Well for the third year in a row WrestleMania looks passable at best, with not one match that for me qualifies as "must-see." I miss the urgency of the WrestleManias of yesteryear, when the company put together the best possible feuds and matches so 'Mania felt like a climax instead of a bloated standalone show. This card has 13 bouts scheduled, with at least three of those already bumped to the pre-show. I have to think one more will join them - no chance in hell WWE can fit more than 9 matches on the five-hour main PPV, not with that 700-yard entrance ramp. Also, how in the hell is there room on the main card for Goldberg, Taker and Shane but not Zayn, Joe or Kurt Angle?? If you're gonna bring back a near-50-year-old how do you not pick the guy who never stopped wrestling and who could still outwork 90% of the active roster??
Anyway, let's get to it.
***I won the 2016-17 season of predictions, with a 64% accuracy rate to Dan's 56%. We suck.***
Pre-Show Andre the Giant Battle Royal
I've been saying this for two years, but this concept's shelf life is over. The annual Battle Royal to Get Everyone on the Show should be a dark match like in the olden days. Does anyone give a shit about this anymore? Also how do you justify relegating Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn to the goddamn pre-show? Why not do a Strowman-Big Show rematch? Why not do a Zayn-Joe rematch? Christ....
Justin's pick: Strowman is a mortal lock to win this.
Dan's pick: Yeah, he's GOT to.
Pre-Show Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Austin Aries
It's a shame this is on the pre-show because this should be pretty great if given time. Neville's been a great heel Champion so far and Aries is one of the best in the biz. Time to just do a 205 Live PPV event if RAW Creative isn't gonna give this division the main show attention it deserves.
Justin's pick: It's too early to change this belt. Neville retains in a way that allows for a rematch.
Dan's pick: AA will win the day.
Pre-Show Smackdown Women's Championship Six-Pack Challenge: Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella vs. Naomi
This is pretty pointless. Again, gotta cram everyone on the card, so let's have a six-way clusterfuck instead of presenting a compelling feud. Rather than a six-pack challenge (which is what I'll be doing from my couch that night) I was really hoping for a six-way Makeout Match.
Justin's pick: Since Naomi just came back, Naomi.
Dan's pick: I dunno...Mickie.
RAW Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Anderson & Gallows vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Enzo & Cass
First off, I'm not sure why WrestleMania needs a goddamn host every year now. It's a pointless bit of window dressing that just takes time away from the wrestling. Furthermore I'm not sure why The New Day isn't involved in this match or why they seem generally uninterested in winning back their Tag Titles. Ya know, the ostensible reason all these guys are in this fake fighting organization? Anyway, this is another match set up to get as many people on the card as possible. Not terribly interested in the tag scenes on either show right now. Both divisions feel like an afterthought. But the addition of the Ladder Match stip just made this a little more interesting. TLC 2000 this won't be, but they have a better chance now of the match being kinda fun.
Justin's pick: A&G just won these damn things so they should retain
Dan's pick: I'm sick of Enzo & Cass' schtick, so I'm hoping they don't win...but I think they will.
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin
This could be alright. Corbin's been improving slowly over the past few months. I'm still not totally sold on him but Vince obviously is. Because TALL. Should be a fairly unruly match given the two participants.
Justin's pick: Corbin picks up his first Title.
Dan's pick: Yea, I don't dig Corbin too much but he's got the momentum going in.
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
I can't even wrap my head around this one. Like him or not, John Cena is still the company's biggest star AND one of its best workers. Why then, in the FUCK, would you waste him in a mixed tag match at the biggest show of the year? This is akin to Savage & Sherri vs. Dusty & Sapphire. In both cases one of the company MVPs was paired with a female wrestler against the guy he was feuding with and his non-wrestler companion. The 1990 match stunk up the Skydome, and I can't see this being all that noteworthy either. The whole situation is fucking baffling to me. Couldn't we at least get Cena vs. Miz one-on-one (And no, I'm not picking on the women, I just don't like mixed tag matches. At all.) since this show is apparently about redoing shitty 'Mania matches from years past?
Justin's pick: Team Cena wins
Dan's pick: This is so dumb. Cena should be fighting Reigns or Taker or JESUS ANYTHING BUT THIS. Whatever. Cena.
US Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
This is one of the few matches I'm interested in, and just about the only feud that's worked for this show. JeriKO was an angle built over several months with a logical payoff, and now the audience cares about the outcome. Crazy how that works, ain't it? My only issue with this feud is that Jericho doesn't magically become inherently likable just because his asshole friend turned on him. If Owens hadn't put the kibosh on their friendship Jericho would still be a heel. This also holds true for Rollins and Triple H. Why does WWE not understand how good guys work anymore? But this should be an easy Match of the Night contender.
Justin's pick: Owens snags the US belt as a consolation prize for being booked as Goldberg's (and Lesnar's) bitch.
Dan's pick: Jericho overcomes his former best friend and keeps the spangled belt.
RAW Women's Championship Elimination Match: Bayley vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
I like that they changed this to elimination rules. A one-fall 4-way would've been kind of a bore, but now the match should have some real structure, and as long as it gets adequate time could also be a show stealer (The Women's match last year outclassed everything else on the show, so why not?). Presumably Nia murders everyone for much of the bout before being shown the door, Dana Brooke somehow stiffs Charlotte, and Sasha finally turns on Bayley to begin Part 2 of their feud.
