Thursday, March 31, 2016

WrestleMania 32 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to a brand new season of WWE PPV Predictions, with myself and Dan Moore.  Dan won last season 67/94 to 64/94 but the slate is now clean and I'm fixin' to Reign supreme this time (Reign, get it?  Like Roman?  Eff you.).

This Sunday is WWE's 32nd annual flagship PPV, WrestleMania, and much like last year it's lookin' like kind of a stinker.  What was once the most fun period on WWE's calendar has become just another shitty couple months where the creative team phones it in and the wrong guys get prime spots on the card.  I will say though, there are a few matches I'm actually excited about this time, which was not the case for me last year.  So let's get to predictin' this crap.

Pre-Show Match: The Usos vs. The Dudleyz

This year the two-hour pre-show will boast not one, not two, not three, but FOUR matches.  Yup, of the eleven bouts booked, 35% will take place before the PPV even starts.  When did WWE become incapable of fitting 8-10 matches on a four-hour show??  The first of these unfortunately placed showdowns pits The Usos against the recently heel-turned Dudleyz.  I don't even remember what they're feuding over, but they're feuding apparently.  Nothing at stake here, but the match should be fine.

My pick: The Usos
Dan's pick: I JUST DON'T CARE. Go Dudleyz

Pre-Show 5-on-5 Divas Match: Total Divas vs. Team Bad & Blonde

Yeah, this is pointless.  There is some good talent in this match (Natalya, Paige, Naomi) but none of it will be used in a meaningful way.  This is one of three "Let's get everyone on the card" bouts.

My pick: Total Divas win.  Because ratings on E!
Dan's pick: Divas

Pre-Show Andre the Giant Battle Royal

Only took three years (two really) for WWE to make the Andre Battle Royal completely irrelevant.  After Cesaro got a huge moment in 2014 and was then not pushed at all, WWE booked The Big Show to win in 2015, and not get pushed at all.  So who will 2016's winner be, who won't get pushed at all?  Since basically no one announced for this match thus far matters in the slightest it's a hard one to pick.  My personal choice would be Tyler Breeze, because he's really good and they haven't done dick with him since he got called up.  But Vince doesn't like him.  Because of brass rings.

My pick: Someone Vince does like, despite his complete lack of talent or overness, Braun Strowman.  For fuck's sake.
Dan's pick: I'll go with his brother in arms, Bray. But I don't care.

Pre-Show US Title Match: Kalisto vs. Ryback

New rule, guys.  Stop putting Title matches on the Pre-Show.  If a Title isn't important enough to be defended on a PPV it shouldn't exist.  Period.  This should've been the 7-man Ladder Match since Kalisto is a high-flier and there's zilch going on between these two other than the US Title (which isn't important enough for a PPV apparently).  The match itself should be fine, though I'm not invested much in either guy.

My pick: Ryback wins the belt
Dan's pick: Ryback will win and will also probably injure Kal with some sort of botched move.

7-Man Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler, vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz

I've said it before.  I'm sick to death of multi-man Ladder Matches.  Especially at WrestleMania.  This is apparently the new Money in the Bank (even though MITB still has its own PPV).  Given that there's a real feud going on within this group of people this bout should be replaced with a singles match: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn.  Christ.  And what the shit are Ryder, Stardust & Sin Cara doing here?  Has any of them beaten anyone in the last three years?  Whatever, this'll be another fun match that I'll have forgotten about as soon as it's over.

My pick: Kevin Owens
Dan's pick: KO-MANIA

Handicap Match: The New Day vs. League of Nations

I'm unsure of two things.  1) Why isn't New Day defending the Tag belts at the biggest show of the year?  2) Why is WWE trying to turn them good?  Their whole act is based on being jackasses, and the crowd cheers them because they're so good at it.  Turning them babyface is gonna ruin everything.  Plus their heel opponents here have zero heat.  Man, League of Nations could've been a great stable had WWE made any effort to get them over.  Nope, buncha clowns.

My pick: Since it's a non-title match, LON wins
Dan's pick: Dude, seriously, what's the point if it's not for the belts? New Day

Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

This is one of three matches I'm genuinely excited about.  All three of these women are fantastic, and if given fifteen minutes this could actually steal the show.  This match could and should be the first legitimately good women's match in WrestleMania history.  Charlotte's doin' great as the superior heel Champion, while Sasha and Becky are both very over as babyface challengers.  WWE better not fuck this up.

My pick: I think Sasha gets a big 'Mania moment by winning the strap.  And hopefully they'll change the name of it back to Women's Championship
Dan's pick: Should be Sasha.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

The second match I'm excited about, though I'd be moreso if we hadn't seen it thrice already.  But now Jericho's a heel, so the dynamic will be different.  He'd better step up his speed a little because he had trouble keeping up with AJ at FastLane.  Anyway, give these guys 15-20 minutes, sit back, and watch the fireworks.

My pick: AJ has to win
Dan's pick: JINX!

Street Fight: Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose

And finally the third match I'm stoked over.  This should be a helluva fight and will hopefully take Dean to the next level, even as a loser.  I envision a Stone Cold-type performance here, where Dean gets his white ass handed to him but keeps getting back up and asking for more.  I hope to see some hardway blood here too.

My pick: Brock pummels Dean but gains new respect for the maniac
Dan's pick: I assume Brock wins and faces off with RR for the belt later on in a PPV main event where Roman will be booed

Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon

I don't need to go on about how little sense this match makes on every conceivable level (I've already done so HERE, HERE, and HERE).  It's literally the stupidest 'Mania match they've booked since Lawler vs. Cole, there's no one to root for since neither outcome is good (Either Vince and The Authority stay in control or Taker loses again at 'Mania), and I still don't understand why Taker would agree to it.  Vince decreed that if Taker loses he'll never fight at WrestleMania again, but Vince won't be in power anymore if that happens.  So how is that stipulation binding?  Use your brain.

My pick: I gotta think Taker annihilates Shane the whole match, egged on by Vince, until he gets sick of Vince's shit and lays down for the loss.  Take one for the team, Taker.
Dan's pick: I too think Shane wins, but probably from outside interference...from say, Stone Cold, yeah Stone Cold.

WWE Title Match: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns

Speaking of no-win situations, we have WWE's top heel against WWE's most hated man.  The crowd is gonna be BRUTAL for this match.  There's basically zero suspense about who's winning.  It's gonna be Roman.  But how they handle the aftermath is the big question.  Reigns can't possibly stay babyface.  Can't.  There's just no way WrestleMania can end with the babyface everyone hates standing tall with the belt.  So instead what I'm proposing is Reigns wins clean, then as he celebrates Seth Rollins' music interrupts and he charges the ring, getting in Roman's face.  He then takes the mic and says "Congratulations, Champ.  Too bad that's my belt you're holding, since I never lost it."  And over the next couple weeks we get a massive double-turn, with Reigns becoming Hunter's new guy against Rollins who never lost the belt and who got pushed aside by The Authority.  In that scenario, for the second year in a row the fans will be cheering Rollins to close out WrestleMania.

My pick: Reigns
Dan's pick: I'm just hoping this is a good match by the time Roman Reigns supreme

That there's about the short n' skinny of it.  'Mania's gonna be a middle-of-the-road PPV I expect, vastly overshadowed by NXT TakeOver on Friday.  We'll have feedback on Monday so bring it back here to!

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