Jamie Lithgow, Craig Wilson, Chris Flackett & Brian Damage
So tonight is the night, it’s the night of the biggest show of the WWE calendar: Wrestlemania. Will Brock Lesnar leave as WWE Champion or will Roman Reigns win the gold? Can Rusev keep hold of the US Championship despite the challenge of John Cena. All that and more is scheduled for tonight’s event. Today on the blog, the team share their thoughts and predictions on Wrestlemania 31
Pre-Show WWE Tag Title match: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. The Usos vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores
Jamie: Everyone in this match is in need of attention from creative, I’m just not interested in anybody here. I do expect some good action though.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Craig: It’s a shame that this is currently scheduled for the pre-show. It would be a bigger shame if Tyson Kidd and Cesaro dropped the gold. There’s lots of potential in this pairing.
Chris: How the mighty have fallen. Last year Cesaro became a Hayman guy. This year he’s subjected to ‘Boring E. Langston.’ I don’t have a twitter account, but I do think #justiceforcesaro should trend – RIGHT NOW! A match with two teams I care about (Cesaro/Kidd & The Usos) and two I really don’t. I’d love to see Cesaro prosper but I think the occasion will be used to reinstate The Uso’s into championship glory.
Winners: The Uso’s.
Brian: This has the potential to be a great match. All the teams involved have an exceptional skill level. With that said, I see a Cesaro/Kidd victory.
Winners: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Jamie: I hate when WWE try to cram everybody onto Wrestlemania. Yeah, it’s good for the boys to get a pay day but to viewers it’s just added clutter and more people not to care about. Obviously not winning this match are The Big Show and Kane, and I assume Mizdow will eliminate The Miz. My bet is Sheamus returns and wins it.
Craig: This is a bit of a jobber-fest with so many guys obviously not going to win this one. It weakens this type of match when you look at the list of entrants and can pinpoint so many that you know don’t stand a chance. I hope that whoever does win this match gets treated better as a result of the win than Cesaro did last year. As for the winner, I hope Curtis Axel. Axelmania has been fun.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Chris: I’m usually a sucker for a good battle royal, but I don’t think this is going to be a good battle royal. Goldberg…*cough* sorry, I mean Ryback for the win.
Brian: Not a great sign when they moved this to the pre show…but I see Sheamus as an easy winner if he is entered…otherwise….Mizdow gets my nod.
The Bellas (Divas champion Nikki Bella & Brie Bella) vs. Paige & A.J. Lee
Jamie: I really hate The Bellas, it’s about time they got their comeuppance. I don’t hate them in a good way either. They have yet to master the art of being evil without being annoying as fuck. Problem is, Paige and AJ might fight amongst themselves. Hmmm…
Winners: Paige & AJ Lee… I hope
Craig: Not terribly bothered by this match at all. That said, I hope that the Bellas don’t win this but who really knows?!
Winners:Paige and A.J Lee
Chris: At the risk of appearing sexist (which I’m not), I really have no interest in the current divas division. Why does no one aspire to be Bull Nakano anymore? (mental haircut and all.) But on the basis of the storyline, I suspect the Bellas will sneak the win.
Winners: The Bellas
Brian: A meaningless tag team match…could be good…could be really bad.
Winners: AJ and Paige
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Jamie: Here we go, a proper match and a tough call too. I hope this is heated with plenty of good brawling, it is a grudge match after all. I don’t see a clean finish – the other members of The Authority will see to that – but I’m going for an Orton win, maybe after Big Show accidentally KO’s Rollins.
Winner: Randy Orton
Craig: This should be one of the best matches of the night for me. There’s a grudge, long term history as well as two top workers. What could possibly go wrong? Like Jamie, I certainly don’t envisage that this will have a clean finish but it should be good nonetheless.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Chris: Was this year’s Rumble actually a premature peak for Rollins, when it looked like the start of an upward soar into the stratosphere? Since January, Mr Money In The Bank has looked more like Little Boy Piggy Bank. Still, this is shaping up to be a heated, exciting little match. But it is a match Rollins needs to win if he’s going to become the star WWE believes him to be. I don’t think Vince will let him down on the night.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Brian: Another match that could steal the show if done right. Seth is off the charts great and Randy when properly motivated can turn out solid matches.
