Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (Anthony Toto)
Man, the dramatic intensity of this match writes itself. Roman Reigns is the most polarizing wrestler across the entire WWE roster. Dare I say, his presence has officially eclipsed John Cena in terms of inciting pure emotions from fans and critics. Going off last week’s Raw, it feels like Reigns will finally make a full-fledged heel turn since his promo sounded so villain-esque. Simply put, this might be the best decision for his career.
The Undertaker is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers: t-shirts, action figures, and VHS tapes, the list goes on and his dark persona has always resonated with my personal tastes. In my eyes, he is the greatest wrestler of all-time considering his track record of excellence in the ring. He is the one “Phenom” that connects the golden era to the present.
Even three-years later, I cannot forgive the WWE for ending his undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. It truly pisses me off. Straight up, the potential of witnessing The Undertaker lose again at Wrestlemania, it makes me want stop watching the WWE for good. However, one cannot deny the intrigue of having a full-time unstoppable heel like Reigns on Raw.
Back in 2014, Lesnar’s victory seemed so unnecessary since he rarely makes appearances – forget about the UFC and his storyline dominance afterwards. Plus, most fans cheer for Lesnar regardless of his character and even I appreciate his athletic pedigree alongside Paul Heyman’s hustle. It almost feels unanimous: Reigns is despised by most crowds. If he turns into a cold blooded monster to defeat The Undertaker, the hatred towards him could even surpass Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1996.
My prediction: The Undertaker wins by disqualification. Reigns will embrace the power of the dark side and make The Undertaker look human by crossing the line to establish his dominance. WWE cannot mess up this opportunity. Turn Reigns into a vintage Kane inspired villain where he doesn’t have to speak; his brutal actions will send the message effectively. Allow him to destroy the roster, potentially form a new stable of heels with Samoa Joe and The Usos, and eventually give someone like Finn Balor or Seth Rollins the opportunity to save Raw from this “monster.” No Authority, Corporation, or McMahon bullshit alliance either.
In all likelihood, I would not be surprised if he remained a “Face” and defeated The Undertaker clean since this company seizes most opportunities to misfire. For the sake of storytelling, I hope this scenario does not happen. The potential to maximize the vitriol disgust towards Reigns needs to be taken into consideration. In my eyes, he is already the heel in this situation. The Undertaker could also defeat Roman Reigns clean, which would humble someone who has become too arrogant for his own good. Maybe the fans would turn around and cheer for Reigns if The Undertaker raised his hand Jeff Hardy style after the match. You never know what a good tombstone could do for someone’s ego!
The Smackdown Women’s Championship
One must speak up when they feel someone has been slighted and not rewarded for their efforts. The Smackdown Women’s Division continues to be a major catalyst in establishing Smackdown as a relevant WWE program again yet they have been shunned aside for the Wrestlemania Pre-Show. By all means, any moment to perform at Wrestlemania should not be taken for granted but the women in this division have worked too hard not to be featured on the main program.
In my opinion, Becky Lynch is the most talented performer in the company and she has been “straight fire” as the face/leader of Smackdown every single Tuesday night. She should win an award for PI Wrestler of the Year or even a Slammy if the ceremony still exists. Naomi is so charismatic and fun to watch: she possesses the aura of a true superstar and I am very happy that she was able to recover from her injury and compete in this match. Veterans like Mickie James and Natalya could still lace them up and steal the show with the best of them. Alexa Bliss has shown tremendous growth as a heel and champion. Her effort over the last few months deserves to be commended. Having grown up in Staten Island, Carmella immediately earns my respect and her skillset continues to improve each week.
If it isn’t clear by now, my favorite aspect of Smackdown is the Women’s Division. As much as I enjoy Dean Ambrose, I could care less about his Intercontinental Championship match against Baron Corbin. Their feud has been mostly lackluster since there have been much stronger storylines across the show ala the Women’s Division. This might be controversial: I believe the Smackdown Women’s roster is more entertaining and exciting when compared to Raw simply due to numbers and the greater amount of talent on Tuesday nights.
Ambrose vs. Corbin deserves the Pre-Show treatment; I wish the card could be rearranged but I have tremendous faith in the Smackdown’s Women Division to prove the McMahon’s wrong. It just sucks to see generational talent like Becky Lynch and Naomi not receive the proper spotlight. However, there is a very strong possibility for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match and the Cruiserweight Championship match to steal the show at Wrestlemania. To quote Bobby Roode, this would be “glorious.”
