Liam Hoofe with his predictions for WrestleMania 36…
This weekend, under the most unusual of circumstances, the WWE will host WrestleMania 36. The event is the biggest on the WWE’s calendar and for the first time in history, it will take place over two nights.
In two other firsts for the company, the show will take place in an empty arena (well, two to be exact) and the show will not be live, with the company having pre-recorded the show last week.
While many are sceptical about the quality of the show and the strange atmosphere, it is still great to have something to look forward to this weekend, and the performers will no doubt give it their all to make sure that the fans are entertained.
Let’s take a look at the line-up for this year’s WrestleMania and see which way we think the matches are going to go.
Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
This match should open one of the nights to set a good tone for what it to come. This feud has had plenty of build and it should be entertaining from an in-ring perspective. Owens needs to pick up the win here more than Rollins and the WWE could really push him as a top face in the coming months.
Prediction: Kevin Owens Wins
The Kabuki Warriors vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – Women’s Tag Team Championship
I absolutely love the Kabuki Warriors. Asuka and Sane have been the best champions that the women’s tag-belts have had and their run should continue after Mania. That being said, there aren’t many teams left for them to feud with if they win at the weekend and I have a feeling the WWE is going to pull the trigger on Kairi Sane as a solo star in the coming months. I’m going for some new champions this weekend.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross Win the Women’s Tag Team Championships
Angel Garza and Austin Theory vs Street Profits – Raw Tag Team Championship
This match made very little sense when it was supposed to be Andrade and Angel Garza taking on the Street Profits so it makes even less sense now that it’s Garza and Theory. Theory didn’t exactly make the best impression following his botch on Monday night and it seems highly unlikely that the WWE will take the belts off the Street Profits here.
Prediction: The Street Profits Retain
Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina vs Lacey Evans vs Naomi – SmackDown Women’s Championship
This match has been thrown together with very little rhyme or reason. The logical route here would have been to go for Sasha Banks vs Bayley but given the exceptional circumstances this WrestleMania is happening under, we will let them off. Lacey Evans could be a good outside shout here if the WWE decides they want to change the direction of the Women’s division.
Sasha Banks could win the belt here but I feel it makes more sense to have her take the belt from Bayley in a one on one match. Bayley is on a roll as the champion as this point and having her get a big WrestleMania win is a smart move.
Prediction: Bayley retains the SmackDown Women’s Title
Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair – NXT Women’s Championship
This is the first time an NXT championship will be defended at WrestleMania and it’s unfortunate that it is happening in the circumstances that it is. This is actually one of the trickier matches on the card to call.
Ripley winning would give her a star-making moment, but there is an argument to be made that she already had that at Survivor Series. A victory for her here would be then strange if she just returns to NXT and carries on as normal. Charlotte winning could extend the feud and send The Queen down to NXT for a while to help give them a boost.
While WrestleMania is normally all about making stars, I’m going to give this one to Charlotte. Having Ripley chase Charlotte over the next few months and have a rematch at SummerSlam or Takeover gets some miles out of this feud. It also gives Charlotte some fresh opponents on NXT with the likes of Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and several others all being able to take a shot at her.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair Wins
The Miz and Morrison vs The Usos vs The New Day – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
If reports about The Miz are to be believed, then this match won’t be taking place in the same way as advertised. Whatever route the WWE decides to go down for this match, this could be a show-stealer if it is given the right amount of time.
Tag-team matches have not been treated too well at WrestleMania in recent years though, so this will probably be given less than 10 minutes. The match could go any of three ways but if The Miz is to be going to be away for a while, the WWE may want to take the belts off the champions. You can never rule out the WWE slapping the belts on The New Day for the sake of a feel-good moment but it’s been a while since The Usos had a run with the belts so I’m giving this one to them.
Prediction: The Usos Win
Aleister Black vs Lashley
The only reason I can possibly fathom for this happening is that the WWE wanted to put Black in a tag match with Taker against The OC, changed their mind and then felt guilty about taking him off the card. This makes no sense whatsoever and they couldn’t even be bothered to give a reason for it happening. Black wins and no-one will care.
Prediction: Aleister Black Wins
Elias vs King Corbin
This match couldn’t be any less interesting. This feels as though it belongs on a random episode of Raw or SmackDown. Corbin is probably in need of a win a bit more than Elias here so let’s give him this one.