Winner: Randy Orton
U.S. Title match: Rusev (w/Lana) vs. John Cena
Jamie: I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but this is the match I am most anticipating. Why? Because it has been built to naturally and as a fan I’m ready to see them go at it one more time. This is tricky to call though, because basic story telling would have the good guy (Cena) finally overcome the bad guy (Rusev) on the big stage. However, WWE does not deal in finite stories. Jobbing to Cena would undo months of good work building Rusev up. I hope Rusev is protected as much as possible because…
Winner, and new US Champion: John Cena
Craig: The outcome of this one depends more on Vince McMahon’s plans for Cena at Wrestlemania 32 than anything else. In reality, Rusev should win this one. Rusev has to win this one. But will he? Ultimately, it destroys the gimmick to a certain extent if he doesn’t.
Winner: Rusev, and hopefully clean
Chris: There is not one single thing that makes me want to care about this match; not the wrestlers in it, not the title and least of all the storyline. The racist anti-American angle has been done to death, and this in no way competes with the heat Slaughter and Hogan had (at least those two gentleman had charisma). Tasteless story, talentless combatants. If Rusev wins, my view of the current WWE will improve – but don’t get your hopes up…
Winner: John Cena.
Brian: I really don’t see anyway that could be beneficial to anybody if John Cena wins the US title and defeats Rusev. The other piece of me says…this is the WWE and it often times defies logic.
IC Title ladder match: Bad News Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan
Jamie: I’m not into this match at all, which is a shame. I enjoyed Ambrose and Barrett’s little feud heading into Fastlane, but then it morphed into this. I fear this will go over huge and be an awesome spectacle, but be forgotten about within a week.
Winner, and new IC Champion: Daniel Bryan
Craig: Another match I’m genuinely looking forward to and one I imagine will kick off the event in all reality. A high spot opening encounter to star the show isn’t a bad idea. I’m in two minds about the build-up here. Sure, it’s made the title itself front and centre but it’s also made the champion, and to a lesser extent the other superstars, look a bit weak as a result of the slapstick shenanigans. Genuinely anyone, bar perhaps R-Truth and Luke Harper, could walk away with the gold.
Winner: Plucking a name out of the hat.. Dean Ambrose.
Chris: A match with potential. Judging by the pre-Mania Raw, the likely contenders here are Ambrose, Ziggler and Bryan. WWE may surprise us all and have Barrett overcome all the odds (“I’VE GOT SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YER!!!”) but I can’t see it after the burying he’s had. Personally, Ambrose, Ziggler and Bryan are all equally deserving of the gold, and, with the right push, the title could regain a sense of the prestige it once had. I’d love to see Bryan win, but I’ve got a sneaky feeling Ambrose will slip out with the title on the night.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Brian: This should be the match of the night. I see Daniel Bryan winning it..but wouldn’t at all be surprised if Bad News Barrett retains.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
Jamie: Absolutely no way the Undertaker should win this, unless Bray Wyatt’s new nickname is going to be ‘Not As Good As Brock Lesnar’. I can’t think of any way for Wyatt to lose and not look like a total numpty.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Craig: Like Jamie, there’s absolutely no way that Undertaker should leave this one as the victor. That would kill the Wyatt character.
Winner: Bryay Wyatt
Chris: This was a match I was very excited about, until ‘Taker’s continuous and inexplicable no shows, leaving Wyatt to carry the build up on his own. But one man does not a good feud make. Taker wouldn’t haves dared do this to Lesnar so why is it acceptable to diss Wyatt like this? In any case, I still think Wyatt will bring the best out of Taker on the night. If done right, this would be the perfect passing of the torch that would give Wyatt the star power he deserves and allow Taker to retire gracefully. The fact that the streak is over could also lend an air of unpredictability to proceedings – it’s anybody’s match. Still, if history has taught me anything, it’s that zombies and old superstars refuse to die. And would Taker really stand for two Wrestlemania losses in a row?
