Just because we haven’t been blogging or podcasting the last month or two isn’t to say we haven’t been following along with wrestling. I have to admit we’ve had some trouble getting into the Wrestlemania buildup this year – we share the same complaints and concerns as everyone else that this ‘Mania has been suffering for WWE’s being able to sell it. But it is now the weekend of the year in wrestling terms, all eyes are on Santa Clara, California, and we are a mere hour or so away from the pre-show kickoff for the “Showcase of the Immortals”, Wrestlemania 31, one can’t help but get a little excited. And that means it’s time to get our act together and share our predictions for tonight’s big event. So without further ado …
(Fatal Four-Way: Tag Team Titles) Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c) vs. The Usos vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores
SARAH: I’m predicting the champs retain here. Kidd and Cesaro are on a nice little run, gaining some traction, and the only other team in serious contention here – the Usos – are hampered with an injury on Jey’s part, as I understand it. I don’t think this is a particularly *ahem* New Day, and I don’t think Los Matadores are quite there yet. Kidd and Cesaro retain.
ARI: I agree for the reasons Sarah said, plus Kidd and Cesaro just got new t-shirts, so …
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
SARAH: My prediction as odds-on favourite as the match stands right now is Damien Mizdow. I think his feud with the Miz here is going to come to a head, and he is going to refuse to eliminate himself when it comes down to him and his employer. I’m giving a dark horse nod to Curtis Axle here as Axlemania has been running wild, but I feel like the payoff for this was his face-off with Hulk Hogan himself Monday at Raw. And if Sheamus is a last-minute surprise entry in his expected return, all bets are off (his return – expected tonight or tomorrow on Raw – could factor into a couple of matches, as we’ll discuss).
ARI: I would like to pick something different to be more interesting, but honestly Miz vs. Mizdow is the only clear feud I see in there. Now as for which one of them wins, I could see it going either way. I know Wrestlemania is big blow-off time, but I feel like there might still be some legs left in this feud, just a feeling. Never mind … they’re not going to try to outthink themselves for a pre-show match, I think the crowd-pleaser of Mizdow over Miz will probably happen.
(Ladder Match: Intercontinental Title) Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R Truth vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust
SARAH: I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news … for Wade Barrett, that is. This is another match I could see Sheamus being added to to make a nice round 8 participants, but it won’t really change my prediction. I’m thinking they have to throw Daniel Bryan (and his fans) a bone here, and he’s my pick to leave with the Intercontinental title. Dolph Ziggler or Dean Ambrose wouldn’t be bad dark horse picks, but I’m definitely with the “Yes Movement” on this one.
ARI: Out of seven I think Sarah’s fairly accurately picked off the top three. And between those this isn’t so much a prediction as a hope. Please please please, Daniel Bryan. And yes, hopefully in some manner where it’s clearly over Ambrose or Ziggler to set up a great “next feud”.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
SARAH: I think I’m going with Rollins here. We’ve picked a lot of good guy winners, and Randy Orton got the satisfying beatdown on Rollins last week on Raw. I will suggest that if Orton wins, the chances of a surprise cash in of Rollins’ Money in the Bank title contract at the end of the night becomes more likely to keep him strong.
ARI: I agree. The outcome of this match really depends on whether we get that surprise cash-in. And while I would love to see a surprise cash-in at Mania, I don’t think the set up of the main event is really lent to that, especially with a heel holding the Money in the Bank. So as fun as that is to think about, I think anyone looking for the surprise MITB cash-in, including myself, will be disappointed. I’d be happy to be pleasantly surprised there. But given I don’t expect that, yes, Rollins. He’s hot, they’ve been pumping him a lot, and since I don’t think he’s cashing in tonight, a good strong win sets him up for when he does.
(U.S. Title) Rusev (c) vs. John Cena
SARAH: This one is a tough one to predict, so I’m prefacing this one with “I wouldn’t be surprised either way” – this is like, a 55%-45% split. But I’m thinking I’m going to reflect that split with saying, I think Cena will win the match but not the proverbial war, as either Sheamus (who Rusev put on the shelf) or Lana interferes in this match, resulting in shenanigans, and an ending where Cena wins but does not walk away with the title.