Prediction: King Corbin Wins
Otis vs Dolph Ziggler
It’s crazy to think that this is one of the few matches on the card that has managed to have had a long build-up. This storyline has been going for some time and given that Otis is super over right now, there is no chance he loses this one. It’s a shame that Ziggler’s first singles Mania match has to be against Otis and this isn’t going to be particularly pretty from an in-ring perspective. Expect plenty of silly shenanigans with this one and for Otis to leave carrying Mandy Rose in his arms.
Prediction: Otis Wins
Daniel Bryan vs Sami Zayn – Intercontinental Championship
Please, please, please, WWE, let this match get more than 10 minutes. If the WWE will allow these two the time, they could put on an incredible match this weekend. They need to keep the shenanigans to a minimum here and let these two do their thing. That probably won’t happen though and Zayn will find a way to win with the help of Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. I hope Gulak doesn’t turn on Bryan because it is far too early for that and their partnership is a lot of fun right now.
Prediction: Sami Zayn retains
Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler – Raw Women’s Championship
It may not be a popular decision but Becky Lynch needs to get her ass handed to her by Baszler this weekend. Her character has been booked as being incredibly cock-sure over the last few months and having her get destroyed at Mania by Baszler gives her character a much-needed refresh. Baszler has been focused on nothing but beating Lynch and winning the title while Becky has been showboating and this should play into the match-up.
Having Lynch get destroyed then take a few months off and return more focused gives her a much more interesting character arc and sets her up to take the belt back from Baszler after Baszler has spent a few months working her way through the division.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler Wins the Raw Women’s Championship
The Undertaker vs AJ Styles – Boneyard Match
It’s a shame that this match is going to be gimmick heavy and that we won’t get to see if AJ Styles could have dragged a good match out of Taker. The gimmick will at least add an element of wackiness to the show though if nothing else.
AJ Styles needs a big win here but the WWE are unlikely to give it to him. The Undertaker does have a habit of losing these kinds of matches and the fact that he is probably going to be the American Badass does mean there is a slight chance he will lose. I’m playing this one safe though.
Prediction: The Undertaker Wins
Randy Orton vs Edge – Last Man Standing
The build-up to this match has been insanely good and it’s such a shame that Edge’s big return has to take place inside an empty arena. These two know each other inside and out and Orton is an excellent choice for Edge’s first match back in the WWE. This is probably the easiest result to pick on the night – Edge is taking this one.
Prediction: Edge Wins
Bray Wyatt vs John Cena – Firefly Fun House Match
While there is every chance this match will be a total disaster, it could also be a lot of fun and will at least spice up the night. The idea of Wyatt appearing in his various guises could prove to be interesting. He is in desperate need of a victory this weekend and given that the gimmick is designed specifically for him, a win is even more essential.
Cena will do his duties here and Wyatt will finally get revenge for that defeat at WrestleMania six years ago.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt Wins
Drew McIntyre vs Brock Lesnar- WWE Championship
One of the saddest things about WrestleMania 36 taking place inside the performance centre is that several wrestlers are going to have their big moment stolen from them, and chief among them is this year’s Royal Rumble winner, Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre has finally managed to ascend to the top of the WWE roster and his crowning moment is going to take place in an empty arena. Will it have an impact on his run as champion? It’s difficult to tell but he has been on fine form lately and this couldn’t have come at a worse time. Either way, expect Mania to go off the air with his hands raised.
Prediction: Drew McIntyre wins the WWE Championship
Goldberg vs TBA for the Universal Championship
With Roman Reigns out, it is still not clear who Goldberg is going to face at WrestleMania 36. While it will probably be announced this Friday night on SmackDown, I’m going to be bold and make my own prediction ahead of time. Braun Strowman is the favourite to take Reigns’s place but I suspect the WWE may resort to type here and have Brock Lesnar step up and defeat Goldberg on night two.
Having McIntyre beat Lesnar on night one and then Lesnar go after Goldberg on night two seems like the most WWE thing to do in this situation and it also takes the belt off Goldberg.
Regardless of whether it is Lesnar or Strowman though, it seems highly unlikely that Goldberg will walk out of Full Sail/The Performance Centre with the Universal Championship.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar is the new Universal Champion