Winner: The Undertaker.
Brian: Bray Wyatt has every reason in the world to win this match and solidify himself for years to come. I just don’t see Undertaker losing two years in a row.
Winner: The Undertaker
WWE vs. WCW: Triple H vs. Sting
Jamie: I’m not saying this to be a cynic, but I’m genuinely not interested. If they were fighting for control of Raw or something then maybe, but as it is; no thanks.
Craig: My thoughts seem in sync with Jamie throughout this card, I too am not interested in this one. Had this happened more than a decade ago then it might have been different. That’s when this match should have happened and it would have meant something. Sure, there’s a value in finally seeing Sting in a WWE ring but it’s not a big selling point for me on Wrestlemania 31.
Chris: My most anticipated match of the evening. Even with both men being past their prime, this match just feels like a big-time classic Wrestlemania match. I confess to being biased, having been a Sting fanboy since the early 90’s. Even so, approach this one with caution. The quality of Sting’s in-ring work during the end of his TNA run was tired at best. Still, Triple H is no Magnus (thank god) and a Sting victory will give the fans that feel good moment that the main event won’t.
Brian: I think everybody is expecting a Sting win….I just don’t believe it 100% My guess, Triple H wins in a screw job finish.
Winner: Triple H
WWE World Title match: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
Jamie: Again, not interested. I don’t buy Roman Reigns as a main eventer and certainly don’t see him beating Brock Lesnar. Surely WWE realise that we realise that Reigns has been forced into this main event? Heaping more pressure on him with a big win and the WWE Title won’t help his cause. The dude needs character, motivation and purpose, not the WWE Title.
Winner, and still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar
Craig: I think this one might end up being called on the night really. If the crowd is pro Roman and anti-Brock, unlikely I know, then the outcome may just change on the fly. I think the fact that Lesnar has ruled out a return to MMA changes the dynamic a bit too. What it means for Roman Reigns long term? I have no idea but the project isn’t working. I don’t think making him champion will change that.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Chris: A no brainer. As unpredictable as a Lesnar win would be, it wouldn’t serve anybody well at this point. A Reigns victory is the only real feasible outcome, but where he goes from here is anybody’s guess. Look for Rollins to potentially cash n his Money In The Bank briefcase after the match if he does beat Orton.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Brian: It should be a train wreck…both athletically and audience reaction wise. I don’t think Roman will win…but what I do see here is a controversial ending to get people buzzing. Either Roman wins the title by turning heel and Paul Heyman aligns with him thus making Brock a face…..or Roman or Brock wins and Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the bank briefcase.
Winner: Roman Reigns…..Seth cashes in and becomes new WWE champion.
Overall thoughts on Wrestlemania 31
Jamie: Easily the least excited I’ve ever been about a Wrestlemania. I think that we’re long overdue a big angle or swerve at Wrestlemania, to make tuning into Raw essential. I say that in hope, rather than expectation though. The fact that I’ve not bothered to book the following day off work (I’m the UK remember) and haven’t given any thought to when I might watch this show says it all.
Craig: It’s well documented on the blog already but I’m just not excited by this, much in the same way Jamie isn’t and I too don’t have Monday off. As I write I am watching a preview build-up show on The Network and even it’s not giving me a buzz about Sunday.
Chris: There has been much talk amongst fans about the lack of build up to this year’s Wrestlemania, and I can’t disagree. What I will add though is that there are a few matches on the night (the IC title ladder match, Rollins/Orton, Sting/Triple H,Taker/Wyatt) that will give WWE a chance to redeem themselves on the night it matters. It also must be said that as obvious as the result of the Reigns/Lesnar match is, it will be interesting to see what kind of story they’ll tell in the ring to get there. So, it might not be the event we all wanted, but it can be salvaged on the night. Whether it will be, though…well, we don’t have long to wait to find out!
Brian: Meh…not overly excited but optimistic.