ARI: I hate to sound like your echo, but that’s pretty much my take. I don’t see … you know, scratch that. I’m calling Cena, win and title by a quick pinfall, like when he got the first win on Umaga, so Rusev can still claim it’s sort of flukey, but you can still have the triumphant, hyper-American, flag-waving win holding up the U.S. title at Wrestlemania. Plus, while Cena does lose sometimes at Mania, he doesn’t lose much.
Bella Twins vs. AJ Lee and Paige
SARAH: I’m calling the Bella Twins here, as I think this feud, in some way or another, continues, which means the heels have to go over. They are also the most prominent members of the Diva’s division, so winning on the WWE’s banner event would make sense. Again – this isn’t one I’d bet the farm on, but for the sake of making a pick, Brie and Nikki have a slight advantage here in that regard.
ARI: Again, like you said, this one is a close call … close enough I’m willing to be different here. I think AJ Lee and Paige have some fun frenemy chemistry here and they’re “giving Divas a chance”, and the Bellas are WWE darlings enough with the reality show and all that that I’m sure even losing they could demand a rematch and still have the feud continue. Saying this, I admittedly don’t recall the outcome of their most recent matches, so I can’t speak to any momentum that might be having.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
SARAH: Taker all the way here. While the streak is no more, and I think he becomes more vulnerable as a result, and it probably SHOULD be Wyatt from the standpoint of building for the future, this Wrestlemania isn’t the one Undertaker is going to lose again at; if he intends to come back at all next year, or exit on a high note, he needs his win back. And a good, competitive match with the Undertaker resulting in a near-miss at Wrestlemania doesn’t hurt anyone. Bray Wyatt loses after giving Taker a run for his money.
ARI: No way does Taker lose two in a row.
Sting vs. Triple H
SARAH: If Sting doesn’t win this one, it is nothing but an ego trip on the part of Triple H. And as I actually give H more credit than that, I’m thinking we have the feel-good, first-time-on-WWE win for Sting. The incoming hero triumphs on the biggest stage possible, and that way, whether this is the end of a career, or the first step on to a last run in the WWE, it’s done right.
ARI: They don’t give the fans everything they want at Wrestlemania night, but they come pretty close, and there’s no need for this storyline to be complicated, especially when this might be a “One Match Only” between two very part-timers, I think we get the crowd pleasing Sting win after a good match, probably featuring bat vs. sledge hammer.
(WWE Title) Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
SARAH: There is really no good way to end this in some ways – although Lesnar re-signing with the WWE last week opens up more possibilities than the likelihood that he was leaving. What I DON’T think we see is a straight up “face” Roman Reigns winning the title in your prototypical “Wrestlemania moment” to end the show. There is a possibility of Seth Rollins cashing in, but as Ari said, I don’t know that the surprise factor there outdoes the “heel walks out of Wrestlemania with the belt” factor. I predict, at this point, that Lesnar retains, and offers a respectful handshake to Reigns after a very hard-hitting match. Whether Reigns accepts it or not … or what becomes of Paul Heyman if his guy becomes a face … well not even I’m predicting that one.
ARI: Clearly the hardest one on the card to predict, for the reasons you listed. But as I try to think of fancy ways for them to get out of this, a Seth Rollins cash-in, Sheamus run-in or run-in by someone, I just don’t see it. It feels like fan fiction, not actual likely booking. I think the ending is going to be simpler than we expect. And I think Wrestlemania ends with the sort of tweener Brock Lesnar holding up the belt. Okay, it’s not the prototypical glorious “face moment” like you said, but I could see them trying to recapture the absolute stunned silence of his win at Wrestlemania last year, combined with some of the cheers he has been getting. I can see where, if not rapturous applause, a reaction of sheer amazement after a bunch of F5s or suplexes could be a satisfying enough feeling to close the show on, especially since I’ve predicted a lot of face wins earlier down the card.
There you have it. Did we get it right? Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to offer your comments and predictions, and we hope you enjoy finding out along with us starting at 5pm (pre-show) and 7pm (Wrestlemania itself) later tonight, on the WWE Network, for $9.99 (or $11.99 in Canada). 🙂