Justin's pick: Sasha gets the WrestleMania win she should've gotten last year
Dan's pick: Nia.
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
See, here would've been a great spot for Kurt fucking Angle. Why is Shane still pretending to be an active wrestler? Plug any non-wrestling WWE personality not named McMahon into this spot and tell me that guy would be taken seriously as a threat to AJ. It's fucking absurd. Shane being allowed to hold his own against actual top guys is insulting to the whole roster of wrestlers and undermines the idea that being a good wrestler takes years and years of training. If anyone with a home gym can spar for a few weeks and be good enough to almost beat a former WWE Champion, why doesn't everyone do it? That said, this will probably be the Match of the Night just because AJ Styles is in it. Mr. Styles better have been promised another huge Title run after this. Chrissake Shawn Michaels, why couldn't you have said yes to this match??
Justin's pick: If AJ doesn't win I guess I just don't understand the wrasslin' business
Dan's pick: AJ
Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This match intrigues me just because it's something new. I don't have high expectations for the quality of it since Taker can barely walk these days, but Reigns will work hard to make this memorable. Hey, ya know what would REALLY make it memorable? Turn Roman fucking heel. Have Reigns get so fed up with not being able to put the match away he just grabs a chair and beats Taker senseless with it before pinning him and becoming the 2 in 23-2. That's the only sensible way to book this, and then BOOM, you've got the hottest heel act in the company. The live crowd would CRUCIFY Reigns if he cheated to beat Taker and he'd be mega-over. Then in a year or so you turn him babyface again and maybe, just maybe the fans will like him. Don't be stupid.
Justin's pick: Reigns wins, regardless if he turns or not
Dan's pick: I gotta assume this is Taker's final match...and he should go out on his back. Reigns takes it.
Unsanctioned Match: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
The whole "unsanctioned" nonsense drives me crazy. If WWE hasn't sanctioned this match, why is it even in the official lineup? Why is it taking place in a WWE ring? Why is there a WWE official assigned to referee it? Shouldn't an unsanctioned match take place in the parking lot, just WHENEVER? Stop using fancy words for "No DQ." Anyway, this should be another standout on this show. Rollins is finally, after six months, being portrayed as a relatable babyface, who now admits that selling out his Shield friends three years ago was a mistake and he hasn't liked himself since. It's a story of redemption, and we finally have a reason to root for him. Took ya long enough to correctly book a babyface, jerkoffs!
Justin's pick: Seth wins, ya dumb son of a bitch!
Dan's pick: Ya dumb son of a bitch!
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
I do not know why the WWE Title is included in this feud. This is just some weirdo vendetta thing and shouldn't be for a championship. Really AJ vs. Cena for the belt should be the main event of this show. Furthermore the way we got to this match was so convoluted it made my brain hurt. Orton won the Rumble but then said he wouldn't challenge Wyatt since they were pals. So they had a Battle Royal to determine a new challenger, which came down to AJ and Luke Harper (the ending got botched and Luke clearly won, but whatever). So they had a playoff match (and another one) and AJ won. Then Orton went and burned down Wyatt's shack, under which Sister Abigail was buried (What a likable babyface), and said he changed his mind and would in fact challenge Wyatt. So then Orton and AJ had a playoff match to finally determine the challenger, and Orton won. What the fuck was the point of any of this? And why couldn't they add Harper to this match? Harper is another valuable guy who has nothing to do on this show (Oh wait, he's in the Battle Royal on the pre-show, that makes me feel better). Anyway, this could be decent but I'm not expecting anything close to WrestleMania semi-main event-worthy. The real reason Orton's in this spot is because the company owed him one after letting Brock Lesnar concuss him at Summerslam. Because apparently bladejobs are too barbaric.
Justin's pick: Orton wins his 14th Championship. Yawn.
Dan's pick: No way, Bray keeps the strap.
WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
And here it is, the most pointless WrestleMania main event of all time. The 50-year-old non-wrestler (Sorry but he hasn't had a real match in 13 years, I don't consider the guy a wrestler) against the other part-time guy. The current Universal Champion has logged a total of five in-ring minutes since coming back in November. Wow, what a way to add value to a fictional championship. If this match goes over five minutes I'll be shocked. More likely Brock goes in, suplexes Oldberg a handful of times (I doubt he could take more than four or five bumps) and F5s his way to another Championship Vanishing Act. Yay, then we get to set up Brock vs. Roman for next year. Now I'm on the edge of my seat......
Justin's pick: Brock wins
Dan's pick: Come on.
Well fans, get ready for seven, count them, SEVEN HOURS of wrestling on Sunday. Because bigger = better. Can we for fuck's sake just get a really good four-hour WrestleMania again? One without a reliance on guys from the late 90s? The day is going to come when the Triple Hs, Goldbergs, Shanes, and Takers of the world can no longer do this, and then where will WWE be? They'll have wasted these rebuilding years de-emphasizing their full-time roster every March and April. I mean this show should certainly be watchable but sue me if I expect more out of WrestleMania than "watchable."