WWE WrestleMania 33 Preview and Predictions

Brian Damage, John Carbery, Jamie Lithgow, Earl Marx and Craig Wilson

It’s time for the biggest night of the wrestling calendar: WrestleMania. Today on the blog, the team share their previews and predictions of each of the 13 encounters set to take place on the night. Without further ado…

Pre-show: Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries

Brian: This could easily be a 5-star caliber match. Aries and Neville are two of the very best in the ring and the build up to this was decent. The only downfall is this is on the pre-show, so fans will most likely still be filing in when it happens.

Winner: Austin Aries

John: Should be a good match in front of a dead crowd. I’m a fan of both guys and it could go either way. I can see Neville retaining, though.

Winner: Neville

Jamie: Putting aside feelings about pre-show matches, this could easily be the match of the night, from a technical standpoint that is. I would usually add a caveat stating that this will be dependent on time, but this match probably won’t be subject to the same time constraints as those on the main show. Being on the pre-show could be a blessing in disguise…

Winner (not clean): Neville

Earl: A-Double has been booked fairly nicely since his return. Unfortunately for him, I am not seeing a need for Neville to drop the title to him just yet. Maybe at the next PPV. The king sits on the throne.

Winner: Neville (c)

Craig: As others have suggested, this should be a good match but it’ll take place in front of a very small audience. A shame but entirely in keeping with the WWE’s focus on the cruiserweights. I’m pleased that the WWE are using Austin Aries and I look forward to him winning here.

Winner: Austin Aries.

Pre-show: Six-pack challenge for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella (with James Ellsworth) vs. Naomi

Brian: I think the return of Naomi changes the entire dynamic of this match. Considering WrestleMania is taking place in Orlando and that is Naomi’s hometown, look for her to win back the title.

Winner: Naomi

John: It’s a sad endorsement that the SD women’s title match is on the pre-show. If like to see Alexa retain here.

Winner: Alexa Bliss

Earl: Well, well, well… *in Joel Gertner voice* I know there has been an internets uproar about this match being on the preshow, but they get no opposition from me. It might actually give them more time than being slotted into the main show. As for the match itself, I can’t say I have high expectations, but I think we could get a “feel good” moment out of this. Let’s go with the hometown girl picking the title up that she never lost.

Winner: Naomi

Jamie: Ever get the feeling that WrestleMania is like one those kids’ sporting events where everybody gets to win? Come on WWE, make the tough decisions. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi in her hometown sounds way better than this, even if we’ve seen it before.

Winner, and new SD Women’s Champ: Naomi

Craig: There is some suggestion that, after all, this match won’t feature on the pre-show and I certainly hope that is the case. This match is packed full of very talented acts from Smackdown and it would be a tragedy if this took place in front of a dead audience as people start to filter into the stadium. Although this has a bit of an air of ‘throwing as many people into a match as possible’, Alexa, Becky, Mickie and Naomi should make this very good. In fact, there are few talents on the roster as good at psychology as Mickie James. But let’s be honest, this is a feel-good story about Naomi regaining the title. Isn’t it?

Winner: Naomi

Pre-show: 30-man battle royal for the André the Giant Memorial Trophy

Brian: First off, I think it was extremely lazy of the WWE to enter every single Smackdown tag team into this battle royal. You mean you couldn’t have a tag title match? Secondly, I think the most obvious pick to win is Braun Strowman and he probably will win it but I like an underdog this year. What better underdog is there than Sami Zayn?

Winner: Sami Zayn

John: Braun Strowman deserves to win this match, between Mania last year and now he’s improved immensely and a win at Mania would aid his progression.

Winner: Braun Stowman

Jamie: In keeping with my traditional feelings towards this match; I don’t care. If Braun Strowman is involved then I assume he wins purely because I don’t see him losing.

