Wrestlemania 32 Predictions
I’ve watched WWE for as long as I can remember. It’s my soap opera and besides the two years or so that I was a little bit away from it in my teenage years, it sucked me back in during the Attitude Era. The product, especially this year, has gone downhill -badly. The worst in many years but I still watch it. I like to bitch about it. I like to talk with friends (and justify why I still watch it to my wife) about how we could book it better (or how it should have been booked).
(Note: all pictures are credited from http://www.wwe.com)
The build up to this year’s Wrestlemania (#32!!) has also been the worst in recent years, with boring, drawn-out 3 hour Raw episodes, baffling booking, nonsensical storytelling, and a glaring picture that Vince McMahon is just out of touch with what makes for compelling TV, with his Yes-Men doing nothing to help. Thank goodness for NXT lately, but that’s a whole other story.
I realize that there are many talents out with injuries right now, but the talent available ARE there and WILL work great matches. What they need is some compelling storytelling from the writers and Vince for people to CARE about why they’re in matches together. Let’s not forget that picking the proper wrestlers to face each also contributes to people caring.
I feel with this years Wrestlemania, WWE has let people down with both the storytelling and match-ups. Maybe it’s because WWE isn’t relying on crazy PPV buys anymore. Maybe WWE figures they’ll do enough to entice those who don’t have the WWE Network already to order it and that’s good enough. Maybe, though, just maybe, Vince McMahon and his entourage are just so out of it that it doesn’t matter to anyone else but them.
I’ll break down the problems with the matches on the card and my predictions in this blog. I’m warning you that as I’m reflecting on this card, my language will get worse and worse as I get more upset. Here we go!
The 3rd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
So, the build up for this the last two weeks is the heel/face/heel/face (now? I don’t know…holy shit, WWE, make up your mind) Big Show talking about how he won last year. Then Kane shows up for no reason, helps clear the ring and choke-slams the Big Show. Then this week, a match turns into random run-ins from the leftovers on the roster who are involved in this match with Kane and Big Show standing tall at the end. Do we really care? We know the people in this who haven’t been on TV (or won anything on TV) in months aren’t winning. I say a surprise entrant wins. If there isn’t one…Winner: Kane.
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tag Team Grudge Match)
People were excited to see The Dudley Boyz come back. Then they got jobbed out to The New Day and out of people’s minds. They suddenly turn heel and to get people to boo them, they say they’re not using tables anymore (dear, God…who approves this shit?). So they go after the Usos and they’re both mad at each other and now we’re watching them fight at Wrestlemania for some reason. What’s involved in this “grudge match?” We don’t know. WWE hasn’t told us or intertwined that into their story. The winners will be the team that will actually be sort of relevant in a year. Winner: The Usos.
We get a member of a decent tag team going against someone who has flip flopped between being a heel and a face for the last year and a bit because the writers still don’t know what to do with him. This belt should be on a singles wrestler that is going to be elevated in the next few years. Maybe that’s why they want Kalisto to lose this title to Ryback at Wrestlemania, but then again, Ryback has tried to be elevated but Cena buried him when he was sort of on the up and up, and he’s been in and out of limbo ever since. There’s no story here either for the audience to really care what happens (besides maybe cheering for the little guy). Winner: Ryback
The New Day vs. The League of Nations
WWE has dubbed this match “The Battle for Tag Team Supremacy.” You mean, the idiots couldn’t come up with a standard match for the champs to defend their championship on the flagship show of the year. I shake my head and want to punch the writers and Vince right in the balls. Up until a month or two ago, The New Day were heels. They were bad guys, but they started getting over because they’re entertaining. The League of Nations are all guys that Cena has buried (poor f’n Rusev, huh?) and they are bad guys, too. The “story” over the last few weeks has been the teams traded insults with each other like prepubescent children. Who cares who wins this match??!? There is no gold on the line! Winners: The New Day with WWE probably trying to turn one of the League of Nations member face after the match is done.
The 8-Man Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
Intercontinental Champion, Kevin Owens, will have his belt placed high above the ring and has to grab it by climbing a ladder before one of the other opponents – Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara and Stardust.
