really done anything of note for a while anyway (his match with Lesnar was in 2017!)
Prediction: The Undertaker, obviously
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins|Singles match
If they’re allowed the time this could and should be a really great match. I’m still not entirely sure what the storyline going into this is? Seth is a bit arrogant at the moment? Owens likes giving people stunners? Idk, it doesn’t really matter because this will probably be one of the best matches of the weekend.
Prediction: Kevin Owens… I think?
The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)|Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
sigh… I mean, at least the Miz and Morrison are a new… well, not new, but a team who hasn’t been around for a while? All I can really think about here is poor Kofi. This time last year you had the world on your side and while its better to have laughed than not at all and all that jazz your career is more than likely finished from hereon Also, the sad thing is this isn’t the most forgettable tag title match on the card…
Prediction: idk, Miz and Morrison I guess?
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza (with Zelina Vega)|Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
…because that distinction goes to this… whatever it is. I mean, at least here’s some younger guys getting a Mania payday (if that is even really a thing this year) and this is a bit unfair as 1) all these guys are talented even if green as grass and 2) this match has had a bit of a convuluted history given it was meant to be a U.S title match between Rey and Andrade and now one is out due to virus concerns and the other is injured. Anyway, if there were pre-show matches this year this one would be so destined for it the mind boggles slightly. Hopefully, they get to put on a fun little opener or something.
Prediction: The Street Profits
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (with Lana)|Singles match
This better be a fucking squash match.
Prediction: Aleister Black
Elias vs. King Corbin|Singles match
A match for “top” (bottom) current BOY on the roster. This may well have a healthy amount of bollix to cover the fact that these guys are both pretty shite wrestlers but kind of funny characters (and if the Lion King-esque build is anything to go by, ooh boy!)
Prediction: A massive slab of Boy-worthy Bollix. Probably Elias but imagine if it has a bullshit finish
Edge vs. Randy Orton|Last Man Standing match
Here’s the big one. This has had the best build and oh my lord its Edge’s return. This is the most I’ve cared about in a Randy Orton match in like… ever? (WMXXX vs Bryan), This is the only match I’m really invested in, and its the only one I really hope isn’t a disappointment. I LOVE Edge and completely marked out for his return at the Rumble and hope and think they could put on a real classic here. I’ve probably been suckered in here and its going to be bollix but I really hope not (especially if its a one-off return for the Egg-man)
Sami Zayn (c) (with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Daniel Bryan (with Drew Gulak)|Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Hey, this should be fun! But it might be bollix! But it might be entertaining bollix! I do wonder if someone else interesting will come out on team Bryan to even out the numbers but who? Samoa Joe?
Prediction: Daniel Bryan
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross|Tag team match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Mind when Asuka was an absolute killer? Anyone? Is Kairi fit again? Is this going to be a squash? sigh
Prediction: Alexa & Nikki
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler (with Mandy Rose)|Singles match
I’m tired now. This match feels pointless (ha!) without a crowd, given this storyline was actually over at Elimination Chamber. Therefore probably not the culmination and might go on to be a grudge match at Extreme Rules?! Maybe? sigh…
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler
phew well there we go, lets organise some hangouts for the big, strange, strange show this weekend or something yeah?