Winner: Braun Strowman

Earl: This is probably the most star-studded battle royal they have had yet. It’s actually a testament to how deep the rosters are. With talents such as Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, The Usos, American Alpha, and so many more available, it definitely makes you feel like we’ve got a big one here. Such a shame this big one will belong to BRAAUUUUUUNNNNN!!!

Winner: Braun Strowman

Craig: So much talent is chucked into such an inconsequential match. I dislike battle royals and one with over 30 competitors won’t be great. It’ll start with ten-fifteen acts being tossed out almost straight away and, hopefully, be over fairly quickly soon after. I like Brian’s idea of Sami Zayn winning especially as the WWE have made it so clear that it is Strowman. Zayn wins only if the WWE think it has become too predictable.

Winner: Braun Strowman

Triple threat ladder match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Cesaro and Sheamus

Brian: This could be a show stealer if executed properly. We all know that the Club and Cesaro/Sheamus can bring it in the ring. I am, however, a little leery of Big Cass and Enzo Amore, more so Enzo. With that said, I think the WWE wants them as champions.

Winners: Big Cass and Enzo Amore

John: I could see Enzo and Cass winning this.

Winners: Enzo & Big Cass

Jamie: This does nothing, absolutely nothing for me. This is better than a Smackdown Tag Title match how exactly? Because it’s on Raw and Enzo has catchphrases? So much for Smackdown not being a B show anymore…

Winners: Gallows and Anderson

Earl: Wow!!! A last-minute ladder stip boosts interest in a match I was definitely not interested in. While the heart desires a Good Bros victory, it’s about time we crown Enzo and Cass with the titles. Does that mean we are going to hear more of Enzo? For those who love him, yep!! For those of us who have worn a little tired of it, a dejected yes comes over me.

Winner: Enzo and Cass

Craig: I’m 100% with Jamie, I’d rather see the tag teams from Smackdown giving this spot than this. But, hey, this is what we’ve got. Enzo and Cass should be nowhere near the tag team titles but we all know they are leaving with the gold, don’t we?

Winners: Enzo and big Cass.

Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin

Brian: Is there any conceivable way that Baron Corbin does NOT win the Intercontinental title in this contest?

Winner: Baron Corbin

John: Ambrose hasn’t impressed me much in a long time and while Corbin is hardly the hottest prospect in WWE I’d rather be won and was given some upward momentum. Ambrose is sliding into the dreaded Ziggler spot, I hope they turn him heel soon and allow him to be an asset to SD.

Winner: Baron Corbin

Jamie: WWE seems to like Corbin. I have no idea why, but he has been booked relatively strongly since appearing on the main roster so I assume if he doesn’t win he’ll be protected in defeat at the very least.

Winner, and new IC Champion: Baron Corbin

Earl: This feud had a slow start to it, but it has picked up pretty nicely and I do not expect it to be over just yet. I think we should get some kind of intense match here and hopefully a match with a stipulation in the future. Let’s go with the champ retaining on their first outing.

Winner: Dean Ambrose (c)

Craig: Ambrose has consistently been poorly booked with a title, regardless of which one. His initial run with the IC title was so flat and this time around it is no different. A real shame that the WWE can’t get it right with him as champion. With that in mind, and the way that the WWE clearly have big plans for Corbin – regardless of whether or not I personally think that’s right – and winning the IC title at WrestleMania 33 is the beginning of that big push.

Winner: Baron Corbin.

Singles match for the WWE United States Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Brian: This will be the match of the night I believe. Great story behind it with two tremendous wrestlers involved. Jericho is rumored to be taking time off after ‘Mania so the choice is simple…

Winner: Kevin Owens

John: This one feels academic. Owens defeats Jericho to end their long angle and then moves on to his next feud as US Champion.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Jamie: Yes please. The only problem I see for this match’s attempts to be brilliant are time. This card is stacked and there are some powerful people in other matches who will not want to cut time from their bouts. I reckon Owens wins the first battle in this war. If Jericho is taking time off then his return will be awesome if he targets Owens.