Why they didn’t make the US Championship a Ladder Match (or just keep the Money in the Bank match as the main ladder match at a Wrestlemania) boggles my mind. Here, you have maybe four people that COULD win (Owens, Ziggler, Zayn or the Miz) alongside those who haven’t won a match in ages (Ryder is in this match? Seriously?). This match should have been a one on one match – or maybe even a triple threat.
Zayn has just come from NXT, but has WWE put together any vignettes or promos to explain the history of Owens and Zayn from NXT or even tell the majority of WWE Raw watchers WHO Sami Zayn is? NO! That would be LOGICAL! So, they throw this match together, because, oh, who the fuck knows anymore. Winner: Owens (because he’s the man). Maybe Zayn would win so he could feud with Owens, but they COULD have built up the feud for a this championship to actually MEAN something at Wrestlemania.
Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde
I seriously can’t make this shit up if I tried. So, I guess the writers were brainstorming about the Divas and asked, “how do we get Total Divas (the show) more coverage?” Then someone yells out, “throw them all together in a match against all the heel girls that don’t even win shit on Raw and we’ll put that on the card at ‘Mania!”
One of the writers in the room asks, “we only give these girls less than three minutes on TV, don’t you think people will call us out that we’re just throwing this shit together at the last minute?” The other writer again responds, “Who cares? People already bought their tickets for the show, how bad COULD this be?”
Then Vince walks in and says, “I want Eva Marie on the show, too, because she’s as popular as Roman Reigns and I know what the people want! Put her in this match or YRRRR FIRRRRRRD!” Everyone agrees (or pretends to), they book the lead up to this last second match as a last second thought on Raw and now the crowd has a reason to go for a piss and get more beer during the show, because NOW it’s as bad as it could be. Winners: the team of Total Divas as those other girls never win shit.
(EDIT) – Supposedly this match will be put on the pre-show. Whew!
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
On their website, WWE is billing this match (that JUST became official last night) as a “dream match.” They’d be right if they didn’t already wrestle on Raw and Smackdown. If WWE was going to go in this direction, why in the hell did they NOT save this match until ‘Mania? The hype for this match would have been through the roof. Now, it’s just another match between the two with no other stipulations to make it any more special than what we’ve already seen. Thank goodness these two guys are awesome and the match WILL be good. Too bad WWE and their writers missed the opportunity to build this match as an actual “dream match.” Winner: AJ Styles (as Y2J does the right thing by helping talent, not bury them, cough, Cena, cough).
Charlotte (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch – Triple Threat Match for the Divas Championship
HOLY SHIT! A match to actually be excited about?!?! This one may steal the show and is one of the matches I’ll be glued to the set to watch. These three ladies from NXT (along with Bayley) were making waves because they were having amazing matches during their time on NXT, were involved with meaningful feuds with good storytelling, and were cutting engaging promos. Is it no wonder that these ladies were getting more attention from many wrestling fans and critics than the men on Raw? Let’s just pray that Vince and Co. give these girls at least 15-20 minutes to tell their story in the ring like we know they can. Winner: Sasha Banks (although I really wish Becky would win).
Side-note: Let’s hope they re-brand the women’s division and get rid of the stupid “Diva” belt and label. Let’s have a Women’s Championship belt and division back (and hopefully Bayley to the main roster – she can pass the NTX torch to Asuka on Friday night).
Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred Street Fight)
I’m looking forward to this match, too, although there’s no real story here either. These two just want to beat the shit out of each other and the match has an underdog feel to it (just like the Kalisto/Ryback match). I think we’re going to see some blood during this match and some “Wrestlemania moment” spots. I think the reason this is a “No Holds Barred Street Fight” is because it’s the only way WWE can have the audience believe that Ambrose has some chance at actually beating Lesnar. I think because of all the weapons and insane spots that are going to be involved, I’m predicting the winner to be Ambrose. Even if Ambrose loses but goes toe to toe with Lesnar in this match, he’ll come out elevated in the eyes of the fans. If Lesnar loses, it’s because he took the worst beating of his life and won’t be affected in the long run. Winner: Dean Ambrose.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (Hell in the Cell)
I could probably write an article as long as this one just on WHY this match doesn’t make sense. Let’s take a quick look:
a) Shane comes back to WWE/Raw and says he has some secret and wants control of Raw but Vince says he’s going to have to win a match, although Shane already has the upper hand on his dad. Vince picks the Undertaker as Shane’s opponent although Shane didn’t need to agree to any match.