My Prediction: Naomi made such a miraculous recovery and her comeback last Tuesday raised my excitement level, which was already high, for this match. The hometown hero will reclaim her throne and win the championship in front of her family and friends. That is right – Naomi walks away the Smackdown Women’s Champion. My second pick: Becky Lynch will put forth one major lass kicking against the likes of Natalya and Alexa Bliss. She has been screwed over multiple times by her competition over the past few months and will overcome the numbers game to walk away champion! Straight Fire!
Cruiserweight Title: Austin Aries vs. Neville (Bill Bodkin)
I’m going to keep this short and sweet — this feud should not end at the end of Wrestlemania 33. No way! Keep this bad boy going! Neville and Aries have had the most compelling feud in the history of the Cruiserweight Title…probably since the WCW days! So that’s why Austin Aries has to win. The good guy cannot keep chasing or he looks like an idiot or incompetent. He needs to win (and knowing Aries he could cheat to win), and then we get a rematch at the next PPV. That could end in a draw or DQ, then we get the rubber match. AA Double, the Greatest Man Alive, wins this one, which they will not give enough time to, and we’ll be in store (hopefully) for a few more weeks of this feud.
RAW Tag Team Titles Ladder Match: The Club vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Big Cass & Enzo (Mike Dworkis)
I love ladder matches. While I held hopes for a Cruiserweight Championship ladder match, I can get behind this. Sheamus and Cesaro have been in a number of Money in the Bank matches, so I consider them apt veterans, while the other four participants, this will be the first major ladder match in WWE, and at WrestleMania no less.
Sheamus and Cesaro have become a successful team, stretching back to their days of animosity as Mick Foley paired them together. At the time, seemed more of a comedy move since they couldn’t get along at all, however their success rate was impressive. I am sure the real motivation is to put two top-tier guys with nothing to do in a different situation, but it turned out to work really well. Nowhere near the success of say, Team Hell No (Bryan and Kane). Their run as Tag Team Champions was debatably short. Short, because within a month they dropped the titles to Gallows and Anderson. The guess of many, is to give them the one reign, and possibly protect The New Day in some way. Nevertheless, they were viewed as transitional champions. This, I don’t agree with as while their reign was short, it had a good build and a satisfying conclusion.
As for Enzo and Cass, this is likely their big moment. Probably the most popular team on the RAW roster, they have been killing it on the mic since their debut on the RAW after last year’s WrestleMania. Not all their feuds have been memorable, but the weekly promos and mostly Enzo’s antics have made this team #1 in the eyes of young and old fans. There have been some stretches where the duo were involved in more singles action, at one point Big Cass earning some main event spots. Enzo’s short injury also put the team on the backburner, but with WrestleMania, a big win for the Smacktalker Skywalker would satisfy even the Cuppa Haters out there.
This leaves us with Gallows and Anderson. Yes, they are tough, mean, and deserving of the gold. Unfortunately, their run in WWE has felt a bit lackluster. When they first made their debut, it was great. Then it sputtered. Then a big feud with The New Day showcasing their own comedic side was a surprising move, but enhanced the entertainment value of their feud. Doctor Gallows, paging Doctor Anderson. The titles serve well to elevate the duo and puts aside any doubts they aren’t a deserving team.
This is WrestleMania, and it seems there has to be one ladder match. We’ve been spoiled with having Money in the Bank as part of the big event, when it got its own PPV, it felt as though something was taken away from Mania. I really believe this ladder match will be a big surprise and show off how much punishment all three teams will dish out. This might not be on the level of a Hardys vs. Edge and Christian vs. Dudley Boyz, but I’m sure it will entertain.
I’m giving it to Enzo and Cass. It’s time.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Bill Bodkin)
If Braun Strowman doesn’t win this, everything is wrong in the world. Seriously, he has to win.
Intercontinental Championship: Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose (Mike Dworkis)
Aside from Brock/Goldberg, this is probably the longest built feud for WrestleMania. Ambrose, so close to staying as a main event WWE Champion, saddled with being king of the midcard, and right now, this is not a bad thing. Ambrose entertains, no matter where he is ranked. Ambrose is a solid daily worker who does what is needed.
Enter Bacon Rorbin. WWE has been high on this guy since his debut. The winner of the 2016 Andre the Giant Memorial hasn’t seen any singles title reigns… Until now. He has been in many high-profile matches, although his being first to go at the Elimination Chamber was a bit of a surprise. He is a good worker in the ring, sometimes comes off a bit robotic, and his mic skills are gradually improving. He is at a point where a big win will elevate his rank and not be seen as just another big guy lumbering around the roster.
Bacon gets the win.
United States Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (Bill Bodkin)
This match is going to be the show stealer. Hands down. However, I think the outcome may be a little obvious. Jericho’s going on tour, and man does Owens need a win right now. I think KO picks up the victory in what will be a phenomenal match.