Winner, and new US Champ: Kevin Owens

Earl: As I cry inside at the thought of this match, I have come to fully accept this match is going to happen. I almost want the “Fingerpoke of Doom” to occur and the BFFs pull one over on us, but that will likely not happen. Not sure when Jericho is taking time off, but he doesn’t need the US title. Neither does Owens, but it keeps him a focal point with a title (see Reigns ala Fall 2016)

Winner: Kevin Owens

Craig: I’m looking forward to this one. The storyline has been excellent and these are two of my favourite current acts, what’s not to love. I certainly don’t share Earl’s cynicism towards this one. I know Jericho won’t win, I know he’ll be off to do his own stuff and, frankly, Kevin Owens needs the win and a good run with the title.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Singles match
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

Brian: I really think this match will be very good…if not great. AJ Styles is truly phenomenal in the ring and Shane is known to bump like crazy selling all of his opponents offense. As crazy as this may sound, I think this map will put AJ Styles on the WWE map like it did way back when for Kurt Angle against Shane O’Mac.

Winner: AJ Styles

John: I hope this one is worth it. Seeing as WWE had a habit these days of booking confusing, frustrating finishes on Mania cards I’d be worried about the ending here killing the crowd.

Winner: Shane McMahon to a chorus of boos.

Jamie: I like AJ Styles and of all the McMahon’s, Shane is my favourite. However, what the hell is this? It doesn’t even make storyline sense because Shane initially backed AJ to face Wyatt, it was Daniel Bryan who fought Orton’s corner.

Winner, hopefully: AJ Styles

Earl: This is such an interesting match to me. The feud has somewhat popped up on us. I definitely sense AJ’s frustration, but where does it leave him if he beats Shane? What does Shane get out of beating a top talent on SD? Does Shane challenge for the World Championship? Nah. I don’t see a long feud here. Let’s give AJ his first WM win.

Winner: AJ Styles

Craig: This is about giving AJ Styles a WrestleMania win but there’s so much to be confused about regarding this match: why no stipulation? Why did the WWE not give him something better than tangling with Shane O’ Mac? Don’t get me wrong, big fan of Shane but AJ Styles was the MVP of last year, he should have had something better on the horizon than this.

Winner: AJ Styles

Fatal 4-Way elimination match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Brian: Another potentially great match that I think will deliver. Nia Jax adds something different to this match. I look for a Sasha Banks heel turn and for Charlotte to regain the title.

Winner: Charlotte

John: I don’t like that the women’s title matches are both multi-girl affairs. At least once of the belts should’ve been defended in a singles match and that match should’ve been defending champ Charlotte vs Bayley as the challenger. What we’ve got here is a four-way designed to get as many women on screen as possible at the expense of booking a great single.

Winner: Charlotte

Jamie: Not for me. Whenever I try to catch up with Raw I see a combination of these women wrestling each other. I’ve seen every conceivable version of this match to the point that I don’t care about what should be a very good contest.

Winner: Bayley

Earl: Charlotte’s streak is over. Nia has become a dominant member of the women’s roster. The Sasha Banks heel turn is impending. If that is going to happen, seems like we should keep the title on a babyface. Is there anyone more “babyfacey” than Bayley? I ‘on’t think soooo.

Winner: Bayley (c)

Craig: As Earl suggests, I have worries that the WWE may try and squeeze so much into, what is likely to be, a short bout. This’ll be where Sasha turns heel, right? But will it be in costing Bayley the gold or through not being able to take the title from around her waist? Is Nia Jax stoppable here or does she leave with the title? Will Charlotte rebound back from her first PPV loss and become the champion for the 145342342 time? The WWE have done well it making it seem like virtually anyone could win here. Part of me does think Bayley leaves with the title still.

Winner: Bayley.

Mixed tag team match
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

Brian: You have to give credit where credit is due, both the Miz and John Cena did a fantastic job building this mixed tag team match up. No doubt that Nikki Bella and John Cena will win it.