b)The Undertaker didn’t have to fight anyone and came out to say basically nothing to Vince the week after except that Vince is responsible for the beating Shane will get. Yeah, no shit. That’s why Vince made the match.
c)After really hearing nothing about what Shane has to blackmail his dad with, and Shane and Taker not even being ON TV to build any kind of story to this, Vince announces if Taker loses, it’ll be his last Wrestlemania match. Oh well. He can still once or twice on any other PPV a year like he usually does so what does it really matter? And if Shane takes control of Raw, he could probably reverse that stipulation after and should have mentioned that.
There’s even more I could write, but their final encounter on Raw to hype their match featured a big spot with Shane landing an elbow from the top rope onto The Undertaker, who was laying on the announcer’s table. Why would they do such a risky bump that close to the event? Why would they even have those two lay hands on each other and just save it for Hell in the Cell? Oh yeah…to distract from the fact that there should be no way in hell Shane should win against the The Undertaker, let alone be FACING The Undertaker in Hell in the Cell. I could go even further to say even be ON a Wrestlemania card when there are so many others on the roster that would benefit from it.
So we’re left with two options here: Shane wins and he gets control of Raw and puts fake hope in the audience that it will affect the product for the better. In return, no more Undertaker at Wrestlemania. If ‘Taker wins, then…uh, Shane doesn’t get control of Raw and, uh, ‘Taker can’t wrestle a year from now?
Honestly, I have no idea who to pick here as Shane winning shouldn’t happen unless there is some sort of interference (and reason for whoever to be interfering. Wouldn’t that technically be anyone on the roster who feels that Shane would give them a shot?). If The Undertaker wins, this whole story, that makes no sense, will be for nothing. So my prediction is based on that. Winner: Shane McMahon. (for story line progression).
*Quick side-note: when I heard Vince say during a promo that Shane is one of the most formidable opponents The Undertaker has ever faced, I nearly shit myself. That one line just bitch slapped all of the past opponents of the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Vince, you’re an idiot.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship)
I’ll make this last one short and sweet: the story here sucks and this is a title match no one wants to see.Story-wise, The Authority have hated Reigns over the past six months, but they’re the ones giving him the constant title shots?!?!?
The promos have been garbage (two HHH promos on the go-home Raw before ‘Mania? Really?) The crowd boos Reigns because he’s being shoved down our throats. I honestly have no problem with him, but he just hasn’t connected yet like WWE thinks he has. There are so many talents on the roster, but they put the belt on Triple H for the last three months, where someone else could have taken the Royal Rumble victory and run with it and faced Reigns.
I hope the crowd REALLY hijacks this match and shows Vince he’s out of touch. I don’t want to cheer either person and the only thing that will save this match will be interference/appearances by The Rock, John Cena and/or Stone Cold. We’ll have to see. Could Reigns turn heel somehow here, too? That would be kind of cool. Here’s hoping one of these two wins and an impromptu match featuring someone else the people will care about happens and we see two title changes in one night. Ah, who am I kidding? Winner: Roman Reigns.
(FRIDAY AM EDIT) It looks like fans in Dallas have been posting pictures that this match is NOW a NO DQ match! This opens that match up for more violence, more weapons, and like I mentioned earlier above: interference from other wrestlers. Now I think we’ll see Stone Cold and The Rock doing something here for sure.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Let’s hope that this show is better than it looks. I haven’t been less excited for a Wrestlemania in years. Low expectations may bring pleasant surprises. I hope the talent does the best with what the writers have given them through their in-ring performances. I’ll be back next week to hopefully say “it wasn’t that bad” and talk about how the show surprised me and my very critical wrestling friends.