Winners: John Cena and Nikki Bella

John: This match actually had the best build, in my opinion, I only wish Cena and Miz had a similar build for their main event a few years ago…

Winner: Cena and Nikki

Jamie: I hate The Miz, but Mike Mizanin comes across as a nice guy. Nikki Bella, on the other hand, is a terrible, terrible role model. To most people, that’s not a big deal, but her character is of exactly that! I’m rooting for Miz and Maryse, but fear the worst.

Winners: Cena and Nikki

Earl: I tell you…Miz has had an amazing year. Really. When rumors of this feud first broke, a large groan came over me. But I was wrong. Everyone in this feud has done such a good job to keep it going and make it interesting. I’m somewhat split on the ending. If Cena is going to be out, let’s make him get a win on his way out.

Winner: John Cena and Nikki Bella

Craig: As others have said, the build to this has been fantastic. The Miz is having a tremendous time of it of late and is certainly on an upwards trajectory. Sadly, the recent focus on will John Cena propose or not (don’t care) rather than on this match. But this could be good. I do hope The Miz wins this but I see it going Cena and Nikki’s way as all the focus remains on the soap opera of the future of their lives.

Winner: Cena and Nikki.

Non-sanctioned match
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H

Brian: This also has the potential to be a very good match, the question is: how hurt is Seth Rollins? If he is limited in any way, I think it will slow the match and hurt itself. I expect it to be entertaining, though.

Winner: Seth Rollins

John: Should be a solid match and between the two in the ring should be the best display of actual wrestling.

Winner Seth Rollins

Jamie: Okay, so we know that Samoa Joe will interfere, but what else will happen in what will likely be the show’s most gimmicky match? I’m interested to find out but terrified of the prospect of such interference allowing Triple H to win when storytelling logic says Seth Rollins has to win this one. Triple H can take the rematch, but give Rollins the win at ‘Mania.

Winner, sadly: Triple H

Earl: I am a Seth Rollins fan. Yes. Deal with it. I can’t say I am most interested in the match up, but the build-up has been nice. I think Seth does the job here. I just don’t see Trips losing at ‘Mania two years in a row. Samoa Joe with the interference?

Winner: Triple H

Craig: First thing’s first, I certainly hope that the pessimism of Jamie and Earl isn’t realised here. Triple H doesn’t need another WrestleMania win, this should, hopefully, be about launching Rollins onto whatever is next – presumably something with Joe who, as Jamie suggests, is likely to interfere here. Wonder if we might also see Balor here…

Winner: Seth Rollins.

Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

Brian: As always, this match needs to be done fast and well, otherwise there will be a fan mutiny ala their match at WrestleMania 20.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

John: This match is really unpredictable but I do want to see it so I guess it’s a success already.

Winner: Bork Lazer

Jamie: Very interested in this one, believe it or not. Surprising because I had zero interest in their match at Survivor Series. I am 99% sure that Lesnar will win, my interest is in just how that will happen and what this match will look like.

Winner, and new Universal Champ: Brock Lesnar

Earl: The OTHER match I am most interested in. I don’t want this thing to be 20 minutes, but I want it to be longer than 10. I want a fight. Blood. Angst. Torture. Everything their first match wasn’t. Will I get this? Not sure. But I do believe Paul…..F5…and Goldberg is down. New champ.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Craig: This will be short. It can’t not be short. It won’t be Survivor Series short but still over fairly quickly. Spear, Jackhammer, kick-out, F5, finish.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

Singles match for the WWE Championship
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

Brian: I think the WWE traditionally allows the fans to go home happy with a popular wrestler winning the big match. I think this time, the villain wins. Bray Wyatt needs the WWE title more than Orton does and there is so much more potential in a Bray Wyatt champion.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

John: I hope Bray gets the win here as it would mean more in the long run to have a new champ and headliner win than a member of the old guard Orton.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Jamie: I very much doubt this will go on last, but you never know. Either way, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in this one. Randy Orton is the definition of generic, he may as well be called ‘Player 1’.

Winner, and new WWE Champ: Randy Orton

Earl: This match makes me most proud considering this feud has had an “old-school” booking approach to get to it. Now the outcome is questionable to me. Something in me is screaming that there’s a very good chance Randy will FINALLY overcome the demon that has been Bray Wyatt. I just….also feel like I do not want Bray’s first reign to be so short. Therefore…screw it, I am going with Bray retaining. I’m probably going to be wrong here.

Winner: Bray Wyatt (c)

Craig: This has been another entertaining build-up, although veering, at times, pretty close to the ridiculousness. We always knew Orton winning the Rumble would lead to this, despite attempts from the WWE to suggest otherwise. But here we have it: Orton challenging for the title. I think this should be good and Bray will retain but I do wonder if we’ll see a new member of the Wyatt family cost Orton. Perhaps Bo Dallas?

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Singles match
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

Brian: I know that Roman Reigns gets a lot of grief for being, well, Roman Reigns but this is a match that Reigns needs to win. The Undertaker’s streak is over, he is old and banged up. It is time for new blood to get a rub. Roman Reigns may not be the popular choice, but he is WWE’s heir apparent to John Cena.

Winner: Roman Reigns

John: I’ve read rumours that Roman is turning heel here. I hope they’re true.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Jamie: As an Arsenal fan, I’ve had just about enough of legendary figures clinging on just that little too long, but not wanting to say it out loud. It might be alright on the night, but when you look at Taker standing next to Roman it is hard to take this match seriously. I am certainly not a Roman Reigns fan but, heel turn or no heel turn, he must win this match.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Earl: This is one of two matches I am VERY interested in its handling. The other is Brock and Goldie. All signs are pointing to the coronation of a new “Big Dog”. I just can’t see why we’d go with a Taker win here, especially when he’s going to disappear after the event. If it isn’t Taker’s last match, I wouldn’t mind him coming back to haunt Reigns. Yep….I am a Roman fan and am predicting his win. You may deal with it however you’d like.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Craig: if, as it is to be believed, this goes on last, Christ can you imagine the deafening boos to close the show if Reigns goes over. Hell, every time he appeared on screen at the Hall of Fame ceremony, it was met with a crescendo of boos. Beating the Deadman at the grandest stage of them all will get an even worse reaction. But surely The Undertaker doesn’t win this, what would be the point? Perhaps to bow out on a high, particularly if rumours are true that Jim Ross has signed a deal with the company to call this match.

Winner: The Undertaker

Overall thoughts

Brian: WrestleMania is the biggest night of the year for the WWE and understandably so. It is also completely overhyped and booked with way too many nonsensical distractions. I mean do wrestling fans really need to endure a Pitbull musical performance? This card has real potential to be one of their better ones in a while. I just hope it can live up to the hype.

John: I think it’ll be a good show, the last few have been. I hadn’t felt compelled to watch the TV leading in and I don’t think it’ll be remembered as a classic show but like all Manias it’ll be worth reading for one reason or another.

Jamie: WWE Title match aside, the higher up the card we go the more interested I am, so it’s job done in that respect. I’m certainly more interested this year than the last couple, so I guess you can say that I’m excited for WrestleMania. By golly it’s been a while!

Earl: This has been an awesome ‘Mania build. Yeah, we have had some less than stellar moments on the path, but each match has had a very interesting build to it. I…almost think it’s the ‘Mania we should have gotten last year. I WILL NOT place high expectations on it, but I am amped as a wrestling fan. Definitely one of the best ‘Mania cards I have seen on paper. LET”S GOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Craig: On paper, this is one of the best ‘mania cards I’ve seen in a long, long time. There’s only a few things here I’m not really too fussed about on this card and only a few things I’d change, if I could. This should be a good show and I’m genuinely looking forward to it.

2 thoughts on “WWE WrestleMania 33 Preview and Predictions

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2017 week 14 | Ring the Damn Bell

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